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            1. Showing posts with label user experience. Show all posts
              Showing posts with label user experience. Show all posts

              Friday, September 10, 2010

              Lean Startup Customer Development And IxD Personas

              On Quora Steve Blank asked "Is it possible to use Lean Startup customer development findings to inform IxD personas?" This post is my response to Steve on Quora:

              Absolutely yes.

              Pivoting is not just about finding the right business model that works for a start-up but it is also about nailing down the persona that you are designing your product for. I have seen many start-up fail because they don't know who the end user is. Creating a persona is an iterative process by itself. Many people focus on persona as a final artifact but I believe that the journey is more important than the destination. While discovering a persona and iterate on it to make it crisp, the team - the dev, marketing, and UX - comes together with the shared understanding of the target end user. The journey brings in the empathy that they all internalize and that influences what they do. The journey includes getting out of the office and talk to the real people who you think would use your product.

              Persona requires qualitative discovery as well as validation. It's an instantiation of your customer. The customer discovery, validation, and creation are all directly related to the persona. In fact I would argue that in many cases knowing the target audience, at a given stage, is far more important than having a perfect product. Plenty of people fixate on building the right product against building it for the right people.

              Tuesday, February 9, 2010

              Google Buzz Is New Black - Solving A Problem That Google Wave Could Not


              Today Google announced Google Buzz. Watch the video:



              The chart below shows the spectacular adoption failure of Google Wave as a standalone product. This was predicted by a lot of people including myself. As Anil Dash puts it Google Wave does not help solve a "weekend-sized problem".



              Besides the obvious complex technical challenges there are three distinct adoption barriers with Google Wave and Google Buzz has capability to overcome those:

              Inseparable container, content, and collaboration: Changing people's behavior is much more difficult than inventing or innovating a killer technology. Most of the people still prefer to keep the collaboration persisted separately from the content or not persisted at all. Single task systems such as email, Wiki, and instant messaging are very effective because they do one and only thing really well without any confusion. Google Wave is a strong container on which Google or others can build collaboration capability but not giving an option to users to keep the content separate from the collaboration leads to confusion and becomes an adoption barrier. 

              Google Buzz certainly seems to solve this problem by piggybacking on existing system that people are already familiar with - email. Google Buzz is an opt-in system where the users can extend and enrich their experience against using a completely different tool. 

              Missing clear value proposition: Google Wave is clearly a swiss knife with the open APIs for the developers to create killer applications. So far the applications that leverages Google Wave components are niche and solve very specific expert system problems. This dilutes the overall value proposition of a standalone tool. 

              Google Buzz is designed to solve a problem in a well-defined "social" category. People are already using other social tools and Google Buzz needs to highlight the value proposition by integrating the social experience in a tool that has very clear value proposition unlike Google Wave which tried to re-create the value proposition. Google Buzz assists users automatically by finding and showing pictures, videos, status updates etc. and does not expect users to go through a lengthy set up process.

              Lack of a killer native mobile application: This is an obvious one. Google Wave does work on iPhone and on some other phones but it is not native and the experience is clunky at best. When you develop a new tool how about actually leveraging a mobile platform rather than simple porting it. A phone gives you a lot more beyond a simple operating system to run your application on. 

              Google recognized this and Google Buzz is going to be mobile-enabled from day one that leverages location-awareness amongst other things. I hope that the mobile experience is not same as the web experience and actually makes people want to use it on the phone.

              You could argue that why Google Buzz is going to be different since Google did have a chocolate box variety tools before Google Buzz - Latitude, Profile, Gmail, Wave and so on. I believe that it is all about the right experience that matches the consumers' needs in their preferred environment and not a piece of technology that solves a standalone problem. If done right Google Buzz does have potential to give Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Gowalla run for money.

              Monday, September 28, 2009

              Augmented Reality Will Change Enterprise Software For Real

              Augmented Reality (AR) has seen a sudden buzz in the last few weeks. The announcements just keep coming; Layar announced a 3D API and Wikitude announced AR API. VentureBeat recently ranked the emerging start-ups in augmented reality. AR is still a nascent domain with many quirks and twists but it is for real and it is going to cause disruptions in many dimensions. This is how I see it would affect the enterprise software:

              No interface will be the interface

              The augmented reality uses the most natural interface, the reality, and layers information on top of it essentially eliminating the need to have an artificial interface. Users will prefer in-context user experience at the locations where they perform their primary task compared to unnatural static experience on their current devices. I also see the impact and potential for innovation in the MVC frameworks. The AR opens up a lot more opportunities for the developers and designers, who were constrained by the traditional technological barriers, to innovate new UI frameworks that have higher affordance and closer mapping to users’ mental model against an unproductive artificial user interface. Getting closer to user’s mental model is going to make the user experience a pleasure and the users more productive. Check out this Layar video:



              Data will be the new design

              With the growing popularity of AR once considered a nice to have feature, the alternate data consumption, will become the core requirement of the enterprise software. The users are likely to access data with a variety of new clients in unanticipated ways. The widespread adoption of RSS feeds made the interaction and visual design of a blog less relevant against burning the feeds to deliver the content in realtime. Similarly accessibility to a range of rich enterprise data in real-time is going to outweigh everything else. The users will create new environments and experiences. This emergent behavior is a golden opportunity for the companies that have captured rich enterprise data but have faced challenges to make it accessible and useful to the end users.

              The SaaS, the cloud, and mobility will be base expectations

              The AR applications require the data to be accessed from a range of physical locations on mobile devices without any latency. This distributed data need combined with the nature of the AR deployments where one company does not own an end-to-end solution will necessitate the data and the apps to be delivered from the cloud to optimize the solution. The users will not only demand that the application be accessible from the mobile devices but the mobile devices might be the primary and in some cases the only interface to the business information. Emerging technology trend such as cloud-based rendering, when combined with such AR deployments, has potential for some killer innovative applications.

              These are exciting times and I hope that the entrepreneurs tap into the world of augmented reality and make it real by creating innovative experiences that demonstrate technology excellence, create new business models, and make it a real pleasure to interact with the enterprise software.
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