December 9, 2020

Developed by Bottle Rocket with Notifications by Airship, Caesars Entertainment Unveils Enhancements to its Guest Experience with its First Ever Apple App Clip

DALLAS, Dec. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Bottle Rocket, a leading digital experience company, today announced the launch of an Apple App Clip for its partner Caesars Entertainment, the largest casino and entertainment company in the U.S. This innovation allows on-site guests to locate their hotel room and book restaurant reservations quickly and easily without downloading the Caesars Rewards mobile app. The App Clip also leverages push notifications from Caesars' engagement partner, Airship.

"With App Clips, Caesars is now able to offer guests a contextual, powerful utility at their point of need."

"We are proud to have partnered with Caesars to design and develop this new engagement channel that has the power to drive immediate business value," states Rajesh Midha, Bottle Rocket's Chief Experience Officer. "With App Clips, Caesars is now able to offer guests a contextual, powerful utility at their point of need while also driving app downloads and usage among current and prospective loyalty members."

Launched earlier this year, App Clips are simple, powerful, native app experiences that give users the convenience of accomplishing a specific task without downloading a mobile app. Highly contextual in nature, App Clips are accessible via QR codes, NFC touchpoints, or from links within brand communications, and can help eliminate friction from the customer journey while also improving the discoverability of a brand's full native mobile experience.

"Via Caesars' App Clip, we are able to offer guests a frictionless means of navigating their way through Caesars Palace Las Vegas and an 'on the spot' ability to book a restaurant reservation at Flamingo Las Vegas with ease and convenience," said Jeffrey De Korte, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Caesars Entertainment. "Simultaneously, we are enhancing the overall brand experience for our guests, driving trial of our loyalty app and removing barriers to commerce in ways we never could before." 

"Caesars' smart use of transactional App Clip notifications is a great demonstration of the proactive and personalized experiences customers can expect from their full loyalty app," said Bernardo de Albergaria, Airship's Chief Commercial Officer. "App Clips address some of the biggest and most expensive marketing challenges of the past decade — app discovery and user acquisition — while helping marketers prove the value of notifications before asking for the opt in."

This article was published on PRNewswire.com.

October 2, 2020

12 Things Every Dev Should Know About Ergonomic Software Design

Ergonomic design has long been a primary consideration for developing furniture, hardware and other consumer products. But ergonomics doesn’t only apply to physical objects; good ergonomic design is a factor in everything people interact with, including software and mobile apps. Therefore, tech developers need to be thinking about this as they design and create user experiences.

To help, we asked a panel of experts from Forbes Technology Council to explain what developers should know about ergonomic design.

1. You must consider the audience and platform.

One should flow through the user experience, not be challenged by it. Your fingers or hand should move without your eyes or head struggling to figure out where to go. One essential factor that tech developers need to consider in ergonomic design is the audience and platform. Due to the constant proliferation of new formats, we have to look at the latest studies on user interface and user experience, not just accept the old way. - Jack Weiss, Marena Cosmos

2. Comprehensive accessibility needs to be factored into software and app design.

Accessibility should go beyond ease of use to ensure products are inclusive for all users, whether through voice-over services, designing around color blindness or giving the option to resize text. Often, features designed for accessibility will make the product more enjoyable for all users. - John Machado, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group)

3. Don’t create friction on the path to value.

Ensure that the solution doesn’t create friction in getting to the value. Specifically, in the case of high-volume systems, it’s important to organize capabilities and data into consumable groups, avoiding the temptation to flood users with all relevant data in hopes they will find what they need. Design to avoid alert and analysis fatigue and deliver outcomes, not capabilities. - Jack Danahy, Alert Logic

4. Don’t try to develop a single solution for all platforms.

The best ergonomics for each platform are pretty well known at this point. The mistake many people make is to try to create one solution that works on everything. Your website should have different ergonomics than your iOS app, and your Android app should be a little different from iOS. It is obvious that voice experiences are very different, but don’t treat all screens the same. - Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

5. Consider users with visual impairments.

You need to consider those with visual difficulties. I once worked for a company that had a developer who was legally blind. He had to use special screen magnifiers to use a computer, and he had a difficult time moving back and forth across the screen. If the developers had rearranged the screen when magnified at a certain level, then his life would have been easier. - Graydon McKee, Pyramid Consulting

