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.

image

#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.

image 

#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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theproductgroup_logo_200909_thumb75
balsamiq_logo2_thumb26

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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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

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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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