Last month, I gave a lighting talk presentation on my passion "Ayurveda". I made a small video by collecting various images of this ancient medical science along with some mind boggling thoughts about the long term affects of stress in our daily life.The overall speech and the video presentation went very well. Happy to spread across the awareness of this unique gift to entire mankind from our own "India". !!!!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pPBWt45nXQ
There was a session on Emotional Intelligence on 1st March, conducted at our office base branch. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to attend this training along with 25 other associates from different locations. We had an external faculty having 15+ years of experience in the field of Organizational Behavior , Learning and Personal Development.It was a full day session, where our lecturer focused on explaining the various parts of human brain, thinking pattern, emotions and they way they effect our daily to day life. Also, he took some tests to help us gauge our EI score.It was very interesting to know that basic fundamentals of what comprises the Emotional Quotient and why, it is so important in today's life. In theoretical concepts, Emotional Intelligence refers to the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships. It is an important consideration in human resources planning, job profiling, recruitment interviewing and selection, management development, customer relations and customer service, and more.Emotional Intelligence links strongly with concepts of 'Spirituality': bringing compassion and humanity to work, and also to 'Multiple Intelligence' theory which illustrates and measures the range of capabilities people possess, and the fact that everybody has a value. The EQ concept argues that IQ, or conventional intelligence, is too narrow; that there are wider areas of Emotional Intelligence that dictate and enable how successful we are. EQ embraces two aspects of intelligence:1. Understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses, behavior and all.2. Understanding others, and their feelings.There are 5 domains to measure this. Daniel Goleman identified them as1. Knowing your emotions.2. Managing your own emotions.3. Motivating yourself.4. Recognizing and understanding other people's emotions.5. Managing relationships, i.e., managing the emotions of others.The degree to which we understand and manage ourselves effectively and to have better awareness of others, their feelings and meanings of their interaction with us is a measure of our own EI. The diagram illustrates this relationship.At the end of the session , I felt that despite possessing a high IQ rating, success does not automatically follow. It is our ability of how well we are able to know our-self and make an empathetic connection with others, that decides our success ratio. Moreover, our brain's have the power of manifesting everything that we truly desire with persistent commitment and passion.
I am very excited to share updates about my first project assignment on UX, that I have been working for last 1.5 month. It is a platform for me to apply my usability concepts and knowledge that I have gained so far from online UX tutorials, blogs, Technical forums etc. I am working on a Ruby and Rails tutorial with my friends in India (Abhishek Nalwaya and Akshat Paul). Our objective is to improve the overall experience of this site. The initial versions of this tutorial were deployed in Heroku with the sole intention of learning some new technologies. But now, we want to completely focus on re-designing this site for improving the usage. It is a small effort from our side to contribute to the ROR community.So we started with analyzing the site usage results in Google Analytics Dashboard, where we observed a very high bounce rate. Moreover, the Google pagerank and visual appeal of the tutorial was not very good, which definitely implied that there is a huge scope of improvement. We came up with these initial thoughts to start our work :-Improve the whole information architecture by revising the content with the latest version material, as that is the main deciding factor to retain visitors on any tutorial. Also, adding two sitemap's i.e. one for site visitors and the other for googlebot would be helpful to provide an organized view of the site to its visitors.Navigation mechanism can be structured better by shifting the navigation links to the top , so that we have more space on the content page. The social media icons and twitter feeds are not prominent currently and they can made more visible. We pushed our first release on 18 Dec with following improvement stories:- 1. XML sitemap implemented and registered in Google Webmaster Tools to improve the content accessibility to the crawler.2. Favicon added to have a unique brand image to the tutorial.3. Revision of the About Us page with pictures to make the developers more approachable for suggestions and feedback's.We are currently working on the content revision and application of search optimization techniques. I would keep you guys updated about my learning experience with this system. In case you have any suggestions or feedback, please feel free to reach out to me.
1. Accessibility: The website can be found and used by all people. 2. Stability: The website is consistent and trustworthy. 3. Usability: The website is user-friendly. 4. Reliability: The website is consistently available, without downtime. 5. Functionality: The website offers content, tools and services users value. 6. Flexibility: The website adapts to needs and wants of users.
