Archive for Technology

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Brilliant use of QR codes in Korea


In an attempt to grow to number one without increasing the number of their brick and mortar stores, Tesco home plus created a virtual shopping experience inside busy korean subway stations, to bring the store to the consumer.

Check out the video!

And while you’re at it, Take a look at the Tesco Real Foods Windows Phone 7 application designed right here at IQ!

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Insights on Designing Pikchur for Windows Phone 7

IQ just finished designing an awesome picture sharing app called Pikchur for Windows Phone 7. It is the first mobile application by Pikchur, a leading picture sharing service. The application makes it fun and easy for Windows Phone 7 users to share photos with all of their social networks at one time.

Pikchur allows users to quickly connect and share photos to many popular social networks, micro-blogging services, and media hosting websites. The Windows Phone 7 application is packed with new platform features such as Bing map integration for geotagging, pivot controls for organizing photo information and comments, and a live tile, so users can see their most recent photo on the phone’s start screen. The application was launched simultaneously in five languages, provides privacy options, and includes Facebook and Twitter integration, so users can start sharing instantly. In addition to new mobile features, IQ worked with Pikchur to develop new branding elements being adopted on Pikchur.com.

Keep reading after the jump to learn more about some of our design process and insights.

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Mobile Analytics

There has been an explosion of mobile devices – both in smart phone and tablet format – in the past year. It is predicted that by the end of 2011 there will be 70 million smart phones in use across the US (33% of the mobile audience). That statistic does not even take into account the new proliferation of tablet computers that also account for today’s mobile computing.

With so many people turning to mobile devices for data consumption, it’s only natural that companies start investing in ways to leverage these devices. In the past companies primarily focused on mobile optimized web sites, however with the rise of the iPhone and Android and the popularity of their apps, it’s only natural that companies also begin to invest some of their resources towards app development as well.

Early statistics are already showing that mobile apps are more successful than mobile optimized web sites:

  • Mobile apps show a 26% lift in conversion rates over mobile optimized sites
  • Mobile search has an 8x better click-thru rate vs. desktop search, and even higher when using a dedicated search app.

As companies start to spend revenue on developing mobile apps, it will be critical to show how successful (or not) these apps are being – and this is where mobile analytics come into play. Using tracking similar to web analytics, mobile analytics can help show the performance and troubleshoot mobile apps in near real-time. Some of this data would include information like:

  • How many times has the app been downloaded, and onto which devices?
  • How often are users launching the app? Do users of one kind of device launch it more than others?
  • How often is the app crashing? At what point and on what device does it crash the most frequently?
  • What is the conversion rate from app users vs. mobile optimized site / web site?

Answering these questions, among others, will help determine not only the performance of the app, but also help troubleshoot and improve the app over time.

While the web and web sites are unlikely to go away anytime soon, mobile apps present a new opportunity in online marketing that should be taken advantage of wherever it makes sense to do so. To do so will require an understanding of the analysis of mobile apps in order to make the most of them.

Next-Generation Mobile Applications

The adoption of smartphones is increasing at an incredible rate. Nielsen predicts that smartphones will overtake feature phones by the end of 2011. This shift will be the catalyst for innovation in the mobile marketplace. Marketers and their partner agencies need to consider how they’ll create for the next-generation mobile devices.

These next-generation mobile devices will push far beyond current devices in both hardware and software capabilities. Increases in mobile broadband, processing power, image resolution, storage, and connected services will drive innovation.

A competitive mobile platform marketplace dominated by RIM, Apple, and Google has been the primary storyline over the last few years. Previous market leaders such as Nokia and Microsoft are poised to challenge the current leaders and regain market share.

The operating systems that have dominated the marketplace for the last few years have focused on an app-driven paradigm. The central focus was on the capabilities of the individual mobile application. Nokia, RIM, and Apple built successful platforms based around this type of user interaction. More apps in a platform’s market provided the end user with more options and a perceived greater value than other competing platforms.

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Why Omniture Summit 2011 Was the Best So Far

Omniture 2011

I recently attended the Omniture Summit 2011. This conference has really worked on transforming itself from purely a “users’ conference” to an Online / Digital Marketers’ Conference. As a web analyst, especially one who specialized in Omniture products, I have made it a point of attending this conference every year, since I started using Omniture SiteCatalyst in 2005. This year was definitely, in my mind, the best so far for a number of reasons.

Quality Keynote Speakers

This year the two featured keynote speakers were Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney, and John Gerzema, a world-renowned social theorist on consumerism and its impact on growth, innovation and strategy. They both were very engaging speakers and shared a lot of their wisdom with the attendees.

Michael Eisner’s keynote centered around the theme of “from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg,” looking at how far we’ve come since 1455 in the realm of mass communications. One point in particular that struck me was “to punish failure, is to encourage mediocrity.” His point being that everyone makes mistakes (he personally pointed out the failure of Disney’s Go.com to jump on the paid search bandwagon far too late to rescue that effort against Google and Yahoo). However, if you don’t take risks (and risk making errors), you end up wallowing in mediocrity and never have the chance to achieve something potentially great.

