We’re Boston-Bound! Join Us At The Upcoming UX Fest On October 1

Posted on Monday, September 9, 2013
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It’s hard to believe just how fast this year is flying by. August was a great month for us on the Events front — we had an awesome opportunity to speak at two Bay Area events and one Seattle event.

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So today, it’s with great excitement that we announce our next stop — the great city of Boston! On October 1st, Kyle will speak at the inaugural UX Fest. Here’s what the UX Fest is all about, per the conference website:

Of all the products, brands, and services that we encounter daily, it’s the ones that offer a superior user experience that keep us coming back. UX Fest is a one day conference that explores how outstanding experiences are built.

This year, Kyle will present the keynote at the event, and provide an hour-long workshop to conference attendees. We’re excited to head out to Boston and meet all of the awesome conference attendees, speakers and friends.

The conference is broken out into three separate tracks — Design and Behavior, Business and Branding, and Development and Optimization. A full schedule, including speaker bios and talk topics, are available on the conference sessions page.

If you’re interested in attending this year’s UX Fest, the awesome Fresh Tilled Soil team provided us with a conference discount code. Head on over to the Eventbrite page, and use the discount code “youeye10.” Feel free to use it to get 10% off your conference ticket.

If you can’t join us in Boston, don’t fret. We have a number of other speaking engagements in the coming months, so stay tuned to the YouEye Blog to stay up to date on where we’ll be speaking next.

And remember, we’re always available to speak at your meetup or company — email forrest (at) youeye (dot) com if you’re interested in learning more!

(Photo Credit: UX Fest)

6 Tips For Writing Great Copy That Delights Your Users

Posted on Friday, September 6, 2013
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When you’re developing your product, you’re likely prioritizing your design, development and testing. There’s a good chance that the copy may be among the last things you consider as you go about your product development process.

However, the written content that you produce and use greatly affects the quality of your product’s UX. Whether it’s the introductory paragraph on your product’s home page, or the verbiage on the interactive elements in a mobile app — the words you choose to use matter a great deal.pen-and-paper

Here are some copywriting tips to improve your product’s UX through good copy.

Pay attention to grammar

In our modern world of texting, informal emails and colloquial acronyms, many people argue against the importance of grammar. However, the rules of our language are there for one very important reason: Clarity. The entire point of your product’s copy is to communicate with your users, and if they are confused by grammatical errors in your copy, it hurts the overall user experience.

Simplify your copy

As mentioned above, it’s crucial for your copy to be clear. Often times, the simpler your copy is, the clearer it will be.

The average American reads between 8th and 9th grade proficiency, according to a Harvard Study. To give this statistic some context, most newspapers are written for readers at the 9th-through-12th grade level.

Clarify uncommon terms, avoid unnecessary acronyms and jargon, and write in an approachable way. You don’t want to scare off any potential users.

Pay special attention to interactive copy

Copy that describes or introduces is important, but when you’re relying on a piece of copy to guide your users around your page or to lead them through an important step (checkout, for example), it deserves special attention. Make sure that button labels are clear and specific, and that the copy that defines links to different parts of the product are accurate.

Edit, edit, and edit again

The most important step in producing successful copy is editing. First, the writer should edit her own copy. After the writer is satisfied, at least two others should proof, and provide feedback on, the copy.

It often takes a fresh set of eyes to identify errors, and if you don’t catch them, your users certainly will.

Test new copy in context

Just like new interfaces need to be tested, it’s a good idea to test new copy, too. Have subjects read the copy in the context of the product. Make sure that interactive copy (button labels, links, etc.) does what it is intended to do, and that people aren’t confused or mislead by it.

Employ a professional

These tips considered, you wouldn’t dream of leaving the coding of your product up to anyone other than a professional — and the same should go for your product’s copy. Though most people are able to write, professional copywriters have skills and experience that allow them to produce high-quality, grammatically correct and relevant copy for your product.

If it’s not within your company’s budget to employ a copywriter on a full time basis, consider hiring a freelancer for your larger projects.

Madden 25 “Running Back Sons” Commercial: How Did Our Participants React?

Posted on Thursday, September 5, 2013
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Since the 1980’s, the Madden NFL video game series has been favored by video game players and football fans alike. Released just over one week ago in the US, the game’s advertisement is already a big hit.

With the new NFL season almost upon us, we asked a few of our amazing participants what they think about the new commercial for the popular video game franchise. With over 3,000 YouTube upvotes, we had a good feeling that our participants would like it. The spot was created by the San Francisco-based Heat.

