To convince clients about UX, it is important to speak the client’s language

‘To convince clients about UX, it is important to speak the client’s language’

David Juhlin is a Senior User Experience Researcher at PTC, Bentley University located in the Greater Boston area in the United States. Juhlin, an MBA and MS in human factors, says he “operates with a deep understanding of both the business and customers.” In this interview he talks about his pre-project preparations, getting clients convinced about investing in the UX process, Design Thinking and a lot more.

What is your preparation process you follow before starting any project?

This depend on what time you have on hand. If you have time to read up and deepen your knowledge in the domain that is always great. This includes the technology and the industry dynamics the product (and company) is or will be a part of.

Another thing that is important, but I consider a part of a project is the stakeholder interviews. These will help you better understand the business landscape, what has been done in the past, and what they are trying to achieve. It can also help aligning everyone involved so everyone has the same expectations. At this point you might discover that the business sponsor want something innovate, the project manager wants an incremental improvement of the product and the developers has a third understanding. If these are not addressed ahead of time, you are set up for failure.

There is often reluctance among clients to invest in the UX process. How do you convince stakeholders to invest resources in this?

It is important to speak the client’s language. If they are the traditional project sponsor, they associate UX to cost and they want to see numbers proving there is a positive return of investment of including UX. The trap many UX professionals fall in is to try to show exactly this. If you add an additional $100k you’ll be able to sell X more of the product.

You need to stay away from too many specifics at the same time as you show them numbers supporting the importance of investing in UX. An example is to show them how customer experience can drive revenue or how customers are willing to pay a price premium for improved experience. Another way is to show how improved UX is driving up stock prices.

What’s your take on Design Thinking as a concept? Could you tell us your views on if and how it can be applied to various problems?

Design Thinking is very powerful, but sometimes it is over promoted but people who don’t know enough about it. This usually happens when people recently learned Design Thinking and just became a “believer”. It is always dangerous to just accept theories and not question them and really understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Design thinking is a great methodology for solving complex tasks that can’t be solved by logic. For example, Design thinking is not suitable if you are trying to find out how much drinking water will be needed in Sydney in 2020. In this case it is better to look at statistics and use logic to calculate a prediction. If the problem on the other hand is changed to “we know there will be a water shortage in 2020, how can we best solve this?” Design Thinking would be the right approach.The key thing in my mind for Design Thinking is that you need to start with a need. Understand what the pain is for users and then start from a blank page of how to solve it. It sounds so simple, but unfortunately most companies do this wrong. They identify the need as “users can’t do X in our software”. That is not the need. The need is “users want to do X”, but the company has already set limitations of the solution. Sure, we can innovate within that scope, but the best solution might not have anything to do with that software. Why this happens is because companies are set up according to products and software they sell and support. Not the user needs the company solve.

How would you balance the requirements between the user goals and business goals?

Let’s take an example of retirement savings. If you are saving for your retirement in one company, let’s say TIAA-CREF. TIAA will offer you funds they manage since they make money on those funds. Let’s say you are interested in a fund from investment company, let’s sat Vanguard. What should TIAA-CREF do? If they offer you the Vanguard fund, they’ll make less money since they don’t get their fund fees, but if they don’t let you buy it you might take all of your money and move to Vanguard.

The problem here is the incorrect problem statement. The company is considering between offering the competitors fund or not. I.e. weighing the user goal and the business goal. However, they have not considered why you wanted the Vanguard fund in the first place. If TIAA-CREF would create a better fund than Vanguard, all of a sudden both user goals and business goals align.

Companies stuck in this trade off thinking often view it as a zero sum game (if you win, they lose). What companies fail to see is if TIAA created a more appealing fund by lowering their fees they make less money off you, they might gain more customers.

Could you elaborate on your role and working process as an User Experience Researcher?

At this point my primary role is to discovery research, evaluate how well a solution solves user needs, and making sure users understand how to interact with a solution.

The primary goal of the discovery research is to bring insights to the team and help all team members empathize with their users. By better understanding the users’ main tasks, goals, motivations, and pain points, the team is better aligned and can be more productive in the other steps of the design thinking process.

The evaluation of different solutions, help the team assess the usefulness of a potential idea or solution. This helps the team decide what ideas to scrap and which ones to move forward with into the next iteration. By evaluating early and often can prevent the team to invest a lot of resources on the wrong solution.

Evaluating solutions users’ interaction is critical to make sure the final solution is usable. This is often the step most people think of as UX research since it involves usability testing, heuristic review, or some other evaluation methods.

How is designing enterprise applications different from consumer applications?

The main difference is the difficulty of recruiting participants. For consumer products, almost everyone is a participant, but for an enterprise application, the participant pool decreases significantly. For discovery research, they are also more difficult to convince to participate since we often want to do ethnography and shadow them in their work environment. This mean that the company they work for sometimes gets involved to approve a site visit.

The applications are also more complex so it is important to collaborate with other team members to better understand the users and their journey. Both before conducting any research, but also as you unpack the research data.

Could you tell us about how you made your way into User Experience?

During my university education I took a class about environmentally friendly cars. In that class one teacher showed us the IDEO shopping cart video and I was hooked on the work methodology they used. After that I changed major and went in to human factors. Since then I’ve been working in the User Experience field.

