The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (May 29, 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_30minutes

On Starting Up…

http://www.quicksprout.com/2009/05/25/how-to-be-a-better-entrepreneur-in-the-next-30-minutes/
Better entrepreneurship in 30 minutes.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://sixrevisions.com/web-development/five-ways-to-speed-up-page-response-times/
On improving the Usability of the UX with YSlow.

02_yslow
03_googlewave

On Modular Innovation…

http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/05/google-wave-what-might-email-l.html
Is Google Wave the next major milestone in Modular Innovation?

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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Puzzling Pogby

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 the first of a set of two products that achieved a solidly Low Credibility value of 0.325.

Low Credibility

Each of these 0.325 scored websites leave a varied resultant feeling of Credibility, in-part due to design, marking, color choices, etc. But, overall this set of products with solidly Low Credibility were assessed low values due to a lack of fulfilling some of the most basic, and easiest to achieve, fundamental elements inherent to any quick assessment of a product’s Credibility.

Example 1: Pogby

Pogby is an event planning and venue booking product that presents a welcoming experience.

00_pogby_homepage

But, while there are clearly…

  • No obvious typos and
  • Contact methods are provided,

01_pogby_contact

…many other elements are absent, most importantly those …

  • Showing the real people behind this organization, and
  • Establishing other characteristics that cement the "realness" of the organization (e.g. physical address).

The content and function of the site is presented fairly well.

02_pogby_content

But, when it comes to the content of ‘About Us,’ there is a clear disconnect in expectation.

03_pogby_aboutus

The ‘About Us’ page goes far in describing the intricacies of the product, but misses on the ‘us.’ They leave one central question unanswered..

Who is/are us?

Awk Ad

Pogby has a nice color scheme. This color scheme is strangely very well coordinated with the single advertisement of the product.

04_pogby_ad

The position of the ad, coupled with its color scheme, brings up questions of ulterior motives and inherent biases. While not having a direct impact on the Quick-UX Credibility value, this does hurt the product’s Credibility.

Is this website run by American Express?

Is there a bias towards venues that work exclusively with American Express?

These questions may be "nonsense" to the individuals behind the product, but the are nonetheless fueled by these poor decisions of matching color schemes coupled with the advertisement’s placement and persistence.

Furthermore, just by placing the ad within the page header, on a level of importance to the product’s name and logo, is much too forward an advertising strategy for the average user. When websites are too aggressive with their presentation of ads, they wear away at their own Credibility.

Should Do

Pogby presents a user experience with a very solidly Low Credibility. In the near term, to improve their Credibility, they should focus…

  • Show the living, breathing people behind the product. Talk about them and bring some authenticity to the product.
  • Provide a broader array of contact methods. (for example: direct to team members, telephone, address, etc.)

… and very importantly…

  • Move the ad. Label the ad as an ad. Or if it is not an ad, and this site is more tightly tied to American Express, don’t obfuscate, provide greater transparency into this relationship and how it impacts the overall user experience.

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: Resulting from an analysis that took minutes, Pogby was able to take focused action, over 1 night, and implement changes with a significant impact on this product and its Credibility. (Read more)

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The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (May 22, 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_less-startups

On Starting Up…

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/18/crunchbase-data-rocks-too-bad-the-q1-numbers-suck-our-report/
On the growing trend of significantly less startups starting up.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/behind-scenes-of-search-options-panel.html
A look at Google’s iterative design process applied to Search Options.

02_google-search-options
03_linkeddata

On Modular Innovation…

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/linked_data_is_blooming_why_you_should_care.php
The interconnections of Modular Innovations’ data.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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IndyBudget’s Deficit

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 the third of a set of three products that just barely (and almost) achieved a Low Credibility value of 0.325.

Low Credibility

In the set of examples of Low Credibility, that we are exploring, each demonstrates a severe lack in fundamentals. Interesting to this group is the fact each just barely (or almost) achieved the Quick-UX Credibility value of 0.325, resulting from…

No obvious typos, and

Some form (some very minimal) method of contact provided.

Example 3: IndyBudget

IndyBudget looks like it may be a really handy online financial product.

