by KLI | Apr 8, 2014 | Archived Press Releases, auto insurance, Competitive Benchmark Study, Competitive Index, mCommerce, mobile, mobile banking, Syndicated Reporting
KLI couldn’t be happier to welcome Dana Bishop to our team as our new Director of Quantitative Research. Dana has been working in the field of user research for 20 years and flaunts extensive experience with a variety of research methods. Above all, Dana has perfected the art and science of creating simple, yet highly-informative large-scale online user experience research studies. Her graceful orchestration of traditional scaled questions and directed tasks for users results in detailed feedback, thoughtful analysis and poignant evidence that informs design for clients far and wide.
Prior to joining Key Lime Interactive, Dana was lead researcher and manager of Keynote Systems’ Competitive Research group. While at Keynote, Dana led longitudinal quantitative research studies across numerous verticals and global markets for companies such as Carnival, Expedia, Travelocity, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Yahoo!, and State Farm Insurance. Dana began her career in the 1990s in San Francisco where she spent 3 years at Charles Schwab & Co conducting a nationwide field study and weekly in-lab sessions with customers; as well as time spent running usability testing for edu-tainment software in school environments.
After just three short months as part of the KLI team, Dana’s expertise is in high-demand! Custom studies are exceeding client expectations and all the while, Dana and other Key Limers are preparing the following types of reports for incremental release:
KLI Competitive Research. Naturally, with the addition of Dana to the Key Lime team, we’ve both expanded and refined our competitive research. Dana is spearheading several existing and new reports that fall under the following categories:
Currently our Auto Insurance Competitive Index and our Mobile Banking Competitive Index are widely used by nearly all top players in their respective industries. For this research KLI runs a survey to deeply understand the perceptions, beliefs, needs and desires of users when using their mobile devices (both web and apps) in context of a given industry and then indexes and compares capabilities across major players; ultimately ranking them and revealing strengths and opportunities for the industry and individual companies to move ahead. Inquire about the purchase of either of these reports, or suggest an index for your industry…
Competitive Benchmark Studies
Additionally, KLI publishes annual Cruise Competitive Benchmark results in June each year. This is a task-based assessment of the leading cruise industry websites by users (a mix of first-time and experienced users). The study analyzes the user experience in trying to learn about the cruise line, find a cruise of interest, and book online. It measures the user experience in terms of satisfaction, site reliability and performance, as well as NPS and likelihood to return and purchase. Dana’s keen understanding of what the cruise industry needs and pays attention to when executing sound design changes is part of what makes this benchmark study novel and desired. The study capitalizes on the value proposition offered by the various brands: Are they selling the ratio of cost to experience well to their digital consumers? Are they painting a clear picture that informs decisions and promotes action? At present, leaders in the industry are working with Dana to refine the June release to include exactly what they’ve been missing. Want to be involved in that conversation? Have ideas for a similar study in a different vertical? Learn more…
Custom Competitive Benchmark Studies
To take this one-step farther and truly meet the demands of KLI clients, Dana is leading the development of Custom Competitive Benchmark studies for several clients in the retail, travel, medical and financial industries. These studies are quite similar to the general Competitive Benchmark studies in that they are also task-based assessments of sites within a given industry by users. They also focus on which site(s) are providing the best user experience; but differ in that they allow companies to custom design aspects of the study along with KLI researchers. Companies can “ customize” by selecting the competitors they are most interested in benchmarking themselves against, as well as having input about the tasks users complete, and timing of when the study fields. Need to benchmark yourself against competitors in your industry? Learn more…
by KLI | Mar 3, 2014 | Android, App Development, ipad, mCommerce, mobile, Strategy, usability
by Phil McGuinness
A hot topic right now in mobile user experience is the debate between providing an HTML5 web app versus a more traditional Native OS app. Simply put, HTML5 is a method of programming a mobile website to behave like an app (think m.youtube.com) which can be accessed through any modern tablet or smartphone browser. Conversely, apps written for a Native OS are developed to run directly on Android or iOS smartphones (they are designed for each native platform), and must be downloaded through the GooglePlay Store or Apple App Store. Both approaches are a great way to provide web content to smartphone and tablet users, and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Which of these approaches is right for your business? At Key Lime Interactive, we are exploring this question in depth, and have key information to help you make the right decision.
