Google Play – Music

Google Music is the forefront of offering tailored music to customers around the world. Google play is competing with Spotify, Apple Music. Here , in this product chart, we explore the product features. Google Music which come packaged with YouTube Red is a great choice for music lovers.

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Thanks and Regards,

Ragav Ramakrishnan

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Speak Designer :) Understanding the terminology :)

Design language can sometimes be hard to synthesize, here is list of vocabulary and some design concepts.

Ideation – get as many ideas as possible, emphasis is on quantity. Take the idea, sketch it (express it) and explore the idea. Idea can take many forms from table to wireframes (rough sketch) to more formalized document.
Artifacts – Design documents are called Artifacts. These are bi-products of the design.

DEISGN is Users, Context, Tools, Tasks and Goals.

Interaction Design – This focuses on tools and the task. Use the tools to achieve the tasks.
1. User Needs Statement – The Who, the What and the Why. Who may be the name or the role, what are they doing it and what are they valuing it. This can be used in feature prioritization, design principles etc.
2. Information Architecture – Structuring information, what the user do in each space, how the user moves between the spaces. Designs the structure of the experience.
3. Storyboard – Presenting a sequence of annotated images to go through the entire experience, i.e. move from opening the app to performing the task, generating the output and all the way up to closing the application.
4. Affordance – Object must be able to suggest how it should be used.  There should be something about the object that tells how it should be used.

Visual Design – Communicates the nature of the object.

1. Grids – Foundational principles of design that allow for greater speed and confidence. Divides a space into smaller component.
2. Margins – The area between the content and the edges of the screen.
3. Gutter – Denotes the space between the column.
The Grid, Margin and Gutter together convey the layout of the page.
4. Aspect Ratio – 2: 1 implies the width is twice as long as the height.
5. White space – The unmarked area of the pages.
6. Hierarchy – A classification of things per their importance (priority level). Margin may be bigger than gutter due to the hierarchy.
7. Zhoosh – Spruce something up, improve something.

Sans in French means without, Serif are the strokes the end of the work. Slab is a type of the serif – it has blunt rectangular end. Times New Roman is suitable for screens that are coarser in resolution. Also useful when lot of words are to put in together.

1.Baseline – The line on which all lowercase letters sit.
2.x height – Distance between the baseline and middle of the letter.
3.Leading – Space from baseline to baseline.
4. Kerning – Space between the letters.
5. lorem ispum – placeholder for the text (don’t read me just look at me).

Motion design is where, design becomes code based.
Responsive Interaction – How does an affordance reach when interacted with. Communicate a very short story (may be even 1 second).
Motion should always feel natural. Things should accelerate, decelerate and change direction in a natural way.
Janky – Anything that’s unnatural, unreliable.

Let us use all the tools to ensure our designs are not Janky.

Thanks,
– R

Sources:
1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80hrknwD74Q [Google IO – 2016]

Product Requirements Definition

The PRD is used to define’s the product’s purpose, features, functionality and behavior. The specifics within the PRD can vary by the organization. Some companies can call it Product Design Document and more emphasis may be on the product design element. However, evrey product is accompanied by a PRD.

Use Case: The product team will use the Product Requirements to build and test the product.

Analyze the customers and Market – Understand your customers, study your competitors, team’s capabilities and the available technologies. 

Define the Product’s Purpose – Every product needs to solve a customer need/ add delight to the customer experience (which also solves the need for a good customer experience). Thus, a very clear value proposition for the product needs to be defined. Also, the objectives of the product are the user needs the product aims to solve.

  • The problems you want to solve, not the solution
  • Describe the scenarios
  • Who is the target user?

Objectives could be:

  • Ease of Use
  • Increase in session time by ~10% 

Objectives need to be measured to ensure that once the product is released, the objectives are met. The details of measurement of objective needs to be explained. As an example, the ease of use can be measured by the time spent by user on each task, % of successful completion of a certain task, the user engagement etc.

Thus the product’s purpose, defines the user needs solved by the product and define the success state for the product.

Define the User profiles, goals, tasks & principles – 

User Profiles: Once the customer needs are defined, the user profiles i.e. personas needs to be defined. Defining the persona and the context of the product in view of the specific persona, helps tailor the product. User persona could be user journey or a detailed description that helps set the customer context. The target user base needs to be precise and well-defined.

User goals: Each user persona may use the product to meet certain goals. Thus, the goals as it related to each persona needs to be clearly defined.

Tasks: The tasks that can help people accomplish the goals needs to be defined.

Each team can identify a list of product principle that will help guide the team throughout the product life-cycle. The principles should be specific to the project and the domain on hand.

Product Features –

The requirements, need to be clear, unambiguious and state the need. Each feature should be defined at the level of the interaction deisgn and use cases. The user exeperince and what each feature is should be described while leving the implementation/ other flexibility to the engineering team.

Requirements Traceability: Each requirement needs to be traced to objective(s). This helps deduce the impact if a certain requirement is taken off and ensure that all the requirements are adding value towards the overall objectives.

Release Criteria –

The release criteria mentions important non-functional requirements such as Performance, scalability etc. which are very critical specifically in software products.

  • Performance
  • Scalability
  • Reliability
  • Usability
  • Supportability
  • Localizability

Scehdule – 

The schedule should describe the timeframe for the project, the context behind the timeframe and the motivation for the timeframe. This can hehlp motivate the team.

Feature Prioritization –

The features listed in the product can be categorized as “must-have”, “high-want” and “nice-to-have”. Within each category, the features can be ranked 1 through n. This will help implement the important features and ensure that the high priority features are completed and tested before the product hits the market. Further, if additional requirements are to be discovered and added during the design/ implementation phase, this ranking will help cut the existing features to accomodate new ones.

