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When Google suggests queries to search upon, based upon what is being typed in a search box, how does it come up with those suggestions?
Internet search engines aim to identify documents or other items that are relevant to a user’s needs and to present the documents or items in a manner that is most useful to the user. Such activity often involves a fair amount of mind-reading–inferring from various clues what the user wants. Certain clues may be user specific. For example, knowledge that a user is making a request from a mobile device, and knowledge of the location of the device, can result in much better search results for such a user.
Google appears to have changed the documents that they will present in these query predictions to make what may seem to be better guesses.
A computer-implemented method for processing query information, comprising: receiving query information at a server system, wherein the query information includes a portion of a query from a search requestor, the query information being received prior to receiving data indicating that the search requestor has completed the query and the portion of the query from the search requestor being only a portion of a final query; obtaining a set of predicted queries relevant to the portion of the query from the search requestor based upon the portion of the query from the search requestor and data indicative of search requestor behavior relative to previously submitted queries, wherein the set of predicted queries includes two or more predicted queries, and each predicted query is a prediction of a possible final query of the search requestor and wherein each predicted query includes the portion of the query and is different from each other query; ranking the predicted queries in the set of predicted queries according to a ranking criteria; providing the ranked set of predicted queries for display to the search requestor; determining whether an input is received from the search requestor selecting a predicted query, of the ranked set of predicted queries displayed to the search requestor, within a specified time; in response to a determination that the input from the search requestor selecting a displayed predicted query is not received within the specified time: obtaining a subsequent ranked set of predicted queries for the portion of the query from the search requestor, the predicted queries in the subsequent ranked set of predicted queries being ranked according to different criteria than the predicted queries in the ranked set of predicted queries; and providing the subsequent ranked set of predicted queries for display to the search requestor in response to receiving the query information.
The predicted query suggestions shown as autocomplete results in the new claims are based on a searcher’s previous searches and documents that they may have looked at and interacted with previously. That is a change from the first version of the patent. This reminded me of another continuation patent I looked at from Google, which I blogged about in a post that I called, Personalizing Search Results at Google. That one told us that it might personalize search results by selecting them from the union of two different sets of documents. One of those sets is a set of “high-quality sites” and the other set includes documents that are considered “bias documents” or pages that may have shown up in a person’s search or query history. They may have visited those pages before, or seen them in a set of search results and not clicked through to them.
So, autocomplete query suggestions may end up returning documents that a person may have seen before (a positive bias, maybe), or interacted with in some way such as not selecting them from search results (more of a negative bias). I’ve highlighted in yellow where it talks about previous documents.
A method performed by data processing apparatus, the method comprising: receiving, from a user device of a user, query data specifying a portion of a query entered by the user; selecting, based on the portion of the query and first criteria different from query text entered by the user, a first set of predicted queries that each predict a respective final query for the portion of the query; providing, to the user device, data that cause presentation of the first set of predicted queries at the user device; receiving, from the user device, a user request for additional predicted queries, wherein the user request is sent by the user device in response to user-initiated activity; in response to receiving the user request for additional predicted queries, selecting, based on the portion of the query and second criteria that is
(i) different from the first criteria and
(ii) different from query text entered by the user, a second set of predicted queries that each predict a respective final query for the portion of the query, wherein at least one of the first criteria or the second criteria is based upon a behavior of the user relative to documents provided to the user in response to previous queries received from the user; determining that the second set of predicted queries includes a given predicted query that is included in the first set of predicted queries; removing the given predicted query from the second set of predicted queries; and providing, to the user device, data that cause presentation of the second set of predicted queries at the user device.
This is an interesting statement about auto-complete query suggestions that appears in both the older, and the newer version of the patent. It seems that if the search results from a query that is being typed link to other results from query suggestions, that may be a sign that a query that returns those linked-to pages may be something that would interest a searcher. That isn’t part of the change from the older version of this patent, to the newer version, but it is an interesting aspect of both of them, which shows the potential value of linking out to other sites and other pages:
Clues about a user’s needs may also be more general. For example, search results can have an elevated importance, or inferred relevance, if a number of other search results link to them. If the linking results are themselves highly relevant, then the linked-to results may have a particularly high relevance. Such an approach to determining relevance may be premised on the assumption that, if authors of web pages felt that another web site was relevant enough to be linked to, then web searchers would also find the site to be particularly relevant. In short, the web authors “vote up” the relevance of the sites.
Other various inputs may be used instead of, or in addition to, such techniques for determining and ranking search results. For example, user reactions to particular search results or search result lists may be gauged, so that results on which users often click will receive a higher ranking. The general assumption under such an approach is that searching users are often the best judges of relevance, so that if they select a particular search result, it is likely to be relevant, or at least more relevant than the presented alternatives.
Particular embodiments of the described subject matter can be implemented to realize one or more of the following advantages. A search assistant receives query information from a search requestor, prior to the requestor indicating completion of inputting the query. Additionally information associated with previous user (or users) searches (such as click data associated with search results) is collected. From the received query information and the previous search information, a set of predicted queries is produced and provided to the search requestor for presentation.
