The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (July 31, 2009)

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

01_forced-sale

On Starting Up…

http://www.thefunded.com/funds/item/5822
An honest and clear look at VC leverage.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://lifehacker.com/5324095/first-look-at-firefox-40-design-mockups
An early look at the FireFox’s next generation experience.

02_firefox-next
03_avc

On Modular Innovation…

http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2009/07/making-the-web-smarter.html
Some of the challenges facing Modular Innovation.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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Upfront: Etsy

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 Strong Credibility, with a value above 0.8.

Strong Credibility

Etsy, the handmade maketplace, performed the best out of all of the products in this series, being the only product to achieve a value within the range of Strong Credibility, 0.825.

00_etsy_homepage

This product is a strong example of how to correctly lay the foundation of Credibility. For this article, I am going to walk through each specific line of the Quick-UX Credibility rubric and show how this product addressed each one.

No Obvious Typos

If no obvious typos are found throughout the product, the Credibility variable (whose value starts at zero) is incremented by 0.15, as it was in this case for this product. The obviousness of typos I have addressed throughout this series. Basically, if you cannot find either…

…within 5-10 minutes of looking then it is typically good to assess that there are No Obvious, Credibility-damaging Typos.

Contact Information Provided

Visitors to a product should always have at least a generic means by which to reach out to the product; whether it be for support, sharing ideas, reporting problems, or other reasons that the product’s users need to communicate with the product’s maintainers / creators that may not have been thought of. A generic means of contact can be such things like a…

  • simple contact form, or
  • a generic email address (e.g. support @ product.com ).

And, when at least one of these items occurs, as it did here, the Credibility variable is incremented by 0.175.

01_etsy_contact-email

Etsy provides a plethora of channels by which users can reach out to the people behind the product. Beyond the exhaustive list of departmental email address, this product allows people to communicate ‘On Etsy’ through forums and the blog…

02_etsy_contact-on_etsy

…as well as ‘Elsewhere on the Web’…

03_etsy_contact-social

Physical Address

A physical address, whether it be for a brand new startup or an established organization, bolsters the consumer confidence through a demonstration of resolute tenacity to survive, to thrive, to keep this product going, as well as commitment to the product (and, in turn, its consumers).

In the online world, where products come and go, where some pop-up one day, and are never looked at by their creators again, a physical address is a valued component of Credibility. While showing a physical address, like many of the other line items in this rubric, does not provide a guarantee, it does lay the groundwork for and extend the air of trust between the consumer and the product the consumer is inspecting.

This product, in addition to the other contact information already provided, presents a clearly visible, easy to find address (where they often hold workshops), resulting in the incrementing of the Credibility variable by another 0.25.

04_etsy_contact-pysical

Team & Background

Real products have real people behind them. Showing the individuals, the team, that makes this product what it is, demonstrates they are proud of what they created and are confident to stand behind it. Putting your name and reputation on the line for your latest endeavor always engenders increased trust and faith in your commitment to making the product the best it can be, and work for your consumers.

Showing the people behind the product by providing a name alongside a bio (names with bios are less likely to be imaginary and are more verifiable, should one wish to take the initiative) results in the incrementing the Credibility variable by 0.125.

Etsy is unique in their approach to providing information about the real team members. They are unique in both the …

…breadth and depth in the presentation of individuals on each team (you really feel like you are seeing and learning about everyone in every department that makes this product what it is)…

05_etsy_people

…and the "flavor" and variety of background biographical information.

06_etsy_people-flavor

A quick scan of this ‘About’ page resulted in finding…

17 handwritten questionnaires,
21 more detailed bios, and
many more bios findable via the blog.

07_etsy_detailed-bios 08_etsy_blog

 

The handmade, handwritten questionnaires, and the diversity of biography, present a welcomed and uniquely human touch (also very much inline with their target market of all things handmade) further reinforcing and strengthening this product’s Credibility.

Direct Contact

The Credibility variable is incremented another 0.125 if, beyond the listed individuals and bio’s, direct contact information is also presented along the biographical information, as it is for the members of Etsy, including the CEO.

09_etsy_ceo

While the method of direct contact does not exist for all members, can be somewhat difficult to find for others, and a user must be logged in to avail themselves of this level of contact, the information and functionality is present alongside the bio’s of the listed employees.

Calling Etsy

Almost a perfect example of Credibility. Almost. Typically, a product is more likely to show a phone number than a physical address; and if a physical address is displayed, you are almost guaranteed to see a phone number. Almost, because while providing a physical address, no phone number for Etsy was able to be found. If there is one, it is buried so deep, and obscured so much as to not come up in a Quick-UX evaluation whose fundamental goals are to…

"provide a rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX)."

