Unbelievable Likexo

The Credibility of a product is absolutely critical, whether it is coming from a brand-new startup, or an established corporation. There is a great deal that goes into the Credibility of a product, from the people that hype it, to its visual presentation. However, there are a few basic elements that go directly to the foundational aspects of product Credibility upon which the rest of the product’s truthfulness is built.

Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). In answering the question of Usefulness, "Should I use it?" the sub-category of Credibility is one in the frequent discussion of cautious engagement, especially in the ever increasing, in both frequency and size, waves of introductions of online products.

Establishing and maintaining Credibility is the removal, or minimization of concerns arising from these types of questions. Many elements (design, accuracy, usability, timeliness, advertising, etc.) contribute to the positive, or negative, perception of overall product Credibility, but for Quick-UX’s evaluation we assess only the most elemental. For a refresher of the Quick-UX Credibility Rubric visit: Quick-UX & Credibility: Do you believe?

Today, we will look at an example of a product with No Credibility, with a value of 0.0.

No Credibility

On many fronts, from concept to style, Likexo has many things going for it. But, in the area of Credibility, it falls very flat.

00_likexo_homepage

On first blush, the site starts out OK. The design is fairly clean, not overly complex. As with any website, the new user approaches with skepticism and some very basic questions,

Who is behind it?
What is their motive?
Where are they located?
Is this for real?
etc.

The most common place to start is by taking a quick peek at the ‘About Us’ page.

01_likexo_aboutus

Once arriving, it can be quickly concluded there may be something to learn about the product, but very little to learn ‘about us,’ the team that stands behind this product. As a matter of fact, there is nothing to learn about the individuals…

who they are,
where they are, or
how to contact them (by email and/or by phone).

This is a great way to sow the seeds of distrust — creating more disconcerting questions.

Is the team embarrassed by the product?
Are they unwilling to stand behind their product? Why?
Is their an ulterior motive? a nefarious relationship?

Obvious Typos

As with all products, the consumers of these products want to see that you take the time and care in both the creation and presentation of your own product. As the creator of a product, you can only hope that your users care about your product as much as you do.

However, when you demonstrate a lake of attention to detail, through typos, poor grammar, bad formatting, etc., the visitors to this product can only ask…

If the people behind this product don’t care about it, WHY SHOULD I?

Indeed, this very appropriate question raises some very large concerns on the product’s Credibility (even larger when taken into account with all the other foundational Credibility misses already discussed).

On the lesser of the typographical issues, a visitor can observe poor paragraph formatting and missing periods littered throughout the FAQ page.

02_likexo_faq

Perhaps the most egregious of the form of typo that can occur within any product that will always have a detrimental impact on Credibility are those that have to do with the company’s name. The company name is inconsistently formatted on the About Us page. In one instance, within adjacent sentences, the duality of capitalization can be seen as…

"Likexo is a social network oriented to the likes of the people. Therefore, the profile of a person for likexo is not his/her career, the school attended or if he/she has a girlfriend/boyfriend: your profile is your likes."

On the About Us page, the formatting of ‘likexo’ is used heavily, while back on the FAQ page, ‘Likexo’ is the predominant spelling, with the occasional ‘likexo’. If you want people to believe in you, demonstrate that you have taken the care to know who you are, and that you know how to format your own product’s name.

Other Hand

On the positive side, it is great that they have blog and twitter accounts.

03_likexo_twitter 04_likexo_blog

These represent a slight bend in the right direction. However, even on these fronts there are no obvious ways to reach out with any sense of connecting with a real person. There are no names of real people, nor any sense of personalized discussion — just very corporate, non-informal speak.

Should Do

As the Likexo/likexo user starts to investigate, and check on the trustworthiness of the organization, attempting to understand who or what is behind it, they are left with every single question that existed at the beginning of their search for Credibility.

