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Parents: The Forgotten User Group

Parents: The Forgotten User Group


Posted By on Jun 12, 2019

There’s an app for everything from buying a house to booking a haircut. But who do app developers think of when designing them? It seems to me that it’s not parents or families. Recently, I booked a haircut for my son and me at our local hipster barber using its online app. It’s been a helpful app in the past with good user experience. The only problem is the app assumes that you’re just booking for one, not for anybody else. When I arrived, I was informed that they were sorry, but both of us wouldn’t be able to get our hair cut at the same time. The app didn’t support it. Apparently, digital dads don’t desire department. So, I had to wait an extra half hour. It’s the end of my millennial world. But I’m not the only perplexed parent, and increasingly it seems that parents are last on the list for those in Silicon Valley. Apple has been making life difficult for parental control apps and several app makers have closed up shop as a result. These apps were designed to allow parents to limit screen time, block access to adult websites and lock down inappropriate content. But using that helpful catch-all of ‘privacy concerns’, Apple has removed much of this functionality. A cynic might suggest these services were reducing the number of use people were making of their fruit-flavoured devices, something Apple was not happy about. Disgusted that apple has removed OurPact and other parental screen time limiters from the App Store. It’s the best app on my phone! #GiveParentsControl #SaveOurPact @Apple@Tim_Cook https://t.co/MRS7d64ODM — ann reardon (@HowToCookThat) May 6, 2019 My Spotify account, although labelled a ‘family plan’, still has not installed parental filters – despite them being in existence for more than seven years and being some of the most requested features on the Spotify live-ideas page. It seems that parents just aren’t a priority. But why? Would somebody please think of the children?! Silicon Valley, and in fact the entire city of San Francisco, is comparatively childless. Inconsistency in the quality of public schools, a high cost of living, and the high-pressure environments that big tech companies create means only the rich are able to afford to raise families in the area, with many employees delaying parenthood as a result. Consequently, there is a bit of a young-family void in big tech, and the role of parents – and in fact, technology in parenting – is low on the visibility list for app developers. It seems as if parents either don’t have the technical background to understand apps or if they do, they lack the time to create...

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The ASIC rebrand cost… how much?

The ASIC rebrand cost… how much?


Posted By on Feb 19, 2019

On rare occasions, my profession gets dragged into the media spotlight. This week, my colleagues and I were inundated with requests (OK, perhaps three) for our thoughts on revelations about the cost of the ASIC logo refresh. Friends asked our opinion on whether we thought the cost was justified and they joined the chorus of “it cost how much?” commentary, with much tut-tutting over government ‘waste’. It’s easy to confuse questions of worth and cost. Value does not fit squarely within the boundaries of price and sometimes value and cost are not related in the slightest. So, when we ask, “what is a brand actually worth?” and “what does a brand cost?” – they are not the same question. A brand’s value is in the sum of its exposure, its consistent use, how recognisable it is, whether it generates positive or negative sentiment and – particularly for a first brand encounter – how it looks, feels and sounds. Brand value depends on a multitude of factors and it’s easy to confuse that with cost. So, that aside, what does a brand cost? ASIC recently paid $100,000 for its brand refresh.   ASIC’s new logo (left), compared to the previous version. Can you spot the difference? Well, of course – we all can, but the internet is in a bit of a tizzy over the cost of this logo. Actually, it’s not the cost of the logo, it’s the cost of the rebrand. It’s a crucial difference. It’s not simply the creation of an image as above, which your average home business might try to do. A logo is not a brand in itself. It’s perhaps the face to which the brand is the whole body. And to carry the analogy further, an attractive face needs a professionally-dressed and well-groomed body in order to create the right impact. A brand extends past a logo into colours that accompany the logo, the fonts used in the document, the colours and the shapes and styles used in its creation. The ASIC brand is encountered any time someone interacts with them – websites, email signatures, letterheads, with compliments slips, USB drives, signage, email newsletters, promotional items, certificates and more. There is a long list of collateral that need to be considered when a communications team roll out a new brand. If the ASIC brand is implemented incorrectly, the authority it conveys becomes lost, and might make the organisation seem unprofessional or lacking in resources. At worst, in today’s cyber-crime-infested world, people might fear they are being scammed. None of these are good impressions to make. A strict, comprehensive style guide, where all possible uses of the...

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Bad UX Design Can Be A Deal Breaker

Bad UX Design Can Be A Deal Breaker


Posted By on Feb 26, 2018

Maybe it’s just that life is too busy for delays. Maybe it’s my millennial nature, or that my life is all about design. Whatever the reason, I know I’m not alone in bad user experience being the reason behind abandoning business or consumer relationships. Here’s my story. I had been a policy-holder for several years with an insurance company, paying my monthly bills, and using their card to claim benefits without an issue. Sure, finding out I wasn’t covered for as much as I thought left a bad brand-taste in my mouth, but that was more my fault than theirs. But it was when I had to accomplish a simple task on their website that I made the decision to seek another insurer. What I thought would take me five or ten minutes, ended up being a 40-minute time waster. Then I got mad. Then I got out. The problem is that there is so much good design. You may eye roll and denounce fickle millennials for their inability to wait or work through frustration, but the truth is we’ve become familiar and even dependant on great design. Every day we use dozens of apps and services in the digital space and know these apps simply can’t survive if they have poor user experience. In addition, organisations like airports, churches, shopping centres and music festivals have been gleaning data from user habits and preferences for decades, and most are beginning to learn what customers are trying to tell them. When you are able to glide effortlessly from an Uber into an airport check-in while checking your Bitcoin balance and texting your loved ones – suddenly hitting a website or app with clunky and cumbersome user-experience design really jars. Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes. Please. If you don’t want your brand associated with feelings of anger and dislike, then it’s a good idea to stop and take stock of your customer processes. It’s a great idea to try putting yourself into your customer, client or prospective customer’s shoes. Write a list of tasks they need to complete in their dealings with your business, and then try to complete those tasks. Even better, get a family member or someone unfamiliar with your business processes to do the tasks. Make some observations about the process: How easy do they find the tasks to accomplish? How long do they expect this process to take? How long did it actually take? Which parts of your process were unclear? We’ve seen the future, it’s well designed and it’s not too late or too expensive to get on board. —– Originally published at The...

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5 Ways To Improve your User Experience

5 Ways To Improve your User Experience


Posted By on Oct 10, 2016

User experience is about being curious, asking a lot of questions and challenging assumptions. You can ask yourself these 5 things to help you identify how better to improve your user experience. 1.Have I Got Quantitative Data To Backup And Challenge Assumptions? This is absolutely crucial. To avoid making incorrect assumptions, real data is needed to detail how people use your site. Services like Google Analytics are very useful in tracking the behaviours of your users and finding key demographics. It’s also a good idea to have social media monitoring to track mentions of your brand; hard evidence can better inform your responses and improve your customers’ experience of your interfaces and brand. 2. Have I Got Qualitative Data? This is also very important. The team members who have their fingers on the pulse of your user group should already be listening out for their needs and frustrations. But it doesn’t hurt to ask them to rate how you are doing both informally and formally. Surveys are useful in giving your users a chance to be heard above the background noise generated by the day-to-day of everyday business. Being seen to listen to them, and then acknowledging that you have heard what they said will give your customers greater buy-in to your brand. It also gives you a chance to innovate and meet your users on the platforms they use. Happy users are referring ones. 3. Who Are The User Groups Coming To My Business Portals? The better you know the user groups coming to your site or portal – the better you can meet their needs. There is almost always more than one user group, and each one will have subsets. At Cannings Purple for example, we have investor relations, corporate communication, government relations and prospective users; but we can even go further and identify sub-groups within these or across them. From the data garnered it is helpful to create user-personas with a background, name and bio to represent each group. We do this because It helps to think of an actual person rather than a collection of data. 4. What Are The Goals Of Those User Groups And How Do They Accomplish Them? Some groups require immense amounts of detailed information, whilst others just want to skim through bite-size chunks of information. Investors will want to access results; customers may want to access their account details, or orders online. When and where are they most likely to need to achieve these goals? Is it outside office hours, or from their mobile at lunch time? Are they sitting at desks, commuting home by train, or on the road? Millennials often...

