Posts by MissMoss

US Midterm Elections: am I meant to vote? #myexperience

October 19th, 2018 Posted by User Experience No Comment yet

I have dual citizenship in the USA and Germany but never voted in the US, partially because the last time I lived there was when I was in kindergarten but also because I was under the impression that the country had it covered and would not vote for someone completely unqualified. I was wrong. So this midterm election is the first time I ever voted in the US and I am sharing #myexperience and how it compares to voting in Germany.

 

#myexperience summed up

Voting in the US:

→ requires a high level of motivation (requires a lot of time and is highly inconvenient)

→ has me asking if it is not encouraged by the country itself (why else would it be so hard?)

 

#What shaped my experience

 

#1 The 6-week obstacle: voter registration

When it’s time to vote German citizens receive their voting information along with detailed instructions on when and how to vote and what to do if you cannot make it to the polls on voting day as a letter in their mailbox. This happens automatically. They can receive this letter because each German citizen is registered under an address. For US citizens this is unthinkable because – I guess – it would be considered too much control by the state, unfree or highly bureaucratic. And while this might be the case it saves me from the pain of US voter registration.

A log:

Week 33, 2018: Visit https://www.usa.gov/absentee-voting – get discouraged as I am unsure that I was to choose the state that I last lived in when I was 4 years old as my voting residence. Could I choose the wrong voting residence? What would happen if I did? While the page links to several sources of information I could not find a satisfactory answer for my edge case (overseas voter, not embedded within a US community such a military community i.e.) – I end the registration process

Week 34, 2018: Spot a booth from votefromabroad.com in my city. Overjoyed! Question answered! I registered via the website https://www.votefromabroad.org/vote/home.htm and send my registration form via email to the county office.

Week 35. 2018: nothing happens

Screenshot of the registration process: why is this question even relevant?

 

Week 36. 2018: nothing happens

Week 37. 2018: Check my registration status – not registered

Week 38, 2018: Go to a meeting of Democrats Abroad and am advised to check back with the county to confirm my registration was received. Do this via email. Nothing happens. I start to wonder: is this barrier intentional?

Week 39, 2018: Write another email to the registrar office with my voter registration attached – this time I elaborate on my problem and ask for alternative solutions if my current way of trying to get registered to vote was not correct. THEN! HEUREKA! I receive an answer that I can register – this time at a different website directly from the county. 

No idea what was wrong before: registering over a different website or sending the registration form via mail but Y’ALL- I did not care at this point! I was registered to vote!

A six-week process in which I registered twice and sent two follow up emails to the registrar office to ensure my ballot was received is simply too much effort just to register to vote. I do not even want to guess how many journeys of people eligible to vote end during this process. One needs the time and persistence to achieve something that happens automatically in other countries.

 

#2 More hoops to jump through: Voting

After receiving my online voting link a few days after my successful registration I was energized due to my victory! I also had a personal contact at the registrar office, who was very helpful and explained the options I had: send ballot via mail or send ballot via fax. I mistrust both systems. May this following image speak for why I mistrust the US postal system:

Image of a parcel upon arrival that I recently sent to a friend while in the US. I had used a brand new box.

 

Fax machines: I know OF fax machines but I do not use them. I can send digital faxes but I am always unsure if they actually arrive and often call up to ask if it actually arrived. Nevertheless, I ended up faxing the documents. Luckily my contact informed me that my fax had only made it partially. I tried sending it again – three times from three different machines (one being an actual fax machine), each failed to go through. The fax number was not working. My contact advised sending the documents via mail.

Reluctantly I sent my voting documents via US mail. The German postman asked if I wanted to send it as a registered letter or via courier. The difference being more than 40€ /$46 in cost. When asking what the difference was the post office employee answered along the lines of “…

well…..one is with a courier from us (DHL) and it will be delivered personally. The other is with the US post office, which prides itself in being so affordable but is simply not the most reliable service.”

I still decided to send the documents in a registered letter thinking: If it fails to get delivered I can still try the fax number again because I still have time.

It is now mid-October. 

