interaction

UX Design Delivers on Customer Needs, ROI and New Business Channels

UX Design Delivers on Customer Needs, ROI and New Business Channels

Not all UX is created equal: See how the projekt202 team helps clients stand out from the competition by delivering solutions that meet customer and user needs, provide outstanding ROI, and open up new business opportunities.

CXO Q&A: Why the Future of UX is Greater than the Internet of Things

CXO Q&A: Why the Future of UX is Greater than the Internet of Things

In this conversation with the Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) of projekt202, Peter Eckert looks at his company's origins and what lies ahead for companies striving to deliver the best possible customer experiences.

projekt202's Thought Leaders Provide Direction on UX, Strategy and More

Some of projekt202's Thought Leaders -- representing key areas such as User Experience (UX) Design, Technology, and Experience Strategy, among many others -- broadcast their expertise in solving complex challenges facing today's businesses. Their presentations were recorded this week as part of projekt202's new Thought Leadership series. The videos showcase the experts behind projekt202's methodology and holistic approach to experience-driven application development.

Solutions Architect Ben Bays hits his mark for his recording session, as Vice President of Customer Experience Jeremy Johnson looks on.
Solutions Architect Ben Bays hits his mark for his recording session, as Vice President of Customer Experience Jeremy Johnson looks on.
Senior Experience Strategist Shannon Graf is one of the Thought Leaders in projekt202's new video series.
Senior Experience Strategist Shannon Graf is one of the Thought Leaders in projekt202's new video series.
Bringing focus to the ways projekt202 leads in experience-driven application development.
Bringing focus to the ways projekt202 leads in experience-driven application development.
Assembling a great design isn't child's play. Senior UX Designer Josh Christopher, UX Designer Anne Grundhoefer and Solutions Architect Drew Loomer share their creativity in helping companies deliver better solutions for customers.
Assembling a great design isn't child's play. Senior UX Designer Josh Christopher, UX Designer Anne Grundhoefer and Solutions Architect Drew Loomer share their creativity in helping companies deliver better solutions for customers.

Learn more about what we do at projekt202.

Why You Should Send Your Developers to Tech Conferences

Why You Should Send Your Developers to Tech Conferences

By sending your employees to conferences, you are letting them know that you care about their careers, you want them to learn and grow, and you want them to be active in improving your business.

Career Growth: Making the Move with projekt202

 

"I knew that moving to projekt202 was the right move for my career. What I didn't know at the time, though, was how impactful the job was going to be for me."

projekt202 has been a moving experience for Senior UX Designer Jerehmie Cannon.

projekt202 Senior UX Designer Jerehmie Cannon
projekt202 Senior UX Designer Jerehmie Cannon

Jerehmie headed in a new direction -- northwest, to be exact -- with the opening of projekt202's Seattle office in 2013.

"The relocation was great and everyone in the Seattle office -- four people at the time -- really went out of their way to make sure I was set up with everything I needed on a personal level," he said. "The move to Seattle was seamless and now I'm fortunate enough to learn how to grow a fledgling office."

On the professional level, too, Jerehmie said projekt202 has provided him with exciting new challenges and opportunities:

I've gone from being a Senior Designer with basic delivery responsibilities to completely owning projects from start to finish.

projekt202 is great about figuring out where people fit best. Our leadership has a knack for asking and inferring what each of us really want out of our careers. They foster an environment that is flexible enough to let us figure our own way.

I have been fortunate enough to work with huge clients, but the level of talent at projekt202 is so high that I'm constantly challenged to be a better designer, consultant and professional.

Jerehmie has impressive UX design expertise, but that isn't his only skill. He took center stage with serious musical talents at projekt202's 2016 Employee Appreciation Gala.
Jerehmie has impressive UX design expertise, but that isn't his only skill. He took center stage with serious musical talents at projekt202's 2016 Employee Appreciation Gala.

Ready to make the next move in your career? Find your opportunity to join us in Seattle, Austin or Dallas.

Career Growth: Design Your Opportunities at projekt202

 

"I fully believe leaders aren't chosen -- they're made. projekt202 presents a lot of opportunities and you just have to be willing and persistent enough to go get them."

