Without Screens And Buttons: User Experience And Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been around since the mid 1980’s, but around that time technology was yet limited. It was the arrival of smartphones, gaming consoles, and other modern gadgets that really augured the future of virtual reality.

 

3264Image source: theguardian.co.uk

VR is a new medium for user experience designers. Shifting from block phones to touch-screen smartphones, virtual reality is an entirely new thing. How will a person get a meaningful user experience without tangible screens and buttons?

UX designers work with the 3D architect to set-up the design. They work in coordination to develop a spatial layout that will fit the VR experience.

There are three kinds of VR experiences, according to www.creativebloq.com:

-Hyper immersive or emotion-based: VR that engages users to control using their senses;
-POV documentary: live-action experiences that transport users to places that they cannot physically reach;
-Gamified experiences: users are given a task to compete with time, enemies, and other external forces

All these three experiences lack haptic movement, since the VR gadget is positioned in a user’s head only.

Screen_Shot_2015-09-25_at_9.31.58_AM.0.0Image source: polygon.com

How will UX improve given these technical constraints?

Designers must consider movement, haptic and audio feedback, and user abilities when creating interfaces for operating VR. VR experiences, menus, and other UI elements must be displayed at the same depth as the user’s target. Contents like texts have to be in a 3D environment to be at par with VR’s complex design.

Photon Infotech is the world’s largest and fastest growing provider of omnichannel and digital experiences. Visit this Facebook page for updates on omnichannel strategies for enhanced user experience.

Mobile News: Facebook Experiments With Snapchat-Like Features

Image source: .gannett-cdn.com

Image source: .gannett-cdn.com

The Facebook Messenger app, which recently hit 900 million users, launched two new features in early April. All Messenger accounts now have Messenger Links located at m.me/[username]. To chat with a friend, a user can type his friend’s username after m.me/ to open up a direct message on the Messenger app. Another new feature is “Messenger codes” that users can scan to initiate activity, such as opening a chat or adding a contact.

If these two features sound familiar, it’s probably because Snapchat already has them.

Facebook has been experimenting with Snapchat-like features since the latter app was launched in 2011. Some examples include ephemeral messages, which began beta-testing in November 2015, and photo editing, launched in the same year.

Facebook’s newest updates to Messenger are hot on the heels of Snapchat’s recent roll-out of new functionalities, such as video and audio calls, video and audio notes, and the ability to send photos during a video or audio call.

Previously Facebook had tried to capitalize on Snapchat’s younger market by releasing a similar app, Poke, in 2012. After the social media giant failed to acquire Snapchat in 2013, Facebook launched Slingshot two years later. Both Poke and Slingshot have been largely unsuccessful at attracting Snapchat users.

Although Facebook continues to rule in the social media platform arena, Snapchat is one competitor that they can’t afford to ignore. Snapchat has 100 million daily active users, composed mostly of millennials. The app’s video views average 7 billion per day, an impressive number when one considers that Facebook video views on both mobile and desktop average 8 million per day.

Image source: thestreettimes.com

Image source: thestreettimes.com

Unlike Snapchat, however, Messenger remains focused on e-commerce. Its two newest features are designed to help consumers find businesses as well as facilitate direct communication between them.

Meanwhile, Snapchat remains focused on being a fun, “human” way to interact through a smartphone. That, however, doesn’t mean that marketers aren’t sitting up and taking notice: Many major brands are turning to Snapchat to advertise their products and services. There’s speculation in some quarters that Snapchat’s high engagement rates will eventually pull the majority of ad spending away from Facebook.

Photon Infotech is the largest and fastest-growing providers of omnichannel and digital experiences in the world. For more mobile app news and updates, subscribe to this blog.

What’s Good: Data-Driven Design In The Real World

Data-driven design is surging in popularity trend these days. Designers, writers, and Web page administrators look into data and analytics to help them produce content that is valuable to their target audience and customers.

Data can be quantitative (numerical, showing who, what, when and where) or qualitative (non-numerical, demonstrating why or how). For website optimization, it is usually quantitative. Many tools like Google Analytics usually show quantitative data, but these do not show why people visit a certain page.

