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Electric Objects brings art from the Internet into your living room

I recently found out about Electronic Objects, “a computer made for art”. An Electric Object is effectively a wall-mounted device which comes without a mouse or a keyboard. It promises to bring “art from the Internet into your home”, and I can see that it will do exactly this:

  1. Designed for the home (1) – The problem that Electronic Objects are looking to solve is that of small devices not being great for properly experiencing art on the Internet. As Electronic Objects founder and CEO Jake Levine explained to TechCrunch recently: “The devices that we use to access the Internet (our tablets, our laptops, our phones, our computers), they’re designed not for contemplation, not to live in the background, not to be quiet or still, but to demand your attention and absorb you.” Reason why the Electric Object “01” is created in such way that users don’t have to worry about all the – utility and productivity related stuff – happening on their devices.
  2. Designed for the home (2) – In a recent Product Hunt podcast, Jake Levine mentioned how digital hasn’t yet made its full foray into people’s living rooms. There are products such as Nest which cater for the whole house or the kitchen, but the “Internet of Things” hasn’t quite made it into the living room yet. Electric Objects aims to provide a product which isn’t about utility but something that can become “a part of our lives fitting seamlessly into our familiar home and work environments” according to Jake Levine.
  3. Designed to fade away – On Electric Objects’ Kickstarter page it describes how the “01” has been designed to “fade away”, like a photograph or a painting. I like that the screen of Electric Objects 01 is effectively just a frame that you can stick onto your wall. There’s no keyboard, mouse or alerts, avatars, slideshows, feeds or docks. The frame is connect to your WiFi account, which means that you can directly control the artwork on the frame from your smartphone or any other device.

Main learning point: Electric Objects have created an exciting new product in this computer made for the display of art from the Internet. Their “01” computer is now available for pre-order and it will be interesting to see how many people will buy it to bring digital art into their living rooms. Separately, I’m keen to see how many product people and designers will start to concentrate more on the ‘living room’ as a place to create digital products for. Watch this space!

Fig. 1 – An Electric Object ‘in action’ – Taken from: http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/30/electric-objects-funding/ 

electric-objects

Fig. 2 – Electric Objects Founder and CTO in conversation with TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha – Taken from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLSPCqUuRM4

Related links for further linking:

  1. http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/30/electric-objects-funding/
  2. http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/08/electric-objects-launches-kickstarter-campaign-to-build-displays-for-digital-art/
  3. http://www.theverge.com/2014/7/8/5880371/electric-objects-digital-picture-frame
  4. http://thenextweb.com/creativity/2014/07/09/electronic-objects-eo1-frame-brings-internet-wall-near/
  5. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/electricobjects/electric-objects-a-computer-made-for-art

 

 

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Sharing my love for Product Hunt

The strap line of Product Hunt is “the best new products, everyday”. Product Hunt is a site dedicated to “sharing new, interesting products” and I found over the last few months that it does exactly what it says on the tin:

  1. A community around cool products – The main concept for the guys who started Product Hunt, Ryan Hoover and Nathan Bashaw, was to build a community for product people to share, discover, and discuss new products. Product Hunt is a crowdsourced site and is fully democratic in a sense that its members decide which products get featured and how they rank. For example, on 27 August, Monitorbook – which helps people to track things on the web – topped the list of products, with 466 votes (see Fig. 1 below).
  2. “Reddit for products” – On Product Hunt’s page on AngelList, it says “Reddit for products” which in my opinion is only a partially accurate representation of what Product Hunt is about. Yes, at the face of it, Product Hunt does have a lot in common with crowdsourced news site Reddit; people can submit links, upvote and comment. Even the list-type design of the site looks like Reddit’s. However, I find the design of the leaderboard type lists on Product Hunt much cleaner and easier to read than Reddit. I can see at glance which products got the most votes on any given day and I can delve into the related comments if I wish. It only takes a quick look at Reddit to establish that the design of their page feels a lot messier and crowded.
  3. Product discovery before everyone else does - One could easily argue that sites like TechCrunch already address the need for people to find out about new startups and new products. With Product Hunt, however, this process of product discovery is fully democratic and transparent. Anyone can submit a product to be featured on the site, which will then be curated by the Product Hunt community. I believe this process increases the chances of finding about cool new product ideas before ‘everyone else’ does (e.g. through TechCrunch or Engadget).