From a development standpoint, HTML5 is the clear winner in both cost and flexibility. If your business has a website, it’s a given that you already have programmers on hand who can write HTML5 code. In addition, your programmers will only have to program the basic code once. Of course, during QA testing some minor edits will need to be made in order to support different browsers and browser versions in the marketplace such as Chrome, Safari, Explorer and more. It’s also important to note that since your code lives on the web rather than on a user’s device, you can make changes on the fly without having to roll out a new application update via an App Store update every time you make a change.
If you decide to make a Native OS app, you will need to hire a team who know the specific language for each operating system, or a jack-of-all-trades programmer who knows all of the relevant languages. These programming skills are much less common, and therefore, can be more expensive, than HTML5-only developers. In order to provide a robust and compelling experience for each OS, you’ll need someone who understands the nuances of each platform. This requires a developer who can write for each operating system, and that’s no small task. If you decide to go the path of a a Native OS app then you’re developing for both Android and iOS and that means you’re now doubling every step of the cycle, including programming, testing/QA, and maintaining the code. When it comes time to update your apps, you’ll also need to release an update two versions via the GooglePlay Store or the Apple App Store.Publishing via either store requires approval before your app can be made available for download.
So why use the Native OS app approach at all you might ask? It sounds expensive AND time consuming. We would submit that developing for a Native OS platform is the right choice. This approach excels at something that we at KLI hold near and dear to our hearts: you guessed it, user experience! Currently, an HTML5 mobile site compete to a Native OS app in look, feel, functionality, and overall speed. Of course, Android and iOS platforms have quirks which make for a unique user experience on each device but the robust and rich UX is worth the price of admission. See our previous article for a detailed discussion about how Android users can be alienated by seemingly insignificant design choices. When building an HTML5 web app to be standardized across all devices, you lose the custom feel ofa Native OS app.
The functionality advantage for Native OS apps comes partially from a better support system – not only from Apple and Google – but from the online community of app programmers – and also from the apps being installed directly on the device. This allows easy access to smartphone features such as the camera, calendar, or contacts. HTML5 web apps are starting to add these functionalities as programmers begin to develop clever new approaches, but equivalency is a long way off at this point in time. Finally, it is well known throughout the industry that the HTML5 web apps react significantly slower than Native OS apps in both UI and load speed. These factors combine to create a smoother, faster, and more intuitive user experience for a Native OS app.
The other main areas differences between these two approaches relate to security, monetization, and accessibility, which will vary in importance can be depending on what you want from your app. Native OS apps have better security since the code and URL strings are not accessible like they are in an HTML5 web app. If you happen to want your app to be accessible online, you’ll need to stick with Native OS. To rely on an existing app store for monetization, you’ll need to either build a Native OS app, or use a program like PhoneGap to “wrap” your HTML5 web app to make it appear as an app in the app store that users can download, although it only behaves as a link to the web app itself. Of course, selling your app through an app store means giving away a cut of the profit to the owner of that store/ HTML5 web apps allows you to create your own monetization strategy and avoid the App Store fees.
In conclusion, it takes careful consideration of your business, and knowledge of each approach to make the right decision for you. Do you need a less expensive, low-frills, dynamic experience? If so, an HTML5 web app would be the best approach for you. However, if your major concerns are usability, performance, and security, and you have a little room in your development budget, then a Native OS approach is the way to go. In our opinion, until HTML5 can catch up to the user experience provided by Native OS apps, enterprise companies will almost always want to represent themselves with Native OS apps for the enhanced usability and unparaelleled user experience. In the coming months, Key Lime Interactive will be conducting a study to measure the current user experience of HTML5 web apps, so stay tuned for more detailed information in a future newsletter.
by KLI | Feb 1, 2013 | ipad, mCommerce, mobile, Responsive Web Design, usability
Once upon a time…
In the first century of the 3rd millennium (aka the 21st century) the world was full of websites designed and developed with high-speed internet access in mind. Then one day, mobile feature phones were introduced: Palm, Inc. (remember them?), Kyocera 6035 and the HP iPaq h6315 look. Today they look like something from the dark ages! It wasn’t until 2009 that a few companies started noting mobile phone usage rising and started to develop their own mobile initiatives. At that time, data networks had far slower speeds. Designers were faced with a problem: they needed to allow the small screen carrying “on-the-go” user access to their content without frustration.
