Mobile app experience of car2go

Some mobile apps have a poor user experience, some have a really great one. Time for positive feedback: I think car2go has a pretty awesome mobile app! I signed up for an account about two years ago but until now, did not use the service as a) I own a car and b) public transport in Vienna works absolutely fine and is cheap. However, visiting Burda Hackday 2016 in Munich this weekend, I had bad weather and was in a hurry, which is why I tried car2go. My conclusion: Getting the cars displayed in the app, reserving a car, giving feedback about the condition, ending the ride, etc. – everything worked fine and was absolutely intuitive. Great job! :)

Summary of the Agile Manifesto & Agile Principles

This post isn’t really news – the agile manifesto and agile principles have been put down on paper in 2001. However I wanted to post this here, so I can look it up anytime! :)

Agile Manifesto

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Agile Principles

  • Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software
  • Welcome changing requirements, even in late development
  • Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
  • Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
  • Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  • Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  • Working software is the principal measure of progress
  • Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  • Simplicity—the art of maximising the amount of work not done—is essential
  • Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organising teams
  • Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly

Examples for Definition of Ready and Definition of Done

The definition of ready and definition of done can potentially be a matter of discussion between product owners, developers, quality engineers, designers and stakeholders – to have a guideline, I think the following suggestions can be quite helpful for this topic:

Definition of ready

  • User story
  • Description of GUI with mockups & designs added
  • Description of story is consistent and clear
  • Acceptance criteria completed
  • Dependencies with third-party applications clarified (e.g. CRM or finance systems, DWH, etc.)

Definition of done

  • Acceptance criteria fulfilled
  • Deployed and tested on test environment
  • Test cases documented & executed
  • Handover to server engineers done

Differences between Scrum and Kanban

After over eight years of software product management in different industries (web portals, banking, payment, etc.), I worked with different software development methodologies – from waterfall approaches to agile models such as Scrum or Kanban. In my opinion, every approach has its right to exist and might be the best possible solution in a given situation, depending on the type of project, culture, requirements, degree of maturity of all involved people, etc. I really love working with Scrum or Kanban and recently wanted to come up with a summary of all differences between these two methodologies, since lines seem a bit blurred here in my opinion. Here’s what I come up with:

  • Artifacts: Scrum board, backlog, different types of requirement hierarchies (e.g. theme, epic, story, task), burn-down chart, velocity, etc. in Scrum vs. only a board in Kanban.
  • Iterations: Yes (sprints) for Scrum vs. no (a continuous flow) for Kanban.
  • Estimations: Yes for Scrum vs. no (items of similar sizes) for Kanban.
  • Changes: To be defined, groomed and estimated for the next sprint in Scrum vs. added to the board as needed in Kanban.
  • Roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team in Scrum vs. Team and other needed roles in Kanban.
  • Teams: Cross-functional in Scrum against teams which can be specialized in Kanban.
  • Ceremonies: Sprint planning, daily stand-up, sprint review and sprint retrospective in Scrum vs. daily stand-up, regular reviews and retrospectives on set dates and continuous planning in Kanban.

Error messages and their influence on user experience

Sometimes, errors just happen in web development as well as in any other thing that people are involved in. It’s normal – we’re all human. The question is how to communicate error messages in a way, which makes them not only “technically correct”, but also really understandable for humans and help them reach what they actually wanted to do on your website. Today, I found this article about The 4 H’s of writing error messages, which helps to write human, helpful, humorous and humble error messages. An article I really liked, check it out.

