James Wynne is Director of User Experience for Sandstorm and has been in digital product development since 1996. He has worked as a UX designer for a myriad of clients including large eCommerce brands, mobile device manufacturers and integrated marketing agencies.
Targeted Keyword Phrase
You're ready to conduct a formal usability study and have some of your customers or potential prospects available to participate in this study (5-6 users is fine, but don't forget the gratuity). These one-on-one sessions start out with a single user interacting with a web site or wire frame completing a set of tasks, and then a moderator asking them follow-up questions regarding the experience. These sessions usually involve a quiet room, a camera and tracking software to watch a user's expressions and their navigational habits. After the study, the data is analyzed and a formal usability report with key findings and recommendations is written.
The goal of any usability test is to figure out what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong, and learn what your users want. So what are you waiting for?
Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes, and thank you to my staff for singing happy birthday to me via conference call while I am out in Colorado. I loved the song more than you know - and am overwhelmed with appreciation for all of the hard work you dedicate to helping Sandstorm grow... Thank you.
The Sandstorm staff just can't stop going on vacations! It's like we're all playing tag around the office - but heck, it's the summer and we all love a vacation. I'm not sure when it started, I think it was Janna going on a long birthday weekend, then Lisa just got back from her week away in Door County, Holly went to a music festival, Alma is hitting the Harry Potter museum and movie (she calls it a Harry Potter Holiday), and I am heading out to Keystone Colorado with the family. Our marketing firm sure knows how to use our PTO days :)
We are having way too much fun with our newest web design and development project - traveling Broadway shows like Wicked, Stomp, Annie, etc. brought to smaller cities across America and in Canada. We are creating this amazing, theatrical user experience on the web utilizing almost everyone on staff from usability experience and message development, to information architecture, creative execution, web development and of course - project management.
Stay tuned for our web site launch date for city #1 coming in July. (Our web design company is so excited we can hardly resist showing you the web design comps!)
We're so honored! Our web design firm won a web design award for the National Association of Realtors Green Designation web site. It's a green industry site, an association and in real estate - three of our favorite industries to work in. As Holly would say, we heart winning!
We just recommitted to writing our employee manual (thanks Janna!). It's been 10 years since we've been in business, and we have started on this project multiple times. But as we're back in growth mode and on the rise for a few more hires this summer and fall, we've decided that we're going to actually complete it this time. Ok, Janna decided it is really way overdue and we need to get this done.
Our approach? An employee-centric model of course! Our plan is to have Mike get the rough draft done, then let the rest of the staff read, edit and add so that the employee manual is truly ours, not another boring corporate book. Wish us luck!
This weekend is the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Chicago. Volunteers walk along the lakefront 26.2 miles on Saturday, and 13.1 miles on Sunday. Part of our efforts to give back to the community include our sponsorship of local events (like this weekend). In addition, we're always in the midst of an annual report design for one of our favorite local non profits. :) I am really proud of the difference we have made over the years - humbled and proud.
Sandstorm Design officially has over 1,000 followers on Twitter now! From wishing one of our employees a happy birthday (go Alma!), sharing the latest words we've added on Marketing Addictionary and random social networking tips, people are following Sandstorm and getting to know who our web design company is from the inside out. Now I owe Holly Potbelly - her social media goal has been achieved with 1,000 followers :)
Sandstorm Design is pleased to announce the launch of MissionGetHired.com, a new CareerBuilder.com site that helps U.S. Veterans find jobs. Sandstorm Design proudly developed the new brand name, information architecture, experiential design and messaging for the site, adapting the CareerBuilder.com brand to cater to U.S. Veterans. "We wanted to create an online experience that spoke directly to Veterans," creative director, Janna Fiester, said regarding the brand strategy.
The site launched in April of 2009 and instantly received recognition. Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, mentioned the site on CNN's Road to the Rescue segment – the only feature thus far with a positive spin on unemployment. Veteran employment is currently at 8.1%, compared to the 8.8% overall United States unemployment rate.
Sandstorm Design has been selected by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to participate in their Emerging 200 (E200) initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to provide 200 nationwide businesses with the network and resources to build a sustainable business and create more jobs. Candidates for the program are emerging small businesses that have a high potential for growth, are headquartered in an inner city and are at least 3 years old.
CEOs from the 200 selected emerging small businesses take part in an 8-month intensive curriculum focused on developing an expansion strategy, and participate in a graduation ceremony upon completion. "The SBA Chicago group is like having our own Board of Directors. Each CEO is bringing a wealth of information to the table, along with experience doing business in a variety of private industries and public sectors. It's an amazing learning and growing experience." principal, Sandy Marsico said regarding her involvement.
Fourteen cities across the country were selected to participate in the initiative (out of 55 eligible cities), including: Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans, Memphis, Portland, Albuquerque, Jacksonville, and Des Moines.
Why small businesses? According to SBA’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses are the greatest source of new employment in inner cities and account for 80 percent of total employment. The SBA hopes to expand the E200 program in the future to more cities and businesses.