February 8, 2017

Talking Digital Loyalty with Urban Airship

When Urban Airship, an integration partner for our custom apps and TVE and OTT platform, AWE, wants to know what top digital studios are doing, they come to Bottle Rocket.

One of our Business Development brainiacs, Jake Montgomery, joined a panel at Urban Airship’s 2017 kickoff to give them an answer.

“What's hot for us is digital loyalty,” Jake said. He gave this example of digital (aka mobile) loyalty, an aspect of which is delivering incentives and rewards via mobile, for those new to the concept: “Let’s say a customer goes to a coffee shop four times in a week. On the fifth visit that week, you might surprise and delight them with a free coffee, just because.”

That would be pretty sweet, right? Jake explained more of Bottle Rocket’s redefining work on mobile loyalty — you can read his complete remarks on Urban Airship’s blog.

August 25, 2016

Uday Gajendar Speaks About Enterprise UX at UX Meet-Up

The User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) has many chapters all across the world that hold weekly and monthly events. Recently, the local Dallas chapter had a UX Meet-Up hosted here at Bottle Rocket.

The featured speaker was Uday Gajendar, the well known User Experience pro, lecturer, conference founder and business coach. His work has taken him to places like Citirx, Adobe, Oracle and Facebook where he established himself as a leading authority on Enterprise UX; the design and development of apps and software typically used inside a business rather than by the public.

Uday Gajendar presenting about Enterprise UX at UXPA Dallas UX Meet-Up hosted by Bottle Rocket

His presentation to an audience of about 65 local UX practitioners discussed User Experience in the context of "craft". Uday proposed that the same level of care and detail goes into the work but the result is less a “precious object” and more of a “facilitating anchor”. He recounted specific examples of success in large organizations and start-ups and pointed out the differences in the environments and their impact on the way people approach design.

The talk was followed by a question and response session giving the audience an opportunity to explore his concepts more deeply during which Uday offered more examples and great advice.

No matter the application, we love talking UX here at Bottle Rocket. Contact us today to find out how our team of experts can enhance your mobile user experience.

March 17, 2016

Rocketeer Adam Polansky Featured in UX Inspired Webshow

Recently, Rocketeer Adam Polansky appeared in an episode of Expose UX. This new web TV show focuses on startup founders seeking help from UX experts.

Richard Brevig, the executive producer of the show, founded his own tech startup and realized no one knew how to use his product. With help from the UX community, he was able to fix the usability of that product. The advice he received from these UX specialists inspired him to develop the concept for Expose UX.

“It’s good to look at apps in infancy and fix things before it is too late,” Adam commented on his experience. “[Expose UX] brings awareness to an industry issue that many don’t tend to think about.”

We’re proud of Adam for giving back to budding startups in a way that reflects the work Bottle Rocket does on a day-to-day basis. Make sure to check out Adam's latest Expose UX episodes.


May 13, 2015

Key Takeaways for Mobile App Loyalty from SPG

Loyalty and reward programs deliver loads of expected perks. But what about the total mobile app user experience? Surely more is possible with a loyalty mobile app than pushing coupons and logging reward points.

Following the path of true customer value offers rewards of a different kind. For both customers and businesses alike.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is a great example of a brand that demonstrated that a user journey focus is a real linchpin to success. Such an approach was inherent in the development and deployment of SPG Keyless, the Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) loyalty and rewards mobile app.

SPG Keyless is the hospitality industry’s first truly mobile and keyless entry system. In essence, it allows guests to use their smartphones as a key at Aloft, Element and W Hotels around the world. In addition to a smoother, more efficient hotel experience, the app ultimately resulted in a revolutionized user experience.


Here are three key takeaways on loyalty app success we can learn from Starwood Hotels & Resorts:

Takeaway #1: Your customer holds the answer

The Starwood team surveyed travelers and guests. The survey revealed two key benefits of major importance with users. First, personalization and customization. Users wanted control over their own individual room preferences, and the SPG® mobile app delivered down to the last detail. Want a room with a view? No problem. Need to be close to the elevator? You got it.

