Luristic Services


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This brochure describes the different services focused on Rich User Experience (RUE) that Luristic offers including researching, consulting, designing, engineering, testing, and training.

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Luristic Services

  1. 1. Services Brochure
  2. 2. Services Rich User Experience (RUE) is a complex multi-disciplinary field that requires a combination of expertise to master. RUE is both art and science, making it hard to calibrate and measure due to some of the inherit intangibles. By its very nature, RUE is quite sensitive. It’s like cooking – without the right ingredients, mixed the right way, cooked at the right temperature, for the right amount of time, and you miss your meal. As a result, it is quite easy to fail when attempting to offer a rich user experience for an application, a website, or a game. What is even worse is that you don’t even know that you failed until it’s too late. From researching On one end of the spectrum, early adopters tend to get too excited about new to consulting, technologies, and thus, they overdo things by over-using widgets, animation, from designing to sound, and special effects to the point where all such niceties become not just engineering, and annoying but unproductive and even intrusive. from testing to On the other end of the spectrum, laggards resist change and tend to like the training, Luristic status quo. By not acting, they take a risk of losing market share to their offers a competitors, especially in industries where change is constant and where product comprehensive life shelves are increasingly shortening. set of services Therefore, it is critical for all stakeholders involved in RUE, from early adopters to focused on Rich laggards, to be well trained and experienced enough to strike a healthy balance User Experience between cutting and bleeding edge. (RUE). Often times, the required experience and expertise is not available in-house. In such event, it is highly advisable to either seek outside help from experts, or train existing staff, if they are qualified and if time permits. In order to assist companies in their projects, Luristic offers a complete set of services focused exclusively on RUE. Whether you need a researcher to define the needs, or a consultant for advice, or a designer to spice things up, or an engineer for development, or a tester to check the usability, or a trainer to teach you the tricks of the trade, you can expect nothing short of highly professional services worth every bit of your dime. 2
  3. 3. Researching Luristic’s research services attempt to establish usability rather than functionality or usefulness by addressing issues related to Rich User Experiences (RUE) such as navigation, workflow, information architecture, taxonomy, layouts, special effect, animation, sound, aesthetics, etc. In other words, usefulness, which is fundamental, deals with functionality, while usability, which is critical, deals with usage. Usefulness supersedes usability. Here are the four scenarios listed from the best to the worst:  The best scenario is a useful product that is easy to use. Establishing  A not so good scenario is a useful product that is difficult to use (most common scenario). needs, understanding  A bad scenario is a useless product that is easy to use. motivations,  The worst scenario is a useless product that is difficult to use. observing behaviors, Market research is not useful when the needs or wants do not exist yet in the identifying marketplace and need to be created. For example, no market research, of any kind, personas, would have established the need or want for a personal computer, let alone for a mouse, 30 years ago. When Henry Ford built his first car, he was quoted as saying establishing “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.” In workflow, innovative cases, often times market research is used not so much to define defining functionality but to refine it. In addition, we often measure everything but understand taxonomy, and nothing. conducting Considering the subjectivity and the unreliability inherent in market research, one ethnography, should not count solely on research, especially not on a single method of research. For instance, discovering requires different market research methodologies versus validating. Depending on the requirements of a particular project, a market research can be formal or informal, on premise or remote, private or public. It might be conducted as live or telephone interviews, in focus groups, with surveys, or through opinions of experts. 3
  4. 4. Consulting Luristic offers consulting services focused exclusively on Rich User Experiences (RUE). Our consulting services consist of the following:  Discovering and analyzing the needs through market research, focused user groups, behavioral studies, ethnographic studies, and persona definitions.  Analyzing the market (i.e., phase, size, growth, etc.) and the competitive landscape (i.e., market penetration, market share, mind share, features list, etc.)  Analyzing the solutions, risks, schedules, milestones, deliverables, human resources, and budget.  Strategizing and identifying the appropriate solutions, technologies, methodologies, processes, and positioning. Advice, counsel,  Advising and counseling technical staff, executives, and board recommendation, members. strategy, audit,  Planning activities, events, and projects with detailed project plans. due diligence, and  Identifying metrics and measuring ROIs on RUE projects. expert witness testimonial related  Establishing standards for technical institutions, associations, and bodies. to usability and user experience.  Technical review of papers, codes, architectures, curriculums, etc.  Verifying and auditing for due diligence for investors, investment bankers, bankers, or buyers.  Arbitrating and acting as judges in disputes.  Testifying as expert witnesses in legal proceedings. 4