Many great ideas and opportunities are never realized. You may have experienced this yourself working on a digital product that never came close to realizing it’s potential. One of the reasons that so many organizations fail at delivering valuable products and services is the lack of a well-defined strategy or the complete absence of a product strategy framework, defining the core elements of an effective foundation.
Creating a digital product or service is complex. Identifying the right opportunity, selecting where to compete, and solving a problem for customers in a viable, unique, and sustainable way (a.k.a your competitive advantage) are the cornerstones of a successful product strategy. If you boil all of this down it’s simple — create value for your audience and as a result you will create value for your business. In an interview, Jeff Bezos phrased it this way, “In the long term, there is never any misalignment between customer interests and shareholder interests.”
Unfortunately, product strategy has become a buzzword for many, but it has never been more imperative than it is today.
There is significant confusion today about what product strategy is. There is an overwhelming amount of information, fads, and academic resources. Harvard Business School Professor and a leader in strategy, Michael Porter delineates the importance of strategy in his work. To summarize: the quest for productivity, quality, and speed have spawned a remarkable number of management tools and techniques. These tools and techniques have incrementally, and almost imperceptibly taken the place of strategy, but they are not strategy.
A strategy rests on making essential choices. To help you and your products be as successful as possible we’ve stripped away the noise. Let’s look at what a great digital product strategy needs to include.
A great digital product strategy defines the value you will create in a succinct and tangible way; where to focus, why, and what it will take to achieve that value. This empowers your team to focus on the right things and determine how to facilitate the delivery of a great product or service.
Having a strategic foundation provides clarity. It promotes a shared understanding that organizations, business units, and teams must have in place to pursue, and ultimately achieve their goal. Depending on your business goals your product strategy may be focused on a single product or it may guide a suite of products that become a cross-connected platform.
A strategic foundation is made up of five core elements: the product or service vision, an in-depth diagnosis of the challenges that needs to be solved, the target outcomes for the business and for the user, a coherent set of actions that need to be taken to overcome the challenge and move the business forward, and how you will measure that forward progress.
To be clear: a product strategy is not an ambition, an idea, a set of goals, or a solution. These are often confused as strategy, similar to the management frameworks mentioned above. If these things are presented as the strategy they should be warning signs of a bad product strategy or the complete absence of a product strategy. One of the most common misconceptions is that a plan is a strategy. A plan is not a strategy. This compounds people’s confusion on the subject. Plans are made up of tactics that define exactly what we’re going to do, when we’re going to execute them, and what will follow. Essentially, in following this plan and taking these steps, success will be attained moving forward. Plans don’t address a deeper understanding of the challenge, a chosen set of priorities to overcome the issues, and the steps that need to be taken to identify and validate solutions. A plan also doesn’t account for the unknowns, changes, prioritization, or provide the insight necessary to inform critical decision making. A plan without a strategic foundation gives people a false sense of clarity and security that often leads to failure. When a product initiative is seen as a quick-fix, without understanding the complexity of the challenge that needs to be solved, failure will often be the result. Understanding the difference between complex things vs. complicated things becomes extremely important. (To learn more about this concept check out the Cynefin framework in this video.)
You will want to have a plan, but know that it will change, probably more than once. A plan needs to be adaptive, grounded in facts, and built upon a solid strategic foundation.
The vision is the clearly defined and measurable long-term overarching goal the company or business unit is aiming to achieve, and the reason for creating the product(s). It provides your team with a collective purpose, acting as the product’s true north, facilitating alignment, and effective collaboration.
The importance of vision cannot be overemphasized. You need to provide people with clarity of the big picture goals and how the product will help fulfill that vision. People also want to know how their contributions will make a difference, whether on the product team or working across the organization. A well-articulated vision is also of tantamount importance for people to know what does not require their time, energy, and depletes limited resources.
By anchoring your product strategy to the bigger picture you empower people at every level of the organization.
The second core element is the challenge you’re solving for; providing context for what it will take to realize the long-term vision. By diagnosing and gaining a deeper understanding of the challenge you can then start to differentiate between symptomatic issues and the root causes. You systematically map out the current state.
This allows you to break down the larger challenge into smaller manageable, specific, and actionable issues that you will need to focus on solving. When you look at the issues and their interdependencies to one another you are able to see the true complexity of the challenge. Breaking down a challenge also helps to unveil essential insights that will inform the success of the product moving forward.
The next step in diagnosing the challenge is to look at why it matters to our customers. We need to step into the shoes of our customers and users to see the challenges and related issues from their unique point of view. Building empathy to understand another person’s circumstance(s) from their perspective is necessary to get a complete picture. The ability to develop empathy is at the very foundation of effective problem solving and the disciplines of customer experience (or user experience) and systems design. By understanding the challenge you begin to define the real work it will take to address it as well as expectations for a viable solution.
Next, we need to identify and understand the impact of the issues on the business and the audience. This helps to clearly define the current business state. Understanding the impact also allows you to highlight qualitative and quantitative metrics to support the business case by using a single variable or a cumulative effect.
