SOGETI UK BLOG

My SogetiLabs colleagues Sergio CompeanDavid Yancey and I recently hosted our first dHackathon(design thinking hackathon) for the consultants in our Sogeti North Texas office.  When you hear the word hackathon you may think programming, but this event was purely focused on learning early stage design concepts (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test).

2-dHackathon2015TshirtWe had 21 participants.  Much to everyone’s delight the dHackathon was a huge success.  Participants learnt a great deal about the design process which had been a mystery.  We had designers, developers, project managers, testers, administrators and business people attend from practices as diverse as Digital Transformation, Infrastructure, Software Development & Integration, and Testing.  To have a little fun we had a small batch of t-shirts made up and everyone purchased their own.

Within 90 minutes of the start of the event everyone had paired up to complete a mini-version of the design thinking process end-to-end.  Over the rest of the day teams formed to ideate and create some amazing UX (user experience) designs as low fidelity mockups on paper, wipeboard and in mockup tools like Balsamiq and UXPin.  The solutions they built hold the promise of becoming future solutions for our local clients.

 

3-PaperPrototypes

 

We used the design thinking content and exercises from Stanford’s d.School which makes it easy to get going.  You can run design thinking sessions with your teams and customers that are as short as 90 minutes to as long as a day, weekend or week.  This approach can even be integrated into traditional training or strategy sessions to provide a more immersive outcomes-focused experience.

Here is a complete dHackathon starter kit with templates from our event that you may customize to host your own event.  Below I have included some quick lists, graphics, videos, and links to promote the event.  These resources should help you get your own dHackathon up and running quickly.


What Is Design Thinking?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7sEoEvT8l8

  • Empathetic and experimental approach to problem solving
  • Creative and iterative development of innovative solutions
  • Initial problem and final goal may change during the process
  • Alternate paths and hidden parameters are discovered

Design Thinking Improves Customer Experience & Sales5-IntroToDesignThinkingCover

  • Build your empathy and listening skills to truly hear the voice of our customers/clients
  • Learn how to ideate with customers/clients to deepen relationships and expand projects
  • Gain creative confidence to innovate with your customers/clients
  • Expand opportunities from technical stop gaps to complete solutions
  • Increase your profitability and growth

What Will You Do?

  • Experience the process of Design Thinking in a short 90min exercise at the beginning of the day
    o   Pair up with a colleague to solve a simple design challenge
  • Learn the Design Thinking process in depth by completing a session throughout the day
    o   Form a team to solve a more realistic design challenge
  • Learn techniques from industry user experience designers and information architects

What Will You Learn?

  • Learn the design thinking process driving critical decisions by business leaders today
  • Add to your skills by learning industry leading design tools and techniques
  • Create mockups that could be built into prototypes and enhance your portfolio/resume

 

Design Thinking Links

 

 

AUTHOR:
Erik Leaseburg joined the Sogeti Dallas office in May 2014. As a senior manager and solutions architect, Erik is focused on architecting, selling and leading innovative client projects in the Microsoft and Digital Transformation practices; developing technology partnerships with Microsoft, Xamarin, AIMS Innovation cloud monitoring, Metaio augmented reality,…; and fostering developer community and STEM outreach through work with Microsoft DigiGirlz – Intro to Game Development, Dallas Computer Vision-aries – Augmented Reality, IdeaWorks Fort Worth, Startup Weekend – Cashflow Mobile App, Dallas Entrepreneur Center – Kinect Hackathon, Girl Scouts – Intro to Web Development, and local .NET user groups. Erik has 20 years of architecture, evangelism, management, development, consulting, entrepreneurship, sales, training, outreach, public speaking, and R&D experience. He started his career in consulting at Andersen Consulting/Accenture, followed by 12 years of product architecture, services and sales at Microsoft, and more recently ITR Mobility and Neudesic. He has broad industry experience in communications, education, retail, transportation, oil and gas, finance, healthcare, insurance, engineering and software development. Erik has deep and broad experience with Cloud (Azure PaaS/Web/Mobile, IaaS/VMs, O365, SQL, TFS, BizTalk, Service Bus), NUI (Kinect gesture/audio, Metaio augmented reality, Surface, Robotics, IoT) Cross-Platform Development (Mono/Xamarin/C#, HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript, Mobile/Web/Desktop, Unix/Linux/Mainframe), Application Lifecycle Management (Agile/Scrum/CMMI, Visual Studio/TFS, Test/QA), SOA/ESB (BizTalk, XML/XSD/XSLT), ERP (Dynamics, SAP, Oracle), Business Productivity (SharePoint, SQL/BI) and Microsoft Development Frameworks (.NET/C#/VB, ASP.NET, MVVM/MVC/EF, WCF/WPF/XAML/WF, LINQ). Erik is certified as an Azure MCP, Visual Studio/BizTalk MCTS, MCSE, MCDBA, and MCSD. He has delivered over 200+ webcasts, been a speaker at many TechEd and user group events, conducted 100+ training classes, and authored several papers.

