Over the course of my career I’ve worked in large companies with vertical silos and teams spread across remote offices and geos. In both of these scenarios communicating project status, design, and development as well as sharing ideas is quite challenging. I’m always looking for ways to improve collaboration, whether through processes or tools.
Currently, I’m designing a mobile app for a company overseas, so not only am I dealing with geographic distance but I also have a language barrier (note: my attempts to learn Mandarin and Cantonese continue). The app is not single-focused, but has many facets and features which require multiple screen designs (100+). With this being my first native mobile app, and a complex one at that, I thought this would be a perfect time to seek out a new tool to help communicate the designs.
My mom got a Fitbit Flex for Mother’s Day. Apparently, these wristbands are highly coveted by a much broader audience than I originally assumed. I expected the younger, health-conscious, gadget-geeks; the fitness junkies who are training for marathons; the serious adventure types who can’t sit still. I did not expect a group of 60-80 year old women, but after thinking further about their interests – they’re a perfect segment to target! These women are deeply interested and invested in health and wellness. They go to the gym and attend physical activity classes at least 3-4 times a week. They blend fresh fruit and veggie smoothies, take nutritional supplements, spend hundreds on skin care products, read Dr. Weil and email articles about the health benefits of lemons. They’ve likely used a pedometer and own a blood pressure monitor. They’re not tech savvy, but they understand how to use the Internet, email and apps for video streaming. iPads are their computing device of choice for their ease of use.
Xconomy held it’s second Mobile Madness Northwest forum this week at Town Hall Seattle. There were about six main panels and three “burst” presentations that covered topics from m-commerce to messaging, advertising, analytics, and location-based technologies. My favorite highlight was the keynote by Siri co-founder Adam Cheyer who reviewed his predictions of the last ten years and shared his predictions for the next five. Here’s the full recap.
It can be tempting to launch Illustrator, Photoshop, Axure, [enter the name of your favorite digital design tool here] when you’re assigned a new UX project, especially if you’re a pixel perfectionist working in a fast-paced environment. You have tight deadlines to meet, stakeholder approval to win, and revisions – well they are certainly expected. So you may think that you’ll save time by going straight to your digital device to create wireframes, but I urge, resist the temptation. Start with good ol’ pen and paper. Sketch, discuss, repeat.
I had the opportunity to present at a WTIA marketing event. With the rise of “gamification”, or the use of game elements in non-game contexts, I spoke about what non-gaming companies can learn from the marketing tactics of a gaming company. Check out the presentation:
In my previous post I reviewed Verify, an application that enables you to gather real-time feedback on screenshots from your customers. I described how web analytics programs like Google Analytics and Omniture’s Site Catalyst can help answer questions like how many people visited your website, where did they come from, what pages did they view on your site. A/B and multivariate tests can tell you which design or message is converting better. Yet, none of these tools do a good job of showing how your visitors engaged inside the pages of your site. ClickTale helps fill that gap by providing a suite of heatmaps, plus videos of real customers browsing your site.
Rather than making design decisions based on internal assumptions and hunches, wouldn’t it be great if we could ask our customers what they actually prefer before starting development? There’s a myriad of online tools to analyze your site’s behavior once it’s launched. For example, you can find out what pages have higher bounce rates, where customers fallout of your order path, and where customers click or don’t click, then optimize the experience. Yet, even these metrics lack the qualitative insights to help explain why a customer left your web page or why one design may be converting better than another. Is it because your messaging wasn’t clear, a feature wasn’t intuitive, or simply because they didn’t like the colors? We spend hours of development time building out new features that our customers may never use because of these reasons. So what are the options?