Some very basic steps can be taken in laying the foundation for this product’s Credibility. They are:

  • Clean up the typos and formatting. Be consistent in the usage of language and grammar.
  • Provide methods to be contacted, by email, by phone.
  • Provide the company’s physical address. Prove that this is a real company.
  • Show that there are real people behind this product, that care about this product, that are working on this product. Display bio’s and pictures of these real people. Provide ways for users to reach out to these real people.

Altogether, these simple tips can move this product from a Credibility value of 0 (No Credibility) to a 1 (High Credibility).

Another bit of advice, regarding the product’s ever present advertising. While advertising does not impact the Quick-UX Credibility value, its use throughout Likexo is excessive and poorly integrated in the design and flow of the site, negatively impacting the overall User Experience, and, in-turn, the overall Credibility of a serious website.

05_likexo_ads

This implementation of advertising begs the question, are they trying to provide a value-added service, or simply exist as yet another vehicle whose primary purpose is to cram down as much advertising as possible in this new format. — Not a question a new product, seeking to credibly establish itself within the hyper-competitive online world wants on the table, but one which can also be rapidly addressed.

Quick & Useful

Over the next few weeks I will be exploring and ins-and-outs of Credibility, walking through real-world examples of the Quick-UX evaluation of Credibility

No Credibility
Barely Low Credibility (part 1, 2, 3)
Solidly Low Credibility (part 1, 2)
Average Credibility & Tech News (part 1, 2, 3)
More Average Credibility (part 1, 2)
High Credibility

Update: Renewed Pogby
Update: Likexo

Quick-UX Credibility, In Conclusion

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring the Usefulness and Credibility components of Quick-UX, the quick and easy method of generating quantifiable and comparable metrics representing the understanding of the overall User Experience of a product, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

UPDATE: Likexo recently contacted me to let me know that this article lead to very meaningful improvements in their product. And they are right. (Read more)

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About these ads

The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (April 24, 2009)

Every week I read tens of thousands of blog posts. Here, for your weekend enjoyment, are some highlights from my recent reading, for you.

01_starting

On Starting Up…

http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/startupbasics/article201358.html
Advice on starting a new business in tough economic times.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.poetpainter.com/thoughts/article/the-art-and-science-of-seductive-interactions
Learn about the art of seduction through product user experience.

02_seduce-ux
03_connect

On Modular Innovation…

http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2009/04/microstructure.html
A look at how the many tiny blocks that make up such Modular Innovations as Twitter are spurring further Modular Innovation.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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Quick-UX & Credibility: Do you believe?

The Credibility of a product is absolutely critical, whether it is coming from a brand-new startup, or an established corporation. There is a great deal that goes into the Credibility of a product, from the people that hype it, to its visual presentation. However, there are a few basic elements that go directly to the foundational aspects of product Credibility upon which the rest of the product’s truthfulness is built.

Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). In answering the question of Usefulness, "Should I use it?" the sub-category of Credibility is one in the frequent discussion of cautious engagement, especially in the ever increasing, in both frequency and size, waves of introductions of online products.

For Example

Many different types of company products present their own issues of Credibility and the questions that they immediately invoke in visitors.

Some questions that come to mind in a…

…startup’s product are…

  • Is this company going to be around? Are they still around?
  • Can they be trusted with my personal info?
  • Can I trust them to pay as much, or more, or less, attention to me as they did their own product? (especially relevant if there are mistakes, typos, etc.)
  • Will someone be there if I have a problem?

…news / opinion product are…

  • How do I know if the opinion is, or is not, coming from the organization that owns the product being recommended?
  • Do I have the information necessary to assess any potential site / author bias?

…e-commerce product are…

  • Can I trust them with my credit card and home address?

…financial product are…

  • Is this information (e.g. numbers, quotes, values) accurate?
  • Can they be trusted with my money?
  • If there is a problem can I contact someone? Can I speak with someone?

…non-profit’s product are…

  • Is this company legitimate?
  • Can I speak with them?
  • Who represents this organization?
  • What is the reputation of this nonprofit (as well as the reputations of the people behind it)?

