Author Archives: Amit

About Amit

I love products...a passionate researcher on Mobile Apps and usability trends emerging out in web, mobile and social domain.

Fascinating Stuff on O365 Groups

An everyday guide to Office 365 Groups


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Posted by on May 24, 2017 in Uncategorized


Its not just the change in ‘Logo’ – it has more to it!

Recently Google changed its logo, and well like anyone else I also loved it. I went over quite a few article and also watched the video which talked about Google transition from ‘Blue lines’ to this new ‘Serif “Free” Logo’!Wait a second…”Serif Free”? What does Google and its new logo has to do with it…actually a lot!

Before I go in more detail; did you ever happen to open Google on a low bandwidth internet connection –

If you are using a low-bandwidth connections you would see not the image version of the logo but a close text approximation which is created using SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic), Actually SVG is the best file format, and more and more logos are now appearing using SVG.

Image 1

In the above image the one marked as SVG is for low bandwidth!

How much Google pays attention to detail and being ‘Pixel Perfect’ which actually is a learning for Product Managers, Designers, and UX researchers; read this:

The new design allowed Google to optimize the assets for its size and latency.

This new logo actually is of only 305 bytes where as compare it with older one – 14,000 bytes! Now this is the reason why Google for slow internet connections served a text version of the logo. This is amazing thinking!

This is how it works after the new logo came in to picture:


So Google actually got rid of Serifs. Serif actualy has tiny decorative lines attached to the edges of many of the letters which help your eyes with readability when you’ve got a lot of text. But serifs are not as useful on text that needs to be shown at many different sizes, like: Logos!

They also don’t scale; if you ever happen to see the ‘g’ fav icon; you would easily resemble it to 8; the more you shrink ‘Serif’ the more spindly letterforms start to disappear, and when it’s really tiny, it’s essentially useless.

Fonts says a lot! So do I love them 🙂

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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Uncategorized


Inconvenience regretted – Saying this won’t improve your Customer Satisfaction!

Sensitivity to the consumer/customer’s time should be at the center if companies want to address their concerns and complaints

It is working as designed…There is nothing I can do for you…I am sorry but that’s our policy…Our rep will contact you…


Sounds familiar bet! If you ever have been indulged in conversation with customer reps regarding the faulty product and / or services you must have had come across these lines…

So what are we talking here; we’re talking about a very sensitive issue involving ‘Customer Satisfaction’. And which not only applies to B2C but also to B2B services and / or products.

There have been very few organization who have done it pretty successfully; the likes of Apple, Xerox, Zappos – to name a few.

Why is it so difficult to manage a customer? Probably a million dollar question!

You need a strategy to handle customer – Well start by developing the ability to listen to the them.

By the way what Organizations get as a part of achieving Customer Loyalty?

To understand this let’s first see what exactly Customer Loyalty mean:

Customer loyalty is the feeling of attachment or affection for a company’s products, people or services.

The measure of loyalty is actually the share of purchases in the specific category. For example in the restaurant business, as John Martin Taco Bell president and CEO says, it is “share of stomach.” For a Social Networking Site it is Ad revenue, for automobile business it is the share of a garage….

But in order to achieve this loyalty; how far you should go?

Not too far…just solve their problem! That’s it!

What customer really wants (but rarely ever get) is simply a satisfactory solution to their problem.

Try and address the emotional side of the interaction, listen to the ‘Noise’ coming out from customer, learn from it, and focus always on problem solving and Not on speed with which it is solved.

Personally I feel we should train our Customer reps on not to exceed customer’s expectations, but to “Make it easy for customers’ which eventually means “Remove obstacles”!


