PRESS RELEASE: Norwegian Cruise Line Hosts the Best In Class Web Experience; Leaves Competition in Their Wake

Key Lime Interactive Ranks Norwegian Cruise Line’s Website Best-In-Class in Comprehensive User Experience Report.  

Miami, FL – Key Lime Interactive (KLI), an industry leader in competitive index reporting across a variety of industries, released the results of their Contemporary and Premium Brands 2014 Cruise Competitive Benchmark Study at the close the third quarter ranking Norwegian Cruise Line as Best-In-Class. The report compares the website for seven cruise brands including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line. The report reveals that Norwegian Cruise Lines offered the best “overall site satisfaction” over a variety of indices such as brand affinity. The Key Lime Interactive Competitive Benchmark study defines these indices as “behavioral loyalty.”

“Consistently positive emotional experiences result in consumer loyalty,” reported Ania Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of Key Lime Interactive. “Norwegian’s site visitors indicated that they had a high likelihood to return to the site and book a cruise in the future. Most importantly, the site significantly outperformed its competitors’ in terms of time spent on the site. Time spent increased the brand’s perception relating to attributes such as ‘entertaining’, ‘appealing’, ‘fun’, and ‘family-oriented’.”

These emotional experiences and demonstrated behavior were measured using a task-based user research approach in which hundreds of users participate in a study passively, in their natural context, from geographically widespread locations. A mix of experienced and inexperienced cruisers were recruited to visit a cruise website and perform a series of tasks. Before, during and after task completion, several lines of questioning were asked so that Key Lime Interactive’s team of researchers could evaluate a series of drivers and determine how each site performs. These detailed results help design and digital marketing professionals at each brand better understand the online customer journey. Digital marketing and product development teams count on these findings to meet the needs and expectations of their target audience in strategic planning sessions.

Norwegian significantly outperformed the other players in areas such as “Offering Satisfaction” and “Value Proposition.” Additional analysis across six other drivers is featured in the report.

Norwegian stakeholders responded favorably. “…Not only are we prioritizing what users claim they need, but we get a first-hand view of what users are doing on the site. In our experience, what our guests say, and how they actually behave online doesn’t always align. This methodology provides the details we need to in order to focus our development plans in the coming year,” says Rob Casas, Vice President of eCommerce at Norwegian Cruise Line.

Casas and others rely on Key Lime Interactive reporting to drive the development roadmap into the next quarter and beyond. In many cases, deficits or strengths easily translate to quick fixes or strategic change to improve prospective buyer experience.

Additional Report Information

Key Lime Interactive’s Cruise Experience Mobile Heuristics were used to determine the overall score and ranking of seven (7) companies including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Lines. These heuristics consisted of a capabilities assessment, comparative feature ranking and overall user score and ranking.

The methodology first aimed to understand by using consumers’ self-reported preferences; which features and tasks were must-haves when it came to interacting with the site. These identified features were then placed into priority order to highlight their importance. This ranking was used in an algorithm to tabulate the final scores.

Key Lime Interactive recognizes the importance of aligning business-centric goals with consumer-centric needs to produce winning solutions and makes this a core component to all deliverables. This incorporation of user feedback is a primary component for this and all studies across various industries ranging from finance, retail, hospitality, etc.

“Other reports highlight what we’re doing well from an expert user experience researcher perspective. This report is different because it tells us what we’re doing well from the user perspective. When adjusting the opportunities for improvements listed we can see the direct impact on overall site success.” says Casas as he anticipates Norwegian’s scores in the next report release.

All assessments are as of August 22, 2014. The next iteration of the study will be available in the summer of 2015.

To purchase the published report, please reach out to Key Lime Interactive for more information at sales(at)keylimeinteractive(dot)com

Researchers, Designers, Executives, Journalists and Bloggers in the Cruise, Travel and Leisure Industry are encouraged to contact Key Lime Interactive with any additional questions.

About Key Lime Interactive

Key Lime Interactive is an user experience research firm with proven excellence in both quantitative and qualitative user and consumer testing. To serve our growing client list of Fortune 100 companies, we conduct competitive research, true intent / voice of customer studies, and prototype studies using quantitative methods. Additionally, we’re experienced in moderating one-on-one interviews/ usability studies, focus groups, and eye-tracking studies for both the traditional and mobile web. Currently, Key Lime is working to help top brands better understand their customer via behavioral personas and customer journey mapping. Ultimately, our goal is to empower teams to use consumer/user experience data at any and all phases of product development; from strategy to implementation. We aim to provide the true perspective of target users and build exceptional consumer-driven solutions.

PRESS RELEASE: Norwegian Cruise Line Hosts the Best In Class Web Experience; Leaves Competition in Their Wake

Key Lime Interactive Ranks Norwegian Cruise Line’s Website Best-In-Class in Comprehensive User Experience Report.  

