From Redesigning the Government to an OpenStack of Modular Innovation

Every week I read thousands of blog posts. For your weekend enjoyment, here are some of those highlights.  What are you reading this weekend?

01_influence

On Starting Up…

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2010/07/25/understanding-the-powers-of-authority-social-proof/
On leveraging social proof to raise that next round.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.juiceanalytics.com/writing/better-federal-it-dashboard
Redesign the government to greater efficiency and clarity.

02_government
03_openstack

On Modular Innovation…

http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2010/07/26/rackspace-teams-up-with-nasa-on-open-source-cloud-project
NASA teaming up with RackSpace in an OpenStack of Modular Innovation

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

Well-Rounded Accessibility

clip_image001Accessibility is the measure of how many differently skilled/abled types of people (including individuals with disabilities) in varying locations (e.g. mobile web) can make use of a given product. There exist many, very thorough, guidelines for determining the degree to which a product adheres to accepted accessibility standards. However, many can be very complex and time-consuming, also requiring the study of a good deal of the underlying code — much of which goes against the goals of the ‘quick’ part of Quick-UX.

Quick-UX

Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). In answering the question of Usability, "Should I use it?" the sub-category of Accessibility represents one of the more complex components.

Today, we will look at 2 examples of products with Comprehensive Accessibility, with Quick-UX Accessibility values above 0.8.

Comprehensive Accessibility

Example: RoundHouse

RoundHouse is a product focused on providing system administration support to other businesses. And it’s clear that their support goes beyond the server…

00_roundhouse

RoundHouse received the following results from FAE…

01_roundhouse-results

…resulting in an Accessibility variable value of 0.904, Comprehensive Accessibility.

Should Do

02_roundhouse-h1h3 The two products highlighted within this article for Comprehensive Accessibility have both done a great job with their Accessibility implementations. But, even within the RoundHouse product there is room for improvement.

Navigation & Orientation

  • When using <H#> tags on a page, they should go in-order, and not skip heading delineations for visually stylistic convenience.

    This was found to occur on numerous pages. In each of these cases, the content of the page goes from H1 directly to a series of H3’s – when a styled H2 would have been better, and clearer.

  • Be sure to always indicate the default language for the content of the webpage. For example,

<HTML lang=”en-us” …. >

Text Equivalents

  • Always specify informative ALT text for your images.

Styling

  • The <b> element is an indication of font-type, as opposed contextual meaning. Use <H#> tags or <strong> or <em> to better convey the underlying meaning of the content.

Example: Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE)

00_fae_homepage

It’s always fun to point out how the tool, itself responsible for the quick evaluation of all the products within the Quick-UX discussion of Accessibility, should be improved to also achieve a higher value.

01_fae_results

…resulting in an Accessibility variable value of 0.976, Comprehensive Accessibility.

Should Do

The portion of the product that could be improved, while minor, as it achieved the highest score, that would have the greatest impact upon the score’s improvement, would be to focus on HTML Standards.

HTML Standards

  • Specify every page’s content type. While typically implemented, there is a noticeable occasional absence of…

<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8"/>

Quick & Usable

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

Comprehensive Accessibility [RoundHouse & FAE]
Nearly Comprehensive Accessibility [UseIt & Eboy]
Moderate Accessibility [Borders, Bloomberg & NY1]
Fair Accessibility [CNET & Drudge Report & NBC NY]
Poor Accessibility [GoodReads & Barnes and Noble]

Quick-UX Accessibility Summary, Charts & Data

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

From Seeing that Customer Experience to Scaling Twitter

Every week I read thousands of blog posts. For your weekend enjoyment, here are some of those highlights.  What are you reading this weekend?

01_optimize-messaging

On Starting Up…

http://www.rocketwatcher.com/blog/2010/07/startup-messaging.html
Optimize down your messaging by asking the right essential questions.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://goodexperience.com/2010/07/customer-experience-a-1.php
Learn how to see that customer experience.

02_visualize-experience
03_twitter-stretch

On Modular Innovation…

http://mashable.com/2010/07/21/twitter-scalability/
Twitter still testing the challenges of scaling Modular Innovation.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

The Best Product Person of 2010 is….

I thought it would be fun to hold a contest for The Best Product Person of the Year. I have no idea how it will turn out or what to expect, but here goes…

To nominate someone you think should be recognized as The Best Product Person of 2010:

 

Submit your nomination’s…

  1. name,
  2. a paragraph as to why you think they are The Best Product Person of 2010, and
  3. how they can be contacted.

You must know the Product Person, as they can expect to be contacted by me to speak with them further for consideration as The Best Product Person.

And, yes, you can nominate yourself.

At the end of the year, the winner will be selected and they will receive "something special" (to be announced very soon).

