Globalization, low-cost technologies and saturated markets are making products and services interchangeable and barely distinguishable. As a result, today’s brands must go beyond face value and tap into consumers’ deepest subconscious emotions to win the marketplace.
The Role Of Brands Is Changing In recent decades, the economic base has shifted from production to consumption, from needs to wants, from objective to subjective. We’re moving away from the functional and technical characteristics of the industrial era, into a time when consumers are making buying decisions based on how they feel about a company and its offer.
You probably know by now that you should speak with customers and test your idea before building a product. What you probably don’t know is that you might be making some of the most common mistakes when running your experiments.
Mistakes include testing the wrong aspect of your business, asking the wrong questions and neglecting to define a criterion for success. This article is your guide to designing quick, effective, low-cost experiments.
Since a smartphone landed in almost everyone’s pocket, developers have been faced with the question of whether to go with a mobile website or a native app. Native applications offer the smoothest and most feature-rich user experience in almost every case. They have direct access to the GPU, making layer compositions and pixel movements buttery-smooth.
Native applications also provide native UI frameworks that end users are familiar with, and they take care of the low-level aspects of UI development that developers don’t have time to deal with.
You can’t analyze how a great painting makes you feel. You can’t compute the beauty of a sunset. There’s no algorithm for the ocean’s majesty.
Similarly, some of the best ideas in business come in a wonderful, inexplicable flashes of insight.
I was in New York for a couple days this week and then in Tofino, a beautiful beach town perched on a rock outcropping on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island.
The experience of the ocean, wind, rain, fog, sun and golden eagles can’t be explained. It must be felt.
I think it was particularly poignant in contrast to New York’s bustle. Now, I love New York; it gets in your bones. It’s the closest place I’ve found to get real Neapolitan-style pizza. And it’s bustle might just as well be a different planet than Tofino.
Contrasting immersive experiences
Those contrasting immersive experiences got me thinking about how much we can rely on data versus intuition in decision-making. How much should we be able to rationalize versus feel?
How much should we be able to rationalize versus feel?
Using your subconscious thinking system
In Thinking, Fast and Slow, nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman tells us that we have two ways of making decisions: System 2 is our controlled, conscious where we make choices and decisions. System 1 operates in the background, monitoring our environment constantly and forming impressions from this information. It’s our intuitive “Spidey sense” that gives us an intuitive feel about what we’re sensing.
Kahneman tells us that System 1, our subconscious awareness, informs our System 2 thinking more than we often think. And overreliance on System 2 results in tunnel vision.
Even before Kahneman’s research, Maxwell Maltz described how to trust your brain’s Servo Mechanism to find answers for you subconsciously. In Psycho-Cybernetics, he shows how to combine intense, focused research and thinking with periods of rest and percolation time. Your brain has the ability to solve problems for you without your conscious effort.
Your brain has the ability to solve problems for you without your conscious effort.
How often have you come up with great ideas when you least expect them? As you’re falling asleep, perhaps? Or while talking with a friend about a different subject? That’s your Servo Mechanism at work.
Solutions don’t always come from purely logical step-by-step deduction.
You won’t find the best answers solely through analysis
A/B testing enables more intuition, not more data
This week I’m reading On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis. It’s a classic, inspiring leadership since 1989, and much of it could have been written today. Warren says:
“American organizational life is a left-brain culture, meaning logical, analytical, technical, controlled, conservative, and administrative. We, to the extent we are its products, are dominated and shaped by those same characteristics. Our culture needs more right-brain qualities, needs to be more intuitive, conceptual, synthesizing and artistic.”
This is exactly what an A/B testing culture enables. By relying on A/B testing to validate decision-making, a company can use more intuition rather than less.
Without A/B testing, companies need much more research, rationale, business cases, to make decisions Decisions become complex and people often use CYA methodology for backing themselves up. (CYA = Cover Your Ass, in case you’re new to organizational behaviour.)
All that rationale building takes time. Lots of time. It slows decision-making and turns nimble companies into bureaucratic dinosaurs.
Daniel Kahneman also made this observation.
But, in A/B testing-driven companies, decisions are made quickly, combining the power of professional intuition and expert gut-feeling with rigorous testing.
If your company feels stuck in analysis paralysis, maybe you need more testing You can then worry less about building strict A to Z logic and, instead, go with your gut a little more. Let your hair down. Try something different. Combine innovation with rigour. Rock your market with your flashes of (tested) insight.
The secret to A/B testing success
I’m often asked how WiderFunnel continues to lift our clients’ profits year after year. Our current average of 680% ROI across all clients is not an easy benchmark to maintain.
Our average of 680% ROI across all clients is not an easy benchmark to maintain
The secret is a mix of messy intelligence-building with rigorous process, including continuous A/B testing of all our ideas. I read 50+ books a year and our entire team is just as focused on learning new things all the time.
Ruby is a great language. It was designed to foster happiness and productivity in developers, all the while providing tools that are effective and yet focused on simplicity. One of the tools available to the Rubyist is the RubyGems package manager. It enables us both to include “gems” (i.e. packaged code) that we can reuse in our own applications and to package our own code as a gem to share with the Ruby community.
A lot of mobile-minded talented folks across the globe produce great work, but yet sometimes you still hear many of them complain about their relationships with their clients. They often mention feeling isolated and not truly understanding what the client really needed.
This lack of personal interaction often leads to misunderstanding, as well as less awareness of and appreciation for all your hard work. While involving clients in your mobile workflow can be challenging, really working together will make a big difference.
Having started his career studying under some of the best typographic minds in the world, Khajag Apelian not only is a talented type and graphic designer, unsurprisingly, but also counts Disney as a client, as well as a number of local and not-for-profit organizations throughout the Middle East.
Even more impressive is Khajag’s willingness to take on work that most people would find too challenging. Designing a quality typeface is a daunting task when it’s only in the Latin alphabet.
Crafted with great attention to detail, today’s icon set is extremely easy to use and will most probably be the next ultimate resource for any of your design projects. This set of flat icons was thoroughly designed by the creative team at Roundicons and has been released exclusively for Smashing Magazine and its readers.
This freebie contains 60 icons that have been designed in both round and flat styles, and can be used for free without any restrictions and serve various design purposes.