Digital strategy services firms can expect both their business and the demand for their skills to grow rapidly through the rest of this decade, according to IDC Research.
The global market research and analysis company released its findings from a study that predicts digital-related consulting will be central to 80 percent of all business and information technology consulting and consequently drive a market for digital strategy services approaching $97 billion by 2019.
The study, titled Worldwide and U.S. Digital Strategy Services Forecast, says such discussions currently constitute only about 50 percent of similar engagements. But as more companies demand measurable business value outcomes from a combination of social, mobile, analytics, security, and cloud technologies, their need for comprehensive digital strategy services will increase.
These services are crucial to establishing the leadership, vision, goals, talent requirements, and data and technology priorities in successful digital enterprise and digital transformation initiatives. Read the rest of this post »
The weather is getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and it’s once again time to give thanks for all things, large and small, that enhance our lives. As a content strategist and copywriter, I am always thinking about how to make content more useful and engaging. That’s why I’m thankful for the following 5 sites that provide guidance, tips, and tools as well as thought leadership I find myself referencing again and again.
If you like this list, check out my coworker Olivia Saldano’s favorite design resources.
What websites and resources are you most thankful for in your work? Please share them in the comments below; I’m always interested in finding new favorites and useful resources.
Remember Google Glass? That head-mounted computer resembling a pair of glassless eyeglasses?
You are forgiven if you have forgotten. Google’s first attempt at ubiquitous computing sure had cachet when it went to market in the spring of 2014 and was dubbed the natural next step in digital-first design. That cachet disappeared less than a year later, and Glass did soon after, as Google insisted those first publicly available headsets were just prototypes.
Exactly when the next Glass prototype will become available is not known, but several tech journals that had been skimming through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s public records found that Google was granted a patent this week for single-lens eye wear described as an electronic device affixed with a form-fitting “band” that clings to one side of the wearer’s scalp.
The display portion is suspended in front of the wearer’s left eye and, according to the patent’s illustrations, looks more like a prism than a conventional lens.
Google Glass dropped out of the consumer market in January amid promises it would be reincarnated soon, though only for enterprise use. The project upgrade turned up at Google under the name Aura in September two months after a Google job posting called for manufacturing engineers in its Glass division.
“What you saw was Version 1,” Vian said. “We’re now working on Version 2, which is now in preparation,” he said.
It’s that time a year again, the time where we focus on all that we are thankful for in our lives. That may be our family and friends, or more simple things like a good night’s sleep. This year, I’m especially thankful for the following 5 design resources, in no particular order because I’m equally thankful for all:
I would love to hear what resources others find helpful and maybe we can introduce each other to something new.
We are rapidly moving into the holiday shopping season and retailers are in for a rubber meets the road experience. The tried and true sales gimmicks they’ve relied on in season’s past may not work so well this November and December. Consumers have become accustomed to receiving free shipping, price matching and other price-related perks. And while some of those tactics work in the short term, as author Denise Lee Yohn has found, “Competing on price produces less of an advantage now.” Competing on price, product, placement and promotion is the classic marketing template for how organizations compete (i.e., the 4Ps of Marketing). It still has value today, but it’s no longer solely relevant to attracting and retaining consumers. I believe there is an additional “P” of marketing products and services that matters more in the marketplace of today, and that is people (aka, customers, consumers). So how will retailers compete to gain consumers’ wallets this season?
I am putting my money on those retailers who will compete on delivering a superior customer experience, and who invest in delighting their customer.
I agree with Yohn when she says, “They [meaning retailers] know that people make shopping decisions not only on product, price, offers, convenience, or even service, but rather…the way they make people feel.” Successful retailing is about getting into the hearts and minds of customers and prospective customers. Read the rest of this post »
As a user experience designer, I used to think that the worst designed websites were the best candidates for improvement. Symptoms of user experience debt may sound familiar to you – confusing navigation, excess clicks, accessibility violations, and painful load times. I applied to jobs thinking the larger the UX debt, the greater the opportunity. Perversely, however, the opposite is true.
Why? Because a good site already has the resources – money, labor, and knowledge capital – to improve. A bad site doesn’t.
We may be seduced to believe otherwise when so many elements of web design are free. Responsive frameworks like Bootstrap? Free. jQuery libraries? Free. Stock photography? Free. So it should cost little to transform a bad website into a fully responsive, whizzy experience.
Unfortunately UX debt can’t always be paid with free templates, or extra people or refactored code. This is because UX debt represents more than a lack of resources. It represents the existence of exacerbating conditions. Some examples:
Lack of executive support. Rightly or wrongly, organization leaders may prioritize other activities (e.g., developing new functions) over user experience. You can’t improve UX simply by hiring more designers. The decision-makers in your organization are still there!
Hero mentality. Some designers want recognition as creative geniuses, and tackle every project with visual brainstorming. However, standard UX processes today – including research, usability testing, analytics and multivariate testing – are all about user data and iteration. Brainstorming is an activity, not a strategy. Your designers may be actively generating UX debt by focusing on artistry instead of usability.
