[Webinar] How to Win your Tech Demo with UX

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAjecEb7fog&t=14s

Are you a contractor company working with the federal government? Are you losing too many of your tech demos? Let Matthew Gessler show you how to stand out from your competitors and win more through the power of UX.

by Matthew Gessler, Radiant Director
User Experience Leader | Strategist | Keynote Speaker

All rights reserved. © 2020 Radiant Digital Solutions


The Leading Stage of the AR Maturity Model: Leading in Enterprise AR for Competitive Market Advantage

One of the exciting developments in technology was when Augmented Reality (AR) enhanced the convergence of IoT, AI, and Cloud Computing.

AR's true potential is evident in niche use cases like monitoring performance in a manufacturing unit or creating next-generation ADAS systems to contextualize real-time digital content dissemination. This potential is leveraged for enterprise growth in stage four of the AR maturity model called Leading or Lead (Best-in-Class).

In this stage, the organization's people and processes would have established themselves in the AR industry or contributed to transformational AR projects. The company would have successfully transitioned from the Explore stage to the Deploy Stage and already championed AR Connection & Scaling to gain a significant position in the AR growth ladder.

The five areas that could give your business the competitive edge in Augmented Reality are:

AR applications for smartphones and tablets are a crucial area of business investment today. This is because the AR hardware is available, and the usage is widespread and intuitive. Additionally, AR content for mobility is currently in high demand.

According to Randall L., the chairman of AT&T, the arrival of 5G technology was swift and steady. This arrival could be an excellent enabler for increased AR adoption because of the demand for near real-time operations.

AR is predicted to grow with new hardware, 5G, and Edge Computing, many companies, are bracing with innovation in-hand.

Here are the critical areas where AR will play a crucial role in revenue generation for mobility and hardware.

Mobile AR could significantly spike up mobile network data usage, with developers taking advantage of new features and leveraging the cloud to keep things lightweight and fast.

AR's role in an organization becomes very fundamental, considering similar AR applications can give an organization the leading edge.

This reshapes the C-suite's AR responsibility, where a new position like a Chief AR officer can be allocated.

The leading stage makes the AR platform's capabilities available throughout the enterprise and extends them to suppliers and customers. This phase includes leveraging the data from IIoT devices within indigenous and external AR environments.

Roles and the % of their AR experience may be distributed within the enterprise or externally, as shown below. This experience could contribute to an enterprise's digital transformation through AR.

Designing a productive ecosystem where every 3D professional can create excellent applications is key to making AR a dominant platform. However, the augmented reality branch of any industry still requires significant investment.

Not every company is ready to provide this. To create special applications, skilled developers need specialized hardware with an impressive set of features. To attract AR investments, you need unique apps (cannot be designed yet because AR technology is just evolving).

Another area of consideration lies in democratizing AR through crowdfunding, like in the case of LUCYD. This AR start-up released its blockchain-powered AR smartglasses' for the mass market. Building on a decentralized, blockchain-enabled open innovation. This led to collaboration with AR giants for their formidable expertise and recognition of LUCYD's leading-edge technology.

Democratization can also include the launch of a free app and a simple evolutionary SaaS model to build the solution and the brand name. Features like QR code for app access to an AR experience drive engagement and unlock brand value.

Another aspect of AR technology leading could mean introducing the real-world platform of a brand for AR communications, security, mapping, and functionality, which could become mainstream.

Here's the growth chart trend for the leading companies (Google, Facebook, Snap, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent) that have invested in AR's core areas from 2016-2021. The reality of AR growth becomes more visible in the Leading stage of AR Maturity.

The crucial aspects of this stage in the AR Maturity Model include:

Activities
  • All people and processes are in the course of being augmented.
  • The reinvention of business processes.
  • Availability of the AR software platform to the extended enterprise (customers + supply chain).
  • ROI maximization strategy implementation.
  • The Chief AR officer role is considered/in place.
  • The establishment is regarded as an Augmented enterprise.
Strategies
  • A predictive strategy is designed to cater to different business use cases from a well-integrated and successful AR implementation.
  • Data from AR implementation used to drive continuous improvements in processes, workflow, and team collaborations.
Technology
  • The emphasis laid on interconnected glasses, devices, machines, and sensors.
  • AR is adopting Edge computing as 5G is gaining momentum.
  • Predictive AR experiences leveraged.
  • Intelligent and self-adjusting task flows are streamlined and optimized.
Content
  • Different AR content is made more personalized and adaptive.
  • Enterprise AR standards emerge, allowing for systematic content reuse and improved cost-efficiency.
Budget
  • AR software and hardware investments would have become a part of the core operating infrastructural cost plan.
IT Role
  • IT teams align entirely with the enterprise IT and leadership strategy of AR.
  • Digital agility builds into the AR technical, non-technical, and business workforce.

