Event: Accessibility and AODA – Implications and Opportunities for Software, Website and Mobile Application Design.

Accessibility and AODA – Implications and Opportunities for Software, Website and Mobile Application Design.

Organisations in Ontario need to become fully compliant with the new AODA legislation, if not they will be vulnerable to large fines. Experts tell us that there are even greater rewards for inclusive design and AODA compliance in the form of better products and services, and improved marketing opportunities.

Conestoga College has organised a talk to give their students a strong introduction to these issues, and have brought together talented speakers to discuss design and accessibility.

For organisations and employees, this is an excellent opportunity to be introduced and gain greater insights into software design for AODA legislation and accessibility.

Speaker line-up:

Speaker #1 – Wayne Pau, Development Architect, Emerging Technologies – Customer Engagements & Special Projects SAP

Speaker #2 – Janna Cameron, Sr. Usability Specialist, Team Lead, Desire2Learn Incorporated

Speaker #3 – Andreas Kyriacou, Systems Integration and Innovation Coordinator, IMS Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

In addition:

Speaker #4 – Manny Elawar, BlackBerry Developer Evangelist

Manny will speak on the promotion of the BlackBerry Jam space at the Communitech Hub as a resource for all mobile developers to gain expertise and insight into development.

Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Time:

1:00pm – 3:00pm Presentations

3:00pm – 4:00pm Networking 

Location: Room 1E05, E-Wing, IT school, Doon campus

http://www.conestogac.on.ca/campuses/doon/

Site map:

http://www.conestogac.on.ca/campuses/doon/siteplan.jsp

 

Testing with Wayne Pau of SAP

Wayne makes a key point about testing: “it’s not just about finding bugs in the software, but to really making it better.”

Wayne presents testing as a series of “zero sum games.” Budgets and deadlines mean you can’t test everything, so it’s important to decide the kinds of testing that are going to be the most effective. In other words, testing itself needs to be optimised. It should get the most ‘bang for your buck’ and help to actually fix bugs, rather than just collect them.

Top 4 Recommendations for Testing

Since not everything can be tested or fixed, Wayne introduces a few scientific approaches to help pare down testing to make it more manageable. Wayne’s recommendations for testing include the following:

1. Have a Plan: When you decide to test, it’s important to have a plan. Organize your limited resources, and schedule your testing to be effective as possible. It’s a good idea the spend time identifying ‘high-yielding’ tests and prioritizing ‘high-yield’ areas of code or features before setting up testing environments and thinking about test coverage.

2. Variety is Essential: Don’t always use the same data. Use different types of tests to compensate for each test’s weaknesses.

3. Knowledge is Power: Learn from other testers’ experience and pay attention to what is happening in the development practices, then ask questions, read the bug reports, and see what is breaking for others, so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

4. Be Results-Oriented: Create priorities about what needs to be tested and work on the goal of choosing quality over quantity when testing. Avoid default test data, target critical bugs in main features, reduce and eliminate redundant tests, and generate ONLY quality bug cases.

Continuous Integration

Continuous Integration is just what it sounds like: a development process in which team members’ work is integrated continuously. Integration happens multiple times per day, and is tested with an automated build to find errors whenever they crop up. Wayne believes that continuous integration is a key aspect of modern agile development practices, since constant iteration requires constant testing to make sure each version holds together.

Wayne uses the analogy of Lego blocks: When building, you want to make sure that the individual blocks and the way they are connected work, and not wait until later to see if your construction falls apart. Under older integration processes, developers might spend as much time trying to integrate the unwieldy pieces of their creations as building them. Continuous integration is about avoiding that problem by identifying and squashing bugs as soon as they occur. By reducing the risk of unpleasant surprises later in development, it also allows you to get a good idea of the quality of your code and what kind of progress you are making.

Wayne sounds a note of caution: Automated testing will not identify all bugs, log issues, or help to debug software. Think of it as a part of a developer’s repertoire, rather than a replacement.

The Pitfalls of testing

Wayne outlines three pitfalls of testing: Human Bias, Group Think, and Inference and Assumptions.

Human Bias: We all have biases due to our backgrounds, and these may influence our decisions. While transcending bias is easier said than done, we all benefit from becoming aware of our bias and how it might affect our testing and objectivity. If you are aware of your bias, you might be able to make choices you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Group Think: Teams have their own biases as well. If everyone is just agreeing with each other, we might be creating ‘yes teams,’ instead of creating teams that test assumptions.