Can you tell us mistakes That a UX designer should avoid?

We all know how important UX and design thinking is, but we rarely talk about how great other processes are as well. For example, Kanban is very good process for developers. As UXers, we need to understand others have their “religion” and we can’t just force our process on to them.

We often want them to take a leap of faith and go along with our Design Thinking process, but forget that their bonus is based on other things. If we want to get others on board, we need to either have top management to change how their bonuses are determined or find a way to weave our processes into their so we don’t disrupt their normal work.

Could you tell us about the culture at Bentley University and what makes it unique?

I would prefer to skip this question since I am now working at PTC and I can’t say too much about the culture since I just started there.

Have there been occasions when your user research has revealed insights that were not in line with the client’s expectations? Could you give us an example and how you tackled it?

Any client that been a part of the research should never be surprised since it is important to guide them through what happened. For example, after an interview you can have a quick chat about what they saw and ask what their main takeaways were. If they at this point say something that is incorrect, you can explain how they miss interpreted the information.

The primary time this can happen is when you present your research to stakeholders that was not there and observed. However, you often get agreement from the others who were a part of the research which builds credibility and help them accept what happened.

If you present to a client and there are executives or other high position people, you can have your connection at the company give them a heads up in case the results are contradictory to their expectations or might stir up some emotions.

A time I had to give a tough presentation to a client was after I had evaluated the ease of use of their new platform. We had done a comprehensive test after the first iteration which showed major flaws in the UX design. The development team (it was outsourced) worked on the product for another 2 months and we then did a second round of evaluation to make sure it had improved. However, they had not addressed a single issue highlighted in the initial evaluation and only focused on adding features which only compounded the terrible experience. Everyone observing the evaluation, knew it would be bad news during the presentation.

To mitigate this as much as possible, the client tried to warn people in the organization that the test did not go well, but it was still a tough conversation since the client had spent a lot of money on the development. At the end we tried to change the presentation into a conversation about moving forward. What should they do at this point? My recommendation was to either hire a consultancy to build the interface design or take the development in-house. One of their designers also showed a design of how it could look like in case they took the design in-house. They ended up taking it in house.

Chat bots, conversational interfaces and voice are all the rage leading to headlines like ‘Chat bots will kill websites, apps etc, etc’. What are your views on this?

These words are always hyped up. Sure, these things can take over some of the interfaces, but at this point I don’t think they can replace it all. The main reason for my skepticism is how our memory works. Most of these new interfaces can only hold a few options that we can keep in short term memory. This limits the amount of options these interfaces can provide.

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Growing in leaps and bounds

Growing in leaps and bounds – 24X7 BOTForce

With a brilliant blend of AI and Natural Processing Language amongst other components infused into BOTS, SpadeWorx brings to you 24×7 BOTForce digital services for you and your enterprise!

This set of AI applied automated solutions boasts of a wide range of benefits such as:

  1. Skimming of your legacy data and using machine learning algorithms to build predictive models.
  2. Using Natural Language Understanding and/or Computer Vision capabilities to analyze unstructured information.
  3. Employing workflow engines and business rules to digitize your business process.
  4. Leveraging conversational UI for simple but powerful user interactions Use big data and analytics for gaining key insights.
  5. Using big data and analytics for gaining key insights.

Its salient features include:

  1. Enablement of Process Automation with the help of BOTs (software robots).
  2. Employment of cognitive capabilities such as Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Computer Vision and more.
  3. Integration with your legacy systems for learning, decision-making and orchestrating workflow.

Introducing our Cognitive RPA BOTS: Yūjin & Amigo

As part of our 24×7 BOTForce framework we leverage techniques of Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing to automate various stages of the process.

Say Hello to Yūjin and its features:

Automates ‘hiring’ process related tasks
  1. Based on JD, it analyses candidates across several job portals.
  2. Scores the profiles based on ‘AI’ algorithm and not just keyword based match.
  3. Sends e-mails to shortlisted candidates with invitation to chat with Yūjin for clarifications, if any.
  4. Yūjin will answer queries by candidates across subject areas such as company overview, culture, employee benefits, policies etc.
  5. Yūjin will also work with candidates to complete the online screening test (if configured and needed).
  6. Presents shortlisted candidates to recruiter with all reports and stats for further processing.

Meet Amigo and its benefits:

Handles employee support scenarios
  1. For using Amigo, employees need to be authenticated. Authentication is automated by integrating the BOT with company directory or equivalent mechanism.
  2. Amigo can handle support requests from leave management, travel requisition, IT requests to employee benefits etc.
  3. One can simply chat with Amigo to put request. Using NLP capabilities Amigo derives the intent out of it and processes that request.
  4. Amigo has capability of orchestrating workflows between requester and approver.

Whether HR-based or otherwise, SpadeWorx aims at creating solutions that appeal to businesses solely for the reasons of making work more efficient, saving energy and time and producing results that are absolutely effective.