The third core element of your digital product strategy foundation is identifying the target outcomes you are working to achieve by addressing the issues that make up the larger challenge. Outcomes are the near-term and measurable goal that is feasible. If accomplished, this will move the business forward, deliver value to the user, and enable your long-term vision.
What is the future state or results you want to achieve? Where will you focus your capabilities and resources? How will this feature, product, or suite of products address the individual issues? If done correctly, how will this promote long-term potential benefits and enable other outcomes? While the vision articulates the big picture goal, outcomes focus on the results of addressing issues in an incremental, measurable way that moves the organization forward. Ultimately, this also helps ensure everyone involved is on the same page, providing a shared interpretation of success. It allows benchmarks to be established that will measure the progress toward the vision and desired outcomes.
Your actions identify critical steps that you will take as you move forward to find the right solution. What needs to get done in order to address the challenge for customers in a viable, unique, and sustainable way. They reflect your vision, align with the challenges you’ve uncovered (and continue to uncover), and help you move forward from your current state, based on the near-term outcomes you have chosen.
It’s important to point out that we’re not talking about tasks. We’re focused on the larger picture of actions (or work streams,) and how they will need to be coordinated to make your future state possible.
The fifth element to your product strategy is measurement. How will your organization measure forward progress? What key performance indicators (KPIs) can you leverage to track, monitor, and assess the effectiveness of overcoming the challenges you have prioritized? Your KPIs might highlight either qualitative or quantitative measures that are pivotal to achieving your intended outcomes and the long-term success of the organization.
Deliverables don’t define success, outcomes do. You need to focus on specific key performance indicators that can be owned by the team. Often forward progress will be measured by business metrics such as revenue, timing, cost, or Net Promoter Score. While these are all valuable, they are also poor measurements of progress. Each example is a lagging indicator. These measurements are rarely controlled by a product team, or provide opportunities to adapt and pivot.
Having a strong strategic foundation is imperative. It is essential to providing clarity, team focus, informing better decision making, accelerating the speed of delivery, and team collaboration. Conversely, poor execution of a great idea can be as detrimental as not having a strategy at all. Shifting from product strategy to effective execution is not an easy process. It requires alignment, excellent continuous communication, additional skills, and a culture that supports change. This is where proper planning comes into play. A plan that focuses on deploying the appropriate capabilities, processes, tools, and resources at the right time.
There are significant considerations in leadership, management, and across the entire product development lifecycle (i.e. waterfall, agile or a hybrid model). However, with a solid foundation in place, you’re forging the right path toward success.
As you and your team work to identify solutions to your prioritized issues, you will have the necessary information to ensure you are working on the right things. It enables you to do the right things in the right way.
You can now begin to understand who across your organization will need to be involved to create, execute, and support your product strategy. This defines a clear picture of roles and responsibilities.
In exploring each solution you can also start to map out and understand the interdependencies. Interdependencies in this scenario are the relationships between people, processes, and systems that will be essential to bring your product to market. When business cases are developed prematurely in the process without this insight, things will often fall apart. When executed correctly, this is when business cases can be defined and outline the true potential investment ahead. This information brings potential complexities that need to be managed to the forefront, which is crucial to your product’s success.
As you define the solution, you can now also start documenting your requirements addressing key business, design, and technical considerations essential to delivering your product.
A strong strategic foundation becomes a powerful advantage. It gives you critical insight, galvanizes your efforts into essential focus, and empowers your people to be at their best in any role. The market may decide who the next generation of winners and losers are, but by mastering your digital product strategy you can take control of your own success, not skip the steps that so many do, and inevitably realize your opportunity.
Digital product development is the first thing you need to do to get your brand established within the digital ecosystem. As a product studio, Railsware is ready to share knowledge and experience on this issue.
Every product, be it tangible or intangible, is meant to deliver value to both its creator and owner. The former usually generates revenue from selling it, and the latter uses the product to solve a particular problem or get a particular job done. Essentially, digital products are services or tools that you interact with via a digital medium.
For example, GarageBand allows its users to create music and podcasts on iOS and macOS devices; Microsoft Office represents a bundled set of productivity applications. Therein lies the main hallmark of a digital product. It brings together the notion of a product and service and delivers the value to users through the digital interaction point. Your banking app is a perfect example of the digital transformation of banking services. This product delivers services online in a faster and more convenient form.
All downloadable assets are deemed digital products. These include ebooks, video and audio content, photos, graphics, and other items. But, in e-commerce, they fall under the notion of digital goods, which is much more relevant to the value they deliver.
For all that, we encourage you to differentiate between both terms in the following way:
Digital products are programming code-based assets that deliver a particular interactive value proposition to the final user. These are mostly web, mobile, desktop apps, digital dashboards, controller apps, and many more.
Digital goods are intangible items that exist in digital form and are void of any user-interactive components. Some of the digital goods may be implemented in physical form as well. Examples are electronic books, ringtones, wallpapers, video tutorials, mockup images, and so on.
