The Product Guy: Superfine in 09

Snowman&Bell The Product Guy had another superfine year in 2009, sharing and exploring products, their experiences, and many innovative startups and the founders behind them, while getting to meet and speak with many of The Product Guy’s steadily growing readership.

And, as 2009 comes to a close, as I did last year, let’s take a brief look at the top posts that made this year on The Product Guy so totally superfine….

 

#9 Quick-UX Credibility from Likexo to Etsy

Quick-UX Credibility is a measure of the starting point, the foundation of a product’s Credibility. A look at the popular (and not so popular) examples of web product Credibility online.

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

The World’s Best Programmer wants respect.

And, respect is just one of those conditions prevalent within the environment of the World’s Best Programmer. In this last post in the series The Product Guy reveals just who exactly is World’s Best Programmer, and where/how they thrive!!

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#7 Converted by an Android. A short story of Gmail, in parts.

Part 1 in a series exploring the eventual adoption of Gmail in one’s daily life, by one once thoroughly addicted to, dependent on, the primarily client-based solution of Microsoft’s Outlook, what brought about this conversion, why it took so long, and what should be done to encourage greater Gmail adoption.

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#6 jQuery Plugin: It’s CuteTime!

Many online social products, and more continue to, avoid a formal timestamp format… 2009-10-10 23:14:17 and Thu, October 29, 2004 12:14:19 PM … opting for more user friendly, "warm and fuzzy," human-readable styles… 9 days ago and 5 years ago.

As a result, the time has come for the jQuery CuteTime plugin. CuteTime goes beyond similar tools and lets you easily: convert timestamps to ‘cuter’ language-styled forms (e.g. yesterday, 2 hours ago, last year, in the future!), customize the time scales and output formatting, and dynamically update the displayed CuteTime(s) upon request and/or automatically.

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#5 The Future: Gmail, Social Media, and You

Over the past many weeks I have explored, elaborated, and exhausted the extent of the then existent exercising of resistance. Now, with such resistance eroded, drawn out through my conversion by an Android, an exploration into the Future of Gmail and the ‘Should Do’ … Readability, Simplify, Organize, Integration and Consistency.

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#4 Google: True Colors Shine Through

In answering the question of Desirability, "Do I want it?" the sub-category of Color Scheme plays an important role. Google Search is an outstanding example of a Good Color Scheme demonstrating alignment of both colors and messaging. Learn from it.

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#3 Stardoll: Lost and Naked

When you look at a web page, the various elements of the page can often be seen coalescing into distinguishable regions and groups. Intentionally structured, or otherwise, these groups that constitute the page Layout play an important role in the web product’s Desirability. Stardoll is a great example of a web product with Poor Sequential Flow.

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#2 ThreeDots: The jQuery Ellipsis Plugin

Many online products employ ellipses within their products to improve various aspects of the User Experience, such as: allowing for easy summary scanning of page content, and fitting more diversity of content into a smaller space.

As a result, the time has come for the jQuery ThreeDots plugin. ThreeDots goes beyond similar tools and lets you easily and smartly truncate text for when: text is too long, text doesn’t fit within the available space, you want to employ highly configurable and flexible ellipses within your web product.

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#1 Quick-UX. Quick Heuristics for User eXperience.

Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX), consisting of the core components of Usability (‘Can I use it?’), Usefulness (‘Should I use it?’), and Desirability (‘Do I want to use it?’). 

Quick-UX provides 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.

Growing in popularity by leaps and bounds since its original posting in 2008, this posting has earned prime placement amongst other, more recent, articles that made this year, 2009, SUPERFINE.

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This year also saw the launch of The Product Group (sponsored by Balsamiq Studios) in NYC as an opportunity for Product People of all sorts and levels of experience to meet, interact, and network, in a laid-back, conversational environment.  I am certain 2010 will bring many more exciting gatherings, discoveries, and opportunities; and for those reasons, this too, also helped make 2009 for both Product People and The Product Guy, superfine!

Group_Pic_1_20091001 DSC05663 DSC05662 DSC05661

Happy Holidays!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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Quick-UX Credibility from Likexo to Etsy

As a brief postscript to the series exploring Quick-UX and Credibility I would like to share a back of napkin sketch that I made at the beginning of the process that helped structure the series; and that I feel would be most instructive.

credibility-napkin-sketch_thumb[3]

This series’ exploration of Credibility has been a long one, but not an undeserving subject. Credibility, and being able to quickly assess it for an online product, is critical in the increasingly complex ‘web of apps.’

Likexo

00_likexo_homepage_thumb[4] 
(before / after)

None / Average
0 / 0.75

No Obvious Typos

no / yes

General Contact Info Provided

no / yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

no / yes

Physical Address

no

About Us with Team Member Bios

no / yes

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

no / yes

ConvertFiles

00_convertfiles_homepage_thumb[2] 

(Barely) Low
0.325

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

no

Physical Address

no

About Us with Team Member Bios

no

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

no

IndyBudget

06_indybudget_homepage_thumb[2] 

(Barely) Low
0.325

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

no

Physical Address

no

About Us with Team Member Bios

no

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

no

ToRSS

04_torss_homepage_thumb[2] 

(Barely) Low
0.325

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

no

Physical Address

no

About Us with Team Member Bios

no

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

no

Chart.ly

00_chartly_homepage_thumb[2] 

(Solidly) Low
0.325

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

no

Physical Address

no

About Us with Team Member Bios

no

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

no

Pogby

00_pogby_homepage_thumb[2] 
(before / after)

(Solidly) Low / Average
0.325 / 0.75

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

no / yes

Physical Address

no

About Us with Team Member Bios

no / yes

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

no / yes

TechCrunch

00_techcrunch_home_thumb[2] 

Average
0.45

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

no

Physical Address

no

About Us with Team Member Bios

yes

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

no

Mashable

00_mashable_homepage_thumb[2] 

Average
0.575

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

no

Physical Address

no

About Us with Team Member Bios

yes

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

yes

GigaOM

00_gigaom_homepage_thumb[2] 

Average
0.625

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

yes

Physical Address

no

About Us with Team Member Bios

yes

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

no

ThumbTack

00_thumbtack_homepage_thumb[2] 

Average
0.75

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

yes

Physical Address

yes

About Us with Team Member Bios

no

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

no

MakingOf

00_makingof_homepage_thumb[2] 

Average
0.45

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

no

Physical Address

no

About Us with Team Member Bios

yes

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

no

Etsy

00_etsy_homepage_thumb[2] 

High
0.825

No Obvious Typos

yes

General Contact Info Provided

yes

Telephone Contact Info Provided

no

Physical Address

yes

About Us with Team Member Bios

yes

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

yes

Quick-UX Credibility

No Obvious Typos

+0.15

General Contact Info Provided

+0.175

Telephone Contact Info Provided

+0.175

Physical Address

+0.25

About Us with Team Member Bios

+0.125

Team Member Bios have Direct Contact Information

+0.125

Quick & Useful

Quick-UX Credibility is a measure of the starting point, the foundation of a product’s Credibility. How products, and the people behind them, strengthen, or erode, their trustworthiness through their subsequent actions governs the Credibility imparted to the product’s consumers over time, through extended exposure to the product. However, this extended exposure is only achievable after these products have successfully enticed and converted their visitors into returning readers, by way of a comprehensive User Experience, in significant part due to an initial demonstration (or lack) of Credibility.

And until next week, when the exploration and discussion of products, user experience, modular innovation, startups, or perhaps something quite new, enjoy reviewing the products and ensuing discussions of this series, and see you then.

 

Enjoy!

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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