Tuesday, 29 March 2016

CONFERENCE: Travel Technology Initiative Spring Conference 2016 - UX Revolution


In the run up to a 15below customer conference I always seem to attend another event with some similarities elsewhere. This year was no different with the Travel Technology Initiative Spring Conference in London around the topic of the "UX revolution" that has been occurring in travel over the past couple of years.

The first of the stand-out talks for me were Anna Chomse, Industry Head - Travel at Google who showed the process going from exploring holiday options to booking, with the different needs at each stage. She then showed a few examples of good design reflecting those needs, and how search terms used or platform (such as mobile) can make a difference to the experience of using the site. Thomson holidays was one example of how to do it right. (The Hoover website with its search terms not in the user's language and confusing mobile experience was an example of how not to do it)

Next Sam Crowther, Head of Creative at Bauer Radio then took us on journey through sound. This was one of the best presentations I've attended in the past few years. Sound is an underrated sense that can influence is while going largely unnoticed. One example given was a project that increased sales of either German or French wine according to the music played - and only one person when asked noticed any music playing!

Close run for my top three, but Fergus Boyd, Group Director, VP of Digital & IT at Yotel gave an entertaining talk on digital transformation at Yotel and the big positive improvement to the bottom line that was a direct result of making the website easier to use and improving the user experience nicer. One key takeaway for me was that a lot of the improvements he talked about were innovations to the hotel industry but fairly standard for airlines, for example check-in kiosks.

Also a mention to Kaan Aydogmus, Creative Director at Magnetic London who showed some examples in tourism marketing materials integrating AR and print. Looks like a neat way to bringing alive travel agent brochures and provide updates and offers once the print run is over.


Further reading

Sunday, 6 March 2016

On evaluating and deciding

online - simplify decision making

So you've got great new ideas but you need to decide on what to do next. In most consumer product development where there is a volume of (potential) users, e.g. a popular public service such as Facebook or Amazon, this is relatively easy as you can go through an MVP process, do some lean startup experiments or even run some A/B test and make changes. 

B2B product management doesn't have quite the same volume of usage or "want" being a driver, for example a SaaS platform about coordinating snow ploughs won't be able to gain much more usage during the summer months. With this in mind I am going to take a look at five things I've read this month and pick a key idea from each to build up a toolbox that can be applied.

  1. Ask the right questions, once we know we are solving the right problem then we are off to a good start. Keeping the bias out of questions and using techniques such as conjoint analysis to find relative preferences are two ways to get useful information from those questions.
  2. Take a step back and look at things logically. In The Most Powerful Lesson I’ve Ever Learned In Business Mike McCue talks about how he made the decision on a buy out offer where the initial response may not have been in his long term interests.
  3. Know the impact of your decisions, as discussed in Value-Based Technical Debt Model and Its Application this is often hard. Especially with impact such as technical debt.This quote from page 1 says it all for me  
  4. No, really understand the impact of your decisions: Even if some things may be outside of your expertise or direct control, but that doesn't meant they won't impact you in a big way.
The last two points are vital in knowing if you've been successful in meeting your goal, and can move onto the next priority for your business, or if you need to take corrective action.

Further reading


Starting text mining with R

Like a lot of Product Managers I use Excel with tools like Google Analytics a lot. Probably like many people I find Excel very frustratin...