Friday Oct 17, 2008

Twittering a Usability Test

We noticed that when the Labs were running user tests, we would see a flurry of email about status and schedule. Stuff that was highly relevant at the moment and then not at all. Material that seemed like it should be on ones twitter-feed not ones inbox. So for the last two user tests , we tried something new. We created a  twitter account for the user test , got a badge for it. We placed the badge on the website we create for the client-product group. Now we could tweet about schedule changes , status, and even how a session was going. In the beginning, the badge was a marginal element on the client page, but in a matter of hours, we moved it to be the main content area. Anyone with the twitter account information could put in the updates. They could do so from a variety of platforms. and 140 characters was just perfect for our short, transient messages. A good use of web 2.0  in the company. Now if we could twitter within the intranet... we could even share comments and notes this way !

Here are a couple of screen shots , to give you some idea of how this worked visually. 

http://blogs.sun.com/designatsun/resource/feed.png 

http://blogs.sun.com/designatsun/resource/feed.pnghttp://blogs.sun.com/designatsun/resource/feed.png 

Tuesday Jun 24, 2008

Build social applications with Zembly

After more than a year of being in stealth mode, Zembly was launched earlier this month. As the interaction designer on the project, it was fun being part of a talented and driven team to deliver a platform for easily creating and hosting social applications. Using just your browser and your creativity, and working collaboratively with others, Zembly let's you create and publish Facebook apps, Meebo apps, OpenSocial apps, iPhone apps, Google Gadgets, embeddable widgets, and other social applications.

zembly_pic

Zembly provides several features that allow you to get started quickly building social applications. Applications in Zembly consist of widgets, which are reusable pieces of user interface, and services, which are reusable server-side logic that ties everything together. Using just these two concepts, you can create social applications that run in many of the major social networking platforms. You also have access to what other users create on Zembly and the large number of APIs and data from anywhere on the web. These are available contextually from a find & use pallette while you build your application. Results from leading web API providers like Amazon, Flickr, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo appear alongside remixable pieces and parts from other zembly users. Just click to add the line of code that lets you call that provider from your application.

Zembly is in private beta mode and there are still invitations available. Go over to Zembly to know more about the product and to request an invitation. There is also the Zembly blog where you have access to documentation to get you started building widgets and applications. The Zembly team is always looking to improve the product, so your feedback is always welcome. Let us know of your experiences with the product at the Zembly forum or at GetSatisfaction. If you are on twitter and would like to follow Zembly, head over to the Zembly twitter page.

zembly_pic     Prasant Sivadasan is the user experience designer for Zembly
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