News

Bringing UX Issues to Light in New "Expose UX"

Expose-UX-ep-14.jpg

projekt202's Senior UX Designer Chelsea Maxwell and Vice President of Customer Experience Jeremy Johnson share their expertise in an illuminating new episode of "Expose UX," a TV show devoted to identifying user experience (UX) issues and solutions.

The latest episode shines a spotlight on Openbrite, whose modular LEDgoes products allow businesses to create programmable LED marquee displays of any size, shape, color and speed. However, its creators are struggling to clearly pinpoint their key audiences.

Along with fellow UX expert James Helms, Chelsea and Jeremy open up with their own bright advice on the importance of targeting exact users. Watch the new episode now.

Stay up-to-date on projekt202 news. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

2016 Top Female Executive Awards

Aliza Gold, projekt202's Vice President of Experience Strategy and Insight, was recognized for her nomination to the 2016 Top Female Executive Awards.

Nominees were honored at an awards luncheon on March 2 in Addison.

The Top Female Executive Awards recognize women who conduct outstanding business and positively influence clients, employees and peers.

Now Showing: VP of CX Helps Startups Expose UX Issues

projekt202's Vice President of Customer Experience Jeremy Johnson is sharing his professional insights on the latest episode of "Expose UX."

"Expose UX" is a Web TV show devoted to identifying user experience issues, challenges and solutions for early-stage startups. In each episode, company founders demonstrate their products and receive candid feedback from a panel of UX experts.

Watch the newest episode now.

2016 Party, Part 3: The Award Goes to ...

12615387_945432932178344_7290576426712965364_oAs the party continued, it came time for projekt202 CEO and Chairman David Lancashire and Chief Experience Officer and Co-Founder Peter Eckert to take the stage for award presentations. The duo recognized employees for outstanding achievements across the full spectrum of projekt202's services and toasted to a successful year ahead.

Watch video highlights

2016: The User Interface Revolution Underway

projekt202's Chief Experience Officer and Co-Founder Peter Eckert is regarded as one of the leading UI design visionaries. The following article illustrates why. Five years ago in UX Magazine, Peter shared his insights on the importance of meaningful interface design and usability, looking ahead to the state of technology in 2016. Looking back now, it's significant to see how spot-on Peter's forecasts were.

Following is Peter's original article, as published Feb. 24, 2011 in UX Magazine:

2016: The User Interface Revolution Underway

Looking at the next five years, the role of interface design will only increase in importance as companies compete to win market share worldwide. Ease of use is essential to winning hearts, minds, and customers. With consumer product companies in heated competition, I anticipate a surge of redesign and new design in the near term. These designs will focus on usability, which means we are likely to see breakthrough products over the next several years.

Yet these new interfaces are not going to be uniform; devices and applications will not possess common protocols. For users, each interaction will have to be learned, so despite the improved usability of products, individuals will find themselves learning the quirks and standards of more and more technologies just to get the functionality they seek.

Converging Technologies, Diverging Experiences and Standards

For global companies, the next five years is a time to put their best solutions forward and integrate the UIs and capabilities of their own product suites. As companies work to independently to improve their products within the context of new technical and usability advances, we will see more diversity and incongruence in design overall. In the next several years, differentiation and unique ease of use will matter more than a common standard.

Technologies continue to combine and converge, but much of this convergence happens only within companies. Technologies and products developed by different companies will not truly interact across platforms any better than they do so today, or at least not in the near term. For every new process and device, there continues to be a lack of common standards, which requires that people learn device- and product-specific commands and functions. This problem is still acceptable to most people because that lack of integration and the individuality of interfaces has long been the norm.

Caught up in the daily flow of our lives, we hardly recognize we are in the midst of a rapid evolution in how we leverage technology. We barely acknowledge that we are slowly replacing ordinary and extraordinary functions alike with technology, including purchasing goods via phones, receiving on-demand GPS-based directions, and eliminating hard-wired phones altogether. And it is certain more innovation is just around the corner.

Today and in the next five years, those UIs will remain separate and disconnected from each other. But many decades in the future, we can expect to see shared protocols and standards that enable users to transition seamlessly between devices and appliances, which transmit information to one another to a far greater extent than we see today.

In the meantime, all of our incremental progress toward more usable applications is exciting for the UX industry as a whole. UI designers can rest assured that over the next five years they will not be out of work. In fact, as someone working in the field for nearly 20 years, my concern is there are not enough experts in UI design to meet the avalanche of design and redesign that needs to be completed. The process for designing UIs will continue to come from research related to behavior, and from evaluation of how information hierarchies and protocols can be more intuitively accessed.

