terça-feira, janeiro 24, 2017

Finding a Dermatologist: examples of successful interactive media projects

Can you tell me what makes an interactive media project successful? Is it the relation between virality and money well spent on Google Adwords campaigns? Is it a website that does not disappoint the user from the beginning to the end of the visit to it? Is it an app that is downloaded to the user's mobile and is used daily, not being forgotten, not annoying the user or not having the user take the decision of deleting it because it's taking up a lot of space in the mobile?
In this post, I'm going to give two examples of what I consider a successful interactive media project.
To find that out, I had a task: I needed to find a dermatologist to remove a wart that was bothering me for some time. To give you the two most successful examples in that field, I decided to visit five websites. Just a note: among the three websites that didn't "make the cut", there was one that the search was based on the doctor's last name. If you've never been to a dermatologist, and want to go for the first time, how can you find them by the last name?

So, here are the chosen ones:

Open Care: Just like in a quality doctor's office, you have the feeling of being well taken care of from the first moment. Or as Jacob Nielsen would say, a perfect "match between system and the real world". Despite other sites, OpenHealth goes in detail to what you need. For example, the option to find a dermatologist is not on the first page. But when I clicked on "More", the option "Dermatologist" was right there.

The next step was to tell them where exactly I was located. So I told them my postal code.


After that, they asked for my availability, if I wanted to find the soonest available dermatologist or if I didn't have any preferences about it.


Having chosen that, the website asked me if the gender of the dermatologist was important to me!

Well, maybe I was too picky in the first attempt, so I decided to expand my preferences. Bingo! I got five names of doctors, and I could choose the best time to go. The weak point of this website was that there were no ratings by the users.

Rate MDs: that was the second website that really accomplished the task. They have a different approach from Open Care.
Initially, they don't ask you a lot of details about how you point your appointment to be, but they compensate it with the search results. They offered me 10 dermatologists, that they said were the best in Toronto. That's twice the number of dermatologists that Open Care offered.

  But there's one characteristic that gives them much more credibility: the users can rate the doctors. And it's a very popular community of people doing it. The weak point is that we can't check who wrote the comment, as they show the identity of the users who commented about the doctor.

Also, they have this "you may also like"section, popping up in every doctor's pages, which can confuse the user in a certain way.
Error prevention and consistency and standards are the main usability heuristics for this website. Not that they don't have the other heuristics, but those are the most obvious ones.

Overall, Rate MDs gave me exactly what I was looking for: names of dermatologists that, after seeing the comments, I think I'll be in good hands. Different from Open Care, that I have to believe in their word, even though, as I wrote earlier, They are more specific in the search, and that can result in a better selection of doctors. I'll find it out after I come back from the medical appointment. I'll let you know, updating this post.

As a conclusion, you can view this comparative graph, showing the two websites performances in organic search results. It shows why they're are really the best options when you want to find a doctor in Canada.



sábado, dezembro 17, 2016

The Elements of User Experience ( and 8 elements of my experience reading it)


Reading books and getting updated is an essential part of any career. In this post, I'm going to talk specifically about a book for the interactive media professionals. It's actually a must-read. If you're planning on starting a career or just started an interactive media career, please read "The elements of user experience", written by Jesse James Garrett.
This book has been a reference in the industry since it was published 10 years ago.
The author has also released an updated version in 2010.

When you have a personal experience to suggest a book, that's even more solid, right? So, I have mine to share with you. I have carried this book and read it for the last 2 months, as a great companion for my UX classes, in the graduate certificate program in which I am studying.

For this reason, I will comment important passages of the book here with you, that will form 8 takeaways that interactive media professionals should consider:

1) On page 19, there it goes a very important definition: what is user-centered design. In the author's words, it's "the practice of creating engaging, efficient user experiences". In your career, you must make it a number one goal!