Contact us to discover the power of 24×7 BOTForce – http://24x7botforce.com/

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SpadeWorx SharePoint

SharePoint 2016: Providing an Exceptional Office 365 Experience

SharePoint 2016 has outdone itself with a set of new, effective features that have been introduced. From enriching hybrid search experiences to One Drive redirection, SharePoint has aced the game of document management systems. An amalgamation of all the new hybrid features in one sentence could be – a brilliant and seamless user experience in terms of two environments: On-Premises and Office 365. From a Hybrid experience point of view, following are a few noticeable and improved features that we think are perfect for end users.

Hybrid Search Feature:

An enterprise has a hybrid environment if their content applications are common between on-premises and Office 365. It is now easier to find content, no matter where it lives thanks to a unified search. The cloud hybrid search solution provides the ability to crawl and parse on-premises content and then process and index it in Office 365. When users query the search index in Office 365, they receive search results from both on-premises and Office 365 content.

Hybrid App Launcher:

The extensible hybrid app launcher is designed to help you get to your Office 365 apps and services from SharePoint Server. Your Office 365 Delve and Video Apps and you customized Office 365 tiles will pop up in your SharePoint Server app launcher once you have enabled this feature. Changes in UI have also been introduced to enhance the hybrid experience.

User Profiles:

User profile information will be stored within both, the SharePoint server and Office 365. When a user wants to edit or view his information, that user will be redirected to his profile in Office 365. This will enable users to have to his information in one place. These users will be called Hybrid users and their profiles as Hybrid profiles.

Links to OneDrive:

You can now redirect documents to OneDrive for Business. Users can continue using their Documents and other similar folder and it doesn’t require changing their daily work habits in order to use OneDrive for Business. Using OneDrive for Business for your documents gives you a backup of your data in the cloud and gives you access to your documents from any device and also when a user clicks on OneDrive, he’ll be redirected to his Office 365 My Site and no longer to his On-Premises.

Easy To Consume:

It is now easy to consume data because of SharePoint 2016’s well integrated feature. SP’s easy-t-format attribute helps effortless consumption of data for application developers utilizing this system.

The hybrid offering by SharePoint has made every user’s experience better and has positively enhanced their skills. Help us help you upgrade to the latest version of SharePoint 2016 and make use of its improved hybrid features today!

The future is NOW with SpadeWorx. Get in touch to know more!

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Machine Learning

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is a form of Artificial Intelligence that enables a computer system to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning sifts through data to look for specific patterns and uses there patterns to program actions accordingly. Machine Learning (ML) is quickly expanding and is growing in recognition owing to the fact that ML can play a key role in a wide range of critical applications, such as data mining, natural language processing, image recognition, and expert systems. ML provides potential solutions in all these domains and more, and is set to be a pillar of the future!

There exists two types of machine learning: Supervised and Unsupervised. Among the different types of ML tasks, a crucial distinction is drawn between supervised and unsupervised learning:

Supervised Machine Learning Unsupervised Machine Learning
The program is “trained” on a pre-defined set of “training examples”, which then facilitate its ability to reach an accurate conclusion when given new data. Unsupervised Machine learning uses those type of algorithms that try to find correlations without any external input. The program is given data and must find patterns and relationships therein.

Why Machine Learning?

  • Machine Learning churns out high quality predictions/insights that are useful while making decisions without any human interference or intervention.
  • Machine Learning digests large volumes of data that would otherwise take a lot of time and effort if done manually, interprets and then releases predictions or provide insights that are conducive to the productivity of the enterprise.
  • In simpler terms, Machine Learning is one such tool that guarantees results that contribute towards the productivity of an organization.

Who’s using it?

  • Financial Services
  • Government
  • Health Care
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Oil & Gas
  • Transportation

Real world examples of Machine Learning:

  • The self-driving Google car is an intelligent form of Machine Learning.
  • Online recommendation offers such as those from Amazon and Netflix are Machine Learning applications for everyday life.
  • Knowledge about your customer’s feedback on Twitter is Machine Learning combined with linguistic rule creation.
  • Fraud detection is a form of Machine Learning used in Financial Services and the Government.

Machine Learning Process:

Feel free to contact SpadeWorx to introduce the benefits of Machine Learning into your business!

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Sharepoint Migration

SharePoint Migration

SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online are the two newest upgrades of SharePoint launched by Microsoft in a bid to improve efficiency and functionality for its users. The new versions of this multifaceted document management system have a multitude of new and more beneficial features that sets it apart from its predecessors.

Following are a few of the features that have been revamped or upgraded to enhance user experience.

OneDrive Redirection:

Though this has been available in SharePoint 2013, with SharePoint 2016 you can redirect your ‘My Sites’ to your Office 365 subscription’s OneDrive for Business host. In other words, if a user clicks on OneDrive, he’ll be redirected to his Office 365 My Site and no longer to his On-Premises.

Sites you follow in one place:

Now users can click on “Follow” both On-Premises and on their Office 365 and see them all in one place under the “Sites” app in the App Launcher.

The wizard to configure either of the simple scenarios above work very well, as long as you follow the requirements.

Hybrid Cloud Search:

The Office 365 Search will take your On-Premises SharePoint Search Index so that it can give you results from both for the same query. A unified search will be possible.

You will be required to use the Office 365 Search for this to work. If SharePoint 2016 On-Premises users query against their On-Premises Search service, it’ll continue to only give them local results.