Check out the study here and watch the videos, hear the feedback and see the survey data for yourself!

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 12.54.33 PM

Study demographics

While Madden is a timeless game and enjoyed by many, we focused our demographic on a younger age group for this study. Participants ranged from age 23 to 31.

Here’s the full breakdown:

Age: 18-33
Job: Any job
Gender: Any gender
Income: Any income

Participant feedback

Benny, 31
Job: Marketing Manager
Gender: Male

Benny seems to fit the mold of what you would imagine an average Madden player would be like. He is clearly familiar with the series of games and follows sports to some degree (he mentions 49er’s QB Colin Kaepernick by name). Based on the laughter and positive emotions he experiences – the advertisement definitely appeals to Benny as he watches.

Benny describes his feelings towards the commercial: “It’s a funny ad, usually it’s kind of focused on one person, but I think it talks to the fact that Madden has been around forever. People who started off playing it now have kids that are playing it, it’s cross-generational.”

It is clear through Benny’s feedback that the commercial successfully hypes up the series’ legacy and elicits a positive response.

Jose, 23
Job: Graduate Student, Teaching Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant
Gender: Male

Jose’s overall impression of the advertisement is very positive.

“I think the ad is really funny. I really like the fact that it does a 25 year overview, not from the perspective of the game, but from the perspective of the people that actually play the game. I think that is really innovative. It shows that there is a human connection with the game itself”.

Jose highlights some key pros of the advertisement. The biggest one? The commercial seems to successfully create a nostalgic feeling amongst players.

“I feel like this ad is trying to do one of two things: It’s trying to capture the attention of the people who played Madden back in the 1980’s and 1990’s so that you can recapture that memory, recapture that spirit of playing Madden.”

For those who may not be as familiar with the Madden franchise, the historical aspect is an important highlight:

“Also, this commercial tells new players that this is a game with a legacy. After seeing the advertisement I actually do want to get the video game. This made me really want to get back to it.”

Fans who may have gravitated away from the Madden series in recent times may feel compelled to buy the game this year and give it another shot.

Aisha, 30
Job: Entrepreneur
Gender: Female

“It’s a funny ad. If I was sitting in my living room I would think it’s really funny. It’s really light-hearted, and it really shows how much time and effort they put into Madden games. I think they are really focusing on players who have a lot of ability, who are at the top of the game, and throw a comic edge in there. I feel they are not only a serious company, but they are funny too. It makes them look good.”

We find out from Aisha’s response that the commercial successfully grabs the attention of non-Madden players. The most amazing thing though is that the commercial makes Aisha want to purchase the game.

“I would actually be interested in buying it even though I don’t play sports and video games, but I would be interested in this because it looks funny, it looks interesting. I would actually buy this based on the ad.”

Key takeaways

  • The Madden series seems to elicit positive responses from all of our participants across the board.
  • All participants felt the desire to buy the product after watching the advertisement.
  • All participants felt a certain amount of respect or nostalgia towards the series.
  • Overall advertisement rating: 6 out of 7 (high).

What do you think?

The Madden NFL series seems to have achieved victory with their new commercial to advertise the 25th installment of their game. There are few bad words to be said amongst our participants, and everyone looks ready to get in the game.

Now, we want to hear it from you. Do you like the commercial? Does it make you want to purchase this year’s version of the game? Let us know what you think in the comments.

YouEye Defines: Concept Testing

Posted on Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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When your team embarks on new product development, the first step is the brainstorming (or ideation) phase.

Lots of new ideas get tossed around, discussion ensues, boxes and arrows are drawn, and things can get pretty serious very quickly.

Eventually, you’ve built up quite a list, and the list gets narrowed down. You pick out a few ideas and generate mockups and page sketches, and your concepts begin to take shape.

Before your team starts fleshing things out with code, you may want to get some insights or feedback on your concepts. How might people respond to your new product? What elements really work, and where are the weaker points? Identifying these early on can help save valuable design and development time down the road.lightbulb

What is Concept Testing?

Concept Testing is a research method that can get you usable feedback before you have a live product or website — or even a prototype. All you need are sketches, mockups or some other basic visualization of your idea, and you can begin collecting valuable feedback.

How does it work?

Here’s an example of a simple concept test, specifically called the five-second test:

1. Take your team’s new screen sketches and a bag of delicious candy, and go to your Wednesday night knitting/gaming/book club.