                                  Image source: http://jisclamp.mimas.ac.uk/2013/11/05/personas-job-stories-and-simple-planes-wireframing-a-lamp-interface/

2) From pages 21 to 23, the author introduces the concept of The Five Planes. It's basically the whole set of decisions that dictates how the site will look, behave and it allows you to do. The Five Planes are:

The Surface Plane: the series of web pages, with images and text, that you can click and perform different actions.
The Skeleton Plane: beneath the surface is the skeleton of the site, with its buttons, tabs, photos, and blocks of text.
The Structure Plane: the most abstract structure of the site. It dictates for example which categories will be part of an online bookstore. For a better understanding, the skeleton is what defines the arrangement of navigational items that allows the users to actually browse these categories that the Structure Plane defined.
The Scope Plane: so a website has various functions and features. Exactly how they fit together is what we have just seen: The Structure Plan. While those actual functions and features...are The Scope Plan. If a birding experience website will offer a way to the users watch birds live across the planet or not...that's part of the Scope Plane!
The Strategy Plane: ok, but what determines which will be the scope of the website? The Strategy Plane, the strategy of the site. What people running the website want from it, what the users may want from it.

If you understand that, you are on the way to create terrific websites!


3) On page 35, the author explains that job titles don't say much, but how an organization deals with user experience issues. If an organization often delegates too much, but no one actually responsible for the full user experience of your website, it can cause a lot of harm to the website's future. When you get hired, a good tip is to take this responsibility with you.

Image source: http://blogs.verdantis.com/different-success-metrics-led-mdg-dq-business-led-dq-mdg/

4) It's not possible to reach success if you don't know in which moment something is considered a success. For this reason, on page 43, Garrett explains the importance of defining what will be the success metrics for your website: what indicators will mean that the team is meeting its objectives and the user's needs. If you are a professional just graduating in the moment you read this post, think about it: being able to follow closely those success metrics and guaranteeing that you will perform an important part to reach that success, and you will write an important (and successful!) chapter in your career!


5) On pages 63 and 64, more specifically about the Scope Plane again, what the author says is: be sure to know what you're building in a website/app/new product, so you also know what you are not building.That's the importance of documenting requirements. It doesn't matter if a feature "looks nice": it must align with the strategic objectives of the project. As an interactive media professional, you will find a way to hold your emotions "say" and stick to what the strategy screams out loud (well, maybe it's you screaming as well!).

6) On page 86, you will finally arrive at the Structure Plane in more detail, and that signalizes the moment in which the concerns leave the "abstract arena of strategy" and lands directly in the concrete factors that shape the user experience. Interaction design is part of it, for example. It describes possible user behavior and how the system will "accommodate and respond to that behavior", in Garret's words.
Got it?

Image source: https://eutykhiadotnet.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/plane-skel.jpg


7) On page 114, here we go for the Skeleton Plane! If a site will work based on the Structure Plane, it needs to know what form that functionality will take. It's the details. Now we're talking about interface design, navigation design, information design, how information will actually be presented. Take those elements, make them work together as an orchestra, and you will be a valuable professional for your organization.

8) Finally, we go to the top of the five-plane model: The Surface Plane! Now we're talking practical design, the one that will take a public shape to fulfill the goals of all the other four planes!
We're talking visual! But it's not only a matter of aesthetics: don't get confused by that. In page 143, the author reminds us that "each one has a different taste, and everybody has a different idea of what constitutes a visually appealing design".
The trick here is: don't go only for the aesthetics. Check how they work. How effective the design support the objectives defined by each of the lower planes?

When you "rock" that, you can consider yourself ready to be successful on the market.



sexta-feira, outubro 21, 2016

The interactive media professional and a world only populated by one person

Image source: http://aum.ca/workplaceethics.ca/canstockphoto1669220cropRBGbluecorrect.jpg