However, once available, this will allow users to fully embrace Experiences like Delve in Office 365 and more to come in the future.

App Launcher and UI changes in SharePoint 2016:

SharePoint 2016 introduces the App Launcher, as well as changes to the UI, to help it match the Office 365 experience.

MinRoles:

It is now possible to install whichever role that you please on particular SharePoint 2016 servers. Not only will this install what’s primarily required there, but also make sure that all servers that belong to each role are compliant. You’ll also be able to convert servers to run new roles if needed.

Zero Downtime Patching:

The size and number of the packages have been immensely reduced. The downtime required by SharePoint servers to update has also been removed.

Increased File Size for uploads:

The previous storage limit for SharePoint was 2GB. However, now you can store files that are far larger in size. Although there isn’t any limit, Microsoft has strongly recommended it stays at 10GB.

Quick Site Creation:

By using a template, you will be now able to create Site Collections in 1 second. This compares well to SharePoint 2013 that takes up almost over 40 seconds sometimes. This will require a level of configuration with PowerShell to set up.

Spadeworx encourages and helps migration of SharePoint to its latest version i.e. SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online without disruption of data and day-to-day operations. Spadeworx offers a well defined migration plan for users who wish to upgrade to updated versions of this versatile application. It is an entry into a whole new world of wiki-based pages, easier announcements, tagging, and an entirely new multimedia asset library! These are sufficient enough reasons to move to a friendlier and fresher version.

SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online differ from its previous versions in various aspects, few of which are mentioned above making your experience on SharePoint far more productive and useful. These are just a few of the features picked out from a long list of them. Enhance the potential of your company by using an upgraded and better version of SharePoint i.e. SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online. A thorough and defined migration plan is created that involves following steps.

Before Migration:
· Collect Migration Planning Information
· Design MOSS Taxonomy
· Design Moss Architecture
· Migration Strategy Planning

During Migration:
· Pre-Upgrade Steps
· Physical Migration

After Migration:
. Regression Testing
. User Acceptance Testing
. Production Movement

With zero loss of data and maintenance of integrity of information, SpadeWorx assures the cleanest and most seamless migration it can offer!

The future is NOW with Spadeworx.
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Top 5 Reasons you should attend the webinar on : Reimagine Productivity and Efficiency using JumpStart SPA.

Top 5 Reasons you should attend the webinar on: Reimagine Productivity and Efficiency using JumpStart SPA

Backbone of manufacturing industries depends entirely upon Production planned, Shop floor worker’s Productivity and efficiency which in turn reflects batch of products it can push out to meet the supply demand of the market. Almost all the manufacturing industries are having centralized system like SAP, ERP to manage their finance, purchase, sales, and administrative details. Appraisal and evaluation process of staff members which are categorized as White Collar Employees are managed using these tools.

Production and dispatch is totally dependent upon productivity and efficiency of factory workforce which are normally called Blue Collar workers. Currently in most of the organization Skill and Performance of Blue Collar Workers are done through offline medium with little or no transparency in the process and is dependent upon people opinion. This may lead to some gaps in assessment which has incremental effects.

Reason 1. Learning new skills is what makes us human but can we improve how we go about learning new things in new situations?

Reason 2. Learning how to learn can help you to understand what works for you and what doesn’t when you set out to learn new skill say for example for work, training or everyday life.

Reason 3. Understand the root cause of the reduced employee productivity and efficiency in a production environment.

Reason 4. Key skill assessment: Improving your own learning and performance, you will learn to recognise, use and adapt your skills confidently and effectively in different situations and contexts

Reason 5. How you can maintain employee data including evaluation and training reports yearly.

This Product is designed to cover opportunities of improvement in production department of any manufacturing Industry by making centralized database of factory workforce, measuring capabilities and filling skill gaps by online and offline trainings to the factory workforce.
Join to Watch Live demo on 3rd Feb 2017, 11AM – 12 Noon PST
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/6836409639140268802

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How bots help automation using MS Cognitive Services Framework

How bots help automation using MS Cognitive Services Framework

In this fast-paced world that is almost entirely technologically dependent; artificial intelligence is rapidly becoming a part of our everyday lives. Know what artificial intelligence bots are!

For long, artificial intelligence has remained a vague idea, one which people weren’t able to fully comprehend.

Well, it is quite simple actually! In layman’s terms artificial intelligence can be termed as the ability to infuse human abilities of decision making or speech recognition into technology. It simply means making technology as intelligent as us, so as to make life easier and less time-consuming. Take for example the widely popular personal assistant applications on your phone. From daily appointment reminders to helping you locate the nearest pet store, these applications do it all. This basic form of artificial intelligence is something that makes your every errand quicker and easier.