Worldwide Vision

All this opportunity to design better experiences is not exclusive to the U.S. and Western Europe. In fact, much work over the next five years needs to be done to create UIs that are more in tune with the rising middle classes of China and India, each surging with unique demographics of potential technology users.

Companies will increasingly look to market consumer technologies to pockets of fast-growing populations that have so far had little exposure to technology as part of their daily lives. For these people, it will be critical that the solutions be highly intuitive to ease the abruptness of the transition.

In making these new technology products, leading consumer technology companies will be delving into new areas of UI design and need to think through language, cultural, and ethnographic particularities to create effective solutions. It will also be important to recognize how specific cultures truly interact with their social environment and technologies within the context of those environments.

Racing to market with products with long feature lists is not the only answer; in some cases, it may prove to be the wrong answer. The technologies must offer users an intuitive and tailored UI to give users full enjoyment of and access to product features within the context of their cultural experience. This is a new challenge that is rapidly unfolding as more solutions are offered to emerging populations.

A Seamless Future

New, improved UIs are part of a transformation that is happening worldwide in technology. As we have seen with Apple and others, the new measuring stick of quality and key to critical acclaim is not just about whiz-bang features, but also about the presentation of the technology and accessibility of features through sound design.

Over the next five years, UX designers will be increasingly called upon to create solutions that join the power of new technology with good usability. Their skills and vision will be put to good use as companies awaken to the new stakes related to intuitive design and strive to roll out a host of products that will be more engaging than ever before.

Conclusion

Consumer and business users alike will experience remarkable forward steps in the evolution of UI design, but they will also grapple with the lack of convergence and common protocols. It will likely be many more years before any common standards begin to emerge.

For emerging populations around the world, leading consumer companies will seek to capture market share. We advise these companies to go beyond the language barrier and truly evaluate the culture they are targeting as they have the opportunity to serve these customers through powerful design.

It is an exciting prospect to think of the millions or billions of more people who will be able to access technology, communicate globally and garner more information than they have before—all through intuitive, intelligently designed interfaces.

projekt202 Drives Home the Next Generation of ZOCCAM, the Mobile App Revolutionizing the Real Estate Market

projekt202 Drives Home the Next Generation of ZOCCAM, the Mobile App Revolutionizing the Real Estate Market

With a tap of their smartphones or tablets, licensed real estate agents can now quickly, securely capture and deliver clients’ checks directly to title companies. The app comes from Dallas-based ZOCCAM and projekt202, the leader in experience-driven software development.

projekt202’s Growth Driven by Global Demand for Better User Experiences

Vendor spotlight from leading analyst firm highlights projekt202’s proven methodology

DALLAS, TEXAS – May 28, 2015 – projekt202, a leader in experience-driven application development, today announced another year of outstanding growth. Over the last 12 months, projekt202’s revenue has increased by 66 percent while profits soared 162 percent from the previous year.

The company attributes this growth to the fact that global businesses now need to address sub-par user experiences. This issue has become even more important as organizations assess individual user experiences in the context of an overall set of touch points that drive a customer’s experience of their brand.

projekt202’s proprietary methodology for building compelling applications is also the focus of the newly released IDC Vendor Spotlight, sponsored by projekt202, entitled “Building Experience-Driven Software: Insights for Modern Application Development,” by Al Hilwa, program director, Application Development Software Research, IDC.

“Delivering better user experiences is increasingly becoming the competitive differentiator yet many corporations are still struggling to find a proven methodology for success,” said Hilwa. “Practices highlighted in the vendor spotlight provide clear guidelines and repeatable processes that go beyond traditional development approaches.”

“Pent up demand for better experiences is creating a new conundrum for corporate America. They’re looking for a panacea for user experience issues, but it doesn’t exist,” said David Lancashire, Chairman and CEO, projekt202. “You can’t just sprinkle user experience talent like magic fairy dust on application development projects and expect great results. The key is focusing creative talent on the right opportunities. Our trustworthy and programmatic approach ensures that this happens.”

“The effective methodology developed and employed by projekt202 in its countless successful projects is thoughtful and innovative in the ways it modifies and augments the most popular agile methodologies,” stated the Vendor Spotlight from IDC. “The projects the company has worked on reveal a breadth of applicability of methodology that goes substantially beyond the reach of traditional application development approaches practiced elsewhere in the professional services industry.”

