Security, Technology

ADT competitor analysis + UserTesting

How the home security company assessed perceptions of key competitors to guide their marketing and product development
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Industry: Security, Technology
Company Size: Enterprise
Role: Designer, Researcher
Customer Type: B2C

About ADT

ADT Inc. is an American company that provides residential, small and large business electronic security, fire protection, and other related alarm monitoring services throughout the United States. The corporate head office is located in Boca Raton, Florida.

ADT achieved

7x
Increase in the speed of research over traditional methods
Customer-led investigations into the products offered by competitors
Greater confidence across teams for the ADT+ app launch

Challenge

ADT’s Product UX team supports the mobile app that customers use to control their home security systems and the related hardware components—the base unit, keypad, and touchscreens. 

To help the organization understand  their opportunities for product development and marketing, ADT needed to understand the baseline experience of customers who currently use products from their key competitors. UserTesting contributors could offer them insights separately regarding self-installed units and technician-installed units.

With this project, they could identify the aspects that delight or annoy alarm users and settle on areas that ADT should prioritize for future releases. According to Abhijeet Bhattacharya, ADT’s Senior Director - Product and Experience Design, “If we don’t develop these customer insights-driven features and market them in the way people want to hear about them, that would represent missed revenue creation opportunities and a less desirable product. We saw that’s where UserTesting could help.”

Solution

The Product UX team used Miro to identify questions participants would answer during live sessions:

  • How is your home security system setup?
  • How does your family use it and when?
  • Why did you purchase it?
  • Walk us through which features you use.
  • What pain points or irritations do you wish you could change?
  • What aspects make the app seem innovative to you?

ADT leveraged UserTesting’s transcript feature to identify the most valuable insights and clarify user journeys. They added notes and created journey maps in Miro with screen captures for context. Ultimately, the insight from contributors helped ADT understand which competitors have the best functions, which functions ADT should avoid building, and what timelines make sense for the Product Development teams. 

Kevin Smith, ADT’s Senior User Experience Researcher, explains, “I can’t overstate the value of watching customers move through the screens of competitor websites. This helped us understand how they arm and disarm security functions; how they access a panic button; how they zoom in while they watch their home or office from their smartphone; and even how dependent they are on WiFi. And we didn’t just focus on what features people enjoy—the features that annoy them are just as important. Do tree leaves trigger the motion detector? Can users trigger a panic button if they see someone suspicious outside?”

Kevin Smith and Mai Nakhala (a UX Researcher on Kevin’s team) took the user stories from UserTesting contributors and placed them into four quadrants in Miro—one for each competitor product. In one example, users were disappointed that they couldn’t pause alerts when they mowed the lawn or when pets ran around in the yard, but they were pleased to see a historical view of events.

Outcome

Abhijeet Bhattacharya explains, “The end user is the center of gravity for all our work at ADT. Our work in developing products that meet their needs is highly influenced by our projects using the UserTesting platform, where we gather extensive user feedback. In only one and a half years, our research team has used UserTesting for nearly 50 studies covering our customer-facing mobile apps and hardware products.”

ADT’s Product UX team presented their report about competitors to 25 key stakeholders across the company. Up next, they’ll meet with teams like Marketing, to show how potential customers make their purchasing decisions, and Product Development, to make recommendations for the ADT+ mobile app. Future releases of the product will include the features that matter most to ADT customers.

Abhijeet Bhattacharya
Senior Director - Product and Experience Design, ADT
“We study our users at both the micro and macro levels. On a micro level, we try to understand users’ pain points and frustrations with our products. At a macro level, we try to understand their desires and aspirations from emerging technologies. UserTesting is an integral component of our development cycle as it helps us scale our products from now to the future.”
Kevin Smith
Senior User Experience Researcher, ADT
“I can’t overstate the value of watching customers move through the screens of competitor mobile apps. This helped us understand how they arm and disarm security functions; how they access a panic button; how they zoom in while they watch their home or office from their smartphone; and even how dependent they are on WiFi.”
Mai Nakhala
UX Researcher, ADT
"It was amazing talking to users in their natural environments at home or on the go. During a live session, a participant showed us how she uses the mobile app while her daughter sat on her lap. That’s what we need, genuine experiences!"

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