In my career I have been part of all sort of usability testing activities, from the use of Usability Labs with multiple cameras and two-way mirrors, to Hallway Observations.
From all the tools I’ve been exposed to, there is one that stands out for its versatility and affordability. Morae is a software that allows you to evaluate your App, website or software against a user and track and record the user interaction and feedback. Additional built-in functions help you better analyze and report the results of your studies.
“Use Morae to gain valuable insight about your product and remove the guesswork from your decisions. You’ll love that you can record user interactions, analyze the results, and instantly share them with anyone – all within Morae and for any type of research.”
The use of this software in some of my recent projects have corroborated that Morae is the Gold Standard in Usability Testing.
Nokia has now closed Vancouver’s R&D site, so this was my good bye project for this iconic and innovative company.
In my last project for Nokia, I had the pleasure to work as the UX Design Lead for the Nokia Store on the New Asha 501 Phones. This young and playful full-touch device was designed from the ground up for users in emerging markets keeping in mind their needs, behavior, environmental characteristics and constraints; in addition, the device was designed to easily enable social interaction among users.
The Asha 501 was just announced in May 9, 2013, but I expect that the user-centric design approach used to create this device will contribute to great acceptance and adoption of this phone in the targeted markets.
Just 3 months after its launch, the Nokia Asha 305 is the best selling device in India.
I recently worked as the UX Design Lead for the Nokia App Store in the new Asha Full-Touch devices. It is very rewarding to see that the User Centric Design approach used by the design groups involved in this program is paying off so rapidly and that the product is getting an amazing acceptance in the markets it was specifically designed for.
The Asha 305 is one of the recently launched Series40 Full-Touch Devices, a price-conscious full touch alternative designed for young users in Emerging Markets.
The success of the Asha Full-Touch line of products has brought 2 new devices to market: Asha 308 and 309.
One of my photos is awarded honorable mention at the Lucie Awards 2012
The 2012 International Photography Awards
As a designer I am passionate about visual arts. Naturally, when I’m not designing interactive solutions, I unwind and boost my creativity by producing visual concepts with the help of a camera.
The official IPA press release reads:
2012 International Photography Awards Announces Winners of the Competition
Alejandro Aranda was awarded in the International Photography Awards Competition. International Photography Awards (IPA) has announced the winners of 2012’s competition.
Alejandro Aranda was Awarded: Honorable Mention in People – Self-Portrait category for the winning entry “Paranoia!.”
ABOUT Winner: Alex Aranda is a Vancouver-based UX interaction designer with a true appreciation for visual arts. Naturally, when Alex is not designing interactive solutions, he unwinds and boosts his creativity by producing visual concepts with the help of a camera. Alex Aranda – Vancouver, B.C. Canada.
ABOUT IPA: The 2012 International Photography Awards received nearly 18,000 submissions from 104 countries across the globe. IPA is a sister-effort of the Lucie Foundation, where the top three winners are announced at the annual Lucie Awards gala ceremony. The Foundation’s mission is to honor master photographers, to discover new and emerging talent and to promote the appreciation of photography. Since 2003, IPA has had the privilege and opportunity to acknowledge and recognize contemporary photographer’s accomplishments in this specialized and highly visible competition. Visit www.photoawards.com
In my current role at Nokia, I had the pleasure to work as the UX Design Lead for the Nokia Store on the recently launched Series40 Full-Touch Devices (Asha 305, 306 and 311); a price-conscious full touch alternative designed for young users in emerging markets. My UX Design effort also included the EA Games Gift, a promotional initiative between Electronic Arts and Nokia that has become a pivotal tool in the launch of these and many other Series40 phones.
Not long ago I designed a visualization using data from the UN Global Pulse Mobile Survey. This visualization represents the Impact of the global economic crisis in 5 countries and its population Sentiment and Forecast.Although we were dealing with different data types, the objective was to clearly represent –at a first glance– the sentiment and forecast for each country based on 5 questions related to:
Quality of Life
Two types of linear gauges were used to represent the data.