One of the many perks of working at projekt202 is the ongoing opportunity for advancement. Employees aren't boxed into specific roles; in fact, team members are encouraged to embrace their professional passions and think outside the box when it comes to their career paths and roles.

Senior UX Designer Lan Nguyen shared the career development opportunities she's found at projekt202:

When I started, I was told that I would be given a lot of autonomy, which still holds true today. I've been encouraged to take on more responsibility outside my job title.

projekt202 has been very encouraging for me. I am in two mentorship programs: one with projekt202 leadership and one with (Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer) Peter Eckert, who works specifically with the UX team.

I've been able to grow very fast and far in the 15 months that I've been with the company. It's really all about what you want to do and the impact you'd like to make.

Do you have designs on a new career? See our current opportunities in Seattle, Austin and Dallas.

Career Growth: projekt202's Roadmap for Personal and Professional Success

 

"Engagement. Opportunities. Advancement. Those are three motivational differences that set projekt202 apart."

These significant characteristics have made projekt202 the employer of choice for Solutions Architect Reggie Samuel and our team of talented, dedicated professionals. Reggie shared the ways that projekt202 stands out:

In my nearly three years with projekt202, I have experienced unique opportunities that have grown me professionally and personally. Beginning as a Senior Developer and having since been promoted to Architect, where I now manage a small group of Developers, I have had the opportunity to hone my communication skills and succinctly relate our vision to my team.

projekt202 has a well-laid-out roadmap for its employees to develop their skill sets and build knowledge for career advancement, be engaged in the work they perform, and receive incentives for outstanding employee performance.

With projekt202's Martin Bliss and Karen King, Reggie discussed his work during a recent Career Day in Mesquite.
With projekt202's Martin Bliss and Karen King, Reggie discussed his work during a recent Career Day in Mesquite.

Map out your career as part of the projekt202 team. See our current opportunities in Seattle, Austin and Dallas.

Serving CX Food for Thought at projekt202 Breakfast

projekt202's Joe Dyer, Russ Bair and Matt Scamardo
projekt202's Joe Dyer, Russ Bair and Matt Scamardo

North Texas business leaders recently got a taste of what's possible in delivering improved customer experiences.

The projekt202 team shared customer experience (CX) insights at an invitation-only breakfast, held May 3 at the scenic Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving.

Chairman and CEO David Lancashire and Vice President of Customer Experience Jeremy Johnson discussed projekt202's observation-based methodology for helping companies understand and deliver solutions their customers genuinely want and need.

To illustrate the importance of fully knowing an organization's audience, time was blocked out for a brief but creative exercise. Using Legos, teams were tasked with building prototypes for package-delivery vehicles.

Without a clear and complete picture of customers' and users' specific requirements, however, teams assembled a variety of vehicles, ranging from trucks and vans to airplanes and drones.

The constructive activity shed light on the basic understanding -- or, in many cases, misunderstanding -- that companies have of their users.

David said that most organizations fall somewhere on a broad spectrum of understanding their customers' needs, wants and emotional connection points. Customers are hungry for better, more fulfilling experiences, which can only be created through deeper, lasting insights.

This methodology is further outlined in the new book, "Designing Software for People: Application Development in the Experience Age." The book marks the latest chapter in projekt202's work to help businesses and their customers realize the full potential of technology.

A Night of StartUp Stand-Up at Digital Dallas Comedy Roast

projekt202 sponsored a standout night of stand-up comedy on April 20.

The Dallas Comedy House in Deep Ellum was the site for the Digital Dallas StartUp Comedy Roast. Digital Dallas teamed with Launch DFW to host -- and then roast -- five new North Texas companies.

Each of the five Dallas startups had two minutes to impress the crowd. The DCH improv troupe then piped in with its comedic take for a truly unique type of user experience.

Success Story: Investing In a New Standard for Trading

Challenge: Taking stock of the ways customers actually use trading platforms

A leading investment and banking firm wanted to create a new standard for high-end trading by making its existing platform more user-friendly and engaging, allowing customers to become better investors.

