by Charles Ying
In the evolution of a product, ideas are the seed but the execution is key, and what happens between those two stages can make or break a product's success. Designers are trained to think on their feet, be flexible, and not be afraid to start over or make mistakes. Similarly the key tenets of today's startup culture are to be lean, move quickly, and iterate often. In this environment, where risk and competition make innovation critical, companies must leverage design thinking to help define products, often by adapting the design process. In this multidisciplinary panel of technologists, designers, and entrepreneurs, key players in some of today's most successful mobile products will look at the "textbook" creative process in delivering user-centered results and delightful outcomes. Then, we'll talk about examples of what actually happens in the less black-and-white world of startup culture, and discuss what can be done to leverage design in the making of great products.
As the rise of iOS, Android, and the Mac App Store brings more web developers into the world of native applications can our existing processes and best practices survive the transition? How can we release early and often in an environment where each update must pass through a review process? How do we aggressively refactor code when outdated clients must be supported? Can we iterate efficiently on features when design changes require more than a stylesheet update? A group of experienced web, mobile, and native app designers and developers will discuss our experiences working on native applications. We will explain what unexpected challenges we encountered coming from a web background, what strategies have helped us design and develop native applications, what did not work, and what we should learn from experienced native application developers.
Usability testing is an interaction designer’s bread and butter, but applying it to the study of mobile applications and websites brings considerable challenges. Which device should we use for testing? Can we use an emulator? How do we prototype for mobile? Can we just recycle the tasks we use for desktop software tests? Do we test in the lab or in the wild? How do we record screen, fingers and facial expressions?
We don’t intend to answer all those questions in just one session: that would be madness! We’ll focus instead on the last one.
Follow us in our quest to set up a mobile usability testing environment on a tight budget. We’ll show you how others do it. We’ll roam around electronics and professional video stores searching for brackets and webcams. We’ll put our DIY skills to the test and waste a lot of silicon trying to build our mobile recording device. We’ll scour the Internet for free software, and we’ll finish off building the lab and running a usability test in front of your eyes.
If we can do it, so can you! You’ll come out of this session knowing exactly what you need to do to run and record usability tests with mobile devices.
9th–13th March 2012