UX Research Room
A space for learning about and sharing the genuine opinions of customers
The UX Research Room was established in 2013. It was first introduced as a space for learning about and sharing the genuine opinions of customers by inviting users into an interview room, observing how they use websites and apps, and speaking and listening to them. Next to the interview room, an adjoining observation room that could accommodate 30 people and equipped with large display screens was built. Employees holding various jobs and responsibilities conduct such user research in real-time, engage in on the spot reviews of improvement plans and decision-making , and are able to discuss and execute their responses immediately. To date, the UX Research Room is being used for more than 80 projects a year on average.
Thorough pursuit of customer-oriented service
The Rakuten Group has established the rule of conducting qualitative and quantitative evaluation of usability quality for new websites and apps, and putting in place improvements for services that fall below the established standards prior to launch. Its success in developing a framework for usability evaluation is also a significant outcome of the UX Research Room. Since the introduction of this system, the number of Low Rating Apps (apps scoring less than three points) on the app store has dropped significantly over the past few years, while improvements in UX have contributed to improvements in overall business results (conversion ratio and sales).
Furthermore, the successful company-wide introduction of such a system in a company such as Rakuten, which holds a large number of businesses, has drawn much attention from external parties. This includes receiving commendations and external awards (Honourable Mention for the HCD Best Practice Award 2017) as a successful example of the development of a system in a large organization to improve UX. Employees engaged in various jobs, including executives, sales people, engineers, creators, and marketers, gather under one roof to observe customers' experiences in real-time, share in the experiences, and engage in discussions on the spot to identify issues and take action to resolve them. The UX Research Room could be described as a space that embodies the working style of Rakuten employees as they pursue customer-oriented service.