John Gerzema’s keynote centered around the theme of his newest book “Spend Shift.” He discussed concepts like consumers moving from “mindless spending to mindful spending.” Overwhelmingly consumers are migrating more towards brands that share similar values to their own and that they now value brands known for kindness and quality over brands known for mystery and trendiness.

Much Improved Breakout Sessions

The breakout sessions this year were very well done. In years past the breakout sessions felt more like sales pitches, and I often came away from them disappointed. Also there were often problems getting a seat at some of the more popular breakout sessions. This year there were a number of excellent changes to help reduce this. First they encouraged attendees to register for breakout sessions ahead of time – this allowed them to plan the capacity of each better. Additionally each breakout was done in 2 parts – the first half focused on the topic in general, presented by an Omniture speaker. Outside of the specific Omniture product focused sessions, there was a lot less “sales pitch” in these presentations. The second half of each breakout session was a case study from a current Omniture customer. All the ones I attended had very thoughtful case studies that illustrated the point of each session quite well.

Entertainment

It wouldn’t be an Omniture Summit without entertainment and this year there was once again plenty to be had – from the opening reception on Tuesday night, to the lavish party and concert on Wednesday night (with Lenny Kravitz this year), to the after and after-after parties thrown by the various executives from Adobe/Omniture.

That sums up exactly why I felt Omniture Summit 2011 was by far the best Omniture Summit I have yet attended.


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Body Language of the iPhone, Windows Phone 7, Android

The touch screen smartphones are sleek and immediately respond to your gestures.  Is there a standard set of gestures or does each have its own body language?  In reviewing the standard gestures of the iPhone, Windows Phone 7 and Android, there does seem to be a core set across them.  The following table illustrates the core set of gestures to use in applications.

Table 1. Gestures for Mobile Phones with Touch Screens

mobile phone touch screen gestures

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Will I buy an iPad 2?

Let me first state that I am a die hard fan of the iPad (and most things Apple). While I’m not usually what techies call an “early adopter,” I was the proud owner of an original iPad within a month of its release. We’ve been in love ever since. Lots of people asked me (and still do) what I actually did with it, insinuating I had purchased a glorified toy. But it really did change things for me. As a creative, it’s the perfect portfolio-sharing device. I can’t imagine ever having a printed portfolio again. On business trips where I won’t need the firepower of my MacBook Pro, it’s the perfect traveling computer. With a stellar battery life, it made my recent flight from Atlanta to San Francisco a breeze. And for leisurely computer use at home, sitting on the couch with my iPad is the way to go.

On March 2, Apple announced the iPad 2. So now my dilemma. Do I go out and plunk down another $500 (minimum) to upgrade? To be honest, after a bit of research, I don’t think it’s worth it. Sure, there have been a handful of upgrades to size and processor and even some slick new cases but I don’t see enough to justify me crafting an argument to my wife about why I need “another” iPad.

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Free Omnigraffle Applescript: Add Annotations to Single Canvas

Annotating wireframes doesn’t have to be a painful job with this simple script I’ve developed to add annotations to a single canvas. You can easily adjust the script to add the annotations to all your canvases in your document, but I don’t recommend it as a workflow!

Check out my demo video for some simple instructions on how to use and tips!

DOWNLOAD SCRIPT HERE: Add annotation markers to a single canvas

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I Love Android

I’ll admit, it’s a newfound love. I’ve always been a Google kind of girl, but when I bought my first smartphone, I went with the iPhone without hesitation.  At the time Android was relatively new, I was already on AT&T and the iPhone app store was miles better (I also hadn’t reached my annoyance threshold with Apple yet, but that’s another story). But then I had the recent good fortune to be able to get my hands on a Nexus One.  There were many things about it that I immediately liked.  Widgets on my home screens give me instant access to data without having to open the app. It synchronizes with my Google account which is really nice for me since I use that account for almost everything. If I lose my phone, I won’t lose my contacts. Hooray! And of course with the newer versions of Android you can view Flash content on your mobile device, which is quite nice.  My largest concern was that the apps available would be lackluster in comparison to those in the Apple app store, but that turned out to not be the case. In fact, I could find nearly every app I had on my iPhone in the Android Market, and those that I couldn’t find had equivalents built by different developers. Oh, and Angry Birds was free!

But none of that is really why I love Android.  It’s a love born of nerdery.

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The Blistering Pace of Interaction Advances

It seems like forever ago, but I clearly remember when computer mice became popular. I remember avoiding them like the plague at first – thinking how inefficient they were compared to a keyboard. I also remember a friend’s naive younger sister grabbing at the mouse as soon as she turned the computer on and thinking “this thing is going to dumb down computer users so much”. Fifteen years later and my opinions couldn’t be more different.

The mouse is to the PC, just as the game controller is to the XBox, just as the remote is to the TV – they are forms of interaction which are workhorses to millions. All of these controllers are pretty simple in nature: you push a button, it travels some wires (or wirelessly), and it tells a computer something to do. All of these forms of control were built back when computing power was at a premium, and before computer sensors are what they are today. What is becoming clear is that the biggest device innovations today are not just measured by computing power, storage, or screen size – the biggest innovations today are measured in how you interact with them, and how they interact with you.

A camera making use of face and smile detection
A camera making use of face and smile detection

 

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