Maybe a phone number is just not logistically possible for Etsy. They do already have a very strong foundation of Credibility upon which to further their reputation and their buyer / seller communities. Should Etsy desire to achieve a 1.0, incrementing their Credibility value another 0.175, it would serve to cement an already present, firmly solid, air of Credibility.

Should Do

Beyond the issues that can be addressed surrounding the telephone number, there exists room for improvement of the means and methods of direct contact.

The vigorous and very lively community would benefit from…

  • making the direct contact information more accessible, through easier access on the ‘About’ page, and
  • enabling individuals without accounts, without the need for logging into the product, to take advantage of the direct messaging capabilities.

Short of these improvements, this product, Etsy, is already on a very solid foundation of Strong Credibility, with a final value of 0.825.

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 (July 24, 2009)

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

01_zappos

On Starting Up…

http://www.pehub.com/45388/zappos-ceo-wanted-to-stay-independent-sequoia-wanted-liquidity%E2%80%94sources/
On Tony Hsieh’s, CEO of Zappos, experience with feeling the pressure of VC’s.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_usable_is_the_mobile_web.php
A look at the usability and challenges facing the mobile experience.

02_mobile-web
03_enterprise

On Modular Innovation…

http://blog.programmableweb.com/2009/07/23/enterprise-mashups-continue-to-gain-momentum-as-part-of-enterprise-20/
Modular Innovation penetrating the enterprise.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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ThumbTack Color

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 two general examples of products with Average Credibility values, from 0.45 – 0.75.

Average Credibility

Example 2: ThumbTack

The skimpy homepage of ThumbTack, an online marketplace for local services, does little in contributing to the establishment of this Credible product earning a Quick-UX Credibility value of 0.75.

00_thumbtack_homepage

For whatever paucity of information that is emblematic of the homepage, the movie tour of the product is more than able to compensate.

01_thumbtack_tour

This product impressively presents a humanly warm and comprehensive Contact page consisting of…

Email contact information,
Telephone contact information, and
Even the often elusive corporate physical address.

02_thumbtack_contact

Really

When it comes to a web product and Credibility, a basic concept that I keep repeating over and over, is presenting an accurate sense of the "real." Show that there are real people behind the product, that there is a real place that these people go to work. ThumbTack gives no sense of the real people behind it, within it, etc. While there is a lot of talk about being "happy to answer your questions," via a broad range of communication channels, there is no establishment anywhere throughout this product as to who exactly this "us" really is.

03_thumbtack_contact-zoom

Should Do

On yet another product in this series we can see an ‘About’ page that does very well in explaining the product, one part of the multi-part user expectation when ‘About’ is presented.

04_thumbtack_about

This product would greatly benefit from expanding the ‘About’ page to also include the ‘Us’ components of…

Team member names,
Member bios, and
Team member contact information.

While not directly impacting the Quick-UX Credibility value, there are aesthetic qualities of the homepage that could be tweaked to advance a more Credible User Experience. For example, moving the movie tour to the homepage would better establish and convey, within the new visitor’s first instant, upon arrival, the answers to the product’s how’s and what’s and why’s, and be a stronger element in laying the groundwork for a believable product.

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 (July 17, 2009)

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

01_trenches

On Starting Up…

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/editors_pick_six_reasons_to_stick_with_your_startu.php
Be inspired to stick with your startup dreams.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2009/07/the-future-of-money-richard-smith-and-the-dollar-redeign-project.html
On making money, and making it look cool.

02_making-money
03_identities

On Modular Innovation…

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/web_of_identities_making_machine-accessible_people_data.php
On the web of identities of Modular Innovation.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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MakingOf Credibility

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 two general examples of products with Average Credibility values, from 0.45 – 0.75.

Average Credibility

Example 1: MakingOf

On the low end of the Average Credibility range is MakingOf, founded, in-part, by Natalie Portman, as a social network for people interested in the movie making industry.

00_makingof_homepage

As previously highlighted, a contact form is an acceptable, credible means by which a company can be contacted.

01_makingof_contact-form

And, while I was able to find very few obscure typos, none would rise to the occasion of being considered to be of the Obvious variety.

02_makingof_privacy-policy

Celebrity

Celebrity founders confer valuable Credibility-boosting cachet upon the projects that they touch. Typically, with celebrity backed products, it is understood that the celebrity will be quite busy (with all their celebrity ‘duties’) and are expected to have little time to work directly on the product. As a result, beyond the positive impact on the Quick-UX Credibility value, the presentation of a comprehensive team, accompanied by individual biographies, contributes greatly to nurturing an atmosphere of trust and shared confidence.

