CeBIT raffle: Congratulations to our winners

Champagne_Showers_2_by_Merlin2525

The dice have fallen, luck has decided, the winners of the Pidoco CeBIT raffle have been determined! Every visitor at our CeBIT booth who left their contact with us participated in the raffle automatically. Whether they talked directly to us or just left their card in the box provided was of no significance, everybody had the chance of winning a 6-month Expert License for Pidoco’s Usability Suite.

Ten lucky winners have been informed of their wins via email and we congratulate them warmly. We hope you will enjoy using Pidoco.

Congratulations from the entire Pidoco Team!

If you were not among the lucky winners or missed us at CeBIT and would like to pre-trial the new features of our next release, email us at support@pidoco.com.

Security Announcement: OpenSSL security breach “Heartbleed“

Earlier this week security experts detected a significant security breach in some versions of the popular OpenSSL encryption software that is being used on about two thirds of all secure web sites. The bug is now commonly referred to as Heartbleed. It allows stealing the information normally protected by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the internet. Most significantly the breach compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Pidoco’s counter measures

Pidoco has immediately reacted to the discovery of the security issue and fixed the problem. We updated our servers to a new and secure OpenSSL version on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 11:58 AM UTC and have replaced our existing SSL certificates with new and secure ones since.

In addition, although our internal audit produced no evidence of the Pidoco systems having been compromised, all active user sessions were terminated to minimize potential exposure.

We have also taken measures to directly inform all users who might have been affected. To find out if you have been affected, please check your email.

 

Who has been affected?

Since Pidoco had only just begun using the breached OpenSSL version on March 2, 2014, only Pidoco users who logged on to their Pidoco accounts between March 2, 2014 and April 11, 2014  may have been directly affected by the breach. To those users we strongly recommend following the instructions below. Since Pidoco follows best practices in using forward security only this time frame is relevant to the breach.

In case you did not log on to your account in the period stated above but use your Pidoco password for other web services as well, we also recommend to follow the instructions below, as your login data may have been compromised using another online service (e.g. online mail providers, social media platforms, etc.). You can check which websites are (still) using the breached version of OpenSSL here.

All our other users are not directly affected by the breach pertaining to their use of Pidoco services. For peace of mind you may still want to follow the instructions below.

 

Recommendations for affected users:

Change password

1. Log on to your Pidoco account and click on “My Account” in the upper right corner

How to navigate to "My Account"

2. Go to “My Profile”, type in your current password and your new password in the input fields provided, and click on save.

 

How to change your password

3. A message will appear confirming the change

If you use your Pidoco password for other web services, too, and have logged on to your Pidoco account between March 2, 2014 and April 11, 2014, we advise you to change the password for these services as well.

 

Our dedication to your data security

We are dedicated to keeping your data secure and safe. Please be ensured that we are taking appropriate measures towards this end. If you have any questions on the topics discussed in this blog post or on data security at Pidoco in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email (support@pidoco.com) or phone (+49 30 4881 6385). We will be happy to answer your questions.

Looking back: Pidoco at CeBIT 2014

Each March Hannover turns into a digital hotspot as CeBIT, the world’s largest IT trade fair, takes place. At this year’s CeBIT, once again, Pidoco was present with its own booth introducing its latest product version that makes prototyping even more powerful.

Blog_CeBIT2014_Booth

Pidoco’s booth at CeBIT 2014

With its new focus on “business only”, this year’s CeBIT was organized around a new concept that seemed to be well perceived. Of the 210.000 CeBIT visitors a delightfully large number found their way to our booth where they could gather information on Pidoco, enjoy a live product presentation and personally perform hands-on tests of the Pidoco Usability Suite. A particular highlight was the possibility to pretrial new features that will be part of the new product version enhancing the tool especially in regards to mobile features and simulation capabilities.

For me and the rest of our team it was a great opportunity to network with existing customers, enjoy conversations with interested visitors from more than 100 countries and receive feedback on our product and the new features to come.

The few short breaks were a great opportunity to explore the fair and its main themes big data, data security and cloud computing. Things like dancing robots, waterproof displays and other cool gimmicks caught the eye, but it was especially interesting to find out what the more than 300 startups present at CeBIT this year had to offer.

CeBIT Run

CeBIT Run passing Pidoco’s booth

We also enjoyed hearing about data security and how IT will affect our society directly from our Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron as well as cheering for the participants of the CeBIT-Run who directly passed our booth.