Recommendation: Bank on a customized solution to make users feel powerful (especially in front of their spouses)

By observing the ways people researched and chose investments using resources from the client and its competitors, projekt202’s researchers gained several interesting insights. Customers wanted to feel powerful and in control by having the ability to customize the system to suit their needs.

In particular, men wanted the trading platform to look complex, sophisticated and important so they could impress their spouses. This vital emotional factor – which would have been overlooked by standard market research – was discovered through projekt202’s unique, contextually-relevant observations.

Based on these user insights, projekt202 recommended a new infrastructure that supported a customized trading solution to fit customers’ practical and emotional expectations. It needed to balance stability, familiarity, flexibility and reliability; maintain current customers’ loyalty; and add new generational users.

Results: Gaining an outstanding 97% adoption rate

projekt202 worked with the client’s development teams to create multiple concepts for the application’s UI framework. A fresh look emerged to complement the newly-designed tools. Throughout development, projekt202 and the client worked together to integrate controls and tighten layout and interactions.

This partnership created a world-class application that was stable, secure, efficient and fast.

The application was built to:

  • understand the complex work of trading
  • support users by giving them a market-wide perspective
  • guide their decisions in making solid investments

The innovative application achieved a 97% adoption rate in the client’s first quarter. It was also recognized in the trade media and by renowned industry analyst firm Gartner for its outstanding, forward-thinking design, development and adoption.

Success Story: Creating a Product that Really Clicks with Customers

Channeling a New Persona in the Universal Control Market

Challenge: What do you do when your remote control doesn’t click with customers?

For consumers with many entertainment devices in their homes, universal remotes conveniently centralize the operation of several controllers into one handheld, wireless unit. One global personal peripherals company realized its own universal device, however, wasn’t remotely fulfilling its corporate mission to help people enjoy better experiences with the digital world. Challenges with its own device included a complicated setup, a high product return rate, market saturation, and a low Net Promoter Score (NPS), an indicator of business performance and brand experience.

The company needed to design a remote control that would be universally embraced by its customers, while delivering a more user-friendly experience from purchase and setup to everyday use and support.

The company partnered with projekt202 to create a way to dominate the global universal remote control market. projekt202’s Experience Strategy and Insight and UX team performed generative design research, based on collaboration with users, to find opportunities for disruptive innovation. The collected data points were then used to create a targeted consumer experience strategy.

A significant breakthrough came with the identification of a missing user-persona – the “Babysitter” – that the company had not considered. This persona signified someone who must be able to use a product without prior experience, context or help, such as a babysitter who is new to the users’ home. This “aha!” revelation helped establish new internal processes to further prepare and test remotes before they were publicly released.

Recommendations: Strategic improvements in process and product

Thanks to projekt202’s generative user research, the long-term product strategy also included improvements in packaging, retail store placement, market segmentation, market messaging, software setup processes, iconography, device data capturing process, help and documentation, and overall one-hand remote control usage patterns.

Additional recommendations were:

  • Establishment of accurate, inclusive personas
  • New, more user-friendly flagship universal remote controls
  • A revised, more efficient business process

Results: Delivering the #1 best seller in company history

The partnership with projekt202 clicked and, more importantly, it clicked with customers. The redesigned device gained a die-hard consumer following, as well as industry awards for design and innovation.

In addition:

  • With over 2 million units shipped, the product became the best-selling universal remote control in the world and the #1 SKU in the company’s history
  • Product return rates, previously over 30 percent, fell to less than 1 percent
  • The average setup time decreased from nearly four hours before redesign to only 15 minutes post-redesign
  • Internal audiences loved it, too: The new remote control was voted Best Product by the client’s employees for three years in a row
  • It received the highest NPS score of any of the client’s products

9 Basic Principles of Responsive Web Design

If you’re background is print, if you’re coming from a developer perspective, or if you’re a designer who just loves axioms, this quick and dirty primer will give you the key principles of responsive web design.

—Thanks to Eric Gehrman

The UX of Mobile Settings

Instead of focusing on redesigning apps and individual screens, this impressive article breaks down length, organization, screen real estate and a variety of other factors to determine which device settings screens present the best experience of the user.