Artificial intelligence bots (robots) are similar, but labour at a much larger scale than mere personal assistant applications. MS Cognitive Services is basically a framework that integrates intellectual and life-like qualities of vision, speech, language and knowledge into A.I bots that help make processes within a company fully automated. MS Cognitive Services use tools such as cognitive thinking, natural language processing and machine learning within A.I bots to help automate. Cognitive thinking is the ability to soak in information, interpret it in an appropriate manner and perceive or react to the learned information suitably. Just like a human being, A.I bots are able to do this! Usually, computers need to have information fed into them in a systematic and organized manner and in a specific language that needs to remain unchanged. Natural language processing is the ability of an A.I bot to interpret and analyze a person’s natural language and speech thus diminishing the effort of making use of Java, C or other programs and use only basic human language to function. Machine learning is the ability of a computer to deal with interpretation of data unsupervised. It is the computer’s ability to evolve and make intelligent decisions on its own. All of these abilities are infused into a bot making it intelligent and giving it the power to make calculated decisions.

Collaborating with Microsoft Cognitive Services, SpadeWorx develops artificial intelligence bots that can be used on a large scale in the corporate world. Our company creates user-centric customized bots that are unique in its utility. These bots are crafted to essentially manage, curate and simplify processes that are time consuming and fraught with inefficiency. For example, SpadeWorx recently created the Leave Manager Bot which helps employees and managers to redefine the way the leave request, approval and management processes are carried out. The employees can apply for their leave using the customized bot, are able to check for holidays that are available, can send approval notifications or pose questions. For managers or those in charge of the approval process, the A.I bot can present previous leave approved timelines, pending requests, various colleagues in the department who are on leave, calendars, etc. This easy mode of conversation that is systematic and practical, cuts to the chase and makes the entire process simpler than if done manually. Apart from the Leave Manager Bot SpadeWorx prides itself on creating various other artificial intelligence bots and programs to make work more productive and energy-efficient.
The future is NOW with SpadeWorx.
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The first rule of chatbots: Don’t lie to your users An interview with UX designer Joe Toscano