Overdesign. Often a design doesn’t lack resources. On the contrary, it may suffer from excess people and ideas. A common scenario is a new feature that could potentially work like X or Y. Stakeholders disagree, then compromise by making X and Y a user setting. The final settings menu has 67 items that’s impossible to navigate. Bigger is not always better. Good design has boundaries. You can actually incur UX debt through addition, not subtraction. Read the rest of this post »
Take a guess: How many virtual communities exist online, right now?
The answer is complex. If you count only those sites with 100 million members or more, the list is about a dozen names long. If you count those considered “major” and “active” at the same time, the list has about 400 members.
But if you try counting every community, right down to the tiny sites serving only a few devotees or the sites with barely any attention paid to them, expect to spend days, maybe even weeks just counting.
Now, apparently, major media companies are assigning someone to do exactly that. The latest trend in media administration incorporates a role called “platform ambassador,” or something similar. Simply put, these ambassadors determine which new or existing social platforms are worth bringing aboard as partners.
Their choices are crucial: Media outlets realize (or most do, anyway) that they need to go where potential audiences are, instead of expecting audiences to come find them – an expectation the oldest outlets embraced for 80 years. For example, Facebook and Twitter together garner 1.8 billion users among their active accounts, and of those users more than half get their news directly through the two platforms instead of through traditional media outlets. Read the rest of this post »
It may seem odd that I would discuss an article from academia (A new movement strives for simplicity), but hear me out. Most of us are moderately or highly literate on our respective areas of expertise. But guess what? Our colleagues and clients may not be at the same level of know-how. I could make the case that as the holder of an MBA, with a concentration in IT, that I should easily understand my colleagues’ technical lingo. Sad to say, I’m often nodding my head, “Yeah, I get that,” when my brain is saying, “Huh?”
So let’s have a come clean moment. At times and in certain contexts, we are all illiterate in some situations. At a recent UxPA conference, I heard this phenomenon referred to as “situational illiteracy.” For instance, reading my healthcare provider’s full policies on what’s covered and what’s not typically sends me to the phone to hash it out with someone who understands what the jargon means. This is unfortunate and frustrating. It simply doesn’t have to be this way and the fix isn’t complicated: just use plain language. I know that it can be challenging to drop the jargon, and to distill complex ideas down to simple sentences. But we can do it! Read the rest of this post »
Part 1 of 2
How do you excite the imagination of your team to devise new ways of solving design problems, to create new ideas and better user experiences? Where do you start? Design firms, and those invested in design thinking and innovation, start by asking customers what they want. I’ll be the first to admit that I relish talking to customers, getting inside their heads to the point where I can “see” their needs and aspirations (i.e., empathy). But user research can be problematic if it’s not handled right. When firms expect customers to know what they want, and have accurate insight into how to solve their own problems, they are in for a surprise because customers are often unable to express what they want if they are even good at identifying it. Without a doubt, customers know what rubs them the wrong way and what brings them delight. However, customers are mostly clueless about how to come up with solutions to fix their issues. In some cases, lead users (e.g., die-hard, I’m never leaving this brand, customers) are able to express what they want due to their extensive and intimate experience with a brand, but that’s not typical.
How do we resolve this challenge? If you want to release, say a blockbuster app, “Stop asking customers what they want. Start asking what they want your products to do for them,” advises Anthony W. Ulwick, CEO of Strategyn, a consulting firm based in San Francisco, and frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review. As a researcher, it’s tempting to give serious consideration to the solutions that customers suggest, but it’s imperative to distinguish between outcomes and solutions. Why? Read the rest of this post »
I was in a kick-off meeting on a new project that took an unexpected turn.
My team was sitting at a very large conference table − six of us if I recall correctly − overlooking the river and expansive cityscape. I was enjoying my decaf soy latte while we made small talk with our client; by the way, small talk is a recommended approach to breaking the ice with a new client, actually with any team members. In one recent study I recently discovered that using small talk with groups reduces social distance, that feeling we have of emotional disconnection with our colleagues, mainly when we don’t often see them. Also, small talk encourages social sensitivity and cohesion. So back to where I was. In the room with us were 9 stakeholder-clients, and joining via video conferencing was the remainder of our client’s leadership team, including the executive sponsor. We had a lot of people in this kick-off meeting but I didn’t think much of it; we were starting on a large-scale effort. So to get things started, our Lead introduced the project, scope and schedule. He turned it over to me and I began outlining our research activities and outputs within the design process.
And then out of nowhere…
Without warning the client’s domain lead “Ansel” raised objections. She had doubts about the validity of our approach. Actually, I knew she thought the approach was inappropriate and it really concerned her. I’m pretty good about intuiting these things (i.e., felt emotions). She asked, “How is this approach really valid when…?” I sensed a growing tension in the room as our conversation flow took a detour. You could have heard a pin drop and (oh yeah) all eyes were on me! Read the rest of this post »