Disney+ UX teardown: Wins, fails and fixes

Disney announced earlier this month that it’s going all-in on streaming media.

As part of this new strategy, the company is undergoing a major reorganisation of its media and entertainment business that will focus on developing productions that will debut on its streaming and broadcast services.

This will include merging the company’s media businesses, ads and distribution, and Disney+ divisions so that they’ll now operate under the same business unit.

As TechCrunch’s Jonathan Shieber reports, Disney’s announcement follows a significant change to its release schedule to address new realities, including a collapsing theatrical release business; production issues; and the runaway success of its Disney+ streaming service — all caused or accelerated by the national failure to effectively address the COVID-19 pandemic.

So what better time than now to give Disney+ the Extra Crunch user experience teardown treatment. With the help of Built for Mars founder and UX expert Peter Ramsey, we highlight some of the things Disney+ gets right and things that should be fixed. They include zero distractions while signing up, “the power of percentages,” and the importance of designing for trackpad, mouse and touch outside of native applications.

Zero distractions while signing up

If the user is trying to complete a very specific task — such as making a payment — don’t distract them. They’re experiencing event-driven behaviour.

The win: Disney have almost entirely removed any kind of distractions when signing up. This includes the header and footer. They want you to stay on-task.

Image Credits: Disney+

Steve O’Hear: This seems like a very easy win but one we don’t see as often as perhaps we should. Am I right that most sign-up flows aren’t this distraction-free and why do you think that is?

Peter Ramsey: Yeah, it’s such an easy win. Sometimes you see sign-up screens that have Google Adwords on it, and I think, “You’re risking the user getting distracted and leaving for what, half a penny?” If I had to guess why more companies don’t utilise this technique, it’s probably just because they don’t want to deal with the technical hassle of hiding a bunch of elements.

The power of percentages

Only use percentages when it makes sense. 80% off sounds like a lot, but 3% doesn’t. Percentages can be a great way of making a discount seem larger than it actually is, but sometimes it can have the reverse effect. This is because people are generally bad at accurately estimating discounts. “What’s 13% off £78?”

The fail: If you sign up to a year of Disney+, then you’re offered 16% free. But 16% isn’t easy to calculate in your head — so people guess. And sometimes, their guesses may be less than the actual value of the discount.

The fix: In this instance, it would be far more compelling (and require less mental arithmetic), if it was marketed as “60 days free.” Sixty days is both easy to understand and easy to assign value to.

Image Credits: Disney+

Percentages may be harder to process or evaluate in isolation as an end user but they are easy to compare with each other i.e., we all know 25% off is better than 10% off. Aren’t you advocating obscuring the actual saving in favour of what sounds better on a case-by-case basis and therefore actually working against the end user? Of course I’m playing devils advocate a little here.

So, it’s actually a really complex dilemma, and there’s no “easy” answer — this would probably make a great dinner time conversation. Yes, if you’re offering two discounts, then a percentage may be the easiest way for people to compare them.

Coinbase UX teardown: 5 fails and how to fix them

Digital currency exchange Coinbase has probably done more than most to push cryptocurrencies closer to the mainstream, earning an $8 billion valuation by private investors along the way. The company is reportedly eyeing a public listing next year, and is inarguably doing a lot of things right. However, that doesn’t mean its product experience is perfect. In fact, far from it.

In our latest UX teardown, with the help of Built for Mars founder and UX expert Peter Ramsey, we highlight some of Coinbase’s biggest user experience failings and offer ways to fix them. Many of these lessons can be applied to other existing digital products or ones you are currently building, including the need to avoid the “Get Started” trap, the importance of providing feedback, why familiarity often wins and other principles.

The ‘Get Started’ trap

Only use CTAs like “get started” or “learn more” if you’re actually teaching users something.

The fail: Coinbase doesn’t actually have any onboarding — but it looks like it does. It has a very prominent “get started” CTA, which actually just puts bitcoins in your basket. This isn’t helping you get started, it’s nothing more than an onboarding Trojan horse.

