Tag: week 3

Week 3 – Writing & Reviewing

On Friday’s class of Week 3, we were prompted to analyze our own basic drafts of our final business report and, later on, form pairs to give each other feedback on our drafts. During class (and with the help of previous class), I learned that there were actually really useful methods to identify issues and qualities of each project (for example, the SWOT method, or the PESTLE analysis) and they could be really helpful in organizing our business reports.

Receiving feedback not only helped me to notice some flaws I wasn’t fully aware of, but also made me aware of what I was doing right, which is just as important as correcting mistakes. Through feedback, I was informed that certain parts of my draft (namely the industry analysis and company overview) were too detailed and meticulous, while other parts, such as the finances section (which is pretty important in a business report for obvious reasons) was kind of lacking specific information and shorter in size than many other sections, and how it would be better to have all sections have more or less the same amount of depth to them. I also found it extremely rewarding to have someone comment on my writing and how adequate it was to the report, helping me to identify that I was actually doing right by writing in third person and using a direct language approach.

When it was my turn to give feedback, I was able to notice the differences between my own draft and the others, and how what they were doing right could be added to my own report. It was also weirdly comforting to know I wasn’t the only one a little lost about what to write in certain sections, and interacting with other people helped me to see what I could write in these specific areas. It was also interesting to actually exchange our ideas and concerns regarding the report instead of simply hearing one person pour suggestions.

I’d classify IndieGoGo as a successful business in the Maker Economy. They provide a safe solution for many developers’ biggest problem, which is budget and can hardly be obtained easily and quickly. Many developers already have the skills and some of the tools necessary to create their product, but still in dire need of money that allows them to gain access to more tools and spend their time focused on a specific project. IndieGoGo allows people interested in said project to donate money for its production and be rewarded for it accordingly, which ends up as a win-win situation for both the developers and the donators. Of course, not every project achieves their budget goals and might end up in failure, but donators are able to reclaim their money safely. I think IndieGoGo has become fundamental to many indie developers in several areas of entertainment and is partly responsible for the ‘boom’ of indie projects coming to life we have seen in the last years, allowing fans to contribute to the production of what they love for the first time.

Week 3 – User and Product Testing

Tuesday’s class was about the many user/product testing methods and their importance to the final product – through testing, it is possible to identify flaws and minor inconsistencies that might go overlooked by the developers.

There are two ways to collect data for these testings: the developers of the product might opt to collect the data themselves, or use secondary fonts of information already collected to assist in their research. The first method is very useful to gain data specific to the project, but requires time and money that aren’t always available for everyone involved into developing a project. It also requires the people involved not to let themselves be biased towards their product in the questionnaire and its answers. Examples of this method are surveys, online research and experimentation. The second method allows access to a myriad of information already collected and organized, in most cases for free, but it’s important to notice if the information is outdated or is even relevant to your project at all, and, if it costs money, maybe it’s wiser to spend money on the first method.

Survey

Our class survey was very helpful in gathering opinions besides our own about our product. Loretta also gave us valuable tips concerning some pieces that could be replaced for cheaper components and help us reduce both our final price and product size. Through the survey, we were able to get a real feedback about the interest in our product and its price, and the different opinions will help us to come with terms with the product’s final price and other minor changes regarding functional design. Personally, I believe both methods of data gathering explored by us are equally useful in their own manner – through the survey, we were able to get a more personal, detailed feedback on people’s views of our project and how engaged they are about it, but it’s also fundamental to use secondary fonts of research, especially to help us get used with this market and product design, since both are quite new to us.

 

Bad UI/UX example

The most blatant example that comes to mind is Lord of the Rings Online (LoTRO). It can be argued it’s an old game since it dates back to 2007, but there is something truly atrocious about the amount of information at times displayed on screen, how clunky the user interface can be, and, worst of all, how hard it can be to simply control the player character on screen since the controls might occasionally bug and invert themselves out of the blue. The game is dear to many fans around the world and, despite the outdated graphics and terrible UI/UX mechanics, it’s still played by many, but I actually find it nearly impossible to enjoy given how hard it is to get around the menus at certain points. Everything becomes a hundred times harder since the game barely takes its time to explain where everything can be found in the menus and users are forced to stumble their way through the crowded user interface. Some users have even developed alternative UIs to the game’s original buggy one to make things a bit easier.

Week 3: Reviewing Business Plan

One interesting thing I learned from writing the report was the levels of formality. Having writing in third person was a surprise to me. As for receiving feedback it helped in confirming the points I needed to improve. An example being the lengths of my paragraphs. I had one extremely long one and was almost sure that it was too long but was tempted just to leave it in because it was detailed. I changed my mind after my partner noted one of the biggest things needing changing was that exact paragraph. As for reviewing other work I picked up a lot of things that I could improve in my own such as consistency, formatting and conciseness.

