product design

Bringing UX Issues to Light in New "Expose UX"

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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.

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High Stakes for Winning UX on TV Show "Expose UX"

Great UX isn't a game of chance.

In a brand-new episode of "Expose UX," a TV show devoted to identifying user experience (UX) issues and solutions, projekt202's Vice President of Customer Experience Jeremy Johnson deals expert advice to a North Texas startup.

The latest episode highlights UrComped, a platform that connects casino players to loyalty rewards. UrComped's creators realize it's a safe bet that they need solid information architecture to help people learn about rewards they wouldn't have otherwise discovered.

What inside tips and winning strategies will the three-of-a-kind panel of UX experts -- Jeremy Johnson, Adam Polansky and Elisa Miller -- raise with the UrComped team? For the payoff, watch the new episode now.


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projekt202 podcast: Why Smart Companies Adopt UX

projekt202 Chairman and CEO David Lancashire
projekt202 Chairman and CEO David Lancashire

 

"It's going to tie directly back to what we're designing, building, taking into market and driving revenue streams with."

How are companies missing out if they fail to employ user-experience (UX) strategies and what impact does this approach have on their bottom lines?

In this conversation with projekt202's Chairman and CEO, David Lancashire shares the real-world ROI of user experience, his advice to skeptics about embracing UX, and his predictions on the resources that companies will invest in and adopt in coming years.

Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay current on projekt202 news.

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.

Success Story: Improved UX Breathes New Life into the ERP Market

Challenge: We need to disrupt the ERP market … starting with our own software

An operational technology distributor decided to change how enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is built and used in the marketplace. Over the course of the global company’s growth, its existing ERP software had fossilized into a cumbersome, difficult obstacle. Inconsistent user experiences began negatively affecting sales as more niche-focused competitive threats emerged, increasing pressure on the firm’s R&D.

Recommendations: New personas facilitate better communication and awareness

Observing over 200 core ERP users across 12 countries in more than 60 enterprise environments provided projekt202’s Experience Strategy and Insight and UX team with a wealth of key insights. For instance, while most users had difficulty learning and using the software, the two largest issues were process awareness and communication. Most enterprises using ERP solutions also experienced inefficient use, long training times and high staff turnover.

From this comprehensive data, projekt202 created eight company-wide personas to emphasize users’ needs. Workflow models for each gave teams more insight into persona needs. New navigation frameworks were validated with users before core development and platform planning began. Tools and concepts were created for communication and process awareness. projekt202 also created and presented design guidelines, principles and themes to the client's R&D team.

Results: Improved UX leads to greater demand and renewed customer loyalty

The client saw improved demand for its existing and in-development ERP solutions. Reduced needs for training, call center activity, and help and documentation validated improved user experiences. Improvements led to increased customer loyalty.

Tools built for the new ERP solution became omnipresent across the client platform. The R&D team was trained on projekt202's methodology, now an essential part of the team’s strategy. Interactive design resources and pattern libraries are used throughout the organization to drive marketing efforts and further increase growth.

More than five years later, projekt202 continues its successful design and development partnership that grew out of this initial project.

Success Story: Superior UX Delivers Over $1 Billion in Sales

Challenge: An unreliable workforce design needs to be terminated

A global workforce management company was laboring under outdated, convoluted technology. Its primary management resource had grown inconsistent, unreliable and difficult to use. The organization needed to improve customer interactions, keep competitors at bay, and create a new user-centered design and development process internally.

Recommendations: A redesign, UX support and a demo that silences the competition

projekt202 identified pressures from key competitors, documented users’ frustrations and perceptions, and interviewed stakeholders to capture the vision of the organization. Based on its analysis, the projekt202 team recommended a user-friendly redesign of the client’s 900-screen legacy application; hiring dedicated user experience (UX) staff; and unveiling an impressive demo at industry trade shows to spark word-of-mouth and sales.

Results: Superior user experience delivers over $1 billion in sales

When presented at an industry conference, a new dashboard solution based on projekt202’s design research caused an immediate sensation. Sales demand doubled as customers eagerly anticipated its release to market. Development strategy and priorities reflected the huge interest generated by the prototype’s unveiling.