Are all the world's best inventions and creations only made by one person? And this person is immortal? Our world is no longer populated by 7 billion people, but only this one single person living beside Lake Ontario, lonely watching as times goes by?
Well, that scenario would only be possible in some movie director's mind, as part of one of those apocalyptic movies. In the real world, this are not like that. We've seen human beings of any gender, sex, age accomplish some of the world's most amazing inventions, creations, market-changing theories and all else we could imagine. Now, please carry this scenario to your workplace. Consider yourself as as interactive media professional. You have just arrived for your first day at the new job in that great digital agency you've been dreaming to be hired to. You want to help redesign the website for your favourite burger chain. But there's only one problem. You are an alien. You are not from this world. The world is only populated by one person. The name of that person is Unequell.
Unequell, or Une, as he auto-nicknamed himself, is the only existing human being ever in this planet. He built that agency alone, and he built the whole city alone. He built TTC. He built Tim Horton's. He built the CN Tower. And he was the founder of Toronto Maple Leafs. He's everywhere in the hockey rink. He has founded the Pittsburg Penguins and all other hockey teams as well. He shoots and defends. He passes and he intercepts. He's the referee.
You see? That would simply be impossible to work in a digital agency founded, directed and employing only this Unequell guy to do all the stuff. So, if that digital agency wants to continue being the reference to you and to many others, what does it need to do? It needs to know that the world is not only populated by Unequell, a 35-year old, white Catholic swedish guy who was claiming that the whole world was...himself. And also...in consequence, the agency was himself. That agency need to know that it's gotta hire catholics and muslims, man and women, young professionals, and experienced ones, to be able to manage egos and lack of experience. It needs to welcome that great blind musician who will be able to create some amazing original soundtracks to the company's portfolio of clients who demand original music to its media experiences on apps, websites, events, crossmedia storytelling efforts and it goes on and on.
We call it equity in the workplace. And Unequell will need it. Your great digital agency will need it to sustain all its status as a great place to work. If it wants to be part someday of Forbes list of Best Places to Work, it needs to provide an outstanding work environment and company culture for its employees.
Image source: Forbes.com

Air BNB, not satisfied in topping Forbes' ranking, also topped the Glassdoor ranking. And for those of you who still haven't heard from Glassdoor, its ranking reflects itself as a business: it's based entirely on employee's feedback.
Image source: Glassdoor.com

The interactive media professional who arrives in that great digital agency where Unequell is struggling to adequate himself, will have to understand the we're watching a media revolution. All audiences these days, and it doesn't matter which target audiences they're part of, are claiming for equality, for honesty when creating or transmitting information, for sincere and human pieces of communication. So, it doesn't matter if you are a designer or a copywrighter. You must be able to fit in that workplace. You will need to be able to work with a fellow swedish guy, a pregnant woman who's leaving her job to give birth in 15 days and will stay out for one year, and that buddhist guy who need to meditate every friday afternoon for 3 hours longer than the usual days.

Unequell's world only populated by himself does not exist, but the world dominated by ethical leadership exists. The world, in which he will only be able to create an award-winning campaign for that burger chain, will have the company of yourself (there you go!) and that 22 year-old single mom that just arrived in the agency last month, for Unequell's initial despair. And for Unequell's best of lucks in the future, as that single mom just happened to be the most amazing talent in UX design in the whole agency since day one.
Unequell will have to read the book "7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethic Leadership", by author Linda Fisher Thornton.
That will be an journey for ethic in the workplace that you will all benefit from. Not only because the laws are telling you to do so. But because you are a leader and you need to be ahead. You need to be part of this ever-changing world that we are facing now. And as an interactive media professional, you and Unequell will need that even more. As all our decisions are in the publics eye to be judged, every day.









quinta-feira, outubro 20, 2016

How can 360 degree videos impact your life

Tiny Toronto is a Toronto based company, specialized in design fabrication of attainable housing. As a solution to reach their target audience more comprehensively, the idea of using 360 degree videos seems adequate. As it's a new solution for creating additional housing space and reducing stress and cost of comute, 360 degree videos can help them immensely in their goals of establishing themselves as a successful startup.
One of the advantages they will have using a 360 degree video as a tool will be to help their potential clients to visualize what use they could do of their free space. If a traditional video would be used, it wouldn't be able to scale precisely the area available to put a "tiny house" on site.
Here are 4 companies making a good use of 360 degree videos for different reasons:

1) REI

The outdoor gear company REI created a 360 degree video campaign to help "multicultural millennials" to expand their view of where the outdoor starts and stops. With that initiative, they were able not only to reach this specific goal, but also to reach 1.5 million Facebook users. Such numbers are definitely powered up by using this type of videos, instead of the traditional ones.

Image source: REI's website screen shot


2) IC Real Tech

Another company using 360 degree videos but as a way to promote sales of its gear is IC Real Tech. They have partnered with Google to integrate YouTube 360 livestreaming capabilities into its ALLie camera. They also avoided being limited to YouTube users, as they also allow users to post 360 videos of their cameras through Facebook's 360 video platform. The other side of their business which also must be considered is the virtual reality headsets. Their cameras supports all available head sets, including Google Cardboard and Facebook's Oculus Rift.