Chatbot

By Vishal Gangawane

Chatbots were all the rage in 2016 and 2017 promises to be no different. We spoke to Joe Toscano, an user experience design professional based in San Fransisco, about the current and future impact of chatbots. Toscano manages and lead experience design and prototyping for R/GA’s team embedded at Google. R/GA is a full service digital agency creating products, services and communications to help grow our client’s businesses in the connected age. He also blogs on the Invision blog and at Muzli.
Q. As a primer, could you tell us in brief about chatbots? Also, are chatbots truly the next big thing and if true what industries is this likely to disrupt?
Chatbots, for those that are unaware, are software programs created to replicate human conversation with human users.
The concept of chatbots has been around for several decades. Since the 1950s, to be exact. The beginnings can be traced back to Alan Turing, and his experiments with computer science and human intelligence. These would later form the basis for what we refer to as the Turing test.
Creating a true “chat” bot is very difficult. It requires a lot of data and a lot of iteration.
I believe chatbots as most people understand them are a trend at this moment in history. I think right now we’re going to see a lot of companies trying to own the space and create the best bot possible. And I think for that reason chatbots are going to disrupt a lot of industries.
But I think once our natural language processing systems have enough data running through them and we can speak to these bots, the bubble will pop. I think the modern chatbot manifested in a text messaging app will be around for a while, maybe 3-5 years, but I don’t think it’s the end all product that most bot makers and creative technologists are truly excited about. I think chatbots as we currently understand them are just the onboarding for the future.
Q. You have written about your best practices for building chatbots. Could you repeat them for our readers again in brief here?
1.Don’t lie to your users: I think this is important for any brand/product. But it’s especially important with chatbots. Humans are much less likely to trust a computer agent than another human. And if you blow it once, you’re probably not going to get a second or third chance.
2. Onboard with conversation: The general public isn’t used to interacting with and commanding their devices. Help them learn by initiating the conversation. Don’t create a tutorial, but ask them questions or give them commands about how to use your bot.
3. Design for human emotion: Similar to point 1, your bot is not inherently attractive to human users. We, as humans, crave human connection. It’s important that your bot meets your user as a human. But don’t try to trick your users into believing it is a human. It’s a fine line.
4. Conversation is limitless: Language is an incredible tool. It’s the closest tool we have to mind alteration. We can speak and communicate ideas from one head to the other with relatively simple ease. But teaching a computer to understand language like we do is not easy.
5. Create boundaries: We’re better off creating specific conversations and directing the flow of the conversation to keep people within the ‘loop’ we’ve created. It will not only help make sure your bot doesn’t break, but also make sure that your users are having the best experience possible.
6. Let them down easy: When your bot does fail, make sure you’ve created a plan to help keep people around. If your screen goes blank or you give them some painful error message, your users are just going to leave and probably not come back again.
7. Every interaction is meaningful: Unlike the web and apps where many interactions are required just to navigate the page, every interaction with your bot will give an output. Every interaction becomes meaningful.
8. Help users help you: You’ll never know everything your users want. That goes for any product. But bots make it easier to figure it out. All you have to do is ask. Or offer a spot for your users to submit things. Let your users shape the product by telling you what they want.
9. Identify and target user sentiment: As we’ve already recognized, human emotion is as important in bots as anywhere else on the web. Maybe more important. And it’s the first platform where we’re getting insights into human emotions through contextual conversation. We can use this to teach our bot to recognize the emotions and help create a better experience.
Q. Say five to ten years down the line, how do you envision chatbots transforming the lives of users?
Humans are very habitual creatures. Sure, not every day is exactly the same, but there are a lot of similarities across days. I believe the knowledge we get from bots will allow us to build systems that anticipate our needs and get us away from our screens. I believe eventually bots will become an extension of our self.
Right now we do this through sites and apps that automate things for us — Reminder apps to keep us on track, apps like Instacart to do our grocery shopping, apps like Uber to get us a ride from place to place.
I believe eventually we won’t have to pull our phones out of our pocket but we’ll be able to make all these things happen.
Q. In the same vein, how will the role of UX designers change in about the same period?
I believe the role of UX designer will stay relatively the same — create systems that meet your users needs in the most intuitive way. But I believe the needs of users will change, and that’s the difference.
That’s just a historical fact though. If we stayed the same, society would never move forward. I just think we’re going to start moving forward at exponential rates. I’d argue we already have in many parts of the world, but I believe it’s going to be global instead of just in pockets of the world like San Francisco, New York, South Korea, etc.
Q. Aren’t chatbots essentially a technical project? Will UX designers have a role to play beyond providing the script/dialogue of how the conversations will play out?
Similar to the last question, I believe UX designers will always have a role — understanding and empathizing with the humans using the product. I believe this will be one of the last roles to be phased out of technical projects, because human emotion is so hard to replicate in binaries.
Q. How will chatbots affect enterprise software? India’s software industry primarily caters to large enterprise clients overseas so we are extremely interested in seeing how this plays out.
I don’t have specific examples off the top of my head but any way that systems can be automated and made more efficient, an enterprise is going to love it. And I know that’s a fact.
Q. Will the emergence of chatbots mean lesser investments in building web, mobile applications by enterprises? Or will chatbots play a more complimentary role with what gets built?
I think initially you’re going to see businesses trying to build chatbots within their apps. I think it’s going to be difficult for businesses to commit to the fact that apps are going to be old news, because they’ve invested so much into their ecosystems and it won’t be easy to just toss that stuff out the window. I think that’s part of why it will take so long for bots to become the default.
But I believe eventually bots (i.e. Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, etc.) will become the next telecom. I believe there will be a few that hold the market and people will use them based on what their algorithms produce.
Data is the new oil and building the best AI system is the new race to space.
Q. Which companies/startups/people are the ones to watch out in the chatbots arena?
In terms of complex, data driven bots used for search and information/navigating the world around us:
• Google → Google Assistant
• Amazon → Alexa
• Apple → Siri
• SoundHound → Hound
In terms of focused bots performing specific tasks that do it really well right now:
• Pana
• Hipmunk
• Duolingo
• Penny
Q. What are likely to be the hurdles and roadblocks before we see mainstream adoption of chatbots?
I believe the biggest hurdle will be user adoption and I believe the biggest roadblock to that will be making sure bots do not turn into spam messaging bots, because bots already have a stigma of being spam and if we want people to adopt these systems, we’re going to need to turn that around.
Also, privacy. Making sure people know what their data is being used for and how they can control where their data is going.
This is a very important chapter in my book, actually.
Q. And finally, is the hype true? Will chatbots kill apps?
Yes, I believe the hype is true. I think it’s still going to take 2-3 years before we have a revolutionary breakthrough that makes these technologies accessible to everyone, and I believe it will take 3-5 before bots become adopted by the mainstream, but I believe automated systems that are backed by artificial intelligence and are interacted with through voice/text will kill off apps eventually.
If you want to know more about chatbots, Toscano in the process of writing a book that explains all these points and much more. It is likely to be done by mid-February 2017. You can sign up to join over 700 people that are already on the waitlist here: http://bit.ly/2eELh9W
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SpadeWorx is participating in HR Tech World Show at London on 21st and 22nd March 2017.
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SpadeWorx participated in the IndiaSoft Expo 2017 held in Hyderabad

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For intranet projects, search for ways to include unexpected delight for users