The fix: It’s simple: Don’t lie in your CTAs. You wouldn’t have “Email Support” as a CTA, and then just show the user a bunch of FAQs.

Steve O’Hear: This feels like another classic “bait and switch” and reeks of dark pattern design. However, what if it actually works to get users over the line and purchase their first bitcoin? Growth hackers, rejoice, no?

Peter Ramsey: You’re absolutely right, this may convert better. From a business point of view, this could be a brilliant little growth hack. However, something converting well doesn’t mean it was a good experience for the user. Look at clickbait-y journalism — it gets more eyeballs, but people aren’t generally happy with what they read.

I’m convinced that in the long term having a great product will perform better than frustrating short-term growth hacks.

Feedback architecture

As a general rule of thumb, all “states” — e.g., success/failure of an action — need to provide feedback to the user.

The fail: After adding a card, you click “Add Card,” and … it takes you back to the homepage. There’s no notice if it was successful or not. The user has no awareness if the action they were trying to do failed and they need to do it again. This is a real problem with digital products: All feedback needs to be thought of and built.

The fix: During the design phase, consider statuses and what the user will want feedback on. For example, if they’ve just added an item to their “wishlist,” how will you show them that the action was successful?

Zoom UX teardown: 5 fails and how to fix them

Valued at over $60 billion and used by millions each day for work and staying in touch with friends and family, the COVID-19 pandemic has helped make Zoom one of the most popular and relevant enterprise applications.

On one level, its surge to the top can be summed up in three words: “It just works.” However, that doesn’t mean Zoom’s user experience is perfect — in fact, far from it.

With the help of Built for Mars founder and UX expert Peter Ramsey, we dive deeper into the user experience of Zoom on Mac, highlighting five UX fails and how to fix them. More broadly, we discuss how to design for “empty states,” why asking “copy to clipboard” requests are problematic and other issues.

Always point to the next action

This is an incredibly simple rule, yet you’d be surprised how often software and websites leave users scratching their heads trying to figure what they’re expected to do next. Clear signposting and contextual user prompts are key.

The fail: In Zoom, as soon as you create a meeting, you’re sat in an empty meeting room on your own. This sucks, because obviously you want to invite people in. Otherwise, why are you using Zoom? Another problem here is that the next action is hidden in a busy menu with other actions you probably never or rarely use.

The fix: Once you’ve created a meeting (not joined, but created), Zoom should prompt and signpost you how to add people. Sure, have a skip option. But it needs some way of saying “Okay, do this next.”

Steve O’Hear: Not pointing to the next action seems to be quite a common fail, why do you think this is? If I had to guess, product developers become too close to a product and develop a mindset that assumes too much prior knowledge and where the obvious blurs with the nonobvious?

Five ways to bring a UX lens to your AI project

As AI and machine-learning tools become more pervasive and accessible, product and engineering teams across all types of organizations are developing innovative, AI-powered products and features. AI is particularly well-suited for pattern recognition, prediction and forecasting, and the personalization of user experience, all of which are common in organizations that deal with data.

A precursor to applying AI is data — lots and lots of it! Large data sets are generally required to train an AI model, and any organization that has large data sets will no doubt face challenges that AI can help solve. Alternatively, data collection may be “phase one” of AI product development if data sets don’t yet exist.

Whatever data sets you’re planning to use, it’s highly likely that people were involved in either the capture of that data or will be engaging with your AI feature in some way. Principles for UX design and data visualization should be an early consideration at data capture, and/or in the presentation of data to users.

1. Consider the user experience early

Understanding how users will engage with your AI product at the start of model development can help to put useful guardrails on your AI project and ensure the team is focused on a shared end goal.

If we take the ‘”Recommended for You” section of a movie streaming service, for example, outlining what the user will see in this feature before kicking off data analysis will allow the team to focus only on model outputs that will add value. So if your user research determined the movie title, image, actors and length will be valuable information for the user to see in the recommendation, the engineering team would have important context when deciding which data sets should train the model. Actor and movie length data seem key to ensuring recommendations are accurate.

