How to create a gamified tax software
I just came back from the Lift-Conference in Geneva where I attended a workshop about gamification. Our group brainstormed some ways how you could make a tax-software a more enjoyable and engaging experience through gamification.
Check out this photo of our flipchart:
Thanks to Gregory Linn and Thomas Schinabeck, who were together with me in the group.
What are the real differences between a wireframe, storyboard and a prototype?
I recently read “Prototyping” by Todd Zaki Warfel. In you find the explanation of “What are the differences between a wireframe, storyboard and a prototype?”:
A prototype, regardless of its fidelity, functionality, or how it is made, captures the intent of a design and simulates multiple states of that design. Wireframes and storyboards are static representations of a design that on their own merit do not simulate multiple states of a design. It’s the simulation and multiple states part that creates the distinction.
I don’t fully agree with this explanation. I would explain the different aspects as following:
A blueprint of a single page.
A series of wireframes next to each other.
I prefer the definition used in the ISO 9241 part 210 (the standard process for user-centered design).
Representation of all or part of a product or system that, although limited in some way, can be used for evaluation
So in this sense a wireframe and a storyboard both can be prototypes, because you can use both for evaluation (testing with users to get feedback).
UX Book Club Switzerland Review: “Card Sorting”
In the second UX Book Club Switzerland of 2012 we discussed the book “Card Sorting” by Donna Spencer. This time it took place at the Liip office.
All in all you can say that we have a positive impression of the book.
- It’s practical because it provides you with a lot of lessons learned
- Also the theoretical background is interesting. For example: Have categories really clear boundaries? No! Take the category “game”: team sports and board games are both games but not identical.
Then we discussed experiences with card sorting in our work. E.g. Memi found out that a lot of the statements in the book are true. E.g. With closed card sorting you don’t find out if someone can find content in groups. Finding content is harder than grouping content. This confirms my experience, that you always should do a usability test after card sorting to test if your navigation works.
You can also use a closed card sorting to prioritize features in an application. E.g. write the features on cards and make 2 groups: must-have and, nice-to-have. Let users sort features in these groups to persuade project members which think some unnecessary feature needs to be in the product by all means.
We finished with some tips and tricks about different workshop techniques.
Does the concept of the UX Book Club sound cool to you? Join our next meeting. It’s fun!
How to design easy to use drinking glasses
Check out these two drinking glasses. Which of the 2 is easier to use?
First you may think about which one is easier to hold in your hand, but wait, there’s more!
If you start to think about the different activities that a user does with a drinking glass then following points come to mind:
- Doing the dishes (by hand)
- Doing the dishes (with a dishwasher)
- Put them away in the kitchen cupboard
Let’s check out which of these activities are easy to do and which are not easy to do:
Drinking: Both of the glasses are easy to hold in your hand.
Doing the dishes by hand: The glass on the left is easier to clean with a towel, due to its wide top end
Doing the dishes with a dishwasher: You cannot tell by looking at the glasses which one is more suited. Maybe the one on the right, because it needs less space.
Put them away in the kitchen cupboard: As the following picture shows, the drinking glasses on the left can be piled. The ones on the right can not be piled.
So by looking and touching we can not verify all the points mentioned above, but it seems like the left glass is easier to use.
To evaluate the ease of use, it’s very important to think not only about the primary activity (drinking) but also about secondary activities which can be done with an object (here a glass).
If we had even more time we would also think about the different users (e.g. young/old) and the context (at home, in a restaurant) in which the glasses are used.
Interview with a M-Pesa User in Kenya
M-Pesa is a mobile-phone based money transfer service. Currently it’s mainly used in East Africa.
Here a short interview I did with a driver in Kenya about how he uses M-Pesa.
What do you use M-Pesa for?
I can send money to my wife, and I can pay bills.
Can you also use it to pay at stores?
Yes, you can, but I don’t do that. I mainly use it for transferring money.
How does it work?
You need to have an account at Safaricom [the mobile network operator]. And you need to top-up some money on your account. The person which you want to transfer money to also needs to have an account.
When you want to transfer money, you send a SMS to Safaricom with the phone number of the receiver and the amount you want to transfer. Then you enter your password.
How much does M-Pesa cost?
One money transfer costs 30 Kenyan Shilling [about $0.30] and money-withdrawal costs about 1% of the amount you want to withdraw.
How did you pay your electricity-bill before you had M-Pesa?
I had to go to the office of the electricity-company and wait in line to pay the bill with cash.
Even though the costs for transferring money are not low ($0.30 is a lot for a Kenyan since GDP per capita is about $1000), M-Pesa is a success, since it makes transferring money so much easier.
To me it was striking how easy it is to transfer money with this system. When you compare it to e-banking in Switzerland, which is a chore.
Listen to another interview with a driver in this Video.