Book: “Outliers – The story of success”

Some weeks ago, a colleague of mine recommended me a book called “Outliers – The story of success” by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s about successful people and understanding why they were able to outperform in their specific field. Other studies or books focused on intelligence, ambition – the classic story of someone, who started from nothing and became highly successful just by being talented and working hard. Without a doubt, most people who excel in their field actually do have talent and work hard. But to achieve huge success, make a fortune and become popular in a specific field, there seem to be many other factors that come into play and which are not obvious at first sight. Therefore, Gladwell looks at information about their family, birthplace, or even their birth date and analyzes this data. By doing that, he revealed other factors which were essential for the success of these people in their specific field. I really recommend this book – you can find it here: http://www.amazon.de/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017930

First summary of my Kanban kick-off training

As posted before, I attended a one-day Kanban kick-off training held by Dr. Klaus Leopold from LEANability. I have to think it over a few more times, but I can definitely say that I found it very interesting. As other methods, Kanban itself does not solve fundamental problems you might face in your organisation – such as lacking motivation, unclear goals, changing priorities and things like that. What it does, is to provide lots of transparency which helps you to find problems in your working process. I am going to sum up my notes and write another blog entry in the following days!

How not to lead geeks

Great article, which I found in the LinkedIn news feed of a former colleague of mine that shows the ten worst mistakes you can make when working with developers. In my opinion, this article can be very useful for anybody working in the IT sector, e.g. managers, project or product managers, scrum masters, etc. For me, it summarizes what leadership is generally about: Have clear goals, explain them to other people in a language they understand, show them why it is important to achieve this goal, why their personal contribution is really needed, show real and honest interest in their profession, interests as well as their problems etc. Here you can find the article from Alexander Kjerulf: How not to lead geeks

Learning Spanish … first update

As I told you recently, I started to learn Spanish and made my first baby steps as I am now able to introduce myself in three different ways, telling people how I am usally called by others, telling people what my favorite nickname is, greeting other people and so on – as I said, it’s still baby steps but I will be holding on and keep you updated about my progress. ;-)

Android claims 75% marketshare in Q3/2012

Googles mobile OS Android is more successful than ever, as recent sales figures show: According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), 75% of all phones sold in Q3/2012 worldwide had Android as their operating systems. Although Nokia is putting great efforts into new products and heavily advertises their Windows Phone 8 devices, sales are still dramatically low at a 2% market share in the same period of time. Let’s see if the distribution of Windows 8 on PCs and tablets will boost sales of devices with the mobile operating system – to be honest, I hardly believe it.

Learning Spanish

I wanted to start learning Spanish for quite a long time. Now I finally bought a basic language course as well as an advanced language course on DVD – let’s see how this works out … I’ll keep you updated.

Mobile communication in Austria, part 2: Most important criteria for making your smartphone users happy

Part two of my series on mobile communication in Austria with several other interesting facts! Today I am going to summarize what makes smartphone users happy and what annoys them – please note that multiple answers were possible in the survey! The majority of users (54%) was unhappy with long loading times. This is a topic I can definitely confirm! Pages which are not optimized for mobile use annoy 48% of the smartphone users, followed by too little screen sizes with 44%, too expensive roaming fees with 27% and too complex handling with 20%. So, let’s summarize this! Always keep in mind to provide your smartphone users with a website clearly optimized for mobile devices that needs as little resources as possible – users love fast page load times. Furthermore, have your mobile website or application tested by your target group at an early stage. By doing that, you can make sure that your product meets the customers expectations and still be able to make adaptions with reasonable efforts. My personal favorite of a high quality mobile website that combines all the positive criteria mentioned above is http://m.chevrolet.com – have a look and make up your own opinion! Source: Mobile Communication Report 2012 from the Mobile Marketing Association, study made by mindtake Research, sample size = 1.001 people.

Mobile communication in Austria, part 1: Use of smartphones, spread of brands and operating systems

Today I came across a highly interesting study about mobile communication in Austria. It’s not only interesting but also brand-new as it has been published just a week ago. Most important facts in a nutshell: 69% of the Austria population up to 59 years of age already own a smartphone. The highest penetration of smartphone users among a certain age range can be found within people from 20 to 29 years, where 85% own a smartphone at the moment. Of course I expected the percentage in this age range to be quite high – let’s say around 70 to 75% – but I was really suprised to learn that it is that high. Another finding: Samsung dominates the Austrian smartphone market at the moment: 40% of all smartphones currently used were produced by the well-known South-Korean company. Second place goes to Apple with 22%, HTC comes third with 11%. Third finding: 53% of all smartphones used in Austria run Android as their operating system, second is Apples iOS which is installed on 22% of all devices. Source: Mobile Communication Report 2012 from the Mobile Marketing Association, study made by mindtake Research, sample size = 1.001 people. Here you can find the study: http://startmobile.mmaaustria.at/html/img/pool/2012_MMA_Communication_Report_kostenfreie_Praesentation.pdf

Go Kanban!

Today, I signed up for a one-day Kanban kick-off seminar in November. I’m really looking forward to learn more about this agile method and see how if it can be combined best with Scrum. Let’s see!

Average usetime of different social networks

I don’t know a lot of people who use Google+. I suppose roughly 10% of my Facebook friends also have a Google+ account and most people I talk to don’t know a lot of other users either. Actually, I thought this was only an “Austrian” or “European thing”, but according to a recent comScore report, the use of Google+ worldwide seems dramatically low: It states that the average number of minutes a user spends on Facebook per month is 405, whereas Google+ is used only 3 minutes per month – which is even lower than MySpaces 8 minutes. The data caused the Wall Street Journal to call Google+ a “virtual ghost town”. Here’s the article on searchenginejournal.com!

How to deal with big stories in scrum

Since last week, we have a new scrum master in our company. Last week, she had her certified scrum master course held by Boris Gloger (I also took the course in 2008 and really liked it, I would recommend Boris Glogers courses to anybody who wants to know more about scrum). Enthusiastically, she came back in the office and compared the theoretical lessons of her scrum master course to how we do it in the company. As she already encountered that estimations are not always easy and we regularly get quite high estimates from our developers, she discussed this topic with other participants and also read her first blog entries on how to make estimates more precisely. At the moment, the highest estimate we accept has the value of 40 story points, but some of her discussion partners said that they only accepted 8 or even 5 story points as the highest value – otherwise, the story is still not precise enough and needs to be split into smaller ones. I totally understand that smaller stories can have a positive effect on the planning security, but I’m just not quite sure if this works for us too or if the discussion about how to split a story into various smaller ones will take lots of time! I guess, I’ll have to let myself be suprised. I’m going to give you an update in another blog entry as soon as I found out more!

Content management systems and SEO

In the past I have already experienced a number of evaluations for content management systems for different purposes, including a couple of personal websites, small company websites or even large online portals. Of course, the content section of your website or your website as a whole (if you fully run it using a content management system) should be optimized for search engines as good as possible. Most of the current content management systems have options for SEO already implemented, for others there are lots of plugins that help with this matter. But as I have made some really bad experiences with age-old content management systems in the past (where you automatically got an ugly URL with tons of parameters and were not able to define your favored title, h-tags, description, etc.) the SEO aspect of a CMS is even more important for me. That is why this article about five important CMS tips for large companies from a SEO point of view was really interesting to me. I found tip number 3 quite nice: Including brief infos for your online editors on how to use several tags, find the perfect title, write a good description, etc. seems like a really helpful thing to me!

The difference between iOS and Android

“Apple’s way of getting you to buy a new phone is to make you really happy with your current one, whereas apparently Android phone makers think they can get you to buy a new phone by making you really unhappy with your current one…” (Michael Degusta, theunderstatement.com). Quite interesting read, compares different phone models sold in the US during the last three years and how long they have been supported with the latest OS versions.

Google Analytics Conference 2011 in Vienna

Last week I visited the Google Analytics Conference 2011 in Viennas Schönbrunn Palace, which was organized by the SEO/SEM consultants e-dialog, elements.at and webalytics. The event started with an opening keynote from Clancy Childs, who is the EMEA Manager for Google Analytics – very interesting and entertaining. After that, elements.at and e-dialog held their presentations about the V5 of Analytics, its newest features and how to benefit from them in your daily web analytics business. Interesting, but not quite as lively and entertaining as the guys from Google managed to hold their speeches. The closing keynote was held by Trevor Claiborne (@tclaiborne on Twitter), who is a Product Marketing Manager at Google. Being a Product Manager myself, his presentation was the most interesting for me and I really liked it! After that, the audience was able to raise questions at the guys from Mountain View. All in all, in interesting event which I might be attending again next year.

The importance of survey design for your online surveys

Today, I received an eMail from the hosts of on online media congress I visited some weeks ago. While the first question just had two options to choose from, the second question (asking how I found out about that congress) already was a multiple choice question with over twenty checkboxes and a bunch of text fields to add further details. I immediately left the survey and I’m pretty sure a lot of other users also did. My opinion for a higher conversion of your online survey: Start with some simple questions that are really easy to answer and consider this as a warm-up, before asking questions that require a much higher level of consideration and involvement from your respondent.

Easy SEO for your own website: Creating a sitemap.xml file

In my opinion, the most important factors in SEO are content, backlinks and structure. Building a new website with a well-thought site structure will help users as well as search engines to smoothly navigate through your site and spider one page after the other. Quite nice, but no matter how clear the site structure may be, I would always recommend creating a sitemap.xml. This is a file which lists the URLs of your pages in a way that bots can handle them properly and also gives them additional information, e.g. how often the pages are updated, how important they are compared to the other pages of your site, etc. The sitemap.xml follows the XML schema for sitemap protocols which all major search engines agreed on. Depending on the system you use, there are different ways to create such a sitemap.xml file: If you build the website by yourself, you can create and update the sitemap.xml file manually using a web development tool or a simple text editor. Going this way, you always have to keep in mind that you have to make every change (e.g. creating new pages, deleting old pages, etc.) manually. Remember, always stick to the XML schema for sitemap protocols. Otherwise, bots are not going to be able to read your sitemap.xml. You can also implement a service that generates a current version of your sitemap.xml in a time interval that you define. Using a CMS like WordPress, it’s much easier: There are many helpful plugins for this job – you will find a sitemap XML generator in a few minutes. Most plugins offer various customization possibilities – e.g. to define the time interval in which a new sitemap.xml is being generated, to exclude certain page types, etc. Using Google Webmaster Tools you can inform Google that you provide a sitemap.xml for your site. In my next blog post, I will tell you why it is highly important to have a robots.txt file and how to connect it with your sitemap.xml file.

The perfect domain name

Fine roundup of the key factors of ideal domain names on promotionworld.com: The perfect domain name should be short and simple as possible, while being unique and also suggestive for your business category. A crucial point especially if your domain name should perform internationally: It should be easy to interpret and pronounce as well as being as easy to spell as possible for the users in your key markets!

How to make websites successful: Planning!

Before starting a new web project, you should be aware of the factors that are essential for making websites successful. In this short series we are going to have a closer look on the importance of planning. What do you need before starting your project? First of all, find a niche in the market where competition is as small as possible but which still attracts a considerable number of people. Then, you need to develop a business plan. Just trying your luck without thinking first what your products are, how to promote and make money with them, how to recruit and retain customers, what the USP of your product or company is, etc. might work in some few cases, but chances are much higher that you are going to fail. Don’t spend weeks of consideration just focusing on your business plan – using helpful resources like http://www.myownbusiness.org/s2/ will save you lots of time. Think hard about your domain name as it will directly affect the perception of your website on the market and therefore, will have direct impact on the number of your visits. Your ideal domain name should be short, unique and easy to remember. Also, consider that choosing a high quality hosting provider is time well spent. Go for dedicated server hosting! The more reliable and faster your website, the more satisfied your visitors will be and the better for your rankings in search engines. More on this interesting topic on http://www.chromaticsites.com/blog/the-official-successful-website-checklist-challenge/

The W3C CSS validator

A very useful tool for those who don’t know it yet: The W3C CSS validator. Just enter your website URL, upload a CSS file or enter the code directly in the text field and hit the “Check” button – in just a few seconds you get an overview about the CSS errors and warnings found in your file!

Apple’s design culture

Without a doubt, Apple’s success over the last few years (especially with the iPhone and the iPad) would not have taken place without the remarkable usabiliy and user experience of its products. For Apple, design was a huge factor that made the change from being almost dead to highly successful even possible. For most companies, design is not a must-have. It’s something that the product should have besides dozens of other things. For Steve Jobs, design is nothing less than essential. When you have a CEO who has that much focus on this subject, it’s quite easy for everyone else to understand the importance and to follow. Apple has a small team of experts who design the key products and that works together with the engineers very closely. In addition, Apple sets itself very high standards – if it’s not perfect, they don’t launch it. The best example for this rule probably is the white version of the iPhone 4 which made it to the stores months after the planned launch date. More about the role of design for Apple: http://uxmovement.com/resources/8-things-to-know-about-the-company-culture-at-apple/

Introduction to Google Website Optimizer

Great guide to Google Website Optimizer on kissmetrics.com that tackles several topics: What is Google Website Optimizer actually? What are the testing variants of A/B testing and multivariate testing and when do you choose which one? Where should you start? Which elements of your site can be tested? How do you set up your tests? First of all, don’t focus on completed sales or sign-ups. Instead of that, rather focus on converting your customers from one step of a desired process to the next one. Little improvements in every single steps will make a huge difference in the end. Identify different elements of your sites (e.g. your header, navigation, links to certain pages, etc.) and test them using a multivariate test. By doing that, you see which element performs best and therefore should be part of the final setting. Also consider creating different visitor segments. Visitors that come to your website using Google search may act different than users that come to your website via direct traffic. Always keep in mind that testing, measuring and defining improvements is just the first part – all of this is useless if you do not bring your findings to life by improving your website regularly and after that, continuing the process by starting to test again. More on this interesting topic here

Build a company website in less than an hour

Is it really possible to build a nice looking website with useful information in less than one hour? It sure is. All you need to do that is a) find a hosting provider to run your website, b) install a content management system (CMS) that helps you to set up pages without having to write a single line of code and c) get a template that fits your requirements and looks attractive. As far as the CMS part is concerned, WordPress is my absolute favorite. You can install it within minutes, you are able to choose between thousands of free templates and plugins and its user interface makes it fun to use each and every day. Much more information on this topic here http://blog.kissmetrics.com/build-a-company-website/

The 10 do’s and dont’s of outstanding customer service

The do’s …
1. Always answer your communications-emails and voice messages-promptly.
2. Make the information that your customers want easily available to them.
3. Treat every customer like a completely precious individual.
4. Cultivate an environment in your business where each employee takes responsibility for your customers.
5. Every so often, make an outrageous, extravagant effort to serve a customer.

… and the dont’s:
1. Ever break your promises.
2. Make things overly complicated for your customer.
3. Let your automated systems make using your website or business difficult for your customers.
4. Forget that your customers have a strong sense of fair play.
5. Forget to say “thank you!”

More on this interesting topics on http://blogs.sitepoint.com/outstanding-customer-service/

10 Tips on how to be an awesome product manager. 5: Write and refine your product documents

You understood the evolution of your product? You informed yourself using different internal sources (departments of your companies such as sales, customer care, support, development, etc.) and external sources (customers, partners, consultants, blogs, newsgroups, forums, product reviews, etc.) to gain information? Congratulations – you now have the necessary understanding of your product, company and customers to make the right decisions. Now, refine your product documents. Define where changes need to be made. Think about what could be improved to make your documents more informative and appealing. Enhance in-life documentation. Also, prepare different documents for different audiences. For users of your product who are beginners and who are not familiar yet with your product, you need very comprehensible documentation, ideally with graphics on how to use the product. Maybe you also want to provide easy step-by-step instructions in your manuals. For users with a high level of know-how and experience, you might want to include more in-depth information to get out even more of your product. More on this topic here http://www.slideshare.net/brainmates/10-tips-on-how-to-be-an-awesome-product-manager

10 Tips on how to be an awesome product manager. 4: Review your product documentation

What are the internal sources that you can get information from? First of all, find existing product documentation – reports, technical documentation, sales documents, manuals for customers, etc. After that, find the current versions – this gives you an interesting view on how the product evolved over the years. Regarding external sources, you can go online and read blogs, newsgroups, forums or product reviews. Then again, talk to your customers. Always keep in mind to never stop researching and learning. More on this topic here http://www.slideshare.net/brainmates/10-tips-on-how-to-be-an-awesome-product-manager

10 Tips on how to be an awesome product manager. 3: Review your KPIs

First of all, think about the right questions – what do you want to measure? Just collecting lots of data is no problem, but does not make sense without further involvement. The question is: What you are going to do with the information you get from your different sources? Make sure you are clear what you want to find our. It is very important to combine your figures with qualitative insights, which you can obtain by talking to customers in general, key users of your product or other departments of your company, e.g. sales, customer care, support, development, etc. This is going to clear your view and make it easier to comprehend how things related. Check if the KPIs of your product are linked up with your jobs KPIs – are they aligned? Always keep track of your KPIs and your different environments, e.g. customers, competitors, partners, etc. More on http://www.slideshare.net/brainmates/10-tips-on-how-to-be-an-awesome-product-manager

Photography cheat sheets

Awesome link: 13 cheat sheets for photography (different camera types) and design (various image processing and graphics editing programs as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom or Aperture) – http://webdesignledger.com/resources/13-super-useful-photography-cheat-sheets

10 Tips on how to be an awesome product manager. 2: Use your product

As a product manager, you are the person that has to know the product best. That’s why you need to take your time to use, consume or play with your product – you simply can not replace personal experience. After that, list the features of your product. Find out, what its strenghts are. Also, find out which weaknesses your product has http://www.slideshare.net/brainmates/10-tips-on-how-to-be-an-awesome-product-manager

10 Tips on how to be an awesome product manager. 1: Talk to people

Want to find out more about your business and understanding how it works? Find the right people to talk to and ask the right questions! You can use internal as well as external sources of information. Concerning the internal sources, you can talk to sales, marketing, customer service, engineering, finance or research and development. For the external sources, first of all talk to your customers! Questions that you can raise here: “What are the biggest problems you are facing? Does our product solve all or some of these problems? Why did you buy our product? What do you like most about it? What do you like least about it? If you had the possibility to change one thing about the product, what would it be?” Also very interesting: Talk to your non-customers – why did they decide to not use the product? You can also talk to your partners, suppliers, distributors or journalists http://www.slideshare.net/brainmates/10-tips-on-how-to-be-an-awesome-product-manager

Hands-on tips for link building

Very interesting read that shows a simple strategy for building links: First of all, list your own USPs – think about the reasons why someone should link to your website. Do you have interesting, unique content, that readers can benefit from? Then, find the links you want, e.g. via Google Search. You can also hit the similar pages link to find more interesting results. After that, check the quality of the page that you want to receive a link from. If it does not appear in SERPs at all, don’t even go for it. Also, check how many incoming and outgoing links the page has. Finally, go get the links! Write or call the webmaster, comment blogs, send them traffic, etc. to get noticed http://www.seomoz.org/blog/hands-on-tips-for-link-building

Multiple domains vs. subdomains vs. folders

This extremely useful article shows the advantages and disadvantages of various possibilities to structure a website. While going for a different domain (e.g. domain.fr instead of domain.com) to easily geo target for a foreign market might be a great advantage, no authority or trust is being passed by the domain that already exists, which obviously is a huge disadvantage. Like always, first of all you should focus on your goals – what do you want to achieve now, where do you want to be in five years? A clear and constant website architecture is a make or break for SEO, so I really recommend you to read the whole article, which also has a very clear short summary at the end http://www.webseoanalytics.com/blog/multiple-domains-vs-subdomains-vs-folders-in-seo/

10 SEO mistakes you can simply avoid

Always think about your visitors: What are they looking for and where are they from? Therefore, spend time on researching the right keywords to optimize your pages for and always focus on keyphrases that feature location information, if that’s important for your website. If you don’t care about these essential thoughts, all further efforts would be useless. Keep in mind to focus on the best anchor texts for your links and look out for quality links over quantity links. And as mentioned before many times, write unique content that’s worth reading. This article shows you many common mistakes and how to tackle these topics http://blog.kissmetrics.com/seo-mistakes/

How to properly rename a domain

You want to change a domain name from example.com to anotherexample.com and wonder which is the best way to do that from a SEO point of view? First of all, use a HTTP status code 301 redirect to redirect all your old pages (that means every single one!) permanently to the new ones. After that, check both external as well as internal links to pages on your site and be sure they point to the new domain name. Plus, create and submit (Google Webmaster Tools also helps here!) a sitemap.xml of your site. More on that here: http://webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/3399/renaming-a-domain-and-preserving-pagerank

Prototyping in Product Management

Most people nowadays know, what prototyping means – “prototype” is a Latin word and actually means “primitive form”. But why does it help you in developing better products, what are the advantages? First of all, prototyping reduces business risk. By creating such an “early model”, you are able to develop worthy solutions that solve real problems. Also, it is much easier to communicate and demonstrate the solution to the business as you can actually test something that does not only exist on paper. You can also obtain customer feedback at an early stage that helps you to improve the product before launching it. Check out this really interesting read on prototyping in product management http://www.brainmates.com.au/events/prototyping-in-product-management

5 easy tips to improve website visibility

Short introduction to SEO that covers five important non-tech ranking factors: First of all, think about the keyword or phrase you want to optimize the page for – every page has its own reason to exist and therefore has to be optimized uniquely. Ensure that every page has a unique title and description tag. Think about the best possible link texts – never ever name a link text “click here”. Update your website regularly, and as mentioned in many posts before: Always write absolutely unique content (now after the Google Panda update more important than ever before) http://www.vertical-leap.co.uk/blog/5-easy-tips-to-improve-website-visibility/

Optimizing product pages

Another interesting read on how to optimize product pages found on www.vertical-leap.co.uk: A product page SEO checklist. But, as in many other cases, this does not only affect your rankings in search engines but also so many other areas such as – helpful and interesting product descriptions is a must that positively affects SEO, usability, user experience, conversion, … and finally, profit http://www.vertical-leap.co.uk/blog/product-page-seo-tips/

What does usability mean for your products?

There are lots of factors which influence the usability of your product. So, which components have an influence? First of all, the product itself – how can you interact with the system, how does it feel, what does the system give you back? What comes with the product – e.g. manual, accessories, packaging? All this and many more topics are addressed in this article http://www.uselog.com/2010/05/1-usability-101-understand-what.html

2011 Scrum Checklist by Boris Gloger

You use scrum to manage your projects? If so, this might be interesting for you: On infoq.com you can download the current version of Boris Glogers Scrum Checklist. I attended his Certified Scrum Master and his Certified Product Owner courses which got me into agile software development http://www.infoq.com/minibooks/scrum-checklists

10 usability tips based on research studies

The article “10 Usability Tips based on Research Studies” reveals qualities that really matter when it comes to developing web products – make your website fast, easy to read and position the most important content on the left side of the page http://sixrevisions.com/usabilityaccessibility/10-usability-tips-based-on-research-studies/

Key elements of irresistible e-mail subject lines

Useful guide on how improve e-mail marketing. It identifies three key elements of irresistible e-mail subject lines (“The Fundamentals”, “The Specifics” and “The Secret Sauce”) to help writing useful, unique and urgent subject lines http://www.copyblogger.com/email-subject-lines/