6. Aim for a distraction-free delivery.

Ergonomics are the foundation by which a user can engage with software. Many think new types of tech—such as augmented or virtual reality—are doing away with ergonomics when in fact they are predicated on it. For a user to be immersed in software, they must be comfortable and undistracted by its delivery. An engineer must consider the environment in which they are developing as a means to their engineering end. - Pierce Brantley, Cytracom

7. Put yourself in the end-user’s shoes.

It all starts with the use case for the end consumers. For example, an online retail shopping app will have different flows than an RPG game. In either case, the dev team must place themselves in the shoes of the user to map out all actions required to complete the digital journey. Once the mapping is done, then it's a matter of working backward to design the UI and layout to maximize ergonomics for each. - Tanvir Bhangoo, Freshii Inc.

8. Recognize potential physical and neurological limitations.

Ergonomic software design is all about usability, user-friendliness and accessibility. To that end, it’s important to recognize the physical and neurological limitations that some users might face. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates that websites be accessible to the blind and those with motor and other impairments. Your software should take the same into consideration. - John Shin, RSI Security

9. Seek simplicity.

Ergonomic design is essential to the success of any digital product. Why? Because no user wants to deal with the hassle of counterintuitive interfaces. Filling your software with cumbersome features or workflows will only get it replaced by a sleeker, more efficient one. Remove as much friction as possible between the user and your product. As Leonardo da Vinci has been credited with saying, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC

10. Account for variations among mobile devices and operating systems.

The mobile factor is critical. With the variety of mobile devices available today, the way your app or mobile tech behaves impacts the user experience. People with disabilities or larger hands may struggle with small buttons and links. Devices that aren’t up to date with the latest OS may affect UX too, since they may not work with newer Web dev technologies like WebAssembly, AMP, etc. - Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

11. Make needed data accessible via comfortable, intuitive actions.

At a jet engine overhaul plant in Brazil, I saw amazing consideration given to the preparation of work and ergonomics. Parts were laid out in order, seats were in position and tools were ready for comfortable and safe usage. Software needs the same consideration for the user. Given the user decision, is all the data they need accessible with comfortable and intuitive actions? Is it a pleasure to use in their workflow? - Steven Gustafson, Noonum

12. Put your product through rigorous testing and refinements.

When thinking about ergonomic design, tech developers need to consider the varying degrees of needs, usability and comfort for end-users. To achieve good ergonomic design, a product will need to go through rigorous testing and refinements to achieve exceptional results. The goal of this process is to remove all unnecessary friction while creating an experience worth revisiting. - Abishek Surana Rajendra, Course Hero

This article was published on Forbes.com.

May 18, 2020

How Mobile Experiences Can Adapt For Isolation

Technology is typically associated with the lifestyle of young people who spend too much time connected to their phones, travel around frequently and find ways to make their own lives easier by living what we often refer to as the "connected lifestyle." But what works well away from home can also work when you’re isolated at home.

In a time like this, many users are working from home, and while this may not be the norm in the future, it's important to find ways to adapt to this norm now -- for the sake of those who may find themselves in a similar situation down the road and for the sake of improving our processes overall in the long run.

Take the following industries -- and isolation-focused adaptations -- for example:

Food Delivery

Mobile ordering was originally launched as a way to help cut down the wait time at dining locations, but now we see that it is easy to transition the same ordering capabilities to a delivery service. Although not trivial, adding a delivery location and charge is only an incremental change on top of the menu and scheduling pieces that had to exist regardless.

Supporting multiple delivery locations on your profile, or suggesting prior addresses like Amazon does with their orders, would make it easier to order food for your family members that may have trouble getting out -- or for that friend who just had a baby who you’d love to visit. Support for simultaneous orders would mean you could have a videoconference meal together and rave about the local eatery while still keeping your distance.

Games And Entertainment

Digital content, both games and video, has been available through mobile devices for some time, but the advantage of everyone in the house being able to stream at the same time is even more critical when the whole family can’t leave for entertainment outside the home. Supporting more types of devices feels like a heavy lift when you assume only one or two people in a household will be using your service at once, but when everyone is home, all the screens can be in use at the same time, and that old device no one has touched in a couple of years is pulled into active duty.

Enjoying content together is a real differentiator. Simultaneous streaming of on-demand content allows that feeling of hanging around the TV watching a movie together, even if you’re apart. Some enterprising individuals have implemented this for Netflix on their own with a Chrome extension.

