Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Competitive Analysis Tips and Examples

One of the things that we as designers must learn to facilitate is the standard competitive analysis. A Competitive Analysis is a research approach in which a comparison is made of two or more competing or similar designs. In many cases, designers will use this method to gauge where the market is so that they can form design decisions to apply to their specific project. This is not always the case though. Sometimes a competitive analysis will be conducted as a means to make a buying decision. The purpose of such an analysis is to simply seek out qualitative and quantitative data for the purpose of making a decision.

Below are some examples of competitive analysis...


Compare to determine the best of the best
When I put together a competitive analysis, it generally takes a form similar to what you see here. Before you compare two designs, sometimes you must first do a little up-front research to determine which designs are the bests to compare. In this example, I conducted some "Web Forum Trend Analysis" to determine which apps were most like the one I was planning on working on.


Remember to develop a plan
Here's a comparison done by a gentleman who is trying to determine (in his opinion) who makes the best freeze dried beef stroganoff camping food. The reason why I have included it in this article is that after watching his video, I feel like he has put forth a fair bit of up-front effort to prepare for the video. He seems to have thought out before jumping on camera which attributes he would cover in the video.
Compare apples to apples
Not exactly what you might think of when you think about competitive analysis. I get that. But, I've included this picture anyway because it demonstrates an important tip to remember when putting a competitive analysis plan together: Remember to compare apples to apples, rather than apples to oranges.
Check out the full Kansas is Flatter Than a Pancake article when you have time. It's quite interesting.
Conclusion
I hope that you found some of this information insightful, or at the very least entertaining. I'd love to see you submit any comments you may have below.
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Dead links, dieing or uncaring site

Recently I've been conducting some research. Specifically, I've been searching out and creating a "trend" list of those sites most mentioned as good ux web resources. I've found several websites that come up within the first 50 results of a standard Google search of terms relating. What I've found is that there seems to be a pattern of practice that I'd hope to encourage you to avoid. Please, oh please stop promoting your site to the top 50 of Google searches only to present users with pages containing dead links. Ugh.... so irritating.

When building a web page, we've all heard that "Content is King". I'd like to submit to you the idea that to a website, "Content is Passage". By "Passage", what I mean is this...

The purpose of the website is to have a digital space to which one can communicate an idea, present a product, provide a connection, and to touch the heart and mind. It's a structure in which you build a direct highway from your mind, to the mind of the person reviewing. It's a path that an idea can cross. A channel that your feelings can swim through. It's a medium that an artist can paint.

So then, if you are going to do a job, do you not want to do it right? Would you color only half of a picture out of a coloring book? Would you  sculpt only half of a statue? Would you write half a sentence, stick the paper in a bottle, and then chuck it off into the ocean and hope that your message is clear?

No.

So then, remember that there is no glory found in the job that is half done. No honor in the half hearted effort. No favor for the hand that merely slouches.

Check. Recheck. Validate. Have your neighbor check your lawn for weeds. It is wise to have your work verified by a friend, your wife, or your husband.

Your site is a service you offer. If that is true, then you are a servant to a master who the service is offered to. Respect your master by doing your best. Only when you have done your best will you receive your reward.

Please kill dead links.
My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What is the best name for this GUI Element?



The purpose of this research is to identify the most popular name used to refer to the UI component that is made up of a text box, and two arrows that when clicked either increment a number in the text box or decrement it. This is not an all inclusive list. As such, it should be considered more qualitative research. 

To build the list, several google searches were conducted using many different search terms with the intent of maintaining a non-biased query. Once the search results dismayed, pages were opened and when possible, the name added as new, or the "Times mentioned" tally was incremented. 

Before you look at the stats, we'd love it if you kindly tell us what YOU call it.

Take the 1 question survey

Without further ado, here is the empirical trend data. Enjoy.

Numeric Spinner Identity Study - 2014

    My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

    Monday, June 16, 2014

    Remember your Customer Service User Experience

    My team and I recently conducted a UX Assessment on a register system that will hopefully be listed as one of the service offerings for our company. 

