Posts in "Partners"

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.

Birthday Wishes

  • Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2007: Volker described this as his Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2007: Volker described this as his "masterpiece of graphical design"
  • Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2008 with 8 stencil elements and a properties table on the right.Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2008 with 8 stencil elements and a properties table on the right.
  • Pidoco's UI in August 2008 during beta phasePidoco's UI in August 2008 during beta phase
  • Pidoco's refined UI in late 2008Pidoco's refined UI in late 2008
  • Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2009Pidoco's Screenflow View in 2009
  • Pidoco's UI in 2012 featuring the breadcrumb navigationPidoco's UI in 2012 featuring the breadcrumb navigation
  • Pidoco's current UIPidoco's current UI

The longer you wait, the less you test

The following is a guest post by Reto Lämmler, CoFounder and CEO of TestingTime. Enjoy the read.

To get interaction design right, we prototype and test with users. It mostly starts with pen and paper, sketching a first prototype which gets tested with friends and coworkers. Once the first interaction flaws are discovered, we iterate towards HiFi prototypes using tools like Pidoco. Every iteration requires user testing in theory, but do we really do that? Do we take the time to recruit the right people?

I have done many prototypes and user tests in the past. For me, the best user tests are always those which give me the big “AHA” moment. When I discover a problem which I never thought would be a problem for test users. It’s an exciting moment and reinforces how important user testing is.

testingtime

Though, I discovered one interesting thing. Interaction and visual designers are not always keen to test their prototypes with users. Everyone talks about it but not so many really do it. Why is this? I have come to 2 conclusions:

We want to make it perfect, before we show it

We constantly think, it’s not good enough before we show it to anyone. The longer we wait, the more we get stuck in this mindset. We become afraid of getting critical feedback which may throw our work upside down and the invested time turns into waste. Our assumption of “perfect” is based on our mental model and usually doesn’t match with the one from your target users. Break that barrier as early as possible and make it a habit to show and user test your work starting with your first scribbles.

It’s too cumbersome or we are simply too lazy

We know that we should carry out user tests, but we don’t practice what we preach. Sometimes we don’t have time and postpone it for later. Recruiting test users can be very time consuming and cumbersome. This is why we invented a crowd-based recruiting service called www.testingtime.net. It’s takes you less than 5 minutes to order your desired test users for moderated remote user tests. It’s not only fast, it’s also inexpensive. Using TestingTime, you can carry out rapid user testing for every design iteration you go through.

Looking for test users for your next usability test?

If you need test users to test your Pidoco prototypes, why not try out TestingTime’s recruiting service to find test participants from your target audience without the usual hassle. Visit TestingTime or email support@pidoco.com for more information.

 

About the author: Reto Lämmler is CoFounder and CEO of TestingTime. He graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MAS in Human Computer Interaction Design. Prior to TestingTime, Reto was Doodle’s VP Product Management. Reto also lived and worked for 6 years in the Silicon Valley, CA.

Pidoco integration with Planio

Integration with plan.io

Wireframe embedded in Planio wiki

Pidoco has had a partnership with Planio for years. It’s a tool we use every day for our product management needs and we absolutely love how intuitive it is! Planio is a Redmine hosting company, which takes the hassle out of managing your projects.

On top of its task management features, Planio can also be used to embed Pidoco prototypes into wiki pages to share concepts with others in product management and development. We love that with Planio you can continue to develop your concepts in a collaborative environment, where you can also keep track of the progress of your development.

Planio has written a detailed guide, which shows you how to configure Pidoco and Planio using the Pidoco API key and how to integrate your wireframes into your Planio projects. The guide includes lots of helpful screenshots, so you’ll be sure not to miss a step.

If you are using Redmine, you can also find our API Documentation on our support page. If you have any questions about the Pidoco integration with Planio, check out the Planio website or email us at support@pidoco.com and we’ll be happy to answer your questions!