The PRD can be tested for completeness and refined continiously.

Source:

  1. http://www.svpg.com/assets/Files/goodprd.pdf
  2. https://www.uxpin.com/studio/blog/write-good-product-requirements-document/

 

Managing Identity on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s mission is “To connect the world’s professional to make them more productive and successful.”

Managing professional identify is important in today’s dynamic environment. LinkedIn acts as a one stop shop to manage professional identity. From blog posts to work experiences and educational background to projects, LinkedIn has become the de-facto platform to showcase skills.

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Your LinkedIn profile defined your online professional identity and the interface to edit the profile is amazing. Let us explore the profile edit options and some possible enhancements.

The layout as depicted, consists of the photo on the left and the associated information. Adding a photo exponentially increases the likelihood of the profile being viewed and hence a suitable profile picture is critical. Putting a face to the name, helps people resonate better. Messages and conversations over are phone are better registered if we could associate a face to the name and the conversation. Given the importance of profile picture, profile picture is prominently visible.

Change Photo:

On the edit profile mode, hover over any area in the space above the dotted line highlights the change photo option. Upon clicking on the change photo, the following dialog box opens up:

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The interface is very ‘consistent’ in terms of design and is branded very well using the simple design predominated by grey and blue. The affordance is good in terms of cropping  the existing photo and resizing it. Once the user clicks on the change photo link, the process of changing photo is easy and the affordance is good.

The visibility could be better, since the main intent of this page is to change the photo and the link is very small and is not the first intent that flashes to the eye. The affordance could be better and the page can be redesigned this way to capture the main intent.

Further the mapping could also be better on the right side since the 3 small size preview of the profile photo on the bottom right do not convey how the profile picture would look on which platform and/or which device. Thus it is difficult to understand the real world effect.

Change profile title information:

On the edit profile mode, hovering over any area in the space above the dotted line enables the user to edit the various information such as name, tagline etc.

The name and tagline are standard edits. Clicking on the edit option, enables the user to edit the easily. In the current functionality, the user is not presented with any option for the tagline and can manually key in any desired tagline.

A good value add is to provide options to user on an effective tagline. The tagline can be suggested based on internal, external factors and the user desire.

Internal Factors: Educational background of the user, the professional experience of the user, the projects, the skill sets listed by the user, certifications, interest and other user specific data elements.

External Factors: Tagline used by other professionals who have similar background, the probability of the profile being viewed based on certain words in the tagline.

User Desire: Is the user looking for a job change? Is the user looking to showcase expertise in a certain field? Does the user want to just display the job function? Different

Based on the user desire in addition to the internal and external factors, an effective tagline could be suggested to the user. The user can choose the suggested tagline or can key in a custom tagline.

Change sector:

The sector is a drop down box and is  pre-populated list. While the list is exhaustive and is a great way to convey the user domain, there should an option for the user to type in a domain or select multiple options. As an example, my domain could be at the intersection of ‘Information Technology and Services’ and ‘Computer Software’, which makes it difficult to select a specific category.

Change Previous:

Once user enters the current job, previous jobs and education, the ‘Previous’ is auto populated with the previous positions. On clicking the edit previous, the user is scrolled down to the positions entered and the user needs to remove the previous position. This feature can be changed to enable the user to select one (or) more of the previous positions. This can be a value add since the user may want to display only certain past positions in the profile titles and not all the past positions listed in the main profile.

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The inverted drop down box next to the ‘View Profile as’ presents 5 options namely ‘View recent activity’, ‘Ask to be recommended’, ‘Save to PDF’ etc. These are not directly to editing the profile and further, the inverted triangle does not provide good affordance on the actions that could be taken. So it might be a good option to remodel/ remove the inverted triangle next to ‘Save profile as’, as it could cause confusion at times.

Is the Internet ubiquitous?

Would I be writing this article if it took me few seconds extra to upload this article? Would you be reading this article if it took you some a few seconds extra to load this article?

The answer is mostly going to be “NO”. We are very accustomed to high speed internet. However in this era, the true power and potential of technology can be realized only if internet is ubiquitous. Technology as an equalizing force can be achieved down the line can be achieved only of there is widespread proliferation of internet.

As per recent statistics, only 3 billion of the worldwide 7.2 billion world population has access to internet. [1] Well, less than just 50% of the world population has access to internet. When we dwell deep behind this number and look at the number of users by country & number of users by region, the disparity and the problem is palpable.

Nearly 75% of all internet users in the world, live in the top 20 countries. The remaining 25% is distributed among the remaining 178 countries, each representing less than 1% of total users.[1] There are countries such as Eritrea, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Ghana where less than 2% of the population has access to internet. This in essence means that less than 2% of this population can use Google search, Facebook or any of these applications that most of us take for granted.

Here is link to the list of countries and the % of population in each of these countries that has access to internet. Internet Proliferation.[2]

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The solutions for this problem needs to be profound and scalable to proliferate internet in these countries.

  1. How can we as individuals help improve this situation?
  2. How can organizations like Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. help improve this situation?
  3. How can governments around the globe and other agencies help improve this situation?

Even India which has a huge proliferation of tech companies faces this problem: Only 20% of the population has access to internet. It’s time we think about this problem and a way to solve this.

My research and efforts are going to be geared towards this problem. I look forward to hearing from you guys about my article and if you guys can think of any solution to this problem.

Lets join force to make technology an equalizer for the world.

Thanks

—R

References:

  1. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=number%20of%20people%20using%20inernet%20in%20the%20world
  2. http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users-by-country/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_Internet_users#cite_note-ITCFactsAndFigures-2014-16