    During our assessment, we identified that there was a lot of task-oriented help documentation written, but that it almost seemed as though it could use a little higher (or theoretical/contextual) explanation of some of the tasks listed in the doc. Basically, a description of the task's purpose and context above the task steps and below the title of the task. Further, upon installing the register software on the iPad, we also identified that there was definitely need for a "Getting Started" tutorial that would be served up the first time logging in.

    Today, I was reading the results of an assessment test in Handbook of Usability Testing by Jeff Rubin and Dana Chisnell. The situation and prognosis was the same as our above mentioned findings.
    "When users were prompted to try the help, it was found that the organization of the help topics needs to be extensively revamped and made more task-oriented. Even more theoretical, contextual information needs to be included for the most advanced users...It is possible that an interactive primer for users may be required for infrequent but important tasks."
    Yes, this is likely a coincidence. Here's the point. It seems like we are likely to encounter the UX of "Help" more and more. Just like a bad UI experience, the help experience can leave the user with a giant floating question mark above their head. Consider adding in special testing in your formative testing efforts to help safeguard against a bad "Help" experience.

    You can find the above mentioned book along with many other great reference texts on the User Experience Reading List.


    My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

    Friday, June 13, 2014

    Formative Research

    Some like to call it an exploratory study. Some like to call it a formative study, but which ever you decide to go with, there are some things that you need to know. 

    What is Formative Research? 
    Formative research is that which is carried out with the intent of capturing qualitative or quantitative data that can help mold or form a product, service or design. As such, it's usually research that is done when a product, service or design is being first created, or as part of a redesign effort. (our definitions).

    When should it occur?
    As described in the definition offered above, this type of research is usually conducted pretty early in planning a design, or in evaluating for redesign.

    What's the point?
    The main purpose for formative research is to examine the usability of early design. If usability is defined as a measure of how well a design meets the users needs or expectations, without causing hindrance, hesitation or question, then the goal of this level of research is truly to make sure the design is taking it's first steps in the correct direction.

    There's probably more, but this should get you on your way. I'd love to read your comments.

    My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

    Presenting a UX Assessment

    This is a follow up article to Creating a UX Assessment.

    Now that you have created your UX Assessment, you need to determine the best approach to rolling out your assessment to the business or stakeholders. Sure you can put together a friendly email that says "Here's that information you wanted", but if I know you, I'm guessing that this isn't supporting your cause for global User Experience domination enough. You want to use the opportunity to open a door to more work, or you want to reinforce your credibility. Whatever the reason, it is likely that you will want to present the information rather than simply letting the data set the tone.


    Tone
    Speaking of tone, let's talk about tone for a moment. When I'm preparing my presentation, I like to make sure that I am not only cognoscente of the effect of the tone of the presentation, but also that I'm deliberate in the tone that I set. The way that I look at it is that I want them to be left with an impression in their mind that says "This UX Practitioner isn't calling my baby ugly, but rather helping me make an even better, more usable baby later!". The idea here is to reinforce that we are teaming up with them. We aren't better then them, but also we aren't worse then them. Basically, we are just different then them and providing another set of eyes on what they have already spent a great deal of time looking at.

    ux assessment presentation slide list

    UX Assessment Presentation High Level Construct
    Now that we've understood the tone, the rest of the presentation planning is a breeze. Because I use Google Slides to create my heuristic evaluation of the product, service or interface, I also tend to use Google Slides to create my presentation. Due to the regularity in which I conduct these assessments, I have found that it's best to create a template that can then be copied and revised. My presentation slideshow is made up of these elements:

    Title Slide
    The title slide is like a cover of your book. You will typically find the company logo. There will also be a title similar to this example: "productName UX Assessment". Following that, I'll put the date that the assessment will be completed. My teams name will appear. I'll also put my name and any other people I'm working with as well. Lastly, the mgr or boss' name (they like to get credit for your hard work).

    Agenda
    The agenda is next. Just like with a website, people like to know where they are in relation to the grand scheme of things. Every good presentation provides an agenda to the audience, and then follows the agenda.

    Introductions and Recap
    I like to explicitly provide time in the agenda for introducing myself, and then going around and getting the names and team of all the other folks in the meeting. This might not be realistic if you are presenting to a large crowd or group.