E-Learning

Independent, customized, self-paced learning has been possible for some time, but there wasn’t much opportunity to try it at a large scale. Apps like Duolingo provide flexible, gamified learning that works on the go, but also works at home with focused study.

Services should think about how they handle more dedicated sessions, as well as the bite-sized interactions that they may initially optimize for. How would you supplement the learning with additional content for those who might need to hear it explained a different way? With language apps becoming more common as a replacement for language teachers, we're seeing a huge shift in self-paced learning.

Telemedicine

Whether in a health pandemic or not, telemedicine is seeing a huge ROI through lower costs and faster, more convenient service. Although certainly no replacement for in-person visits, it can provide a valuable service for common issues that are handled through self-care.

Although prescreening questions are helpful, dynamic versions that dig into specific issues could be even more beneficial. If someone says they have a fever, ask about the severity and duration. During flu season, ask some questions that could confirm or rule out that diagnosis. Gathering baseline metrics several weeks after treatment, and throughout the year, would be beneficial for detecting anomalies -- especially if the records could be shared across partners, or at least within the same network.

The Internet Of Things

Smart devices permeate our homes, and automation and alerts from any activity are becoming the norm. Doorbells announce a delivery, and garage doors announce departures. Cameras monitor fur babies and furless babies.

Sharing access to these devices with a “circle of trust” makes it easier for a group to monitor a single location. The security concerns around these devices are paramount, so limiting access to everyone outside the circle is critical.

Fitness

The mobile revolution obviously brought better mobile tracking through apps and later wrist-mounted computers that could measure your activity passively, but also encourage good behavior. When working from home, it’s easier to become even more sedentary, with all work activities happening in a single room, and relaxing is often done within sight of that spot.

Social aspects of this should be prioritized -- to help connect and encourage people to stay active. Positive peer pressure through automatic sharing of your activity means that people aren’t able to hide, and we can hold each other accountable for good habits. Integration with social platforms should be seen as a way of amplifying the reach, not diluting the brand by leaving the walled garden you may have wanted to create.

It’s A Matter Of Accessibility

It’s certain that any sort of discussion around the connected lifestyle should include at least one use case where the user is at home -- and how we should optimize for that scenario moving forward. This, outside of our current crisis, is a great way to create a more accessible app for those who are homebound all the time. When pursuing this use case, consider the following:

• Look at the home as a primary use location.

• Looking into letting users share their experience with friends remotely.

• Focus on experiences with a long duration.

As is often the case, building for one constraint leads to improvements for many. If we all push ourselves to make improvements, we can work toward a better tomorrow, whether isolated or not.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com

May 7, 2020

15 Technologies That Will Disrupt The Industry In The Next Five Years

Five years ago, the words "artificial intelligence" and "machine learning" were on everyone's lips. Today, these technologies form a core part of how companies do business. Because technology is ever-evolving, there will always be new tech emerging on the horizon.

However, the past has shown us that not every emerging technology can remain relevant, much less disrupt entire sectors of the economy. With each new crop of technologies, there are usually a few that have that potential. Fifteen members of Forbes Technology Council discuss some of today’s emerging technologies that they expect to be game-changers in the next five years.

1. 5G Technology

The biggest disruptors are those that simplify the user experience, and 5G accomplishes just that. Even in fields like customer service, 5G can both enhance and simplify the customer experience. Voice calls will be clearer, video support more accessible and greater bandwidth will enable the widespread adoption of AI/automation. The result? Richer, easier and more helpful customer support. - Mike De La Cruz, Directly

2. Unsupervised Machine Learning

Unsupervised machine learning (UML) is disrupting how we leverage data for predictions and intelligence. Unlike traditional ML, it works without any data training or labeling, which enables it to recognize and flag unknown patterns and make more accurate predictions. UML eliminates the limitations of preexisting knowledge or human bias, and will therefore enable insights never before possible. - Yinglian Xie, DataVisor

3. Robotic Accuracy And Automation

The next game-changer will be more human intelligence-based robotics and automation. Think about drones delivering packages with human understanding: "Please place this order beside this vase on my living room table." If the vase got moved, the drone will realize that it moved at delivery time (vision recognition) and either deliver it there or ask the user for a new precise delivery location. - Ayman Shoukry, Specright Inc.

