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.

Expectations are Changing; UI Designers and UX Designers Take Note

In recent years, the massive shift towards web apps and mobile apps have completely changed user expectations around how software should look and work.

When most folks are using the computer, they’re on the web (and increasingly not in a Windows app, except, of course, for the web browser that they’re using to access the web) and at these web sites:

Google
Facebook
YouTube

Yahoo
eBay
Amazon

MSN
Pinterest
Hotmail

Bing
Wikipedia
Twitter

 

And, these same folks have a smartphone and are using these apps:

 

 

 

Users are expecting apps to be simpler, dynamic, “active” or “alive,” personalized, and responsive:

  • 3 days ago”; relative date/time formatting
  • Content first; labels and other items demoted
  • Mixed Case vs. all UPPERCASE; natural and easier to read
  • Hierarchy represented with whitespace and lines vs. rectangles within rectangles
  • Minimal horizontal scrolling
  • Modal; focus on one thing at a time
  • Beautiful and actionable dashboards
  • Progressive disclosure (show stuff as-needed)

What does this mean for the user experience design of your enterprise applications?

Iteration Group’s Yossi Langer: Keynote Speaker at CMLS 2014 (Real Estate Industry Conference)

IMG_1557Approximately one-million real estate agents rely on Multiple Listing Service (MLS) software to buy and sell homes on behalf of their clients.  The Council of the Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) is the premier forum and resource for the many Multiple Listing Service associations in the united states (there are about 1,000 of them).

Iteration Group’s Yossi Langer, an expert in product-strategy and user-experience design, was invited to be a keynote speaker at the CMLS 2014 Conference this September in Huntington Beach, California.  Yossi talked about the importance of great design and the impact that it could have on MLS’s, and, more broadly, the real estate industry.

The event was a smashing success – Yossi’s talk was well received and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting executives and staff from some of the most powerful and successful players in the industry.  The event was sponsored by CoreLogic, Homes.com, Homesnap Pro, Real Estate Digital, Trulia, Realtor.com, Zillow, and others.  Special thanks to Teryll Hopper (of marketing agency eight11.com) and Art Carter (of crmls), organizers of the event who did a fantastic job.

And it was great to meet the Clareity Security team – it looks like we may do some interesting things together with them.

We’ll be posting the video of Yossi’s talk when it becomes available.

How to Choose a Company Name? Ask Google!

An entrepenuer, working on an RV / Mobile Home rental business, writes:

“At first I was set on naming it Recreationist, but the more I thought about it, the more irrational it seemed to choose a domain based on my own preferences. While I had a good feeling about Recreationist, I’m fundamentally skeptical of my own and everyone else’s intuition”

winnebago.145259

So he went ahead and tested 17 names by creating identical Google Adwords campaigns for each name.

“The winner, by a landslide, was rvmenu.com

It had a much higher click through rate than the other names, suggesting that it can be an overall better domain name / business name (especially if online advertising will be a key customer acquisition tool).

Read More!

P.S. Panabee and LeanDomainSearch are great for coming up with new (and available) domain name ideas.

For Inspiration: Uncover Invisible Motion in Video

Here’s one of those simple ideas that can yield incredibly useful results.

Take a video of something (like a baby sleeping), take notice of the tiny little changes that are barely visible (to the human eye), and amplify those changes.

WOW – a stunning visualization technique that could enable a person to see things with the naked eye that were previously invisible.

This NYTimes article (and must-see video) is incredible and inspiring.

We’ve seen the technique used by Philips Medical in their iPhone app: by taking a short video of your face (or someone elses of course), it can detect the heart rate.

Imagine this used with Google Glass when playing poker (what would an elevated heart rate reveal!?)

User Interface Designers: Create Crude Prototypes in 15 Minutes

PopApp is a really simple tool, for iPhone and Android, that lets you:

  • Draw-out your idea for an app
  • Take photos of those drawings, and
  • Stitch them together.

The result is a crude prototype and lets you see and feel how your app might look and work.

We use it often (with final screens that our mobile designer has created in Photoshop) in user testing: before we write a single line of code, get a sense of how users might interact with the app, what they might find confusing, etc.