Usability testing a support mobile page at the NetVet lounge with NetVet Mike Williams.
Recently at CiscoLive!, we spent a full week with customers and partners doing in-detail usability tests of Cisco.com and some of our mobile sites and apps. This is one of the main methods we use to make our web and mobile easier.
What’s a usability test? Something different than you might think. While you’ve probably heard of other research techniques like focus groups and surveys, usability tests and listening labs are a way for us to learn through observing how people use our sites: We have someone sit down in front of the screen and ask them to do a task that they would in their real work day. This could be solving a support question, researching a new product, finding the right download, investigating a new API, or any number of other things.
Here’s the difference between a usability test vs. a focus group or survey: In a focus group, a facilitator often throws out an idea or scenario and gets a group of people to comment on it. The people in the room will tell you what they might like… they will build on others comments… they may give you some great ideas! But, you won’t really be learning by observing. You won’t understand the kinds of things they will actually do in real life, because you’re asking them what they think they would do. You aren’t observing.
But when we observe people using our mobile apps or web sites, we can see lots of things. For instance:
We can see the areas that trip them up (even if they report to us that the experience is just fine)
We can see the areas where they’re getting the wrong result (even if they think they’re getting the right one).
Or sometimes even technical problems that we see and can troubleshoot, but they can’t.
We recommend running usability tests or listening labs at multiple stages for major projects:
At the beginning of the project – when you want to understand current state and also look at how competitive or best practice sites and apps are doing.
In the middle – while you’re still developing, and direct observation and feedback can make a huge difference
Before release – so you can catch any last-minute problems
After release – because sometimes when outside factors and environments affect the app or web experience in way you can’t expect (for instance, how and whether people can find your site topic on Google or other search engines, and how they interact with the results).
Even though this sounds like a lot of testing, there are some new techniques you can use to get real user feedback very quickly – within hours or days. I’ll talk about that in a future post.
Northern Kentucky University is among the fastest growing universities in Kentucky. It hosts over 15,000 students with about 13,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students. The goal of the wireless program at NKU is to provide secure, robust and ubiquitous wireless access throughout the campus, both indoors and outdoors. This ensures that students always stay connected and feel at home. The classrooms are equipped with smart technology to ensure that the teachers can benefit from technology when collaborating with students. The IT team has blanketed the libraries, the classrooms, the dorm-rooms as well as the outdoor areas with Wi-Fi. In the previous blog in 2012, we described how the Cisco 7.5 release allows networks to recover with no client re-authentication in the rare event of your primarily wireless LAN controller goes down.
Number of students: 15,000 of which about 2000 stay in residence halls
Number of teachers/staff: 2000
# WLAN clients: Approximately 8500 concurrent clients
Access-Point Model and Units: 1200 units of AP models including AP702W, 3502, 3602, 3702, 1550 and a few older Access Points which are being phased out
Controller Model and Units: 2 Pairs of WiSM2 operating in 220.127.116.11
Switch Models: Various models 2960, 3650, 3850, 3750X and 6500
Prime Infrastructure: 1.4.2
Mobility Services Engine: 7.6
Deployment Details: We talked to Christopher Johnson, the Senior Infrastructure Systems Analyst II at Northern Kentucky University to capture some of his thoughts around their choice of this solution and the associated benefits. Read More »
Cisco CMX Mobility Developer Challenge is under way at topcoder. CMX Mobile Application SDK can be leveraged in a mobile application to provide indoor location and navigation for users. The SDK will connect with the CMX Mobile App Server to determine a user’s location, downloading maps, venues, point of interests, and determine routes for a selected point of interest. The CMX Mobile Application SDK can also receive a mobile push notification when application is not running. When notified, the application can be launched and include message how to join the customer network when first initiated. The core feature is the indoor location which displays current location of device on the map. The location updated as a user moves through a venue and can help navigate the user to some defined location.
The topcoder challenge is to use the CMX Mobile Server SDK to create a new app using a simulated environment for a meeting host to automatically launch a WebEx conference, based on the location of the conference room where the meeting is scheduled.
The SDK is composed of several modules to allow for varying types of application integration. The CMXClient is the core module for getting client and venue information. Read More »
With organizations all over the world striving to make lasting connections with both their workforce and customers, mobile communications have fundamentally changed the way business works. And when you factor in the added influence of cloud computing, an exciting collision of technology -- known as the mobile cloud – has emerged as a major factor in significantly increasing the overall value of mobility.
Mobile-Cloud Accelerates the Pace of Change: Blog by Padmasree Warrior
Do you find yourself wondering what are the possibilities that mobile cloud brings to the business world and how can we use what we already know to realize them?
In part one of a riveting new blog series, Cisco Chief Technology & Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior answers these questions and dives even deeper into the growth of mobile cloud and how businesses in any vertical stand to benefit.
The Growth of Mobile Cloud
The growth of mobile cloud will be a major force in shaping the business landscape and future tech decisions. Already, mobile cloud has been a huge factor in the momentum behind the progress of the Internet of Everything. The dissemination of “Big Data” across an exploding number of mobile devices (more than 10 billion mobile-ready devices in play by 2018) is just one example.
For a visual perspective and numbers-rich look at why the Internet of Everything has the potential to grow corporate profits by more than 20% by 2022, take a look at the Pace of Change SlideShare.
Cloud World Forum:Nick Earle, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Services Sales and Channels at Cisco will be giving a keynote at Cloud World Forum (London, UK) on June 17th at 16:30. His masterclass address will discuss how you can align your strategy and business for success using cloud.
[Podcast] Hybrid Cloud – Different Clouds for Different Needs - Fabio Gori, Director of Worldwide Cloud Marketing at Cisco provides answers to big questions: As cloud gives an opportunity to businesses to buy services externally – how is cloud impacting your customers? Do you see hybrid cloud as where the world is going? What benefits does it bring? And how does Cisco connect all of these clouds? Fabio also tells us everything about Intercloud and Cisco investment on it. Listen to the podcast.
As I described in my previous blog How the Mobile Industry Will Make Money in the Future, the history of the mobile industry has involved huge and successful waves of revenue growth. Lucrative revenues from the first wave of voice and the second messaging wave have crested and are now in decline. Mobile data access has taken up much of the shortfall, comprising well over one-half of the total revenue of most MNOs. However, the crest of this third growth wave is visible on the horizon as critical industry disruptors begin to shape a new mobile world.
The question for mobile operators everywhere is, what is this fourth, or next, wave of mobile growth?
Unfortunately there is no obvious tsunami-size fourth monetization wave cresting on the horizon for mobile operators. Unlike the preceding three waves, there will be no gold rush created by a single killer app, such as voice, messaging, or data. A lot of gold still remains in the mobile business, but it is going to come from multiple sources and require some sophisticated mining techniques.
Cisco believes that there are four key strategic thrusts, or monetization areas, for operators to create new value from their mobile business.