Are you ready for Behavior Driven Design?

Behavior Drives When We Use Devices

Should behavior change how we develop the digital tools we use everyday. Consider the following, my typical day:

This morning my phone woke me up. I reached over and turned off the alarm (it plays the Mission Impossible Theme song – setting the alarm seems so funny each night, but not so much in the morning). I glanced at the notifications. Lots. Shit. My brain is now thinking and I better get up. Twenty minutes later I am in the car. My phone is playing my favorite radio station from London (I’m a Brit living in the USA, but I got to have my UK radio stations). I get to work, power up my laptop and tackle Excel and PowerPoint – Xcode I have my eyes on you, too! Noon comes. Meet some friends to grab a bite to eat and watch highlights from the World Cup on James’ tablet sized phone (seriously, you make calls with that thing??). Back to work, to my number crunching and off home. That evening I sit in from of the TV. My wife is sitting next to me with her tablet. I go to bed and set Mission Impossible for my alarm – that will be hilarious in the morning!

Sound like a familiar routine? Maybe you do not have the Mission Impossible ring tone waking you up, but you do use multiple devices throughout the day. The cost of a phone and tablet is now so low that the key barrier to entry– namely, PRICE – is effectively gone. The PC maybe not so much, so we let the company buy it. Problem solved. What we have, today, is a collection of different devices – phones, phablets, tablets, laptops – that we juggle our email and work around.

To this end, I believe we need to determine behavior before a single line of code or your draw a wire frame. Behavior is now King.

The above chart shows how we typically use different devices. Form factor, portability and screen size all play parts into why we choose to use different devices at different times.

Today, we have three main devices – phone, tablet, PC – but the signs are clear that we will have many more devices. Add to the list: smart car, smart TV, smart watches, smart house, smart health devices, smart…. You get the picture. One app will NOT work successfully across all devices.

Behavior is now the key metric. Think about the apps you use today. How will they change as the tools you use each day adapt to your behavior? Take my daily routine, these are the changes I expect to see:

  • My Android watch alarm wakes me up
  • My iCar has an app for my favorite radio station
  • My Laptop crunches Excel
  • A phablet sized phone to watch video with friends
  • I use my phone during the day to catch up on email and news
  • My watch tells me when to get to the next meeting
  • At home, my TV is linked to my wife’s tablet to send extra information about the show we are watching

We are surrounding ourselves with different screens that have different tasks. All are computers. All will be cheap. Get ready for behavior driven design.

Business First, Mobile Second Strategy

The path to defining a digital strategy begins with understanding the needs of your organization, your future vision, and how mobile and digital solutions can increase value to you, your partners and other key stakeholders. When you have a full understanding of your business landscape, you can start to develop a mobile and digital roadmap that not only defines hardware requirements (smartphones and tablets), but also recommends solutions to manage your digital strategy. Solutions that are tailored to your technology, your needs, and your culture.

Business First Mobile Second

The focus is to always place your business goals first, and see technology as your tool. The great thing with technology is that it is always changing and adapting. The challenge is to avoid the “shiny object” syndrome where you take a cool piece of technology and force it to fix a business problem.

Today’s shiny object technology is Mobile. Mobile technology gives you a powerful set of tools. Understand your business goals and determine if Mobile technology is right. When you use the right tool for the problem you will get amazing results. The wrong tool leads to frustration. For this reason, I always place Business First, Mobile Second.

Digital Strategy and it’s four different approaches – Technical, Engagement, Sales & Workforce

Digital Strategy is something we are all thinking about. Our worlds are tightly connected with technology – from smartphones, tablets, PC, Smart TVs, wearable devices and connected vehicles – and our highly connected world is providing opportunities to deliver new ways to service our customers. So, let’s build a digital strategy, right?

What I have found, however, is that there are different digital strategies for different business goals. For instance, the following are all valid:

  • Technical Digital Strategy
  • Engagement Digital Strategy
  • Sales Digital Strategy
  • Workforce Digital Strategy

Each of these strategies support business goals. The approach for each, however, is very different as each Digital Strategy engages with different teams with different deliverables.

