This Wednesday marked the end of another successful Tech Crunch Disrupt conference in New York City. While the travel and conference costs kept many techies at bay, Tech Crunch did an impressive job streaming the events live. Based in Washington, members of the agencyQ team followed along during keynote speeches and the hackathon presentation as they unfolded. While there were hundreds of businesses and start-ups featured, there were a couple that really caught our attention.
Here are Q’s Tech Crunch top 5 start ups to watch in 2013:
1. Rambler- Hackathon Winner, Purchase location visualization
2. Vox Creative
3. Floored- 3D real estate mapping
4. News Genius- Applying Rap Genius annotation to current news
5. Adafruit- Helping people get more comfortable with their own electronics
Click HERE to read a full list of the participants and leave your favorite below in the comment section!
Featured image by Eventful.
Internet sensations like the “Harlem Shake” don’t just appear over night, no matter how much marketers want them to. They take time, creativity, and, like the “Harlem Shake,” the power of influencers to make them happen. It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes the world to make a video go viral. Check out the agencyQ infographic below to see the rise of the “Harlem Shake.”
Monday’s historic Presidential Inauguration took weeks of careful planning and attention to detail as Obama was sworn in for his second term. One million+ supporters came out to support the President and capture each moment for their friends and family. Check out the agencyQ “Obameter” below for a look at some of the most interesting event planning, facts and photos from the attendees!
Founded in 1999, agencyQ delivers award winning social, mobile and interactive solutions that transform the way organizations reach, engage and inspire their key audiences. With a unique ability to align our creative, technology and marketing acumen with clients’ strategic goals, agencyQ has generated measurable results for a global base of corporations, governments and associations over the past three decades. To learn more about agencyQ and its work, visit www.agencyQ.com or follow @agencyQ on Twitter.
Depending on your industry, rapid prototyping can mean different things. But to a mobile user experience (UX) professional, it means your job is now worlds better. Seriously, gone are the days when you have to marshal static wireframes in an attempt to (poorly) convey how a mobile app or website will work.
Static wireframes are…well, they’re static. It can be very hard for anyone who didn’t create them to interpret them and to really get the gist of how the finished application will work. They often go hand-in-hand with copious annotations, which might be great documentation but can make the review process quite cumbersome for clients. I think we can all agree: It doesn’t quite represent a typical user experience to have to read through annotations while you use an application.
That’s why we’ve started using Axure RP Pro to produce interactive wireframe and design prototypes. The difference is blowing our mind. To be clear, with this new approach, we are not cutting out the critical steps of documenting app content and process requirements, priority of content, functionality, and navigation. And we’re still using our full “bag of tricks” to produce the caliber of design our clients expect (not limiting ourselves to Axure’s somewhat limited styling options). But the Axure prototyping approach does afford some nice ways to streamline our efforts and otherwise evolve our UX process. Here are just a few ways:
This means you can detect glitches in your approach sooner rather than later, which means you can revamp before you’re too far down the wrong path. When you tap through a wireframe via a prototype on your phone, you can much more readily intuit if something in your flow isn’t quite right, and you can address it promptly. It’s really helpful to be able to more easily visualize where “the fold” falls, too.
One of the sweet features that we are just starting to take advantage of is being able to share files with coworkers. It’s easy to create a shared file (provided you have access to a shared drive somewhere), and through a somewhat-Dreamweaver-like check-in/check-out process for individual screens of your app (or pages of your site), you can work on the same file at the same time.
This one really deserves three exclamation points, IMO. We used to use Visio, and you had to hand-style each piece of text you put into the wireframe, if you didn’t have a usable stencil item for it. Axure lets you create a style and then reuse it as you create new text elements (and when you edit the style, the changes will apply to all type with that style applied – YES!). My one wish is that Axure would let you make derivative styles, so you easily could make an H3 based on an H2, based on an H1, and so forth. Ok, and my second wish is that you could apply all-caps as a style.
Remember the maxim from high school English to “show, don’t tell”? Making an interactive prototype lets you do just that. I can’t lie – I’m still writing a lot of annotations. After all, there will always be important functional requirements to impart to others on your internal team and to document for the client. And while you could spend the time working out the logic to produce complicated dynamic results, it may be more expedient to just write certain annotations, and leave it to a skilled programmer to generate the code. But what you won’t need to do is spend time annotating a lot of the basic interactions!
It doesn’t have to stop with wireframe prototypes. We are producing design prototypes, too, which not only are useful for the client, but I’ve found they also improve my personal creative, iterative process. For now, I’ve stuck to bringing Photoshop slices into Axure as images, rather than using Axure’s design tools to produce page elements. I realize this has some process limitations, but I like the Photoshop control this gives me. With this approach, I can still get a preview of how my font sizes look on an actual phone, whether my button sizing feels right, and once again, where “the fold” falls. If things are not to my satisfaction, I can immediately tweak them in Photoshop and easily update the image in Axure until I get the prototype where I want it. And with Axure’s “Image Map” widget capability, I can still turn my sliced images into interactive screens.
Let me just say this about our first client to view wireframes as an interactive prototype: they were beside themselves. They could really see what they were going to be getting! And they could take it back and demo it to colleagues without having to do a lot of explaining. That makes them look good to their supervisors, and what client doesn’t like that?
At least with Axure, there’s a super-easy way for clients to provide feedback – on a discussion tab, available on the desktop view of the prototype, which the client can access via a link (which you can password-protect, by the way). And there’s a discussion tab for each screen of your app, so clients don’t have to waste time pasting links into an email to try to explain where their comments apply. It also lets multiple clients comment at the same time, and tracks who says what. After our clients provide feedback, I can print out all of the comments, easily tell what screen they relate to, and even write response comments.
I’m not saying we’re doing away with direct client presentations and feedback conversations. No way – the immediate reaction and feedback to an initial presentation is priceless. But these ways of capturing client feedback after-the-fact are proving really useful to us.
Having the interface, requirements, and feedback all in one place is a very nice thing to be able to offer a client. Enough said.
Of course the rapid interactive prototyping process will not be visible to end users, but the results will be. Your app will be much stronger from having been viewed on a mobile phone so early (and often) throughout the process by lots of internal and client stakeholders. This means you get a bunch of testers who can provide valuable feedback that will no doubt result in a better user experience. That sounds like evolution to me.
Evolving our process is an integral part of the Q way of doing business. We will keep an eye out as Axure develops and rolls out new features and versions, as mobile (and desktop web) UX practices evolve in the industry, and as needs and expectations evolve among our clients. For the moment, we hope to see evolution in how Axure facilitates prototyping of responsive design solutions (to date, it doesn’t seem that Axure has a solid way of handling responsiveness). But for now, Axure’s features are going a long way to helping us evolve our process.
You know what I missed most about MySpace other than filling out surveys in the bulletin boards or Tom’s smiling, thumbs-up photo in my Top 10?
I missed being able to brand myself on my profile page. Yeah, I was that kid who customized my MySpace page. So when Facebook’s new Timeline rolled out, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful, large space at the top of my profile page for what Facebook calls a cover photo. I’ve seen so many incredibly creative approaches to the cover photos that incorporate the overlapping profile pictures and started coming up with something of my own. However, that meant figuring out the dimensions of the cover photo area, the exact size and placement of the profile picture and its relation to the rest of the profile.
Lucky for you, I did all of this work for you in an easy, free, downloadable Photoshop document. Get creative, have fun and show us your cover photos!