We’d like to thank all those who visited us at our booth as well as the team for a great event and are looking forward to next year’s CeBIT.

Remote Usability Testing using Pidoco and Your Favorite Web Conferencing Tool

Interactive prototypes created in Pidoco are a great resource for running quick and inexpensive user tests directly online. User tests are a very useful way to assess the usability of a proposed software UI, be it a new web shop or an enterprise application. In this post we give you some hands-on advice on how to set up a remote usability test for your Pidoco prototypes using some well-known conferencing solutions.

In short, these are the steps:

  1. Set up your prototype for the usability test
  2. Generate an access token for test participants using a direct link or View invitation
  3. Record the test session using a suitable conferencing tool and a computer or traditional phone. Once the test session is started, hand over moderator rights to the test user so you can see and record his screen and voice.
  4. Analyze the recordings and edit them upon downloading as required using standard video editing tools

There are a large number of web conferencing solutions available. Well-known examples include WebEx, GoToMeeting and join.me. Of course, if your favorite solution has the following features, you can use it instead to run a successful online user test with your prototypes:

  • Screensharing
  • Hand-over of moderator rights
  • Voice connection (e.g. call-in or VoIP connection)
  • Session recording and replay (both audio and screen)
  • Recording download
  • Optional: Annotation option for note-taking during the session
  • Optional: Chat may be useful to send tasks or refer information

And here is how it works:

Step 1: Set up your prototype

Of course you need a suitable prototype to run a user test. When preparing for a usability test session, make sure your prototype contains all the things you want to test, in particular make sure you have properly linked all relevant navigation options in the test scenario. Also ensure that your prototype does not contain unnecessary or even misleading “ballast” like visible comments intended only for developers. If you are testing several scenarios, you may want to use screenflows or folders to structure your scenarios.

Creating a wireframe screenflow in Pidoco

A screenflow created in Pidoco

Hint: If you have invited others to co-edit the prototype with you, it is recommended to make a copy without co-editors of the prototype for testing purposes in order to prevent others from modifying the prototype while you are testing it.

Step 2: Generate an access token

An easy way to grant participants access to your prototype is via a static link to the start page of the test scenario. You can find the link in the sharing dialog. If you are testing multiple task scenarios with different start pages in one test session, you may want to supply several different links to the individual start pages.

Retrieving an access link to a Pidoco prototype

Sharing a Pidoco prototype via a direct link

Hint: Please note that static links cannot be deleted after the test session, so unless you delete the copy of the prototype you made for the test, your test users will have continued access to it via the static link. If you want to avoid this, you can send them a “View” invitation to the start page of your prototype instead.

Step 3: Record the test session

Make sure you are well-prepared for the test session, including a good test scenario, clear instructions for the test participants as well as materials and perhaps even an assistant for note taking. A written test session guide may be useful to remember all instructions you want to give your test users.

Before starting the test session, make sure your voice connection is set up, i.e. your microphone and speakers (or headset) are connected and functional or you have a working telephone line in reach. Start a meeting in your conferencing solution and wait for your test participant to join. At the start of the test session, inform your test user that you would like to record the session and ask for his express permission.

Now start the recording and make sure both the screen as well as the voices are being recorded. Here is an example of join.me.

Recording a Pidoco prototype test session in join.me

Recording a test session in join.me

Instruct the test participant on the test session and his tasks. Then share the link to the prototype with him and hand over moderator rights to him so he can share his screen with you. You will now see the test participants’ screen showing the prototype to which you invited him.

Run the test session as you usually would. Some conferencing solutions have a limit on the maximum duration of a session, so check yours to make sure your test session is not terminated prematurely. With some conferencing solutions like joine.me, you will be able to add notes to the video.

Once the test session is finished, your recording will be available for download or viewing in the web browser.

Downloading recorded test sessions in WebEx

Recorded test session available for download in WebEx

Step 4: Analyze the recordings

You can analyze the session recordings by reviewing them and taking note of interesting observations such as errors made by test participants, questions asked or feedback given. If you would like to edit out the parts that are irrelevant for later use, you can employ video editing tools on the downloaded videos as long as the format is compatible. WebEx allows for conversion of recordings to WMV, MP4, or Flash format, while join.me allows downloads in WEBM format.

An alternative is to use solutions such as http://www.screencast-o-matic.com to record your test sessions instead of the recording feature provided by your web conferencing solution. Such specialized recording solutions offer easy-to-use video editing features that help you trim your session recording to the right length and focus on relevant issues or add annotations and more to them for documentation purposes.

