British Red Cross

Boosting innovation with user research

Alex Moffatt, Product Development @ British Red Cross

Challenge

British Red Cross’s Innovation Team, similar to a product development team, needs to innovate new products to raise awareness and bring in donations. In addition, existing products must be constantly evaluated and improved whenever possible. To accomplish this, the Innovation Team monitors trends and gathers direct feedback in any way possible. 

Not only are they streamlining current offerings, but their strategy looks well into the future. In fact, Alex’s team plans out products 5-10 plus years in advance!

The insight gained from feedback is vital to their organization’s success; it’s precisely what all major product decisions are based on.

One of our fundamental principles is that everything is led by our audience.

This fast-paced R&D revolves around sprints. 

In the past, initial research was conducted via surveys or conversations with friends. When more in-depth data was needed, British Red Cross relied on recruitment agencies to source people for testing. 

We run design sprints, so we'll take an idea, develop it, and at the end of that week we’ll test it with 5 users. Before we would just try and find people within our circles, like friends or associates. Otherwise we'd rely on a recruitment agency to source 5 people to test with.

These methods were ultimately inefficient, overly time consuming, and challenging to scale. 

A crucial factor to Alex’s team’s success - especially during their design sprints - is efficiency with time. Even when going through a traditional agency, time gets squandered in the process of finding the right company, describing participant requirements, and reviewing procedures.

Another critical challenge was collecting honest feedback from personal connections. Let’s face it, it can be pretty tough for a buddy to be impartial! Especially when it comes to giving potentially negative feedback. People typically want to be “nice” due to the personal connection they have with the researchers. 

People can be quite cagey...sometimes the things you want them to say the most, are the things they want to say the least.

Above all else, many participants are hesitant to say anything critical towards a charity.

People are more reluctant to give me productive feedback because we are a charity. We need deeper feedback to really understand how people think about the products.

When anything negative is glossed over, Alex’s team gains little productive insight on how their products can be improved.

Outcome

An incredible time saver

When Alex and his team learned about PingPong from a colleague one day, their research has been a snap ever since. With lightning-fast efficiency, qualified testers are found and feedback sessions are booked. All completed within minutes instead of hours and days.

Now with PingPong the process is so much quicker and simpler. We just enter in the screener details and everyone comes to us. It cuts out 3 or 4 hours of work. When you've only got about 2 days, makes a huge difference. So we've found it to be really, really useful tool.

Thanks to PingPong, the Innovation team saves roughly half their work day. This is invaluable, especially during a design sprint where every minute counts.

In a sprint, the most valuable resource is time. So anything that can save you time in that week, just do it. PingPong saves us time, so that's why we use it.

The key to high-quality, impartial feedback

While sourcing users for a session, Alex’s team only includes the info needed for their research. No need to mention their organization’s name or even that they were a charity. This strategic anonymity lets them gather genuine feedback and completely honest critique. 

In addition, Alex’s team receives excellent overall feedback. They hear from exactly the type of people they want using PingPong’s smart screening and custom screeners.

PingPong’s pricing is significantly cheaper than recruiting through an agency. It’s also nice to be told upfront what the actual price you’ll pay is, instead of thinking you’re getting a good deal and then realising that the management fees, VAT and other costs haven’t been factored into the final price.

About Alex Moffatt

Alex works for British Red Cross’s fundraising innovation team as a product development officer. This is a cross-disciplinary role combining development, design, and UX. Although Alex has a background in civil engineering, his passion for helping people in need ultimately led him to a career in the non-profit charity sector.


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Industry

Non-profit

Headquarters

London, UK

About

British Red Cross is a volunteer-led movement helping people in crisis get the support they need in the UK and world-wide. It’s a unique movement which anyone is welcome to join. 

People in need can trust that British Red Cross is completely neutral, independent and impartial. This non-profit provides valuable services such as wheelchair hires, home care, critical support to refugees, assists those struggling with issues like loneliness or poverty, and more.


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