Multiple success stories in AR for a brand would elevate industry recognition and encourage innovation that catalyzes broad adoption.

Leading is the final stage in the AR Maturity model. It may include the integration of technologies like IIoT with ARMP and also moving from prototyping to production.

Radiant Digital has been instrumental in helping clients move from being AR adopters to leading AR enterprises. Connect with us today to learn more.


The Connecting Stage of the AR Maturity Model: Connecting AR to the Enterprise Ecosystem

Augmented Reality's value to an organizational setup can only be realized by connecting it to the real enterprise ecosystem.

Augmented Reality or AR involves overlaying digital information from integrated enterprise systems over the users' environment in real-time, usually through photographic or map overlays.

At this stage in the AR maturity model, the company would have successfully transitioned from the Explore stage to the Deploy Stage, and the following should have been achieved:

  1. Your R&D and engineering teams would've already evaluated AR concerning various use cases.
  2. Measurement of the initial ROI banked in initial deployments.
  3. Application of change management lessons are gained in AR exploration work and formalized change management processes.
  4. Engagement of the content teams, hardware, and software engineering teams to work on your top use cases.
  5. IT team(s) have been aligned to a well-articulated AR enterprise strategy and familiar with Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance for enterprise systems integration (PLM, ERP, WMS, LMS, 3D, and AR Content Development).
  6. Budget approvals for AR hardware and software resources that have been rolled out proactively.

The Connecting stage lays the ground for the leading stage that helps capitalize on AR's ability to deliver improved business outcomes in the enterprise reality ecosystem.

In this stage, many essential ingredients for AR enterprise success are already in place and additional tools for implementing the AR business value chain.

According to a Cognizant survey, nearly 60% of respondents (enterprises that have recently adopted AR) believed that AR is a mature technology that will be accepted, established, and widely used in 18 months to three years of implementation. The others thought it would happen in three to five years.

Of 300 respondents, one-third (a total of 106) have already implemented an AR initiative at an enterprise scale, which meant they are at stage three of the AR maturity model. Of that group, 80% (a total of 85) have implemented AR and expect to be ahead, or far ahead, of their competitors in three years. This meant these respondents are in the leading stage.

The three key elements that will make AR the focal point of integration and connection include:

Content

The information revolution has led to the inundation of digital data. The spectrum of data that may be suitable for AR-assisted viewing spans small databases of enterprise assets or resources to massive, continually expanding information repositories, often referred to as "Big Data." A sophisticated analysis of Big Data would help extract benefits to AREA.

Enterprise information systems use digital information assets with metadata that associate them with real-world people, businesses, places, or objects.

Stage three involves learning about different content influencing AR and streamlining disparate types, including 3D and codified AR content.

Hardware

Producing an AR experience requires capturing the user's context, performing transformations, associating triggers in a database with user contexts, and generating signals and patterns that present digital data, also known as "augmentations," to the user's senses.

The user context is captured by (hardware) sensors integrated into many enterprise objects, including local device processors or network-connected servers.

In the connecting stage, the hardware that produces signals detected by the user's auditory, tactile or visual senses, tactile senses, and light waves are integrated with the core AR enterprise system.

These devices may include mass-market, consumer-grade smartphones or tablets, and smart glasses that may be consumer-based, enterprise-grade, or custom-built hardware.

Software

Software is used at different levels of sophistication during the design and publishing of experiences. It is also used for different ways of presentation during an AR experience.

During the connecting stage, delivering AR experiences is performed by systems controlled by software across internal and external enterprise networks. The functions of the software in AR include:

  • Detect patterns in sensor observations.
  • Interpret user context.
  • Track user changes concerning the target and various triggers.
  • Produce hardware-generated sounds, tactile signals, or visible augmentations.
  • Capture and log interactions with physical and digital assets.
  • Generation of timestamps from readings captured by sensors and stored for multiple secondary applications.

Aspects to Consider for the Connecting Stage

Activities
  1. Invitation and management of executive sponsorship.
  1.  AR strategy alignment that is relevant to each use case to the enterprise IT ecosystem.
  1. The AR Steering committee's formation involves taking expert-level individuals onboard to provide advice, ensuring delivery of the project outputs, and achieving project outcomes.