The user experience can be broken down into three parts:

  • Before — What is the user trying to achieve? How does the user arrive at this experience? Where do they go? What should they expect?
  • During — What should they see to orient themselves? Is it clear what to do next? How are they guided through errors?
  • After — Did the user achieve their goal? Is there a clear “end” to the experience? What are the follow-up steps (if any)?

Knowing what a user should see before, during and after interacting with your model will ensure the engineering team is training the AI model on accurate data from the start, as well as providing an output that is most useful to users.

2. Be transparent about how you’re using data

Will your users know what is happening to the data you’re collecting from them, and why you need it? Would your users need to read pages of your T&Cs to get a hint? Think about adding the rationale into the product itself. A simple “this data will allow us to recommend better content” could remove friction points from the user experience, and add a layer of transparency to the experience.

When users reach out for support from a counselor at The Trevor Project, we make it clear that the information we ask for before connecting them with a counselor will be used to give them better support.

If your model presents outputs to users, go a step further and explain how your model came to its conclusion. Google’s “Why this ad?” option gives you insight into what drives the search results you see. It also lets you disable ad personalization completely, allowing the user to control how their personal information is used. Explaining how your model works or its level of accuracy can increase trust in your user base, and empower users to decide on their own terms whether to engage with the result. Low accuracy levels could also be used as a prompt to collect additional insights from users to improve your model.

3. Collect user insights on how your model performs

Prompting users to give feedback on their experience allows the Product team to make ongoing improvements to the user experience over time. When thinking about feedback collection, consider how the AI engineering team could benefit from ongoing user feedback, too. Sometimes humans can spot obvious errors that AI wouldn’t, and your user base is made up exclusively of humans!

One example of user feedback collection in action is when Google identifies an email as dangerous, but allows the user to use their own logic to flag the email as “Safe.” This ongoing, manual user correction allows the model to continuously learn what dangerous messaging looks like over time.

Image Credits: Google

If your user base also has the contextual knowledge to explain why the AI is incorrect, this context could be crucial to improving the model. If a user notices an anomaly in the results returned by the AI, think of how you could include a way for the user to easily report the anomaly. What question(s) could you ask a user to garner key insights for the engineering team, and to provide useful signals to improve the model? Engineering teams and UX designers can work together during model development to plan for feedback collection early on and set the model up for ongoing iterative improvement.

4. Evaluate accessibility when collecting user data

Accessibility issues result in skewed data collection, and AI that is trained on exclusionary data sets can create AI bias. For instance, facial recognition algorithms that were trained on a data set consisting mostly of white male faces will perform poorly for anyone who is not white or male. For organizations like The Trevor Project that directly support LGBTQ youth, including considerations for sexual orientation and gender identity are extremely important. Looking for inclusive data sets externally is just as important as ensuring the data you bring to the table, or intend to collect, is inclusive.

When collecting user data, consider the platform your users will leverage to interact with your AI, and how you could make it more accessible. If your platform requires payment, does not meet accessibility guidelines or has a particularly cumbersome user experience, you will receive fewer signals from those who cannot afford the subscription, have accessibility needs or are less tech-savvy.

Every product leader and AI engineer has the ability to ensure marginalized and underrepresented groups in society can access the products they’re building. Understanding who you are unconsciously excluding from your data set is the first step in building more inclusive AI products.

5. Consider how you will measure fairness at the start of model development

Fairness goes hand-in-hand with ensuring your training data is inclusive. Measuring fairness in a model requires you to understand how your model may be less fair in certain use cases. For models using people data, looking at how the model performs across different demographics can be a good start. However, if your data set does not include demographic information, this type of fairness analysis could be impossible.

When designing your model, think about how the output could be skewed by your data, or how it could underserve certain people. Ensure the data sets you use to train, and the data you’re collecting from users, are rich enough to measure fairness. Consider how you will monitor fairness as part of regular model maintenance. Set a fairness threshold, and create a plan for how you would adjust or retrain the model if it becomes less fair over time.