Care & Verify

Basically, in an evaluation of a product’s Credibility

  • with what care have the product’s claims been made, and
  • how many of those claims am I empowered and / or able to independently verify.

Establishing and maintaining Credibility is the removal, or minimization of concerns arising from these types of questions. Many elements (design, accuracy, usability, timeliness, advertising, etc.) contribute to the positive, or negative, perception of overall product Credibility, but for Quick-UX’s evaluation we assess only the most elemental.

Rubric

There are some very basic measures of Credibility that can be easily and quickly determined for Quick-UX, as well as in the broader and ever changing world of online products. The Credibility variable is assigned its value via summation. The minimum value of Credibility is 0, or none. The Credibility variable adds…

  • 0.15 if no obvious typos are found throughout the product,
  • 0.175 if email contact information is provided,
  • 0.175 if telephone contact information is provided,
  • 0.25 if a physical address for the location of the business is provided,
  • 0.125 if there is an “About Us” page that contains bios about the members of the team behind the product, and
  • 0.125 if, on the “About Us” page, alongside the Bios, direct contact information to each of the individuals listed can be found.

Quick & Useful

Taken all together, these variables (Functional Expectations, Error Management, Product Differentiation, Findability, and Credibility) represent the Usefulness category of Quick-UX for the evaluated product. When looking at an entire product, the question “Should I use it?” represents only 1 of the 3 core components (Usability, Usefulness, Desirability) of a Quick-UX evaluation – a sure-fire, rapid way to obtain concrete and comparable means by which to assess a single product or compare its strengths and weaknesses to other products.

Over the next few weeks I will be exploring and ins-and-outs of Credibility, walking through real-world examples of the Quick-UX evaluation of Credibility

No Credibility
Barely Low Credibility (part 1, 2, 3)
Solidly Low Credibility (part 1, 2)
Average Credibility & Tech News (part 1, 2, 3)
More Average Credibility (part 1, 2)
High Credibility

Update: Renewed Pogby
Update: Likexo

Quick-UX Credibility, In Conclusion

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring the Usefulness and Credibility components of Quick-UX, the quick and easy method of generating quantifiable and comparable metrics representing the understanding of the overall User Experience of a product, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (April 17, 2009)

Every week I read tens of thousands of blog posts. Here, for your weekend enjoyment, are some highlights from my recent reading, for you.

01_stoic

On Starting Up…

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/04/13/stoicism-101-a-practical-guide-for-entrepreneurs/
A stoically, practical guide for Entrepreneurs.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://ajaxian.com/archives/quince
Learn from an extensive UX Pattern explorer.

02_quince
03_openness

On Modular Innovation…

http://developer.yahoo.net/blog/archives/2009/04/baychi_open.html
Description of the flavors of Openness within many products and platforms of Modular Innovation.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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World’s Best Programmer is… [w/ Respect]

anotherstar … motivated, excited and productive. And she, or he, may be sitting right next to you.

The prevailing element cited by all those who participated within this series or provided suggestions for World’s Best Programmer was Respect. From UltraRob discussing the understanding of ‘why’…

UltraRob Says:
February 26, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Most programmers are very self motivated. We like to solve problems and create cool things. Sure we sometimes need to be guided to focus on things that make business sense but if we’re given the information to see what is important that usually isn’t a problem.

From my perspective programmers don’t need much to be motivated but many managers don’t understand what it takes. For me it’s the little things that make me feel respected and take ownership. I don’t even have to agree with decisions as long as I understand why the decision was made and my view was heard. If I’m given those things, I’m pretty unstoppable.

…to Chris Geier’s nomination of Mike Scheider as World’s Best Programmer

chrisgeier: @theproductguy Mike Schneider. Does the amazing in limited time, and is always looking to do it better. A great quality

…the one element, evident throughout the successful implementation of all of the previously discussed characteristics, as well as noted in almost all of the feedback received is Respect.