Main learning point: I’ve rapidly become a fan of Product Hunt, mainly because of two key reasons. Firstly, if you’re into finding about cool new products and startups, then Product Hunt should be an almost mandatory part of your day. Secondly, I really like how the content on Product Hunt is shaped democratically by a product-oriented community. If you haven’t done so already, please go and check out Product Hunt!

Fig. 1 - Screenshot of Product Hunt on 27 August 2014 

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 06.06.17

Fig. 2 –  Ryan Hoover explains about Product Hunt on This Week in Startups

Related links for further learning:

  1. http://www.producthunt.com/about
  2. http://pando.com/2013/12/04/can-the-democratic-power-of-a-platform-like-hacker-news-be-applied-to-products/
  3. http://www.fastcolabs.com/3023152/open-company/the-wisdom-of-the-20-minute-startup
  4. http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/04/product-hunt-is-the-social-news-site-of-tech-products-read-by-influential-people/
  5. http://ryanhoover.me/
  6. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-b-fishbein/what-the-startup-ideas-be_b_5708211.html
 

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Using data to inform product decisions

A few months ago, I delivered a talk to an audience of product managers about the importance of having a data informed approach (see Fig. 1 below). As a product person, using data optimally to help make product decisions is critical. It’s something that I try to work on every day. I’m constantly learning about things such as the best combination of quantitative and qualitative, measuring the right things and using data as an integral part of the product development process.

This is a quick summary of the key things that I talked about in my talk in May of this year:

  1. Why do we need data? – I’m always keen to stress that as a product manager I don’t have all the answers. Product managers aren’t the holy grail and I believe it would be silly to pretend otherwise. I’m never afraid to say that I don’t know when people ask me which product idea we should go for or how people will use our product. Instead, I’ve learned to use data to draft and test assumptions which can help to inform product decisions (see Fig. 2 below).
  2. What can quantitative data tell us? – Quantitative data can really help to get stats on how people actually use a product and measure whether our product improvements or new features have the desired impact. I’ve learned a lot from the book Lean Analytics in which its authors, Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz, expand on when and how to best use quantitative data.
  3. What can qualitative data tell us? - Qualitative data can be very valuable if you want to find out about the “why” behind quantitative data and to get a better insight into what users think and feel. Also, in cases where you don’t have much quantitative data at your disposal, qualitative data can help you to get some quick input into a product idea or prototype.
  4. Data driven approach – There are quite a number of game companies such as Zynga and Wooga that apply a data driven approach to product development. This typically means that a company will pick a single or a set of key metrics to concentrate on (see Fig. 3 below). With a purely data driven approach, its data that determine the fait of a product; based on data outcomes businesses can optimise continuously for the biggest impact on their key metric.
  5. Data informed approach – A few years ago, I came across an inspiring talk by Adam Mosseri, Director of Product at Facebook, who introduced the term “data informed” product development. The main rationale for this data informed approach is that, in reality, data is only one of the factors to consider when making product decisions. I make the point that typically, data is most likely to play a role alongside other decision-making factors such as strategic considerations, user experience, intuition, resources, regulation and competition (see Fig. 4 below). This doesn’t diminish the critical nature of data, but it does into take account a reality where other factors need considering when making product decisions.
  6. Where and why to use data to help inform product decisions – Also, there are a number of cases where a purely data driven approach falls short. For example, when there’s a strategic decision to be made or when you’re assessing a new product idea (see Fig. 5 below), looking at data in isolation may be insufficient. In my talk, I also gave some examples of how and why I use data at set points of the product lifecycle to help inform decision making (see Fig. 6 below).

Main learning point: I’m looking forward to a book by Rochelle King and Sean Power about data-informed design, hoping to learn more about how and when one can use data to inform product design decisions. I feel like I’ve already learned a lot from people like Adam Mosseri, Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz and the way in which they use data as a key factor in making product decisions. Ultimately, I believe that using data continuously – in whichever way or form – is the best way to figure out how to best utilise it.

Fig. 1 – My presentation “Use data to inform product decisions” at ProductTank Hamburg on 16 May 2014 

Fig. 2 – Why do we need data?

  • To learn about products and users
  • To measure success
  • To choose between options
  • To understand user interaction
  • To decide on our products

Fig. 3 – Key components of a data driven approach

  • Focus on the “One Metric That Matters”
  • Build hypothesis around key KPI
  • A/B or multivariate test continuously
  • Optimise your product based on data
  • Are we making a noticeable difference?

