211 34 Malmö
Sweden+46 735 124 firstname.lastname@example.org
A user-friendly app for communal laundries in residential complexes.
Miele is a global manufacturer of advanced household appliances for kitchen, clothing, and floor care as well as products for business enterprises.
The German company, founded in 1899, is known for its high-tech quality products in a timeless design.
Miele is the de facto leading brand in washing machines worldwide. This is true for both consumers and, perhaps even more so, for the professional segment, where Miele has been a leader in end-to-end laundry solutions for residential communities for decades, and machines from their professional product lines are practically synonymous with German quality and durability. As a result of the machines' long lifespan, evolution in laundromats happens in slow motion, compared to the rest of the world. It is not uncommon to see machines installed before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In a branding context, the products' raw, mechanical durability is one thing. Something entirely different is the general, immediate product experience. And in that context, time does not necessarily favor patience, meticulousness, and a conservative pace of progression, which Miele's "Immer Besser" product development philosophy has guaranteed.
Thus, in recent years, competitors have succeeded in challenging Miele's market position by competing on entirely different parameters: the product experience! For competitors, it has been easy to take the customer by the hand and point to Miele's products as belonging to another era. One could argue that the products' long lifespan has ended up undermining Miele's position as the agenda-setting player.
Miele needed a strong response to compete in the new market conditions. The strategic challenge was to develop an entirely new end-user interface that could facilitate a product experience that meets the demands of convenience and usability of the time – and re-establish Miele as the leading player in the market. – Quickly!
Kruso was hired as Miele's innovation and technology partner to investigate, design, and implement a next-generation user experience for Miele's professional laundry solution in Denmark.
It was evident from the start that the challenge presented an inherent paradox.
How could one implement an evolutionary leap in user experience - here and now - for an industrial product range where product development was already planned many years into the future?
The solution was fortunately straightforward. By choosing to base the new interface on a mobile app, it was possible to drive an autonomous development process that was minimally bound by the technological barriers, product design, and the existing road map for product development of Miele's washing machines. This loose coupling to the physical products also made it possible to carry out a pure Danish proof of concept, where Miele Group's product executives only needed to be involved relatively late in the process. In this way, we were able to bypass 99% of corporate bureaucracy in the process, which is the other side of the coin of being "Immer Besser" at a global enterprise scale.
Miele's principle of being "Immer Besser" has certainly also dictated the development project. The digital product should not only be innovative but also underpin Miele's strong brand and in every way match the technical leading standard of the products.
In this regard, the agile method became a crucial tool for driving a successful project, where design investigation, technical development, and usability testing were equally important and mutually informative activity tracks.
The testing track was based in Miele's own "Laundrette Test Lab," a replica of a real laundry, which allowed us to continuously conduct very lifelike tests - both exploratory and comparative - of the interaction between the app and the physical products to ensure high performance and intuitive user journeys.
Once a mature beta version of the app was ready, we tested the product on real users in their own laundry. Here, we used contextual inquiry interview and observation methods to obtain information about their real-life experience with the product based on everyday tasks in their familiar surroundings.
In 2022, Miele Denmark launched a thoroughly tested and scalable app solution for the professional laundry segment, which digitizes the entire end-user journey around washing clothes as a resident in a housing association (except for carrying the laundry downstairs and putting it in the machine, of course!).
This first release represents an "MVP scope" in terms of features. The ability to set a sufficiently narrow scope of features in a first version has been central, as the core functionalities in the app not only facilitate a 1:1 digitized service experience for laundry users but also introduce a range of innovative features, including the operation of the washing machine via the app, which users need to become familiar with.
So far, user feedback has been very positive, and Miele is looking forward to continuously releasing product updates based on the existing roadmap and user feedback, carefully and patiently, but inevitably at a neck-breaking pace compared to the "old" Miele way! Miele Denmark is the first of Miele's markets to launch this solution.