About Forrester

Forrester (Nasdaq: FORR) is one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world. We work with business and technology leaders to develop customer-obsessed strategies that drive growth. Forrester’s unique insights are grounded in annual surveys of more than 675,000 consumers and business leaders worldwide, rigorous and objective methodologies, and the shared wisdom of our most innovative clients. Through proprietary research, data, custom consulting, exclusive executive peer groups, and events, the Forrester experience is about a singular and powerful purpose: to challenge the thinking of our clients to help them lead change in their organizations.

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The Forrester Industry Wave™ Methodology Guide

Executive Summary

The Forrester Industry Wave is Forrester’s expert review evaluation of brands (firms) and the digital experiences they deliver to consumers. This research assesses the functionality and uses a heuristic usability review of brands’ digital experiences from defined scenarios based on our ongoing consumer research. Our analysis of consumer trends and behaviors and the experience of our analysts drive our Forrester Industry Wave evaluations. We expose the customer scenarios and criteria used to evaluate a brand’s digital experience functionality and usability. This document is your guide in understanding the Forrester Industry Wave research. It outlines the methodology our teams use to produce this research.

Why Forrester Conducts Forrester Industry Wave Evaluations

The Forrester Industry Wave uses a transparent, heuristic evaluation methodology to evaluate the digital experiences of brands in an industry. This research helps business, marketing, and technology leaders identify and compare best practices in delivering the digital experiences that brands use to drive growth. Our evaluation enables clients to make well-informed decisions on what functionality and usability delivers the digital experiences that meeting and exceeding the consumer expectations identified from our broader research.

Participants In The Forrester Industry Wave Process

A Forrester Industry Wave builds upon the participation of the following key players:

  • Analysts. One or more analysts conduct the Forrester Industry Wave research and identify its conclusions. The analyst is the subject matter expert for the Forrester Industry Wave. The analyst determines the customer scenarios used to evaluate the brands’ digital experience functionality and usability.
  • Research associate (RA). The RA manages the Forrester Industry Wave process, driving and maintaining the project schedule and, in most instances, communicating with brands throughout the process. The RA serves as the main Forrester contact for the firms we include in a Forrester Industry Wave and may participate in the evaluation process.
  • Brand response teams. The brand response team comprises the key contacts we work with at evaluated firms. Forrester relies on the team’s participation to provide access to any non-public portions of the digital experience. The team also aids in verifying information that we collect in our functionality review.

The Forrester Industry Wave Process

The Forrester Industry Wave process includes:

1. Pre-research planning. The analyst conducts his or her primary research for identified industry sectors: using our consumer insights to identify the brands that consumers engage with in the industry; pinpointing different customer scenarios; identifying the predominant digital touchpoints that consumers use; and identifying the important functionality that helps customers achieve their goals.

2. Research kickoff. The analyst and research associate make a best effort to reach out to contacts at the brands we choose to evaluate and inform them of our research plan and methodology. This communication will include how we plan to evaluate the digital experiences of brands in the research.

3. Expert reviews. The analyst, using the identified customer scenarios and criteria, evaluates each brand’s digital experience. The analyst evaluates what is currently available to the brand’s prospects and customers. The outcome is a two-part score for each brand — one score each for functionality and usability. We use these scores to produce the Forrester Industry Wave graphic and supporting scorecards.

4. Fact-checking. The analyst and research associate make a best effort to share the evaluation scorecard with each individual evaluated brand. Brands can provide factual feedback and supporting evidence to address any factual errors regarding the brand’s functionality during the fact-checking time period. Usability findings leverage a heuristic review and are not subject to fact-checking.

5. Courtesy preview and publishing of the Forrester Industry Wave report. Once the team has developed and reviewed all research deliverables, it’s time to share the research with clients. The team sends out a courtesy preview report to all evaluated brands, usually two to three days prior to publication. This is a courtesy preview period and we consider the content of the Forrester Industry Wave final.