Ask yourself as a customer; what exactly is the issue that you face while going through a customer rep; I can count these:

  • Need to contact company repeatedly or being transferred to get one issue resolved
  • Repeating the information
  • and having to contact different service channels; for example after you may have to call customer center after trying to resolve the issue on website

Ideally from my point of view as a customer, I would expect following:

  1. Let’s say I am a broadband customer and my wi-fi is not working. Your customer rep figures out that and provide the resolution…fair enough..I try and implement the solution and realize that issue is not yet resolved..via because of a downstream issue which is related to my original problem for which I called at the first place.So what do I do, I will call again…and that is a frustration…why you can’t anticipate at the first time that I may end up in to some other issue too…! My call is not just about a particular issue it is about an issue with the service…which may have several links to it!

    Overly focusing on managing ‘time’ of call, results in less satisfied customer…Don’t just resolve my current issue but also anticipate and move to next one!

    As an organization we should not only train our customer reps in resolving the current issue but also train them in anticipating and providing with a manual which allows them to provide “Suggested solution”, “Upcoming issues and how to resolve them”, “What-if” guides…and so on.

    I wish all my utility bill for the first time tells me how to make sense of their numbers…that would have had reduced at least one call and call time!

  2. Now as a customer there have been instances when I have not trusted a particular information…and at times didn’t like the answer given to me…so what did I do…I called them again and this time a different rep was talking with me…
    For example once I was ordering a particular brand of Air cooler…and called up the customer rep…their simple answer…Sir, we don’t have this item in stock! I was surprised and asked them when it will be available, response: We don’t know, we can’t tell…You can almost feel the negative vibes coming out from this transcript…I mean..instead of saying “we don’t have”, better say We’ll have stock availability in so and so weeks time.” How hard is it?
  3. Go to a product website and for sure you’re going to see this:

Contact Us via IVR, email, Chat, online-support communities, Facebook, Twitter, and so on…

Phew! You may have all this, but at the end if your customers have to pick phone…well then you have to think again!

Cisco has a very nice way to take care of customers coming on to it’s site:

Based on the expertise of the individuals visiting their site they route users to specific channel. As per a research in order to resolve an issue on an average it takes 2.4 emails compared to 1.7 calls

Another very easy way of reducing your call rates and making sure your customers are keeping their loyalty; look out for your search page. Look out for the jargon that are used, how the layout for search looks like, is it easy to search and so on.

Don’t have your customer hoping from one channel to other; try and address it via first channel itself.

With these simple steps you can actually make a dramatic improvement in Customer Loyalty.

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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Marketing


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What You do matter more than what You say: Replace ‘You’ by Brands!

This is turning out to be a great learning so far, I learnt “What is Content Strategy?“, “How should I understand my audience?“, and once I have understood my audience, “How shall I segment them“. This has been a great learning experience.

As I go more and more in detail, now is the time to know about the “Connection” between Marketing and Content Strategy, and we will try and go over quite a few interesting facts here:

Marketing is: 

Understanding consumer and designing products and services to meet their needs and wants, and communicating this to consumer that you’ve done this.

Any content you produce is like a product which you should definitely market. In order to engage with people you want to reach, you must understand them. Content Strategy needs to benefit services and products that your organization creates. Your content should be meaningful and relevant to the products your organization makes. It should be able to brand your product or service. Both should be an absolute part of your content strategy.

Content needs to communicate about the Brand which your product or service defines…!!!

But What is a brand and how Experience is important!

Is Coke a brand or is Sony a brand?

A brand is not just the name or look of a product or service! Its your understanding of the product,its your best idea of the product or service, and how this idea or concept is different from alternative that you have!

Let’s spend some more time on this, and let’s talk about the experience which coke delivers!

Coke ad links coke with the experience of feeling happy when consumer feel happy they drink coke, and are taken to the Coke experience of happiness. By speaking to these experience Coke is able to engage consumers in the brand.

Today, more than ever, how a brand behaves is more important than what it says. Messaging is important, but what really matters is how a brand engages and interacts with the people who impact the business, from
its customers to the people who influence customers.


In order to build a strong experience brand, it’s important to understand what the drivers of experience are, and how they variously impact consumer perception and purchase.

Fundamental to build any brand is:

1. Product. What you do, sell, and how well you meet your customers’ needs. It’s how you name and define your products or services and price them.