4. Intelligent Tech Revolutionizing Security

Intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are already enabling us to respond more dynamically to information sharing over email. It’s possible to detect when someone is about to make a mistake, as well as detect intentionally risky behavior such as exfiltrating data. This technology will revolutionize the way organizations consume security solutions and ensure that email is safe to use. - Tony Pepper, Egress

5. Connected Telehealth Solutions

As the pandemic strains hospitals, I’m encouraged by policy changes and shifts in public opinion that will lead to widespread adoption of telehealth. New telehealth apps, when made interoperable with critical patient data in electronic health records and other platforms of engagement for healthcare providers and payers, will change the paradigm with how care can be delivered more effectively. - David Wenger, Bridge Connector

6. Augmented And Virtual Reality

Virtual reality and augmented reality devices are becoming more capable and cost-effective by the minute. The possibility of using a VR space to interact with customers or co-workers seems much more plausible, and provides a richer interaction. The virtual experience may provide another revenue stream from customers, or be a sales tool to entice them to experience it for real. - Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

7. Hyperautomation

Hyperautomation provides companies with a framework to use a combination of AI and MLto identify and automate any business processes. Hyperautomation can span across a range of tools that can be automated, but also refers to the overall complexity of the automation. Robust data warehousing and availability of historical data becomes integral to being able to analyze the trends and gaps in current processes. - Jahn Karsybaev, Prosource IT

8. Edge Computing

AI and ML will increase in effectiveness when moving processing closer to the user. Edge computing will transform how data is processed and delivered to the end user, along with 5G data networks. New applications and the explosion of IoT devices will drive this new paradigm. - William McSorley, WM3 Group LLC

9. Spatial Computing

Spatial computing provides a new relationship between humans and digital content. Controlling interfaces with eyes, gestures and voice in a seamless and integrative manner offers a new precedent for interaction with the world. The technology has been partially used in semi-autonomous cars, drones and robots. The digital world will become more and more seamless with the real world. - Alexandro Pando, Xyrupt Technologies

10. Quantum Computing And IoT

AI and ML will continue to be on trend, but a few other things are coming. First of all, we’re talking about quantum computing. Once this moves from prototype to practice, it will create a breakthrough similar to the invention of the computer or the launch of the internet. The second thing that is trendy now and will continue to grow is IoT. Devices and their practical application are growing daily and will continue to grow. - Boris Kontsevoi, Intetics Inc.

11. DataOps

Given how many technologies we have gathering and transmitting data, I feel that DataOps will become more essential going forward. Organizations will need to adopt agile approaches and increase collaboration to manage and analyze the data. When they do, they'll unleash a wave of insights that will drive transformations at all levels, big and small. - Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

12. Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing (NLP) seems to be a game-changer these days. We want robots to be able to process human speech and be able to intelligently react to it. A minor change in a sentence can dramatically change the intent, so we want to make sure robots can handle them! - Gev Balyan, UCRAFT

13. Value Stream Management

Value stream management (VSM) is definitely a game-changer, because this breakthrough technology is now seen through a different lens—a lens of an (almost) completely remote workforce. You now need VSM to maintain visibility, which is a critical component of successful software development in the new world. - Bob Davis, Plutora

14. Additive Manufacturing

Complex geometries unsupported by traditional machining and injection molding can now be created on demand with a single print. As 3D printing becomes increasingly integral to the manufacturing zeitgeist, more businesses will have access to rapid prototyping, tooling and direct manufacturing, and acquire new core competencies. The world is on the cusp of fully embracing this disruptive technology. - Christopher Yang, Corporate Travel Management

15. Regulatory Tech Coming To Government

I'm interested in seeing how regulation tech develops. This category of technology enables governments to implement enforcement and monitoring activities required by law. This trend has the potential to make it easier for businesses and individuals to comply with regulations. There is also a dark side to this trend—how will it impact privacy and freedom? - Nelson Cicchitto, Avatier Corporation

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

May 1, 2020

14 Trends Mobile App Designers Should Remember To Improve UX

User experience is one of the most important considerations for an app designer—particularly a designer addressing the unique challenges presented by mobile devices. Using the right design strategies and remembering to incorporate the latest UX trends can boost an app’s usability and popularity, as well as your company’s bottom line.

Below, 14 experts from Forbes Technology Council share the UX trends that mobile app designers should be focusing on.