03_makingof_about-us

Should Do

Having a celebrity on the founding team is a major shot in the arm, especially when it comes to Credibility. However, having…

A physical address, and
More direct means of contacting important members of the company…

… would go a long way in establishing this product’s Credibility and raising its Average Credibility value of 0.45.

New users are more comfortable participating in an online community if it is clear that the community is not a momentary whim (of a celebrity), but a real product, with a real address, with real ways to reach out to team members, that is also intended to last.

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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UPDATE: Refreshed Likexo

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.

Quick-UX is a method that I have developed and refined over time and frequently utilize when quick assessments are best suited to the task.

Quick Indeed

In this latest series on Credibility, 2 products were chosen as worthy representatives of specific Credibility values, and explored in the articles…

Unbelievable Likexo, and

Puzzling Pogby.

And, shortly, excitingly, after these articles were posted I received appreciative comments from their respective CEO’s, as well as an invitation to take a look at the rapid improvements to their products that these articles spawned. This week, I decided to revisit Likexo.

Real Progress

The earlier state of the Likexo product resulted in an assessment of No Credibility and a Quick-UX Credibility value of0 (zero).

00_new-likexo_homepage

I received heartfelt email from Cristian Venture, CEO at Likexo.com…

"Hello Jeremy,

I’m Cristian Ventura, from Likexo (yes, i am a real person! ;-)) and i have read your blog post about Credibility (that one in that you kill us ;-)), and I wanna thank you about that.

Reading your post was very hard, but as any member of the Likexo team, I really appreciate all the feedback that help us to grow (at least) any little step.

We are a really early Start Up, and we know that we have a lot of work to do to improve our site, but we are really passionate about our job! :-)

In this week (with other features) we improved the "about us" of our site, and we like to show you the new info about us.

Thanks for get the time to inspect Likexo and give us our feedback. If you got more things to comment about Likexo or how can we improve some things, are you free to contact us. :-)

Regards,

Cristian Ventura

CEO @ Likexo.com "

… to which I could do nothing short of taking an eager look at the latest improvements. The results of the evaluation and side-by-side, before and after, comparison follows.

Rule

Value

Before Changes

After Changes

No Obvious Typos

+0.15

no

yes

General Contact Info Provided

+0.175

no

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

+0.175

no

yes

Physical Address

+0.25

no

no

About Us w/ Team Member Bios

+0.125

no

yes

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

+0.125

no

yes

       

Total

 

0

0.75

Credibility

 

None

Average

The before and after results are as different as night and day. Likexo went from a product presenting an air of dubiousness to one emanating solid credibility.

Not only do all the previously found typos appear to be eliminated, but…

…general and telephone contact information is readily accessible on the ‘About us’ page, and…

01_new-likexo_contact

…background and direct contact information for the Likexo team is provided.

02_new-likexo_team

Somewhat Direct

The downside to the direct contact information is that you have to be logged-in to see and avail oneself of it. Such a direct means of contact is borderline acceptable in meeting the requirement for ‘team member bios with direct contact information’ (It would be much better to always see the ‘Contact’ button, even if the non-logged-in user, upon clicking this button, is immediately prompted to log-in. Even better — let people, logged-in and not, be able to directly contact team members.)

Awesome!

This outstanding improvement is a great demonstration of just how easy, with passionate and eager people behind a real product, it is for products to create that sound foundation of Credibility upon which to build a company and a brand. I am, for one, looking forward to many new and exciting developments coming out of Likexo as they evolve and grow.

And perhaps best summed up in the words of Cristian Ventura, Likexo’s CEO,

“Quick-UX in particular is very quick and simple, and can serve as a guide to improve many products."

"Likexo is an early stage start-up, and we know that we have many things to improve every day, but we are making a great effort to create an application in which people can find useful information and express all the things that they like."

Quick & Useful

Throughout this series I have been 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 Google Add to Mixx!

The Product Guy’s Weekend Reading (July 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_pricing

On Starting Up…

On charging your customers sooner, rather than later.
http://www.undertheradarblog.com/blog/why-you-should-charge-money-sooner-rather-than-later/

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

Good rebuttal to Jacob Neilson’s desire to ‘Stop Password Masking.’
https://blogs.sans.org/appsecstreetfighter/2009/06/28/response-to-nielsens-stop-password-masking/

02_password-masking
03_connections

On Modular Innovation…

On early trends on Modular Innovation.
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/something_new_in_2009.php

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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