  5. 5. Designing Design is not about mere decoration but about solving a problem, satisfying a need, or fulfilling a desire. Design is not just about how it looks or how it feels, but also how it works. Our design practice covers six areas:  Information Design consists of building an information architecture or structure often referred to as a taxonomy (if built by experts) or folksonomy (if built by users). Deciding on how to categorize, group, and label items based on data, personas, or tasks can have a dramatic impact on user experience.  Interactive Design consists of providing the type and the form of interaction between users and an application, a website, or a game. Choosing the right type of interaction is critical. For example, a unique selection from multiple choices can be provided in three ways: radio buttons, toggle buttons, or a drop down list. In addition to choosing the right interaction, providing the appropriate way of interacting is as important. Information design,  Navigation Design consists of providing the right access paradigm and the right browsing technique relative to the type of information, the task on hand, and the interactive user persona. For instance, browsing through a list of pictures using a carousel is design, much more productive and enjoyable for a teenager versus a table, which would be much more suitable for a list of jobs for an adult searching for a new career. navigation design, graphic  Graphic Design consists of creating illustrations, icons, logos, pictures, images, videos, layouts, prototypes, models, templates, wire frames, forms, fonts, buttons, design, animation backgrounds, textures, and gradients. Applications and websites no longer have design, and to be married to the aesthetics of an operating system or a browser but rather to the company’s brand. sound design.  Animation Design consists of designing all special effects when an action occurs which could be hovering over an object, clicking on a button or a tab, refreshing a webpage, dragging and dropping an item, opening or closing a window, sizing an object, selecting from a drop down menu, etc.  Sound Design consists of providing an appropriate sound effect for a particular task for the purpose of informing or alerting the user of the status of a transaction or the consequence of an action, which help users determine intuitively what has be done or what needs to be done. 5
  6. 6. Engineering Luristic offers software engineering services focused exclusively on Rich User Experiences (RUE). Our software engineering practice is a full service covering the entire software engineering cycle including analysis, specification, architecture, design, modeling, prototyping, programming, testing, documentation, installation, integration, and maintenance of Rich Interactive Applications (RIA). Almost all software applications require a graphical user interface with a varying degree of richness. Thus, our software engineering services apply to all types and sizes of applications, websites, or games. Methodologies are quite important because they help mitigate risks. The common major risks are failing to deliver at all, failing to deliver on time, or failing to deliver within budget. In addition, there are often conflicting goals such as speed versus quality, short-term versus long-term, development cost versus maintenance cost. Hence, from conventional and structural water-fall methodology applicable to very large mission critical systems, to progressive Entire product life and iterative agile methodology applicable to web-based consumer oriented cycle including applications, we can adopt to whatever methodology is requested by customers architecting, or required by the project. While each methodology has its pros and cons, all methodologies demand a common-sense balance between time, cost, quantity, programming, quality, and maintainability. installing, integrating, Based on our experience, there is no such thing as the “ideal mix” but the “right mix” for each application for each customer. However, there are some common testing, denominators. For instance, in almost all cases, it makes a lot of sense to documenting, spend as much time as possible on analyzing, specifying, architecting, and and maintaining. designing before programming. It is also commonly advisable to prototype the graphical user interface on the front-end before implementing the business rules, the data model, and the database schema on the back-end. Such logical user-centric approach emphasizes what to develop for users by seeking early their feedback and their collaboration, instead of focusing on how to develop the application which would be more of an engineering-centric or feature-centric approach. 6