Fig. 4 – Factors that can play a role in a product decision-making process (this is by no means an exhaustive list!)

  • Data
  • Strategy
  • Intuition
  • Competition
  • Regulation
  • Business
  • Brand
  • Time
  • Technology

Fig. 5 – Reasons a data informed approach might be better suited to your decision-making process

  • Data is one of the factors to consider
  • Focus on the questions that you want answered
  • You can’t replace intuition or creative ideas with data
  • Assess impact on relevant areas

Fig. 6 – Examples of how I use to data to inform product decisions

What do we want to do?

Assumptions, hypotheses, assessments and prototypes

How should it work?

User testing, user stories, A/B testing and prototypes

How is it working?

Product retrospectives, tracking and goal-oriented planning

Related links for further learning:

  1. http://andrewchen.co/2012/05/29/know-the-difference-between-data-informed-and-versus-data-driven/
  2. http://vimeo.com/14999991
  3. http://venturebeat.com/2013/12/04/the-4-keys-to-running-a-data-driven-business/
  4. http://www.realityisagame.com/archives/390/wooga-follows-zynga-in-metrics-driven-game-design/
  5. http://insideintercom.io/the-problem-with-data-driven-decisions/
  6. http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2013/05/the-perils-of-ab-testing/
  7. http://www.fastcolabs.com/3033885/ebay-is-running-its-own-sociology-experiments
  8. http://www.beyondwebanalytics.com/2013/07/24/episode-67/
  9. http://www.slideshare.net/tgwilson/a-process-for-being-data-driven
 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Data, Measuring

 

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A sneak preview of the Avegant Glyph

Even though it has yet to launch, I’m very intrigued by the design and promise of the Avegant Glyph. The “Glyph” is a new headset (see Fig. 1), set to launch in early 2015, which integrates Avegant’s core “virtual retina display” technology into a headset. Even though the design of the Avegant Glyph looks similar to the Oculus Rift, there are some specific features that make the Glyph stand out as a very different and interesting product:

  1. Real world experiences – Whereas the Oculus Rift lets users experience a virtual world, the Avegant Glyph concentrates more on the here and now. As Grant Martin, Avegant’s Head of Marketing and Product Development, explained to TechCrunch “the idea isn’t really to compete with Virtual Reality solutions, but rather to give people an option for a better screen-based entertainment experience wherever they happen to be”. The Glyph is intended as a mobile ear and eye headset, which people can use to watch films or to play games. It does display 3D content and has Bluetooth head-tracking technology which means that it could potentially be used for virtual type applications in the future.
  2. It’s all about the screen display – Even though I haven’t yet had a chance to play with the Glyph, I can imagine that its underlying retina display technology (see Fig. 2) will provide a whole new visual experience to users. The promise of this technology is “to transmit vivid, life-like images directly to the eye”. The optics which are part of Avegant’s technology focus the light rays directly on the user’s retina. It thus produces an perception of an image which is crystal clear, vivid and devoid of any pixel.
  3. Peripheral vision – The Glyph is designed to not completely block out the world around you and leave (some of) your peripheral vision intact. I’m keen, however, to see how much of my peripheral vision will be left intact once I put the visor down on a Glyph.

Main learning point: I can well imagine that the Avegant Glyph will be appealing to a whole new audience of users. Whereas the Oculus Rift is poised to attract an audience of gamers and people keen on virtual reality, the Glyph has the potential to reach out to more ‘everyday’ users who simply want a better visual experience than what they currently get on their smartphones or tablets.

It’s not that you’ll be able to easily blend into the crowd with your Glyph, but its main uses cases are likely to make it a lot more accessible and appealing to a wider audience. With an expected price point of around $500 it will be interesting to see what the uptake will be like, but I’d definitely love to get my hands on a Glyph when it comes out next year!