The impression I have after this experience is that voting in the US is unreliable, nontransparent, highly inconvenient process and – when I calculate in the current reports on voter fraud, suppression, and purge – it is meant to be that way. It is a trust issue and so it is a natural consequence that I ask: ”who do I believe” when my contact at the registrar office informed me this week that my ballots were received and registered, while my tracking number says my registered letter still has not been delivered. Who would you believe? And… when do I get my sticker? #freedom

credits for title image: Parker Johnson on Unsplash

Tatsu Ramen: young, healthy, passionate, friendly #myexperience

October 18th, 2018 Posted by User Experience No Comment yet

When visiting a restaurant we have certain expectations. We expect to leave the restaurant with a belly filled with yummy, yummy food. But we also expect to have a pleasant experience. And while the level of pleasantry and how we define pleasant will depend on the type of restaurant we are visiting, it is important that the experience lives up to or better exceeds our expectations because these two aspects: the product (in this case the quality of food) and our experience nearly play an equal role on the decision if we will be returning to the restaurant. If either stink it is highly unlikely that we will be back. In fact, you could argue that the experience is even more important than the product itself:

A meal can be the most amazing meal ever had, but if the environment made you feel uncomfortable you will most likely never return. However, a meal can be anything from okay-ish to excellent, but if the experience was amazing and made you feel comfortable you will be back more often. After all, we are social animals and when it comes to food the social aspect plays a large role (Google it. There are many scientific papers out there on the subject).

#myexperience summed up

Tatsu Ramen is:

product

→ a delicious, authentic ramen restaurant
→ that serves healthy and balanced meals (even for vegetarians and vegans).

experience

→ a young and passionate business that caters to a young urban clientele
→ with very friendly staff and owners that care about their staff.

Is this all the case? No idea! But it was #myexperience,
the impression I was left with and the reason why I would return.

 

What shaped my #myexperience

photo from a Yelp review

On a rare overcast and chilly Los Angeles day all I wanted when entering Tatsu Ramen was a warming bowl of delicious ramen. The place is hard to miss while heading down Melrose especially if you have a love for ramen, bold design and the color black. I very much enjoyed the ramen (check out their Yelp reviews ) but what really excited me was the setup and user experience in the restaurant.

 

#1 Setting the mood

The entrance to the restaurant is lined with bamboo. I have never been to Japan but in China and walking through a bamboo forest is one of my favorite China travel memories. Obviously, this small setup is not as impressive as the giant Chinese forests but there is something about the fresh green colors, the shade that bamboo throws and it’s movement in the wind that set a great mood when walking in.

 

#2 Authenticity

left photo from Yelp review, picture on right from seriouseats.com

Inside the visitor is greeted not by friendly staff but by a row of digital displays lined up on the wall, which you can use to place your order: a clever bow to the order process of traditional ramen shops in Japan.

 

#3 Humour

The ordering process itself is done in four easy steps, that actually managed to put a smile on my face. The visitor swiped through a list of ramen broths that can be selected and then customized. The application is super easy to use with a clean design. Like in Japan every dish is displayed with images, even the sides. What was spot on and my personal highlight was the wording: charming, brief, friendly and lingo on point with the target group.

Another humorous contact point are the ramen bowls themselves. Each bowl has two messages for the visitor. One can be seen when the bowl is full, at the beginning of the meal and encourages you to start enjoying your ramen. The other message is towards or at the bottom of the bowl and includes cheeky sentences such as “No, we cannot give you the recipe”. William Khoe, who created the app in collaboration with Tatsu Ramen was nice enough to send me a few screenshots. Thanks for that!

 

 

#4 Humaneness  

image on left from yelp, image on right from Yelp

The guests dine at large, sociable tables that fit several people. Private tables are scarce but available. The tables are lined with condiment stations that include fresh garlic, sesame, nori, and anything guests could wish for in order to enjoy their ramen to their individual preferences. The number of images on Yelp of these condiment stations shows that the guests appreciate this gesture. The staff itself is not – as so often in the US service industry – clingy or overly attentive but friendly and available if needed. My personal impression of this setting was that it felt very human – catering to many different types of people.

 

#5 Showing personality

As my visit was nearing its end I was really interested to find out more about who the people were behind this place. I wanted to know if this was what it felt like: an owner-operated place built on the blood, sweat, and tears of a passionate founder). Good thing I visited the restrooms or I would not have found exactly the story I was looking for hanging from the walls in the shape of a comic strip:

 

To be honest I did not read up on the actual story and do not know if the founder Ryu had actually taken this journey but at this point, it wasn’t important. This was only additional information, the encore to an already enjoyable story and journey.

 

#6 Caring leadership

When exiting the restaurant the customer passes the last display of humour, personality but also of what appears to be good management: the Tastu Ramen digital tip jar (displayed on a tablet). The funny sentences on the digital tip jar change every few minutes and nudge the customer towards a tip by being so charming that the act of tipping is turned into something enjoyable. And while the idea is not new the difference is that the tip jars on pages such as funnytipjars.com, are most likely to be made by the employees themselves, while Tastu Ramen’s tip jar came from management. The visitor leaves the restaurant with the impression that management cares enough about their staff to make this for them.

image on right taken from Reddit

All the listed gadgets, items, and design aspects were part of #myexperience and the user or better customer experience in this restaurant. Tatsu Ramen shows what can be achieved if a little love and much thought go into creating a delightful experience during a restaurant visit. It also displays the impact user or customer experience can have when it comes to customer trust and loyalty.  

