[Webinar] Transforming ILT to Blended Learning

https://vimeo.com/413988450

Radiant shares best practices for transforming ILT to Blended Learning in this 30-minute webinar as more companies turn to distance training for a remote workforce.


[Webinar] How Atomic Design is Revolutionizing Enterprise UX

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxzMuPpddRg&feature=youtu.be

Atomic Design pairs software development with the laws of chemistry to build easily modifiable user interfaces. Business leaders can now embrace cost-savings, ease of maintenance, and increased development speed through component-based, nimble design.


[Webinar] Enterprise UX: An Enabler for Legacy Systems Transformation

https://vimeo.com/413245659

Imagine capturing significant cost savings while increasing employee productivity and enhancing corporate culture. If you are leading or supporting digital transformation initiatives for your organization, you can't miss Matthew Gessler discussing how UX plays a critical role in the digital enterprise.


Understanding the Limitations of User Personas for UX Design

Capturing and implementing personas is a ritual in most UX design lifecycles. User personas are useful to visualize your design's consumers while incorporating the UX design philosophies in your business.

According to experience Dynamics, "A persona is a vivid, narrative description of a fictitious person who represents a segment of your user population. It is based on primary research that uncovers the real attitudes, goals, and behaviors of the users it represents."

While user personas may help you progress in design to quite an extent, their credibility is still questionable due to the weaknesses that they exhibit when taken too literally.

What is disconcerting about user personas is that after spending significant time, effort, and money on them, they don't quite cut the mustard in terms of universal user acceptance for a product.

In this blog, we delve into some of the common problems of UX designers' user personas.

Inaccuracy

Personas driven by insufficient or premature data, doctored with many assumptions, can be catastrophic in a real-world environment. The goals and pain points of actual users must be captured with significant accuracy. Creating a balance between business and user needs makes this imperative.

Designers sometimes become biased or self-referential when collected data is inaccurate or flawed. Choosing an inaccurate target group can also cull the progress of a design.

However, the need for accuracy can pose problems for UX designers that need to portray the personas and predict their responses quickly.

Lack of Empathy

Personas dwell not only on designer perspective and technical point of view but also on a certain degree of user empathy. UX designers’ focus on meeting business objectives can stand in the way of thinking about how they would use a product themselves.

Thus, empathy often becomes the missing link in creating functional designs. Basing the target users off individual bias and intuition can be a formula for design catastrophe. There is a fine line between emotions and practicality in design that can be met through applied empathy.

Although, problems also arise from overconfidence in the ability to empathize or unreliable inferences made from user behavior.

Significant Effort Spent on Research

It takes a lot of leg work to develop and maintain personas, which is why capturing the right personas empirically is paramount. Basing a design on workflows without evidence-based execution is often pointless, especially when the product is designed to cater to different users with varied requirements.

A single persona hypothesis can lead to a single-use design workflow and can even lead to variants of a persona being created that are never used. This defeats the purpose of leveraging personas for future design success.

Low Credibility

It takes a lot of leg work to develop and maintain personas, which is why legitimate research-based persona development is important for making evidence-based decisions.

It is crucial to include links supporting research and workflow analysis, even in a simulated environment, when a designer develops a persona.

In researching his book, Validating Product Ideas, Tomer Sharon interviewed 200 product managers and found that 86% of product managers are inspired by a personal pain experience vs. only 2% who do User Research for product design idea validation.

Depending on where you get your data/ insight, Persona authenticity and credibility range from low to high. Experience Dynamics has depicted LOW credibility for these data sources.

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Lack of Leadership Buy-in

Leadership sometimes devalues personas as they feel they “know” their users. Inside-Out decision-making can enshroud personas' primary organizational benefits and the quantification of design constraints based on real-time users' lifestyles and abilities.

The lack of leadership support & involvement in exploring & defining personas makes designs highly opinionated & biased. This could lead to pushing back on user personas and not leveraging their potential.

If creating a persona doesn’t involve all stakeholders, it will be viewed with skepticism, which slows or prevents design adoption.

The engineering culture today requires that everyone, including designers, opines about developing personas. Dismissing a collaborative environment can lead to design repercussions.

Low ROI Risk

Forrester Research studied redesigns and found that teams using personas had a four-fold ROI over teams that did not. Outdated user personas or unused personas can increase redesign costs, support costs, & training needs while demanding more documentation work to lead to product implementation delays.

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Image Source: Experience Dynamics

Low User Adoption & Acceptance

Just developing smart personas is pointless unless the majority of the product consumers adopt and accept it. Fear of technology is an important factor, especially with older users, that affects the adoption rate through design.

