Pietro Romeo

UX & HCI Researcher
I hold a double MSc in Human-Computer Interaction and have 3+ years of experience as a UX researcher. I specialise in qualitative research methods and am particularly interested cross-cultural research, field studies, and ethnography.

Conference Talks

BetterUX London 2019: Katja Borchert & Pietro Romeo from FlixBus reveal their user research successes

Berlin ResearchOps Meetup #2: UX Maturity: How to Grow User Research in your Organization [YouTube]

Selected Projects

Your guide to UX everything
01

Why do customers in southern italy buy long-distance bus tickets in person rather than online?

πŸ“… Aug 2019 πŸ“ FlixBus

Problem: Data from FlixBus showed that customers in newly-launched market of Southern Italy tend to buy tickets “offline” from a partner agency rather than from the FlixBus website or app. How to convert these into “online” buyers?

Methodology: I independently planned and executed a two-week field research study combining contextual inquiry and ethnographic methodologies to investigate customer behaviour at the bus station, on the bus, and when purchasing tickets in-person. I brought one of the main stakeholders with me to meet the customers and take part in the research process.

Outcome: Identified different customer groups and issues that the target customers would address “offline” instead of using the website. Conducted a small service design workshop with the international marketing team to i) identify the main customer group to target; ii) brainstorm potential online solutions to the issues this group solved offline, and iii) decide on the most feasible solution and next action steps.

Medium article: Ethnographic Research And Cross-Cultural UX In Southern Italy. Uncovering opportunities for digital innovation through field research.

Your guide to UX everything
02

Co-Designing The Bus of the Future

πŸ“… Apr 2019 πŸ“ FlixBus

Problem: FlixBus and MAN Bus and Truck manufacturer are working together on the concept for a novel bus equipped with new, innovative technologies. But how to include the end customers’ input in the design process?

Methodology: I setup a workshop with two groups of FlixBus customers, each split in two sessions: a generative session in which the participants were provided with a blank template and asked to draw their concept of a “dream bus”, and an evaluative session in which they were presented with the ideas from the stakeholders and asked to discuss and prioritize what was relevant to them.

Outcome: Identified similarities and gaps between what the users needed and wished for in their concept of a dream bus, and what the stakeholders had proposed. Came up with a priority list for features to be potentially included in the new concept, as well as preliminary feedback from the customers on what may and may not work.

03

building a fake bus to test a new self check-in machine before launch

πŸ“… Dec 2018 πŸ“ FlixBus

Problem: A new self check-in machine needed to be tested before trial launch in some of the buses. Customers need to scan their ticket at the moment of boarding and follow instructions on the machine. How to investigate this user journey simulating a real-life scenario?

Methodology: I created an “experience prototype” including a fake bus in the office built off chairs and beer crates, travel documents and luggage for the participants, and asked a colleague to act as the bus driver. I recruited a diverse group of participants for boarding on the “bus” using the self check-in device, followed by a focus group to discuss their experience.

Outcome: Identified a few improvement points for UI as well as the ideal position of the device inside the bus and collected overall feedback of participants about their self check-in experience, which helped prevent issues duing the pilot session on the actual buses.

04

why don’t millennials in finland like house renovation services?

πŸ“… Aug 2017 πŸ“ EIT Digital Summer School

Problem: On average, customers of Finnish retailer K-Rauta only visit their physical store twice a year to buy products and, according to a survey, only 2 out of 75 customers are aware that K-Rauta also offers house renovation services. K-Rauta wanted to promote their services to younger customers who are becoming house owners for the first time.

Methodology:
Took part in a two weeks long Lean Service Creation workshop coached by service design agency Futurice. The project included conducting user interviews, coming up with a low-fidelity a concept for service, validating it through the creation of a fake advertisement and further user interviews, then coming up with a prototype of an MVP to present to stakeholder.

Outcome:
Created customer segments based on interviews, conceptualised and prototyped an MVP for a loyalty programme that would reward customers who purchase products with discounts that are only redeemableon house renovation services, both raising awareness about these services and incentivising customers to try
them.

05

Cross-Cultural HCI and UX Design: a comparison of chinese and western user interfaces

πŸ“… Dec 2016 πŸ“ University of Twente

Problem: How do cultural factors relate to the ways we design and interact with technology? This research provides an overview of the state-of-the-art in the fields of cross-cultural HCI and UX design practices, with a focus on comparison between Chinese and Western mobile user interfaces.

Methodology:
I carried out a academic literature review on the topics of cultural factors and UX, and conducted focus groups with Chinese and Dutch students to investigate their habits using mobile apps such as WeChat and WhatsApp, in a attempt to identify the main elements of Chinese UX and using Hofstede’s and Hall’s cultural dimensions to map user behaviour and mental models of Chinese and Dutch mobile users.

Outcome:
Results suggest thatboth the design and user experience of WeChat may bespecifically tailored for a target user group whose think-ing and behavioural patterns are holistic, polychronic andhigh-context, as well as being heavily influenced by tra-ditional Chinese values such as the Guanxi. By contrast,Western apps such as WhatsApp better accommodate theneeds of users who are characterised by analytic thinking,a monochronic attitude and a propensity for direct, low-context communication

Working paper: (PDF) Cross-Cultural HCI and UX Design: A Comparison of Chinese and Western User Interfaces. P. Romeo, J. Karreman, Q. Li. 2016.