There is a misconception that websites and web apps are genuine digital products. Essentially, they are just product implementation on the web. Therefore, we cannot treat Uber’s mobile app as a separate product. It is the way to deliver value to smartphone and tablet users. Thus, each digital product can be implemented via a web app or website, mobile app for both iOS and Android, as well as a desktop version for a different OS. To sum up our introduction to the digital product term, let’s single out key facets or requirements it can be characterized with:
Let’s check whether the above mentioned requirements are met in Railsware’s top products:
Each of the mentioned tools differs in essence: Mailtrap is a fake SMTP server, Jira Smart Checklist, and Airtable Importer are add-ons. Nevertheless, they all are digital products that bring specific value to users.
Since we’ve dotted all the “i”s regarding what digital product is, let’s move towards how it is created. So, we’re going to answer the question of what is digital product development and explain how it is relatable to product design.
You can find this question on Quora with two categories of answers:
Opinion #1: product design is just an element of product development along with market analysis, engineering, prototyping, and others. In this case, the design stands for industrial or graphic design – a set of processes aimed at coining user interface and visualization.
Opinion #2: development is the last step of product design. Now the latter acts as a cycle consisting of defining a problem, developing a solution, and validating it with users. Wikipedia supports this definition of digital product design.
Railsware’s opinion: The term you choose is not as important as the process you come through. Both design and development may denote a set of activities meant to create digital products. The crucial thing is which stages your design or development cycle consists of.
In general, the low-level cycle of building a digital product depends on the development approach you chose. However, the high-level workflow is mostly the same. Therefore, you can adjust it considering the requirements and complexity of your project. We single out three major stages: ideation, design & development, and growth.
In the beginning was the Idea. However, only 10% of digital product ideas turn into successful products and manage to deliver value to end-users. And the ideation phase is meant to find out whether your digital product can avoid failure at the outset. Traditionally, this phase is all about the identification of a problem and coining a solution. It may include conceptualization, research and analysis, estimations and other activities. The main goal is to prove the feasibility of your future digital product.
After the ideation (if it’s successful, of course), you are ready to move forward and think about how your digital product should look and feel.
We’ve introduced a high-level chain of processes to build a digital product. However, every product owner is free to adjust it according to the development approach or methodology his or her project is based on. Below, you’ll find descriptions of the most popular ones.
It is one of the longest-standing approaches offering a logical and linear development life-cycle model. The name waterfall denotes that the top-to-bottom progress like the water falling downwards. As a rule, the approach includes the following stages:
Waterfall development is a fit if you have ample budget and strict requirements to documentation, tech stack, and timeline. As a rule, this approach is the large companies’ choice for their in-house projects.
The essence of Agile digital product development is a rapid and flexible response to change. It rests on splitting the development cycle into short time slots – iterations. These iterations are made for each task or feature of the digital product. The approach provides parallel progress of different teams and a significant reduction of time costs. Here is a common process life cycle of Agile development:
Agile development practices emphasize face-to-face communication. Meanwhile, it plays down the role of documentation compared to other approaches. This methodology underlies numerous derivative ones, some of which we’re going to introduce below.
Scrum is a perfect approach for building complex products with volatile requirements. The entire workflow consists of sprints (periods of two to four weeks), and each sprint is the implementation of a complete life cycle:
The scrum approach is considered one of the most flexible ones. It encourages verbal communication within the project and adopts an empirical mindset. It means that an agile response to challenges supersedes an attempt to understand the problem entirely.
Lean development is a digital transformation of Toyota’s lean manufacturing practices into the approach for building software and digital products. It is usually characterized by fast product delivery and quality-centered progress. The lean digital product life cycle is as follows:
FDD is another Agile development offspring. It is suitable for companies shifting from phase-based to iterative approach. Feature-driven development powers digital products that require ongoing updates. The approach is design-oriented, and the very project is split into small pieces – features. Here is the FDD process cycle:
The approach fosters rapid development and successful evolution of products. On the other hand, small projects are unlikely to benefit from FDD.
RAD rests on prototyping as a core element of the product development cycle. Time expenses for delivering a prototype rise due to cutting planning activities. Pipeline acceleration is usually achieved by the use of focus groups to gather requirements, user testing of design, numerous team communication syncs, reuse of software components, rapid prototyping and other approaches. RAD’s life cycle looks as follows:
Another way to implement rapid app development is the use of dedicated object-oriented programming languages. Some of them including Python, Ruby, and Java we’ve already blogged about in the following articles: Ruby vs. Java, and Python vs. Ruby vs. Node.js.
Today, most startup teams opt for agile development and its derivatives. However, another progressive option in demand so far is a hybrid of waterfall and agile techniques. This approach allows you to customize the methodology and tailor it according to the requirements of your project. The idea is to have independent teams and merge them into a common environment. In this case, the level of dependencies between them will define the synchronization of releases since waterfall teams focus on upfront planning and agile teams prefer progressive planning at each stage.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach you can use for building any digital product. Moreover, startups rarely use only one methodology for the entire pipeline. For example, we use a blend of Agile, Scrum and Lean, as well as some in-house best practices. Therefore, you can make the best of particular development approaches and implement them in your project. Here we’ve broken down the best digital product development approaches by industry.
To end up, let’s refer to words by Thomas Schranz, founder and CEO of Blossom:
In this article, we will see an outline of the Types of Computer Software. The software can be considered as the language of the computer. The software can be considered as a set of instructions, programs that are used to execute any particular task. The user cannot touch the software but can see through the GUI.