The second desired benefit was saving time. Transforming a smartphone into a room key at over 1000 locations in 100 different countries accomplished exactly that. Oh, did we mention it also gives you the ability to skip front desk check-in? That’s a time saver we can all appreciate.

Takeaway #2: Leverage inherit assets

The SPG mobile app held a major advantage over others in the space: the Starwood-owned physical locations themselves. This proved an ideal environment for beta testing. It also provided a wealth of feedback from users, guests, travelers and the hospitality staff (associates) as well.

All of these factors played a vital role in the utility the SPG mobile app ultimately delivered. In fact, freeing associates of many transactional duties helped them become true brand ambassadors for Starwood and its related properties.

Takeaway #3: Lead, follow or get out of the way

Starwood could have taken the safe route. Offered some nice amenities and simply “me too” the app design. They didn’t. And we as the developers of the mobile app didn’t either. That doesn’t mean there weren’t obstacles or challenges. There were plenty. Security issues had to be considered, and an extensive process for cataloging room amenities had to be developed, to name a few. In short, the SPG team delivered far more than just a loyalty app.

They provided a key brand difference and reason to choose Starwood over other properties.


What’s your experience (be honest) with loyalty and rewards programs?

Share your feedback in the comments on what’s worked or what frustrates you. (See we can do surveys too!) Need guidance on your next mobile app design project? Contact us and let’s talk.

April 17, 2015

Inventing Micro UX for the Apple Watch

The future can reveal itself in ever fleeting glimpses. Fortunately, a select group of marketing and tech executives had a bird’s eye view of it at our recent invitation-only Mobile Summit.

The event featured one session, presented by Michael Griffith, that expanded on the future potential and the ultimate vision for UX.


Consider these four immediate (and indelible) takeaways on future app development projects:

  1. Envision solutions designed as systems that have the flexibility to support all platforms and devices.
  2. If content is king then context is queen, all in the form of micro-experiences.
  3. Location, time, events, and algorithms are the initial drivers of the context revolution.
  4. Go beyond how it works on a screen. Also, think NO screen.


One of our own, Michael Griffith, led the “Emerging Experiences and Micro UX” session. Griffith provided examples such as Evernote, Neato, and Diptic, which all shared a common theme: the utility of getting what you need from the app on top without a levels-deep foray through cumbersome navigation and other options. To put it more simply, these applications offer the user a simplified experience with an intuitive interface that allows the user to take full advantage of what the app has to offer without having to sift through multiple layers of menus and options to complete desired tasks.

How will these shifts and trends realistically play out? Let us count the ways. Perhaps motorcycle helmets with built-in operating systems, or apps that actually share real-time data with each other; the possibilities are endless and offer the potential to create an entirely new experience.

All of which make emerging experiences and Micro UX trends not only important to watch, but also stay ahead of. (If that’s possible.)


Inventing micro UX for the Watch

Griffith even shared his quick take on the Apple Watch. Putting aside the price tag, this smartwatch moves the needle in some remarkable ways. Take the Glances feature for example. Glances are to the Apple Watch what widgets are to the phone. The user gets full functionality without actually launching an app. (Some relevant examples included weather, stocks, and sports scores.)


Enter a multi-nav approach

Of course, with every new technology, comes now design. Below are two of the most used techniques for designing navigation through applications and now watches.


Hierarchical navigation: think list view.

diagram representing hierarchical navigation

Paginated navigation: the ability to swipe through a number of screens.

examples of paginated navigation icons

It doesn't stop at the navigation though, even the way the wearer touches the Apple Watch will have different results. For example, pressing more firmly or forced touch actions will trigger a different outcome than just the normal tap.

Curious about our perspective on the Apple Watch?


Four Apple Watch predictions (bank on them)

  1. Early adopters? Likely fanboys and fitness band wearers.
  2. Primary use cases will be notifications and payments.
  3. Micro experiences will drive contextual experience design.
  4. Some industry players will benefit, others will be left behind.


All in all, the Mobile Summit was a real success when considering the ideas shared, the observations made and the conclusions drawn.

What micro experiences are you most excited about? Share your voice via Facebook or Twitter.

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