 

User experience vs. the user’s experience

June 27th, 2018 Posted by User Experience No Comment yet

When we speak of user experience most people think of human-machine interaction. In fact Wikipedia’s second sentence on the subject is:

“User experience includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership.” 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_experience

UX however has been around way longer than computers and its goal is not only to enhance the human-machine interaction but, as Nielsen and Norman state:

“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”

www.nngroup.com/articles/definition-user-experience/

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10 questions for voice interfaces

October 26th, 2017 Posted by Analysis & Research, User Experience No Comment yet

For many years now, interface and interaction designers have been designing for graphical user interfaces (GUI). But in the recent years more and more so called natural language user interfaces (NLUI). This means human-machine interaction does not happen by checking radio buttons, clicking buttons, swiping or scrolling but rather through spoken text in natural language.   (more…)

10.08.2017 – Herzliche Einladung zur Cannes Lions Night in unserem Mannheimer Studio

July 13th, 2017 Posted by News No Comment yet

Nachdem wir bereits so viel über unseren Besuch bei den Cannes Lions gebloggt haben, möchten wir nun unsere Erfahrungen und Eindrücke mit unseren Kunden Kollegen und Freunden teilen. Deshalb laden wir Sie dazu ein einen Sommer Abend zum Thema Kreativität mit uns zu verbringen. Wer jedoch Cannes sagt, muss auch Rosé sagen! Für Getränke ist deshalb gesorgt.

Wann:

10.08.2017, ab 19:00 Uhr

Wo:

Unsere Mannheimer Studio Gemeinschaft Raben-Engel-Odenwälder
Werftstraße 15-17
68159 Mannheim

Was Sie erwartet?

Neben interessanten Cases und Vorträgen zum Thema Kreativität, dürfen Sie auch einen Blick in unser frisch renoviertes Studio werfen. Sollten es Ihnen dabei in unserer Studio Gemeinschaft so gut gefallen, dass Sie gleich da bleiben wollen, sind sie im Glück! Wir haben Plätze frei!

Wir freuen uns darauf Sie begrüßen zu dürfen!

 

 

Cannes Lions 2017 – what a trip!

June 27th, 2017 Posted by News No Comment yet

We are back from this years Cannes Lions and ready to share a few memories, while they are still fresh! In Cannes we were part of BWLions, the official representatives of the state of Baden-Württemberg, the state our Mannheim studio is based in. We spent all week with our fellow delegates (10 in total) learning about our pre-picked individual subjects and meeting new people.

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2017, here we come!

June 16th, 2017 Posted by News No Comment yet

Cannes Lions is one of the largest international gathering of creatives in the fields of advertising, marketing, design & digital innovation. For a whole week the industry will gather at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France to learn from and be inspired by the best and to discover new trends. But the excitement does not stop there! The festival also hosts award ceremonies for a multitude of categories such as cyber, media, design, mobile, branded content or innovation.

Sounds amazing, right? We get to go! An action packed and interesting week lies ahead of us. If you are heading there, let us know and let us meet up!

 

Our mission: discovery & party

The Geekettez will not only be visiting the festival but will also be representing our state Baden-Württemberg and our fellow creatives in Cannes. The state’s delegation consists of 10 representatives of various creative fields and our mission will be to track down trends, learn, network and host a extremely efficient party: the 120-minute-party! Our guests will have 120 minutes EXACTLY to get their groove on. A clock will be ticking to ensure we do not overrun! So if you are one of our guests and are reading this, we recommend to warm up those boogie muscles, while queuing to get in.

giphy (4)
We will be taking a lot of pictures and posting them on instagram. Come over there and follow us! 

Our secret mission: award

While the world will be watching, waiting to see who emerges victorious from the award ceremonies with their very own Lion we will be hunting down our very own heroes to award them with our price the BW Lions Award 2017. Each delegate has chosen one category and will be awarding our beautiful prize to the makers & creators they find most fit.

giphy-downsized-large


Ladies & Gentlemen, the BW LIONS AWARDS CATEGORIES & JURY 2017


Our award created by LavaLabs, check out the making of in the bwlions.de newsroom.

The aftermath: Cannes Lions Reports – you are invited!

 If you cannot make it to this year’s Cannes Lions but live in Baden-Württemberg you should attend one of our Cannes Lion Report events happening after the delegation’s journey. Sign-up today for one of the three report dates currently planned. Space is limited!