Fig. 1 – Avegant’s CEO Ed Tang and the Avegant Glyph – Taken from: http://hiconsumption.com/2014/01/avegant-glyph-virtual-reality-headset/

Avegant-Glyph-Virtual-Reality-Headset-0

Fig. 2 – Outline of Avegant’s “Virtual Retinal Display” technology as used in the Glyph – Taken from: http://lifereallymatters.com/avegant-glyph-device-light-years-ahead-others/

Glyph-Tech

Fig. 3 – Avegant Glyph Kickstarter video – Taken from: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/avegantglyph/a-mobile-personal-theater-with-built-in-premium-au

 

Related links for further learning:

  1. http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/29/hands-on-with-the-avegant-glyph-a-head-mounted-display-for-the-average-commuter/
  2. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/avegantglyph/a-mobile-personal-theater-with-built-in-premium-au
  3. http://www.gizmag.com/eyes-on-avegant-glyph/30660/
  4. http://lifereallymatters.com/avegant-glyph-device-light-years-ahead-others/
  5. http://www.cnet.com/uk/products/avegant-glyph/
  6. http://hiconsumption.com/2014/01/avegant-glyph-virtual-reality-headset/
 
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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in Mobile, Online Trends, Technology

 

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App review: Circa

The other day, I was looking at news apps to subscribe to and one of the apps that I discovered was Circa. I installed the iOS version of the app on my device and had a play with it. As always, I applied the product critique template by Julie Zhuo as I was testing the Circa app:

  1. How did this app come to my attention? - I was looking for news apps which would provide me with an easy-to-use and customisable news feed. In my search, I came across an article on The Next Web which was titled 10 must-have iPhone apps for keeping on top of the news, which mentioned Circa as one of its ten apps to check out.
  2. My quick summary of the app (before using it) - Circa provides a constant news stream which I can filter based on my specific interests. I expect Circa to send push notifications with relevant news updates.
  3. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like? - I like that the Circa app gives me the option to “sign up later” as I prefer to sign up for accounts at a later stage. This gives me a chance to familiarise myself with the app first. The popup explaining notifications is also easy to understand; explaining both the procedure (“tap OK when prompted”) and the benefits (“You’ll receive breaking news, followed story updates, etc.”) (see Fig. 1 below).
  4. How does the app explain itself in the first minute? - When I click on the bookmark icon on an article in the “Arts & Entertainment” section, the app explains that I can follow story lines, getting push notifications as a story develops (see Fig. 2 below). The one thing that didn’t become immediately clear from the this tooltip was whether I need to be signed into Circa to be able to follow or to share a story. When I do go into a top story, it’s apparent – through the top navigation in the app – what I need to do if I wish to follow or to share a news story respectively. Once I’ve clicked the “follow” button, the button’s state changes immediately to “following” (see Fig. 3 below).
  5. How easy to use was the app? - Very straightforward. On iOS at least, the main actions are limited, simple and well presented: read, share and follow news stories. I liked how comments related to a story get highlighted – the background colour changes from grey to white – when you scroll down a story. This is a welcome feature given that there’s quite a lot of content on each article page.
  6. How did I feel while exploring the app? - Because of it’s simple navigation structure, I found the Circa app easy to navigate. The sections which feature different articles are self-explanatory and well sign-posted. However, I missed a profile or a “For You” section which contains all the stories that I follow across the different sections. It would be nice if I could see in my section which stories I follow across the ‘genres’ that I’m interested in (e.g. technology and sports) and perhaps get some personalised recommendations based on my interests. Not only will help me to understand where follow-up stories to my original ‘follows’ come from, it will also provide me with a nice ‘discovery path’. A personalised section can help me to find slightly older articles and their related stories to follows, which can be helpful particularly if I wish to share a slightly older article (and I can’t remember what it was).
  7. Did the app deliver on my expectations? – The Circa app definitely delivers on its main strap line: “Save Time. Stay Informed”. I find it easy to follow news stories and with Circa’s push notifications, I can dip in and out of stories as they developed.
  8. How long did I spend using the app? - So far, I’ve used the Circa app between 2-4 hours over the past month, reading and following stories.
  9. How does this app compare to similar apps? – There are a lot of news app out there and I see apps such as Flipboard, Daily Mail Online, Pocket, Zite, Facebook Paper and LinkedIn Pulse as direct competitors which offer a user proposition similar to Circa. Circa probably has the cleanest and most intuitive design out of all of them, closely followed by Flipboard. However, I feel that Flipboard gives me more reasons to keep coming back to the app; more opportunities for content discovery and better geared towards ‘collecting’ stories.

Main learning point: Circa is a simple, easy to use news app. It’s one of those “single purpose” apps which successfully delivers on its core proposition. However, I personally would like to see the app improve on its content discovery elements, encouraging users more to explore new content and to see which stories other people are following.