06_indybudget_homepage

07_indybudget_free-account

But, it is a financial product in need of a stimulus, an injection of Credibility. All products need to have a level of Credibility, and within a financial product this is even more true.

On the plus side, there are screenshots of the product and a prominently placed contact tab on the homepage that brings the user to the contact form.

07.5_indybudget_screenshots

However, while this contact form is already more robust than Convert Files, its dearth of information too barely counts as an instantly trustworthy method of contact.

08_indybudget_contact

It Takes Money

Unique to IndyBudget, amongst its peers within this set of borderline 0.325 Low Credibility products, is that it has a paid subscription component.

09_indybudget_subscribe

IndyBudget is a web product, with weak fundamentals of Credibility, that wants your money. At the current level of Credibility establishment, this is a good deal to be asking of any user.

The basis of IndyBudget’s Credibility resides in a lack of typos and having a contact form. With Low Credibility, asking for any amount of money, asking for any credit card information, is a tremendous hurdle over which to coax your consumers.

Should Do

This is a product with exciting upside potential. But, it must firmly establish its Credibility within the competitive market of online financial products. A financial product must aim higher when establishing and growing its Credibility; even more critical for a product that wants your money.

To create the needed Credibility, IndyBudget needs to lay crucial cornerstones. Such as…

  • Provide both email and telephone contact information,
  • Display your physical address, and
  • Show the people that stand behind this product (and how to speak with them).

IndyBudget should definitely go beyond these basics in building up its Credibility; as should any product hoping to be a repository for such critically sensitive information as an individual’s finances or requesting any credit card payments. Additional constructive steps IndyBudget should consider are…

  • Provide details about the security of the environment within which this data is stored
  • Present a simplified explanation of the treatment of financial, as well as credit card, data
  • Better convey why IndyBudget exists, its long- and short-term goals for the company and for the consumer
  • Launch a blog that keeps users up-to-date on relevant events and goals
    • Note: This blog should not sound nor feel like a robot writing. Make it real; enable your consumers to connect and feel connected to the real individuals behind IndyBudget.

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

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The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (May 15, 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_earlystage

On Starting Up…

http://www.thedeal.com/dealscape/2009/05/new_venture_funds_focus_on_the.php
Venture funds displaying renewed focus on early-stage startups.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.uie.com/articles/experiencedesign
On the invisibility of great designs.

02_not-seen
03_quirksmode

On Modular Innovation…

http://www.quirksmode.org/blog/archives/2009/04/google_presenta.html
Modular Innovation in the mobile web, by way of W3C Widgets.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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Unforward ToRSS

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 the second of a set of three products that just barely (and almost) achieved a Low Credibility value of 0.325.

Low Credibility

In the set of examples of Low Credibility, that we are exploring, each demonstrates a severe lack in fundamentals. Interesting to this group is the fact each just barely (or almost) achieved the Quick-UX Credibility value of 0.325, resulting from…

No obvious typos, and
Some form (some very minimal) method of contact provided.

Example 2: ToRSS

ToRSS is a product that enables users to receive their email via RSS.

04_torss_homepage

This is a nifty product for those with non-personal email within non-personal email accounts.

What? You say you don’t get much non-personal email.

Another likely reaction of any user to this product is…

What?! You want me to enter my email address and password? And, who are you? LOL

Credibility is always important. And, in this case, Credibility is critical. ToRSS is requiring their users trust them enough to provide an email address, an email password and full access to all the user’s email.

The good news is that there is an email address provided to contact the product’s creators.

05_torss_contact

However, this very non-descript means of contact is surrounded by no context clues as to who or what is being emailed.

The only other link that may provide some basic information is the link…

"Thanks for desing"

Possibly mistaken as thanking the individual(s) who created this page, it merely links to another template website. And, upon a bit of word un-jumbling, one is likely to realize that ‘desing’ is not the name of the individual, nor the group, responsible for the creation or look-and-feel, but rather a typo for the word ‘design.’ Until this realization, this was a product with a Low Credibility value of 0.325, but when a product, that already has very few ties to anything from without, goes about trying to thank another organization, and fumbles the attempt with a typo, any meager credit held along that element of Credibility vanishes, resulting in an adjusted Credibility value of 0.175. It’s too bad that even in ToRSS’s attempt to connect to something potentially more real than themselves, achieving some Credibility by association, falls flat since they misspelled the link.