Posted in: Developers, Digital strategy, Infrastructure, Innovation, integration tests, IT strategy, Open Innovation, project management, Software Development, SogetiLabs, Training, Transformation, User Experience, user stories      
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IoT in RetailThe Internet of Things (IoT) in Retail has been redefining the buying and selling experience for decades.  Remember when bar code scanners first arrived in our local stores speeding the checkout process? Or the first time we entered a credit card number into our browser to make an online purchase? Or the moment we became both customer and clerk as we checked ourselves out at a register? The Internet of Things has actually changed the course of the retail business. No wonder then that investment in the Internet of Things in the worldwide retail industry is expected to hit $37.6 billion and is expected to grow 20-35% per year over the next several years.

Today retail is synonymous with handheld devices that empower the customer and the retail associate. These devices and digital signs on shelves and walls provide a truly mobile experience and allow dynamic pricing, personalised coupons, and purchases anywhere in the store. Both buyers and sellers have easier access to up-to-the minute product, pricing, inventory and competitive information. And that’s a huge transformation in the retail value chain. Sogeti has helped

Several retailers roll out tablets and concierge apps to enable store associates access virtual product catalogs and customer profiles remotely and create a delightful in-store experience for the customer.

Up, close and personal with the customer – thanks to the Internet of Things!

Today retailers use technologies like Radio frequency ID (RFID) tags, geofenced stores, headcount cameras and gesture recognising displays that track customer movement within the store and help create richer and more personalised shopping experiences. This “fog” of devices and the Internet of connected things in the store is made omniscient by Cloud connectivity via wifi, bluetooth, 4G LTE and other communication protocols that provide access to Big Data storage and fast analysis. Insights are super-fast and enable immediate action by both the buyer and seller. Retailers work with marketing research experts and at the same time, use Cloud computing resources to help crunch numbers, and look for buying patterns and trends through statistical analysis and machine learning.

The line between the real and virtual worlds is blurring

In the next few years, expect to see science fiction become retail fact, as augmented reality enhances trying-on-and-buying everything from clothes, cars and furniture to books, movies, and video games. Expect concerns over privacy (though important) to be offset by the convenience of highly personalised services and customised information.  IKEA lets you paint, style and place virtual furniture anywhere you drop their product catalogue through your smart phone or tablet.  Lego lets you see and rotate a fully constructed and animated Lego set on top of the box at a kiosk or through your device.

Experience replicators, holodecks and robots in your local stores, neighborhood and eventually at home as 3D printers, holographic displays and drones allow you to highly customise existing products, bring your own ideas to life and take delivery in hours.  Home Depot partnered with MakerBot last year to create a 3D printer station in the store where you can scan and customise a hard-to-find knob, handle or part almost as easily as matching a paint color.  Tablet-based, table-top and wearable holographic displays like CospeTech Holho and Microsoft HoloLens will allow for more immersive interaction with virtual products reducing the need for large amounts of inventory and retail space. Amazon, Google and others are actively refining driverless cars, trucks and drones to deliver your customised orders the same day (or hour).

As Doug Stephens, founder of industry website Retail Prophet and author of The Retail Revival states, “We will see more disruption in the next ten years of retail than we did in the previous one thousand.”