As a new or seasoned technology worker developing AI-powered tools, it’s never too early or too late to consider how your tools are perceived by and impact your users. AI technology has the potential to reach millions of users at scale and can be applied in high-stakes use cases. Considering the user experience holistically — including how the AI output will impact people — is not only best-practice but can be an ethical necessity.

Twitter’s latest test focuses on making conversations easier to follow by labeling tweets

Twitter continues to experiment with ways to make conversations on its platform easier to follow. In addition to its prototype app twttr, which is testing threaded replies, the company also recently tested labeling replies to highlight those from the “original tweeter” – meaning it would show when the person who first tweeted a post then replied within the conversation thread. Now, Twitter is changing up this labeling system again.

On Thursday, the company said a new test was rolling out which would instead label the “original tweeter” as “Author” – a term that’s a bit more straightforward .

“Original tweeter” had been a nod to the commonly used term”original poster,” which designates the person who started a conversation on an internet message board or online forum. But if the goal was to make Twitter easier to understand for those who are less tech-savvy, “original tweeter” may have been more confusing if they weren’t familiar with that reference.

In addition, Twitter is also now adding two new labels, “Mentioned” and “Following,” which will be added to other important tweets in conversation threads.

“Mentioned” will be added to any tweet posted by someone who the original tweeter…err, Author…had referenced in their first tweet. The “Following” label, meanwhile, will be added to tweets from those Twitter users you’re following, as a way to catch their replies when scrolling through long threads.

Oddly, these are the same sort of features that Twitter is trying out on its twttr prototype as well, but in a different way. In the invite-only testing app, the original poster is highlighted using a thin gray line next to their tweet, while those you’re following is a brighter blue.

Twitter’s larger goal here is to better design its app for longer discussions. However, the labels also can help in specific scenarios where the replies to a tweet include posts from a lot of parody accounts. Often, parody accounts have adopted usernames and profile pics to resemble that of the person they’re poking fun at – sometimes inadvertently confusing users and, other times, to blatantly troll or spam.

Despite the usefulness of features like labels, these sorts of minor changes feel like an odd thing for Twitter to focus its attention on, when users’ main demands are still an edit button and for the company to deal with abuse and harassment.

On the latter front, Twitter was recently spotted working on a “Hide Tweet” feature. While more controversial than a new label, a hide tweet button would have the potential to impact user behavior, as it allows a poster to hide the replies they didn’t like. As a result, those following a conversation would have to click a button to view these hidden replies. In other online forums, knowing that a trolling or unhelpful comment would be downvoted or removed has helped to stem bad user behavior and encourage better conversations. The feature, however, could be used to silence dissenting opinions, which some people don’t like.

If Twitter won’t roll out an edit button, experiments around dealing with trolls through product features would probably be more useful than continually tweaking Twitter’s extra little flourishes.

Salesforce acquires Sequence to build out its UX design services

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-01-31-39 Salesforce has made another acquisition that underscores how the CRM and cloud software giant is looking to sell more services to its customers that complement the software they are already buying. It has acquired Sequence, a user experience design agency based out of San Francisco and New York that works with brands like Best Buy, Peets, Apple, Google and many more. The news was announced… Read More

Snapchat’s big redesign, featuring universal search and more, just hit iOS

snapchat-search Snapchat’s major redesign, which introduces a universal search bar to the top of the app, among other features, has today hit iOS. The refreshed user interface was first announced earlier this month, but was only available to Android users at the time with a promise that it would reach iPhone users “soon.” The app has long been criticized for being too hard to navigate… Read More

5 big predictions for 2016: Best apps will be more intuitive, boost ad relevance

shutterstock_254745931

This sponsored post is produced by Skyhook Wireless.


A lot happened in the mobile world this year — especially with regard to location services. Based on what we have already seen take place in 2015, we have a few ideas on what the next year has in store for the application and adtech spaces. Let’s dive in to a few of our predictions:

1. Frictionless experiences will be the new trend: 2016 will be the year of “Appticipation
After a good portion of this past year has been focused around improving contextual technologies, this is the year that we will start to see it pay off. People are excited about reducing friction, and we think that the first places we will see a more streamlined experience is with retail apps, which are already only a small step away from automating these dynamic experiences.