Image source: Fortune website


3) Nescafé

After seeing "millenials" sharing clips using only cups as instruments, Nestlé launched a 360 degree video campaign as part of their REDvolution identity, ensuring a global look and feel across all their products sold in the 180 countries where they are located. They have released two 360 degree videos, as they had launched a previous video on their south american coffee plantations.


4) North Korea

Photographer Aram Pan went to the spotlight after releasing a 360 degree video on how's life in Pyongyang, capital of North Korea. That's a subject that attracts curiosity of many people around the world, and he had the help of this tool to draw attention to his work and to his YouTube channel.


As any other tool, there are pros and cons of using it in your strategy. Here are some of them:

PROS:

- You can definitely say that it's more engaging than traditional videos. As it's quite a new tool, everybody wants to check how is it. And brands can take advantage from that.
- As it's such a new technology, you can establish yourself as an innovator, using 360 degree videos to do live sessions of your events, for example.
- even though it's something that's only available now to the masses, anyone can assess this technology.
- before the adoption of 360 degree videos, the only way to discover if that college course you want to go next year had a good and modern building that fits your expectations would be through photos viewing, videos, and content available in apps and websites. With the option of using 360 degree videos now available, a college can provide its future students a full and rich experience of what it is to be on a day-to-day basis in that environment

Image source: www.makeuseof.com

CONS:

- you will not find the best quality in 360 degree videos, when talking about "image quality". So, for those brands and professionals that give "quality" an enormous importance and not that much importance to "being a pioneer", this tool may not be the ideal one.
- it's still too expensive to buy the best camera to record 360 degree videos. Which means it's not universally popular as an option to record videos. And well, high price doesn't mean good quality. yet.
- even though brands can use their financial power to create great 360 degree videos, for users creating 360 degree videos through apps that's not an easy task, as it's incompatible to some social media tools, such as the most popular one: Facebook. Which means that it's still not a too attractive option to users interested in using this tool.

After considering these pros and cons, we must also consider the 360 degree videos as its importance for global advancement.

- brand universe immersion: Star Wars fans can now experience speeding across Jakku's desert on Rey's Speeder. Which means other brands can also make use of it to position their clients even more deeply inside their brand's universe.
- surgery advancements: now it's possible to stream surgeries on 360 degree videos, which means that medicine professional can use it to improve many aspects in their professional tecnhiques. Also on medicine, it started being used to help treat depression.
- natural disasters most compreehensive perspectives: NGO's have already used 360 degree videos to document landscapes for free and public use, in ordet to understand and help the humanity to be more aware on how to deal with natural disasters.

360 degree videos are a reality. We're probably witnessing only the beginning of what promises to bring us so many different uses and possibilities. Hope that's good news. We don't need another tool to be used and cause depression on its inventors, such as Santos Dumont's depression for the airplane use on the First World War.


Links and sources

- http://fortune.com/2016/04/18/allie-camera-comes-with-youtube-360-integration/
- https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/03/10-ways-vr-could-change-the-real-world
- http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-insane-360-degree-videos-facebook/
- http://mashable.com/2016/07/22/360-degree-north-korea-video-tour/#TsYllK9Mj5qs
- https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemlee/the-first-ever-360-degree-video-surgery-is-happening-on-thur
- http://digiday.com/brands/rei-uses-facebook-360-video-multicultural-campaign/
- https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160812073656.htm
- http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/33290531/mid-pacific-students-capture-3d-video-of-volcano-scape
- http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/11/12/nescaf-unveils-360-degree-good-morning-world-facebook-ad-create-real-connections
- http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-insane-360-degree-videos-facebook/



terça-feira, outubro 18, 2016

O que esperar de Thiago Monteiro?

