Helping VWR set usability standards

In 2015, Mind’s Eye Concepts was hired to set the standards for usability across all 26 global e-commerce stores.

Mind’s Eye Concepts implemented a user centered design approach and process improvement to their e-business organization. This involved creating the quality user testing (QUT) program within VWR’s e-business. In addition to this, requirements for engineers were run through a user story practice to ultimately define what problems their development work would solve for the end-users. This was a significant change to the requirements gathering process that was in most ways, trying to keep up with feature launches from other sites.

The problems that arise from this practice occur when the UX team strays away from their own customer’s needs, and loosely defines them based on what works for other sites. User testing and market and customer research isn’t always a necessary step for improvements, news, or when curating new content to publish. However, when features in an e-commerce distribution network as big as VWR is running, and with consistent B2B customers to compete for, being able to secure their business relies on two things.

(1) Building appropriate solutions for them.
(2) Making sure it works for them.

User testing and solution definition are vital to pleasing customers with solutions they want. On the flip side, it can also save organizations potentially millions of dollars engineering solutions they never wanted in the first place. Here’s an example of investing in mobile application development and why testing early and often with customers is so important.

Program tasks involved defining specific life science, and many other professional services personas, designing tasks for them to perform, validating, and reporting the results. This information was essential to design decision making, and requirements for major features in their ecosystem, such as search, and search results. Mind’s Eye Concepts was asked to collaborate with the search steering committee teams around the globe, to define and study the users needs. This eventually led to the re-design of the logic and presentation of search results on VWR’s global e-commerce platforms.

Mind’s Eye Concepts performed business consulting leadership for 30+ improvements to the e-business platforms. Including key admin controls for specific global experiences based on culture, laws, and their support of features. A ratings and reviews feature designed by Minds Eye Concepts, launched in the UK, and France. QUT also played a major role in early stages of the new customer procurement and account profile process.

Since then, e-commerce revenue has sky-rocketed, and VWR positioned themselves for acquisition late in 2017, with e-commerce and distribution capabilities as their biggest assets offered in the merge. Building the program within the organization took years to develop, and eventually Mind’s Eye Concept’s role was passed to colleagues on the UX team.

After the introduction, training, and publishing the UX process improvements for our colleagues, we designed and built requirements to track and store the information gleaned from tests with quality assurance. This ensured the process could be used to measure even more solutions in the future.