In this blog article, we want to show what steps are necessary to design a character in a game. As an example we use the research project MightyU, which deals with the development of a playful application to support the therapy of children and adolescents with infantile cerebral palsy (ICP). read more…
Big Data is considered the trend topic of digitization. Some even claim that data is the new gold. But usage data is a treasure trove that has seldom been used to analyse usability with quantitative methods. What possibilities are there for measurably improving UX with usage data and supporting product owners in their decisions? Get a first overview of the analysis of usage data in my blog article.
One, in my opinion positive trend is that companies increasingly want to involve their potential users in the development. This can happen in many different ways: The spectrum ranges from market research interviews to data analysis of websites and various usability test methods. Testing is particularly important in order to obtain more intensive and detailed information about the problems and, above all, the user needs. However, especially with usability tests it can often be observed that they are only used when prototypes are already very mature. These are then often heavyweight tests in which everything is to be checked with as many participants as possible. The late timing of the tests leads to the fact that resulting adaptations involve high development efforts, since the majority of the application has already been implemented. Changes to concepts, on the other hand, are less complex. Especially in pure screen-based testing, where the user needs are left out, it can happen that the development has to be started almost from scratch. A complete misalignment of the application with the right user-needs should not occur at all. Companies are therefore faced with a whole range of challenges if the user is not to be left out in UX.
In this article, I would like to show how we solve these challenges and involve potential users early on in the project using various test methods, in order to create a basis for further development.
On December, 12th 2018, I listened to an interview with Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, a world-renowned expert in electric mobility, and the co-founder & CEO of the company BYTON which aims at turning the car into a next-generation smart device. He was a guest at the ‘Der Flaneur’ Podcast (German only), live from the Websummit conference 2018 in Lisbon.
Breitfeld spent the past 20 years at BMW, leading a range of key engineering divisions within chassis development, powertrain development and corporate strategy. Before joining BYTON, Dr. Carsten Breitfeld was Vice President and Head of Vehicle Program i8 of BMW Group.
Listening to the podcast (unfortunately available only in German) you can see his vision of cars becoming basically smart devices on wheels, platforms for services and more. Because as cars become more and more autonomous, people sitting inside of these cars want to be entertained and engaged. This is also where BYTON wants to earn its bigger share of revenue: with services instead of car sales.
“As cars become smarter and autonomous we need a new kind of user experience. Because the question is what are people doing inside the car while they are commuting.”
Especially in the UX industry, new fields of expertise often arise. Fields in which employees with different skills are necessary and can play to their strengths as an interface to other fields. We are talking about “hybrids”, people who can do two or possibly even several things or are at least interested in several. Designers who can program, authors who can design, analysts who can program.
Computer games are designed to spread fun and entertainment and motivate players to play long term. So it makes sense to use these added values not only in the entertainment industry, but also in other areas, for example in therapy or rehabilitation (see our blog article Little big heroes – supporting children’s patients in therapy with virtual reality). Games have great motivational potential, which could be used particularly well there. But not all people with motor or cognitive impairments can participate in this experience if the so-called “Game Accessibility” is too low. Let me illustrate this with an example.
User Experience means that users experience a product. The most innovative controls and the most fluid animations are useless if the product is not sold and used. As a UX service provider, we have seen many times how good UX not only makes the product a success for users, but also how UX helps a product get to market in the first place. The Return on Invest (ROI) of UX-Design shows the profit or turnover achieved as a result of an investment in UX Design. Where the additional profit / revenue comes from, which other aspects contribute to the ROI and further questions about Return on Invest by UX-Design are answered in this article.
First of all: Industry 4.0 has a lot to do with technology, computers, software, machines, the Internet and intelligent data analysis. These relationships are not unknown, but have been decisive in the industry over the last 30-40 years. We remember how the computer (often a 286 AT) pushed the mechanical typewriter out of the office step by step… and with it everything that belonged to that machine at that time, from Tipp-Ex (with the special smell of solvents) to carbon paper and ink ribbons. The first modems followed suit, which “audibly” connected the office with the Internet and data services. And shortly thereafter, discussions started as to whether and who really needed a color monitor: “Honestly? A color monitor? What’s that good for?”