    Immediately following the introductions, I ease right in to the recap of how we got to this point. I also use this time to summarize why we are here.

    Approach and Logistics
    It's good to provide the business with your assessments approach. They like to know that you have looked at their tool-set with a correct perspective. Hopefully this is not the first time they have looked upon your approach. This should be more of a reminder of an approach that they have already confirmed is in alignment with their wishes and needs.

    Sometimes during your assessment planning and pre-work, the business voices that they want to have specific data gleaned from your assessment process. Example: The business wants to know what sort of task completion times we encountered during our analysis or walk-through. This slide section seems to allow this data quite well.

    UX Assessment Introduction
    The UX Assessment Introduction section is fully intended to describe specifically what a ux assessment is and why it's needed. I generally only have the second two slides appear in my presentations. The first slide (slide 7 from the image above) is a slide that I use to help myself refresh on the definition of a UX Assessment. When I get to the "UX Assessment Introduction" slide, I say "So what is a UX Assessment? A UX assessment is when a member or members of the UX Design team conduct a best practices review of a design with the goal of identifying potential usability focus points".

    After that I step to the next slide which shows the format that my assessments take. I describe how there is usually a screenshot with a specific finding. I'll describe the various parts in a tad bit of detail so that as they look through the slides when I'm not there, they can easily decipher our method.

    Next, I'll describe our theology on severity and the notation we use.

    Highlights
    One key factor in helping to set the tone (as described above) is to make sure that you not only include negative stuff in your presentation, but also positive items. I like to put about 5 or less of these. UX Highlights are those things that should stay in the design if there is a redesign effort, or in other words, great user experiences. I'll also include comments or innovation opportunities in this section (as freebies).

    Usability Focus Points
    A User Experience Assessment can be quite large, consisting of upwards of 80 pages. We're not going to cover all those for the sake of time and respect to each person. Instead, we I'll do is identify the top 10 items from the assessment and port those over to this slideshow. I'll remove any call-outs that are not part of the top 10. This is necessary because some slides will have more than 1 item called out with differing severity. Also, I'll pass through and remove any unnecessary notation from the slides.

    Presenting this section MUST have the tone as described above. We shouldn't look at it as the "Good" and the "Bad", but rather, these are the points that we believe can go further towards a better user experience in future releases of the product or service. Remind of the severity settings and the intent to team up with the business.

    If done right, you can do all of the above in your presentation within 30-40 minutes.

    QA
    QA, or Questions and Answers is a time that you want to provide for about 20-30 minutes for. The business will likely have butted in on occasion up to this point, but be prepared to kick-start the conversation with questions like...

    • Now that the data has been presented from this ux assessment, what are the next steps?
    • Is there anyone else who needs to get this information?
    • Is there anything else that our team can help with?
    Thank You
    Thank them for their time, and let them out 5-10 minutes early for good behavior.

    My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    Meet Responsive Web Design with Object Oriented Coding Methodology

    Welcome to this new era in Design and Development. With the introduction of computing and programming in the 1940s, came a new dimension of entertainment, interest, and cognition. We were now able to solve mathematical, business, and communication problems. Additionally, there was now a new medium for the modern artist to express themselves through programmatic algorithm, and as time marched on, through visual design and user interface capability. We have since enjoyed this evolving mixture of functionality and invention as we've grown as a society. Today, we have computing and design holding hands in many aspects of our every day life. We've got desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, mobile devices, desk sized computers (surface), drawing tablets that are computer screens, dual monitors, wearable technology, and much MUCH more coming down the pipe.

    What's your point, eeklipzz?

    First, I'm going to say that I'm not a great writer. I'm a better ideater. Please bare with me.

    The topic that I want to bring up is this. We are now looking at The Multi-channel Experience in a new way. We are embracing responsive web design techniques more and more as we march into this mobile lifestyle. How can we mentally process our design efforts in a way that streamlines communications with development, and offers the in-depth design capability that we so desperately want?

    I submit to you the idea of designing with an object oriented approach. Developers have been building their programs in this way for many years. Programs written in an object oriented language are in essence functions within functions. One visual metaphor that may help you understand this idea is to look at the Matryoshka Doll.

