I’m helping Alex Moore of Baydin to design a really awesome Email Game. It’s meant to help people who are not good with email but want to get better. It’s designed to make email less painful and more fun for people. It’s meant to help people (like me) who haven’t developed a good discipline to deal with the inbox overflow. It’s currently in Alpha and we’re getting great feedback and surprising emotional response to the game from our alpha testers. If you are one of those daring souls that love to play with pre-release software, follow @emailgame on twitter and let us know there. We will dm you with a link in a week or two.
I also want to give back with any free time I have left over. I am also available to help startups with any UX design challenges. I can give feedback on your design or suggestions and also share low cost DIY usability testing techniques. If you are a bay area startup and will like to meet me in person, I’m here until August 3rd. Startups are my passion and I want to live, breathe and drink startups. As I said, I can’t charge you for all the visa reasons. But this hiatus won’t last forever. Find me on twitter.]]>
I wanted to add a few more context to the conversation on what I’m up to and why I’m supporting StartupVisa. I recently left my Product Designer position at Carbonite (I know the resume isn’t updated, I will!) and my green card application through another mean is still pending. Once that comes back, I will be able to start my company or get involved with any funded or unfunded early stage start up of my choosing. So I am really looking forward to that freedom. But to achieve that freedom, I cannot work for any employer at the moment. I think it’s a great trade. If you want to know more about what I’m up to, read this next post.
But there are many other MIT graduates like me who are working in companies that sponsor their H1B visas since they graduated. We all graduated in 2005. The 6 year limit on H1B is coming up pretty soon for many of us. The current immigration policy makes it hard for them to keep working in US. I understand with the current economy and the unemployment rate, some people may be resistant to doing anything about this.
And then, there are ones who want to start their own startups. They moonlight and work on their projects on the side while having a full time job. But they cannot get up and quit their full time job to dedicate 100% to their startups and raise funds and grow a company for real. That’s why I think Startup Visa is going to make a difference. This type of visa doesn’t take any job from any americans and if successful, they are going to be creating jobs for many.
I have to say Scoble is a great journalist. He really had a genuine interest in people’s stories and he got me talking about the topics I’m pretty passionate about, startup visa, women in tech, etc. I’m looking forward to having more conversations like this. I’ll do one more follow up post based on the conversation we had about under-representation of women in tech and start ups. Hold me to it!]]>
Most importantly, decide what you are optimizing for. [This part is not in the slides but I believe is particularly useful. I filled in the details for better comprehension. ]
If you are optimizing for cash flow/profit, you have a clearer view of what to optimize for. $$$$$
If you are optimizing for raising funds, it’s an art of story telling. Decide your story line and get the numbers you need to support your story line. It might be traction, it might be proving that you can get >1x returns for each customer you acquire or that you have an enormous market, or how fast you can grow your customer base. Focus on your story and optimize on that number.
Kissmetrics and Mixpanel for funnel analysis.
Usertesting for qualitative testing.
Olark for monitoring your visitor and engaging with them. [One advice that wasn't on the slide was "keep things high touch. Don't worry about making anything scalable. That's a problem you will feel lucky to have later on". ]
I called the number listed on the card and said “Hi, I want to cancel my membership.” I was asked why I was leaving their gym and explained I’m no longer in their vicinity.
Without explaining what’s going to happen next or asking who I was, she forwarded me to a voice mail number. At this point, I was starting to get confused. I hang up and called again and asked if she intended to forward me to a voice mail. And she said, “No, I will have to take care of it myself but I don’t have anyone at front desk. I will have to call you back in a little bit.” From that sentence, I understood 0% of what her excuse for sending me to the voice mail was.
I wasn’t sure how she was going to call me back if she did not know who I was or have my number. So, I prompted her to take down my name and phone number.
We will see how long it takes for them to call me back.]]>
Their main observation is
- Left half of any page gets 69% of viewing time and right half gets about 30%.
- Their recommendation is ‘Stick to the conventional Layout’ for the best results.
- Keep navigation all the way to the left. This is where people look to find a list of current options.
- Keep the main content a bit further in from the left.
- The most important stuff should be showcased between one-third and halfway across the page. This is where users focus their attention the most.
- Keep secondary content to the right.
Brendan Reagan from Grokdotcom came up with his own way to apply that data for testing the page layouts.
Nielsen’s data for viewing time across horizontal dimension by 100 px each is found in the chart below.
I translated this data into a reusable heat map to be shared with UX team at work and I figured I should share it here as well. You can get the full sized png template here.
When I came across ABtests.com, I looked through the samples uploaded and found this sign up page A/B testing by LessAccounting. Original test write up theorized that having the buttons on the left might be the primary contributing factor to 20% increase in conversion rate. His hypothesis is correct if we can believe Nielsen’s data as correct across all sites with left to right reading languages.
Comparing the sums of attention percentage for each layout, we can clearly see the left layout got much more attention. This test is particularly a good A/B test to support Nielsen’s data since all other elements (content, call to action button color, size) remain exactly the same in both layouts. The only difference here is the position of the call to action buttons and more informational bulleted text.
You can take this template and start layering over landing or new content pages you are designing and optimize your layout to maximize intended conversion metrics.
If you haven’t read a book in a while because you haven’t found any time to read in your busy schedule, try this one simple thing.
Read ten pages of a book you always wanted to read before you go to bed. Every day, read just ten pages. If you fall asleep after that, it’s good. If you still have some energy, you can keep reading. The time doesn’t have to be before bedtime. It could be on your commute. It could be with your breakfast while you wait for coffee to brew. But for it to work, you have to do it every day at the same time and just make a habit out of it.
If you do this every day, you will have read 365 x 10 pages = 3650 pages a year. That’s about 9 books per year, assuming an average book has 400 pages. No matter how busy you are, you can finish 9 books a year. That will put you way above the US average (1 book per year). You won’t feel guilty when next year comes, and you won’t have to make any more resolutions to make time for reading!
You will be amazed how many books you can finish over the years, especially if you have a few extra minutes to extend your reading time to 15 or 20 minutes a day. Better yet, maybe you’ll get pulled deep into a great book and find yourself unable to tear your attention away from it. Either way, this is an easy way to get started if you want to read but haven’t found time to.]]>
Shareholic is a tool for people who are addicted to sharing the content they found on web through pretty much any communication channel. The list of services they support is quite long but it was pretty easy to customize which ones you want to use. I think just the fact that I’m posting something right now should prove Shareholic’s usefulness.
The second extension is called Zemanta. To be honest, I am skeptical of the quality of its recommendations. I’m hopeful to be proven wrong.
Related articles by Zemanta
I recommended this web based usability testing tool to a few people citing the virtues : a) easy to set up, b) cheap and c) convenient for remote users. I think the easiest way to see how Userfly works is playing with the demo they put up.Check out their site
This site was recommended by the session leader of Product Innovation Session. It appears to be a collection of interactive techniques/games you play to ultimately define your product’s future vision. The site and concept are based off of the book with the same name.
Here are a few more books you can read if you are completely new to this subject and you’d like to get more into it.
At the Innovation session, I mentioned this awesome little book called Why Not? by Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres. (Side note: these guys are the guiding forces behind Stickk, another one of my favorite sites.)
If you were at ProductCamp Boston and have anything to add, please let me know in the comments!]]>