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Takeaways from Google Expert Week in Seoul

June is a good month for learning (too hot outside anyways…), so dragged my tired overheated body to the well airconditioned premises of Google Campus Seoul as they’ve organized Global Experts Week and a few sessions seemed pretty interesting. Plus, they will be delivered in English – that good fluent comprehensible English. Not Konglish. No guesswork on messages.

I’ve attended three sessions – Advertising Technology & Design, New in Material Design, Behavioral Science and Application to Business. Won’t waste your (and my) time detailing what was said in each session, rather will share highlights (and links) to what I tought was cool / useful / fun / to-be-remembered. It’s subjective, I know, and comes frmo both lectures and lecture-inspired-digging I’ve done afterwards 🙂

1. Google has (finally!) introduced recommendations for MOTION

as part of their Material design guidelines. This is %^&$^*ing awesome! And Motion topic now is the first ITEM in the guidelines. Get the message? It’s OBVIOUS that the upcoming app fights for greatness will be on the stage of interactivity. How things move, how they behave when touched, when released, when colliding with other items. This will cause pain (if abused) & pleasure (if used wisely & with purpose / love). This will help users or kill user experience. This will take time to master as there’s always tendency to do more and to different directions. Especially in Korea 🙂

For a quick overview, watch a 25min talk by John Schlemmer (Motion lead at Material design team) from I/O 2016

Link to Motion Guidelines: https://material.google.com/motion/material-motion.html

Note that they even detail recommended duration of ease-in for mobile device (~300ms) and specify what is the optimal duration of wait between entrance of laddered elements (like vertical cards) – 20~25ms. The key? Make it fast, yet noticeable. Don’t make users wait! (wait, is this a remake of the famous Steve Krug’s “Don’t make me think!”).

2. More visitors & less purchases – you don’t want to end up in this situation!

I remember a joke – “A new bar opened. One million people came to visit it. Nobody bought anything. It was declared a huge success!” mocking the current tendency to label apps successful depending on the number of downloads while focus should be on the revenue. Thanks to Googler Sharon Lee who covered many aspects of human thinking/behavior and reminded us about the simple laws of the universe – the famous experiment with jams. More choice is not better.

The story goes like this: there’s a store selling 6 or 24 types of jams to try / buy. Even though 24 jams draw larger crowds, actual sales are lower than in case of 6 jams. Think of app features. Think of rather getting less users, but better targeted ones.

Read about the experiment at HBS: https://hbr.org/2006/06/more-isnt-always-better while here’s the summary from Sharon’s slides:

Jams

Second interesting observation (or reminder) is that when you’re selling your product/service to users, appealing via hedonic immediate benefits is way more useful (=seduces better) than using funtional / long term benefits. Not that your product/service should only offer narcissistic value, no. But we, weak humans, have hard time doing something right that will benefit us tomorrow IF there are no immediate benefits. I forgot to ask about the origins of the framework, but here’s the key to it:

Framework

And application of the framework in case of a Fitness tracker:

Fitness tracker

3. Framework for approaching NOTIFICATIONS

This was a “discovery” I stumbled upon while browsing Google I/O 2016 talks. A few teams conducted ethnographic study (talking to / observing people) in New York City “to better understand how people manage their attention in their daily lives, and how smartphone notifications play a role in that process”. If your app sends notifications to users, this talk might help to rethink a few choices you’ve made. Generally it’s all very common sense, yet… common sense betrays us sometimes, when we so much want to grab attention of our beloved users.

They came with (yet another) framework on how to think about notifications and here’s the screenshot (teaser – to understand, listen to the talk, pls):

Noti_framework

Which apps occupy which quadrant? Here you go:

Noti_topography

 

Lesson? If you’re unimportant from user’s perspective, don’t overdo with efforts to grab attention. If you’re important, yet unpleasant – think how to be friendlier. If you’re within VIP quadrant – don’t overdo from excitement as then you’ll end up among Naggers.

Watch the 30min “I’m just trying to survive” (awesome title, no?) talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhebyS5OXw4

 

Have a great Monday, y’all!

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