“SXSW Conference PART 2!”


SXSW Conference: creative content and emerging technologies madness! PART 2

In the previous post, (SXSW Conference PART 1) we talked about the different conferences on Day 1 and Day 2 and the SXSW Conference. It was a great 2 days, full of new knowledge and interesting talks! Now, we’re continuing with more from Day 2, and move on to Day 3 and 4. Are you ready? Here we go!


Multidevice Mambo: UX Choreography among Gadgets

This session was about the user experience while consuming services over the web. The presenter, Mr. Josh Clark did a great job! He started the presentation with a few interesting facts about our behavior interacting with the web. A typical user switch devices 21 times in an hour, from smartwatch to phone, from phone to laptop, from laptop to TV and so forth. Also, 67% of users start a transaction in one device and completes it in another. Another interesting fact is that we do 90 transactions in an hour and many of those is sending emails to ourselves. Say what?! Yes, we email ourselves to remind us stuff and to continue with the transaction later on in a different device! How can we design experiences that can continue uninterrupted while the user switch devices? That, is the question.

“The goal is not to make things talk, it’s to have a better conversation” – Josh Clark | Image via Twitter: @badnewsblair

Also, how can we interact with physical objects better? One dead example of this are QR codes. You are supposed to scan the code and interact with whatever the physical object was containing the code. However, whenever you wanted to do that you didn’t even had the QR Reader in your phone.

Today, there are smart light bulbs that you can control through an application. However, how many applications can you have in your cell phone to control the different light bulbs you can have in your house, work or beach house? Application are quickly fading away, nobody wants more apps. So, what is the answer? For now, it seems to be beacons and URLs.

Physical items will send URLs to your Bluetooth enabled device and you will open the URL and through that portal you will be able to interact with the physical device. Imagine you go to a parking meter and it sends a URL to your device via blue tooth. You open the URL and the device’s control page opens up where you can input the time you will use and electronically pay for it on line. There is no app needed in your device nor a special application to communicate with it (i.e. QR reader). Sounds simple and efficient.

The interfaces to consume content or to interact with others are changing and the trend is to get rid of clicks. Voice interfaces such as Siri and Cortana as well as the Amazon’s Alexa are good examples. Another interesting trend is the use of texting interfaces as well.

Some useful links shared by Mr. Clark were openhybrid.org, physical-web.com, bitly.com/grab-magic.


Big Data will choose the next president

This was an interesting one: in the panel we had Bernie Sander’s digital advertising director, Keegan Goudiss; the VP of Digital Advertising at the National  Media Research Planning and Placement (NMRPP), Jaime Bowers; Rocket Fuel’s Director of Political Strategy, JC Medici, and Cambridge Analytics’ Digital Director, Molly Schweickert. The panel discussed how to use big data and they basically captured all the interactions in the different social media channels to understand the effect of their respective campaign’s and fine tune them to deliver the message.

Image via Twitter: @ChronSXSW
Image via Twitter: @ChronSXSW

One thing was very clear though, big data does not make a candidate, but it can be used to amplify their message. All agree that the message and whether it connects with people or not is the key to win. Goudiss talked about how Bernie thinks about the issues he cares most about while taking a shower, that is why his message is so strong and connects so well. All agree that to measure and monitor the effects of a campaign you need to use big data as well as traditional methods such as polling and door to door interviews. For big data to give you insight, you need to have great tools to monitor sentiment, which is more than measuring likes, shares and retweets. Here at Fusionworks we are using a cool tool for this, Social Listening from Microsoft and works great for us. 


Tools in my design tool belt and A/B testing by Paolo Malabuyo Netflix Designer

This one was one of my favorites. This guy is a rock star. He started working with Oracle, testing end user experience of business apps, then moved to Microsoft doing more or less the same and morphed to the gaming division, designing and testing end user experience for X-Box games. He continued in tech and then moved to a physical company, Mercedes Benz where he worked on end user experience. That is, improving the user experience while driving a Benz. Very cool! Finally, he went to Netflix. Without a doubt this guy is the real thing. He knows design more than most people in this planet. His talk was not about designing techniques or what’s cool now and what is passé. His talk was about business. Most web sites are commerce web sites where you need conversion rates. That is, converting site visitors into customers. Living in capitalism either you are constantly improving your business or you will be out sooner than you can imagine, thus having a static site for months or years is not an option. Then, how do you know which design will result in the best conversion rate for your company? Note that I didn’t mentioned end user experience, I said conversion rate.

Image via Twitter: @A_d_e_l_a

Mr. Malabuyo explained most of the tools he used or have used such as; focus groups, usability testing and so on. However, in this talk he explained a/b testing. You see, what people say is not necessarily what people do. For example, in Puerto Rico, when some voters are surveyed, they say one thing but when they actually vote alone in the urn they vote differently. The same happens with website usage and purchasing behavior.

Mr. Malabuyo gave a perfect example on what happened one time when Netflix interviewed/surveyed potential customers, 46% of them said that having access to Netflix catalog would help them make a decision on subscribing to Netflix. Now, common sense dictates that by presenting the catalog to these people in the website, the conversion rate will increase. So what is a/b testing? Is a more scientific approach to improving you or web site and a much less riskier one? A is the current website for which you have all the metrics, hits, clicks and conversion rate and B is the proposed web site. In other words, your hypothesis. What you do is you divert traffic to the new web site. Enough traffic that you will consider it representative validation of the experiment. In Netflix’s case they did five experiments to reach to the conclusion that even though customers though a catalog would help them make a decision, what that did was to confuse them because of all the options available. Netflix designed a landing page simpler that focused more on the accessibility of the service than the detailed amplitude of their catalog. Of course, they saw an increase in their conversion/revenue.

Other examples presented were the 41 shades of blue experiment from Google. They basically did an A/B testing to 41 different shades of the blue color. By determining which shade increased traffic and clicks, Google was able to increase revenues by 250 million dollars. Another example was Obama’s campaign, where the home page was a/b tested 400 times. The final home page resulted in an increase of 60 million in donations and obviously an increase in followers and consequently voters.

So, we’ve reached the end of this series of posts about my experience at the SXSW Conference, and I hope you’ve found it as rewarding as I did. Keep coming back to read more about the IT industry, and other interesting stuff.

If you want more information about Fusionworks and and what we do, write to us at info@fwpr.com or check out our site at www.fwpr.com

We’ll be glad to assist you! 

This article was written by Jorge Mejía, Fusionworks’ Director.


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Fusionworks: experts in Microsoft GP, Microsoft CRM, Oracle Fusion Financials, Oracle EBS, Prophix, SAP Business Objects, Microsoft Power BI. 

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