Claims Analysis – Best Practices

Claims analysis is a technique for recording the positive and negative effects of the different features of current or future products and their resulting user experience. A claim is the hypothesis about the results of the features of a product for users and stakeholders.
The best practices in claims analysis will help product researchers to build and offer the most efficient products on their market. Things to will consider include:
• Features that offer more efficiency
• Solutions to existing feature issues
• Deciding what the best features are for the products service
• Updating existing features to meet current needs of the user

Factors to consider:

• Target audience
• Environmental factors
• Product capabilities
• Budget

Best Practices

1. Material Research

One of the most important design features of a product is the materials that it is made with. Deciding what a future product will be made out of is an important step in its success; there are a variety of positive and negative factors for claim analysts to consider, and these will occur based on what the product is made from. Each should be considered:

• Price: Depending on the budget, some materials will prove to be much more expensive than others, thereby causing the end product to cost more for customers. If the goal of the product is mass production, then a cheaper and more attainable material will be a better choice; if it is a high-end product, then a more expensive material will be of benefit. Claims analysis will be able to inform product researchers whether a more expensive material will benefit or harm the product’s success.

• Environmental factors: Will the making of the product consume trees? Will it require heavy metals or factory assembly? Customers today are increasingly aware of their ecological footprint, and many will refrain from using products that are harmful to the Earth. Again, factors such as budget will come into play here; do companies take advantage of cheaper assembly overseas, or give jobs to locals? Depending on the materials, this can strongly improve or harm the success of a product.

• Quality: If a design feature of a product is that its materials are cheap and therefore of lesser quality, it may be that customers can afford to continue to purchase the product without worrying about budget. However, if the price does not match the material quality, this can greatly affect the success of the product.

2. Efficiency

 

Products that complete a job effectively and efficiently will be more attractive to customers than those that require a lot of work on the customer’s behalf. From phone apps to vacuum cleaners, efficiency in a product can greatly increase its success. Claims analysis can help to decide whether the cost of these extra details is worth the price to build the design itself. Design factors to consider concerning efficiency include:

• Dependency: Products that are designed to self-clean, run automatically or update themselves will generally produce positive feedback from users. Instead of having to worry about maintenance, customers can leave the product to its own devices, only alerting the customer when absolutely necessary. Claims analysis can research whether or not the design is efficient, how reliable it is, etc.

• Size: A smaller, more efficient product design that allows larger products to be stored in smaller spaces widens the spectrum of customers who can use it. Whether in a large home or smaller apartment, a product that is designed to be packed away will allow for a larger target audience.

• Environmentally friendly: Many of the products in stores now are popular because they save on water, require less time running or refrain from using specific chemicals that are harmful. Positive and negative consequences of the product design will reflect both the environment as well as the user; the more it helps the environment, the more interest it will gather from customers. Claims analysis can investigate the effectiveness of this design, whether its cost effective, etc.

3. Customer Reviews

Products are made to be sold, however if the buyer is unhappy then there is no need for the product. By reviewing the feedback from customers who use the product, some clarity may occur concerning design features and how they work in their actual environment. Customer feedback is one of the best practices for claims analysis; it helps companies to keep or re-think product features best suited to their target audience.

Surveys

Surveying the response of users to a product is one of the most straightforward and effective claim analysis techniques. Surveys can be done in a variety of ways, including:

• In-person surveys with customers and retailers
• Phone interviews with product sellers
• Online surveys on company and product sites
• Mail-in survey options
Anonymously given survey answers can provide honest answers about the various features of the product, what can be improved upon, what customers liked about the design, etc.

Product Mail-Out

A more controlled option of claims analysis is to send out prototypes of the product to a specific number in the target audience for initial use and reaction. The controlled group uses the product for a specific amount of time, and reflects on its convenience, efficiency, style and features in order to offer constructive feedback. With a collective response, builders can decide on the changes that should be made

Customer Reviews

Feedback from customers will likely include opinions on the existing product as well as suggestions to improve upon it. Offering these opportunities on the product site, as well as researching reviews on other sites will allow for some potentially very helpful feedback and ideas for the product.
Opportunities like small problems or preferences about the product may not be available on a question-specific survey, but giving the customer opportunity to express their personal experience in a small space will provide to-the-point analysis.

Claims analysis is an important part of identifying the needs of society, and creating products that effectively solve those needs. It is important that products are created with a purpose, and that users make their input known to make a positive impact in the industry. With a variety of components to consider when creating new products, claims analysis must ensure above all else that the reason for the assembly of a new product is to create an effective and efficient design that takes the place of previous products before it. Claims analysis is an important part of the revolution of product design, and the components discussed should be considered, in order to produce products that are truly needed and accommodating to today’s customers.

Jessica Miller
Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.
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