Submit your nomination today!

I am looking forward to seeing how this turns out. And, do spread the word of this new contest — the more the merrier for everyone involved.

Enjoy & Tweet!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

From Max Sketching to Surfacing Greater Information

Every week I read thousands of blog posts. For your weekend enjoyment, here are some of those highlights.  What are you reading this weekend?

01_inspire

On Starting Up…

http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/07/ten-inspiring-ted-talks-for-st.php
Infect your startup with ideas worth spreading.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://ignorethecode.net/blog/2010/07/13/max_steenbergen/
The importance of sketching taken to the Max.

02_sketch_max
03_datamining

On Modular Innovation…

http://blog.programmableweb.com/2010/07/12/mine-the-information-behind-the-search-with-these-apis/
Surface greater information with these latest Modular Innovations.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

Flavors of Product Management, Tasting 4Food & More Hotness in August!

theproductgroup_logo_200909_thumb752
balsamiq_logo2_thumb263333
sunshine_suites_logo
RymaLogoHighRes257_thumb5222

A big thank you to everyone who made it to our latest roundtable meet-up of The Product Group, as well as to our sponsors, Balsamiq Studios, Sunshine Suites, and Ryma Technology Solutions.

DSC06424Over the course of the night a few of the highlights were…

Featured Product: 4Food
exploring the product, exploring the product, its challenges and successes, from managing the supply chain of a restaurant to crafting engaging user stories
(a big thanks to the 4Food team: Rex Sorgatz, Matthew Sheppard)

Creating and Building Relationships with Customers
from the lacking characteristics of Microsoft product managers to the KPI’s of accountable visionaries

The Product Group meet-ups are an opportunity for Product People (managers, strategies, marketers, etc.) to come together to meet, interact, and network in a roundtable setting. It’s awesome to meet fellow Product People in a laid-back, conversational gathering.

DSC06434 If you are a Product Person who would like to have your product or methodology featured at an upcoming meetup of The Product Group, contact me.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone at our next meetup …

Thursday, August 5th @ 7PM
@ Pace (163 William Street, 2nd Floor, NYC)
RSVP Now!

And, stay tuned for more announcements about August’s Featured Product, Market Publique.

If you would like to attend our next meet-up, RSVP today or visit our group webpage at…

http://meetup.com/TheProductGroup

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

P.S. Interested in becoming a sponsor or host of The Product Group? contact me.

Evaluating Accessibility: The Quick-UX Way

clip_image001Accessibility is the measure of how many differently skilled/abled types of people (including individuals with disabilities) in varying locations (e.g. mobile web) can make use of a given product. There exist many, very thorough, guidelines for determining the degree to which a product adheres to accepted accessibility standards. However, many can be very complex and time-consuming, also requiring the study of a good deal of the underlying code — much of which goes against the goals of the ‘quick’ part of Quick-UX.

Quick-UX

Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). In answering the question of Usability, "Should I use it?" the sub-category of Accessibility represents one of the more complex components.

In Parts

Greater Accessibility provides greater benefits to people both with and without disabilities, from equal opportunity to facilitating perception and navigation.

There are many factors that go into achieving Comprehensive Flexibility.

Navigation
Orientation
Alternate Text
Scripting Usage
CSS Implementation
HTML Standards
and more…

As there are many factors, there are also many techniques and frameworks for evaluating them:

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)
http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/

User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG)
http://www.w3.org/TR/UAAG10/

Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards (Section 508)
http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/standards.htm

Quantified

I use a robust (and free) proxy for quickly assessing a product’s Accessibility through the use of the Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE) link. The FAE’s resultant scores are averages which, in turn, are normalized to a range from zero to one to represent the value for Quick-UX‘s Accessibility variable.

01_fae_results

For a long time I used a simple normalizing of a product’s Passes, as determined by FAE, to a 0 – 1.0 scale. Over time websites have been improving due to the increased usage of templated languages, development libraries, and the improving skillsets of web developers. As a result, I found the need to shift my scale to more readily capture the increased quality and more clearly highlight the differences between the calculated Accessibility values.

The new equation I have been using to raise this bar on website Accessibility follows:

  1. Take the average of all 5 categories of FAE determined Passes. The result is X, the normalized Pass score, and falls between 0.0 and 1.0.
  2. Shift and expand the scale. The result is Y.
    • Y = 2X -1
  3. Finally, the Quick-UX Accessibility value, QUA, is bounded:
    • QUA = Y for Y ≥ 0
    • QUA = 0 for Y < 0

See the Quick-UX Worksheet for easy, automatic calculating of the QUA (and other Quick-UX variables).