    Picture of nesting Matryoshka Dolls

    In this metaphor, the program as you would see it would be the biggest doll. As you start breaking down the program into different functions, you basically be looking at the smaller objects within. Each smaller object can individually be broken down even further.

    Can't we approach design in this same way? Ideally we'd determine the goals of the design and layout it's high level wire-frame. Within the wire-frame, we would find objects: page Title or main focal point, menus or secondary focal points, etc. 

    Objects in the Object Oriented Design Methodology should be designed with these attributes in order to best communicate to the developers what your intention is with the specific design object...

    Object Oriented Design Object Attributes:
    • Minimum and Maximum size specifications
    • Object priority at this tier level
    • Resolution Range
    • spacing
    • ...anything else?

    I did tell you up above that I'm not a writer, so I apologize if this seems disorganized. The idea that I'm presenting here is basically a call for a paradigm shift in the way we approach design. Yes, there are many publications that have different terminology that is used to describe a similar view on design ("microinteractions", etc...), but I believe this change in the way we think of design is necessary so that we can better speak the language of the development team. 

    I like to think of our communications with this metaphor. Image your in a boat. On one side of the boat is the development team. On the other side of the boat is the design team. Now image that one side says something to the other side. The other side doesn't immediately understand what the first side said... They must take time to comprehend the words that were spoken to them. As they think harder and harder, the boat starts veering to their side with the added weights. When they finally figure out what's been said, they reply with a message to the first side. The same thing happens to the first side, and now the boat is starting to veer towards the first side.

    The boat is zig-zagging in the water. This zig-zagging is what slows the process of getting work done. Now, image if they spoke the same language. The zig-zaggs would be quite a bit less, which would result in a more efficient process.

    The better we can communicate, the quick we can move forward. Objected Oriented Design answer.

    Hope this inspires you to better flesh out this concept.

    ~e

    My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

    Retrospective Review: Get quantitative and qualitative at the same time

    It seems to be common practice to draw a line in the sand between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research. When you are conducting usability testing, it also looks like many sources advise to select which it's going to be. Depending on if we are talking about formative testing or summative testing, you could end up with either.

    Formative Research
    Research carried out with the intent of capturing qualitative or quantitative data that can help mold or form a product, service or design. As such, it's usually research that is done when a product, service or design is being first created, or as part of a redesign effort.
     (Other UX Definitions)

    Summative Research
    Research carried out after a product, service or design has been completed. Usually this sort of research is intended to help validate that design goals have been met. As the name implies, it's a way of summarizing an effort. (Other UX Definitions)

    In the book "Handbook of Usability Study" by Jeff Rubin and Dana Chisnell, the concept of "Retrospective Review" is introduced. It's where participants are encouraged first to complete the tasks. As the person completes the task, the Test Moderator keeps note of where in the record the user struggled, or key points that more explanation would be useful. At the end of completing the tasks, the moderator plays back those key moments and then asks the participant to explain their actions.


    The main drawback to this method is simply the time that it takes. It is important to be respectful of the participants time, so if the session must go over 30 minutes with this method, then the standard "Think out loud" method should be employed instead.

    I'd love to hear if this strategy has worked for you. 

    On a side note, the above mentioned book is one of the "Getting Started" suggested books from the User Experience Reading List: Getting Started in User Experience

    My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Drop the buzzwords

    I've had the pleasure of working in an office environment for many years. One common, naturally occurring phenomenon is the rise of buzzwords. What is a buzzword? Well, once upon a time people called them catch phrases. Seems as though the term started making it's appearance in the 1970's. One definition has it as...

    "a word or phrase, often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time or in particular context." ~ Google search

    They are simply wonderful to use in sentences... right? Don't they make you feel hip? Happening? Jiving? Steller? Don't you feel Cool? Dope? Fetch? Wow. Ok, ok.

    When it comes to UX, it is our job to seek out those hang points, those difficult points, and yes those confusing points. As fun as buzzwords are to use in our conversation and content blocks, we should probably be wary of employing them. The sad matter is that they are usually tied to specific forums.. Which means that not everyone will understand their meanings.  