BY Prafull Mane

Jennifer Aldrich is a UX & Content Strategist at InVision, the popular prototyping, collaboration, and workflow platform. Aldrich’s interests are varied and include content strategy, design thinking, user centered design, writing, defining product voice and tone, usability testing and user research. She firmly believes that sharing knowledge is one of the most powerful ways that members of the UX community can make an impact on the world around them.
Aldrich spoke to Spadeworx about her UX prep, user research, convincing stakeholders to invest in the UX process, design thinking and how the path to being a UX professional can often be circuitous.
Q. How do you approach a project? What is your preparation process you follow before starting any project?
I honestly consider prep work part of my process. Including prep in your design time estimates and allotments will save you frustration and headaches down the line. Research is a huge first step. Chat with your target audience and deep dive to find out not just what they want, but what the underlying problems are that they’re trying to solve. If you’re creating a brand new product, don’t get hung up on what competitors offer, focus on what clients actually need. Often times competitors, especially those that have been around for a long time, get bogged down by legacy features that aren’t even useful anymore. You don’t want to do a competitive analysis and wind up working on features that are already useless. Focusing on specific problems that aren’t being addressed well currently can make your product lighter weight, easier to use and position you as a real contender in your space.
Q. It’s often hard to convince stakeholders to invest in the UX process. How do you make them see the value of good UX?
The key to getting a company to invest in the UX process if you’re working in-house or at an agency, is finding a high ranking internal sponsor. Bobby Meeks just did a great webinar with Designer Hangout that focused a lot on the topic. Don’t try to change the entire organization yourself, find a person at the top who will help advocate and evangelize the concept company wide. Once you have that buy in, other stakeholders tend to jump on board. When working with individual clients, sell the financial value. Explain that spending some time doing some user research and usability testing can save them huge amounts of money that would otherwise go to redesign. Saving cash is a big motivator for stakeholders and clients.
Q. Intranet sites often don’t get enough love when it comes to user experience. How can we make intranet sites more interesting and not just something that employees use just because they no option?
Getting a high ranking team member to sponsor it as a way to improve work culture can really help. As far as how to make them more interesting, treat them the way you would your product. Do some user research to figure out where pain points are, improve the UX, search for ways to include unexpected delight, focus on adding some content that would be interesting to internal staff members (perhaps a series of interviews about team members) etc.
Q. In terms of the UX process, how can applying the Pareto principle be useful?
Absolutely. Applying the Pareto Principle to your user research strategy can be especially beneficial. I’ve outlined a method that I used at my last startup here: https://uxmag.com/articles/pareto-principle-based-user-research
Q. What are your ways of finding pain points in any product?
To find pain points there are really 3 main discovery tools. The first is conducting user research. Get out and talk to your clients, walk them through various scenarios, ask them direct what is causing them the most pain. Next is reviewing support cases. Chatting with your support team, and analyzing case data can help you quickly identify areas of the product that need to be improved most. Thirdly, trying to use the product yourself on a daily basis can be extremely helpful in IDing major product issues. Even if the tool isn’t something that would be traditionally related to your role, learning to use it, and attempting to use it at least once a day to finish a primary task can be very eye opening. It’s one thing to hear about other people experiencing an issue, it’s another thing entirely to actually experience it yourself. It’s a very powerful motivator.
Q. Design Thinking is getting a lot of attention in recent times. Could you tell us your views on how it can be applied to various problems?
Design thinking is creating a cultural shift across organizations. In the past, design teams were siloed off within organizations. Companies are now realizing that the skills that designers use to think through and solve problems can be applied cross functionally, and as a result design has made its way to C level roles in businesses all over the world. Designers are being called on to apply their skillets to all kinds of business problems.
Q. Any tips for UX designers on how they can start thinking about sustainability more and bringing that more into their work?
Sustainability is so, so important. I’ll never forget the first time I watched Objectified. The scene that showed mountains of old tech in a landfill was burned into my mind and has stuck with me ever since. There are several areas that we tend to overlook, not intentionally, they just aren’t front of mind, in design. Focusing on sustainability is one, as is accessibility. As far as bringing it into our work, it really just requires a shift in thinking. If someone needs some convincing about designing with sustainability in mind, I’d definitely recommend having them watch the landfill scene from objectified. It’s pretty haunting.
Q. Could you tell us about how you made your way into User Experience? You have a science and psychology degree. How did that guide your work?
I took a circuitous route into the UX industry. I built my first website in the 90s and had a blast doing it. At that point it didn’t occur to me that design was something I could turn into a career, so I wound up heading to college and getting a degree in education and another in psychology. While I was finishing up my second degree, I took on a part-time job as a computer lab tech. I got to witness first hand the impact that well executed software has on the workflows and levels of productivity of members of various industries. I also got to witness the impact of poorly designed software—the loss of time and energy and high levels of frustration that it could inflict. After graduation, I wound up taking a job at a startup as a software trainer, but was eventually loaned out to the design and development department during a product overhaul project (rebuilding our entire platform on .NET). That was when I truly fell in love with product design. I was offered a job on the UX team soon after the project was completed, and had amazing mentors that helped me grow and launch my career. Pulling from a background in psychology has definitely impacted the way I perform user research and usability testing. I find the entire process and the results fascinating.
Q. We are huge InVision fans and very curious about how things work there. Could you tell us about the design process at InVision and the culture in general?
The culture here at InVision is phenomenal. We have clearer lines of communication than I’ve ever experienced in a traditional office setting and a very positive overall culture. There is much respect across teams, the leadership team is phenomenal and teams work together beautifully cross departmentally. We even have a peer recognition program that gets used very heavily each month. The employees at InVision are just fantastic.
Recent Events

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SpadeWorx is participating in HR Tech World Show at London on 21st and 22nd March 2017.
Team Outing At Adventure Plus

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CULTURAL SOCIAL SPORTS Team Outing At Adventure Plus [...]
 Open House March 2017 - SpadeWorx

Open House March 2017 - SpadeWorx

CULTURAL SOCIAL SPORTS Open House March 2017 - SpadeWorx [...]
SpadeWorx participated in the IndiaSoft Expo 2017 held in Hyderabad

SpadeWorx participated in the IndiaSoft Expo 2017 held in Hyderabad

SPADEWORX IDEACOMB CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS SpadeWorx partic[...]
Workshop on TRANSFORM-AUTOMATE-GROW

Workshop on TRANSFORM-AUTOMATE-GROW

SPADEWORX IDEACOMB CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS Workshop on TRAN[...]
 