Levels

Once quantified, a product falls into 1 of 5 levels that we will be exploring and discussing in the remainder of this series on Quick-UX Accessibility. They are:

  Comprehensive Accessibility QUA > 0.8
  Nearly Comprehensive Accessibility QUA > 0.6
  Moderate Accessibility QUA > 0.4
  Fair Accessibility QUA > 0.2
  Poor Accessibility QUA ≤ 0.2

Scope

For this discussion of Quick-UX Accessibility, I evaluated over 50 products and will be exploring a select subset in greater detail in the coming articles. The distribution of the evaluated products for this series can be seen in the following chart.

clip_image003

Quick & Usable

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

Comprehensive Accessibility [RoundHouse & FAE]
Nearly Comprehensive Accessibility [UseIt & Eboy]
Moderate Accessibility [Borders, Bloomberg & NY1]
Fair Accessibility [CNET & Drudge Report & NBC NY]
Poor Accessibility [GoodReads & Barnes and Noble]

Quick-UX Accessibility Summary, Charts & Data

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

From Knitting the Startup Story to Challenging your UX Designer

Every week I read thousands of blog posts. For your weekend enjoyment, here are some of those highlights.  What are you reading this weekend?

01_story

On Starting Up…

http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/07/does-your-startup-have-a-good.php
Weaving the perfect startup story.

 
 

On Design & Product Experience…

http://www.inspireux.com/2010/07/05/challenging-conventional-assumptions-about-user-experience-design/
Challenge your UX designer today!

02_catirona
03_dokdok

On Modular Innovation…

http://mashable.com/2010/07/09/email-attachments-dokdok/
Taming file attachments with Modular Innovation, DokDok.

 

Have a great weekend!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

Automating the Path to a Better User Experience

clip_image001

I started writing about Quick-UX in 2008. Since then, I have written many detailed articles exploring, evaluating, and identifying areas of improvement for real products — along the components that make up Quick-UX. Now, through the help of Google Docs, as I did the other week with the release of the Quick-MI Worksheet, I’m sharing the Quick-UX Worksheet to make it even easier and faster for you to apply Quick-UX to your products, track progress, and share the results with your team. The Quick-UX Worksheet automatically performs all the necessary calculations and summarizes the product’s Usability, Usefulness, and Desirability for you.

00_quickux_worksheet

About Quick-UX

Quick-UX evaluates the degree to which a product successfully addresses the following 3 questions:

The elements evaluated in response to each question constitute a minimal representative subset that accurately addresses the question posed while adhering to the goals of Quick-UX.

Often, a quick assessment of User eXperience is more aptly called for. A quick assessment allows for rapid compilation of simple heuristics that can be very handy in providing…

  • a summarized view of a product’s overall User eXperience,
  • directional guidance for a product’s future development, and/or
  • metrics for comparison with other 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. The method that I describe below is a great way to build a summary description with quantifiable and comparable metrics, representing the understanding of the overall User eXperience of a product.

Instructions

The Worksheet is broken into sections based on Category as indicated by the blue row starting each.

01_blow_rows

Beneath each Worksheet Category are the variables that make up the associated category.

02_variables

To the right of the Category variable names is the Description column providing quick guidance regarding how to quantify each variable. More detailed guidance and examples can be found within article series posted on The Product Guy.

03_descriptions

The next two columns “Select One” and “Select All that Apply” contain the variable values. When a variable has values listed within the “Select One” column, only the variable that best describes the current product’s characteristic is selected and copied, within the same row, to the Total Value column.

04_consistency

When a variable has values listed within the “Select All that Apply” column, each value whose Description matches the current product is mirrored into the Total Value column.

05_credibility

The Accessibility value is calculated differently than all the other variables. The value associated with the Accessibility variable comes from the normalized result of a 3rd party application. To obtain this value we use a robust (and free) proxy for quickly assessing a product’s Accessibility through the use of the Functional Accessibility Evaluator (fae) link. The fae’s resultant scores are averages which, in turn, are normalized to a range from zero to one to represent the value for Quick-UX‘s Accessibility variable.

06_fae

The Total Values associated with each Category will automatically update…

07_total_value

… as will the Quick-UX Rating at the bottom of the table.

08_bottom

Quick-UX Summary boils it all down into one single page, from each variable value to handy visual representations.

09_summary_fullscreen

I also find it handy to use for tracking product progress over time, as well as instantly overlaying against products.

As an additional note, the Quick-UX Worksheet is pre-populated with sample data to make it easier to dive in and get started. As you assess your products, just replace/add/remove the variable values within the Total Value column to match your findings. (Remember, only modified the Total Value entries within the non-blue rows — everything else will update automatically for you.)

VIEW THE QUICK-UX WORKSHEET

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy