Category Archives: Digital Communication

Perchè un Digital Product Manager deve saperne di User Experience e Interaction Design?

Lavoro nella comunicazione digitale dal 2005 e nonostante la mia preparazione fortemente umanistica, invece che specializzarmi su contenuti e social media, ho sempre cercato di approfondire tematiche tecniche, di grafica e design.

Dopo quasi 10 anni di esperimenti oggi sono in grado di creare e gestire un ecommerce come Shopping in Italy, girare e montare video come questi, fare un sito come quello dell’Italia Centro di Capoeira e fare una serie di altre cosine che puoi leggere sul mio CV.

Da marzo di quest’anno, a quanto imparato fino ad oggi, ho deciso di aggiungere anche lo User Experience Design frequentando i corsi dell’Interaction Design Foundation di cui gestisco sono diventato anche l’European Continent Managaer, l’Italian Country Manager e il Milan Local Leader.

Ma perché un Digital Product Manager deve saperne di User Experience e Interaction Design?

Perché nel digitale tutto è esperienza utente e tutto è comunicazione.

A partire dalla piacevolezza dell’interfaccia, dei colori e delle immagini, fino alla semplicità di utilizzo delle funzioni, la leggibilità dei contenuti e la velocità di risposta del prodotto digitale, tutto è User Experience.

productmanager_antoniopatti_wireframe

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Interaction Design related terms definitions

During the first Interaction Design Foundation Milan Chapter event, the group decided to define the most important interaction design related terms.

I started to approach professionally this field of Digital Communication a few months ago, but I care about User Experience since my first project in 2006.

My definitions are really general, almost philosophical. They are based on my daylife experience and on what I’m learning at Interaction Design Foundation courses.

UX is how users use and feel a digital product.

UI is what users see and use for interacting with a digital product.

IA is how contents and functions are titled and positioned in a digital product’s plain structure.

Usability is a digital product use efficiency rate.

Interaction Design is designing UX and IA and contributing to the UI.

Service Design is everything involves customers beyond the strictly digital product experience.

I hope you enjoy.
If you don’t, I agree with you. This is a User Experience feedback too 😉

ANSA’s site UX critical issues

March 26th the news agency ANSA launched its new web site (read the article in Italian).

For promoting a discussion on the IDF Milan group, I analyzed the ANSA’s design and I wrote down a UX critical issues list. But first of the list, I want to declare that I never used the ANSA web site and that beyond all the critics, I think that globally they did a good job, except for the point 4.

1) The header buttons are links to different services, function and sites. They are not coherent and not really visible. They seem graphical elements.

ANSA header

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2) The search field is not visible and could be confused with the other icons.

ANSA search field

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3) The “temi caldi” is confusing because it’s positioned in the breadcrumb position.

ANSA temi caldi

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WordReference search box evolution

 

During the Interaction Design Foundation course, I answered this question:

Please identify an example where a search box has been used in a design and outline the various stages of implementing the search box in this particular instance.

I chose as an example the amazing WordReference translation service. I use it since 2004 and I clearly know the users needs: translate.

2001

WordReference search box in 2001

In 2001 it didn’t have the search box focus on the home. The multiple search boxes were displayed on the left small column. There was not enough space for long words and users had to scroll the page for certain languages. Moreover the centre of the page was full of contents that were absolutely not useful for the users.
Visit it on the Wayback Machine

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The Drivin’ project

I love to design even if I don’t know how to develop my projects because I can’t code. I’ve hundreds of sheets full of ideas, functional requirements and wireframes, but writing them down is really time consuming and I’ve never enough time.

For the Drivin’ project I’m doing an exception. I really want to transform my sheets in a real service so I decided to write a presentation to introduce my idea and searching partnerships.

First of all, what is Drivin?

– Drivin’ is a service that helps users to share car routes with their friends through the social networks
– Drivin’ is a platform e that puts in communication people that have similar transportation needs
– Drivin’ is a service that creates a new trusted Car Pooling network and puts the basis for a Neighborhood social platform

Read the full presentation on Slideshare and if you are interested, read at the end of this page.

I’m searching for someone that can help me to develop Drivin’.
If you are a freelance coder or a company, contact me!
We can collaborate for building something socially meaningful and that could become a StartUp.

PS I really believe in this project and I don’t care about the intellectual property. I trust in the web knowledge sharing and in the execution. If someone will copy Drivin’, it will never be the same of what I designed 🙂

Designing my new Google Reader

Are you one of the last desperate Google Reader users like me?
Don’t worry, you can still read your feeds using other readers and then, Google Reader wasn’t that great service that we think.

I work in digital communication and I’ve three different accounts that I use for my personal branding, for the Transport Company of Milan online buzz, and for the Shopping in Italy news hunting and social monitoring.

Is Google reader enough for me? No it isn’t!

For my job I need an application that browse, save, organize, discover, edit and share contents on my social media and with my social media team.
Does Google reader have all these feature? No it doesn’t, so stop crying and being romantic!

GoogleReaderAntonioPatti

The Google Reader closure gave me the opportunity to think about my feed reader perfect tool. I thought to all my needs as a social media manager, as a project leader and as entrepreneur. Ironically I understood that I don’t need a simple reader, but a Corporate Content Aggregation and Management Application.

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Twitter closes to the third part applications

On 29th of June Ryan Roslansky wrote about the Twitter import in LinkedIn. He was really clear and direct writing:

Consistent with Twitter’s evolving platform efforts, Tweets will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn starting later today.

Ryan wrote that this decision is due to the new Twitter strategies that focus on the “consumption experience” improvement.

The same day Michael Sippey wrote on the Twitter developer Blog:

we’re hard at work building tools that make it easy for developers to build common Twitter features into their own sites in a simple and consistent way.

This support the new expanded Tweets annouced on the 13th of June on the Twitter Blog. The new function consists on the embedding of external sites contents directly on the Twitter home feed. In this way users can read a full article of the NY Times or comment an exclusive WWE image directly on Twitter.

Obviously these expanded tweets are a revenue source for Twitter that is searching to find the right way to monetize its success.

After a lot of year of Twitter client clones, the company want to cut their server reasources for third part application increasing the interactions between Twitter and web contents, or between surfers and contents sites through Twitter.

What about the social media instruments connected to Twitter?
What about the Twitter cross posting on Facebook and Tumblr?
What about the Twitter login on Disqus and many other web/mobile apps?

Are they doing the right move? I hope yes, because the Twitter failing strategies could be a fail for all the digital economy that can’t monetize contents. If I don’t wrong YouTube is still losing money.

For my Twitter use and needs they should improve the multi account performances and the ashtag management. They can’t expect to become a full content aggregator because people use Twitter because won’t read more than 140 character. If they fill my twitter feed of long contents, I’ll not appreciate it.

I applied to the Seedcamp selection with TwitReporter, an application for the pay per tweet and the ashtag management. I’ve just started developing it with my dear friend Chiara de Caro, but now we’ll wait a while to understand the Twitter strategies, but if someone is interested in, you can find me here 🙂

Google Play replaces Android Market solving a branding problem

Searching for the word play on the Oxford Dictionary I found:

– verb
[no object] engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose:
– noun
[mass noun]
1activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children:

Yesterday march 6 , Google announced that Android Market is replaced by Google Play.
New logo and new name for more or less the same services. In their official blog post they say:

[…]Google Play, a digital entertainment destination where you can find, enjoy and share your favorite music, movies, books and apps on the web and on your Android phone or tablet. Google Play is entirely cloud-based so all your music, movies, books and apps are stored online, always available to you, and you never have to worry about losing them or moving them again.

In my opinion Google is going to have branding problems because it’s focusing its activity on the mobile with the only one product that doesn’t have the big G brand: Android!

When they launched Android probably they didn’t expect a success like this. Today, with thousands day activations, Android is the unique OS available natively for smartphones and tablets of any price, TVs, set top boxes, car entertainment systems and probably other devices that I’m forgetting.

When Google will mash Chrome/Chromium and Android will be the world’s OS leader, surpassing Microsoft and Apple. In a near future Google will control the fruition platform of a lot of the internet devices in our daily life, except the gaming devices (for now). The best way to earn from this leader position is selling contents/services to consumer and business markets.

In these years Google built the perfect market.
It started from the www content indexing paid from AdWord. Then it offered for free services like Gmail, Gmap, Greader, Ganalytics, Gdocs, Gbooks, Blogger [etc] retaining users with their personal data, and contemporaneously selling business services versions to the small/medium companies. He bought the most important content site ever, YouTube, improving the video distribution on the web. Then Google integrated all these services in a unique social Google (+) Account and in a mobile OS: Android.
Android today can aggregate all the Google services and contents in a big variety of devices, but where’s the problem of this perfect market?

The problem is that the Google’s biggest selling channel is branded Android, not Google!

In this way BigG is wasting all his brand power exactly when it should be trusted from his consumers to sell products that others are already selling from iTunes, Xbox/Zune/Windosw8, Amazon Store or PlayStation Network.

The little Android mascote is so cute. Google can’t kill him, but can delete him from the money cloud cave of the future, the ex Android Market.

All together say hello to the rainbow triangle of Google Play.

Foursquare switch to OpenStreetMap and simplify the access to the open data

On Wednesday February 29th, the bissextile day of 2012, Foursquare announced on his blog the switch from Google Maps to OpenStreetMaps.

I hope that this transition will help the open source/data world like never before. This is the first time that an Open Source project can be improved simply using an easy, known and fun application like Foursquare.

The first change reason they considered for is the economic one. Last October Google announced that more than 25,000 map loads per day had to be paid with the Google Premier API.
Thor Mitchell wrote that this change affected just 0.35% of world’s websites, but for that small amount of people the prices plans were really high.

Ed Freyfogle of Nestoria had the same 4SQ experience and solved the problem in the same “open way”. In his post he wrote strong words about the commercial attitude of the Google’s employee that represent the real value of the map services for web and mobile.

Unfortunately Google’s sales process was not good. Having agreed to a time for a call, the sales rep missed the appointment with no warning, instead calling me 45 minutes late. It was quickly obvious he had done no research whatsoever about our service, what we do, or even where (in which countries) we do it. He was unable to explain the basics of the new charging regime – for example, what exactly is a “map-view”, telling me instead to “ask your developers”. Finally he quoted a price to continue using Google Maps (just on nestoria.co.uk, one of eight countries we operate in) that would have bankrupted our company.

On the Foursquare post comments are focused on the bad OSM mapping information of cities like New Mexico and Sao Paulo, while some Russian countries are mapped better than Google Map. What does it mean?

disquis image
Grawl screenshot

Civil earth mapping is still generally incomplete according to the entity that promote it. Google Map is focused on commercial scope because it works on advertising and business applications. OpenStreetMap is focused on the openness of its platform, but depends totally from the users. The advanced digital users like the russians 🙂

Unfortunately the paradox is that the Google Map success is due to his easy personalization and integration on the web. Everyone can build a little map or can add his company on it. Using Google Map gives the sense of openness that is not real!

When users put datas on Google Map give their information to BigG that first tracks our profiles, and then filsl its local databases. Ok, it gives us a a great map service, but this is not open, its a business product that users are building with their datas and a strong usage.

If I were in OpenStreetMap I focus on little instruments to facilitate access to the map instruments. For example the maps for personal web sites, small applications for mobile and so on. Untill companies will be forced to consider OMS as a Google Map alternative just for economic reasons, the OMS project probably will not fill the mapping holes of his atlas.

Open Source and Open Data should be easy end fun. 

Foursquare has the unique occasion to spread an open source project that need to be filled with users, gamification, badges, specials and so on. Foursquare could even innovate his system developing a personal reality mapping function that goes beyond the simple check-in system. Users could build their onf maps using the 4SQ mobile technology mixed to the OSM map framework, and then they could open ecommerce corners or sell local adv.

I’ll follow them, even if for me Foursquare is still an Antisocial Network 😉

Facebook content management systemification

The most recent statistics speak about 800 million of Facebook active users.

Zuckemberg and his staff are implementing the platform improving functions, mobile, and interactions among users and the rest of the web (like, fan, follow etc).

Looking at my friends, my relatives and my collagues, I think that Facebook is not only a social network, but it is going to be the official web personal page. The functions and the importance that Facebook is going to have can’t be based only on the social interaction. The normal/low profile users, the majority, are using Internet starting from Facebook. For them is normal thinking about their personal page as the official personal medium like a blog or a web site. I think that most of them ignore WordPress, Flickr or Tumblr, and probably they might not have any reason to open a YouTube Channel or a Twitter account.

In a near future a lot of people could decide to manage their digital life just using Facebook like a platform provider for self promotion, business and social interactions.
Why?
Because on Facebook you can build a personalized page (the coming Timeline) with an exclusive url (vanity url). You can upload unlimited pictures and videos that you can embed and share inside and outisde FB. You can share contents, events, birthdays and check-ins. You can write short or long statuses (up to 63.000 characters). You can video chat and mail. You can tag people (do you remember the Blogrolls or the pingbacks?). You can follow the streams of other people even if they are not your friends (something like Feed Reader). You can create a page, a sort of web site, or a group, a sort of personal community. You can advertise and analize visits (FB Ads & Insights). You can install thousands of social application and games. You can buy and sell (check Blomming, a great Italian start up) and last but not least, you can sync and manage a lot of these contents on your mobile device.

Simplify WordPress, Flickr, YouTube, Delicious, MySpace, Foursquare and Twitter and you’ll obtain Facebook on dec’11. Ok, you’ll never have the functions of all these platforms, but do you think that the mass need them? Do you think that your mom will open a YouTube Channel for sharing her nephews videos or posting a comment to the new Italian Government?
No, forget it!

The strongest “function” of Facebook remains the social one. Everyone is on Facebook and all the companies are opening official pages that one day could replace the official web sites. Even Facebook for Developers is supporting the Facebook content management systemification. If you integrate FB on your web site you have a rapid subscribe process and easy share/comments functions, but remember that you are moving the attention of your users from your site to Facebook. The FB’s API are a great commodity, but they are a threat because one day your users could prefer remaining on the blue site avoiding your site.

In conclusion, I think that Facebook is going to be:

  • the biggest DB of people, interests and connections for the active users and the real connection between them
  • the biggest DB for marketeers for the sociographic information and the detailed maps of the user’s interests and connections
  • the biggest DB of contents and contents link because the mass produce, import and link everything on FB
  • the strongest conversation platform because we have more friends inside FB than outside it
  • the strongest potential paid social network because anyone could live without FB
  • the biggest publishing application platform because installing an app is easier and viralest on FB than anywhere else
  • the most integrated social network on the web because to reach visitors, a web site should be easily sharable and accessible from/to FB
  • the most powerful analytics platform because they collect visits, impressions and shares of real indentities building a precise social tree everywhere FB is integrated

Do you agree?

Anyway, I’ll never abandon my blogs and my other social platoforms, but fist to post this article I opened my personal Facebook Page 😉