Image source: slideshare.net

Image source: slideshare.net

But what makes a good and effective data-driven design? Good data-driven design does not just consider quantitative data, but qualitative as well. While many people in the industry think of qualitative data as nothing but “anecdotal,” these actually impose better insights that improve communication between the consumer, the designer, and the company. When designers and content-makers learn the “why” behind what is stated quantitatively, they will have an idea as to why people keep on coming back to the site, app, or content they’ve produced.

Setting up qualitative and quantitative data is a killer combination, but empirical data will make content the best. Empirical data is any data gathered from experimentation and observation. When data is specific, taking action and providing a solution is easier.

Image source: slideshare.net

Image source: slideshare.net

Set up your data for success. Use quantitative, qualitative as well as empirical data. Don’t be afraid to do trial tests on content you’ve produced, and see where your placement goes. After all, a good data-driven design doesn’t happen overnight.

Get quality, data-driven design from Photon Infotech. The company provides is the world’s largest and fastest growing provider of omnichannel and digital experiences. Click here to learn more.

The ABCs of Omnichannel Strategy

Most consumers do not have the slightest idea that omnichannel is changing the retail shopping game nowadays. For consumers, it is an innovative way of shopping and for retailers, selling. What exactly is it?

Omni comes from the word “omnis” which means universal. People can also associate this term with the term “omniscient,” which means all-knowing or all-seeing. Coming from this key idea, omnichannel provides consumers a cohesive shopping experience. According to Forbes, it is a multichannel approach that provides customers a seamless browsing and spending experience, whether they are on their tablets, mobile devices, or even in a brick-and-mortar store. Online, and using different gadgets, the customers can browse and choose the products they like and how they get these.

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image source: 2paragraphs.com

When a company decides to implement the omichannel strategy, their customers can check the website for product inventory using an iPad, finalize their purchase details through a desktop, then claim the product from the actual store the day after. This strategy provides the consumers an ultimate hassle-free and uninterrupted shopping experience. Although implementing this strategy is difficult for retailers, a convincing body of research shows that deploying omnichannel strategies increases revenue and promotes loyalty among customers.

Photon Infotech provides its clients the omnichannel experience to help their businesses achieve greater heights. It is the largest global provider of Cloud-to-Consumer User Experience (C2C-UX™). Check out this Twitter page for more information about the cloud-to-consumer user experience!

The Increasing Role of Omni-channels in Improving Business Efficiency

Information technology, online tools, and mobile systems have conquered the business world by storm. Consumers can now use their mobile phones to search for and buy items that they want or need instead of going into brick-and-mortar songs. That is why a lot of these online retailers have adapted omni-channeling, a business method that allows consumers to access a variety of channels for their shopping activities.

Omni-channel retailing keeps consumers updated with all the noteworthy shopping events. Consumers will feel more connected and informed, thus inspiring a deeper sense of loyalty to a certain brand or store.

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Image source: photon.in

Not only is omni-channel beneficial for the consumers, it also fosters interaction between the store associates and the customers until the latter decide to pick up their reserved purchases at the store. Time-saving and cost-efficient, omni-channel establishes a virtual initial interaction that will make the actual interaction as smooth and amicable as possible.

Despite being a relatively new innovation in the industry, omni-channel retailing has brought businesses in fierce competition. From customer service to layout design, everything should be monitored and maintained to avoid errors or bugs. Such inconveniences could disrupt the dialogue between businesses and their clients. Marketers should then start focusing on new platforms that would make transactions more efficient and convenient.

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Image source: photon.in

Photon Infotech is the largest global provider of Cloud-to-Consumer User Experiences (C2C-UX), which are cross-platform, multichannel solutions that include mobile, social, Web, kiosk, and in-store/3rd screen consumer touch points. For inquiries, visit this website.

Three Reasons Why Consumers Uninstall Mobile Apps

According to Technopedia, there are approximately 3.1 million apps on Google Play and the Apple Store. Getting consumers to download an app is difficult enough; getting them to keep it is a whole other bargain.

Thirty-six percent of mobile users uninstall apps within a month of downloading them, and only 11 percent keep their apps for a year. Many factors influence early uninstallation. The following are three examples.