6 Tips for Creating Great Mobile Prototypes

Mobile consumption is growing, making it ever more important for businesses to adopt a suitable mobile strategy. Whether you are working on an app or a mobile website, it usually helps to use prototypes to flesh out important design decision and test concepts before development. We have some tips for you to help your mobile prototyping process go a little easier.

User testing mobile prototype on iPhone using Pidoco App

Testing a mobile prototype using the Pidoco App

 

1.  Follow OS design principles

Mobile operating system makers like Google, Microsoft and Apple have clear visions for how apps should run on their platforms, both in terms of user experience and visual design. It’s worth reading over these to give your users a consistent experience for their device. This is especially important when it comes to navigation principles. iOS, Android and Windows Phone all provide guidelines for developers.

2. Map user flows

Create prototypes with the user flow in mind, i.e. think in terms of scenarios or tasks that users will want to accomplish with your app. One way to do this is with the Pidoco screenflow tool. A pen and paper may also work for simpler cases. Sketch out the user flow with thumbnails from the pages of your mobile website or app. This will help you plan the user journey and make sure there is a clear path for your users to reach specified goals.

3. Design mobile-friendly forms

With mobile, you need to carefully plan the user input. Make forms as short as possible to minimize the number of interactions a user has to make. For example, avoid forms where users need to type information, instead opt for pickers and radio buttons where possible. Remember that mobile users will often be on the go when they use their device.

4.  Include real content 

When you’re designing for smaller screen sizes, you need to make the most out of the space that you have. Providing images and text from your existing website can often be a good way of  seeing how content would need to be adapted for a mobile device. Less is often more and you may want to try out different screen sizes. Pidoco offers you pre-set screens for various smartphones and tablets.

5. Use template libraries

Templates help you speed up your prototyping work and stay consistent with standard design patterns. At Pidoco we have created templates for Android, iOS and Windows apps for you to import into your prototypes. These can be used to get the look and feel of the operating system you are designing for. To import them into you prototypes, simply visit our libraries page.

6. Test on the device

The usability of an app is best tested in the real context. Early user testing is a great way to avoid many issues that often crop up later during implementation, and there is no better way to do this than on the mobile device your users will end up using. With the Pidoco App you can simulate prototypes directly on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Simply share a link and open it with the Pidoco App and the prototype will appear full-screen and give you a good idea of what the later product will look like.

If you haven’t already, why not try out creating a mobile prototype directly in Pidoco.

Pidoco Survey Winner

Last month we ran a survey to find out how you work with Pidoco, what you like and what changes you would like to see. We were really happy with the response and found that an overwhelming number of you still find Pidoco easy to use and love its speed of work: over 80% of our users choose Pidoco because of its ease of use. This is something that will stay at the core of our product.

We also discovered from those of you who took part, that more than three quarters of people use our review function to get feedback from others on their prototypes, showing that this is one of the most popular and most valued functions. What makes us particularly proud: over 90% of our users are likely to recommend Pidoco to their friends or colleagues.

We are happy to announce that there is one lucky winner for completing the survey, who was picked entirely at random. Simone who is senior graphic designer and product manager at the creative agency Media on Mars in Australia was successful this time around and she has been a customer with us over the last year. Congratulations to Simone! Here’s what she said about Pidoco:

“We use Pidoco for nearly all our digital projects. As you can see they vary a lot in their scope and design but we find Pidoco really useful in the planning and strategy stage of every project.”

We always love to hear this kind of feedback and we’re thrilled that Pidoco has been so valuable for Simone and her team in their projects. Here are some of the final applications that Pidoco was used in.

Media on Mars created a dynamic website that represents the vibrant essence of Kulcha – the peak body for multicultural arts in Western Australia.

The Digital Peel website is a place where residents can share and discover the history of their region; gain access to educational webinars and learn about the benefits of new technologies.

We want to extend a big thank you to all participants for taking the time to fill out our survey. It’s your honest feedback that helps us continue to make Pidoco an awesome product.

We would love to know how you use Pidoco in your projects. Please comment below with your feedback and look out for more surveys to come.

Quo Vadis, UX? – Insights from UXcamp Europe 2013 Infographic

UXcamp Europe is an annual Berlin-based “unconference” in the style of a bar camp that centers around the emerging topics of User Experience (UX). In a field that is still relatively young and constantly developing, we wanted to find out about the emerging trends at this year’s camp. Having been involved in UXcamp over the last five years, we wanted to speak directly with the participants to find out what topics, problems and activities are most relevant in the field of UX.