—Thanks to William Yarbrough

Drag-and-Drop Interactions

Image by Mary Lou
Image by Mary Lou

Image by Mary Lou

While working on some drag and drop interactions, we came across this cool inspirational demo of several drag and drop interaction ideas. Beautiful, fluid animations to jog your interaction imagination.

—Thanks to Mike Townson

Materialize, a Material Framework

With the coming of Google’s Material design language, some folks at Carnegie Mellon have put together a responsive Material framework.

—Thanks to Jerehmie Cannon

PhotoMath, the World’s First Camera Calculator

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; height: auto; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

PhotoMath is the world’s first “camera calculator,” and it’s easy to use. Just point your smartphone’s camera towards a mathematical expression and PhotoMath will automatically display the correct result. Better yet, it demonstrates the step-by-step process of how to solve the problem.

—Thanks to Oscar Tellez

NPR: This Is Color

Image by NPR
Image by NPR

Image by NPR

There is actually a word that rhymes with orange.

—Thanks to Kijana Knight-Torres

The Carry-On Cocktail Kit

Photo by W & P Design
Photo by W & P Design

Photo by W & P Design

When air travel feels too much, when taking a plane back home from delivering stellar results for clients abroad – don’t settle for the standard jack & coke or vodka cranberries. This handy little kit (yes, it’s TSA safe) will let you mix up 2 old-fashioned cocktails at 30,000 feet, just order 1 mini bottle of bourbon and enjoy.

—Thanks to William Yarbrough

Get Ready for Generation Z

Photo by Chad Hipolito

Generation Z—the post-Millennials generation—may be shaping up to be smarter, more ambitious, and better connected than those who came before them.

—Thanks to Jeff Steinberg

Startup Marketing and How Emotion Drives Customer Action

“It is easier to build marketing around the [what], but storytelling originates in the [why]. The why enables startups to tap into its product/brand’s intrinsic emotional advantages – like excitement, happiness, or contentment.” Rather than relying on metrics, Kobie Fuller argues that startups should be creating an emotionally resonant story to bring to market.

—Thanks to Chip Wilson

Scribble’s Color-Matching Pen

Photo by Scribble

This pen uses an integrated scanner and CMYK paint mixer to create ink that is true to scanned color. It also comes with a stylus to match that color against the sample and create the color on mobile and tablet. Kickstarter coming this week.

—Thanks to William Yarbrough

Patatap: Visual Music-Making in Your Browser

Make musical bloops and bleeps, accompanied by beautiful algorithmically-generated visuals, from the comfort of your keyboard and browser.

—Thanks to Alan Koda

X to Close

Image by Lauren Archer

Ever wonder where the basic visual language of our Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) originated? This very thorough and entertaining essay by Lauren Archer traces the origins of the [x] symbol that is now a standard in UI design. Prepare yourself for a journey into the GUIs of the past.

—Thanks to Amber Lindholm

How Giant Websites Design for You (and a Billion Others, too)

Photo by TED

In this TED talk, Margaret Gould Stewart, Facebook’s director of product design, discusses the challenges of designing at a massive scale—where small details cascade into huge consumer ripple effects.

—Thanks to Jessica Dolson

Calculate Your Typographic System with Gridlover

Image from Gridlover

Gridlover helps designers create a typographic system and quickly see how different variations look. You can play around with vertical rhythm, scale for body and heading text, preview different fonts in the content area, and view the content with or without a grid. Once you’re done, you can get the output for CSS/Sass/Less in pixels, ems or rems. It makes doing the math for a typographic system much easier—which you’ll love if you aren’t a mathlete.

—Thanks to Lindsey Norman

A Designer’s Guide to DPI

Image by Sebastien Gabriel

Taking dozens of devices, screen sizes, and resolutions into account can be a difficult ordeal. Sebastien Gabriel lays down a short and sweet refresher on how to take consideration of screen resolutions in your designs, covering the basics on DPI, PPI, HD, 4K, PT, Hz, and any other acronyms I’ve left out. A great guide for thinking about mobile resolutions on a variety of devices.