In addition, persona-specific roadmaps for the legacy application were produced and validated, and mobile tools supporting key workflows across all personas were established and released. A consistent new visual design language was built across all applications and products. Design guidelines, principles and themes were created, along with interactive design and pattern libraries. To reinforce the company’s tech foundation, projekt202 helped grow the client’s UX team to more than 20 employees.

As a result of this collaboration, the workforce management company saw sales skyrocket from $240 million to over $1 billion.

The sales and marketing divisions continue to rely on projekt202-constructed resources. Providing this superior user experience has led to a sustained design and development partnership between the client and projekt202.

Success Story: Helping 40,000 Reps Get a Grip on a Powerful New Mobile App

Challenge: Obsolete equipment and time-draining inventory steps need to be shelved

A leading retail services company was recognized industry-wide for its legacy of outstanding work. Internally, however, it was building a legacy of clunky equipment, outdated processes and low employee retention.

To hone its competitive edge, the organization needed to give its salespeople a more efficient, productive and accurate way to do their jobs. Each of its in-store retail service representatives was saddled with multiple, aging resources – an obsolete handheld scanner that required evening dock and sync, a digital camera for sending photos to the company for documentation, and bulky binders of UPC pages to scan at grocery stores on their routes. Printing for the code pages alone cost the company thousands of dollars each month.

Inadequate training and lack of enterprise support services also contributed to an in-the-field staff turnover rate of over 100 percent.

Recommendation: Design a convenient, powerful mobile app

A consideration to allow reps to use their own phones or tablets helped projekt202 build an application for use across multiple devices with multi-platform capabilities.

The work involved was three-fold: (1) design and implement a new mobile application for the field force, (2) architect and build new enterprise services to support the mobile app and other systems, and (3) transform the development organization to an Agile one.

projekt202 did contextual inquiry and built journey maps to understand the true needs of the reps and of the business, including device form factor and connectivity requirements.

projekt202’s team of designers, developers and architects used data-rich observations of the reps’ training programs and work environments to drive the application’s design. Features were added to improve the ways in which reps planned their routes, received support, documented work and reported to the company:

  • Connected/occasionally connected modes, including request/response caching and queuing
  • Near real-time work assignment and results reporting, including camera, sensors and GPS data
  • Built-in, in-context training and learning aids, including instructional protocols for performing work

Results: Reduced overhead and increased efficiencies for over 40,000 employees

projekt202's solution completely eliminated employee reimbursements for wasteful printing costs and administrative time spent transferring data from paper in the old interface. This resulted in a 13% reduction in overhead costs.

The creation of a new mobile application -- along with a suite of enterprise services that supported it -- formed the foundation of new app development initiatives across the client company. As a result, 40,000 field reps across North America were better able to plan daily tasks and map routes with the help of the internal GPS feature. Tutorials helped reps complete tasks more efficiently. A request queue also let them access information on- and offline, and report documentation – including photos – directly to the company.

During the three-year collaboration, projekt202 and the client's team built processes in the back-end with a suite of enterprise services, such as true REST services, including Hypermedia/HAEOAS, content negotiation, caching and Domain Application Protocols; commodity hardware scaling; and ESB for content aggregation.

As part of projekt202’s end-to-end application development, the client’s employees were trained and empowered as the stream of work transitioned to the company’s team. In turn, the company retained more employees, and streamlined its internal processes for standardization and quality control.

Results of projekt202's work were:

  • Labor costs were two orders of magnitude lower
  • First-to-market with a new service offering, which remained without competition for over two years
  • Reduced training and onboarding costs
  • Creation of multiple Agile teams
  • Drastically reduced printing costs
  • Availability of near real-time results and analytics, as well as the ability to assign work to reps already in the field
  • More frequent releases and better incorporation of validation/feedback into releases

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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

2015: projekt202’s Year in Review

It was another big year for projekt202 and our ongoing mission to deliver better experiences for people everywhere. As the leader in experience-driven application design and development, projekt202 unveiled our latest innovative resource -- the new Usability Testing Lab in Dallas (pictured below) -- in 2015, while also reporting outstanding growth, with a 66-percent revenue increase and 162-percent increase in profits.

