Virtual Currencies

Some online communities introduced virtual currencies in order to have users strive for a higher rank, value, or in whatever the currency might exist. An online community can be any connection of users from discussion boards, social networks or a user group.

Online currencies can change the way users behave, especially when they are tradable against real money. Depending on the general topic of the community, the users might even be adverse against any form of gamification, while other audiences applaud even the slightest gamification forms.

The article “How to Introduce Virtual Currency into your Community the Right Way” describes just what it says.

Designing for explicit choice

User Experience design often is about human psychology. When designing forms which have users make a choice, keep in mind that different form designs may result in different user behaviour. Users are generally lazy: When there is a checkbox, people usually just leave it as it is (checked or unchecked). When using two radio buttons instead, people are forced to make a decision. Depending of what your goal is, choose the form design wisely.

Colleen Roller has the full article.

Extra tip: Do not only offer choices, but list consequences right away.

Customer adoption of a new product or feature

So you have a great idea of a new product or feature. Anyway, how will you know that anyone else will like it and, more importantly, also use it?

Inspired by Marc Andreessen’s tweets, Hutch Carpenter asks three questions to evaluate the possible adoption of a product:

  • Does the idea target an actual job-to-be-done that enough people have?
  • Is the idea a meaningful improvement over the current way people fulfill their job-to-be-done?
  • Does the value of the idea to customers exceed the cost of the idea to them?

You can also rate the answers and display them in a kind of dashboard, but that’s all eye candy.


Velocity games

Ah, the wonderful meaning of velocity. Velocity is often interpreted as a fixed development speed, and increasing the velocity means a higher development speed. What some people do not understand is that velocity and days (FTE etc.) and currencies with a floating exchange rate. When prompted to increase velocity, a team could simply estimate higher number for each story, increasing the velocity while keeping development speed constant or even lower.

Please refer to the article Increase My Velocity, Baby! for lovely unicorn images.

Speak to non-customers instead of customers

A good product manager regularly speaks to customers and users. However, the current product obviously satisfies current customers. So the product manager should also speak to non-customer, i.e. potential future customers and find out their requirements.

The article Identifying Non-Customers for “Customer” Interviews provides some insight into how to find such non-customers.

Use Cases vs. User Stories in an Agile World

When applying agile development processes, are user stories superior to use cases? The article Use Cases in an Agile World states that they serve different purposes but none is better than the other. In effect, author suggests:

  • On non-Agile projects, Use Cases and Process Flows are used in requirements document to define process steps between the user and system.
  • On Agile projects, Use Cases and Process Flows can be used to derive Epics and User Stories.

The Apple Watch and the UX requirements

The Apple Watch is not a smaller phone, just as a smart phone is not a smaller computer. Raluca Budiu recommends the following for UX development for the Apple Watch: (quoted from her article The Apple Watch: User-Experience Appraisal):

  • Distill the essential content that people are interested in and present it in a compressed form that would fit the tiny watch screen.
  • Avoid buttons and complex navigation as much as possible, and if you do include buttons make them few and big.
  • Use handoff to phone to enable users to get more details and solve problems that require more complicated interactions.
  • Create standalone bits of text that can easily be read and comprehended and truly convey the gist of your content.