Fig. 1 – Screenshot of Circa’s push notifications pop-up screen

Circa Notifications

 

Fig. 2 – Screenshot of Circa’s tooltip regarding following stories

Circa Follow tooltip

Fig. 3 – Screenshot of an article in the Circa feed which I’ve just started following

Circa Article Follow

 

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Gamification and the MDA framework

A few months ago I wrote about some of the principles that underpin game design and I now would like to have a closer look at the specific elements that help to form games and game mechanics. In his online lectures on gamification, Kevin Werbach – an Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at Wharton School – talked about the interplay between:

  • Experiences - What the player feels.
  • Games - A set of rules around which a game is played.
  • Elements – The ‘bits and pieces’ that make up a game.

Kevin then went on to talk about the MDA framework as created by Robert Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc and Robert Zubek in 2001. The MDA framework formalises game consumption by breaking games into their distinct elements: rules, system and “fun”. These elements translate into the following design counterparts which comprise the MDA framework: Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics (see Fig. 1 below). What do these different components of the MDA framework entail?

  1. Mechanics – In his lecture, Kevin Werbach described game mechanics as “the processes that drive actions forward”. He subsequently compared mechanics to “verbs” which help people to play games (see Fig. 2). In their academic article, Robert Hunicket et al. defined game mechanics as “the particular components of the game, at the level of data representation and algorithms”.
  2. Dynamics – After comparing game mechanics to “verbs”, Kevin likened game dynamics to “grammar”. These are “big picture aspects” which combine game mechanics (“verbs”) and game components (“nouns”). A game dynamic can be defined as a pattern of loops that turns them into a large sequence of play. Tadhg Kelly has written a great blog post where he delves deeper into game dynamics (see Fig. 3) and I also came across an interesting TED Talk by Seth Priebatsch (see Fig. 4) on the same subject. On the topic of “game components”, Kevin compared these to “nouns” which put together help to form the flow of a game. These are specific instantiations of game mechanics and dynamics (see Fig. 5).
  3. Aesthetics – In the MDA framework, the point about “game aesthetics” is all about making games ‘fun’. One of the guys behind the MDA framework, Marc LeBlanc, came up with 8 kinds of fun as a more specific vocabulary to describe game aesthetics (see Fig. 6). In the MDA framework, game aesthetics are described as “the desirable emotional responses evoked in the player, when she interacts with the game system”.

Main learning point: the MDA framework is great practical tool which helps to think about games and gamification in a more structured kind of way. We all know how easy it can be to slap a leader board or points system into a game or an application but the MDA framework really forces us to think about our rationale for considering some of these game elements.

Fig. 1 – The MDA framework by Robert Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc and Robert Zubek (2001) – Taken from: http://www.nolithius.com/game-design/the-mda-framework

mda-large

Fig. 2 – Sample list of game mechanics as provided by Kevin Werbach as part of Coursera’s online Gamification course

  • Challenges
  • Chance
  • Competition
  • Cooperation
  • Feedback
  • Resource acquisition
  • Rewards
  • Transactions
  • Turns
  • Win states

Fig. 3 – “Game Dynamics and Loops” by Tadhg Kelly – Taken from: http://www.whatgamesare.com/2011/01/game-dynamics-and-loops-game-design.html

  • Linear vs player driven dynamics – A good example of a linear game dynamic is Space Invaders where the game dynamic is the continuing increase of challenge as the enemies proceed down the screen and get faster. With player driven game dynamics like in Animal Crossing the loop is the receipt of a task and the actions to complete that task, but the dynamic is the further branching of more tasks across days or weeks.
  • Primary vs secondary dynamics – There are plenty of games out there which are based upon a single, powerful game dynamic. A good example of a game with such a strong primary dynamic is World of Goo where the game is all about creating structures with balls of goo. In contrast, games such as Wii Sports contain lots of mini-games, each with their own dynamic.

Fig. 4 – Seth Priebatsch “Building the game layer on top of the world” – TED Talk on 20 August 2010

Fig. 5 – Sample list of game components as provided by Kevin Werbach as part of Coursera’s online Gamification course

  • Achievements
  • Avatars
  • Badges
  • Boss fights
  • Collections
  • Combat
  • Content unlocking
  • Leaderboards
  • Gifting
  • Levels
  • Points
  • Quests
  • Social graph
  • Teams
  • Virtual goods

Fig. 6 – Sample game aesthetics by Robert Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc and Robert Zubek (2001)  – Taken from: http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/~hunicke/MDA.pdf