For question 1 and 2 the gauges were divided in 4 sections based on predefined answers.
For questions 3, 4 and 5 the gauges illustrate a positive/negative sentiment based on the answers . Due to the variety in the answers, a common denominator was found in the sentiment, rather than in specific answers.
In addition, each question uses a tag cloud (weighted list) where we can clearly identify the most popular sentiment in each of the countries involved in the survey.
I take photos as part of my creative outpouring.
Part of the fun is contributing to different stock photography agencies and it is always rewarding to find out how people are using these photos.
Today I found one of my photos in the Norwegian magazine kk.no. In this web version of the magazine appears Vancouver model Erica Sprott photographed by Alex Aranda in Coal Harbour, here in Vancouver B.C.
We all know that mobile versions of web sites should be minimalistic, efficient, action driven; in many cases a lighter version of a standard website.
But sometimes, users may want to access the standard site from their mobile devices if they are looking for specific information or if they are familiar with the standard website. This is more common with the proliferation of better mobile devices and more efficient, inexpensive data services.
What many mobile versions are failing to do is to provide a link to visit the standard site causing great frustration to the user.
What to do:
Give your mobile visitors the option of visiting the standard site, even if it’s just through a link in the footer. And from your standard site, you could give them the option to come back to the mobile site, making this link available on detected mobile devices.
A professional development experience at Harvard By Alex Aranda, Principal Consultant, Innovo Ideas Interactive.
Aware that our field evolves in the blink of an eye, I have made the personal commitment to frequently seek for professional development opportunities. This summer, I went to Harvard University to participate in a seminar on Data Visualization.
The location was the CGIS-south building at Harvard University; just a few steps away from Harvard yard and Harvard square, this beautiful building offered convenient, state of the art facilities -a perfect setting for this seminar-.
Imparted by distinguished Professor Hanspeter Pfister, the seminar on Data Visualization was a great opportunity to explore different visual representation methods and techniques, hear the latest on research and new ideas on how to increase the understanding of complex data.
The lectures, team activities and hands-on exercises were an excellent way to dive into the subject. The experience got even richer by sharing ideas with participants; some of them representing global innovators such as Google and HP, not to mention scholars from renowned institutions such as NYU.
The seminar was a fantastic experience that reinforced a clear goal: we need to create simple, creative and user-friendly visual representations of data to improve comprehension, communication, and decision making in a world overloaded with complex information.
Not long ago I was reviewing the usability of a client’s application, including a “status list”; the first thing that caught my attention was the amount of status available and the illegibility of the ‘lights’ identifying the status.
Having researched colour vision deficiency in the past, it was very obvious to me that these status indicators were not only impractical, but also they were not complying with accessibility best practices and laws (US Section 508).
The colour selection was random and unplanned and the visual treatment was not helping either. The design was trying to add some volume to the ‘status lights’ with light and shadow, making the colour even more confusing. Finally, the page was too busy, using more lights than a Christmas tree.
After discussing this with the client, he confessed an embarrassing situation while presenting the software to a potential client; someone in the audience pointed out that he couldn’t see the ‘status’ that he was talking about.
What to do:
Thinking about Usability and Accessibility doesn’t mean compromising on the result, but including these requirements in the design process.
First of all, always keep in mind that colour-only is not a good identifier. We all perceive colour in different ways and many people may have serious difficulties understanding your message. Forget the ‘traffic light’ concept. Although we are used to the message, this is not the most user-friendly approach.
Review the colours you are using and test different values/hues to achieve a clear contrast in the absence of colour.
Use a combination of colour and symbols to identify your status indicators.
Finally, reduce the clutter.
Do you really need all these status indicators?
Can the status list be simplified to have a cleaner screen?
Do you really need a status indicator when everything is OK?
After all, when driving, you don’t have a green-blinking light in your car dashboard indicating that everything is OK.