Inference and Assumptions: There is an additional pitfall: Obvious patterns can fool us into jumping to erroneous conclusions. Indicators are not results: They just indicate those areas where we should test for results. For any testing, past experience should be only used as a guide and not as a conclusion.

UPDATE since Wayne’s presentation at MEIC!

Since Wayne’s presentation on testing at MEIC, Steve Krugh has been recently acknowledged Wayne in a new chapter on mobile in his 3rd edition of “Don’t Make Me Think,” a very popular and must have book on UX. Steve Krug is one the leading authorities in research in human-computer interaction and web usability. Wayne highly recommends Steve’s book for everyone who builds mobile apps to buy this book.

Steve’s website: http://www.sensible.com/

Video 1: Introduction to testing

Video 2: Mathematics of Testing

Video 3: Continuous Integration

Video 4: Pitfalls of Testing

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Market Research for Mobile with Krista Napier of IDC Canada

In this two-part presentation with Krista Napier from IDC Canada, Krista shares key information about when and how to conducting mobile market research. Her tips include how to focus a company’s market research to guide future mobile product development. For example, to validate a concept, market research data can be used to determine if there is a demand for the product.

Krista lists the following four reasons to conduct market research:

  • Opportunity to make money
  • Market Readiness
  • Geographic Differences
  • Positioning

Is there an opportunity in the market to make money? Searching for opportunities means looking for gaps in the market where customers’ needs or wants are not being met. Your mobile services and products may meet those customer demands, and the customers will be willing to pay for your solutions.

Making sure that there is market readiness for your mobile product. There might be an app you want to build, but the customers were not yet ready to accept. If the market is not equipped to use the technology, then wait for a better time to build it.

Your market research can look at geographic differences. Your mobile product will not suite everyone, so your market research will give you the ability to create a niche within your target market.

Market research can also provide insights to positioning; i.e., how you must position your mobile service relative to other competitors in the market. If there are many competitors in your market or not that many, it might be a question of large or minimal amount of demand.

Krista’s Research Tips

Krista offers two main tips to help with conducting market research: 1) the importance of the quality and quantity of your metrics and 2) the location they came from.

A very important part of market research is to be aware of the quality of the source of the data. Not only the number of respondents, but the quality. The quality of respondents has a strong impact on research results. They need to come from a diverse pool that answered without bias, again with the end goal of having accurate data. Respondents who have already used your app will be biased and should not be used. There needs to be an ample amount of respondents to create an accurate result.

Finally, customers’ data from Canada should not be used to for American market research and vice versa. Being in Canada, it’s better not to assume that US trends can be used cross-geographically. There are different dynamics of vendors and adoption patterns in the US compared to Canada. Using trends from one country for another will skew your strategy for your mobile apps.

Video 1: Market Research Part 1

Video 2: Market Research Part 2

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The importance of industry and market research for your business plan with Howard Rosen, CEO of Lifewire

The challenge for any business is to collect the large amounts of research and then be able to condense it into an impressive (but brief!) twenty-five-page business plan. Howard Rosen, the CEO of Lifewire, says that the plan needs to be succinct yet comprehensive and match what you are saying.  If it isn’t, the listener will wonder why you don’t just get to the point and “get to the meat” of your business.

The “meat” of course comes from all the research you have done previously. In this two-part video, Howard discusses the importance of collecting research and validating it.

Show Me!

For Howard, it always came down to the basic question “does it work?” He knew he had an excellent idea for mobile health, but the more he talked to people the more he realized “I better make sure this thing works!” People were always asking him to show them the product, to prove it to them, and to match what he was saying by what he was showing them. Research helped him prove his product and prepare to present it in his business plan and to his customers.

Research, Research, Research

The importance of research is to test your idea, to see if and how it works in the real world—not just in your head. Is your idea really that brilliant? You might think it’s an excellent idea, until your research shows that you are wrong. Discovering that your idea might be conflicting with your research is a good thing: it means something has to be changed.

Part of Howard’s research process was to reach out to 3rd parties to help him validate his assumptions about his product. One of the key elements of planning is using 3rd parties that can help you confirm your assumptions and give you direction on how to proceed with your product.

Key Elements to Planning: 3rd Party Validation

  • Advisors
  • Thought Leaders in the industry
  • Professionals (Lawyers, accountants, etc…)

The validation of your idea gives decision makers such as funding bodies a reason to choose you instead of your competitor.