What does it mean to be designing "User Experience" and looking through the lens of the user ?Do BA's think differently from UX engineers ?....Like this, I had several questions in my mind related to UX and BA profession and the technique they use to tackle real time business problems. Came across this interesting interview article between Laura Brandenburg ( Independent BA consultant ) and Patrick Quattlebaum (Chief Experience Officer at Macquarium ) and yes, It did answer many of my questions. http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/what-a-ba-should-know-about-the-ux-profession-interview-with-patrick-quattlebaum/
Following up on my earlier post on User experience, I learnt about three highly cohesive parameters of Usability. Concentrating on just one of these aspect does not assure success of the product and it is necessary to have all of them to work in harmony. Lets take a hypothetical scenario with a customer Liz to understand it :- Liz is browsing an e-commerce site to purchase a credit card wallet. Like any other customer, she has multiple questions in her mind and wants to be assured about the product before making the transaction. Now with the information available on the site, let's see if she buys the wallet or leaves the site after being frustrated.Liz is looking at the design pages on the site, but can find only the outer portion view of the wallet. She liked the outer design, but is not able to see the back of the product. She wants to make sure that it would also store small changes with a zippered pocket. But due to a limited visual view, she is not able to make this judgement. The next option, in this case could be to look at the product description, but the description is at the bottom of the page under many unrelated selling items and Liz might not scroll to the bottom of the page. Moreover the description section has many irrelevant facts, like how the wallet is constructed from durable leather and a silk blend and is perfect to store all of our daily essentials. Yet it doesn't answer a simple question of whether it can carry loose changes or not.Next strategy that comes in Liz's mind is "Maybe, if there is a return policy, I'd buy it. Then, if I don't like it, I could return it". Not a bad approach !But this would help,only if she could find the return policy in the site, which she couldn't. There was no link to it on the product page. That's when she tried searching. Typing "Return Policy" into the Search box produced the error message, stating no results found. Poking around on the site did uncover a link labeled "Help" which produced an unordered Frequently-Asked Questions list. However, apparently returning a credit card wallet is not something frequently asked, because there is no helpful information on that topic.Liz is frustrated and leaves the site. The sale is lost.So what did we observe here ? There is a three-way failure to communicate what the shopper needed to make her purchase. It was a simultaneous failure of the site's visual design, the information architecture, and the content design.When Liz couldn't easily see the design of the product and she didn't locate the product description, she encountered visual design issues. When she couldn't find the page with the return policy, she bumped into an information architecture issue. And the inadequate product description and unclear policy issues were the content design issues.Fixing just one of these would not help as the real solution comes from the interplay of these three areas and it is worth giving a thought.
I have been reading a lot about usability and user experience. Just trying to develop user's perspective about different system's.The success ratio of any system majorly depends on its usage and that would be high only if the users find it efficient, effective, easy to learn, engaging and error tolerant. These are actually called the 5 E's of Usability.User experience is all about how does a user feels about a system, which could be a product, service, application or combination of any of these. As soon as user interaction starts with the system, an experience is developed based on the perception and response that results from the interaction. Other definitions of user experience mention that it includes all the users' emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, behaviors andaccomplishments that occur before, during and after use.A greater user experience means increased site success and here are the benefits, that we get with itUser Effectiveness * increased success rate and reduced users errors * improved ease of use and learning * increased user productivity and user satisfaction * reduced support and training costs * increased user trust in the systemDevelopment Costs * reduced development costs and time * reduced maintenance costsRevenue * increased product sales, revenue and market share * increased site traffic and transactions/purchases * attract and retain more customersSo how do we get started ? How do we get beyond "user friendly" to the true goal of all usability work i.e. to improve the final product.The first step here is to define the problem statement with a clear objective of what we want to achieve. To be able to do that, we need to perform some user analysis using methods like user interviews, site visits , usability tests etc. Focus should be to learn about who our users are, what are their tasks and goals in using the product. Using the 5E's to understand users:For each of the five dimensions of usability (the 5Es), we think about how it is reflected in requirements for each of the user groups. The 5Es are: Effective: How completely and accurately the work or experience is completed or goals reached ? Efficient: How quickly this work can be completed ? Engaging: How well the interface draws the user into the interaction and how pleasant and satisfying it is to use ? Error Tolerant: How well the product prevents errors and can help the user recover from mistakes that do occur ? Easy to Learn: How well the product supports both the initial orientation and continued learning throughout the complete lifetime of use ?In my next blog , I will be sharing more about the techniques of implementing usability in new and already existing sites....