—Thanks to Dennis van Huffel

Designing Rehabilitation into the Prison System

Responding to the ethical dilemma posed by designing spaces to purposely isolate and punish inhabitants, some prison-design architects look toward participatory design methodology to discover how the prison experience can encourage rehabilitation over punishment. Following the movement started by Scandinavian architects, Deanna VanBuren designs “restorative environments” for prisoners. In a workshop conducted with California inmates, 18 participants shared their thoughts on designing prisons in a way to lead toward rehabilitation and decrease likelihood of re-offending.

—Thanks to Rae Gibbs

Want the Best User Experience? Make it Harder to Add Features

Photo by UX Magazine via Shutterstock

Building software with scalability in mind seems like a logical choice for most companies. I would argue however, that software should be built for its current purpose, without scalability in mind. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s the right thing to do. It means that adding features down the line will need to be a careful process of consideration rather than just something that’s tacked on.

—Thanks to Jared Christensen

The Importance of Prototyping Your Designs

As a designer it’s imperative that, before you simply dive into a project and start creating, you must start from the beginning of the process and test your ideas to ensure they’re the most effective way of accomplishing what you’re working towards. Prototyping offers a way to test what looks great and is fit for purpose, whether it’s for a website or a piece of software.

—Thanks to Jared Christensen

Objectify Me, Please

By Vasken Sayre
projekt202

As any customer support person will tell you, the world is not as high tech as we designers are inclined to believe. While we are absorbed by the possibility of a nuanced gestural UI in the latest touchscreen device, our users are struggling to configure five-year old hardware to run the most basic of programs, and without falling victim to a virus. The journey to our applications can be perilous and exhausting. So how can we communicate our most abstract designs to an audience near its limit? One approach is to remove abstraction through more universally understood representations.

Consider how you would explain the concept of cubic volume to a three-year old child. What name label would instantly explain this concept? What manner of tooltip could adequately describe it? Or if your child is not already reading, then what visual icon would spare you a thousand words? Chances are that each of these rote design conventions would fail to convey the concept of cubic volume.

Now imagine that in the prior scenario you had stacked 27 wood cubes, in a 3 wide x 3 long x 3 high configuration. Not only would the composition of cubic volume be more holistically understood, but the child could also see the effects of moving blocks to different positions, removing them from the whole either singularly or in fistfuls, or even stacking new volumes based upon the original model. The abstract concept is now easily understood by objectifying it with real world objects that most any three-year old knows how to manipulate.

Let’s take a closer look at the properties of a real world object that best communicate an abstract concept to the broadest user base. We can test these against one of the most successful objectifications in the software world – the desktop folder – which has managed to communicate ‘grouping within a hierarchical data structure’.

Familiarity

The concept is embodied by an object that’s widely used in the real world for similar purposes. For decades before desktop computing, people grouped printed data within manila folders, which in turn resided within hierarchical stacks, drawers, boxes, and the like.

Grounding

It has visual solidity and may be anchored within the world by a light source and drop shadow. Desktop folders look like they’re resting on the desktop plane or are suspended within it. They cast shadows over other objects as they’re moved about.

Enticement

One look at the concept and the user implicitly understands what to do with it. The desktop folder, with its contents spilling out of it, practically screams “Open me!” One caveat: interaction methods should feature the strengths of the input device rather than mapping to requirements of the real world, because computers are supposed to make our lives easier. That’s why we simply click a folder with the mouse rather than dragging it open.

Relationship

The manner in which the concept interacts with other objects is implied. A desktop folder resides in a grid of similarly sized objects, thus implying an equal status and the ability to swap positions with others in the formation.

Domain

It resides within a spatial domain with clear boundaries. A desktop extends to the virtual chrome, and to the physical chrome of the display, so users don’t expect desktop folders to venture outside of this region (and they don’t!).

As with the child and the blocks, our users can be empowered to not only understand conceptual abstractions but also to manipulate them in intuitive ways. We can accomplish this by objectifying concepts in a more familiar form, grounding them within the virtual world, offering enticements to interact with them, establishing their relationships to other objects, and clearly defining the boundaries of their domain.

If you’re beating your head against the challenge of representing new concepts to your users, then you might gain traction with this approach. We might even owe this to our host of bedraggled users, whose basic need for comprehension is so often overlooked while we pursue new precedents to impress the design community.