  7. 7. Testing Luristic offers usability testing services focused on checking the user experience and the usability of applications, websites, and games. The main purpose of usability testing is to discover if a product is easy to use, intuitive, clear, and pleasant for users to use. The usability is tested by monitoring users’ behavior, attention, impressions, reactions, choices, preferences, and selections. The objective is to discover and mitigate any problems, difficulties, obstacles, ambiguities, confusions, frictions, distractions, frustrations, errors, and omissions that users may encounter while using a product. Even though the focus of usability testing is on the usage and not the usefulness, which should have been established at the specification stage where the needs and the wants should have been defined already, it is not uncommon to discover new Usability testing facts or priorities about the usefulness, if not of the entire application, at least for certain features. using design heuristics, human Users’ behaviors and attitudes are tested using scripted and non-scripted tests in factors, GUI controlled and real life environments. Structured tests are very effective for testing known specific issues that enable or prevent users from performing a desired standards, function, while unstructured tests lead to discovering new unknown issues or cognitive generating suggestions by allowing users to explore, browse, and wonder around walkthroughs, freely. The latter methodology is quite insightful because it helps discover what personas, web attracts users to make certain selections, their personal interests, and their preferences. analytics, screen captures, mouse A controlled environment is most suitable when there is a need for a higher degree movement, and of monitoring and measurement, especially but not necessarily, for scripted tests eye tracking. designed to test very specific issues. On the other hand, a real life environment offers a practical and a pure insight of users’ behavior and attitude which are not polluted by artificial issues such as a tester’s desire to please the vendor or the administrator of the test, the pressure of a lab, the intimidation of a specific test, self blaming, lack of self confidence, herding effect, and the like. All such artificial effects greatly influence the results and their interpretation. While testing usability and analyzing the results, we use different tools, methods and standards such as design heuristics, human factors, GUI standards, cognitive walkthroughs, personas, and web analytics which are usually quite revealing and complement eye-tracking by either confirming or contradicting its findings. Furthermore, a review of your product provided by one of our usability experts can complement formal usability tests conducted on users. 7
  8. 8. Training Luristic offers training services focused exclusively on Rich User Experiences (RUE). We offer two types of courses:  Conceptual courses on methodologies, processes, standards, and best-practices related to experience design, interactive design, graphic design, animation design, sound design, information architecture, usability, usability testing, prototyping, modeling, wire framing, and personas.  Technological courses on specific tools such as Adobe AIR, Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight, etc. Each class has a well-defined curriculum along with workshops whenever applicable. The curriculum of a private course can be customized to meet some specific needs of a particular company. Each student who completes a course receives a certification, without any grade, for completing that course. Courses covering Luristic has on board renowned instructors who have written books, conducted all aspects of RUE research, publish papers, and gave speeches on RUE. Multiple instructors could - from tools to give the same course at different times. Each instructor has a profile, reviews, and ratings which establish his/her meritocracy in the students’ eyes. methodologies - offered in private Courses and instructors are rated and reviewed by students. Such open feedback allows us to polish our courses and improve our instructors’ teaching or in public, in skills. It also gives the opportunity to potential students to make an intelligent house or on site, assessment on which courses and instructors to select. and intended to At the end of a course, students are expected to know the topics taught. In case programmers, we are training teachers how to teach our courses to their students, we provide the necessary authorization for those teachers to teach a particular course for a designers, particular audience. information The constituents who have the need and who typically request our training architects, usability services are programmers, software engineers, engineering managers, product testers, and managers, graphic designers, information architects, and instructors. managers. Luristic has state-of-the-art training centers which include fully equipped classrooms with computers, a tablet, a projector, a large screen, large scrollable white boards, ergonomic furniture, audio system, etc. Most of public courses are taught at our facilities or on the web. Private courses can be taught at either our facilities or at a customer’s premises. The minimum number of students for a physical class is 3, and the maximum is 20 students, while online classes have no restrictions. 8
  9. 9. 1036 Quail Ridge Irvine, California 92603 Tel: (949) 678-9930 © 2010 Luristic Corporation