Yossi Langer Presents “How to Uncover Your Next Million-Dollar Idea”

Iteration Group Principal and expert on product strategy and user experience design, Yossi Langer, was invited to speak at the 2015 ASI Power Summit this November in Dana Point, California where he presented “How to Uncover Your Next Million-Dollar Idea.”

The ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute) Power Summit is an exclusive conference for influential business leaders and decision makers within the promotional products industry (a $20.5 billion dollar market here in the U.S.).

Following his presentation, Yossi led a workshop where executives and staff members from leading companies within the industry discussed how to create great ideas from scratch.

Special shoutout to the ASI Summit team who put together this fantastic event and allowed us to be a part of it.

Creating Products that are (Measurably) Great

We usually recommend a User Experience design process that involves ongoing user testing. We very much believe that we ought to involve users in the design process every step of the way.

Our aim is to prove that we’re designing a great interface by objectively measuring its performance. Not just “wow, the app looks great,” but actual user performance data (fewer clicks, fewer seconds required to complete a task, etc.) that indicates, objectively, that we’re moving in the right direction – that we have significantly improved the user experience for customers.

A Note About Initial UX Thoughts and Observations

Sometimes we are asked by clients to provide some initial thoughts, observations, and feedback regarding the user experience of their existing web site, web application, or mobile app.

Path of Least Resistance

Users have figured out a shortcut from one building to another – right through the plants! If it were time to re-do the landscaping, would you put up a sign (No Walking Here!) or install a set of stairs? Source: BadDesigns.com

In the spirit of imparting a sense of how we think and how we work, we’re happy to do so.  But, we always caveat our comments by saying that normally, we would first want to spend some time:

  • With you, the client, better understanding the situation, what users have told you about what they like and don’t like, what you think is working / not working, what is the business trying to accomplish, etc.
  • With users, listening to what they have to say about the application, what they like, what they dislike, how it fits into their life, how they think it can be improved, etc.
  • Looking at competing / similar / adjacent applications. What can we learn from the similar products that have been designed, built, released, and refined many times over many years? What do we think about them? What do these products tell us about what we want and what we don’t want? What do users tell us about these products? How do these similar products actually perform when presented to users?

While we are user experience design professionals who can apply web and mobile design best practices and also have strong intuitions (due to our experience designing dozens of products over the years) around how to improve usability, we believe that domain expertise (e.g. knowing the business inside-and-out) and listening carefully to users is critical to designing a great tool to make the user’s life easier.

 

Creating Landing Pages That Work: Auto Insurance

How do you create landing pages that work?  Pages that ensnare users into your process of filling out a form, getting more information, getting a quote, etc.?

We believe that the auto insurance industry, in particular, offers many useful examples around how to create high-performing and persuasive website landing pages.

Let’s take a look.

If you go to Google and search for “get car insurance,” you’ll see something like this:

Google Results for Get Car Insurance Search

 

Notice that most of the screen is covered in advertisements:

Google Results for Get Car Insurance Search Showing Ads

 

In fact, 10 of the results are advertisements, and only 4 are “organic” (e.g. not directly paid for) results.  And this is just online!

Here in the US, we are constantly bombarded (online, on television, in print, via direct mail) with advertisements from Allstate, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive, and other leaders in the auto insurance industry.

One would have to assume that:

  • They’re spending incredible amounts of money advertising their products.
  • The space is massively competitive. We learned, anecdotally, that some auto insurance companies are paying up to $150 USD per click for Google Adwords online advertising, for example (that’s just for a raw lead – not a person that has converted to being a customer!).
  • They’ve worked very hard to optimize their landing pages and their funnels (e.g. convincing and ensnaring folks to “get a quote”) to maximize conversion rates.

Now, back to those Google Search results.  When you click on one of those ads, you’ll see a page that looks like this:

Geico Landing Page for Web

 

Or this:

Allstate Landing Page for Web

 

Or this:

Progressive Landing Page for Web

 

Or, if you’re on mobile, something like this:

Geico Landing Page for Mobile

 

We believe that there’s a lot to learn here:

  • How to create a persuasive and effective landing page, using typography, photographs, social proof, and other mechanisms to elicit a certain response and encourage certain behavior.
  • How to get folks started in the process.
  • How to easily enable folks to resume from where they left off (if they do indeed leave).
  • How not to distract folks with other content and information that might unintentionally encourage them to fall out of the funnel.
  • How to ask questions in a way that is not overwhelming or intimidating (e.g. perhaps in an iterative, one-step-at-a-time fashion).

 

UX Designer

Looking for a UX Designer?

Iteration Group is a “boutique” firm that works with a small number of clients, helping them with expert UI / UX Design and App Development for web and mobile.

We work closely with large consumer and enterprise brands to help them nail their product vision, distill their rough product ideas into concrete product designs, create wireframes, create final designs, build prototypes, build-out their products, and more.

Our clients are in Financial Services, E-commerce, Healthcare, Education, Ad Tech, Loyalty, Food Service, Entertainment, and other industries.

Iteration Group’s Jaime Levy Releases “UX Strategy” Book, Published by O’Reilly

We’re proud and excited to announce that Jaime Levy, Iteration Group team member and Engagement Manager on client projects, recently released her book UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want. This guide breaks down the complexities of UX Strategy into lightweight techniques and tools that can be employed on any web, mobile, or desktop software project.