2. Communication. How you consistently promote your brand through marketing and sales – presenting your promise. It is the marketing collateral, advertising, materials, graphic standards, etc. that communicate your brand attributes, create awareness, and develop a brand image.

3. Service. How well you deliver your brand promise. Customer interaction with your company before, during and after they purchase.

An important addition to the brand-building fundamentals:

4. Experience. Synchronizing the entire business in order to generate a unique and consistent experience with the brand. Creating emotional involvement between the brand and the customer.

How to make sure content strategy is relevant to the brand?

You should be able to articulate the concept clearly.  The best tool to do this is to write a positioning.  That specifies who the target statement is, and what is the core concept! And how it is different from competitor!

You use this positioning statement to see how your content is relevant to the same experience the brand speaks to. The positioning is central to the content strategy because this is what keep the content on strategy.

Inspiration: Making consumer believe that they can accomplish things in their own lives.

Many brands have been successful as they inspire their users.  Famous example is Nike which challenges the consumers to take challenge and just do it!

The fact that you are able to do something is far more important than the fact how you did it?

Identity: Identity experience is seeing oneself as being a successful person! As a brand if you can provide useful advice and tips on how to use clothes to appear successful, this will in turn create an excellent identity experience. For this one contact point can be a sales person coming to you and suggesting you a tie which will go well with your suit!

Second example could be an example of say Tesco retail store in UK, where they do a utilitarian advice by suggesting a recipes.

In order to make sure that all the content fits in Content Strategy you need to generate the storyline which is for your brand!

You need to keep it generic enough so that any individual piece of content will tell its own story, but that component is rich enough to stick together to make sure that it caters to the brand and experiences it relate to.

We will get in more details on Experiences, in our next post…this is getting really interesting!


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How do I segment my audience?

I never understand what segments are? How do you keep someone inside the segment, and someone outside of it?


The harder it is to measure something the better it is in understanding the audience.

In our previous post we talked about understanding audience by targeting them, and creating personas!

Organization talks about Geographical measurements (Where they live which block etc., or demographic (How old they are, how many children do they have etc). But these are weak measures of segmentation, since ultimately two 28 yrs old may look strikingly similar but will have absolutely different needs!

It’s time we start thinking about something like psychography; Who they are, what they need; segmenting based on those needs, values, and the motivation to consume information is important for organization. The more difficult it is to measure a segment the more successful it will be to segment a market.

Let’s take a cue from TV industry:

They use Day parts, they study that what people do in the morning to what people do in the night is something different, and they were different over the weekend…but this is one part, if you keep Demo and Geo at one end and Psycho graphic at the other end…you then need to understand what is happening in someone’s life in the morning, compared to what is happening in the afternoon…it is different.

For example; in the morning you may want to know about the Weather or say how to make best out of your day and in the noon, may be an update on the news, or say something which recharges you! At the end of the day you don’t need a repeat…hence a deep understanding comes from understanding your segment…

Experience a user has makes a lot of difference; how?

Experience work is very important to understand the audience. Because when you start to look at a specific experience, you tend to see how it creates an emotional reaction to the material…let’s say time out experience…when we look at people who are consuming some kind of media message because they are enjoying a release from their regular life, it is one of the reason why reality TV are so successful

There have been instances where women creates time out experience…especially when they are raising kids, and  or working…especially in the evening when they can curl up a cup of coffee…and now let’s say an iPad and consume material, so what your organization is doing to provide some kind of time out experience?

It is not created by you throwing the information at them, it’s going to be a soft touch that really understands that moment in a woman’s day! What kind of information she is looking for, and make her life more interesting!

Create Stories!


Idea of story first and content flowing from it is a brilliant one. Narrative story telling is a huge hit, story illuminates thing for people…but at different levels. Some appreciate visual content in the story, some appreciate stories to be made available for them in chunks…some appreciate telling stories through words; that is where target audience come in picture, and that is where you have to understand the importance of target’s definition of story telling…so that your company can achieve a successful relationship!