One successful business was a startup that created LIFX, a long lasting, color changeable light bulb that could be programmed. It was successful because it introduced a new idea to how we thought about such an old product. It also followed the ‘internet of things’ trend which can be spotted in products that just have ‘smart’ tacked on the front of its name. Ignoring the fact that this was successful Kickstarted I personally think it would’ve been invested in either way. It was such an innovative and practical idea that a lot of other companies have already tried copying the idea.

Week 3: Writing and Reviewing Business Plans

In this week’s second half of the Atelier classes, the class reviewed some key points to writing and reviewing business plans. I learned that a lot of considered when writing business plans. One must sound not only professional, and get straight to the point, but one must also sound as if the proposed business is prepared and has thought out all of the benefits and risks it must take. It is also important to research any needed information to understand the industry, the competition, as well as the companies’ expenses.

The feedback from my peer evaluator helped me catch my grammar mistakes, which will enhance the language being used in the proposal. She also made suggestions as to what I should add in my proposal to build on the information provided, and also provided what to remove as it sounded redundant or is irrelevant. Not only did peer evaluation build on grammar and the information, but also it managed to catch any disconnects between statements. For these reasons, receiving feedback helped improve my report significantly.

Since I was peer evaluating a team member, I noticed there were some information that I have missed in the report, while she got. On another note, her report was a lot more condensed than mine. These were the primary factors that will help me improve on my own report because the length of my report could potentially mean I have repeating facts or that it has redundant information. Meanwhile, by condensing my report, I would have more space to add in any extra information I have missed.

An example of a successful business in the Maker’s Economy would be objects that are sold on Etsy. For example, a lot of DIY pendants are advertised on sites like Facebook, Instagram, DeviantArt, etc. and are sold on Etsy to make a profit. I mentioned a very successful one in my first blog post, called KeyspersCove. They are successful because they have a good advertisement strategy, and have gained over thousands of followers. It is hard to buy products from them because they sell out too fast for certain designs. For this reason, investors would be convinced for their business because one of their weaknesses becomes a strength. They are making quite a bit of money off of their business, and continue to grow each day. There are other pendant-making businesses out there with similar selling strategies, but with lesser marketing. The success of a business seems to highly depend on its business plan and it’s marketing strategies.

Week 3: Reflecting On Writing A Business Plan

Reflecting & Peer Review

When I first thought of what a business plan might be comprised of I assumed that businesses would “sweet talk” and inflate the potential of their business to make it sound as attractive as possible. What I learned was, of course, the exact opposite. It is incredibly important to understand and in fact identify to all parties involved the risks and short comings that inevitably manifest themselves in even the best business ventures. Furthermore receiving feedback from my peers not only allowed me to understand what I thought my strengths and weaknesses are but also the strengths and weaknesses that I would never have considered from being critical of my own work. Likewise reading my peers reports and identifying where their strengths lie made me more aware of other areas where I could improve my own writing.

Successful Business In The Maker Economy

Kano is a DIY computer kit aimed at educating kids to get hands on with building and coding their own computers. The kit uses the famous Raspberry Pi mini-computer and small colorful components that make building a computer both simple to understand and fun for kids. This business definitely falls into the realm of the maker movement by empowering kids to be involved in the technology we are so invented in that we often know little about. One of the weaknesses of Kano is that it relies on the availability and tech of the Raspberry Pi. However, because of it’s smart design, and successful kickstarter campaign, Kano seems to have acquired enough interest to make for a successful product launch.

box-open-top@2x

 

Week 3: User & Product Testing

User Testing

When user testing it’s important to consider both primary and secondary research methods. Primary methods of research refer to research that we collect ourselves such as surveys, focus groups, interviews and analytics. Secondary methods of research refer to market research that has already been collected and compiled such as public information from libraries and government departments, commercial resources, and academic research from colleges and universities. The reason user testing is so important is because it allows the designer to pinpoint areas in the design that need improvement. Often designers assume they understand what their consumer wants but through user testing consumers may provide insight into areas of design you would have not initially considered. This process ensures that you are in fact making a product that your consumer wants and finds valuable.

Survey Reflections

After having StitchKit’s survey completed by the rest of the class our team was able to compare what was working and what wasn’t working. We were then able to address these concerns. Our team went on to re-asses our pricing model, options that we are providing our consumer base, and how we can make our product more appealing to the beginner DIYer. This process also allowed us to establish a sense of demand and expectation that our team may not have understood before moving forward with the live selling event.

