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User Centered Innovation

With a proven, user-oriented approach, Zühlke created the basis for the development of a novel, successful remote control for hearing aids from Phonak.

Executive Summary

  • Phonak wants to develop a new remote control  
  • The requirements of the target group are largely unknown, most potential users are older people  
  • With usability tests in short cycles, different variants can be checked in this way 

Task

Remote controls for hearing aids offer the wearer a wide range of functions for situational adjustment of the hearing aid for optimal hearing. Phonak wants to develop a new remote control that is extremely easy to use, simple and handy. The project is in an early innovation phase and much is still open. The requirements of the target group are largely unknown, most potential users are older people.  

Solution

In interviews with hearing aid wearers, Zühlke recorded the wishes of target persons with regards to the operation and use of the remote control. From this, the user requirements are derived and prioritised. To answer open questions about the range of functions, type, number and assignment of buttons, users are given various hardware dummies for comparison. A prototyping platform simulates realistic listening situations (e.g. listening to music on the train, a conversation in a café) and, in combination with a hearing aid, gives the user the impression of a functioning remote control. In this way, usability tests in short cycles can be used to check different variants. In just a few iterations, an easy-to-understand remote control with optimal operating elements and an interaction concept that is ideally matched to it is created.