In this post and in the previous one, we learnt about how we can define and understand our audience, be it story telling, creating personas, or targeting by knowing their behavior; one aspect is common in all these approaches; You have to understand your audience by being the ‘Audience’.

In our upcoming posts we will talk more about relationship between organization’s brand and its content! Till than happy reading!


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Please help! I don’t understand my audience!

If you give people engaging content which improves their lives they will consider giving you their time.

Yes…right…but I never understand my audience, their behavior, and how can I communicate my message across to them!


This is in continuation of my previous post, where we touched upon the importance of content strategy. In this article we’ll ponder more thoughts on segmenting our audience and basing our content based on that!

In all practical ways organizations have to determine the few messages that are key to fostering their strategic message forward.

As a common rule of defining the content strategy; People will only learn about things which they are motivated to learn. People will accept what they need to know from an org that will deliver what they want to know.

Think about a newspaper or a magazine, you are more willing to read what is relevant to your need.

Know your Audience:

I want to target ‘Mass Audience’! 

There is nothing called Mass Audiences…that something we have to accept…Organizations should aggregate a number of targeted audience which is only way to reach out to your audience, and be successful.

Facebook has a large mass audience, because it serves number of small set of audience which has variety of needs…a Senior graduate student will use it in a different than I or you would use it…ultimately FB has been able to aggregate these audiences in to a large mass audience and create a product…that is exactly what an Organization should do!


Key point is targeting the audience, defining segments…but again How?

Let’s understand this:

People’s emotions and cognitive limitations are real, they can only attend to certain number of topics deeply at one time, so people only pay attention to topic when they are motivated to do so

The idea that self interest and social identification precedes motivation; Org have to understand the Social ID, and self interest need of the audience so that they can craft message on “where they are” and “who they are”, and “how they are receiving the message”!

We need to craft message as per audience need, attitude, and behavior in such a way that improves their life style. And you should be able to predict “what user needs before she even telling you!

Don’t ever dare to ask user what they need! They never know this! Did anyone knew they need an iPhone?

Create Personas:

While census data or a questionnaire may help provide you a more complete picture about a target audience segment, understanding how people naturally interact with content with no external influence is essential in identifying their needs and wants and how you can design content to maximize its impact with minimal time and intrusion.


Image courtesy:

Personas are successful, since it helps Organization in understanding what their user type is? Its base? Persona is always based on research and not on intuition It’s about interviewing people, following them on their daytime, experience their life style, understand various stakeholders…

Aspirations are different for different cross culture boundaries but organizations have to spend time with the target audience, follow them, see what is their day like, what they do in their time understand what is valuable for them. This is how you can design something which is regardless of the culture market!

Let’s take an example of Personas:

A major Pharmaceutical company is trying to understand the aging population of the USA. With this they are modifying their shelving needs to re-craft and to serve Older American. They are mimicing Arthritis, what it is like to stand up for patient who have Arthritis. After a seeing the user base or personas so to say; they made the shelves lower to make sure it is less pain and easy shopping for users. With age comes the problem of vision; hence to improve this they have increased the font size of the signboards so that user can see those…and their goal is to appeal to that market.

For more on Personas please visit:

In our next post we will talk about Segmentation, Creating Experience, and Stories. Till then happy reading!


Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Digital Trends and Insights


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Why no one is paying for my Freemium App?

Having an issue with lower conversion rate for your ‘Freemium Apps’? You’re not the only one! Creating a compelling user experience and meaningful feature is critical to the success of any mobile application! It will not make a difference if you play around with the price or promotion; if users don’t value the experience your apps provide.

As the history goes on to say:it was in March 2006 when Fred Wilson described a business model that involved giving fully featured software for Free. And the term freemium was coined by Jarid Lukin a former director of eCommerce.

As a practice it is a simple concept; where you need to build a great product and give away majority of it for free! With-in the application you will have some built-in hooks’ that would lead customer to purchase something – a digital good, better experience, a locked feature, or say a unique level! 