Nossa esperança na ATP, o cearense Thiago Monteiro jogou muitas partidas este ano e deu um salto gigantesco no nível dos jogadores que enfrenta.
Aos 22/23 anos, 2017 será a temporada onde saberemos para onde ele vai. Se vai para as cabeças ou se será um jogador de Top 100 como o Bellucci. Que é o que de melhor temos hoje em dia e desde que o Guga parou.
Pro Monteiro ir para as cabeças, precisará começar a surpreender nos ATPs 250 e 500 e chegar ao Top 50 em 2017.
E aí, com mais experiência, ele tem chance de ganhar seu primeiro grande torneio em 2018: um ATP 250 pra começar.
Tenista não tem 2 carreiras. E o tempo é cruel contra ou a favor.
Ao final deste ciclo que citei, ele fará 25 anos (Maio de 2019).
Ou seja, ao final da temporada de 2018, se ele tiver ganho ao menos um ATP 250, beliscado uma semi ou final de 500, estará num top 30 ou bem próximo.
Aí sim podemos sonhar com um Top 10 pro Monteiro, que eu acredito ser possível. Tudo dependerá mesmo da confiança que ele conseguirá em seu tênis. Porque tênis ele tem.
Agora...só vale um registro: galera, o Thiago Monteiro não é um mito como Guga. Não cobrem um Top 5 dele, muito menos um número 1.
Os grandes campeões do tênis surgem aleatoriamente de um país ou outro.
O raio caiu na Suíça com o Federer? Sinto, Wawrinka, não vai cair em você. Foi um raio único na Suíça.
O mesmo na Sérvia. Não vai se ter um novo número 1 na Sérvia tão cedo. 
Mesmo a Meca do tênis, os EUA...vejam há quantos anos sem um número 1.
O Taylor Fritz é a esperança deles. E olha que lá são 17 milhões de tenistas...
Talvez vocês se perguntem: este cara tem bola de cristal? Não, é o tênis que é assim mesmo.A afirmação do raio não cair no mesmo lugar de fato pode parecer meio pretensiosa, mas eu pensei nela mais dentro do contexto desta postagem de expectativa sobre o Thiago Monteiro.
 A quantidade de jogadores de um determinado país no Top 100, aí sim, pode mudar com o investimento de sua confederação. Porém, e ao menos historicamente, o número 1 da ATP, depois da profissionalização do tênis em 1973, quase nunca veio na sequência de um só país. A única exceção vem dos EUA em três ocasiões: com um revezamento entre McEnroe e Connors em 1981-1983, com Courier-Sampras-Agassi em 1992-1996, e Sampras e Agassi, em 1999-2000.
A China tem atualmente 15 milhões de tenistas em seu país. E não deve nutrir expectativas de um número 1 tão cedo, visto que não tem nenhum tenista no masculino no Top 150, e nenhuma tenista no feminino entre o Top 20. E a única tenista mais nova, Saisai Zheng, não deve chegar ao topo, visto que já tem 22 anos e ainda não chegou ao Top 50.

Enfim, concluindo, Monteiro é nossa esperança de Top.10. E as duas próximas temporadas, 2017 e 2018, nos dirão se esta esperança se concluirá.

* Imagem: UOL Esporte

terça-feira, setembro 27, 2016

How can an international student find a health insurance plan online in Canada?

When you arrive in Canada as a student, one of the first actions you must take is to provide a health insurance for your family. I already have mine. It's called University Health Insurance Plan, or UHIP.
You should be able to decide if you want the Health Insurance Plan offered by your college, or if you want to find one yourself.
In this blog post, my mission will be to describe all the steps I'll take, in the next minutes (or hours?), in the UHIP website,  to find all about a health insurance plan for my 3 dependants: my wife and two kids. I still have not decided yet if I'll want a 3 month, 6 month, or a 1 year plan. So I'll need to decide it, based on the prices I'll have to pay, and the options as listed in the Settlement.Org website.

That's the mission of this blog post.

With this information in hand, I'll decide if I want the plan offered by my college, or if I'll find another one by myself which would more financially interesting for me.

I don't have this information yet, so I'll search for it.

STEP 1: go to the UHIP website.


Here we are for the first decision of this user experience: do I want the website in English or French?
Let's choose English. My French is not that fantastic, even though the Duolingo app has helped me a lot to improve my French language skills.

STEP 2: where next?


So, I must decide where to go now. There are 14 options for me to choose. As I want a plan for my dependants, I can tell you that my experience in here was a fine one: there was a "dependants" button to click. Starting to have a feeling that it won't take me long to find what I need.

STEP 3: how much does it cost?


