The following is information we learned from Dan Menard (dan-menard.com ) when he gave us an internal presentation on HTML5. This is the final post in this series on HTML 5.
In my last blog post I explained how you can stay up-to-date on the latest HTML5 topics. In my final HTML5 post (for now!) I’ll cover some of the on-the-ground lessons we’ve learned from recent mobile web development projects.
1) Mobile projects take a LONG time to ramp up
Getting a mobile web project ramped up will always take longer than you expect and the process can be painful. You need to be prepared to learn new things, make mistakes and accept delays. That’s because HTML5 tools, frameworks and technologies are always changing and you can’t simply replicate things from one project to the next. New, more effective tools are continuously available, so you will always need to set aside time beforehand to determine whether they will apply and, if so, how to use them.
Even if your development team is made up of superstars with lots of mobile web experience, our advice is to set aside more ramp up time than you think you’ll need, because there will always be a lot to learn.
2) You’re not going to get it right on the first try
Mobile web development is *really* hard. On almost every project I’ve been involved with, we’ve ended up throwing away the first bit of code we produced. There’s a learning curve associated with new HTML5 frameworks like Sencha Touch or jQuery mobile, and you’ll find that your initial code will need to be rewritten as you learn more about its intricacies.
There are many great sources for HCI (Human Computer Interaction) standards and principles.
Microsoft and Google will often publish standards related to their products, those will be helpful if you are designing for their products. Their standards include some good general HCI standards too.
Here are some links to technology-agnostic HCI books that are very useful:
In a previous post I wrote about some of the reasons why enterprise software is so notoriously hard to use. Here are my 3 recommendations that product managers can act on immediately to start making a change.
1. Define Your Evolution Path Based on Rigorous User Research
Do you know what specific aspects of your user interface would yield the highest ROI if updated? Often it’s the usability and flow of screens like dashboards and main pages that users interact with on a daily basis to accomplish primary tasks, or the overall “Wow Factor” of the application that will attract new clients. The only surefire way to discover this information is to conduct the appropriate user research. Proven research should guide the evolution path, not just internal stakeholders, user forums, or large-scale surveys.
Who Are the Primary Personas for the Evolution of the Product?
Enterprise Software systems are often large and complex because they serve too many types of users — sometimes 20-30 different groups — without prioritization. As a first step, clearly define User Personas, and then use this information to select the main targets to guide the product line. Don’t forget the mobile and SaaS versions!
As Steve Johnson points out in Buyer and User Personas, you’ll often find that some features have been designed for Buyer Personas — procurement managers, CIOs, and so forth who do not actually use the software once it is purchased. While it’s important to be aware of these personas, a product line’s evolution should focus on people actually using the system.
Make Part of Your Research Observation-Based
Talking to end users is necessary to glean true customer insight, but it’s not enough by itself. You need to put the ideas you get into a wider context by using data from other research techniques, like observational research. Proven user observation techniques are the key to discovering the differences between what users say they want and what they actually need.
Don’t Reinvent the Design Wheel
Current industry leaders have shared many standard design and interaction patterns. While this is no substitute for User Experience professionals and won’t help you innovate beyond the competition, they are a fundamental starting point. SAP, for example, shares their knowledge of problem/solution patterns they encounter in ERP. Oracle and Endeca have partnered to build a large set of UI design patterns for BI and Analytics systems.
Consider What Will Happen if You Don’t Change
You should consider the risks of evolving your product, but also factor the risks of not doing it, into the equation. Staying with the status quo might look like the safe option, but if you want to grow your user base, not updating might be the bigger gamble. Don’t guess at good design or leave product management to chance.
Why Windows 8 might be the next big thing for Healthcare!
I’ve been following Windows 8 since the developer beta was released at build/windows, and it really excites me.
First, let me first give you some background on me as far as devices go. I own an iPad and a Motorola Xoom, I’m writing this on a Mac Book Pro. I develop Windows 8 on a virtual machine on OSX,and have a Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 900 in my pocket. I’m not stuck to a single provider or OS.
So why am I excited by Windows 8? Healthcare. Microsoft has a ton of device driver support for Windows XP, Vista, and 7, and most of these drivers will work with Windows 8. Clinicians want mobility in their day-to-day jobs, they want a device they can carry with them, but one that will also augment and make their day more efficient by allowing them to enter information on the go. Consuming data isn’t the only reason for a tablet anymore.
Windows 8 brings a ton of medical device driver support to the table, powerful computing hardware, and a great touch-enabled interface. Finally, a mobile OS that allows health professionals to run their current Windows-based EHR and charting applications, and augment them with metro touch-enabled workflows.
With Windows 8, a clinician can have a single mobile tablet that can be carried during rounds and can be used for taking blood pressure readings, without cumbersome dongles. Then, clinicians can return to their desk, switch into desktop mode, and are able to complete many of the tasks they started in the mobile optimized application.
Unlike iOS, Windows 8 will have a wide variety of hardware manufacturers. This means each hospital or clinic administrator can select the hardware profiles that meet their team’s needs. And it opens the possibility for biometrics hardware and HDP-enabled Bluetooth chipsets. Very promising!
All of us at Macadamian were thrilled to hear the news that one of our customers, Kobo, was recently awarded the Celestica Technology Commercialization Award at the 27th annual CATAAlliance Innovation and Leadership Gala held on May 30th.
This award is presented to a Canadian organization for outstanding technology engineering development which has resulted in the production of a world-class product incorporating advanced manufacturing and innovative electronics in the product or family of products. The product will have proven itself in operation and its design and market success will have enhanced Canada’s international reputation for innovation and excellence.
Our COO Jim Stanish was on hand at the sold out event to watch Kobo CTO, Dan Leibu accept this prestigious award.
Hosted this year by the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, The CATAAlliance Innovation Awards Gala has been celebrating the best in Canadian advanced technology from coast to coast for over two decades, and demonstrates the strength of Canada’s growing technology sector and its place in the global market.
For more information on Macadamian’s work with Kobo, read the case study.