Copies of the IDC Vendor Spotlight are available for download at IDC Vendor Spotlight.

About projekt202

projekt202 is the world leader in applying design research to the development of mobile, cloud, web, and workplace software. The company is actively changing the way people interact with technology around the world. Recognized for setting the standard for the way modern businesses develop software, projekt202 builds emotionally rich and intuitive solutions that enable customers and end users to access the full potential of technology in today’s connected world.

projekt202 has spent more than a decade creating and bringing to market compelling experiences through experience strategy and design research, interaction and visual design, application development, and digital marketing. Clients include Samsung, eBay, Neiman Marcus, PayPal, Mercedes-Benz, Southwest Airlines, and more. For more information, visit www.projekt202.com or find us on Twitter, @projekt202.

projekt202 Included for the Second Time in Gartner’s Application Development Report

DALLAS–June 3, 2014–projekt202, the world leader in applying design research to the development of mobile, web and workplace software, has been included in the “Cool Vendors in Application Development, 2014” report in its Where Are They Now portion by Gartner, Inc.

“We are honored to be reviewed by Gartner,” said David Lancashire, chairman and CEO, projekt202. “I believe our inclusion in the report for the second time is a testament to the significant change that is happening today in the way that people build great software experiences. The key to our success is how we have incorporated the observation of users in context into our full lifecycle software development methodology. This has been the missing component and is something we have been perfecting over the past 10 years.”

The dramatic growth in companies wanting intuitive applications with a compelling user experience is indicative of the pent-up demand for a solution to this problem. What has been lacking over the last few decades is the ability to incorporate actual user needs into software development. The progress being made today by projekt202 draws from the science of understanding human behavior to create a programmatic and repeatable way to reveal the reality of user needs.

“While it is true that we build software, what we are really doing is building better experiences,” said Peter Eckert, chief experience officer, projekt202. “Our approach allows us to create simple and intuitive solutions that really resonate with the user because they address their deepest needs, taking into account their aspirations and facilitating an emotional connection in a way that hasn’t been possible using traditional development methodologies.”

We’re hiring; join us as we set the new standard for application development!

Leading Design-Led Technology Services Firm projekt202 Opens Seattle Office

SEATTLE -- Jan. 14, 2013 – projekt202, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, announced today that they have opened a new office in Seattle, Washington, to extend their leadership in user-centered research, design, and development. After being named to the Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest growing companies for two consecutive years, projekt202 was recently presented the Dallas 100TM Award, identifying the company as the thirteenth fastest growing privately held company in Dallas.

“We’ve achieved an outstanding annual growth rate of 229% over the past three years,” said Keith Jacobs, CEO of projekt202. “Our commitment to user-centered technology innovation and disruption coupled with Seattle’s roots in technology and innovation makes it the perfect base of operations for us to serve our new and current clients in the Pacific Northwest.”

With offices in Dallas and Austin, projekt202 has an interdisciplinary team of more than 100 researchers, designers, developers, and digital marketing strategists focused on creating real-time, context-driven, responsive user experiences. The opening of the projekt202 Seattle office comes as the next step in the company’s strategic growth plan of opening one new office per year over the next five years to create greater distribution for their unique blend of services.

“Seattle is one of the most dynamic cities with some of the world’s greatest companies located here, and we are really excited about our new office,” said Mike Collins, Vice President of Business Development. “Interestingly enough, one of the reasons we chose Seattle is that some of our existing clients located here asked us to expand. What better validation can you have that your business model is on target?”

projekt202’s Seattle office is located at 601 108thAvenue NE, Suite 1900, Bellevue, WA 98004. For more information about employment opportunities, please visithttp://projekt202.com/company/careers/. (425) 943-7280

 

About projekt202

projekt202 is the world leader in applying strategic design research to spark innovation. The company is actively changing the way people interact with technology around the globe. Recognized by Gartner as an innovative and impactful vendor in application development, projekt202 creates emotionally rich and intuitive solutions that enable customers and end-users to access the full potential of technology in our connected world.

projekt202 helps to create and bring to market compelling experiences through design research, interaction and visual design, application development, and digital marketing. Clients include Expedia, Microsoft, Samsung, Charles Schwab, NFL, PayPal, Pier1 imports, and more. For more information, visit www.projekt202.comor find us on twitter, @projekt202.

Gamification: What If the Game Is Over?