The problem here is that discussions about desired functionality may be an emotionally sensitive topic. Understanding the emotions of all the product user types is great but close to impossible. The emotional needs of one user persona may not be suitable for another.

A product design that appeals to some and not others can lead to project failures and low user acceptance.

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Image Source: Experience Dynamics

Ineffective for Special Needs

Personas don’t help accurately represent users with special needs, like those with vision or hearing impairment or users from marginalized communities. These users might find it uncomfortable discussing their requirements and expectations.

This makes it difficult for the researcher to assess the impact of personas on the design problem fully. Capturing emotions and having an empathetic outlook in these cases can be challenging for the UX design researcher.

Conclusion

While personas are extremely effective for aiding the design of products, working with a large cast of personas given their limitations is likely to be unwieldy.

Personas can never provide a perfect prediction of how end-users will respond. But, totally forgoing them can be a risky exercise in modern-day UX design.


The Benefits of Internal Podcasts for Communication & Learning

Social distancing has become the new normal during the outbreak of Covid-19. Thanks to the convenience of technology, most enterprises are carrying out internal communications remotely.

While an array of collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are great for instant messaging and meetings, creating a podcast for employees can improve employee engagement organically and conversationally. Distance learning is a key area that is facilitated by internal podcasts in corporate teams.

Internal podcasts help you exercise innovation in a world where digital technology disruption is taking over. Leadership can create engagement, showcase the company culture, and bridge the communication gap between employees and executives with podcasts created by social distancing.

Why Internal Podcasts?

With most companies currently being cost-conscious, podcasts are very cost-effective to produce and set up, requiring little equipment. They have a short production time allowing more Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to volunteer their time and share their knowledge, which we may not have had access to before.

Internal Podcasts also open doors for larger SME knowledge to be exchanged as more employees may share their expertise through this medium. Podcasts are convenient and comfortable when compared to training a larger audience in person.

Podcasts are a very intimate medium for employees that help “humanize” messages coming from management. They help clarify the HR and corporate training landscape for gamification, compliance training, and agility.

Benefits

These benefits of internal podcasts draw enterprises to integrating them into their corporate communications strategy.

Cost-effective to produce

Podcasts are quick, practical, and inexpensive to produce, with only basic communication equipment needed to be set up.

Relevant to our current state

With distance learning being at the forefront now, podcasts are an easy way to gain knowledge, connect, contribute, and sustain knowledge-building with the shortest learning curve.

Asynchronous Streaming

Users can listen to the podcasts on their time; podcasts allow users to record sessions and listen later during their commute or break. With this, the learning process becomes more flexible without needing extra supplies/equipment.

Familiarity 

Many people already listen to podcasts, so they are familiar with how they work. Employees will be accustomed to the format deployed on podcasts by their company, which ensures no surprises are thrown in at the last moment. Corporates also follow standardized engagement formats like One Host Show, Co-hosted Show, or interviews.

Information Security

Podcasts are created on the company’s internal network channel that is kept secure and robust through IP security. Companies can account for a reliable hosting service that provides password-protected directories with sufficient bandwidth and storage.

Content can be protected through encryption and uploaded to the files directory using File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Secure feed creation software can be used to create feeds in a secure environment. Podcasts can be uploaded in a private cloud environment or an on-premise cloud for secure access by authorized employees.

The podcast link can also be password protected during access using a browser.

Effective for Instructional Design 

As day-to-day milestones consume professionals, podcasts help define goals and objectives more informally for instructional design discussions.

The sound principles of instructional design can be applied strategically to training and performance support using podcasts. They can be used in audio scripts, questions to experts, and for illustrations effectively.

Instructional designers can formally define goals and objectives for development while discussing them informally through engaging storytelling or visualization.

Before implementing instructional design using podcasts, you need to,

  • Ensure that the flow and organization of ideas makes sense
  • Keep the writing clear and succinct
  • Define terms before using them

Engage Remote Workers

It is challenging for a global company to engage thousands of employees dispersed all over the world. Internal Podcasts update remote employees with the latest company news and information from time-to-time, thus preventing disengagement and isolation.

Some of these Go-to applications designed specifically for long-distance podcasting can quell miscommunication and promote more inclusiveness in a corporate environment.

Metrics-based Evaluation of Employee LMS

How will you make podcasts effective in maximizing employee learning? By merging podcasts and LMS, of course!

This is a proven way of taking employee training to the next level while giving the business leaders a more skilled workforce.

Podcasts complement Learning Management Systems where context and additional supplements can be added to the learning modules employees consume. You can evaluate in real-time how effectively an employee consumes information and applies it with performance metrics. You could also test their knowledge with a follow-up quiz in the LMS.

Managers can devise performance improvement plans based on these evaluated metrics.