In 2015, the projekt202 team was honored to be named one of the Best Places to Work (Dallas Business Journal), a Top Place to Work (Dallas Morning News) and one of the top software development firms (Austin Business Journal). Also, for the fourth year in a row, projekt202 was named to the Dallas 100 list of fastest-growing private companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

projekt202's professionals were in high demand for speaking engagements and presentations. Our experts shared their insights at forums such as the Big Design Conference, DX Summit, Front Porch Conference, Gartner ITxpo, Dallas Startup Week and CEDIM, among many others.

We covered the media landscape in areas such as TV (with Jeremy Johnson and Chelsea Maxwell participating as judges on the new “Expose UX” show), radio (CEO David Lancashire’s interview on the “PlayMakers” business program) and print (including Co-Founder and CXO Peter Eckert's column on user-centric mobile strategies in "Mobile Commerce Daily" and Kelly Moran’s “Methods and Tools” article on an ethnographic approach to software).

At projekt202, we love what we do and we have fun doing it. Enjoy this look back at 2015 and join us in looking ahead to a successful New Year.

Helping Startups Expose UX Issues

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Two of projekt202’s User Experience (UX) Designers – Jeremy Johnson and Chelsea Maxwell– recently served as judges for an upcoming episode of Expose UX. Expose UX is a new Web TV show devoted to identifying UX issues, challenges and solutions for early-stage startups. Founders demonstrate their products and receive honest feedback from a panel of UX experts. In each episode, five startup companies pitch their products in front of three UX professionals.

For episodes and additional information, visit http://exposeux.com.

A Dieter Rams Radio, in an App

Image by motionpixels.co
Image by motionpixels.co

Image by motionpixels.co

Inspired by Dieter Rams’ iconic T3 radio from the 60s, this app is made to appeal to design lovers. Creator of the T3 app Eder Rengifodid not envision it as a substitute for your built-in iPhone player, but rather as a handsome and streamlined addition to it. The simplicity of the controls and just a few essentials beautifully put together.

—Thanks to Oscar Tellez

Viewport Sized Typography

Image by Chris Coyler
Image by Chris Coyler

Image by Chris Coyler

The latest CSS specification includes three new viewport-based selectors for coupling element sizes like fonts to the size of the browser window. Chris Coyler explains some of the uses of these new tags, as well as bugs and workarounds to expect.

—Thanks to Andy Riley

Infographics of a Year in the Life of Nicholas Felton

For nearly a decade, designer Nicholas Felton has tracked his interests, locations, and the myriad beginnings and ends that make up a life in a series of sumptuously designed “annual reports.” The upcoming edition, looking back at 2013, uses 94,824 data points: 44,041 texts, 31,769 emails, 12,464 interpersonal conversations, 4,511 Facebook status updates, 1,719 articles of snail mail, and assorted notes to tell the tale of a year that started with his departure from Facebook and ended with the release of his app, called Reporter.

—Thanks to Stephanie Walker

Applying Architecture to Product Design, Lesson 1—Circulation

Part one of a series that finds the common ground between architecture and product design, this article focuses on the concept of circulation—the architectural systems that allow people to navigate within structures. Percolate’s Melissa Mandelbaum examines the navigational needs of both physical structures and software, and suggests applying strategies from one domain to another.

—Thanks to Chris Williams

Hyperlapse, Instagram’s New Image-Stabilizing App

Instagram’s new standalone video app puts a small Steadicam system in your iPhone . The app uses information from the phone’s gyroscope to reverse-engineer and strip away any movement and shakiness in a video, resulting in film-like tracking shots. Hyperlapse packages its powerful functionality in a slim, focused UI design.

—Thanks to Mike Townson

Audio Is Expanding the Internet

Photo by Danielle Reid
Photo by Danielle Reid

Video, images, and animation—the tech world often focuses on the visual side of things. This article looks past the visual and delves into the ways audio has been quietly advancing in UX spaces, from providing hands-free control systems to adding personality to user interfaces.

—Thanks to Alan Koda

Windowless Travel in the Private Jet of the Future

Image by Spike Aerospace

Rethinking the inner space of jet planes, Boston engineering firm Spike Aerospace has built a concept that replaces the typical miniscule oval windows with a full 360-degree wraparound view of the outside of the plane. By lining the interior walls with displays, they not only provide a breathtaking view of the environment but also reduce the weight and complexity of the plane’s fuselage. The firm’s design is powered by exterior solar panels, reducing its carbon footprint.

—Thanks to Dennis Van Huffel

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