The essential tasks include:

  • Provide input to the integration and connection of AR to enterprise systems, including the evaluation strategy.
  • Budgeting advice.
  • Defining and helping to achieve the project milestones and outcomes.
  • Identify project priorities, potential risks, and timelines.
  • Consider ideas and issues raised and guide the project engineering and testing teams.
  • Help balance conflicting priorities and resources.
  • Foster positive communication outside of the Committee regarding the project's development.
  • Quality monitoring of the project as it evolves.
  • Providing advice and making decisions about (technical and business) changes to the evolving project.
  1. Coordinate the deployment of multiple connected and unconnected use cases.
  1. Organization-wide communication of a universal enterprise AR operating structure.
  1. Systematic evaluation of AR business value and the investment-revenues relationship.

Here is a sector-wise AR revenue outline from 2017-2022 from Digi-Capital.

Strategies
  1. Assess, plan, modify, and implement AR deployment strategies by looping in the steering committee.
  1. Implement the principles of ITIL and other fundamental change management principles, put other processes and mandates in place, and make the workforce familiar with the formal change management process. Also, get change management experts onboard.
Technology
  1. The AR tech stack is industry-specific or industrialized.
  1. AR Platform integration processes using tools and frameworks with enterprise systems.
  1. IIoT display of data within the AR system is enabled after analyzing the rewards and risks.

  1. Product data and log information/history flow both ways.
  1. End-to-end product integration and performance testing.
  1. Move IIoT into production and integrate it into ARMP.

The following image shows the level of AR implementation with IIoT today.

Content Management

The emergence of AR content management systems has created innovative ways of interaction that combine real-world environments with computer-generated virtual objects. AR content can manage and create AR advertising campaigns, authoring, better user experiences, research, or enhancing employees' technical understanding to perform better in their AR tasks.

In this activity,

  1. Enterprise AR content is strategized based on imported, utilized, and exported using the general AR Architecture (shown below).
  1. The coding of content for 3D and other AR functionalities is done.
  2. Third-party and OEM experts are connected with content enhancements.
  3. Learning content (LMS) is integrated into the core system for employees and interested parties.
Budgeting

This activity includes micromanaging the budget for software, hardware, workforce, and other AR enterprise integration requirements from multiple departments.

The steering committee is involved with the core management in making critical financial decisions based on intelligence-based reports and inputs from the IT teams.

IT Involvement
  1. This involves advanced monitoring and integration support.
  2. Dedicated Staff is allocated to the AR enterprise initiatives.

The benefits of the Connecting stage in the AR Maturity model, as suggested by Cognizant.

Radiant has extensive experience integrating AR with diverse enterprise systems to make it a genuine game-changer for business. Contact us to learn more.


Understanding Data grids and Using them to Power up your Designs

The best UX experiences achieve consistency of elements. Connections between these elements build a harmonious visual system that users can navigate seamlessly. To achieve this, web designers are always finding solutions to visual and organizational problems.

Large amounts of data fit optimally in the rows and columns of a data grid.  When faced with overwhelming content, it is best to let user behavior define your grid-based design approach.

Understanding Data Grids or Tables

Grids form the backbone of cost-effective, responsive websites by handling data disintegration and improving page readability. They build websites that render consistently in all browsers and at any number of resolutions (known and unknown).

By organizing and placing content uniformly across devices, grids create a look and feel that resonates with users. Creative teams and designers can also use them to plan for a responsive website design.

Also known as data tables, grids vary in size, content, complexity, and purpose. Regardless of the use-case, well-designed tables clarify the information presented, and in many cases, help users with actionable insights.

Data grids are handy for customizing data and giving users the power to act in specific scenarios.

Here are the benefits:

Clarity/Order — Grids make layouts look orderly. Users can navigate information with ease on an uncluttered webpage.

Efficiency — Designers can quickly add elements to a layout when the structure has already been built.

The Economy of Scale — Designers can collaborate on the design using grids as the design blueprint. Grids become the agreed structure for element placement, interactions, and design references.

Consistency/Harmony — Grids create a visual hierarchy and design congruity across a single site or several sites. Units, rows, fields, columns, gutters, and other parts rely on natural proportions to bring about structural harmony to your layout.

Plotting data into the rows may seem easy, but it’s not, especially if you’re designing for mobile.