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: The Internet of Things in Retail

Related Posts:

  1. Future of Retail: Nightmare on Elm Street
  2. A OS for the Physical World (of retail)
  3. A Facebook for (the internet of) Things
  4. Connected Objects are Physical Avatars for Digital Services

AUTHOR:
Erik Leaseburg joined the Sogeti Dallas office in May 2014. As a senior manager and solutions architect, Erik is focused on architecting, selling and leading innovative client projects in the Microsoft and Digital Transformation practices; developing technology partnerships with Microsoft, Xamarin, AIMS Innovation cloud monitoring, Metaio augmented reality,…; and fostering developer community and STEM outreach through work with Microsoft DigiGirlz – Intro to Game Development, Dallas Computer Vision-aries – Augmented Reality, IdeaWorks Fort Worth, Startup Weekend – Cashflow Mobile App, Dallas Entrepreneur Center – Kinect Hackathon, Girl Scouts – Intro to Web Development, and local .NET user groups. Erik has 20 years of architecture, evangelism, management, development, consulting, entrepreneurship, sales, training, outreach, public speaking, and R&D experience. He started his career in consulting at Andersen Consulting/Accenture, followed by 12 years of product architecture, services and sales at Microsoft, and more recently ITR Mobility and Neudesic. He has broad industry experience in communications, education, retail, transportation, oil and gas, finance, healthcare, insurance, engineering and software development. Erik has deep and broad experience with Cloud (Azure PaaS/Web/Mobile, IaaS/VMs, O365, SQL, TFS, BizTalk, Service Bus), NUI (Kinect gesture/audio, Metaio augmented reality, Surface, Robotics, IoT) Cross-Platform Development (Mono/Xamarin/C#, HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript, Mobile/Web/Desktop, Unix/Linux/Mainframe), Application Lifecycle Management (Agile/Scrum/CMMI, Visual Studio/TFS, Test/QA), SOA/ESB (BizTalk, XML/XSD/XSLT), ERP (Dynamics, SAP, Oracle), Business Productivity (SharePoint, SQL/BI) and Microsoft Development Frameworks (.NET/C#/VB, ASP.NET, MVVM/MVC/EF, WCF/WPF/XAML/WF, LINQ). Erik is certified as an Azure MCP, Visual Studio/BizTalk MCTS, MCSE, MCDBA, and MCSD. He has delivered over 200+ webcasts, been a speaker at many TechEd and user group events, conducted 100+ training classes, and authored several papers.

Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Big data, Business Intelligence, Cloud, communication, Developers, Digital strategy, e-Commerce, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT strategy, mobile applications, Virtualisation      
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The leader of our Digital Transformation practice in Dallas and SogetiLabs Member, David Yancey, asked all members of his practice to share candid user experience (UX) feedback on the best and worst websites. I compiled the following results, which though not earth-shattering, are good reminders of what to do and definitely what to avoid.

The Good

Clearly, the best websites are those backed by billion dollar business models, with hundreds of developers, UI/UX designers, architects and testers revamping and fine-tuning their production web properties for over a decade. Despite the ungodly amounts of money and resources, you can only dream of having one on your next project. Here are some obvious, but worthy-to-repeat website designs and tips:

Great Websites

Outlook.com: Microsoft Email, one thing Microsoft got rightUX pic 1 Google.com: Google, as in “Let me Google that for you, Mr./Ms. Client”UX pic 2
BofA.com: Bank of America–I just got paid! How am I already negative?UX pic 3 Amazon.com: Where everyone buys everythingUX pic 4
Netflix.com: The largest collection of horrible, but streamable movies and television series ever made, along with a few good showsUX pic 5

Cool Features

  • Innovative usage of scrolling feature and CSS
  • Clean and simple UI
  • Fast load times
  • Mobile and desktop responsive websites that resize well and are easy to use
  • Desktop capabilities in the website like drag & drop, and right-click features
  • Good cross-browser coverage (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE/Edge, mobile browsers, etc.)
  • One or two clicks required at the most for common actions
  • Eye catching images
  • Solid search results with advanced search features
  • Auto-save feature (because losing data really sucks)
  • Up-to-date information/content
  • Good use of background video and images (blurring, contrast softening, differential scrolling, etc.)
The Bad

These websites are average, if not completely bad. In fact, some survey respondents listed one or two of these websites as their favorites. But as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Although these websites may fall on either side of the fence, the annoyances they include are worth reducing in your own web projects.

Average Websites

Reddit.com: Feedback site where people mostly complain about stuffUX pic 6 DallasNews.com: All the local news that’s fit to poorly presentUX pic 7
Frys.com: Online electronics site that is as big, scary, and overpriced as their brick & mortar storeUX pic 8 ESPN.com: Sports news delivered in an a dizzying array of formatsUX pic 9
GMail.com: Google Mail–Surprisingly not great but steadily getting betterUX pic 10

Annoying Features

  • No hover-over/popup menu support
  • Inconsistent search
  • Poor mobile browser support
  • Slow load times
  • Too many scrolling/flashing widgets
  • Information scattered and chaotically arranged/organized
  • No auto-complete fields
The Ugly

It was a blast, and quite instructive, to visit the many, horrible websites the survey respondents submitted.  I wish, I could list all of them for the laughs and tears they provided. Just like ugly dog contests, and epic fail videos, a quick search of ugly websites will return a plethora of UI/UX ideas to avoid, like the plague. An overwhelming number of these websites are small business websites, designed by the owner or a family member and were brought to life on the World Wide Web, when saying WWW was still considered cool.