Getting Out There

In the “Knowing Your Market” video, Howard stresses the need to not only know your industry’s market from reports, but also go out to your market’s environment. For him, he went to hospitals, doctor offices, and any place that provided health care. You need to see how your market perceives your industry and its services and to delve deeper into your customers’ true needs. Howard says, “Just because someone says they need something, doesn’t actually mean they need [it], that’s what they perceive they need.” By going into these markets, you test those perceived needs and compared them to the real needs.

Getting out there and testing your product gives you an excellent opportunity to see what changes you need to make. What you think is simple to do, the user might find confusing and difficult. “Knowing how to evolve [your product] for the marketplace and [for] the changing marketplace” becomes an ongoing process in your product development.

It never really ends

Research never really ends. Even when the business plan is written, research continues as you build upon all the knowledge you have accumulated over time. For any new market you enter, a new business plan has to be created, researched, and validated.

Part 1 – Writing out your business plan

Part 2 – Knowing your Market

Blog contributor: Helen Kontozopoulos @helenissocial

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Grant Writing and Business Planning with Diane Davy, Executive Director of WorkInCulture

In this week’s video series, Diane Davy from WorkInCulture presents information about how business planning can help the grant application process for Canadian content creators within the mobile sector. Diane’s three videos are also good primers for anyone who is in thinking about applying for a grant.

A large part of applying for a grant is having a strong and compelling business plan. It demonstrates to funders that you have strategies and objectives in place, that you possess a deep understanding of the market, the customer, and the business environment, and that you area able to deliver on that plan.

A business plan is a “description in words and numbers of your business with a focus on the future” Diane says. Seems daunting? It is the most time consuming aspect of the grant application process, but it will be the best time spent when developing your business. Give yourself the time to do the research and to write a cohesive and compelling plan. If you do, you will impress your funders.

Parts of a business plan include the following:

  • Mission Statement “Why does my business exist and for whom?”
  • Goals “Where are you trying to get to?”
  • Strategies “How are you going to get there?”
  • Outcomes and Measurements “How will you know when you got there?”
  • Financial Information “What will it all cost?”

“Why am I in business?”

The first part of your business plan is your mission statement, it is the guide for your plan, helping you make decisions through each section, bringing it all together under one focus defined in the beginning. When first writing your mission statement, Diane asks business to ask themselves the question: “Why am I in Business?” It’s for you to create a clear answer, to know what you are offering and it’s benefits and how it will bring value to your customer.

Understanding your market

You need to further prove that you understand your market and be able to clearly define your potential customers, in demographic terms, and their “wants or needs” says Diane. This is where taking the time to conduct research for your plan pays off. You need to be able to define your market, its size and potential, and your value proposition to differentiate your product/service within the marketplace.

Research is where you will gain the insights you need to develop your plan. You can use various tools and techniques, such as surveys, social media inputs, past project research, and online reports that you may quote to send a strong signal to funders that you understand the market you are entering. The goal of all the research is to prove that there is a real need to what you are offering.

Funders are like investors

When creating your financial reports for your business plan, Diane suggests taking the perspective that the funder is an investor. Funders take your numbers very seriously and so should you. They are investing in the future success of your business based on the numbers and the plan you are showing them. Some of the financial statements you might need include, profit and loss statements, short-term or/and long-term forecast statements, and cash flow statements. If you’re not strong with numbers, hire a financial expert or advisor to help you with this section.

Matching up your stories

The most important part of the plan as Diane points out, and many miss when creating their business plan, is that the two main parts of your must fit together. You need to make sure that “the story you are telling in numbers matches the story you are telling in words,” Diane refers to the written parts of your business plan versus the financial statements.  If you are asking for something in the first part of your business plan and it doesn’t match what you are asking for in your financial statements, then there’s a disconnect and the funders will not approve of your grant or loan. Both need to work together to create a successful plan for your business.

Your plan is there to prove you have a product or service that a target market wants or needs, and you are able to deliver if you receive the grant you are applying for.

Diane has some great examples about the parts of a business plan in her videos, check them out on our Mobile Ex YouTube channel:

Part 1: Tips for Business Planning

Part 2: Marketing Strategy

Part 3: Grant Writing

Blog contributor: Helen Kontozopoulos @helenissocial

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