Why there is More to Usability than Just Checklists

The following is a guest post by Dominique Schmidt, UX consultant at Apliki. Enjoy the read.

Through our work as a Psychological IT-Consultancy for User Experience (UX) we are often confronted with the request to make sure the clients’ product “achieves overall usability”. Through further exploration of the expectations behind this assignment we usually come to the conclusion that people expect a checklist-like tool, to ensure they meet usability standards. Of course this somehow reflects the guidelines approach of the DIN EN ISO 9241-11 and a number of checklists aiming to give non UX professionals the opportunity to quickly enhance the usability of their product. Small measures can often change a lot for the better. Yet, this approach falls somewhat short of what real usability means. There is not one kind of usability. On the contrary, usability is highly dependent on the context of use of a product (DIN EN ISO 9241-11). Before we explore this notion further, let’s have a look at where this understanding of usability originates from.

What is in usability checklists?

The task of matching human behavior with machines is indeed a difficult one. For decades this question had been pretty much ignored and it is only in the relatively recent times of software development that the immense importance of this has gained widespread support. As a rule of thumb, one could say that the more potential mistakes there are for one topic, the easier it is to spot at least the most prominent ones. This also holds true for software usability. By following simple rules you can avoid the most common mistakes. This can be by avoiding certain UI elements that have proved to not work very well or by placing information in a structured format. These kinds of tips and tricks are especially well known because they can provide the answers to questions such as: “Does this work?” In addition, there are well known lists of usability heuristics (one of which is promoted by Jakob Nielsen). They provide more general guidelines to ensure “learnability” – defined as how easy it is for users to accomplish easy tasks on their first encounter with a design. The critical point is that these so-called heuristics do not work in a vacuum, but rather are dependent on the context of your software for valid application (remember the DIN EN ISO 9241-11). This leads us to the shortcoming of all- too simple usability rules.

 

Analysis of requirements, User Interface design, implementation, user test

What are you going to miss with usability checklists?

Software does not stand alone. It is built to fulfill a special set of tasks. These are to be done by a group of target users, bringing with them their very own skills, technology orientation, expectations and – not to forget – apprehensions. It does not end here. The product’s use will take place in situations loaded with influencing factors such as distracting noises, high stress-levels, shared office spaces or varying display sizes, to just name a few. All this (and more) is summed up in the context of use and without exaggeration it has to be named the central concept of user friendly software. It is only under the consideration of these factors, that the most important questions of true usability can be properly answered. To reframe the above question: “Does our product enable our target users in the specific situation of use to fulfill their tasks?”

How to get there?

The key to success in defining your specific usability goals lies in two factors: research and documentation. Asking the right questions and pulling together the best data available helps you gain a valid understanding of your users and their environment. This understanding is then put into artifacts such as personas, goal descriptions, scenarios and UI-prototypes ensuring the whole team shares a common understanding of the product’s focus. Using these documents as a basis for every decision and conducting user tests of your prototypes will make sure you achieve optimal usability.

Dominique Schmidt is a UX consultant at Apliki, giving workshops on the user- centered-design process and accompanying the development of software products. He writes about the psychology of usability engineering and UX design on the Apliki blog at http://www.apliki.de/uid/blog

Feel free to contact him in English or German at info@apliki.de

Pidoco FAQs now in Serbo-Croatian

Photo of the translator

Jovana Milutinovich

 

We were recently approached by Jovana Milutinovich, a Computer Science student at the University of Belgrade, Serbia – requesting to translate part of our website into Serbo-Croatian. We were of course happy to support the project.

Jovana writes: “My goal as a computer science student is to help people from my country read some useful info about computers in general and all different software out there. I hope that these translations will find its audience sooner or later throughout Ex Yugoslavian community which is wide spread around the world.”

Thanks to Jovana for bringing Pidoco and wireframing to a larger audience and we hope lots of people will benefit from this. We think it’s a great cause!