Bad User Interface / Experience Design

An example of bad user experience design can be found in the Xbox One’s Kinect 2.0 navigation. While the new Kinect 2.0 sensor is much more responsive in comparison to the original Kinect sensor found on the Xbox 360, there are still some fundamentals flaws in it’s design that make the user experience less than desirable. The Xbox One’s voice commands work off of using the keyword “Xbox” to initiate actions, followed by your desired outcome. (“Xbox, go to Netflix) The problem however, is that Xbox One designed a “shortcut” menu that will overlay itself over top of your current screen when you use the necessary keyword “Xbox” to initiate an action. While it is meant to give the user speedy options like “Xbox, go to friends list” often it makes the original screen you were trying to navigate inaccessible simply because you didn’t say “Xbox, Play Forza Motorsport 5” fast enough.

xbox_one_1111be180813-9532-4e30-b2b4-563b8256f4b5

 

 

 

Week 3

This Friday in class we reviewed our business plans. We reviewed our plans for strengths and weakness in pairs, each student reviewing the others work. Through this exercise we were able to learn about the writing style that one might use in a business plan. I found the exercise very helpful for my report as it taught me about using succinct information in a report and not sugar-coating or embellishing the strengths and weaknesses of one’s business.

Business plans need to have clear and confident information and maintain an accurate depiction of a business or product. I applied the knowledge of my weaknesses and limitations from the peer review to the content of my report. I have slightly changed my writing and layout,  and now have a more polished and appropriate business plan.

Week 3: User Testing

In this week’s Atelier, the class looked into different types of data research. Two common types of primary research are by surveying people and by observation. Surveying people requires an online or physical form that contains questions relevant to one’s business/service and is distributed amongst the masses. For example, OCAD would always like to receive feedback about their services in order to improve it. At the end of each semester, they send out a survey to all of the students, where students were asked to send back their honest reviews. Observation, on the other hand, allows people from the company to focus directly on the audience to see their initial reactions and opinions of the product or service. Many game designers have game testing positions where they watch the tester play their video game. They are able to ask questions along the way about the game, spot the strengths and weaknesses of the games, and spot any initial reactions the tester has while playing. In the development of technological interfaces, user testing is important because users are able to catch the minor bugs and errors of the technology that some builders cannot. It is mainly for debugging purposes, as well as to make any upgrades to the system that would best fit the user.

Comparing the results of our survey to what Loretta mentioned to us, the results were completely similar. The critical feedback we got was to show how decorating the cookie with the spinner is different from the actual effect we could get from generally using the icing pump. To make the cookies more interesting, the design of the cookies has to implicate that it only works well with a spinner. It is harder to figure out how different people reacted in the results of the surveys, as well as harder to gain insight of the particular reason as to why people said what they did, or to ask for more clarification. We were able to question Loretta one-on-one to further understand how to make our product better. It was a much more effective method to get someone to comment about the product in person.

The Spin Cookies have a lot of flaws, much less to the design of the product though. We generally know that our contraption had to look cleaner and professional, but it also plays against our idea of bringing self-made technology into the general and culinary arts. Most of our flaws were more technical, where the icing was too thick or the cookie was too brittle, or crumbles easily. These are factors we can consider when we bake our cookies, and create the icing. As for the contraption that spins the cookie, we will build a clean base for it so that it will work better. All of these improvements are feasible and it would not cost us anymore than the materials we already have. Since the user does not have to try the cookie spinner itself, there wasn’t anything strange that the user did that was out of the ordinary. However, we assumed that the users would look at the art before eating the cookie, but most people ended up eating the cookie without looking at what is on it. We are hoping that it is the art that attracts the audience to buy the cookie, despite the fact people are attracted to cookies to begin with.

An example of bad UI/UX interfaces is some websites found online (a service that promotes products/ businesses). For example, some websites have large menu icons where the user would spend a lot of time scrolling through the page in order to find an item they would like to look at. Assembledge+(http://www.assembledge.com/portfolio/) is an architecture service that requires this because it is to show the differences between each project through images. Other sites tend to have it just for aesthetic purposes, but did not consider the UI/UX of the site. Reddit uses a linear menu pattern where their options go off-screen. This takes more effort for users to find out the genre they want to view. Some other sites have ads that play videos and sounds. This is bad UI and UX because users generally don’t want to hear the ad when they click into a site. It is not their purpose to look at the ads. The ads act as a distraction or disruption instead of getting the user’s attention properly. For sites that promote businesses/products, the design heavily affects the success of the market rate because the design of the site tells a user how professional the business is. It also helps users to have a good UI to prove that the plans were well thought of.

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