Having the capability of understanding a user’s precise location will make a targeted experience, such as “Store Mode,” a reality — where apps will begin to deliver based on the behavior of the user, not the other way around. Additionally, with the introduction and prevalence of beacons increasing in popularity, we will start to see appticipation integrated with more sophistication.
skyhook image 1

2. The beginnings of beacon rollout: Testing the value with the customer
With 2015 being all about selling and testing beacon technology, we think that 2016 will see the first big spike in distribution, because now companies have budgeted for them in the new year. This uptick in distribution means providing mobile user context will require indoor location, thus beacons will become even more prevalent.

Apps that put context into play — and as we have already stated, will probably begin with retail and eTail apps — will start to consider beacons, because they will be addicted to contextual insights they can gather. The applications that do macro context will want the next step, which is even more pinpointed location with beacons. Conversely, the ones doing micro context with beacons will want bigger picture, macro-insights as well with contextual location.

With the promise of beacons, we will see a focus on a lot more apps prompting turning on Bluetooth to enable the technology — the catch (and success) of this initiative will depend on the value that they promise to the visitor and whether they are able to deliver that. Whether or not 2016 will perfect this delivery may be another story.

3. User experience: The app focus on designing for place
So we’ve covered the contextual capabilities of apps. We know that beacons, if correctly integrated and rolled out, will help with these insights. But how will the developer community react to creating these new experiences? In 2015, we’ve already seen strides in the UX space, with increased focus on making apps as simple and user-friendly as possible to reduce app abandonment.

skyhook image 2

The apps that will win in 2016 are the ones that take the extra step of understanding their user’s context, then applying the right app features most relevant to them at that time. Maybe that means geofencing venues, so that when the user enters a store, the app opens automatically and serves their payment feature, with a coupon or discount for simply having the app. Or maybe it means a music app opens, selects the right station, and just requires the user to hit “play” once they begin their morning or evening commute — simply by the app understanding user behavior and their location.

Regardless of the app or the use case, the VIP experience across these apps will increase usage and help individual apps get to the home screen. As user patience goes down and expectations go up, the most seamless and helpful apps are the ones that will survive through 2016.

4. Advertising technology — Shift in focus to experience as the new channel
Despite recent developments in ad blocking, online advertising isn’t going anywhere…sorry. But, the user-intuitive theme continues when we look at the advertising space for our predictions. We predict that experience will be the new channel by which advertisers reach consumers, as the online ad tech ecosystem will care more about getting good user location — especially with such topics as fraud and viewability being so prevalent at the end of 2015. In addition, a more streamlined focus on reaching the exact user or audience segment will increase the relevance of advertising and prompt more engagement, where casting a wide net has failed to deliver for decades.

If we see advertisers heighten their standards and deploy accurate and precise location as a tool in their buyer-segmentation and audience-development mix, this will free up the media buyer as the new creative. These people are already creative, but this will allow them to not worry so much figuring out where to target — and enable them to focus on the message and what would best resonate with their audiences.

And the bottom line — our big prediction:
5. As good location gets better, UX can get better
Good location and app UX help each other. We are predicting that online ads are going to start seeing an increase in good location signals coming in as a result of better user experiences with good location. We will also see an increase in the amount of good location that is out there, and programmatic effectiveness increases as a result, because they have better location and targeting. Adtech will then be able to focus on the ad experience.

Matt Kojalo is vice president of advertising technology products at Skyhook Wireless.


Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company that is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with VentureBeat, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of news stories produced by our editorial team is never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way. For more information, contact [email protected].










5 big predictions for 2016: Best apps will be more intuitive, boost ad relevance

shutterstock_254745931

This sponsored post is produced by Skyhook Wireless.


