Here’s some of the information:
Scrum provides us with a great framework for building our Scrum team, implementing the core agile practices and getting the inspect and adapt process started. But Scrum doesn’t provide much for the specific disciplines like programming, testing and User Experience. That’s where our coaches Patrick Neeman and Michael Vincent come in.
Join us as we explore how User Experience Design integrates with the Scrum process. We’ll see first hand how each type of activity fits into the Scrum cycles, and how our User Experience researchers, designers and artists integrate into a Scrum team.
The address is:
Gorilla Nation/Atomic Online, 1st Floor (just follow the maps to the room)
5140 W Goldleaf Cir
Los Angeles, CA 90056
The event will start at 7:00 p.m.
And Michael Vincent’s bio:
Mike Vincent is a solutions architect based in Orange County, California. He supports clients with application lifecycle management as a senior consultant with Accentient, and provides software architecture and development services focusing on Microsoft .NET technology as principle architect withMVA Software. He has been in the software business for over 20 years in addition to engineering and marketing management positions. Actively involved in the user group community since the early 90’s, Mike is Vice President of INETA Noram. He founded both the SoCal .Net Architecture group which is now also IASA’s SoCal Chapter and the Orange County C# Developers group, now OC .NET. Mike is a frequent presenter at user groups, regional events, and code camps. He is a Visual Studio Team System MVP. Currently, he is working with the Scrum Alliance on a forthcoming program. mvasoftware.com
This was a presentation I did at the Online Marketing Summit in Long Beach, California. Thank you to the people that showed up!
When was the last time you contacted your top customers? How about the 2nd & 3rd tier of your customer list, your database of potential customers and all of your other contacts? If you don't have a formal program for keeping in touch, you should. The key is to stay top-of-mind so that when someone has a need for your products or services, you'll be the one they call.
What are your options?
There are many different ways to stay in touch. Depending on your circumstances, your program may include telephone calls, direct mail, email, newsletters, blogs, personalized greeting cards, and other vehicles.
What's the perfect frequency?
Unfortunately, there's no "one size fits all" answer here, but at a minimum most companies should keep in contact with their customers on a quarterly basis. I receive emails once or twice a week from one of the major national bookstore chains, and I find this a little excessive. I also receive a handful of e-zines that arrive weekly, and I eagerly open each one. The difference? The bookstore is just trying to sell me something, while the e-zines provide information to help make my business more profitable.
In marketing, the old adage "out of sight, out of mind" is often true. Create a system that ensures you'll keep in contact with your customers on a regular basis, and watch your sales increase.
If you are interested, send me an email at email@example.com.
This is a full-time position based in Pasadena, CA. We are in need of a mid to senior-level interactive producer. This person should be able to lead projects from conception to completion, self-manage and work in a fast-paced environment. If you enjoy working in small teams, helping to build process and working for clients that make a difference in the world, this job is for you.
The Online Producer will work on projects including large-scale websites, small sites, banner + email programs and large-scale, integrated direct marketing campaigns.
Salary is in the 65 to 80K range DOE and freelance rate is commiserate with fulltime salary.
“Just grubbed my first steak off the Foreman Grill I won from @usabilitycounts — it was extremely yumtastic.”
Twitterific. Ah, that’s taken.
The prize for the 1,500th twitter is a Governor Jesse Ventura bobblehead. Who’s going to win?
If the user experience escapes us, if it is not possible to anticipate uses, to design and forward use cases, to define and order user interests, goals, and use benefits — what can we know of how social media will be used? Not knowing how they will be used, how can we anticipate consequences well enough to design for them?
This is where I am at the moment on this. Frames are still, I think, offer a strong conceptual “framework” for social interaction design. But it is possible that, as personas do more for the designer than they do incapturing truths aboutthe user, frames will offer more to the designer than they will capture truths of social interactions.
The Los Angeles Chapter of the Usability Professionals Association (I think I’m still a Vice President or something) is hosting an event with Microsoft showing of Microsoft Surface, Windows 7, and other nifty multi-touch devices.
The event is June 22 at 6:30 p.m. Register for the event at Event Brite. It’s free.