Miami, FL – Key Lime Interactive (KLI), an industry leader in competitive index reporting across a variety of industries, released the results of their Contemporary and Premium Brands 2014 Cruise Competitive Benchmark Study at the close the third quarter ranking Norwegian Cruise Line as Best-In-Class. The report compares the website for seven cruise brands including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line. The report reveals that Norwegian Cruise Lines offered the best “overall site satisfaction” over a variety of indices such as brand affinity. The Key Lime Interactive Competitive Benchmark study defines these indices as “behavioral loyalty.”

“Consistently positive emotional experiences result in consumer loyalty,” reported Ania Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of Key Lime Interactive. “Norwegian’s site visitors indicated that they had a high likelihood to return to the site and book a cruise in the future. Most importantly, the site significantly outperformed its competitors’ in terms of time spent on the site. Time spent increased the brand’s perception relating to attributes such as ‘entertaining’, ‘appealing’, ‘fun’, and ‘family-oriented’.”

These emotional experiences and demonstrated behavior were measured using a task-based user research approach in which hundreds of users participate in a study passively, in their natural context, from geographically widespread locations. A mix of experienced and inexperienced cruisers were recruited to visit a cruise website and perform a series of tasks. Before, during and after task completion, several lines of questioning were asked so that Key Lime Interactive’s team of researchers could evaluate a series of drivers and determine how each site performs. These detailed results help design and digital marketing professionals at each brand better understand the online customer journey. Digital marketing and product development teams count on these findings to meet the needs and expectations of their target audience in strategic planning sessions.

Norwegian significantly outperformed the other players in areas such as “Offering Satisfaction” and “Value Proposition.” Additional analysis across six other drivers is featured in the report.

Norwegian stakeholders responded favorably. “…Not only are we prioritizing what users claim they need, but we get a first-hand view of what users are doing on the site. In our experience, what our guests say, and how they actually behave online doesn’t always align. This methodology provides the details we need to in order to focus our development plans in the coming year,” says Rob Casas, Vice President of eCommerce at Norwegian Cruise Line.

Casas and others rely on Key Lime Interactive reporting to drive the development roadmap into the next quarter and beyond. In many cases, deficits or strengths easily translate to quick fixes or strategic change to improve prospective buyer experience.

Additional Report Information

Key Lime Interactive’s Cruise Experience Mobile Heuristics were used to determine the overall score and ranking of seven (7) companies including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Lines. These heuristics consisted of a capabilities assessment, comparative feature ranking and overall user score and ranking.

The methodology first aimed to understand by using consumers’ self-reported preferences; which features and tasks were must-haves when it came to interacting with the site. These identified features were then placed into priority order to highlight their importance. This ranking was used in an algorithm to tabulate the final scores.

Key Lime Interactive recognizes the importance of aligning business-centric goals with consumer-centric needs to produce winning solutions and makes this a core component to all deliverables. This incorporation of user feedback is a primary component for this and all studies across various industries ranging from finance, retail, hospitality, etc.

“Other reports highlight what we’re doing well from an expert user experience researcher perspective. This report is different because it tells us what we’re doing well from the user perspective. When adjusting the opportunities for improvements listed we can see the direct impact on overall site success.” says Casas as he anticipates Norwegian’s scores in the next report release.

All assessments are as of August 22, 2014. The next iteration of the study will be available in the summer of 2015.

To purchase the published report, please reach out to Key Lime Interactive for more information at sales(at)keylimeinteractive(dot)com

Researchers, Designers, Executives, Journalists and Bloggers in the Cruise, Travel and Leisure Industry are encouraged to contact Key Lime Interactive with any additional questions.

About Key Lime Interactive

Key Lime Interactive is an user experience research firm with proven excellence in both quantitative and qualitative user and consumer testing. To serve our growing client list of Fortune 100 companies, we conduct competitive research, true intent / voice of customer studies, and prototype studies using quantitative methods. Additionally, we’re experienced in moderating one-on-one interviews/ usability studies, focus groups, and eye-tracking studies for both the traditional and mobile web. Currently, Key Lime is working to help top brands better understand their customer via behavioral personas and customer journey mapping. Ultimately, our goal is to empower teams to use consumer/user experience data at any and all phases of product development; from strategy to implementation. We aim to provide the true perspective of target users and build exceptional consumer-driven solutions.

