The Kano Model analysis is the solution!

Practice guide: Kano Model

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image by www.productstrategymeanssayingno.com

What is a Kano Model

The Kano Model was developed in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano, an expert in customer satisfaction and quality management. The model divides customer preferences into 5 categories: attractive, performance, indifferent, must-be, undesired.

Nowadays, it is being employed by user experience teams to tackle hard design decisions. During project development, it helps designers, product owners and stakeholders to stay focused on the right priorities based on client satisfaction.

The model was built on three core tenets:

  • Value attracts clients.
  • Quality keeps clients and builds loyalty.
  • Innovation is necessary to differentiate and compete in the market.

Kano Model analysis enables you and your team to focus on the right priorities. Understanding the users is the first step to a great project.

Why you should do it

How do we compromise? How do we ensure that we are on the right track? How to measure the satisfaction of my client? How can I save money in the project? How can I innovate the product of my client? How can I stay ahead of my competition? Which features will deliver the biggest customer “Wow!”? How do I know my priorities? How do I take a better decisions? Why is the product not meeting our user’s expectations? When I make my roadmaps how do I know the best way to start the project?

Advantages

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How to create a Kano Model

The original model was built on three core tenets:

  • Value attracts clients.
  • Quality keeps clients and builds loyalty.
  • Innovation is necessary to differentiate and compete in the market.

We are going to develop a new product. After the kickoff, we dive into user research actitivites, like observations, contextual inquiry or field studies, to learn what our users need and value the most. User data is then used to build the Kano Model.

The X axis of the Kano Model represents the human and time resources the organization invests on a particular feature. The Y axis represents the satisfaction of the client with the new feature. Are they delighted or frustrated by the new function?

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Adapted from: www.productstrategymeanssayingno.com

The five categories

The requirements that the clients expect to have and are taken for granted. When poorly or not implemented at all the clients are just neutral to the function. However, when failed to implement, the clients are very dissatisfied and frustrated.

Basic requirements are not easy to identify as users rarely state them: they simply seem too obvious to mention.

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Adapted from: www.productstrategymeanssayingno.com

The requirements that satisfy the user when fulfilled and dissatisfy when not fulfilled.

  • They are carefully evaluated by the user and taken into consideration when making a purchase.
  • They will they increase your user’s satisfaction the better you implement them.

Generally these features have a linear effect on user satisfaction. The better they are implemented, the higher the user satisfaction. Also, unlike the basic features they are often stated as known needs. Therefore often those functionalities become the battleground for competition.

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Adapted from: www.productstrategymeanssayingno.com

These are the requirements with the greatest “WOW” potential, the best “Bang for the bucket”.

The requirements that satisfy the clients when achieved fully, but do not cause any dissatisfaction when not present.

Users do not anticipate them. Therefore we bring delight by over-delivering and performing the unordinary. These type of features don’t result in dissatisfaction when missing, and the experience isn’t in any way negatively affected as they were never foreseen. However, when executed well, a delightful attribute may generate unusual customer excitement with the product and boost word-of-mouth recommendations.

In todayʼs competitive market, where user attention is the biggest challenge, delivering excitement features a.k.a. “delightful little details” can be a key to competitive advantage.

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Adapted from: www.productstrategymeanssayingno.com

These requirements are neither positive nor negative to clients.

Keeping that in mind, development of such features may be obsolete as time and resources invested do not bring a proportional return in the form of client satisfaction. However, at times we can make the right features answering the right problem yet make them too complicated for users tounderstand. In consequence, they can be indifferent to the clients as their value is not apparent to them.

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Adapted from: www.productstrategymeanssayingno.com

Those are the ones that you want to identify and keep out of your product. They are considered Reverse requirements when its absence brings users’ satisfaction, and its presence results in dissatisfaction. Implementing such features increases the costs of design and development while decreasing the value of the product for the clients.

A reverse requirement means the possibility of triggering dissatisfaction on your users, and you would better give up the feature, being better to avoid any negative emotion.

Beware that sometimes they are a result of business priorities overriding the user priorities. If that is the case, it may suggest that you should look for an alternative solution that satisfies both the business and the user priorities.

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Adapted from: www.productstrategymeanssayingno.com

Imagine you are buying a smartphone:

Attractive — waterproof smartphone

One-dimensional — mobile phone storage capacity (3Gb /62Gb /more)

Indifferent — smartphone color

Reverse — “bloatware”, the factory installed applications that can not be uninstalled

Must be — have a camera, keyboard

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Adapted from: www.productstrategymeanssayingno.com

Applying the model

Which one will delight you may be ready to start building your project, but the list of requirements seems endless. You can’t implement all at once, and your project probably doesn’t even need all of them anyway.

  • How do you create a backlog with the right features?
  • Which ones will delight your users and keep them happy?

We can use the Kano Questionnaire to uncover requirements based on asking two pairs of questions:

Functional: “How do users feel if they have the feature?”

Dysfunctional: “How do users feel if they don’t have the feature?”

The questions are answered on a scale, instead of free text. The purpose is not just to offer a singlerating along the emotional response, but to foster a sense of expectation.

Look at the scale and identify which answer best fits the expected reaction for each feature.

  1. I like it
  2. I expect it
  3. I’m neutral
  4. I can tolerate it
  5. I dislike it

How do you evaluate answers? Through the Kano Matrix, which combines functional and dysfunctional answers. When you do a Kano Model you have 5 categories, so you need to map the answers in one of the following five.

A — Attractive
O — One dimensional
M — Must-be
I — Indifferent
R — Reverse
Q — Questionable
*unclear results that cannot be graded.

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Adapted from: www.productstrategymeanssayingno.com

Look at the table:
If a given user answers “1.Like” on the functional (positive) question and “2.Must be” on the dysfunctional (negative) one, the feature falls into the A category, i.e. “Attractive”.

Pay attention

Kano Model analysis enables you and your team to focus on the right priorities.

One thing you should keep in mind is to constantly monitor this analysis because the needs and expectations of users will change over time.

What are now Attractive features will, over time, become Basic needs.

Takeaways

Overall, this is an excellent and efficient way for your clients to systematically validate your design ideas, before spending any time and money working on them.

Mapping out answers is helpful for building and organising
a product backlog
.

The Kano Model help us to clarify client requirements and identify the ones that result in high client and user satisfaction.

Kano questionnaire may be helpful to uncover the basic requirements and highlight the competitive background.

Implementing reverse requirements will decrease the value of the product.

The clients’ perception of satisfaction changes over time. Features that trigger delight today will, over time, come to be what all clients expect
and request.

UX UI Designer

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