Should Do

Prior to the typo adjustment, the Credibility value was already very low. The elements that contributed to the Credibility value were already a very weak foundation, especially when taken together with the necessity of High Credibility associated with sharing an email account and its password.

ToRSS has a high requirement for Credibility and, therefore, has a good deal more to do to build it up and maintain it. After fixing the silly, careless typo, the product needs to go about establishing the facts that not only are there real people behind this real organization, and they are reachable, but that all this confidentially sensitive email information is treated with the utmost of care within a secured environment.

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

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The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (May 8, 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_startup

On Starting Up…

http://www.readwriteweb.com/readwritestart/2009/05/10-things-be-clear-about-before-start-company.php
Are you ready to … start-up?

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2009/05/05/designinspiration-magazines/
Finding design inspiration in magazines.

02_magazines
03_post-destination

On Modular Innovation…

http://www.micropersuasion.com/2009/05/the-end-of-the-destination-web-era.html
What will the future hold for advertising in post-destination, Modular Innovation, driven web?

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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Skeptical Convert

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 the first of a set of three products that just barely (and almost) achieved a Low Credibility value of 0.325.

Low Credibility

In the set of examples of Low Credibility, that we are exploring, each demonstrates a severe lack in fundamentals. Interesting to this group is the fact each just barely (or almost) achieved the Quick-UX Credibility value of 0.325, resulting from…

No obvious typos, and
Some form (some very minimal) method of contact provided.

Example 1: Convert Files

This professional looking product appears to have it all, from features to simplicity. But, the most important thing Convert Files lacks is Credibility.

00_convertfiles_homepage

There is little information of any sort that would allow an individual to trust this product with anything personal or sensitive. Most everything that the site has to say is said on the homepage. There is nothing personal, or otherwise, that exists to convince people that there may not be some ulterior motive.

Form of Contact

Convert Files does get positive credit for having a contact form. Barely.

01_convertfiles_contact

This means of contacting the product’s owner(s) is the most generic, barest minimum of contact forms. I was initially inclined to not count the contact form due to the lack of overall Credibility and utter lack of language used in describing it. This form is so under represented it is a wonder that anyone would even dare enter the minimal information (name, email address, message) required to try to establish a credible conversation.

Slightly Ad-ed

Ads don’t help the Credibility issues here. But, for this product, with this function and layout, the advertisements do not nearly have as damaging an impact on the site’s Credibility as those ads found at Likexo.

02_convertfiles_ads

Tricky "Tabs"

The page layout, too, is very deceptive. Many of the tabs on the top of the page merely link to sections within the page body.

03_convertfiles_tabs

The top navigation of the page follows a very standard user experience design pattern of tabbed page navigation. However, the behavior exhibited is not the expected behavior of tabs. This implementation creates an experience that just doesn’t feel right. And if there were ever a contest for the best example of dishonest design and user interaction, this product’s navigation would be in the running.

This sort of interaction damages a product’s Credibility, if not overtly, then often on a more subconscious level. Those behind this product would benefit from choosing to either present all of the information indicated by the ‘tabs’ on separate pages, or change the interactive design for intra-page navigation.

Should Do

After establishing a (much) more credible experience, Convert Files could make great strides in consumer value by building upon the trust and making individuals comfortable with using this service for ANY file. But, before that value can be found, let’s start with some bios and a more robust means by which to contact this organization.

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

Add to Social Bookmarks: Stumbleupon Del.ico.us Furl Reddit Magnolia Google Add to Mixx!

The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (May 1, 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_vc-math

On Starting Up…

http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2009/04/the-venture-capital-math-problem.html
Excellent analysis of the Venture Capital’s math problem. (note: be sure to read the great comments)

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/04/27/good-online-experience-leads-to-more-donations-for-nonprofits
On the contribution of a good User Experience leading to greater donations at non-profit websites.

02_nonprofit-ux
03_yql

On Modular Innovation…

http://blog.programmableweb.com/2009/04/30/yahoos-yql-makes-the-internet-your-database/
Yahoo’s YQL Modular Innovation knitting together other Modular Innovations of the Web.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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