UX survey response

Hot Topics – Mobile is changing the game

In the category “Hot Topics in UX”, Responsive Design emerged as the number one most relevant topic for the coming year, followed closely by Omni-/Multichannel UX and Mobile User Interfaces. This result does not come as much of a surprise, given the surge in the number of tablet and smartphone users. Companies are investing in mobile-optimized websites and apps while IT analyst Gartner is predicting that 50% of web sales will be generated via companies’ social presence and mobile apps. As more and more users are viewing websites on mobile devices, search engines like Google are also more likely to display your website prominently to mobile users if it is mobile-friendly. You can find out more information about the rise of Mobile in a presentation by Philipp.

Closely related are Natural or Gestural Interfaces, which came in forth. The size and touch screens of mobile devices have opened up the interaction design space to entirely new possibilities of interacting with software, giving way to a more natural way of handling. Touching, wiping, rotating and other gestures are quickly replacing traditional point-and-click interactions. Yet, the UX community still seems to be looking for standards and best ways of making use of these new possibilities.

Other topics, which also featured in some of the talks at this year’s UXcamp were Lean and Agile UX. In times of tight budgets, companies are apparently trying harder to find approaches that are more affordable and offer more flexibility. Simply put, Lean UX as well as Agile UX are about getting quick and dirty results early on in the design process to get user validation as quickly as possible and be aware of possible usability issues. You can learn more in a brief presentation on Lean UX I held a while ago.

Problem Areas – Processes and prototyping top issues

We asked those working in UX to let us know just how supportive their companies were of UX. While we were surprised (and happy) to find that more than half of the respondents thought their companies were “very supportive of UX”, there are still 40% whose employers remain only moderately or not supportive of UX at all. Given that the UXcamp by its nature drew mostly UX professionals who tend to work at companies that place importance on UX, there still seems to be considerable need for companies to catch up.

Even with seemingly strong general support from employers, almost 50% reported that “integrating UX into the development process” remains their number one challenge in their everyday work. This shows that many organizations, despite having recognized a general need for UX, have not managed to find adequate ways to make UX a major part in their standard processes. A look at the second most important challenge reveals one particular aspect of this dilemma: Almost every second respondent reported that the processes of their organizations often do not allow them sufficient time to prototype solutions before critical design decisions are made. Despite the known cost and quality benefits offered by early-stage prototyping, companies appear to still save on the wrong end.

Almost a third of the respondents reiterated “securing management support” as a major problem, making this the number three most important challenge UX professionals face within their organizations today. This is also reflected in the activities that respondents carry out. More than 80% of participants reported that “Coordination and Meetings” were activities they performed often or very often, making this the number one activity UX professionals spend time on. While UX is generally an interdisciplinary field where you cannot work in isolation, it is not hard to imagine that more time could be spent on other activities like prototyping if fewer meetings were required to obtain management support.

Overall, it appears that employers of UXcamp attendees are at the forefront of UX, with 60% or respondents reporting high levels of management support for UX. Nevertheless, significant challenges still remain at an organizational level, which companies should look to tackle.

Presenting at UXcamp

UXcamp Europe is a great opportunity to exchange best practices and obtain insights into the challenges and topics mentioned above. If you want to hold a talk at a UXcamp near you, it looks like you would do well to compose a well-set out strategy for UXers to follow for resolving common communication and procedural issues. UXcamp is also a fantastic platform for talking about emerging UX trends, so it could be that Google Glass and Augmented attract people to your talk.

Either way, we hope you have gotten some inspiration from this infographic and we hope to see you at a UX event near you. Thanks to everyone who answered our UXcamp survey this year!

We would also appreciate if you have any links or advice for dealing with some of the top problem areas faced by our UXers. Have any of our findings surprised you? Let us know below.

Introducing Template Libraries

Since the release of our mobile edition, lots of you have asked about template libraries for different operating systems. We listened to your feedback and we are happy to announce that we have launched not one, but five new template libraries.

These libraries include Android, iOS, Windows, as well as Facebook and E-Commerce. These are in PNG format, which you can use in your Pidoco prototypes.

You can download the zip PNG files on our support page.

androidsearch

Once you have downloaded your zip file, you can upload the entire zip folder in “My images”. You can find this above the icon section in the stencil palette. Then click “Add Custom Images” and a dialogue will open where you can upload your zip file from the desktop.