So the next information I need to know is how much does it cost to have a health insurance plan designed for my family's needs. I decide to avoid the first link I read through: even though it's an useful information, I just must believe what the website says: that dependants get the same health insurance coverage as me. Anyway, that's good to know.
Next decision in the page was to search for the cost to have the plan. So, I went straight to the link "How much does UHIP cost". When I clicked on it, there were 2 options ok links to be clicked. I chose "annual premium costs".

STEP 4: choosing the best option for my family


Ok, now we're dealing with this UHIP Premium Table. I want to decide which plan to choose. I know that I'm a UHIP member, and that I have 3 dependants. Ok, I will choose "Two or more dependants", for 12 months, at the price of CA$1224. Just found the first barrier: there are no links in the option I chose, so I can a) move forward and pay for it or b) go to my college's page and pay through them.
So, I decide to roll down the page a little bit more. And,ops...no more information or options for me to go through and pay. But there's one link that takes me to "How do I apply for UHIP". I click on it, and it takes me to some options. I read it and decide that I should click on "For more information about your enrollment as an employee or as a dependant, please contact your UHIP Plan Administrator  at your university. "

THE END: 


Well, the end of this user experience is not a "happy" one. That first Settlement.org wasn't that obvious, and it took me to all this process here, with the hope that colleges also were part of this "UHIP thing". But they're not. So, my last step was to go back to that page, Settlement.org, just to find that "For more information on how to enroll, contact the International Student Services or Registrar's Office at your university or college."

  So, anyway, clicking on "college", it took me to Ontario's colleges page, and there it was my college. And that's it. Mission unsuccessful, as I thought I'd have more options to choose. And what happened in the end is that I should only have gone to the college to ask for their health plan option. To find different options, I must now go search in another place. If there will be a possibility of having other options...if the college option is not the only one I have. And for that, none of those websites explained me about it. I'll have to ask Google for help again! User experience? A bad one!







sexta-feira, setembro 23, 2016

6 Great Reasons To Launch a Career in Interactive Media

Does your father always buzz in your head that you should learn coding and become the next Bill Gates? Or is it a great passion for videogames that moves you when thinking of a career?
There are many reasons why you should think on launching a career in interactive media.

Here are 6 reasons that we consider great ones for you to become a interactive media professional:

1. You're probably going to work with what you love to do.



If you're into Minecraft for the last 3 years and thought it would be a nightmare to stop dedicating your life to videogames, a career in interactive media can be the one for you. One of the professions you can choose in this industry is "video game designer". Or "video game programmer", which pays even better.

2. There are jobs in the market for you


Via Reed

When you think that there are so many different professions in this industry, such as UX Designer, social media manager, programmer, graphic designer, and that those jobs are full of opportunities for you to grab, it's a good thing to hear. Success will rely on many other reasons, but that's some good news, eh?

3. Your creativity must be good for something!




Via GGVogue

You were always the creative guy in the house, right? And even though your parents may have told you that you should stop writing those crazy song that would not take you anywhere ( I hope they didn't say that, but just in case...), writing a video game soundtrack writer can be your career in the future. And well, you may want to listen what this video game audio freelancer has to say.

4. You'll be able to do whatever goes in your mind!



There are so many problems out there you would like to solve. Or maybe so many thing you'd like to accomplish. Well, whatever you may think of, if you decide to launch a programmer career, you can use your skills to create some new app. Or solve a huge global problem. Or just write a book, combined with programming, that will result in an interactive book. Exciting, don't you think? The world is yours to create.

5. You don't want to stop learning



Can you throw back your memories and remember how things were designed when you were born? Probably you have gone past some photos of the past and sneaked into very old school logos and designs that you twist the nose for, right? If you launch a career as a graphic designer, there will always be something new and exciting to learn, so you can always deliver modern logos, and be engaged in new trends to be a great professional.


6. Stop the train, I wanna change the world!



Ok, you love design, but you also want to change the world. If sustainability and environment is not for you and you still want to be a designer, you can be a UX designer and help the change the world. Well, you can help transform the real life of so many people. You can change how people take their daily train back home. Or how they get in touch with their relatives abroad. You can actually change the world. Or someone's world.

Why don't you take a look now on how emerging trends are impacting those interactive media professional's careers?