A lot happened in the mobile world this year — especially with regard to location services. Based on what we have already seen take place in 2015, we have a few ideas on what the next year has in store for the application and adtech spaces. Let’s dive in to a few of our predictions:

1. Frictionless experiences will be the new trend: 2016 will be the year of “Appticipation
After a good portion of this past year has been focused around improving contextual technologies, this is the year that we will start to see it pay off. People are excited about reducing friction, and we think that the first places we will see a more streamlined experience is with retail apps, which are already only a small step away from automating these dynamic experiences.

Having the capability of understanding a user’s precise location will make a targeted experience, such as “Store Mode,” a reality — where apps will begin to deliver based on the behavior of the user, not the other way around. Additionally, with the introduction and prevalence of beacons increasing in popularity, we will start to see appticipation integrated with more sophistication.
skyhook image 1

2. The beginnings of beacon rollout: Testing the value with the customer
With 2015 being all about selling and testing beacon technology, we think that 2016 will see the first big spike in distribution, because now companies have budgeted for them in the new year. This uptick in distribution means providing mobile user context will require indoor location, thus beacons will become even more prevalent.

Apps that put context into play — and as we have already stated, will probably begin with retail and eTail apps — will start to consider beacons, because they will be addicted to contextual insights they can gather. The applications that do macro context will want the next step, which is even more pinpointed location with beacons. Conversely, the ones doing micro context with beacons will want bigger picture, macro-insights as well with contextual location.

With the promise of beacons, we will see a focus on a lot more apps prompting turning on Bluetooth to enable the technology — the catch (and success) of this initiative will depend on the value that they promise to the visitor and whether they are able to deliver that. Whether or not 2016 will perfect this delivery may be another story.

3. User experience: The app focus on designing for place
So we’ve covered the contextual capabilities of apps. We know that beacons, if correctly integrated and rolled out, will help with these insights. But how will the developer community react to creating these new experiences? In 2015, we’ve already seen strides in the UX space, with increased focus on making apps as simple and user-friendly as possible to reduce app abandonment.

skyhook image 2

The apps that will win in 2016 are the ones that take the extra step of understanding their user’s context, then applying the right app features most relevant to them at that time. Maybe that means geofencing venues, so that when the user enters a store, the app opens automatically and serves their payment feature, with a coupon or discount for simply having the app. Or maybe it means a music app opens, selects the right station, and just requires the user to hit “play” once they begin their morning or evening commute — simply by the app understanding user behavior and their location.

Regardless of the app or the use case, the VIP experience across these apps will increase usage and help individual apps get to the home screen. As user patience goes down and expectations go up, the most seamless and helpful apps are the ones that will survive through 2016.

4. Advertising technology — Shift in focus to experience as the new channel
Despite recent developments in ad blocking, online advertising isn’t going anywhere…sorry. But, the user-intuitive theme continues when we look at the advertising space for our predictions. We predict that experience will be the new channel by which advertisers reach consumers, as the online ad tech ecosystem will care more about getting good user location — especially with such topics as fraud and viewability being so prevalent at the end of 2015. In addition, a more streamlined focus on reaching the exact user or audience segment will increase the relevance of advertising and prompt more engagement, where casting a wide net has failed to deliver for decades.

If we see advertisers heighten their standards and deploy accurate and precise location as a tool in their buyer-segmentation and audience-development mix, this will free up the media buyer as the new creative. These people are already creative, but this will allow them to not worry so much figuring out where to target — and enable them to focus on the message and what would best resonate with their audiences.

And the bottom line — our big prediction:
5. As good location gets better, UX can get better
Good location and app UX help each other. We are predicting that online ads are going to start seeing an increase in good location signals coming in as a result of better user experiences with good location. We will also see an increase in the amount of good location that is out there, and programmatic effectiveness increases as a result, because they have better location and targeting. Adtech will then be able to focus on the ad experience.

Matt Kojalo is vice president of advertising technology products at Skyhook Wireless.


Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company that is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with VentureBeat, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of news stories produced by our editorial team is never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way. For more information, contact [email protected].










5 big predictions for 2016: Best apps will be more intuitive, boost ad relevance

shutterstock_254745931

This sponsored post is produced by Skyhook Wireless.