The solution: Native apps and m.sites were born. Brilliant. Limited function to be viewed in this mobile context. It made complete sense. Traditional websites and mobile solutions lived independently and happily One of our clients said then “all we want is a mobile site that looks like our contemporary [then mid-90s!] website.”.
But, then one day the K48 (the iPad) and other tablets joined the list of available offerings for both home and on-the-go users. Android and more recently Win8 tablets followed suit and here we are on the edge of a holiday season where the tablet is the number one gift. The tablets that were introduced had screen sizes that weren’t quite as large as a super-sized widescreen monitor and weren’t quite as tiny as a smartphone. Designers stopped in their tracks and considered a new challenge: Do we continue to design a solution for every form factor that emerges or is it possible to try to find a way to make our websites accessible AND user friendly across all form factors?
Ethan Marcotte, a thought-leader for the design industry published a concept and coined the phrase “responsive web design” (RWD) as a viable solution. His solution was not simply a response to varying display sizes, browsers, speeds (also known as “adaptive web layout”), it was a response by using a particular approach involving three critical components: fluid grids, flexible images and media queries.
For companies ready to start from the very beginning and make their content available across all devices, Marcotte’s RWD approach made perfect sense. They could follow his steps to build a somewhat one-size-fits-most solution.
However the companies who had already spent a great deal of time and energy creating those separate independent solutions scratched their heads – do we start from the very beginning and develop a truly responsive web design OR do we work to use what we’ve developed to date and create an adaptive web layout? The debate began and designers began to grapple with the advantages and disadvantages, they presented them to business stakeholders and business goals and budgets became part of the decision making process.
Eventually, the conversation got louder and more complex. We started to be brought in as consumer insight and usability experts to advise on the best way to make the end users happy.
Key Lime Interactive’s considerations.
So what advice do we give? In short, we agree with some of the others that there is no one-sized fits all solution. Every project has to be evaluated individually and the most effective techniques need to be applied accordingly. We can see the strengths of adaptive design for established groups and responsive design for folks starting fresh, who have the resources and budget.
Most importantly, from a user perspective: It doesn’t always matter! Jeffrey Zeldman proposed in mid-2011 that the design community should broaden the term “responsive design” “to cover any approach that delivers elegant visual experiences regardless of the size of the user’s display and the limitations or capabilities of the device.” The key phrase: “elegant visual experience” resonates with us as we advise our clients.
A quick quiz:
If you’re in a position to determine which direction your company should go, start by taking this short quiz as you begin the conversation. Keep your score!
1) My Current Properties:
a) I already have both a traditional and mobile site and satisfaction metrics are high for each
b) I’m starting fresh/early stages because I have no properties in place at present and/or I’m looking for something new or my satisfaction metrics are low.
2) My Support:
a) I have the capacity to hire out or to self-maintain a few different website versions.
b) I have the expertise in house (or the funds to hire out) to utilize the necessary toolkits (fluid grids, flexible images, media queries) and I prefer to maintain one site once it’s been built.
3) KEY QUESTION – The Context:
a) My user’s experience through mobile or tablets should be different than the experience they encounter via the traditional web because the context of mobile use demands different features and/or I need for my users to have a really amazing desktop experience that cannot be reduced by the least common denominators.
b) Reformatting our traditional site to fit the mobile web or tablets will work quite nicely for my offering. I understand when I resize to fit all, compromises are occasionally made, and this is ok!
If you answered mostly “a’s” you’re leaning toward Adaptive Layout Design
If you answered mostly “b’s” you’re leaning toward Responsive Web Design
As a consumer and user research consultancy, we weigh question 3 far more heavily than the others – so ultimately, the direction that you choose for question 3 should be the direction that you investigate most.