Your Environment Impacts Your Impression

by Kelley Parsons
Often when we think of the user-centered design process and the methods used to optimize a user’s experience, we think in terms of its utility to aid in maximizing design improvements for a device’s interface, or perhaps, its physical properties.  However, there are opportunities beyond this common application. If we consider that a user’s experience can be influenced by interactions that occur within a broader system or service.  We can also further note that the definition of an interface is the point at which two systems meet, we can then explore the possibilities of utilizing a user-centered design approach (and any number of methodologies) to assess the impact of the environment on user perceptions or experiences as they occur within that environment. To date, the results of many large studies have shown a strong relationship between the physical environment and the perceptions of its occupants. For example, when a doctor’s office waiting room was considered to be newer in appearance, had nice furnishings, artwork etc., patient’s perceived quality of care was positively influenced while their reported anxiety decreased.
When considering the applications of user-centered design and the impact of user experience, we think beyond its being a way to gauge user perceptions of a device interface and consider it as a possible means of assessing user perceptions of the space or ‘interface’ within which people are providing a particular service.

Food For Thought

Just as a poorly designed product interface can result in negative perceptions of the product as a whole, a poorly designed environment can result in negative perceptions of quality of service as a whole.

HTML5 or Native OS: Which is Right for Your Business?

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.

 

Engaging your Audience: Unlocking and Optimizing Multi-Screen Opportunities

We can’t imagine we’re alone as we notice a dramatic change in the needs of our customers.  It seems that rather than independently testing how users consume the lean-back broadcast experience and the lean-forward web and mobile experience as we did in the past, top brands are seeking our expertise to understand how these two mediums collide and complement one another.
With Nielsen reporting that 60 percent of people surf the web while watching TV, we certainly can’t blame them.  Consumers are hungry for a complete “infotainment” experience and are consuming media on multiple screens that target specific content, device or individual demographics.  Most importantly, though, these people still indicate a refusal to abandon traditional broadcasting altogether.  This leaves a lot for our clients to learn by observing and collecting data as users toggle their attention between the technology (e.g. iPad, laptop, or mobile phone) in their hand and that big HD flat screen on their wall.
TV is one, but what are the other screens?
This concept has evolved rapidly.  In a short time, we went from simply gaining a bit more information by using the digital menus that our cable providers deliver to being able to chit chat about what the stars have on at the Oscars in chat forums and via twitter feeds on the traditional web.  Now, we have specially designed applications, synched by sound, that are designed to simultaneously augment the viewing experience by promoting social and engaging experiences!  The second and third screen is alive and well and the delivery system is our laptop, tablet and/or smartphone.
Who is taking advantage? (…and who SHOULD be.)
As our investigative research continues, we can’t help but think there is still a lot of room for improvement as companies endeavor to blend screen one with the others.  Some have given it a shot but still haven’t found that sweet spot of allowing a passive and active experience to live in harmony, and some have yet to consider this opportunity.  Take Jeopardy for example.  I can only imagine that the viewing experience on Jeopardy would be enhanced with the ability to play along with the audience and compare myself to the contestants as they play live!  Sure, I can download their HD iPad app, but it wouldn’t be easy to respond to both the questions on the app AND participate on TV.  I don’t know about you, but they’d lose me on one of these interfaces and there’s always a chance that they’d lose me for good.   Others, like Disney, have pushed this to the next level.  With the release of their TRON and Bambi second screen app your iPad or laptop interacts with you along the same timeline as your movie.  The design promotes the synchronized companion experience that they’re seeking and they hang on to the viewership and therefore the ability to advertise to you on both channels.
But it’s not over.  The race is on to create a solution that executes this perfectly.
What is KLI doing to enhance these experiences?
One of our clients said it best:  “I want to create a unified and seamless user experience for my audience, regardless of how tech-savvy (or not) they may be”.  And it was born.  Appropriately, we’ve called this experimental design “Unified User Experience Research”.  We dig in and learn what users love and what frustrates them about splitting their attention between these screens.  We listen to and observe them, and we take their feedback and ultimately arrive at qualitative and quantitative data points to inform design – and put bigger smiles on the faces of the users AND the clients.  In this process, we’re helping our clients understand how to blend the channels, how to hook their audience and encourage use of the second channel even when after the credit screen has rolled on the primary broadcast.
The results of this work have been enlightening.  We’ve seen dramatic increases in retention and engagement!  Above all, we’re thrilled to be part of the process as this concept is optimized and evolves to become standard.
Take a look at these other second screen experiences:
Prime Time Audience:
ABC: Greys Anatomy Synchronized Experience
FOX Broadcasting for Bones & Glee
Sports:
NBA GameTime Courtside by NBADigital
News:
MSNBC’s Lean Forward Campaign
For Kids (or the kid-at-heart):
Disney: TRON and Bambi Second Screen
& Vanessa, a two-year old little munchkin loved by all of us at KLI, has a favorite interactive experience that keeps Dora the Explorer on her mind.  What’s better than watching Dora WHILE playing along with the Explorer on the iPad?