Image source: windowscentral.com

1. The app has a limited life cycle.

Apps that are only usable for a particular period are often uninstalled once they have completed their purpose. Examples of this type of app include apps that track weight loss, apps created to coincide with a movie release or event, and short games.

If a limited life cycle app is performing well, developers should use it to promote continuous engagement by getting users to sign up for their next app.

2. The app brings nothing new or necessary to the table.

People download apps for many reasons: to learn new things, have fun, or make their life easier. An app that does not meet their needs will get uninstalled quickly, if it ever gets installed at all. Developers should avoid creating apps that are boring, have limited usability, or are simply “not the right fit” for their intended audience. It’s impossible to make everyone happy, so research and analytics are key to narrowing down what the target audience needs and wants.

3. The app is not user-friendly.

Apps that crash, freeze, or take up too much storage are quickly uninstalled. Complicated instructions and an overload of features can overwhelm users.

Creating an app takes a lot of time and effort, so it can be frustrating to developers and marketing teams to be able to place a working app on the market and have its target audience download it, only to uninstall it a few days later. Apps should be thoroughly tested and run on various devices and operating systems to uncover any problems and fix them before release.

Image source: infinixsoft.com

Numerous other factors could lead to early uninstalls. To avoid them, developers should learn more about what their target users want by stepping up their research and focusing on creating a good user experience that incentivizes the loyalty of users.

Like this Photon Infotech Facebook page for more discussions on app development best practices.

Increasing Product Availability and Flexibility Through an Omnichannel Supply Chain

From obtaining raw materials to delivering the final product, a consistently on-point supply chain determines operational efficiency. For this reason, leading retail companies are allocating people, time, and resources just for the management of their supply chain.

With the emergence of an omnichannel supply chain, however, supply management is rapidly changing, affording retailers more flexibility and stability of product availability in different parts of their inventory.

pho_supplyworkshopsImage source: www.imperial-tobacco.com

Similar to multichannel retailing, an omnichannel supply chain manages the supply of a business using a central stock pool to control a number of factors such as pricing, fulfillment, sales, stock management, and ordering. To fulfill these tasks, orders are made from different retail channels, including concessions, franchises, catalogue, web, stores and mobile platforms.

Using an omnichannel supply chain, top retailers such as Cabela’s, IKEA and Target are now providing customers new order delivery and fulfillment options. Shopping is therefore seamless and hassle-free. With the omnichannel platform introducing flexibility and real-time response, companies can successfully align their inventory management across different channels, whether through the Internet, in-store, or on mobile.

iStock_000009692345SmallImage source: www.cloudlinkerp.com

Apart from managing inventory, an omnichannel supply chain also helps retailers facilitate their operations by creating a cleaner inventory data set to gain actionable insights into customer preferences. While enhancing the delivery process and timeline of supplies, it also employs measurement tools by which the supply chain management strategy can be evaluated later on, and issues can be identified and addressed.

Photon Infotech is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing providers of omnichannel and digital experiences to over 700 clients worldwide. Learn more omnichannel strategies by subscribing to this Facebook page.

Understanding mobility in brand marketing

In today’s tech savvy environment, ‘mobility’ has easily become one of the buzzwords for marketers who want to stay competitive in the consumer market.

 

But while mobility is desirable, it is not always obligatory, especially in brand marketing. Companies, for example, should avoid the pressure of creating a mobile app just for the sake of having one.

Image Source: bernardleong.com

Lauren Murray, marketing and communications executive at Brand Union, explains that before venturing into the mobile market, companies must first build on their “brand personality.” In social media platforms, for instance, brands must learn how to behave in a more human way.

Moreover, beyond the product’s positioning, and the company’s belief and purpose, marketers should understand how their consumers behave, and how they could leverage their position in terms of mobility—whether on social media or mobile applications. Does it add value to your brand? Or is just another tactic to increase proximity to target markets?

Image Source: usnews.com

Apart from addressing these questions, it is also important to be original when embracing new mobile technologies. An app can be effective only if it is truly tailored to its purpose and perfectly encapsulates the brand’s overall identity. Nike, for example, has used technology by providing a mobile application that enriches customer experience by promoting not just its products, but also music and maps relevant to its brand.

