Redesigned PRC Toolbox

We’re proud to announce that earlier this year, we wrapped up a fourteen month-long project with Prentke Romich Company (PRC), a leader in production of AAC (augmentative/alternative communication) devices. Their devices are used for communication by people who can’t speak. Most of their users live with autism, or cerebral palsy, or another condition that makes speech impossible.

In early 2016, we embarked on a journey to redesign a piece of their AAC software. Specifically, they wanted us to update the design of the “toolbox” area used by parents, teachers, and others. This is the part of the AAC device where crucial settings happen – like how a user interfaces with the AAC device (by touching it, by having it track their eyes, etc.) what appears on different screens, or how long a user has to press on a button before the press registers. Clearly, there were many challenges that our team had to think through in redesigning the toolbox, and many different user types that we needed to speak with (most toolbox users are fully able-bodied people – speech-language pathologists, teachers, parents, spouses, and caretakers).

Overall, the project was very successful (see redesigned toolbox menu screen above), and we received plenty of positive feedback from various types of users to validate the new design. Stay tuned, we’ll be sharing a more detailed case study of this project soon!

Redesigning FocusIT’s Pulse Software

We’re excited to announce that we’ve just wrapped up a project with FocusIT, the largest provider of CalyxPoint Hosted Service in the country and innovator of the Mortgage CRM, Pulse.

Pulse is a premium customer relationship management software for loan officers and other mortgage industry professionals. It provides robust marketing and lead management tools.

The Pulse Team came to Iteration Group with the goal of making the product easier and more efficient to use and, in so doing, helped expand its user base to include loan officers. This meant that existing screens would need to be streamlined to reduce redundancies and to emphasize the most important features.

In addition to streamlining workflows and making the system more intuitive, the FocusIT team asked Iteration Group to help drive customer engagement (afterall, it is a customer relationship management software). Iteration Group collaborated closely with the FocusIT loan officers, loan processors, and customers to identify critical touch points and put together a plan of execution on how to optimize them. As a part of this initiative, we also created e-mail templates that were tailored to customers’ needs and motivations.

After many iterations, we validated the designs with real users who expressed that the new designs exceeded their expectationsThe designs are currently in the hands of the FocusIT’s development team and is set to launch later this year.

User Heatmaps and Recordings with Hotjar

We recently stumbled across Hotjar, a simple-to-use tool that allows you to view how users are interacting with your site. Hotjar will create heatmaps (like the one below) that represent how users are clicking, tapping, and scrolling. The tool also provides recordings of real users as they navigate across your webpage (with mouse tracking too).

Of course, the tool alone will not give you all the answers around a user’s needs and expectations, but it’s an easy and insightful place to start.

Watch “What’s Next for Texting” By Yossi Langer

It’s up! Check out Yossi’s talk at Inman Connect San Francisco this past August, and don’t forget, if you want a copy of the presentation and full user interview notes, click here.

Feel free to leave us a comment below – we’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Designing for Extreme Accessibility – Yossi Langer to Present at EuroIA

How would you design digital tools to be used by people who can manipulate only a foot or an eye? How do you create an interface that works equally for people with full motor control and those unable to even touch a screen?

Find out in Yossi’s presentation for next week’s EuroIA conference in Amsterdam:  “Switches, Keyguards, Eyegaze Trackers: Designing Device Interfaces for Extreme Accessibility,” – inspired by a particularly interesting design challenge that Iteration Group embarked on with Prentke Romich Company (PRC) earlier this year.

PRC is a leader in speech generating software and devices. They have been been making tools to help people who cannot speak for over 50 years and asked us to redesign their user interface. This interface is used by people with autism, cerebral palsy, ALS, and other conditions that prevent speech communication.

We’ll make sure to share the video after the conference, but for anyone who might be around Amsterdam in late September, stop by and say hi to Yossi or tweet him @yossilanger!

Chat > Texting, Emailing, and Calling

Over the past year, we’ve seen a significant increase in users preferring chat interfaces / applications over texting, emailing, and of course, the dreaded phone call. We’ve seen key players like Facebook and Lyft create their own messaging features within their native mobile apps to great success.

According to Gartner, “by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.”

So how can you leverage this trend to your advantage? To start, try integratingchat features into your sales or customer support services. There are many third-party applications out there – we really like LiveChat. It’s easy to set up and allows for a hybrid human / bot experience.

Tips for using chat:

  • Embrace humanistic language and interactions
  • If using a chatbot, reduce the learning curve by providing guided calls to action and use context to anticipate the user’s needs
  • Remember what makes chat so effective: simple, easy, and fast
  • Always make it easy for users to give feedback

For a full overview on chat interfaces and best practices, check out our “Chat as Interface” presentation here: https://iterationgroup.attach.io/Hkcjn3rn.

“What’s Next for Texting?”: Yossi Langer’s Presentation at Inman Connect SF 2016

Last month, Yossi Langer, presented “What’s Next for Texting” at Inman Connect’s 20th year anniversary conference in San Francisco.

Inman Connect is a premier real estate technology event that is attended by thousands of influential real estate leaders each year, including some of our clients: CoreLogic, ShowingTime, Clareity, & more.

If you missed Yossi’s talk or want a refresher, you can sign up for the full presentation slides and user interview notes here: http://iterationgroup.com/inman2016. We’ll also post the video as soon as it’s released.

Special thanks to the Inman Connect team for allowing us to speak and putting together such a successful event!

Congrats to Our Client CoreLogic

Congratulations to our client, CoreLogic, who received an Inman Innovator Award in Technology for their Trestle dashboard!

We’ve been collaborating with CoreLogic on Trestle for several months. The Trestle dashboard allows brokers as well as tech companies to easily integrate data from multiple MLSs with agent tools and websites by creating a single standardized data feed.

Alternative Keyboards for iOS

Around the office, we’ve been experimenting with alternative keyboards inside iOS (something Android users have been able to do for years). Our current favorite? The just-released Gboard, which makes it easy to type by “swiping,” and also allows you to directly access Google Search from any text entry field. For all of those who are as reliant on Google as we are, the tool makes multitasking much easier and eliminates the need to jump back and forth between applications.

We also rely on animated GIFs for self-expression (sometimes exclusively), which makes the Giphy keyboard, Giphy Keys, an interesting tool as well.

Simpsons GIF Re Technology

We think these custom keyboards are interesting tools and distribution channels for a few key players like search engines and media companies. But does your service need to create one? Probably not.

Make Sure that Your Application Meets Accessibility Guidelines

There are 60 million people with disabilities in the United States, so making sure they can all use your website easily isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also good business.

Virtually all businesses can be sued if their website or application does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

How well does your site do? Try this validator to find out some basics.

For a good overview of guidelines and resources, see this brief presentation that one of our team members recently put together here.

As a basis, just remember the simple acronym “POUR“:

Perceivable

  • Provide text  alternatives for images, form elements
  • User good color contrast to make it easier for users to see content
  • Avoid nose, movement, and distractions on pages

Operable

  • All functionality should be accessible via keyboard (tabbing, opening links without the mouse, etc.)
  • Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are in the system / application

Understandable

  • Use economical and plain use of language
  • Make pages operate in predictable ways
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes

Robust

  • Ensure that your application is functional across various technologies
  • Verify that syntax is correct – syntax errors may not affect visual presentation but may hamper assistive technology and accessibility valuation tools