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Cannes Lions Report, Stuttgart
Thu, 20. Juli 2017,  18.30 –  22.30 Uhr
Hospitalhof (Büchsenstraße 33, Stuttgart)
Sign-up by sending an email to: film@region-stuttgart.de

Cannes Lions Report, Mannheim
Wed, 20. September 2017, 18.30 – 22.30 Uhr
C-Hub (Hafenstraße 25, Mannheim)
Sign-up link: innovation.mfg.de/veranstaltungen/bwlions2017

Cannes Lions Report, Karlsruhe
Wed, 8. November 2017,  18:30 Uhr – 22:00 Uhr
Perfekt Futur (Alter Schlachthof 39, Karlsruhe)
Sign-up link: innovation.mfg.de/veranstaltungen/bwlions2017_ka

ROOOAAAAR – The Geekettez sind Teil des bwlions Delegationsteam

April 25th, 2017 Posted by News No Comment yet

Wir freuen uns sehr berichten zu können, dass unser Studio ausgewählt wurde, eine von zehn Delegierten der Baden-Württembergischen Kreativwirtschaft zu stellen, die zum diesjährigen Cannes Lions International Festival for Creativity fahren werden.

Während Stefanie in der Hauptstadt den Laden am laufen hält, wird Miss Moss ab dem 17.06. zusammen mit neun weiteren Delegierten in Cannes u.a. Impulse sammeln, Trends aufspüren, Workshops besuchen und eine 120 Minuten Party hosten. Möglich macht dies die Zusammenarbeit der Baden-Württemberg International (bw-i), MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg, Film Commission Region Stuttgart und das Netzwerk Kreativwirtschaft Baden-Württemberg, die seit sechs Jahren Vertreter der baden-württembergischen Kreativregion nach Cannes schicken, damit diese anschließend über das neue Wissen, Ideen und Trends berichten, aber auch um internationale Kontakte knüpfen und Ba-Wü vor Ort zu vertreten.

Obwohl das Festival erst im Juni stattfindet, haben die Vorbereitungen bereits begonnen. In der vergangenen Woche fanden die ersten Delegierten Treffen statt, bei dem wir nicht nur “Team Awesome BWLions 2017” kennenlernen durften, sondern auch schon mit der Arbeit für die Repräsentation Baden-Württembergs in Cannes losgelegt haben.

Bereits jetzt kann man die diesjährigen Delegierten auf www.bwlions.de kennenlernen und erfahren mit welchen Plänen und Erwartungen jeder einzelne nach Cannes fährt. Neuigkeiten, Riviera Gossip & interessante Berichte werden in den nächsten Wochen und Monaten auf der Seite www.bwlions.de und in den Social Media Accounts instagram.com/bw_lions_twitter.com/bw_lions , facebook.com/bwlions zu finden sein.

Wir können die weitere Zusammenarbeit kaum abwarten und freuen uns auf die kommenden Monate!
Ganz, ganz großen Dank geht an unseren talentierten Studio Kollegen Elmar Witt aus dem Raben-Engel-Odenwälder Studio, der die Photos der Mannheimer Delegierten übernommen hat. <3

Deutsche Post’s postage stamp machine vs. humans

October 5th, 2016 Posted by User Experience No Comment yet

6 UX flaws to avoid if you want to design stories with happy endings

Last week I was standing in line to get a post stamp at the German post office. A task that can be done at the counter but also at annoying machines that give out 1 cent stamps (instead of change) if you put in too much money. You might have guessed it: these machines are not liked but are still used, especially if the the line at the counter is too long, which is exactly the reason why I was standing in line at one of these machines on this sunny day. A couple in front of me was desperately trying to get some stamps out of this machine. The couple were in their late 50s’ and most likely have had their share of human-machine interaction, probably even use smart phones on a regular basis. But this machine was showing them who was boss. After briefly watching their struggle I asked them if they needed any help. They told me that they needed a stamp for a letter with destination France.
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The top 4 reasons why Batman (and you) should be using Podio

October 19th, 2015 Posted by Studio life & culture No Comment yet
When The Geekettez became a studio with addresses in various cities we decided we needed a central hub where we could add anything and everything. We needed a digital home base, where we could share everything we needed for our collaboration and stay up to date with projects.
I (Miss Moss) suggested to use Podio because I had been using it for quite some time in my roller derby league (because Podio offers awesome sponsorships!) and had been responsible for setting up Podio in a way that would help the league manage their various jobs. During this time I could learn a lot about what Podio had to offer and have been a glowing fan ever since.

We love to write an speak about UX topics.

We have had many nation wide speaker appearances on many different topics. We have spoken at TEDx, UIG spring conference, Usability Congress, World Usability Day, webmondays and the up.front web design community in Berlin. We speak mostly about topics such as user experience and workflows. Have a date? Need speakers? Get in touch and let us know We might be interested in researching a topic