The software can be considered as the variable part of the system while the hardware can be considered as an invariable part of the computer. And as there are many types of human language so is with the computer language also. There are different types of computer languages present in the market. There are three types of software systems, application, and programming language software.
Below are the types of Computer Software:
As discussed the software is a program, script which executes on the computer system. And as we discussed there are broadly three types of software i.e. system software, application software, and programming language software. Each type of software has its function and runs on the computer system.
It’s important to start by saying there’s no commonly accepted definition for UX design.
User experience design is a concept that has many dimensions, and it includes a bunch of different disciplines—such as interaction design, information architecture, visual design, usability, and human-computer interaction.
But let’s try to get a clearer picture of what that really means.
According to a study from the Oxford Journal Interacting With Computers:
The goal of UX design in business is to “improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product.”
In other words, UX design is the process of designing (digital or physical) products that are useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with. It’s about enhancing the experience that people have while interacting with your product, and making sure they find value in what you’re providing.
But unfortunately, that isn’t a comprehensive explanation of UX design either. So to help you get a better understanding of what it really is, we reached out to 15 thought leaders in the space and asked them:
What is UX design?
Said differently: “How would you describe UX design to someone who was learning about it for the first time?”
Here’s what they had to say:
“If UX is the experience that a user has while interacting with your product, then UX Design is, by definition, the process by which we determine what that experience will be.
UX Design always happens. Whether it’s intentional or not, somebody makes the decisions about how the human and the product will interact. Good UX Design happens when we make these decisions in a way that understands and fulfills the needs of both our users and our business.”
“Your question is simple, the answer is a little complicated, and it sometimes can be controversial.
User Experience Design is an approach to design that takes into account all the aspects of a product or service with the user. That includes not only the beauty and function: (usability and accessibility) of a product or a flow, but also things like delight, and emotion—things that are harder to engineer and achieve.
While a designer can create a toggle, a flow, or an interaction that is beautiful, unique, sexy, and functional in a flow—UXD extends into all the disciplines that come together to make the user experience as a whole great.
Yes, you have interaction designers, but you also have content strategists, information architects, user researchers, engineers, and product managers—all of whom have a shared responsibility to create an experience that is easy to use, and leaves users pleased because it is adding value to them.”
“UX Design is an empathically-driven practice crafted to solve human and business problems, and remove obstacles and friction from a user’s desired goals—hopefully delivering delight in the process.”
“User Experience Design (UXD or UED) is a design process whose sole objective is to design a system that offers a great experience to its users. Thus UXD embraces the theories of a number of disciplines such as user interface design, usability, accessibility, information architecture, and Human Computer Interaction.
User Experience Design is practiced by User Experience Designers—who are particularly concerned with the interaction that occurs between users and the system they are using.
So, for example, a UX designer would take the principles that state how to make a product accessible, and actually embody those principles in the design process of a system so that a user that is interacting with it would find it as being accessible.”
“In 100 words? Yikes! (There go four of them already. Oops. Make that ten.) Here goes: The deliberately squishy term “User Experience” encompasses UX Research (figuring out how people perceive and interact with a product, system, or service) and UX design (improving or manipulating how useful/easy/pleasant/marketable/addictive it is to use it). UX descended from Ergonomics, User Centered Design, and Usability/Information Architecture until in the wake of the success of the iPhone it morphed into the current 46 subspecialties and flavors du jour. From its noble heritage of advocacy for the user (“improving the user’s experience”), it has displayed an alarming tendency to lean towards advocacy for the producer (maximizing usage/sales/addiction). [Sorry for turning dark there at the end.]”
“User experience design is the culmination of content, research, design and strategy and its effect on the delivery, selling and use of a digital product or service. In many instances, a user experience happens by the incidental smashing together of code and assumptions about people, so I think the distinction is in brands that recognize the value of a carefully crafted digital experience. In many ways, it is the fulfillment of a brand’s promise and recognition that how customers’ feel has a huge commercial impact.”
“UX design is the art and science of generating positive emotions among people who interact with products or services.”
“UX design is a commitment to building products that are created with the customer in mind. It starts with studying who the customers are and what they need and taking that information to provide products and services that improve the quality of people’s lives.
Design ideas are validated through real customer feedback and iterated on to ensure the final product will work well for those that will be using it.”
“If we look at an interactive thing like a website or a device or a piece of software, designing the user experience for that thing is the creative and analytical process of determining what it’s going to be—what it’s going to do for people, how they’ll use it, and what it looks/sounds/feels/smells/tastes like.”
“For me UX design is so much more than just designing for a screen. The user experience is impacted by decisions made across an organization from the boardroom to the way a developer codes for performance.
Take for example the new Disney Magicband. This doesn’t have a graphic user interface and yet creates an amazing experience using sensors and well-implemented customer service.”
“UX Design is simply design with an awareness of all the touchpoints that comprise the overall experience with your product/service. So it goes beyond screen and visual design to things like email correspondence, the way people answer phones, marketing messages, return policies, release notes, and everything in between.