1. Offering A Well-Rounded Experience

I think it all has to be about the end-to-end user experience. The user shouldn’t know if they are dealing with the front end or the back end as long as they can consume resources and accomplish what they are trying to do. - Haim GlickmanSungard Availability Services Limited

2. Using Open-Source Toolkits

By leveraging one of the many open-source toolkits to build hybrid applications, you are building on top of functionality that is battle-tested by the technology community. Even better, you can staff an engineering team capable of building an application that reuses components across iOS/Android, phones and tablets, and even the Web. It’s maximum productivity. - John BelloneSS&C Health

3. Leveraging PWA Tech

Thanks to progressive Web application (PWA) technology, developers can distribute their apps outside app stores and directly from their Web pages. PWA can deliver native-like capabilities without the need to develop separate apps for different stores. Most notably, developers can save on app store commissions (up to 30%) and share such savings with their users. - Ahmad (Al) FaresCeliTech Inc.

4. Including Portrait And Landscape Views

Ensuring that your app is designed to accommodate both portrait and landscape views allows users to orient their device for maximum visibility in the way that works best for them. This flexibility in experience design increases satisfaction and delight and helps maximize adoption among users. - Amy CzuchlewskiBottle Rocket

5. Focusing On Consistency

Consistency is key across your mobile app—for example, every feature is three or fewer touches/clicks from the point of logging in. Such consistency directs the user to quickly achieve their task and hence raises their productivity. - Ayman ShoukrySpecright Inc.

6. Enhancing Accessibility

Accessibility should become an essential part of mobile app development out of empathy alone. Otherwise, we would fail to reach close to 15% of the world’s population. Furthermore, embracing accessibility drives innovation. It forces developers to understand apps from a whole different perspective, leading us to new and inclusive ways of interacting with software applications. - Nacho De MarcoBairesDev

7. Adding Interactive Features

I would say a combination of several things will be trendy: animated illustrations, video content, storytelling and gamification. Users expect applications to be interactive, and we are going in a direction where video will be one of the main ways to deliver content to users. - Boris KontsevoiIntetics Inc.

8. Featuring Image-Based Controls

As mobile screens are getting bigger, their viewing experiences vary, too. Users are expecting an image-based rather than text-based experience to simplify their orientation. Smart UX designers will enable users to search and navigate using more intuitive image-based controls while eliminating the menu clutter. - Liat ZakayDonde Search

9. Enabling Dark Mode

Light has such a significant effect on our bodies—it changes our sleeping patterns, the way our brains work and more. By giving people the power to use dark mode on a mobile app you give them a way to turn off the light and still stay online (which we know they’ll do anyway.) Better still, give them the option to have it switch on and off based on their local time so they don’t have to change it manually. - Thomas GriffinOptinMonster

10. Designing For All Users

Inclusive design is becoming more and more critical. In the past, designers thought about meeting accessibility requirements to meet legal requirements (e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act). That’s table stakes in mobile apps and no longer enough to be successful. The next opportunity is to design for all users. - Nelson CicchittoAvatier Corporation

11. Mimicking A Conversational Experience

Mobile apps have been developed as a separate channel for consumers when it comes to the business-to-consumer industry. Given the push toward an omnichannel, universal experience, a mobile app needs to mimic real-life experiences—for example, when ordering a coffee at a cafe, it includes a conversation with the cashier. A mobile app needs to mimic a similar real-life experience so it seems less technical and more human. - Tanvir BhangooFreshii Inc.

12. Creating Shared Experiences

A lot of professional work and personal dialogue is moving online, especially now with the quarantine in effect. Therefore, the user experience should be envisioned as being for more than the individual. Today, technology is becoming inherently more social, and its evolution is needed now more than ever. Tech must be mobilized to create products and shared experiences that society can benefit from. - Alexandro PandoXyrupt Technologies

13. Ensuring It’s Fun And Engaging

You want your app to be fun and engaging—something that lights up those pleasure centers in the user’s brain whenever they open it. One way to achieve this is by integrating animation. Even simple microinteractions and active menu item animations can make your app easier and more fun to use while giving it a polished, high-tech feel. - Ron CogburnExela Technologies

14. Incorporating Auditor And/Or User Feedback

Testing your assumptions is a “trend” that never fades, and for good reason—it’s one of the fastest, most effective ways to figure out if your designs are solving problems or creating more. Whether it’s bringing in a UX researcher to audit your app or giving early access to your intended audience, this type of feedback is crucial to formulating a more engaging, relevant user experience. - Marc FischerDogtown Media LLC

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

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