A lot happened in the mobile world this year — especially with regard to location services. Based on what we have already seen take place in 2015, we have a few ideas on what the next year has in store for the application and adtech spaces. Let’s dive in to a few of our predictions:

1. Frictionless experiences will be the new trend: 2016 will be the year of “Appticipation
After a good portion of this past year has been focused around improving contextual technologies, this is the year that we will start to see it pay off. People are excited about reducing friction, and we think that the first places we will see a more streamlined experience is with retail apps, which are already only a small step away from automating these dynamic experiences.

Having the capability of understanding a user’s precise location will make a targeted experience, such as “Store Mode,” a reality — where apps will begin to deliver based on the behavior of the user, not the other way around. Additionally, with the introduction and prevalence of beacons increasing in popularity, we will start to see appticipation integrated with more sophistication.
skyhook image 1

2. The beginnings of beacon rollout: Testing the value with the customer
With 2015 being all about selling and testing beacon technology, we think that 2016 will see the first big spike in distribution, because now companies have budgeted for them in the new year. This uptick in distribution means providing mobile user context will require indoor location, thus beacons will become even more prevalent.

Apps that put context into play — and as we have already stated, will probably begin with retail and eTail apps — will start to consider beacons, because they will be addicted to contextual insights they can gather. The applications that do macro context will want the next step, which is even more pinpointed location with beacons. Conversely, the ones doing micro context with beacons will want bigger picture, macro-insights as well with contextual location.

With the promise of beacons, we will see a focus on a lot more apps prompting turning on Bluetooth to enable the technology — the catch (and success) of this initiative will depend on the value that they promise to the visitor and whether they are able to deliver that. Whether or not 2016 will perfect this delivery may be another story.

3. User experience: The app focus on designing for place
So we’ve covered the contextual capabilities of apps. We know that beacons, if correctly integrated and rolled out, will help with these insights. But how will the developer community react to creating these new experiences? In 2015, we’ve already seen strides in the UX space, with increased focus on making apps as simple and user-friendly as possible to reduce app abandonment.

skyhook image 2

The apps that will win in 2016 are the ones that take the extra step of understanding their user’s context, then applying the right app features most relevant to them at that time. Maybe that means geofencing venues, so that when the user enters a store, the app opens automatically and serves their payment feature, with a coupon or discount for simply having the app. Or maybe it means a music app opens, selects the right station, and just requires the user to hit “play” once they begin their morning or evening commute — simply by the app understanding user behavior and their location.

Regardless of the app or the use case, the VIP experience across these apps will increase usage and help individual apps get to the home screen. As user patience goes down and expectations go up, the most seamless and helpful apps are the ones that will survive through 2016.

4. Advertising technology — Shift in focus to experience as the new channel
Despite recent developments in ad blocking, online advertising isn’t going anywhere…sorry. But, the user-intuitive theme continues when we look at the advertising space for our predictions. We predict that experience will be the new channel by which advertisers reach consumers, as the online ad tech ecosystem will care more about getting good user location — especially with such topics as fraud and viewability being so prevalent at the end of 2015. In addition, a more streamlined focus on reaching the exact user or audience segment will increase the relevance of advertising and prompt more engagement, where casting a wide net has failed to deliver for decades.

If we see advertisers heighten their standards and deploy accurate and precise location as a tool in their buyer-segmentation and audience-development mix, this will free up the media buyer as the new creative. These people are already creative, but this will allow them to not worry so much figuring out where to target — and enable them to focus on the message and what would best resonate with their audiences.

And the bottom line — our big prediction:
5. As good location gets better, UX can get better
Good location and app UX help each other. We are predicting that online ads are going to start seeing an increase in good location signals coming in as a result of better user experiences with good location. We will also see an increase in the amount of good location that is out there, and programmatic effectiveness increases as a result, because they have better location and targeting. Adtech will then be able to focus on the ad experience.

Matt Kojalo is vice president of advertising technology products at Skyhook Wireless.


Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company that is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with VentureBeat, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of news stories produced by our editorial team is never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way. For more information, contact [email protected].