Motivation

My answer is many fold and I provide a framework towards greater understanding in part 1.

The path to the motivated programmer, the happy programmer, is unique to each individual. There are, however, some general, instructional guides towards better understanding for all involved parties, and especially regarding those conditions that make for that highly motivated programmer.

Let’s take a deeper look at Respect.

Respect

If Communication is the glue that binds together the environment of the World’s Best Programmer, from Clarity to Inclusion, then Respect can logically be seen as the glue’s glue, the foundational element upon which the rest is built.

Without Respect between programmers, between programmers and managers, and any other relevant permutations of these, no one, not even the World’s Best Programmer, can thrive. The key characteristics described throughout this series…

    • Clarity
    • Organization
    • Focus
    • Communication
    • Inclusion
    • Challenge
    • Respect

… cannot be built upon without the most basic foundation of them all, Respect.

Respect, more importantly, MUTUAL Respect, a 2-way relationship, comes from all parties establishing and fostering mutual credibility and understanding. It is something that either exists or is lacking in the whole. If Respect is not mutual, then it can be truly said to be lacking. If Respect only flows in one direction, the effect on the individual on the receiving end is negligible since the source is not respected and, therefore, is not valued.

Building Respect

Sometimes easier to accomplish than others, most difficult if already lost, there are some examples that everyone, from programmer to manager, can learn from.

Micromanaging. Getting overly involved in a technical process for which you will not be directly creating, no matter the intention (e.g. "to help") is most frequently interpreted as a lack of trust, either of skills, and/or Respect, for co-worker space.

"So Easy." Don’t be the individual known for telling other programmers "Oh, that’s so easy." Programmers consider boundary cases, scaling, etc. which are not always "so easy." Just because a high-level business case is simple, its simplicity does not necessarily extend to the technical implementation. Exclaiming such simplicity often minimizes programmers’ skills, and, in turn, their Respect for individuals making these broad assumptions.

Corollary: Time. Make sure everyone has the time to do things properly. It, of course, goes to say that everyone is communicating about time constraints and other requirements associated with the "things to be done."

Explain. Don’t assume everyone is on the same page when it comes to methodologies and processes. Whether you are a programmer or a manager, explain and clarify the processes. For example, when projecting that a task will take X time, explain the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ behind the methods and logic of the projection.

Strength. Present strength with clarity. When working with other programmers, do not mislead them about the level of influence you have in the processes, or their change.

  • Stand up against feature creep.
  • Stand up for your programmers / co-workers / managers (from time to disruptions).
  • Don’t promise what cannot be delivered.

World’s Best

anotherstar The World’s Best Programmer may be sitting right next to you, maybe it’s you. Every programmer has that potential and it is up to everyone; programmer, manager, and organization to carefully craft and maintain the environment with the characteristics…

Clarity. Providing clear project requirements and goals.
Organization. Balancing the art and science, of programming, through structure.
Focus. Removing distractions and hurdles.
Communication. Promoting openness, free flow of ideas and information, and teamwork.
Inclusion. Empowering throughout all aspects, from idea origination to release and support, from business facing to backend, of the product processes.
Challenge. Fostering growth, new learning, and meaning.
Respect. Establishing and fostering mutual credibility and understanding.

Through careful thought and application of the characteristics discussed throughout this series you may soon become, meet, or be introduced to the World’s Best Programmer.

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series highlighting many of the key driver’s of your team’s motivated programmers, nor other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (April 10, 2009)

Every week I read tens of thousands of blog posts. Here, for your weekend enjoyment, are some highlights from my recent reading, for you.

01_basho

On Starting Up…

http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2009/04/09/rejected-by-vcs-rescued-by-angels/
Angels, saviors of many burgeoning startups, notably Basho.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/ia-summit-09-day-1
The podcasts of IA Summit 09 — with quick summaries.