Employees can listen to a pending lesson or explore a concept through a podcast episode played on their way back from work. This helps in productive & flexible learning with better retention of concepts at work.

Topics that Corporates can cover in podcasts

Curating the right podcast content for employees or partners can be a great way to engage them and provide important information in a consistent, easy-to-access delivery format. Topics can be designed based on a subject matter or department-wise.

Here are areas that you can focus on.

HR Communications

Everyone has access to the generic information provided by the HR department. As a business expands, departments become more segmented and siloed. New hire orientation, foreign language, and customs are some important topics of discussion in HR comms.

A more cohesive environment can be created through podcasts where policies, company goals, achievements, job-related information, and more can be shared.

Company Culture

Internal podcasts help teams become closer and unified when it comes to the company’s brand image. The synergy between departments can be improved while employees share a common platform to exchange views and create a positive environment. Podcasts also create a cross-content platform for HR, Marketing, Operations, and other departments.

Soft Skills

Soft skills help employees communicate their ideas, products, and processes succinctly and professionally. With a fun, informative, & upbeat approach, the soft skills podcast could improve employee interactions with customers or internally while showcasing their strengths.

This podcast also helps evaluate listening skills, conflict resolution capabilities, & content creation by employees. Soft Skills podcasts also focus on demonstrating specific software procedures and applying them to a wider audience. Interviews with experts are also another area that employees find useful with these podcasts.

Training

Podcasts can be used instead of formal training to continue the connection to the material. It helps extend knowledge retention as learners gain more from a series of short training sessions instead of an extensive one-time training session. They can also be used to supplement existing training models to aid quick learning and longer retention.

C-Suite Communication

The managementcould host a regular podcast to provide regular company updates on the organization's state, share the corporate vision, reiterate elements of the mission statement, discuss immediate plans, and allow everyone to align with the corporate roadmap and better connect to the management team.

Radiant Digital can help craft an internal comms strategy featuring podcasts for your training & change management needs, generate innovative podcast content, or help you implement podcast tools that are best suited for your business.

Call us today to learn how we can customize podcasts for you.


NIH CIO-SP3 SMALL BUSINESS OVERVIEW

CONTRACT OVERVIEW

Sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH) Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC), the Chief Information Officer – Solutions and Partners 3 (CIO-SP3) Small Business (SB) contract is a ten (10) year Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Government-wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) for small businesses. This contract is intended to provide information technology (IT) solutions and services as defined in FAR 2.101(b) and further clarified in the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. The IT support solutions and services under the contract include health and biomedical-related IT services to meet scientific, health, administrative, operational, managerial, and information management requirements. The contract also contains general IT services partly because medical systems are increasingly integrated within a broader IT architecture, requiring a systems approach to their implementation and a sound infrastructure for their operation.

Through this contract, the NITAAC will award multiple IDIQ contracts under which federal government agencies can award task orders to acquire IT services. These task orders will employ various pricing arrangements such as Firm-Fixed-Price (FFP), Cost-Plus-Fixed-Fee (CPFF), Cost-Plus- Award-Fee (CPAF), Cost-Plus-Incentive-Fee (CPIF), and Time-and-Materials (T&M), all of which are to be issued in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

SMALL BUSINESS CATEGORY (RESTRICTED) TASK AREAS

  • Task Area 1: IT Services for Biomedical Research, Health Sciences, and Healthcare
  • Task Area 2: Chief Information Officer (CIO) Support
  • Task Area 3: Outsourcing
  • Task Area 4: IT Operations and Maintenance
  • Task Area 5: Integration Services
  • Task Area 6: Critical Infrastructure Protection and Information Assurance
  • Task Area 7: Digital Government
  • Task Area 8: Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Task Area 9: Software Development

Radiant delivers meaningful and measurable technology solutions for digital transformation. We specialize in technology solutions, driven by proven methodologies, to help navigate the journey to the digital enterprise. Out team of experienced consultants are adept in:

Application Transformation –Quickly delivering software across the enterprise, from internal processes to customer engagements.

IT Transformation –Efficiently executing intelligent infrastructure strategies that enables the digital enterprise.

Workforce Transformation –Effectively supporting change, from processes, and skills, to culture and behavior.

CONTRACT DETAILS

  • Contract Name:HHS NIH NITAAC Chief Information Officer – Solutions and Partners 3 (CIO-SP3) Small Business (SB)
  • Contract Number:75N98120D00064
  • Contract Track: Small Business and 8(a) Small Business
  • Contract Period:05/11/2020 – 07/14/2022
  • Task Order Types: FP, FFP, CPFF, CPAF, CPIF, T&M
  • Contract Website: http://nitaac.nih.gov/nitaac/contracts/cio-sp3-small-business