Digital Strategy Project Milestones

Technical Digital Strategy

The Technical Digital Strategy places a focus on securing devices such as phones, tablets and any tool that can store or manage corporate data. Typically, this strategy looks at which Mobile Device Management (MDM)/Mobile App Management (MAM) to use; what hardware to deploy; security tools to use; and, the software architecture to recommend such as Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) vs HTML5 Apps vs Native.

Engagement Digital Strategy

The Engagement Digital Strategy assess how to deliver and engage consumers directly across a growing platform of social media tools. Big Data tools assess the effectiveness of different campaigns and the direct customer engagements that you create.

Sales Digital Strategy

The focus of the Sales Digital Strategy is directly with the customer – from Point of Sales tools, new methods of pulling people into a store, how to keep them in the store and ways to provide a superior customer experience – all drive towards new opportunities to sell product and improve the consumer experience. Data collected from sales and engagement strategies used with Big Data tools provide valuable insights to the leadership team exposing opportunities to pivot a campaign while in motion.

Workforce Digital Strategy

The focus of the Workforce Digital Strategy is to provide tools that provide tools that enable the work activity to be completed without technology being a barrier – for instance, an inspection of a warehouse should be recorded on a tablet or phone app to make it significantly easier for the inspector to complete their work. The goal is drive data back into the company at an accelerated rate in order to satisfy a need of the consumer.

The Rise of the Chief Digital Officer

The four Digital Strategies – Technical, Engagement, Sales, Workforce – are all part of your Digital Strategy. The new role of Chief Digital Officer is the ideal person to manage each of these four types of Digital Strategies, however there is no reason why you should not create an Executive Team that collectively owns a company wide Digital Strategy.

No matter what you do, technology is now in every part of your company. What is your approach to a Digital Strategy?

The Digital Consumer and how many hours we spend on devices

The Digital Consumer is a term being used to describe people who shop, watch and interact their world with smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. Nielsen, the God Father of TV ratings changed their tracking mechanism a couple of years ago to include devices and social media to add some hard numbers against our perception of the Digital Consumer. Nielsen released their findings and you can download the report here. BUT, I thought I would share some highlights.

The Digital Consumer is rapidly changing their media consumption habits

The Digital Consumer, it turns out, will change their media habits  quickly. The above chart shows that in under two years we have, as a nation, significantly dropped the number of hours watching traditional broadcast television. In contrast, the amount of time we spend on Apps is sky rocketing!

The Digital Consumer changes their technology frequently

Another interesting factoid pulled from Nielsen’s report is how fickle we are with technology. The above chart shows how likely we are to change our devices over the next six months. Notice that millenials have no problem changing out their Smartphones. What is interesting is that you are much less likely to change your tablet device. What does this mean? Are consumers simply not using tablets as much as Apple and Amazon would like you to believe?

Change in habits for the Digital Consumer over the last 5 years

The final chart I wanted to highlight from the Nielsen report is interesting: how has the Digital Consumer viewing habits changed with touch points of 2009, 2011 and 2013. The change in the trend can be summed up with one word: SmartPhone. Looking at the chart the SmartPhone was barely a blip on the radar in 2009, but today 65% of our time is spent on a SmartPhone. You will also see how Tablets and Smart TVs are now in the mix of new media consumption devices.

What do you make of Nielsen’s latest report?

5 App Design Lessons you can learn from Flappy Bird

Admit it. Over the last few weeks you have been hooked on a simple and frustratingly annoying game called Flappy Bird. Don’t worry, there are several million other people who have installed Flappy Bird and also share in your pain. Today, however, marks the end of an era (all be it a short era measured in weeks) as the developed for Flappy Bird pulled the game from all the app stores for one simple reason: Flappy Birds is too popular.