Your image templates will then be “My Images” in the stencil palette. You can simply drag and drop these into your page and resize as you wish. If you would like more information on how to use images in Pidoco, check out our tutorial video.

ios Windows1 Windows3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you have finished building your prototype you can simulate it on the Android or iOS app, or in your browser.

Facebook

We also have web template libraries, including Facebook templates and banner advertising.

If you have your own template files you can upload and use these in your Pidoco prototypes. We will be adding to our template libraries, so please let us know if there are any templates you would like us to create for you.

Interview with Pidoco CEO

Creative artisans

We want to thank Jan Jursa for having our CEO Philipp Huy as a guest on his show “Abends in der Kreativwirtschaft” last week. Philipp talked about the origins of Pidoco, the importance of collaboration in our software, and why Berlin was the perfect place to found a company. You can listen to the full interview in German above. Below is a summary of some of the topics.

You can hear the original audio of the interview at Abends in der Kreativwirtschaft.

The origins of Pidoco

Pidoco just turned 5, although the origins go farther back, of course. We chose the name from suggestions made by our users in the course of a name-finding competition. It can be interpreted as “Picture, Document, Communicate”. The most important thing for us was that it had to be memorable.

Collaboration

Collaboration is becoming increasingly important for companies. Pidoco’s real-time collaboration features are an important reason for users to choose our solution, especially with international projects. Collaboration has also been at the core of our product from the beginning on, in addition to our focus on keeping the tool as simple as possible, yet powerful for anyone to use.

The founding team

It’s the people that matter, and it’s certainly not always true that a founding team of four members sticks together through five years of business like at Pidoco. For Philipp, it was important to have a common vision and work towards the success of the company as a team. It’s also important to the Pidoco founders that work remains enjoyable, which is why we encourage collaboration through daily standup meetings where the team joins together, as well as presentations over cake on Fridays or occasional barbeques on the Tempelhofer Flugfeld.

Berlin v.s. Silicon Valley

The hype of the Berlin startup scene is widely known, but why Berlin over places like Silicon Valley? We decided Berlin was attractive for Pidoco because of the relatively low costs and the proximity to great universities, which meant there would be fresh talent looking to work at startups like Pidoco.

How does Pidoco help Startups?

We have a startup program because we want to give back to the community and encourage success. Startups are often looking for ways to make their ideas more tangible and convincing or test them on potential customers before they invest a lot of money. Pidoco can be a great tool for that since what better way is there than to quickly build a low-cost prototype? If you are a startup and interested in trying out Pidoco, contact us at support@pidoco.com to let us know about your project and see if you qualify for a discount.

Jan Jursa is a UX consultant, editor in Chief of UX Storytellers and Co-founder of MobX. You can find out more about Jan on his website. We also recommend that you follow him on Twitter for your UX news.

Prototypes support communication in outsourcing IT projects

Screenshot of Plixos platform

Pidoco is partnering with a new B2B marketplace for software development projects. Outsourcing in software development can help to save costs and to bring new products to market more quickly. While it can offer huge benefits for companies, many have reservations about outsourcing: “How do I find the right partner?” or “How can I be sure that the result will meet my requirements in terms of product design and quality?”

The first question is solved by the new B2B marketplace which pliXos GmbH, a young German company specializing in IT sourcing optimization, has just launched. On the pliXos platform, companies who are looking for service providers for their software projects can issue invitations to tender to registered and pre-validated service providers. The service providers can respond with an appropriate offer. With this system, both customers and service providers benefit. Along with a detailed project description, the marketplace offers a convenient toolkit for creating calls for tender instantly using ready-to-go templates. The participants of the tender can easily be compared and rated according to pre-defined criteria. Once the best partner has been identified, customers can control projects according to certain metrics, such as project cost, the task burndown or time consumption.

The second question is solved via an integration with Pidoco which helps customers ensure that requirements regarding product design and quality are met. The pliXos platform allows customers and service providers to attach individual wireframes or entire UI prototypes to tender documents, which describe in a visual form how the customer envisions the application or which solution the service provider proposes. Not only do the visualizations help overcome language barriers and misunderstandings between customer and service provider, but they can also serve as part of the requirements document, according to which offers and work results can be assessed or approved. The service providers in turn can use the wireframes to illustrate their offers or make their proposals stand out in a tender.

If you would like to try the marketplace out, you can register at: www.plixos.com/market.