The address is:
Irvine Microsoft Center
3 Park Plaza, Suite 1600
Irvine, CA, 92614
Please join User Experience Los Angeles at LinkedIn and add yourself to the reservation list.
Just like any profession that’s out there where the people that are being sold to don’t know exactly what they are buying (other than their website or web application is screwed up and they don’t why), there are always rouges selling snake oil, talking about mental models, dancing about personas who know nothing about them, or wouldn’t know how to do one to save their life.
Sometimes it’s hard distinguishing someone who know what an annotation is, and one who knows how to do it right. Rebranding yourself as a User Experience professional after three meetup meetings and an project management talk is a dangerous thing, and I’m sure we all think we are better at what we do than we actually are.
What’s a client to do when vetting firms and consultants?
Since there is no certification process, it just all depends.
Remember this: Selling User Experience is not the same as doing User Experience, and as the field matures, the pretenders will be sorted out.
If they don’t have example deliverables or some kind of document that shows all the elements they could use in the User Experience process during working with their clients. Remember that not all processes are created equal, but there should be some similarity to the processes of other companies. If there’s no research portion, worry out loud.
If they can’t come back with some kind of list or adequately explain it, especially if you ask some questions like, “So what is the benefit of personas?” or “Should we do wireframes or prototypes?” Either or should provoke some kind of answer that shows they stand for something. If they waffle or give an answer that doesn’t make sense, if might be time to check out.
In the end, most User Experience projects should lend themselves well to some kind of case study where the consultant or the agency can show definate results of a product, and how their skills improved the User Experience, either stastically or from better customer satisfaction.
The case studies don’t have to be overly formal, but there should be some kind of walkthrough of cause and effect i.e. agency or consultant did this, and the results increased X percent. Most User Experience firms have several of these with clients, large and small.
Any good User Experience consultant should be a few reference projects that they can show off as something they are very proud of. The pitfalls of software development means that a lof of projects they may have done aren’t as polished, professional or complete was they were set out to be, because either there are development issues, or the client makes a bunch of changes because other business needs, or the site has changed eight times since the User Experience consultant or agency has worked on it.
There should be at least one or two projects that they can point and say, “this is really, really close to what we did, and the client played along,” and that their involvement is more than just selecting a certain color. A lot of consulting firms I know of list all kinds of clients they did work, even if they did work in a completely different field than User Experience. They should be able to list URLs of projects that included significant effort.
The only deliverable that counts is the final product, in most cases or personals are great, but you can’t use them on a website. In the very end there should be some kind of guarantee that what they are going to deliver is going to be a high quality product, but that means giving over a fair amount of control over to them. But remember that they should be paid for their time and services, because there’s a value to their skills.
Seriously, though, that’s what you are hiring them for, right, to use their skills? Specify exactly what you’re going to get as a final deliverable, and what the results should be. That firm should be able to stand behind it. Period.
“The Twitpocalypse is similar to the Y2K bug. Very soon the unique identifier associated to each tweet will exceed 2,147,483,6471
For some of your favorite third-party Twitter services not designed to handle such a case, the sequence will suddenly turn into negative numbers. At this point, they are very likely to malfunction or crash.
When will this happen? Check here often, and we will tell you how close we are to the Twitpocalypse.”
Props out to ShortFormBlog for finding this one.
I was on a contract here, so I could get your resume directly into the person in charge. If interested, send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disney Shopping, Inc. (DSI) is the online destination for innovative Disney products featuring beloved Disney characters from the latest box office hits to vintage classics. DisneyStore.com (the new destination for all DSI sites) has the largest selection of merchandise for kids and adults, including media, toys, apparel, home, collectibles, electronics and exclusive products that can be personalized. With thousands of items to choose from, DisneyStore.com offers the best of Disney for the young and young-at-heart.
The Producer is a versatile executor of the day-to-day operational tasks necessary to run DisneyStore.com. This role will own the execution of product launches, pricing and shipping updates, promotion set-up, SQL scripts, CYO xml, A/B and segmentation testing, and HTML markup and e-Spot creation and maintenance. The ideal candidate should be able to work under pressure well and manage multiple projects at once.