The size of mobile devices poses an immediate hurdle for data grids. Responsive mobile designs are crucial. However, utilizing grids for mobile-first designs is ideal because:

  • Developers can build mobile-first designs even when it was conceived in a desktop aspect ratio.
  • Grids show how elements will break at different layout sizes using breakpoints when the browser decreases or increases in size.
  • It allows designers to focus on percentage-based design instead of pixels.
  • Designers can build standards and apply them to grid-focused frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation.
  • You can establish guidelines for later revisions without making tweaks that look out of place or inconsistent.

Most layout editors have a tool called “snap to grid.” Red or blue lines appear when elements move inside the design so that designers can ascertain when the edges line up accordingly. More complex layout editors help position elements proportionately by showing the distance between them.

Five predominantly used grid types include:

Manuscript Grids 

These are used in documents, ebooks, pdfs, and presentations with lots of text.

Column Grids

These come in handy while organizing content in columns for e-magazines and enhance readability.

Baseline Grids

These are defined by the line in which the text sits and require a more technical approach. This grid improves the reading rhythm for any text-heavy design.

Modular Grids

This kind of grid is used when there are too many elements to fit in a column grid. Modular grids are also great for laying out forms, schedules, and charts.

Hierarchical Grids

Hierarchical grids are mostly used for organizing content by importance; they can be set up with reference to a modular grid or as freestyle.

Grid Behavior

Grids are usually implemented based on their behavior (scaling and resizing).

Fluid Grids

Fluid grids include scalable and resizable columns. Breakpoints can be used in the layout to determine if it needs to change dramatically.

Fixed grids

Fixed grids use fixed-sized columns with fluid margins to keep content consistent within each breakpoint range.

A fixed grid’s layout can only be changed at an assigned breakpoint.

Data tables are incredibly user-friendly when it comes to scanning, comparing, and analyzing information. However, designing a mobile-friendly version of a complex grid can be a challenge.

Mobile interfaces are becoming more engaging when it comes to content presentation and the aesthetic quality of designs. Data grids play a pivotal role in the organization and layering of simple and complex elements.

Here are some important considerations to make while designing using data grids for mobile.

The optimal number of columns in the grid for mobile

The right number of columns may be the most confusing fundamental design aspect to a UX designer. A 12-column grid is one of the most convenient formats for mobile interfaces; it accommodates an even and an odd number of elements in a row. However, the width of one column is too small to fit fundamental elements.

We recommend using additional grids rather than sticking to the one-grid format. In this case, it is vital to maintain equal layout margins, equal or proportional gutters between the columns, and one behavior when changing individual column sizes.

Keep the columns large enough to be readable.

It is impossible to give users readable information and see all information on a data grid. Users need readable, scalable rows and columns for the best mobile experience.

Stick Column Headers in Place

For any table that accommodates more than a single vertical screen, sticky column headers maintain the context of what the table is displaying. Losing track of your location on the page can be easily remedied by including a header that remains on screen.

You can also add a header that appears while the user is not swiping and hides during a swipe, removing any interference and allowing a user to jump to another section or tab quickly.

Image Source: nngroup.com

Clarity about Horizontal Scrolling

Indicating if/when horizontal scrolling is required is essential. Swiping and scrolling are fundamental interactions when operating a mobile interface.

Including accurate scroll bars, pagination, page counts, and implementation of scrolling to said pages help users keep track of their current location on a page. Though viewing in a horizontal view may be ideal for large tables on mobile screens, there must be indicators like arrows or cut-off elements.

Image Source: nngroup.com

Freeze the leftmost column of the data grid for comparison

The leftmost column (indicating the row headers) should be locked in place, allowing users to see the required labels no matter where they scroll. That way, they will always have the context of the content within the first column and associate the remainder of the data grid content against it.

Image Source: nngroup.com

Consider providing customization options for your users.

Provide users with the information relevant to their needs when all the data don’t fit on the mobile screen.

The ability to customize the volume of content, type of data, and the options that users want to see is a powerful feature in this context and can be provided by:

  • Allowing the user to refine the data set as needed before seeing data.

Image Source: nngroup.com

  • Giving users control of the data view as they see the data.

Image Source: nngroup.com

Help Users Find What They Need

Small screens allow users to see a small portion of a massive data table. Icons such as locked headers orient users when they scroll through the data. Similarly, tools that display selective content according to user-specified criteria add value to the data being viewed.