    "Novice can mean many things to many different people, and it is important that you take responsibility for translating buzzwords into operational definitions." 
    ~ Jeff Rubin & Dana Chisnell, Handbook of Usability Testing

    Avoid causing confusion by avoiding buzzwords like...
    • accelerate
    • accountability
    • action items
    • actionable
    • aggregator
    • agile
    • algorithm
    • alignment
    • analytics
    • at the end of the day
    • B2B/B2C
    • bandwidth
    • below the fold
    • best of breed
    • best practices
    • beta
    • big data
    • bleeding edge
    • blueprint
    • boil the ocean
    • bottom line
    • bounce rate
    • brand evangelist
    • bricks and clicks
    • bring to the party
    • bring to the table
    • brogrammer
    • BYOD (device)
    • change agent
    • clickthrough
    • close the loop
    • codify
    • collaboration
    • collateral
    • come to Jesus
    • content strategy
    • convergence
    • coopetition
    • create value
    • credibility
    • cross the chasm
    • cross-platform
    • cross-pollinate
    • crowdfund
    • crowdsource
    • curate
    • cutting-edge
    • data mining
    • dead in the water (eeklipzz favorite)
    • deep dive
    • design pattern
    • did you try rebooting?
    • digital divide
    • digital natives
    • discovery
    • disruptive
    • diversity
    • DNA
    • do more with less
    • dot-bomb
    • downsizing
    • drink the Kool Aid
    • DRM
    • e-commerce hairball
    • eat your own dog food
    • emerging
    • empathy
    • enable
    • end-to-end
    • engagement
    • engaging
    • enterprise
    • entitled
    • epic
    • evangelist
    • exit strategy
    • eyeballs
    • face time
    • fail fast
    • fail forward
    • fanboy
    • finalize
    • first or best
    • flat
    • flow
    • form follows function
    • freemium
    • function follows form
    • funded
    • funnel
    • fusion
    • game changer
    • gameify
    • gamification
    • glamour metrics
    • globalization
    • green
    • groupthink
    • growth hack
    • guru
    • headlights
    • heads down
    • herding cats
    • high level
    • holistic
    • homerun
    • html5
    • hyperlocal
    • i _______
    • iconic
    • ideation
    • ignite
    • immersive
    • impact
    • impressions
    • in the weeds
    • infographic
    • innovate
    • integrated
    • jellyfish
    • knee deep
    • lean
    • lean in
    • let’s shake it and see what falls off
    • let’s socialize this
    • let’s table that
    • level up
    • leverage
    • like _______ for _______
    • lizard brain
    • long tail
    • low hanging fruit
    • make it pop
    • make the logo bigger
    • maker
    • marketing funnel
    • mashup
    • milestone
    • mindshare
    • mobile-first
    • modernity
    • monetize
    • moving forward
    • multi-channel
    • multi-level
    • MVP
    • netiquette
    • next gen
    • next level
    • ninja
    • no but, yes if
    • offshoring
    • on the runway
    • open the kimono
    • operationalize
    • opportunity
    • optimize
    • organic
    • out of pocket
    • outside the box
    • outsourcing
    • over the top
    • paradigm shift
    • patent pending design
    • peeling the onion
    • ping
    • pipeline
    • pivot
    • pop
    • portal
    • proactive
    • productize
    • proof of concept
    • public facing
    • pull the trigger
    • push the envelope
    • put it in the parking lot
    • qualified leads
    • quick-win
    • reach out
    • Ready. Fire. Aim.
    • real time
    • rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic
    • reimagining
    • reinvent the wheel
    • responsive
    • revolutionize
    • rich
    • rightshoring
    • rightsizing
    • rockstar
    • ROI
    • run it up the flagpole
    • scalability
    • scratch your own itch
    • scrum
    • sea change
    • seamless
    • SEM
    • SEO
    • sexy
    • shift
    • sizzle
    • slam dunk
    • social currency
    • social media
    • social media expert
    • social proof
    • soft launch
    • solution
    • stakeholder
    • standup
    • startup
    • stealth mode
    • stealth startup
    • sticky
    • storytelling
    • strategery
    • strategy
    • sustainability
    • sweat your assets
    • synergy
    • take it offline
    • takes a long time to turn a big ship
    • team building
    • tee off
    • the cloud
    • the mayor of _________
    • thought leader
    • thrown under the bus
    • tiger team
    • tollgate
    • top of mind
    • touch base
    • touchpoints
    • transgenerate
    • transparent
    • trickthrough
    • uber
    • unicorn
    • uniques
    • unpack
    • user
    • usercentric
    • value proposition
    • value-add
    • vertical cross-pollination
    • viral
    • visibility
    • vision
    • Web 2.0
    • webinar
    • what is our solve
    • what’s the ask?
    • win-win
    • wizard

    Remember your users!!!