Subject Matter Expert: CMC (WCS Commerce Tooling), TOAD, CYO, eSpots, DOTT process
Launched this weekend was the mobile version of UsabilityCounts.com. The home page viewable at mobile.usabilitycounts.com, and i’m working on enabling the whole site at that URL. Most mobile devices should automatically detected and show the right version.
Twitter users that view the site on the iPhone, cheers, and enjoy.
Here’s what I did:
You can use CSS to handle a different display, but you should do it using server-side technologies, because the whole point of a mobile device is to deliver an experience that has less graphics but is still functional. Delivering a site that is 200k on a limited device with lower than DSL bandwidth doesn’t make sense. To do this, I’ve been slowing ripping apart the TypoXP theme of WordPress for purposes of simplication (most WordPress blogs are overcomplicated in their usage of CSS).
When the site loads, it does an initial detection of the User Agent: Blackberry, Android, iPhone and iPod are the currently supported devices, and you can see a list at Wikipedia. The pages load different content for mobile devices — the web version is heavier, where as the mobile version contains just HTML and a couple of backgrounds and icons for navigation only. WordPress has a set of function calls that makes it easy to show different content depending on how you want it triggered.
I also added the following HTML tag:
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=480; initial-scale=0.63; maximum-scale=1; user-scalable=0;” />
The iPhone assumes the screen is 960 pixels wide, so there is the new META tag specified called viewport for mobile devices. The iPhone technically is 320 wide by 280 tall in portrait mode, but I set it to 480 pixels wide and adjusted the initial scale to preserve current content. More on that later in the post.
I used CSS style sheet but did not declare it as a mobile style sheet. I would I like to think device manufacturers properly identify their devices, but I know better because I’ve been doing this for too long (and don’t even get me started on Netscape 4.72).
I did research using other content sites, like the NYTimes application for the iPhone, which I think is one of the best applications on the market. I selected a very similar design approach: allowed for the display of 30 articles at a time, and enabled paging of those articles, and designed around a single column of content.
I figured people were getting very used to scrolling on the iPhone, and designed with that in mind. Common use cases I could see someone reading the site would be while using mass transit or eating lunch.
Once a user was within an article, I kept the same format without the Twitter feed links. Below the article the user could see other recent articles, encouraging browsing of the site. In the future, I’m going to be adding pages where users can view lists of articles by tag.
For the CSS, I avoided a lot of the tricks like hover because they seem pointless in a mobile environment. I figured users would be most appreciative of a simple interface without all the bells and whistles that are reserved for web displays.
I planned for a 480 pixel wide maximum width of the content originally for the blog (by no mistake). To make it look good on the mobile device, I had to add 10 pixels of padding around the content. This required adjustment of the viewport values to handle the YouTube and other video content I post in the site.
The values I picked are listed below:
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=480; initial-scale=0.63; maximum-scale=0.63; user-scalable=0;” />
Initial scale was set below two-thirds because I wanted the videos and image content to scale within the window. YouTube supports the iPhone well. When you select one of the videos, the site is automatically launched. The CSS type is set bigger to account for the initial scale, thus I can use all of the existing content without changing it for those using web browsers.
Dan Saffer writes about this in the book Designing Gestural Interfaces, but I’ll explain it in English: Most people have fat fingers, so it’s a good idea to have fat targets.
Dan advocates the target area be at least one centimeter square, so I adjusted the UI appropriately, including larger than normal search boxes, comment boxes, and the links to the articles are quite a big larger than most websites.
The good news is that Apple and Blackberry have applications to test the emulators on. The bad news is that you have to sign up for their programs (which you can do for free) to download the simulators. The Apple iPhone Simulator comes part of the xCode package, so it’s quite a download. Once you have installed it, it’s great at simulating the experience of a website on an iPhone.
Most of the “free” simulators aren’t very effective and don’t give a true experience, so I limited it to using the official iPhone application. I also tested the site on my iPhone, and there was no difference.
Once I get the Blackberry simulator installed, I’ll give you the results. I’m still having difficulties.
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