You can now read the Serbo-Croatian version of our FAQs here.

 

Bridging The Gap: From Paper Scribbles To Interactive Prototypes

Pidoco and ScatchApp are joining forces to help our users make the most of paper prototyping. While Pidoco is a great tool for creating UI prototypes of websites and software applications really easily, we still find that some of our users prefer to create their initial designs on paper. To help our users save time and money, we are working with ScatchApp to see if we can make it easier for our users to transform their paper wireframes into interactive software prototypes. We believe ScatchApp is a great tool that will help our users create prototypes even faster than before and take advantage of the great collaboration and testing features Pidoco has to offer. ScatchApp has won several awards and is a triple Startup Weekend winner of Szczecin 2011 due to its innovation merging the boundaries between paper and computer.

How does ScatchApp work?

ScatchApp works by using unique technology that can recognize the layout and features of paper wireframes. ScatchApp can recognize components such as text boxes, headlines, buttons and image place-holders, which is great, whether you are creating flowcharts or wireframes. Uploading your designs with ScatchApp is easy. Simply draw your sketch on a piece of paper using the relevant symbols, take a photo with your mobile phone and upload the image to ScatchApp. Within seconds, your design will be transformed into a digital wireframe that you can edit online in Pidoco. ScatchApp even aligns the individual elements in your design, giving you a clean, professional-looking layout.

Paper Wireframe of Pidoco Home page

We've sketched out a paper wireframe of the Pidoco home page
that we will upload with ScatchApp.

How will you be able to use ScatchApp with Pidoco?

Here’s an example of how to use Pidoco in connection with ScatchApp. We understand that some people like to sketch out their ideas on paper first. Some even find this helps them be more creative. Naturally, paper has its limitations and even the best paper wireframes cannot produce the same results as prototyping with Pidoco. In addition, paper prototypes cannot be adapted or shared easily. In the example above, you can see that we’ve sketched out the layout of the Pidoco home page. In the picture below, you can see what the finished product will look like in Pidoco once this has been uploaded into ScatchApp. The buttons, text boxes and image placeholders appear in the same visual layout as in the sketch.

Prototype of the Pidoco Home Page

Now we've uploaded our sketched wireframe to Pidoco,
we can edit our prototype and add interactive elements.

In Pidoco we can now link and edit these pages. With Pidoco you can also collaborate on prototypes online in real-time and even use your prototypes in usability testing. What’s more you can discuss your prototypes with colleagues online. Using ScatchApp with Pidoco therefore enables you to model your UI designs with paper and pen, while making the most of all the great features of digital prototyping that Pidoco has to offer. If you would like to learn more about Pidoco have a look at our website, or if you would like to learn how to program your own application against the Pidoco API, take a look at our documentation here.

Now Available In The Google Chrome Web Store

Are you using the Google browser “Chrome”? Today Google announced eleven new apps now available in the Google Chrome Web Store. The Pidoco° App is one of the eleven featured apps that users of the Google Chrome web browser can now install.

pidoco-wireframes-tool-in-google-chrome-web-store

With the rise of the smartphone, apps have become a huge hit with private and professional users and are entering the web space quickly. The popularity of the apps has been promoted by the creation of various online and mobile marketplaces where users can easily acquire new apps to enhance their devices. Web industry giant Google launched its Chrome Web Store in July 2010 in the United States. Now eleven German partners have added their apps to the store.

One of the apps featured by Google in their latest press release is the Pidoco° App, which allows users to create, share, comment on and test drive interactive wireframes and GUI prototypes. Users of the Chrome web browser can now install the Pidoco° App with only a few mouse clicks, giving them easier access to Pidoco’s functions. Upon installation, the Pidoco° App can be used as a small tab in the browser’s navigation bar, enabling instant access. In addition, users can now register and sign in to Pidoco via their Google account without having to create an additional password. New users of the Pidoco° App should keep their eyes open when exploring Pidoco: There may be an exciting surprise awaiting you …

Pidoco is used by product managers, business analysts, user experience professionals and creative professionals around the
globe. Check it out at https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bipghjdghdamigamobmcaigdcncbkfof?hl=de (German) or https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bipghjdghdamigamobmcaigdcncbkfof?hl=en-us (English).