    Take Care ~e

    My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    UX Findings Reference Archive

    Due to the constantly changing nature of web URLs that is ubiquitous in the net, from a maintenance standpoint, I find it easiest to maintain my reference links on one page. This allows me to periodically pass through my list to make sure all links are valid and working. It's not a fool proof method, but does seem to work a little bit. Otherwise, my blogs results in listing out-of-date links (which is frustrating to say the least). If this is bugging you, I welcome your feedback. Sorry if it seemed deceptive. Have a nice day! ~e


    Reference Links


    Best Practice Reference Links

    My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    Thought provoking UX Quotes

    QuoteSource
    "[A clerk] is more likely concentrating on goals like appearing competent at his [or her] job and keeping himself [herself] engaged with his [or her] work while performing routine and repetitive tasks, although he [she] may not verbally (or even consciously) acknowledge this...Products designed and built to achieve business goals alone will eventually fail; personal goals of users need to be addressed. When the user's personal goals are met by the design, business goals are far more effectively achieved" Alan Cooper, Goal-Directed Design
    "...we always return to users' goals. They are the bedrock upon which interaction design should be practiced." Alan Cooper, Goal-Directed Design
    "In the 1960s NASA found that achieving 100 percent performance cost as much as 50 times the cost of achieving 95 percent performance. It is likely that such costs have gone down over 40 years, but the point is that you should only use the higher benchmark if you are willing to pay the piper.)" Jeff Rubin & Dana Chisnell, Handbook of Usability Testing
    "Novice can mean many things to many different people, and it is important that you take responsibility for translating buzzwords into operational definitions." Jeff Rubin & Dana Chisnell, Handbook of Usability Testing
    Thanks for glancing through some of my favorite quotes. If you want to see more quotes, relating to User Experience or Information Architecture, check these other great resources out...

    Reference:
    uxquotes.com
    userquotes.tumblr.com
    My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

    Danger of Design Inconsistency

    Design inconsistency is a problem we all have to be aware of. By themselves, they can either range from low to high impact on your users. A global inconsistency can lead a user to a lowered perception of the sophistication of a website or a design team.

    Another downfall to the inconsistency of a design element is that a user must take time to re-learn the layout of each individual new element variation. Although the complexity does not necessarily have to be large, it does prevent the design from allowing the user to be as efficient as they could be.





    The recommendation is this. I may be a good idea in future releases of a design to ensure you complete one last pass over your design to check for the simple things: popup design, font treatment, image size/position treatments, and anything else you can think of that should be consistent. Through consistent usage of design elements, a user can leverage their existing understanding allowing them to become more efficient with your design and ultimately a higher opinion of your design teams capabilities. 

    Good Luck! ~e
    My New blog is http://thelucashall.com. Come see my newer/more relevant content.

    Tips for preparing your shipment or parcel

    Imagine this...


    Actually, image this. You're buying a gift online for a friend. 5-7 business days later you arrive home expecting to find a package... It's gone! You go into your house and find another member of your house actively and unashamedly test driving the contents of the package. Next to them is the box that the item came in. It's the package that the manufacturer packaged the item in... NOT a proper shipping box. What went wrong? Turns out that the package that the manufacturer wrapped the product in was just too enticing. It had full hi resolution images, great font treatments, and age appropriateness. Maybe if the package was packed in a way so as to conceal the package's contents... well, maybe this wouldn't have happened.

    In this list, you will find principles that should be adhered to in order to maximize a great user experience as it pertains to interaction with shipped items.