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It used to be true that creativity was confined to designers, copywriters, art directors and videographers. Businesses would hire a creative agency because they were creative and you were not. However, creativity is never siloed within the few, and has increasingly become acknowledged as vital to the success of businesses competing for clients in our new economy of innovation. Working in a creative field is no different from any other. It involves identifying challenges (in our case, visual communication problems) and solving them.  “Creatives” just have a specific skill which helps solve those problems, and I believe that most people can have their creative skills nurtured and developed like any other talent. Creativity in the real world Creativity can flourish in the most unlikely places. Reportedly there was once a city in the Netherlands that had a litter problem. Raising fines for littering was the local authority’s first course of action, but it had little effect. As is often the case, a creative solution was needed. After a failed suggestion to reward people with money to be good citizens, somebody floated the idea to modify the bins with small speakers to tell jokes whenever someone deposited rubbish. The jokes were changed every two weeks. As a result, people went out of their way to dispose of their rubbish correctly and the city became clean once again. (This is purportedly the origin of the phrase “throw-away line”).  The city transformed by a simple creative idea. Creative tools Ideas aren’t as nebulous as we think. There are some practical methods which can be applied to problem solving to come up with better ideas. Some are listed below: 1.      Compare and Contrast. Take your problem, compare it with both a previous success, and a previous problem you have problem-solved. Look for unusual similarities or differences between them; do they mean anything? 2.      Play with your problem. Don’t just take the most direct path, or stop at just one proposed solution. Allow yourself to play with a brief or a problem by interpreting it ambiguously. Brilliant unorthodox solutions are used everyday for all kinds of problems, but they have to be allowed time to be discovered and explored. 3.      Permission to fail. Creativity is a lot like playing. Bad ideas that are a little unusual can lead to brilliant ones. When brainstorming ideas, it’s a good idea to leave critiquing and filtering until later. 4.      Take a break. After you have exhausted all your ideas, work on something else or even take a nap. Our brains work while we are sleeping to make sense of our experiences for that day and can help us see problems in a fresh way. 5.      Try different angles. Skip the linear...

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Humans can be a precocious bunch, especially when it comes to their perception of brands. Companies spend tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars making sure their brand appears consistently across signage, products, marketing and customer service.  Having a consistent brand speaks volumes about your company, and contributes to your brand’s public perception, which in turn impacts your bottom line. What is true for the more traditional brand interactions mentioned above, is also true online. Here’s a checklist for the major areas that might need some scrubbing up! Google Search It’s easy to neglect thinking about your brand in the terms of a Google search. According to Google, 38% of your customers begin their purchase path with an organic search, and how Google chooses to display your company – amongst the 20 million other results – really does matter. Has your company (and all it’s offices) confirmed their address details with Google? Confirmed addresses mean a greater exposure in search results, and your business name becomes searchable in Google Maps. People generally trust Google – and if Google trusts your business, that trust is transferred. Have you uploaded a site map for your website to Google Webmaster, and are you tracking your website with Google Analytics?    Uploading a site map gives users a chance to dive deeper into your site, to find the information they want more expediently, without having to search manually through the site. Google Webmaster and Google Analytics accounts give you a lot of data from which you can extrapolate the key search terms used to find your business, and the habits of users on your site. This is what a verified business location with an uploaded site map looks like Social Media Firstly, if your company is not on social media, it’s never too late. Make sure that all your social media channels have up to date content, and imagery (like your Facebook cover image) which displays the right information on mobile, desktops and tablets. Your cover image is also a good place to advertise to new engagers with your brand – you could encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, or view your latest annual report for example. You may also want to consider giving your page a (for example) a Christmas theme for December. Sure, it’s not appropriate for all types of brands, but it communicates a brand that is active, and current – with fingers on the pulse of social media. If you’re still to take the plunge into social media, our resident expert, Jamie Wilkinson runs some fantastic Social Media Master Classes designed for senior executives, or we can...

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