02_ia-summit-09
03_closr-zoomorama

On Modular Innovation…

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/09/zooming-in-on-closr-and-zoomorama/
Latest Modular Innovations in image manipulation from ClosR and Zoomorama.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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World’s Best Programmer is… [w/ Challenge]

anotherstar …to be announced at the end of this series.

unkown-person I am often asked what is it that I do that results in the programmers with whom I interact being so productive; what is it I do to get them motivated and to keep them motivated; and where can I find / who is the World’s Best Programmer.

Motivation

My answer is many fold and I provide a framework towards greater understanding in part 1.

The path to the motivated programmer, the happy programmer, is unique to each individual. There are, however, some general, instructional guides towards better understanding for all involved parties, and especially regarding those conditions that make for that highly motivated programmer.

Today, let’s take a deeper look at Challenge.

Challenge

Challenge can be seen as a double-edged sword. Challenges surround programmers each and every day, both as motivators and demotivators. While not necessarily a driver of success in every programmer, some prefer to keep it simple and focus on the familiar and ‘what they are good at.’ Nonetheless, leveraging Challenges towards positive outcomes is very prevalent where good programmers are found, especially within the environment of the World’s Best Programmer.

Challenges that foster …

  • personal and career growth,
  • new learning, and
  • meaning

… represent the best drivers of excitement and reward.

Many programmers will always be able to find fun, productive, and new ways to Challenge themselves simultaneously benefiting those around them.

Other programmers may seek a challenge that provides that personal meaning, but require a little guidance. Work with programmers and assist them in finding or building upon Challenges that are new and exciting to them. Reinvigorating a common task or a persistently onerous effort through finding that Challenging, motivating spark will bring new life and engagement to both the work and the programmer.

Different programmers are motivated by finding different, personally appealing, Challenges in their daily work. These Challenges can be anything from …

  • Optimizing speed or memory,
  • Reducing the total number of source code lines,
  • Satisfying the needs of a client,
  • Maximizing modularity and reusability, and/or
  • Crafting that perfect algorithm.

Competition

One way to build an environment with positive challenges is to support the many seeds already present in the form of friendly competition. Such friendly competition, when appropriately encouraged and reinforced is great in the establishment of a self-sustaining, self-organizing system of motivational Challenges.

Friendly competitions can take on the form of total number of tasks completed, to fastest execution, to more broadly inclusive contests for ‘coolest’ app.

Leverage

Within an atmosphere of open Communication it becomes easier to learn how to transform problems that demotivate into those that Challenge in a rewarding way (for the programmer, as well as many more within the organization).

No Limits

A common mistake when thinking about what sort of ventures are best for Challenging programmers is to stereotype and only think technically. There are many ways a programmer may be seeking to grow in their job that can equally be great motivators of success, from tech, to business, to peer interaction. Keeping the Challenges varied and the communication flowing will help identify those tasks (perhaps not previously even realized by the programmer) that bestow new and meaningful experiences. These could be such activities as being a manager for a product or learning to be a better communicator or more socially engaged with the non-technical groups.

……………

From the good programmer to the World’s Best, Challenge them and provide new ways to give meaning and value to their work.

The Search Continues

In addition to…

Clarity, Organization & Focus
Communication & Inclusion
Challenge

… and before this individual, World’s Best Programmer, is announced, the characteristics…

Respect

… will be further explored and discussed in the subsequent articles of this multi-part series.

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series highlighting many of the key driver’s of your team’s motivated programmers, nor the denouement of World’s Best Programmer, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (April 3, 2009)

Every week I read tens of thousands of blog posts. Here, for your weekend enjoyment, are some highlights from my recent reading, for you.

01_steve-blank

On Starting Up…

http://venturehacks.com/articles/pricing
On not underpricing your product.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.37signals.com/svn/posts/1660-jacek-utko-can-design-save-the-newspaper
How design has been leveraged to save the newspaper.

02_utko
03_distributed-friending

On Modular Innovation…

http://blog.broadbandmechanics.com/2009/01/distributed-friending
On the architecture and promise of distributed friending.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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