So what made Flappy Birds so popular, and how can you emulate that success in your games? Here are 5 solid reasons:

  1. The game is free – Ad revenue sponsors the success of the game (Flappy Birds generates around $50,000 in revenue per day). Free games will always been downloaded more than paid games. Get your game out to the widest audience as soon as possible.
  2. The UX is to tap the screen. That’s one action and no complex interactions. Keep the focus of your apps down to as few screen taps as possible.
  3. Social Media Score Sharing – did you score more than 4 (which would be beat my personal best) then share with all your friends on Facebook and Twitter. The result is that your friends will want to beat your score. Always use Social Media to share content that your app customer is generating.
  4. The game has one aim to bounce between green pipes – keep the task of your app down to as few actions as possible. If you need more interactions, consider creating a second app.
  5. The nostalgia of the game makes it attractive to all generations. Why not apply the same technique for your apps.

The success of Flappy Birds is repeatably. The game designer for Flappy Birds has replaced the #1 game in the app store with Ironpants (yes, it is equally as frustrating as Flappy Birds) and has two more games at #4 and #15. There are also two Flappy Bird copy-cat games (Flappy Bee and Flappy Plane) in the top 20. The focus is free, simple, social, one task and visually engaging. How does Flappy Birds design lessons apply to your apps?

The Late Great Flappy Bird

Mac Turns Thirty

Apple’s Mac turns thirty and to celebrate Apple did a few very cool things. First, you have to remember that Apple is not a company that sets out to celebrate its past. Apple is a company that celebrate the “now”. You never hear Apple talking about future products – they simply want you to get out and use the current products.

So, when Apple pulls out the stops to celebrate Mac turning thirty, you have to sit back and look through the stories to see what Apple is really talking about.

Above is a video ABC News ran of an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook. Cook does talk about why the Mac is turning thirty. But he also talks about two other subjects:

  • Building in America
  • Security
Designed by Apple in California

Apple is famous for adding a slogan to the back of their products: Designed by Apple in California. Awesome. But the products are often built oversees. Thousands of jobs for Americans are now in other countries. The new Mac Pro is changing that dynamic. It is a product Designed By Apple in California Built in America. And that is really cool. Cook hints to future US jobs with the recent acquisition of a Sapphire company. In true Apple secrecy Cook would not speak about why Apple bought the company (the interviewer pokes around iPhone 6 and iWatch but the only answer he gets is an iRing!).

Which brings me to the second point: Security. It was only last May that a slew of NSA leaks started coming from Snowden. NSA projects such as PRISM force technology companies to hand over content about their own customers. Apple is publicly standing up to state the NSA and other similar agencies with a clear message:  you must be more transparent regarding the data they are asking for and why. This will be a long and difficult battle to fight, particularly as Google, Apple, Facebook and other companies begin to collect more data on our lives from smart watches, cars, phones, jewelry and homes.

In many ways, where we standing with as the Macs turns thirty is very similar to the original 1984 Tony Scott video. The man is in charge, but there are people willing to change that status quo.

Here’s to thirty more years, Mac.

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Is iBeacon the Future of Retail?

Apple pulled a fast one when they release iOS 7: they activated a BlueTooth LE sensor (known in the Apple Marketing world as iBeacon) on all iPhone4S+ and all iPad3+. That’s tens of millions of devices now running iBeacons.

Apple’s iBeacon Bluetooth LE Technology

So what? What is iBeacons? It is a low-frequency transmitter that is hyper aware of your location. As you move around a location, such as the inside of a building, the iBeacon technology can pick up where you are and present you with information relevant to you at that specific location. This is great news for the retail industry. Imagine walking around a store and being provided additional information on products as you move past them.

Better yet, just pop down to your local Apple Store and try out the experience for yourself. You phone greets you as you enter the store; as you move around the store the iBeacons can detect where you are and will provide you additional information, such as a digital coupon, product information or mobile only deals (such as Target’s Cartwheel App).

There are some great additional articles I encourage you to read about iBeacons at Forbes and Wired.

The idea and potential behind iBeacon Technology is driving a number of companies to start roll outs of the technology, including 150 U.S.Giant Eagle and Safeway supermarkets. I am sure many more will follow.