Throughout her career, Jaime has taken a hands-on role consulting in the areas of research, product definition, and interaction design for large consumer and e-commerce web projects at AOL, Honda, Target, Disney, ABC, and other industry leaders. In addition to working on client projects, she served as a Professor of User Experience Design at NYU, Art Institute of California, UCLA, and USC, where she is currently teaching a graduate level course (part-time) titled “User Experience Design and Strategy.”

Jaime-LevyJaime has recently held multiple book launches and presentations across the country including New York City (as seen above) and Santa Monica, CA. Over the next few months, she will be speaking at multiple conferences and events to share her knowledge as a world-class expert in User Experience Strategy. Grab a copy of her book today on Amazon.com.

 

 

Innovative Design; Water Curtain Stop Sign

We were inspired by this innovative design (from a while back) that has been deployed in Sydney.

What do you do when truck drivers just don’t notice the multiple warnings you’ve placed on the road? And then wedge their truck into a tunnel entrance causing massive traffic jams?

What some smart folks have done is, using a curtain of water and a projected image, put a giant stop sign smack dab in the center of the road where it can’t possibly be missed. See it in action here – very cool!

Mostly Avoid Sidebar “Hamburger” Menus

Many of you might have noticed Facebook’s change from a “Hamburger” menu to a more traditional, docked-to-the-bottom-of-the-screen menu.

Luis Abreu, a blogger and UX / UI Designer suggests that Hamburger menus should be avoided in many cases because:

  • Stuff is hidden and hard to discover
  • It’s less efficient; requires one tap to reveal the menu options, and another to tap the item you want
  • It can clash with standard navigation patterns like the “< Back” button, causing confusion

In our experience, Hamburger menus make sense for some audiences, but straightforward bottom-navigation menus work for everyone.

Phones are Getting Larger; Design Appropriately

Scott Hurff explains that “Apple’s iPhone 6…officially signaled the Dawn of the Era of Huge Screens.”

The “natural” zone for your thumb has changed; it’s harder to tap things at the top of the screen, for example. If you upgraded to an iPhone 6, you probably noticed this in the first few minutes.

Be sure to design accordingly. Don’t put important buttons / icons / targets in areas that are hard to reach.

P.S. You may not be aware of an iOS feature called “Reachability” – double tap (don’t press but just tap) the Home button and whatever app you’re using will slide down within easy reach of your thumb. See here.

How We Conduct User Testing and User Interviews

Usually “Informal” User Testing is the Best ROI

Too often “user-testing” can mean a months-long process that only creates reams of documentation that go unread. We typically focus on getting the highest-value results as quickly as possible. Our staff is trained in methods of identifying target customers, segmenting them, and then building understanding of how to optimally design for those target groups. We do this in a way that balances the need to move fast with the rigor and balance of an unbiased experiment.

7483010074_cd45e2bfcd_oWe work with our clients to develop an understanding of the target market, and then challenge those assumptions to create a nuanced view of the target customer. Then we’ll identify ways to quickly reach people in those markets (including Facebook ads, attending industry meetups, finding enthusiasts on Instagram, and more) and schedule a series of interviews with those users (in the office or at a coffee shop), which are recorded, transcribed, and mined for insights.

Once a prototype has been developed, we’ll sit down with additional users in the target areas to gauge the usability of the prototype and ensure that it’s meeting their needs. In our experience, no other methodology works as quickly to ensure that we’re building products to delight customers.

 

If Needed – Formal Usability Testing in a Lab

In these cases, we handle the entire project “turn-key,” including recruiting and compensating the participants, preparing the testing facility, and reporting the results.  We expect the following work will be required, in ongoing collaboration with the client:

  • Kickoff / Assessments
    • Discuss top-level goals, what is good and bad about the existing product, areas for improvement, advantages / disadvantages, motivators, drawbacks, calls-to-action. Discuss hypotheses (e.g. “we think it breaks because of x”).
    • Discuss metrics that might be available that suggest current product performance or areas for improvement.
    • Discuss demographic breakdowns (e.g. lean more towards customers that are shopping for more expensive items or just an “across the board” type of customer sample).
  • Develop a screener that successfully selects for the right participants from the general population. Attempt to screen for certain recent qualifying activities related to the task (i.e. visited a competitors web site, purchased books on the subject, etc.).

Lab

  • Recruit participants from the general population. Recruit “floater” participants to be available as-needed in the case of no-shows or disqualified participants. Compensate the participants.
  • Develop test materials including the moderator guide. Handle the multiple ways and platforms in which the product should be tested (e.g. mobile, web, tablet, etc.).
  • Run the usability testing and handle the testing logistics.
    • Prepare the testing facility, prepare the technology (including video recording and live stream if necessary), prepare the observation room with large screen, and prepare all of the devices that are to be tested.
    • Expect several days at the usability testing lab.
    • Testing conducted by UX Researchers under the supervision of our Engagement Manager. Detailed logging and note taking.
    • Some participation by client, e.g. two to five people in attendance per day observing the testing in progress. Parking and meals to be provided.
  • Conduct analysis and report testing results. Review and crunch the resulting data.  Report on the results, issues, and recommendations in an actionable presentation format.