Grouping Data with Accordions

Accordions present vertically stacked data useful for users when selecting based on what is available in the table. Grouping data logically with Accordions lets users directly access the information of interest and perform an action. It also provides an organized view of content to the user.

Image Source: nngroup.com

A grid system can help you create responsive and engaging UX designs for web and mobile. Additionally, grids make a design more consistent and efficient, saving time and budget dollars!

Want to know how? Connect with our UX experts today!


Moving the Employee Engagement Needle and its Impact on ROI

Today’s C-level executives know that an engaged workforce offers a strategic vantage point when it comes to customer engagement and better ROI.

Assembling high-performing teams require business leaders to design the right team-based business strategy, manage intentionally, and hire purposefully.

Fostering employee engagement empowers staff members to navigate the world of work and seek opportunities that impact business ROI. This article focuses on simple, scalable, productive, and readily justifiable ways to optimize your organization's engagement.

Why Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement refers to the level of commitment and involvement an employee has towards their organization. There is a long-suspected connection between an employee’s level of engagement and performance quality.

Highly engaged employees contribute to their employer’s success by being goal and outcome-oriented.  This attitude directly impacts the company’s short-term and long-term ROI through employee performance. So, how to successfully achieve employee engagement?

Business leaders must understand the relationship between higher engagement and business results with a key strategy. Take a look at the difference in performance output between companies that invest in employee engagement strategies versus the companies that do not invest.

Defining a Career Engagement Strategy to Resolve Issues

Before beginning any engagement strategy, it imperative to analyze organizational pain-points that influence a talent optimization strategy. Some common issues include:

  • An unexpected increase in employee turnover and external investor interests.
  • Regulatory requirements to report on diversity statistics and executive directives to increase the representation of target demographics.
  • Aging employees cause succession risks.
  • Low engagement levels in the key demographic employee groups.
  • Lower engagement rate, even though significant roles have been filled internally.
  • Talent retention and better expertise in older employees.
  • Lack of employee visibility into organizational values/objectives and achieving them.

Getting Career Engagement (CE) right with the 4 C’s and 3 E’s

A combination of capability, compatibility, contribution, and communication strengthens career engagement. An ideal career engagement strategy spans across these four factors harmonizing business, managerial, and individual actions.

The 4 C’s shown below demonstrate guidelines and best practices for an exceptional employee engagement program. These actions can be launched in clusters or overtime for ease of execution.

These four foundational pillars cross three different layers of your career engagement strategy. Within any engagement strategy, there are three tiers of an initiative at play: individual empowerment, leader enablement, and organizational effectiveness. The graph below illustrates each tier's key drivers and the outcomes for managers, individuals, and organizations. Typically outcomes include career development plans, meaningful career conversations with direct reports, and managing succession processes across several business units.

Critical Considerations for the 4Cs and 3Es of Employee Engagement

The overall impact of an employee engagement program is influenced by:

  1. Career engagement advocates and experts in business like mentors, coaches, managers, etc.
  • Initiatives supporting broader business and HR strategy, such as:
    • Staff retention programs
    • Potential employee growth programs and career agility drivers.
    • Succession planning to encourage an employee’s successor.
    • Unique learning programs and shaped to individual career goals.
    • Career pathways that create a talent pipeline for the organization.

3.  Open career conversations with managers, development planning sessions, and individual goal-setting meetings.

4.  Employees can access personal career progress through webinars, eLearning, and workshops, supporting their leader.

Connecting Engagement to ROI

Several studies have shown a correlation between engagement and productivity, innovation, sales, safety, retention, lower costs, better quality, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction. The employee-customer-profit chain is a model that demonstrates this.

The Center for Talent Solutions quantifies Return on Employee Engagement for firms worldwide; their data demonstrates the cost vs. benefits of improved employee engagement.

CTS found that fully-engaged employees are 22% more productive than others. In contrast, disengaged employees add only half as much value to an organization and can lead to a loss of over $112 million annually. Another famous one-year study by Towers Perrin (shown below) revealed financial performance improved with structured employee engagement.

Crossing the Finish Line with Employee Engagement 

Despite the challenges of employee engagement, the payoff is enormous and beyond the business bottom-line.

It is also noteworthy that a holistic approach to employee issues strengthens a company’s cultural outfit & productivity.

After all, who wouldn’t want to work every day when they love what they do?

Building engagement strategies is a marathon, and Radiant Digital is ready to help you win with an analytical assessment of your ROI. Connect with us today.