It is critical to focus on the entire experience in the Internet Age because it is likely you will never meet many of your customers face-to-face. Eventually, though, the letters “UX” will fade away and it will be understood that all of these things are part of designing any product or service.”
“UX Design is the purposeful application of logic and rationale for creating experiences that offer both utility and value to the end user. It’s a process of deeply understanding the user’s needs and objectives, identifying where their greatest problems exist, and working generatively to ideate ways to solve these problems. Rarely centered on the creation of a single screen, UX Design is instead the intentional act of crafting countless interactions that span the entire user journey within a given product experience while also adhering to brand, design and usability standards.”
“User Experience is a commitment to developing products and services with purpose, compassion, and integrity. It is the never-ending process of seeing the world from the customers’ perspective and working to improve the quality of their lives.
It is the never-ending process of maintaining the health of the business and finding new ways to help it grow sustainably. It is the perfect balance between making money and making meaning.”
(Note: If you want to read more about Whitney’s take on user experience, check out this article.)
While I understand you’re targeting the big picture, as a user researcher I think of UX *design* specifically as interaction design, a piece of the UX pie along with a whole host of other UX skill sets, some which are fully design-oriented and some which are not. I’ve been in more than one situation where people referred to me as a UX designer who does research. Of course, there are people who are UX designers that do research, but not me. My UX identity is simply that of a plain old researcher. As such, I fall into another piece of the UX pie—intimately connected with UX design—but still only parallel.”
“Many people state that experience cannot be designed because experiences are something people have—not something that can be designed. On one hand, I completely agree.
On the other hand, UX enables us to identify what makes a good experience versus a bad one. And when done well, the designed elements of an experience become invisible and the user is delighted because we have anticipated their needs to give them something they don’t think to ask for.”
As you can see, UX design has multiple interpretations but it’s really all about keeping your users at the center of everything you create.
Without a doubt, the importance of Customer Experience (CX) for any business growth shouldn’t be underestimated. CX is how customers perceive and feel about your business and brand. In fact, companies that worked on improving customer experience saw a 92% increase in customer satisfaction, 84% uplift in revenue, and a 79% cost savings. In recent years, a number of strategies and tools have been developed to measure and analyze customer habits and preferences. Yet, the most valuable information you can get comes directly from your customers themselves. It’s called customer experience metrics.
According to Forrester’s CX Index, 72% of companies admit that working on improving customer experience is a must. However, only 1% of organizations manage to provide a superior experience. Measuring and carefully benchmarking customer satisfaction metrics is already a big step for businesses to start enhancing their customer experience.
But how to measure customer experience? And which metrics are worth considering for your business? In this blog post, we’ll explain to you how to start measuring customer experience, and how to apply those metrics so that to improve your business overall performance.
Simply put, cx metrics help your organization to measure how happy your customers are so that you can actively work towards increasing competitive advantage, expanding revenue, and boosting customer loyalty and retention.
Even if customers are unhappy with your product, they choose to say nothing. Those are customers you are likely to lose if you don’t take necessary measures. That’s why tracking customer satisfaction metrics is crucial. These measurement tools can help you collect valuable feedback, analyze it, and based on the received insights make improvements to your digital product strategy.
NPS, CSAT, and CES are the most commonly used customer satisfaction metrics. We’ll introduce you to each metric and show how they can help improve your business performance.
The Net Promoter Score measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products to others. It is used to identify the loyalty of customers to a company. We usually measure NPS with a single question survey:
“On a scale from 0 to 10, how are you likely to recommend company/brand/product X to a friend/colleague/relative?“
Accordingly, 0 is not at all likely, and 10 extremely likely. Depending on the response, customers fall into one of three categories to establish an NPS score:
Consider implementing NPS metric into your customer experience strategy, as it can be used with industry NPS benchmarks to see how your product is doing compared to your competitors.
The formula to calculate the NPS metric is simple. You just have to subtract the percentage of customers who answer the question with a 6 or lower from the percentage of customers who answer with a 9 or 10.
If you apply the NPS feedback correctly, you can adjust your business to meet what customers want without over-delivering in one area or under-delivering in another.
We also recommend asking follow-up questions as a part of the survey:
Customer satisfaction is the key to acquire new customers and keep old ones. In addition to that, remember that NPS is just a part of a bigger picture. Don’t view it as a standalone metric that determines your whole customer experience. Combine NPS with other metrics. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) will be a good company.
Focus on value and quality rather than numbers. It means that you should aim at improving the score rather than just increasing the figure. Take what you have learned from your insights and apply results to grow promoters, and convert passives and detractors into promoters.
Summing up, the goal of the Net Promoter Score is to help you analyze and support the relationship you’ve created with your audience. To make it effective, you should always listen to the voice of your customers and act on it. Instead of trying to improve the numbers, focus on understanding what drives the score, and improve it to create and sustain long-term customer success.
CSAT is a commonly-used key performance indicator. We usually apply this metric to track how satisfied customers are with your product.
CSAT surveys are usually sent when you want to see how happy customers are with a certain aspect of your product. For example, you’ve added a new feature and want to see how efficient and useful it is to the end-users and if any improvements are necessary.
