Man playing smartphone game

Project Background:

Ducky is a climate action toolkit that combines established behavioral science, fun and technology to mobilize individuals and organizations to take direct action to stop climate change. Users register climate friendly activities on a web app on their phones, and compete in teams to save the most CO2. After starting a partnership with one of Japan's biggest corporations to launch the product in Japan, they contacted me to help them conduct research locally to learn about Japanese users and gain insight into how to best localize the product.

Project Goals:

  1. Discovering how the product fits into the lives of Japanese users.
  2. Identifying ways to improve the product localization.
  3. Discovering which value propositions resonate most with Japanese users.


Duration: 2 months

Users Studied: 111 (Quant: 98, Qual: 13)

Team Members: Myself (UX researcher), UI Designer, Engineer, Project Manager, Client Side Project Manager

Methods: In-Depth Qualitative User Interviews, Focus Group, Quantitative User Survey

Deliverables: Findings & Recommendations Report (Including interview quotes, word cloud analysis, sentiment analysis etc.), Results by Hypothesis, Survey Results Presentation


1. Client Alignment

  • Held meetings with client to understand their goals for the project.
  • Reviewed client hypotheses and created research plan and interview scripts accordingly.

2. In-Depth Qualitative User Interviews

  • First held qualitative user interviews with a selection of extreme users in order to identify patterns regarding Japanese users experiences with the product.
  • Interviewed 7 users for one hour each in order to get first hand feedback about their lifestyles and  experiences using the product.
Conducting individual interviews

3. User Focus Group

  • As the product was being used by teams, I decided to conduct a focus group with a high engagement team to understand how group dynamics affect participants experiences.
  • Conducted a one hour focus group in Japanese with six team members.
  • Designed activities to ensure maximum involvement from all participants, such as card sorting and an improvement brainstorming session.
Results of a card sorting exercise in the focus group

4. Quantitative User Survey

  • In addition to user interviews and focus group, a quantitative survey was implemented to gain quantitative data from all participants and verify patterns discovered in qualitative research.
  • I designed the survey in Japanese and gathered results - synthesizing results with the qualitative data, to provide more credible and holistic insights for the client.

Word Cloud of Descriptors from Survey

Selected Findings:

1. Some climate friendly activities were not appropriate for Japanese users

"I don’t think Japanese people think much about their water use, and we love bathing, so it’s hard to reduce the shower time for me"

"It would take me forever to walk to work! I think everyone in Tokyo uses public transport"

2. Japanese participants were more interested in their position within their own teams than their team's place within the competition

"I look at my team rankings and where I am, and I make sure I am at least above the average. If not, I need to find another activity!"

"I look at the person in the lead and think wow! What’s their secret?"

3. The hierarchy of Japanese companies affected team dynamics

"As a department head I felt a bit left out - I don’t sit with the rest of my team. I wasn’t quite sure how much I should get involved."

"The department heads participated in our team lunches, which I thought was amazing! I usually can't ask them to lunch, so it definitely was good for communication between ranks."


Based on these insights, the team was able to show the potential for the product in Japan. The insights gained about Japanese users allowed them to further localize the concept and UI to the Japanese lifestyle prior to a full scale launch.

Client Feedback

Max was incredibly efficient and easy to work with. There was some intense days of interviews that he took completely in his stride and his thorough analysis enabled us to really understand the impact of our product in Japan. We love that he was always upbeat and smiling and would be more than happy to work with him again.


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