Ever wonder why would a bank give you an app for ‘Free’? Or why is it seamlessly so easy for you to purchase a ‘Paid’ version of Dropbox? As an app developer how you can make your users convert from freemium to a premium version of your App without forcing them to do so!


There are few things as app developer you should keep in your mind…

What you are giving away for free has to have a fantastic UI design as well as some value.Customer care about what are they getting for free…and the value it provides for them. Just giving anything for free and in turn expecting them to pay for more feature will not work!

Let’s talk about Evernote; they have close to 100 million+ users, and only 3.5 % of users are actually paid users. The conversion rate is very small but if you think in the context of 100 million; it is in fact huge! So why is that Evernote is successful? 

Realize this: Evernote > always had a search option. You could search for documents and it is beautifully designed; however, with the premium version to get to search within the document…now that is a real good need! The question that comes in the mind of a user who is using a freemium app,

“what if I can search with-in documents”


This is where seamless transition happens, Evernote is not selling you something new, it is just an expanded version…as a developer or product manager for the app you need to entice some one; and then capitalize on the desire! And that is where you can leverage freemium to generate revenue!

Apart from creating a great product which generates revenue, it is to build something that people come back…

Another example is of Dropbox; why would you convert? You always had free storage…at your disposal, but there is a need for more…and that is where you ask a question to ‘Virtually’ yourself and App; how can I get the more storage? And this is where the Premium helps you!

Measuring the Usage and not just Download!

You need to understand that just because your app is a free to all, and scores huge number of downloads; doesn’t always mean that it is being used! You need to have very very targeted effort on Average Weekly/ Monthly/ Yearly usage, and not jus the downloads. User should care enough to use, come back and see the value in your App.

As a product manger for these apps you should think, and think on What if terms, you should know what questions user could be asking themselves? What are the use cases for premium apps.

This is absolutely clear that in App business you are talking in currency, and one of them is “Currency of User’s time” : If your app can make the first impression, for the first time; and for freemium it is very important, that is the initial sell. And once this is done, you need to make it a part of their pattern, day and / or week. From there you should then use the hooks that allows the user to willingly pay you for usage…this way you create a natural balance to use!

And also you end up closing the gap between use and Pay!

Your users should not even feel like it is a conversion, for them it should just be extending what you’re doing
Introducing a new feature…I am searching now, I can search more [Evernote]…I am dropping more[Dropbox]…

Are not you seeing a great pull from users…it is so much pull from them…this is not just selling…you should find that sweet spot, where there is no friction…

Another important point is Price! 

There is always a threshold of price like say for games they are almost always charged at USD 0.99 or say INR 99 etc..There is always a mental threshold for mobility…which says anything accept very low!

Pricing is a strategy…for Evernote it is USD 40 for a year, and this is a mental threshold, for one user USD 40, and for 3.5 million…whooo hooo! This is huge! 

Why don’t people convert? You only have the answer for this!

Because your app doesn’t make things easier for them…once they wanna buy its a huge trend in favor of you! You have to make it very simple…have an option feedback in case something goes wrong if you are using a security code, let user know what does that mean…use less of abbreviations which your user staff may know, but your users may not! Don’t make it painful for them. Since you’ve got the value proposition, now you need to make experience of buying simple…for example don’t ask for Credit Card again and again!

How do you promote to let people know that there is a paid model?

This is immensely important, as you really don’t want to stick it in to their face…It is very critical for you to not to interrupt users in the middle of a task! Users really do’t convert when the real value is hidden behind the ‘Paywall’

Make your App and the experience associated with this app so beautiful that you create get big community, and in turn the community advertise for you! This is pretty obvious but at times the focus is so much on the conversion and getting business value out of the app, that you almost forgot that app needs to have a great user experience.

I would end it by saying, why is that a bank gives away the app for free..? Simple since its the app which is a front end for the services they have to offer, and in turn it only increases the business for them.

Some times let it be free, it can be a front end for your customers!

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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in iPhone, Mobile Applications