If more and more things became smart, we’d run out of space on our phones to install all of the apps

Scott Jenson

If more and more things became smart, we’d run out of space on our phones to install all of the apps

By Vishal Gangawane

Intro: Scott Jenson is the prime mover behind the Physical Web project at Google. The Physical Web’s ambitious aim is to create an “open approach to enable quick and seamless interactions with physical objects and locations.
Jenson is an UX expert from the time before UX as a term became commonplace. He has worked for over 25 years in the field of user interface and has worked with Apple, Symbian, Cognima, Google and Frog Design. His current stint at Google began in 2013 when he returned to the tech major to lead the Physical Web project.
Here he speaks about the Physical Web, future trends in UX, on starting up and is Apple losing its way in recent times.
1. Can you tell us what the Physical Web project is and how did you come up with the idea? How is the Physical Web different from IoT?
I noticed that every “smart device” such as a nest thermostat or a Hue Lightbulb each had their own phone application. It seemed obvious to me we were going to have a problem: if more and more things became smart, we’d run out of space on our phones to install all of the apps.The Physical Web is a user centered approach to technology, starting with the basic premise: walk into any place or in front of any device and to be able to interact with it quickly and easily.The super power of the web is interaction on demand, you can view any page in a few seconds (if done well) The Physical Web is just about making that easy in a mobile context: allowing your phone to perceive the web pages around you and letting you pick one of this with very little effort.
2. Projecting 20 years into the future, how would a typical day in our lives look like with the Physical Web in place?
I expect that much like wifi today, we’ll just expect that things will be annotated with content. Dog collars, public places, car sharing services will all let you interact with them with them easily. However, as the Physical Web becomes more common place, we expect more advances will be made with the scanners. Right now we’re taking a very conservative approach, only showing you things when you ask. Scanners will get more sophisticated finding specialized beacons (such as navigation for blind users) and allow users to interact while walking around a space.
3. You wrote Mobile apps must die back in 2011. That was the high noon of the mobile app ecosystem and your article produced a lot of reactionary response. How have your views about apps and the Physical web evolved since then?
I’ve calmed down a bit) I’m not trying to kill native apps. My point is that native apps are fine, they just aren’t practical for all use cases. Anything that is more light weight and ephemeral is a good candidate for the Physical Web.
4. What are the major barriers to mainstream adoption of the Physical Web currently? The premise seems so perfect – all our phones have browsers, so why add another layer of friction with app . I ask this even as I’m taking into account Gartner’s Hype Cycle.
There is a clear chicken/egg loop here: most deployers don’t want to try it until everyone else does. It will take a little while longer as more and more people try and experiment with it. The more it is used, the more people will be willing to try it.
5. Which company/start-up/group is doing the most promising work in terms of the Physical Web?
There are so many. Lots of beacon makers are trying things like integrating their URL shortener with their beacons. That makes deployment very fast and inexpensive. There are additional content platforms being made and just yesterday, I saw a ‘street musician app’ that turns your phone into a simple beacon that lets people around you know where to find out more about you.
6. The Physical Web project is clearly positioned at consumers. Is there any way enterprises could also use the same tech?
I would assume any company that is building a smart device (consumer or professional) would be interested in this. As we move to other transports beyond BLE (such as wifi-direct and/or mDNS) we expect more industrial use cases will be enabled.
7. Steve Jobs famously resisted allowing third party developers from making apps when the iPhone was launched. In some way, did Jobs see the possibility of the Physical Web back then?
I think we are approaching the issue from 2 very different points of view…
8. I loved your post ‘We need more Communism’. India is (or at least was until recently) in the midst of a start-up boom and the prevailing wisdom has become ‘Start your own thing’. Any words of advice to the young ‘uns here in India in the context of your post?
That post was just pointing out that we’re so encouraged to think shorter term. While I’d love to see big companies/governments invest in longer term technology plays, I also think the shareware/maker movement can literally change the world. Just don’t expect to get rich in the short term… However, anyone who does “make a dent in the universe (as Mr Jobs once said) likely won’t have to worry too much about money.
9. You were an UX specialist even before the term was invented. Tell us about your views on what the future holds for interfaces and experiences for consumers in the future.
That’s a VERY big question: we humans usually use tomorrow’s technology to solve yesterday’s tasks. It takes a while to really understand the impact of a new technology. It’s a rather chaotic system and anyone claiming they know what is going to happen is likely trying to sell you something./p>
10. You just turned your back on Macs after using them for 30 years (I got that from your blog). You have worked with Apple for many years and have seen a lot in terms of tech over the years. Has Apple lost its way post-Steve Jobs’s passing? And if it has, what is the way forward.
I wouldn’t quite say it that strongly. I feel that Apple is focusing on the iPhone and forgetting why creative professionals use laptops in the first place. We don’t want toasters, we need work benches. The latest MacBook Pros are perfectly find consumer level machines, I don’t want to imply they are bad. However, they are not flexible or powerful enough for me. So I’m trying my little experiment. I have to admit that I’m a little nervous. But you usually don’t learn anything important by playing it safe.
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