  • Sensation – Game as sense-pleasure
  • Fantasy – Game as make-believe
  • Narrative – Game as drama
  • Challenge – Game as obstacle course
  • Fellowship – Game as social framework
  • Discovery – Game as uncharted territory
  • Expression – Game as self-discovery
  • Submission – Game as pastime

Related links for further learning:

  1. http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/~hunicke/MDA.pdf
  2. http://spin.atomicobject.com/2013/09/03/mda-game-design-framework/
  3. http://www.nolithius.com/game-design/the-mda-framework
  4. http://badgeville.com/wiki/Game_Mechanics
  5. http://gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/3131/what-are-the-other-three-game-dynamics
  6. http://www.whatgamesare.com/2011/01/game-dynamics-and-loops-game-design.html
  7. http://8kindsoffun.com/
 
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Posted by on July 16, 2014 in Gamification

 

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App review: Zoopla

I always like discovering new apps, playing with them and seeing what works for me and what doesn’t. I recently looked at some apps in the property finder’ space. Julie Zhuo has recently written up a good way to do a “product critique” which template I’ll apply to my app reviews. I recently used the iOS app from Zoopla, a UK based property site, and applied Julie’s product critique template:

  1. How did this app come to my attention? - I looked at the Zoopla site a few years ago, but hadn’t interacted with the site (or the app) since. I’d heard about significant improvements to both the user interface and functionality of the app, reason why I was keen to have a play with the app.
  2. My quick summary of the app (before using it) - Zoopla’s app enables users to find properties to buy or rent in their local areas.
  3. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like? - Registering as a new Zoopla user was pretty straightforward; only an email address and a password were required for me to register. I noticed that I didn’t need to be logged in to do actions such as messaging the estate agent about a property that I was interested in. This clearly makes it easier for me to quickly enquire about a property.
  4. How does app explain itself in the first minute? - On the app’s opening screen, it clearly says “Zoopla” followed by the “Smarter property search” strap line. Most of he options on the opening menu – ranging from “For sale” to “MyZoopla” – are pretty self-explanatory (see Fig. 1 below). I felt that some of the navigation options could have benefited from some additional explanation. For example, “Current values” and “MyZoopla” could have done with explanatory hover over comment to explain their function and value to users.
  5. How easy to use was the app? - I found it very easy to use the app. When I played with the app, I particularly concentrated on an important use case: finding a property to buy (see Fig. 2 below). The app lets users filter their searches by a number of factors such as price and number of bedrooms (see Fig. 3 below). When you get the results, the app enables both hiding and sorting of the results. Hiding can be particularly helpful if one doesn’t want the same search results to come up time and time again. By default, the search results are sorted by ‘Most recent’ but users can sort by e.g. ‘lowest price’ or by ‘most popular’.
  6. How did I feel while exploring the app? - Zoopla’s app is easy to explore; the navigational items are clearly signposted and the split menu bar meant that I could easily find my way around in the app.
  7. Did the app deliver on my expectations? – Yes, the app was simple and easy to use. It delivered on the main use cases that I expected the app to cover: finding properties, either to buy or to rent. However, the one bit of functionality and information that I missed from the app was the ability for users to sell their properties or put them up for rent through the app. It made me wonder whether this could be because Zoopla’s business model is based around estate agents who submit properties to be listed in the app.  
  8. How long did I spend using the app? - I’d say I spent about 15 minutes in total playing with the app.
  9. How does this app compare to similar apps?Lovely Rentals in the US and Rightmove in the UK are apps similar to Zoopla. I personally find the user interface of the Rightmove app a lot less appealing in comparison; it gives me the feeling that I have to work hard to get the property results that I’m looking for. A good example is the “Sale Filters” screen in the Rightmove app (see Fig. 4 below). At a first glance, I struggle to comprehend what the “advanced” option will do for me or what “Include Sold STC” means. In contrast, I immediately sensed that the Zoopla was easy-to-use and intuitive.

Main learning point: Zoopla’s property app is easy to use and intuitive. It’s a no-frills app which does exactly what you expect it to do. I like the way the app gives it users the ability to easily filter and sort search results. All around, a good and easy to use app!

Fig. 1 – Screenshot of the opening screen of the Zoopla app

zoopla-opening screen

Fig. 2 – Screenshot of property listings on the Zoopla app

photo

Fig. 3 – Screenshot of search options when looking to buy property through the Zoopla app

Zoopla searches

Fig. 4 – Screenshot of the “Sale Filters” screen in the Rightmove app

photo

 

 

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