Here’s an example of common CSAT questions:
“How are you satisfied with our product?” or “How would you rate your overall satisfaction?” with the company, its product, or a certain interaction.
A five-point scale is used, with options very unsatisfied, unsatisfied, neutral, satisfied, and very satisfied. Companies can calculate CSAT by using an average of 1-5 or by focusing on the 4-5 responses.
To calculate the Customer Satisfaction Score, divide the number of “satisfied” or “very satisfied” respondents by the total number of respondents, and multiply it by 100. This results in your CSAT percent.
With the CES, we ask customers to score the amount of effort involved with a specific interaction. Using CES surveys, you can ask the question,
“on a scale of ‘extremely easy’ to ‘extremely difficult’, how easy was it to interact with
The idea is that customers are more loyal to a product that is easier to use. Customer churn is one of the main business drivers and customer effort is a great indicator of loyalty. CES impacts your business outcomes and is easy to track over time.
To calculate the Customer Effort Score, determine the percentage of positive (very easy and easy) and negative (very difficult and difficult) responses to your CES survey. You can then subtract the number of negative responses from the positive responses.
If you get a high average, it shows that your company is making the experience convenient for customers. A low average indicates that there’s still work to be done to make the customer experience easier and engaging. However, the drawback of CES is that it is more focused on evaluating a particular process of customer interaction, so it doesn’t give a broader understanding of the entire customer experience. For this reason, we apply CES together with Net Promoter Score and Customer Satisfaction Score to get a better understanding of customer satisfaction.
We believe that a well-designed CX strategy combines multiple CX metrics, based on user feedback. When you collect different types of feedback data, you get a holistic view of what exactly is going through your customer’s mind. To do so, it’s important to follow up CSAT, CES, and NPS questions with open-ended questions where users can leave qualitative feedback.
The digital strategy is the application of technology and digital media to create value, i.e. it defines in the digital realm what we do and how we do it. A successful digital strategy requires different areas because it will mix technology with marketing and operations. It is something complex to execute if you do not have the necessary profiles so the help of a digital agency or consultant is often essential.
Once we have seen the definition of digital strategy, let’s really see what it is and why it is important.
The digital strategy must be aligned with the business strategy, after all it will be the digital piece of our business strategy. The objectives of the company must be previously defined and it will be then when we will create the necessary strategies to reach them.
Internet and the digital world ceased to be something optional for companies some time ago, can be somewhat overwhelming, but if we do not take advantage of digital media our company will be doomed to failure. We cannot do without having a digital strategy in our company.
If we look for digital strategy we can find many different definitions, mostly marketing oriented but a digital strategy is not a marketing strategy, in fact, a digital strategy will usually contain a marketing strategy.
A digital marketing strategy will generally be outward-oriented, will focus on bringing value to our customers, giving us visibility, increasing our reputation, brand value, etc..
On the other hand, the digital strategy is applied to the organization as a whole, both internally and externally. So our digital strategy will look at how to apply technology to our entire value chain.
Creating a digital strategy is not complicated, but if it requires talent and previous knowledge as well as some experience, what do we need?
Once we have what is necessary, we only have to see how to reach the proposed objectives using technology and digital media. To do this we must use multidisciplinary profiles and create actions that lead us to the proposed objectives.
The important thing will be that for each line of action, or part of the plan, we have defined metrics that inform us of our progress. After all, the environment is very dynamic and many of the actions in our plan will have to be adjusted, so having some metrics that are easy to consult is key. We must test, measure and modify in order to optimize to the maximum and get the best performance from our strategy.
The big problem usually comes at the time of having the necessary talent in the company to make a good strategy. That’s why digital consultants and digital agencies come into play, such as Xtrategy Digital who can provide you with the talent you need. This time companies will work together with your operations and marketing staff to devise and implement that strategy that will make you achieve your goals.
If you need help you can have a look at our digital consulting service, we offer you experts in different fields that will help you in what you need, take a look here.
I got plenty of confused looks and raised eyebrows from fellow designers when I recently changed focus from consumer-facing products to leading design at NodeSource, an enterprise product company (generally disdained among my peers).
Aside from industry and market, this was also a move from a predominantly creative culture to one heavily focused on development, both in terms of team and the focus of our products.
As part of this transition, we have been working to define what product design means at NodeSource. Since enterprise software companies are not typically thought of as “design-minded,” I’ve gathered some thoughts on what the term “Product Design” means in the context of software — in particular software built for businesses.
Design is vast. There are hundreds of pretentious definitions, and many subdivisions and disciplines across industries big and small, each with their own semantics, methodologies, and beliefs.
The growth of the software industry in particular has led to many lines being blurred — new disciplines being created, old ones being merged, and general confusion on what exactly designers do. Industrial designers, graphic designers, and architects are attracted to the software industry’s increasing importance as other fields have become over-saturated,
highly commoditized, or out of touch with the general public.
While we may come from different backgrounds, designers
across disciplines use a similar high-level methodology.
When design is defined as a methodology for solving problems, it’s logical to compare the design process to another familiar process:
the scientific method.