2. Go up to somebody and use the candy you brought to incentivize them to participate. Even if you’re testing multiple sketches, let the participant know that the designs will be presented in a rapid order.

3. Show each sketch for five seconds, then turn it over. Ask them to tell you what about it (phrases, elements, etc.) they remember. What stuck with them, and why?

4. Then, repeat the experiment with each of your sketches, and each of your participants, until you run out of candy.

The great thing about this concept test is that it gets you valuable qualitative data. If you perform concept testing long enough, you’ll learn enough about your ideas to gain a good hunch as to which ones would resonate with your target audience.

Once you’ve collected your data, you can analyze the results and discover significant and helpful patterns. Of course, not all concept testing has to be as simple and down-home as the example above. Controlling specific factors, such as the demographics of your study group, and the way in which you pose your questions, can give you more focused results.

Why is it valuable?

Identifying trends in the elements of your sketch that stick with your test subjects can help you determine your concept’s strengths and weaknesses. If, for example, your concept is meant to raise funds for a non-profit, and no one notices the call-to-action for donation, then you might need to reconsider your design.

Identifying these weak points before any coding takes place allows your production team to focus on what really matters, saving time and money. Concept tests can get you on the right track with relevant user feedback from the earliest stages of development.

(Photo Credit: Digital Sherpa)

Best Practices For User Testing Your Mobile Applications And Websites

Posted on Tuesday, September 3, 2013
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Whether you’re building a mobile website, product or service, it’s crucial to get the testing component right. Most mobile products need to be tested several times before they can be released — and user testing can often seem like a large hurdle to overcome.

Some questions you may be asking yourself: How do you get effective feedback on what you’ve built? What strategies can you use to observe people’s decisions and preferences when they are interacting with your experience? How can you get the most out of your user research to surface great ideas and learn where to iterate next?

apptesting

Here are some important tips to make your mobile experience the best it can be:

Start your testing early. Testing a beta version of your mobile app is great. But ideally, you want to start testing even earlier — even as early as the ideation stage of your product development process.

The reactions from potential users to your rough designs and early concepts can inspire radical growth in your creative process.

Test where it matters. If you’re building a consumer-facing app, it’s important to keep your target user’s natural environments in mind. Public places like food courts, coffee shops, malls, and tourist locations are some places where people pull out their mobile device to use apps and websites.

Testing in the field will expose your research to real-world factors like noise, light, and motion that don’t exist in a controlled environment. Not only that, but crowds contain the most critical resource for testing: Test subjects.

We’ve already covered user testing at events here on the YouEye blog. Remote unmoderated testing tools can also be used in these spaces to gather user research results and learn more about your target user.

For reeling in testers: Use a great pickup line. People are busy. When sharing your product with others, if you don’t capture someone’s attention within the first 10 seconds, you’ll lose out on a lot of opportunities.

Regardless if you’re reeling in new testers for your study, or just telling a person about what you do: Put together a concise, possibly funny one-liner and practice pitching it.

Incentivize people. Ever run a usability test at Starbucks? One of the fastest way to get user feedback on an idea, design or prototype is to offer to buy the tester a coffee. If it’s in your budget, invest in incentives for a better chance at engaging your audience.

Use the buddy system. Bring a colleague to help you document. Depending on the size and scope of the test you run, it can be challenging to observe and take notes at the same time, so a partner is key. A second observer will notice things you might miss, making your tests more effective. He/she could also run a camcorder or other recording device.

Consider the jargon used by the tester. As a UX professional, it’s crucial to learn the vocabulary of your target customer. Make sure you’re simplifying things, eliminating unnecessary details, and defining terms when necessary.

Keep it short and sweet. When testing mobile experiences, it’s important to curtail your experiments. Clearly state how much time is required for a mobile test, so participants understand what will be required before they hop into your study.

Here at YouEye, most of our studies last anywhere from 12-15 minutes. Depending on the depth of what you plan to test, consider breaking up your study into shorter segments so that participants spend their attention on providing valuable feedback, rather than trying to understand where your study is going.

Let your participants do the work for you. Remember, user-centered design matters, and your participants have valuable insights to share. Instead of defining detailed tasks and questions, consider letting your participants run free and use the mobile app or website at will.

You may learn exactly what needs to be changed by allowing your participants to interact with your experience as they go.

(Photo Credit: Soasta)