So changes in the way we work / with what we work are not unknown to us – we tend to forget how much the user’s experience with an interactive system has changed.
Reach small and large goals easily and playfully, without being aware of the effort involved. This is a vision that drives researchers and practitioners in various fields of application around the topic of gamification. In this article, I describe how we apply gamification in practice in the Mighty U research project to help children with motor disabilities with therapy.
In the last few years, gamification has increasingly developed into a topic with a strong media presence in the German-speaking world, with which numerous TV reports, newspaper articles and conferences have also been in touch. But Gamification not only received a positive response in the media. We at Centigrade also receive more and more request in the gamification and enterprise gaming area, of which some have already been implemented.
If we are honest, we all are desperately awaiting the future. We are waiting for the next boom, which seems so close but actually didn’t come much closer for the last 5 years. Microsoft’s Fluent Design is one of these developments that promise a brighter future. Will it be able to live up to the high expectations of the UI Designer communities? What can designers, what can developers take from it right now? I took a look at the Fluent Design System and explored it during my work on a first test project. In this article, I’ll share what I learned so far.
Scenario 1 – The Swiss Army Knife
Monday morning, 08:30, a meeting room somewhere on the third floor of an office complex. At the table: several developers, project managers, marketing representatives, and two UX specialists. Their budget for the next three months is secured. The goal of the workshop is to define the first work packages of a long-term plan to revise their entire software and make it more user-friendly. During the workshop, it turns out that there are four work packages in total, with each attending project manager assuming that his or her package has priority. The result is a long dispute which ends in the decision to tackle all packages simultaneously. After burning through the first budgets, the big disappointment sets in – nothing has been finished, no noticable progress compared to the status quo has been achieved. The project is therefore stopped and postponed to an uncertain date.
Scenario 2 – The Top Secret Project
Tuesday afternoon, 14:30, the CEO’s office. In addition to three close confidants of the management, the head of the development team and two representatives of an external UX agency are present. They are planning to develop a new software in the next two years. The project team is confident that the software will be a resounding success, which is why the budget for the entire development has already been assured. The software is developed in-house and after two years, a creatively sophisticated software that has been extensively tested and approved by internal staff is launched. The potential customers did not know about the new development so far, because the management did not want anybody to know something about the innovative product before release.
One year later: The software has been available for 12 months, but only sold once – to a subsidiary. Two years of development have been in vain. The UX agency gets removed from the project, as it has apparently not provided an exciting enough experience for potential users.
Projects like those two exaggerated scenarios are common. A motivated start, a great team – but a frustrating result nobody can figure out. But why is that? What can be done to avoid such situations of frustration and, above all, money sinks?
Motion design, the animation of digital content, has become an essential part of our modern interaction with computers. Wherever you look in modern applications, text boxes fly around, elements pop up and menus shrink as you scroll. UX designers have long recognized animations as an essential building block to increase usability and delight the user.
As a visual designer, I have been exploring this topic for several years now. In my personal experience, the transfer from design to development has proven to be critical. As it turned out, it is not so easy to translate the abstract idea of a movement in a designer’s head into an actual application. The form of transfer and type of specification heavily influence efficiency of implementation. An inefficient translation can be frustrating for both the developers and designers involved. How can this be avoided?
Different designers work differently in integrating motion design into their work. Besides the variety of tools (e.g. After Effects, Protio.io, Kite Composer, Framer, Flinto, Principle), the output can vary from loose scribbles to storyboards to frame-accurate animatics. In order to facilitate the communication between development and design despite all the variables, I present some guidelines and basic considerations for the efficient specification of animations in the UX process.