This, however, fails to account for the most fun and inspiring moments in design — the creative sparks and unanticipated outcomes of the process:
“Happy accidents” while working through problems, or flashes of inspiration in the shower that lead to those inessential moments of delight that make using well-designed products intangibly more enjoyable.
People love products for irrational reasons, despite obvious inferiority from an empirical or functional standpoint. For example, emotion is the reason people continue to buy Beats headphones despite objectively “better” competitors.
The creative components of design, in turn, lead to the worst things —
not about design in particular — about creative work in general:
Inaccurate time estimations because something that worked before doesn’t work this time, inconsistent results when there isn’t a flash of inspiration at a crucial moment, and unexpected difficulties doing something that was initially thought to be easy.
Everyone has a favorite color, and more frequently a least favorite color. The spontaneous and emotional aspects of design are hard — if not impossible — to rationalize. In many cases, the most sophisticated data analysis can’t tell you why someone loves your product the same way we can say why an app might be more performant.
All of this is because there are no absolutes in design.
There is definitely good design — beautiful, elegant, and functional. There is also bad design — ugly, complex, or unusable. And — unfortunately — there is “I wish you could make it pop,” which is what people say when they can’t tell the difference.
So, when we talk about product design as a process or methodology, it is:
An imprecise, iterative process to solve a functional problem with a formal solution.
Now that we have a suitably pretentious high-level definition, what does a digital product designer actually do? It’s easiest to think of software design as a spectrum of tasks.
Depending on what kind of company you work for, this spectrum can stretch from the early stages of business strategy and user research all the way to visual design and front-end implementation. You could say that the larger portion of this spectrum the design team is involved in, the more “design-minded” that organization might be.
Here are the parts of the spectrum in detail:
Business Strategy and Design Research have significant overlap, making it a difficult role to define alongside functional product, sales and marketing teams.
Defining a product means turning insights from design and business research into requirements for the product.
Once initial direction for a product has been established, the feature-set and flows are turned into preliminary mockups (wireframes). These are then iterated upon until a defined set of criteria are met, whether that’s internal testing, user testing, or a customer feedback loop.
With the framework of the application established and the requirements set, final visual design and the development of a design language further cement usability and establish the emotional characteristics of the product.
Consultancies tend to split these tasks across several designer roles, while product companies often rely on product management or sales to fulfill some of these duties, particularly in business or product strategy and research. Unfortunately, this often leads to designers being relegated to a purely formal or production role, which is unattractive for those interested in design as a process rather than a task.
Some common specialist or task-based roles that a product designer might have performed at large organizations include:
Without a solid base of links, your site won’t be competitive in the SERPs — even if you do everything else right. But building your first few links can be difficult and discouraging, especially for new websites.
The first one is basically looking for links that come from your own name, your brand name, your domain name potentially, and the names of the founders or people who run your company.
Step One: Search Google for the names in quotes.
If you have that, you’ll need to use your brand name plus some sort of signifier or identifier.
Step Two: Manually check the top let’s say 50 to 100 results to confirm that…
They link to the right place, and if they don’t, we should fix that. We’re going to contact those people.
If you can control the anchor text and where the link location points, you can update it.
Step One: Identify your top 5 or 10 most visible on the web competitors.
This is a process that you can go through on your own to identify, well, these are the 5 or 10 that we see on the web very frequently for searches that we wish we competed for, or we see them mentioned in the press a ton, whatever it is.
Step Two: Search Google not for each one individually, but rather for combinations, usually two, three, or four of them all together.
Step Three: Visit any sites in the SERPs that list multiple competitors in any sort of format (a directory structure, comparisons, a list, etc.)
Then in each of those cases, I would submit or I would try and contact or get in touch with whoever runs that list and say, “Hey, my company, my organization also belongs on here because, like these other ones you’ve listed, we do the same thing.”
This is a little more challenging. You won’t have as high a hit rate as you will with your own brand names. But again, great way to expand your link portfolio. You can usually almost always get 20 or 30 different sites that are listing people in your field and get on those lists.
This is sites that list people or organizations in a particular field, a particular region, with particular attributes, or some combination of those three.
Step One: List your organization’s areas of operation.
So that would be like we are in technology, or we’re in manufacturing or software or services, or we’re a utility, or we’re finance tech, or whatever we are. You can start from macro and go down to micro at each of those levels.
List your geography in the same format from macro to micro. You want to go as broad as continent, for example Europe, down to country, region, county, city, even neighborhood. There are websites that list, “Oh, well, these are startups that are based in Ballard, Seattle, Washington in the United States in North America.” So you go, “Okay, I can fit in there.”
List your unique attributes. Whatever interesting attributes there are about you, you can list those and then you can combine them.
Step Two: Search Google for lists of businesses or websites or organizations that have some of these attributes in your region or with your focus.
You can find lots and lots of these if you sort of taking from your list, start searching Google and discover those results. You’ll use the same process you did here.
You know what the great thing about all three of these is? No tools required. You don’t have to pay for a single tool. You don’t have to worry about any sort of link qualification process or paying for something expensive. You can do this manually by yourself with Google as your only tool, and that will get you some of those first early links.