I read an interesting article about professionalism on my favorite technical forum We use this term very often in our working environment, but do we really understand the basic factors that differentiate professionals from others. I liked the way author has explained these 10 basic points.It was a good revision for me and I hope, others would like it too.1. Put customer satisfaction first2. Make expertise your specialty3. Do more than expected4. Do what you say and say what you can do5. Communicate effectively6. Follow exceptional guiding principles7. Praise your peers not yourself8. Share your knowledge9. Say "Thank You"10. Keep a smile on your face and the right attitude in your heart
Google announced the completion of new web indexing system "Caffeine" this week. This is what Google says about it: Old index system had several layers, some of which were refreshed at a faster rate than others; the main layer would update every couple of weeks. To refresh a layer of the old index, the entire web would need to be analyzed, which meant there was a significant delay between when a page was found and when it is available as a search result.With Caffeine, web is analyzed in small portions and search index's are updated on a continuous basis, globally. As new pages or new information is found, it is added to the indexes, which helps in finding fresher information than ever before. Apart from this, every second Caffeine processes hundreds of thousands of pages in parallel.
I found this interesting !!http://sixrevisions.com/project-management/five-ways-to-guarantee-your-failure-as-a-web-professional/
The main difficulty of thinking is confusion. We try to do too many things at once and it is really not possible to think in different directions at the same time. Emotions, information, logic, hope and concept all crowd in on us and It is like juggling with too many things at the same time.After reading Six hat thinking by Edward de Bono, I realized that there is a very simple concept which allows a thinker to do one thing at a time. There are five distinct states in which the brain can be sensitised. In each of these states the brain identifies certain aspects of issues being considered (e.g. emotional view, pessimistic judgement, neutral facts). In order to make it easier to work with these states, the use of coloured hats as metaphors for them is used and putting on any one of these hats defines a certain type of thinking.The best part of this method is that, we can separate emotion from logic , creativity from information and so on.Here is a brief description of each of the hats and the thinking processes that they represent :-1.White (Facts & Information): White is neutral and objective. It is concered with objective facts and figures.2.Red (Feelings & Emotions): Red suggests anger, rage and emotions. It gives our emotional view.3.Black (Critical Judgment): Black is sombre and serious. It is cautious and points out the weaknesses in an idea.4.Yellow (Positive): Yellow is optimistic and covers hope and positive thinking. It is exactly opposite of black hat and looks for the reasons in favour of something.5.Green (Creativity ): Green indicates new ideas. It is based around the idea of provocation and thinking for the sake of identifying new possibilities.6.Blue (Control): Blue hat is concerned with control, organization of the thinking process and use of the other hats. This is the hat under which all participants discuss the thinking process.
Following up on my previous post, here is a link to an article comparing the features of Skydrive and Google Docs.http://nlafranc215.wordpress.com/2009/09/19/windows-skydrive-vs-google-docs/My preference would be to use Skydrive as an online storage spot on the cloud, but for all import, export and emailing work, Google docs would be my first choice.
Google docs has now expanded the export feature with a new download "Export All" option. Using this functionality, we can download our entire library of Google Docs documents to the harddrive as a zipped file. This feature will be very handy if we ever want to move from a standard Gmail account to Google Apps (with our own domain).To download Google Documents, select "Export" under the "More Actions" drop-down menu and then select the "Export All" checkbox. You can export up to 2 GB of files but if your account has more data, you’ll see a message with a list of files that aren’t included in the zip file.
While browsing, I came across an interesting article which talks about 10 hot technologies for 2009 (ex Cloud Computing, Green IT.....etc )http://technology.inc.com/managing/articles/200812/technologies.htmlNice read !
Just finished reading "Working with Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman. It was really nice to know that the single most important factor that distinguishes a star performer from others in every field is not just high IQ, advanced degrees or technical expertise, but there is something called as "Emotional Intelligence".Emotinal Intelligence: It refers to the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships. It describes abilities distinct from, but complementary to, academic intelligence, the purely cognitive capacities measured by IQ.Below are five basic emotional and social competencies, defined under Emotinal Intelligence: -Self-awareness: Knowing what we are feeling at the moment, and using these preferences to guide our decision making; having a realistic assessment of our own abilities and a well-grounded sense of self-confidence.Self-Regulation: Handling our emotions so that they facilitate rather than interfere with the task at hand; being conscientious and delaying gratification to pursue goals; recovering well from emotional distress.Motivation: Using our deepest preferences to move and guide us towards our goals, to help us take initiative and strive to improve, and to persevere in the face of setbacks, and frustrations.Empathy: Sensing what people are feeling, being able to take their perspective, and cultivating rapport and attunement with a broad diversity of people.Social skills: Handling emotions in relationships well and accurately reading social situations and networks; interacting smoothly; using these skills to persuade and lead, negotiate and settle disputes, for cooperation and teamwork.