Hideous Websites

Life.us.sogeti.com:  Sogeti Life–Count yourself lucky that real life isn’t this painful except on FridaysUX pic 11 Thamelmall.com:  Nepal’s leading eCommerce site–Good luck avoiding Access DB exception landminesUX pic 12
Cavs.mit.edu:  MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies–advanced visual torture tactics that isUX pic 13 Warnerbros.com/spacejam/movie/jam.htm:  SpaceJam Movie–Michael Jordan and Bugs are still laughing about this oneUX pic 14
UglyTub.com: Tub Re-glazing small business site–if only we could re-glaze this ugly websiteUX pic 15

Scary Features

  • Web UI reminiscent of the 90’s
  • Classic ASP web pages with Access Jet errors and line numbers being returned to the unfortunate users
  • Cluttered web pages with image and text overload
  • Fonts-o-plenty in more colors and varieties than a box of Good-and-Plenty
  • Popup windows and ads because everyone likes playing the modern UI version of Whack-a-Mole
Summary

This is obviously not a comprehensive list of websites and features, but it is fairly representative. Send me a bribe, and I’ll be sure to include your favorite or most hated websites and features in the 2nd edition of this article, which I’ll write when my client sends me on an all-expense paid vacation to Alpha Centauri.

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: Web UX Designs that Work or Fail, AND Why…

Related Posts:

  1. Better be ugly to be successful on the Internet
  2. The Future of Big Data: Big Negative or Big Positive?
  3. Automation a.k.a “fail often, fail early”
  4. Microsoft’s Future of Work: Giant Displays and Super Thin Tablets

 

 

AUTHOR:
Erik Leaseburg joined the Sogeti Dallas office in May 2014. As a senior manager and solutions architect, Erik is focused on architecting, selling and leading innovative client projects in the Microsoft and Digital Transformation practices; developing technology partnerships with Microsoft, Xamarin, AIMS Innovation cloud monitoring, Metaio augmented reality,…; and fostering developer community and STEM outreach through work with Microsoft DigiGirlz – Intro to Game Development, Dallas Computer Vision-aries – Augmented Reality, IdeaWorks Fort Worth, Startup Weekend – Cashflow Mobile App, Dallas Entrepreneur Center – Kinect Hackathon, Girl Scouts – Intro to Web Development, and local .NET user groups. Erik has 20 years of architecture, evangelism, management, development, consulting, entrepreneurship, sales, training, outreach, public speaking, and R&D experience. He started his career in consulting at Andersen Consulting/Accenture, followed by 12 years of product architecture, services and sales at Microsoft, and more recently ITR Mobility and Neudesic. He has broad industry experience in communications, education, retail, transportation, oil and gas, finance, healthcare, insurance, engineering and software development. Erik has deep and broad experience with Cloud (Azure PaaS/Web/Mobile, IaaS/VMs, O365, SQL, TFS, BizTalk, Service Bus), NUI (Kinect gesture/audio, Metaio augmented reality, Surface, Robotics, IoT) Cross-Platform Development (Mono/Xamarin/C#, HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript, Mobile/Web/Desktop, Unix/Linux/Mainframe), Application Lifecycle Management (Agile/Scrum/CMMI, Visual Studio/TFS, Test/QA), SOA/ESB (BizTalk, XML/XSD/XSLT), ERP (Dynamics, SAP, Oracle), Business Productivity (SharePoint, SQL/BI) and Microsoft Development Frameworks (.NET/C#/VB, ASP.NET, MVVM/MVC/EF, WCF/WPF/XAML/WF, LINQ). Erik is certified as an Azure MCP, Visual Studio/BizTalk MCTS, MCSE, MCDBA, and MCSD. He has delivered over 200+ webcasts, been a speaker at many TechEd and user group events, conducted 100+ training classes, and authored several papers.

Posted in: communication, Developers, e-Commerce, functional testing, Human Interaction Testing, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT strategy, SogetiLabs, User Experience, User Interface      
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