Eigener Webshop für Fotografen

Heute gibt es einmal was für Fotofreunde, Fotografen und alle, die mit Fotos Geld verdienen möchten und können. Ein befreundetes Startup ebenfalls aus Berlin biete auf www.pictrs.com. ein Shopsysetem für Fotografen, welches eine Verkaufs- und Präsentationsmöglichkeit für Fotografen mit eigenen Onlineshop zur Galerie bietet. So kann jeder Fotos als Prints (Poster, Fotos, Leinwände, Geschenkartikel) und auch Digitale ohne Aufwand verkaufen und den Verdienst selbst bestimmen. Im Gegensatz zu Stockagenturen bietet Pictrs dem Fotografen einen eigenen Shop, der völlig individuell auf ihn angepasst ist. Und zwar vom Fotografen selbst. Nach kostenfreier Shoperöffnung kann der Fotograf Galerien anlegen, Preise für Fotos festlegen und das Aussehen des Shops komfortabel definieren und speichern. Ein Shop (in wenigen Schritten erstellt) ist sofort erreichbar und auf Wunsch in bestehende Webseiten integrierbar. Das Team von www.pictrs.com übernimmt Produktion, Versand von Aufträgen zum Kunden sowie die Bestellabwicklung, Kundensupport und natürlich die Auszahlung des Verdienstes an die Fotografen.Mit dem Verkauf von echten Fotos Geld verdienen macht so wieder Spaß und spart viel Zeit. Empfehlung von uns.

Personalisierte SMS-Newsletter und E-Mail Newsletter verschicken mit Newsletter2Go

Our friends of Newsletter2Go (a Berlin based Startup) has created a very interesting tool:

Unser befreundetes Start Up Newsletter2Go bietet eine onlinebasierte, leicht zu bedienende und für jede Unternehmensgröße geeignete Plattform für E-Mail-Marketing und SMS-Marketing.

Über eine Importfunktion können Empfängerdaten blitzschnell übernommen oder aktualisiert werden und komplette Kampagnen in wenigen Minuten mit Hilfe eines WYSIWYG-Editors erstellt werden. Das Besondere neben der Kombinationsmöglichkeit aus Online- und Mobile-Marketing ist die starke Personalisierungsmöglichkeit in Mailings.

Newsletter2Go ermöglicht es hier, beliebig viele verschiedene Attribute für jeden Emfänger zu verwalten. So können bspw. Geschlecht, Alter, Postleitzahl oder Körpergröße von jedem Empfänger importiert werden und auf das Mailing abgestimmte Gruppen angelegt werden. Dies erhöht die Relevanz und den Erfolg von Newsletter-Kampagnen. Zudem können alle Attribute auch als Platzhalter in Mailings eingebaut werden, die beim Versand durch die individuellen Ausprägungen der Empfänger ersetzt werden. Sogar Bedingungen wie “wenn weiblich, dann Liebe Frau” sind möglich, so dass Empfänger im gleichen Mailing bspw. persönlich mit “Lieber Herr Schubert” oder “Liebe Frau Schneider” angesprochen werden können.

Die statistischen Auswertungen ermöglichen Nutzern die ausführliche Analyse ihrer Newsletter-Kampagnen. Neben der Öffnungsrate, der Klickrate, uvm. ist hier das Geolocating-Feature hervorzuheben, das dem Nutzer Location Based Marketing erlaubt.

Die Dienstleistung ist durch nach Größe gestaffelte Pakete für jedes Marketingbudget geeignet. Am besten einfach einmal ausprobieren!