By Peter Eckert
Originally Published in E-commerce Times:January 5, 2013

Gamification, using game-play mechanics for non-game applications to engage users and drive desired behavior, has become all the rage, or so it seems. Like any hot trend, there is a tendency to overcompensate for the sake of participating in the new, hot concept.

The herd mentality leads everyone to think they need to gamify their product, app or solution to just to keep up with the pack.

By 2014, some 70 percent of large companies will use the technique for at least one business process, Gartner estimates. The problem with hip concepts, however, is that the devil truly lurks in the details. Gamification has its place — the key is modesty.

Context Matters

We live in a world where context is becoming increasingly important. Consumers are bombarded with too much information from a variety of sources. Because of this, what people hear and see gets lost without context. Without that context, relevance and meaning are lost and people lose interest altogether. In order to create engagement, users need the right amount of feedback at the right time.

It is increasingly common for companies to throw in an abundance of features without understanding the exact challenge that needs to be solved — inadvertently creating additional levels of complexity and confusion. Adding elements such as badges, levels of achievement and other useless information without providing a value-added or beneficial outcome can feel pointless and distracting for the user.

When to use or to avoid gamification is a case-by-case decision, but the end goal should be to engage users while meeting an objective. Through user research, designers can uncover what motivates users and pair their needs with the organization’s objectives.

What qualifies as a good or bad use of game theory is subjective, but tech news reports can point to several examples of infamous gamification failures. By analyzing the data and looking at the root cause, it will generally point to a poorly executed strategy that includes a lack of understanding user needs, context, motivation and feedback.

There are ways to successfully gamify. Using gamification to enhance the user experience must take different user motivations into account. For example, if the goal is to drive user to donate to a cause, a reward system should engage them to return more frequently and feel emotionally connected with the process. A ranking system might be implemented to encourage friendly competition between users. Whether the goal is to increase donations or competition, understanding motivation is key.

One of the first objectives of gamification should be to understand the critical needs of the user; this can be further narrowed down using Kano analysis, a process for measuring and categorizing users’ emotional reposes to features. User interface designers can use this to determine what kind of features will directly affect adoption and the success rate of a product.

Failure to Connect With Users

It should be no surprise that gamification for the sake of gamifiacation is not going to hit the mark. Diving in headfirst without understanding what truly motivates the user demographic and providing useless feedback is a recipe for failure. For example, Zappos and Google both found that their gamification efforts were a disaster for similar reasons.

In 2010, Google unveiled Google News Badges, which let users earn more than 500 types of badges based on articles they read. Readers could move up the ladder the more they read and shared their badges with friends. Did this really motivate people to go to Google news to read articles? No, it did not. To collect the badges, readers needed to turn on Web History from their Google account. As it turns out, earning badges for reading articles is not enough of an incentive for readers to share their Web history. The initiative was killed in September.

Recently, shoe retailer Zappos fell into the meaningless badge game as well. VIP members could earn badges based on their activity, such as writing reviews and shopping. The problem was that it was not clear what the badges meant. The badges didn’t have any monetary value toward future purchases, which caused confusion. Without context or relevance, the badges tended to distract rather than keep shoppers engaged.

What Is Working

When done right, gamification can create meaningful and impactful solutions and applications. Appealing to the competiveness and the desire to measure progress, Nike+ hit a home run. Runners use their iPod and a sensor system attached to their shoe. After their workout, they can connect their iPod to the Nike+ website and get a visual representation of their run, including time, pace and distance. This enables runners to measure their own progress, compare different runs as well as compare their training to others. Nike+ gamified running by providing immediate and relevant feedback in a way that motivates runners.

Corporations are not the only ones using gamification. A number of nonprofit organizations are using it to allow people to set up their own fundraising campaigns for a cause or to motivate people to donate. Playspent.org is a fundraising site designed to drive donations to Urban Ministries of Durham. The interactive site engages visitors through several game scenarios demonstrating how difficult it can be making ends meet for those making minimum wage or less. After playing, the site directs you to a place where you can learn more about the mission of the organization and how you can help.

Game Over

While gamification will continue to be a hot topic, not everything needs to be gamified. However, when used in the right context, it can create a meaningful user experience. The best approach for adoption is through user research, identifying the exact needs of the core demographic and adjusting conventions to address those needs. The results of the research can show what the users of a specific product or service truly need. Once that is determined, a UX strategy can be established incorporating the best fit for the user. Gamification is all about the user experience, just like any other user interface design strategy.

It will be game over for those who rush to market with out a well-thought-out user experience strategy, but don’t hate the player — reinvent the game.