Further with advent of responsive and adaptive web design, app might not be the only way to go. Smart use of web technologies can circumvent the need to have a mobile app by providing a holistic experience on any device.

Image Source: marketsense.my

Remember, your consumer must always be at the heart of the digital experience. Mobility, on the other hand, is just an element that can help you achieve a more valuable brand identity, and needs threshing prior to implementation.

A leading provider of cloud-to-consumer user experiences, Phton Infotech has served over 700 clients
worldwide, including over 30 percent of Fortune 100 firms. Read more about the latest on Adaptive-Responsive web design and mobile app development by reading thisFacebook page.

Avoid these 4 common UX errors found on websites

Websitedesign

Image Source: mashable.com

Building an online presence can be tricky for businesses with the huge advent in technology and devices. A well-designed website can instantly make a mark on the customer by delivering the right message at the right time and on the right medium

Despite the importance of a good website, many businesses still overlook simple design issue and end up with websites which are not only user friendly but have no impact on the business. Agreed that websites have various elements and it can be difficult to assign a hierarchy to these elements in order to determine which should be highlighted for the end user and which elements can be ultimately removed for a better overall experience but that cannot be a excuse when the resources to engineer a successful website are so readily available these days.

Image Source: ontrackdigital.ca

On that note here are some of the common mistakes that businesses commit when building their online presences:

1. Neglecting the micro-interactions. Some well-designed websites with great content may still end up failing if they are bogged down by controls and small elements that users find frustrating.

2. Too much text. Some businesses can go overboard with the amount of text that they put on their website. The trouble is that there are other forms of content that they can use and that not all site-users may take the time to read everything.

3. Designed for the wrong demographic. It is important for website designers to take into account the priorities of their target audience. Designing the website based on these considerations will allow them to figure out what elements they need to add so that the end users will find the content and services offered valuable.

4. Not optimized for all channels. Mobile and multi-screen use have increased rapidly and failing to take this into account while designing the website may limit positive user interactions.

Image Source: wix.com

Photon Infotech is a mobile apps development, multichannel and omnichannel apps development, and design-based technology company. Learn more about the firm at www.photon.in.

Five guidelines on designing apps catering to preschoolers

 

Image Source: ohsu.edu

 

Touch-screen devices have made it easier for preschool-aged children to access educational interactive content. Touch-screen devices are fairly intuitive and easy to use, and can also be powerful educational tools.

Special considerations need to be made by designers when making an app for children. Simply making icons bigger isn’t enough to ensure usability and easier navigation. Below are some guidelines for developing kid-friendly apps.

1. Intuitive gestures

Preschoolers find it difficult to make certain gestures. Tilting and shaking as a means of control can lead to children dropping the device. Pinching is tricky for little fingers with limited dexterity. However, most children know how to tap, swipe, and draw with one finger. Double tapping is difficult for most children to do: an alternative would be for apps that allow holding down and releasing actions.

2. Hotspots

Children often rest their wrists on the bottom left and right corners of a touch-screen device. Many apps place directional arrows on these areas, causing children to exit the activity unintentionally. Directional arrows must be made larger and visually distinct from other interactive icons by placing them at the top of the screen.

 

Image Source: slate.com

 

3. Easier navigation

When a child clicks on the wrong icon and is brought to a pop-up screen, the “X” button on the screen or menu should be large and visible. Sliders should be avoided, as preschoolers’ motor skills are still developing and they might not be able to complete the sliding action.

4. Visual cues

Interactive Items should be visually distinct from the rest of the images on the screen. This can be achieved by highlighting colors, animating objects, or adding a visual effect like a sparkle.

5. Make text short and simple

Children of preschool age may find it difficult to read and understand written instructions on their own. Text instructions should be short, in large font, and should start with a call to action; for example, “Click the arrow to see the picture” instead of “To see the picture, click the arrow.”

Children are naturally curious and developers should create apps that nurture this quality while being fun, entertaining, and educational.

 

Image Source: leapfrog.com

 

Photon Infotech is an Internet consulting firm that provides social media and mobile applications solutions to companies worldwide. For discussions on apps design and development, like this Facebook page.