    Principles / Guidelines
    1Ship grouped items togetherWhen a recipient orders a product, they expect the product to arrive all at once. When there are multiple pieces to one product and the various pieces must be split up into different shipping packages, they should all be shipped together. This will maximize the likelihood that they will be received by the recipient at the same time.
    2Grouped items should be labeled as suchInform the recipient when a package is part of a set of packages being shipped together. One way to do this is through labeling (EXAMPLE: "Item 2 of a set of 4" or "Item 1, 10 in group")
    3Use new or explain re-use of packagingPackaging is yet another "first impression" that a recipient gets from a company. If the product arrives in clean or new packaging then there is less of a likelihood that the package will draw any unwanted negative attention. If the package has already been used for previous shipments, it might be a good idea to include a package label that explains the reason for shipping in an older box (maybe your company is environmentally conscious). The underlying reason for explained re-use is that the company's credibility may be impacted by a shabby or rugged packaging job.
    4Large boxes should have handlesWhen shipping a product that needs a large box, remember that people need to be able to manage the boxes location. Users will likely benefit from boxes that have handles when the box is large. This is especially important when the box will need to be moved from one location to another. If the box is large enough, or heavy enough that there must be two or more people to move it, consider including an appropriate number of handles on the box. To further improve this experience for the recipient, include labeling that provides easiest handling technique.
    5Follow packaging capacityDo not exceed the weight specification of the shipment container. If shipping is older package, it's a good rule of thumb to assume that the capacity has been diminished since the packaging material was new. Adjust your expectations of the capacity accordingly. This will help ensure that the packaging withstands the journey to the recipient.
    6Use clear labelingBox labeling should be easy to see and find. The text or content color should be easily distinguishable against the background color (EXAMPLE: Black text on white background). If the text or content color is to similar to the color of the background, there is a chance that it will blend in to the background and be missed. It is common practice to use black text or content on a brown box, however most practiced isn't always best practice. There may be some room for innovation in this realm.
    7Address, postage, and/or packing list should be clearly placed and highly visibleAddress, return address, postage, and/or packing lists should all be on one side of the package to streamline the recipients information gathering process. It is best practice to include a packing list inside all packages. It is a common practice to additionally include a packing list on the outside of the package as well, however this isn't always necessary (especially in the case of gift package).
    8Special handling should be clearClearly mark on the outside of the package if the item is fragile, liquid, perishable, if the product needs to remain upright, or any other attribute that may be deemed important to the shipping process, or the receipt of the product.
    9Use the right package for the jobBoxes are the most commonly used and suitable way to pack your shipment because of the range of sizes, shapes, materials and accessories to strengthen and secure them. It is however important to consider other solutions when warranted. For example, wood containers are especially appropriate for shipping heavier items and are ready for machine handling. Alternatively, heavy-duty double-layered cardboard is a suitable and cheaper alternative to wood boxes or standard boxes. What ever the package method used, it's important that the right packaging be used in order to meet the recipients receiving needs. Depending on the product being shipped, consider communicating with the recipient to better ensure the package will be correct.

    10 Inner box padding space should be appropriate During a packages journey from your location to the recipients location, it is likely that the product within the package will have to survive through a number of jars, jiggles, slides, bumps, drops, throws, hand-offs, tip-overs, and various other potential quality threatening events. The space between the product and the box should be appropriate. Content should not be able to directly touch the inside of the shipping box. Movement inside the box should be minimal. Under-filled boxes run the risk of collapse, while over-loaded boxes face bursting. If either of these occur, the shipment will have failed to meet the recipients expectation.
    11Always wrap the contents of a packageWhen it comes to in-box product safety, you get what you put into it (pun intended). If you choose to trust un-tested, low quality packing materials, there is a possibility that the item in the box may not be safe for this rigorous journey. It's best practice to individually wrap each item within a package. Usage of high quality, tested cushioning and wrapping materials will help ensure that the recipients product arrives in a state that fully meets their minimum expectations.
    12Box should be fully sealed. Extra tape may be necessary to ensure that the package does not become unsealed during shipment. Usage of wire, string, or bands may cause problems with machinery used in the shipping process, so it is a good idea to avoid these methods for sealing packages when possible.

    Here are some of the references used to put this list together.

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