Samsung Galaxy S8 Unboxing and Setup

I’ve been waiting AGES to get a new mobile. I had my heart set on the Samsung Note until it started exploding… I checked out the Pixel but wasn’t impressed by the hardware – it felt cheap and I didn’t like the back of it. I even considered the iPhone, after all I’m a loyal Apple customer, all my other devices are Apple so why not my phone too? But although I love the hardware of the iPhone, I’m just not overly impressed by what’s inside. It feels like they’re not pioneering in the mobile sphere as much as they used to. They’ve got a bit comfortable…

So, when I heard of the Samsung Galaxy S8, I tried not to get my hopes up too much. However, when I saw it in the Samsung Experience store I was suitably impressed.

 

Hardware

The hardware is NICEEEE! I’ll admit, I’m a hardware snob. What can I say, I used to work in mobile hardware so I’m now a bit fussy about good looking, high quality feeling devices. And boy, does the S8 feel high quality! Rounded edges, a good weight and classic shiny black finish that blends seamlessly into the infinity screen. Weight is important as a heavy phone is more likely to be dropped, whereas a light phone will psychologically feel cheap. It’s a fine balance.

The hardware keys are easy to locate by finger touch. However, the finger print scanner and the health sensors are very close to the camera lens. The topography of each is difficult to feel by touch alone so there’s a risk of getting finger prints over the lens if you’re not careful (although a case solves this).

I went for the S8 because I’ve been using a Note and I find it too big to use one-handed. It’s nice to mix things up a bit so I thought I’d drop down in size for this phone and maybe go up again after that. Using a bigger screen is a really nice experience, however because the screen in the S8 is tall and narrow as well as being edge-to-edge, the phone manages to be physically smaller but with a larger screen larger than bigger mobiles.

 

Galaxy-S8-and-S8-vs-Pixel-XL-vs-iPhone-7-Plus

 

Software, setup and user interface

The setup process was relatively easy. It took longer than I expected (and longer than it takes on iPhones), which was surprising because I’d already backed up my old phone ready for the transfer. There are a lot of steps and a lot of small print to accept.

There’s also a lot to remember.

Much of the setup process involves teaching you how to use the phone, including it’s many hidden gestures. This is both a positive and a negative. On the positive, it simplifies and cleans up the user interface as there are less onscreen buttons and commands required. On the negative, I’ve probably forgotten most of them already as there was a lot to take in (did you know our short term memories can only hold around 5-9 items for 15-30 seconds unless they’re repeated?).

The setup process teased me with the face recognition, iris scanner and fingerprint scanner as security measures, but it skipped the actual setup process of these which was odd. I had to go back into them afterwards and they are impressive! I’ve now setup all three but am currently using the face recognition. You do have to press the hardware key first to wake up the phone but then the process of scanning your face is almost instant. In the past, Samsung have been let down by gimmicky features that didn’t actually work very well in reality, but this is reliable, quick and cool. I love it!

The edge panel is a little disappointing. It’s one swipe access to your favourite apps, contacts or editing tools, however I don’t see the benefits, when you could just put your favourite apps on your Home screen, or you could just swipe up to see all your apps. It also covers the whole screen as opposed to just popping out from the edge. It feels like a step backwards from their previous designs of the edge. On the Note, the edge was something I used all the time to access my favourite apps because it’s always onscreen. On the S8 it doesn’t have that benefit. Instead, I’ve placed my fave apps on my Home screen as it feels easier to access than dragging in the apps from the edge (which often switches panels instead of bringing out the edge, so you need to be accurate).

Bixby is amazing! I love that I can take a photo or add an image and it will find me that item online. It will even translate languages. I’m looking forward to trying this when I visit Lisbon later this month – it should make translating menus really easy!

The camera is incredible in daylight and I’m really impressed with the background blur effect that you can get (who needs an SLR when you have an S8?!). However I tried both photos and video last night and they were both a little pixelated. In fact, I’d say my Note Edge was better for night time shots. I did just have it on the default mode so this may be improved if there is a night mode – I haven’t played around too much with the settings yet.

There’s a nice hardware shortcut that I discovered to get to the camera. Let’s face it, no one really carries a camera with them anymore because your phone is your camera these days, so why is the camera app always so cumbersome to access? Samsung have solved this by a simple double press of the Power key. It means there’s no need to look at the UI (which is a struggle on a sunny day), you can keep your eyes on the subject you want to photograph whilst you’re taking your mobile out and turning on the camera. THIS IS GREAT USER EXPERIENCE!

There’s so much more I could say but I’ll save that for another post once I’ve settled in with the S8 and used it a bit more.

So far, I’m really impressed. Sleek, high quality hardware and impressive features. It feels futuristic and I can’t wait to see what else it can do!

Is there anything you want to know or see of the S8?

Let me know and I’ll check it out for you.

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Featured in the papers: Our award-winning health app

If you were reading the MEN newspaper on Saturday, you’ll have spotted me in an article about the mobile health app, Clintouch. The app was designed by Keep It Usable, and recently won an innovation award as well as being the subject of a meeting hosted by David Cameron’s senior health policy advisor at 10 Downing Street, to consider the impact that digital technology could have in improving the nation’s health.

Clintouch is one of the first apps being prescribed by doctors to patients to aid early intervention. Currently prescribed to patients with psychosis, the app could ultimately save the NHS millions by enabling earlier treatment before a patient becomes seriously ill.

The app asks mental health patients to record their mood using a simple, easy-to-use daily diary on their mobile. Patients can then see how their moods change and gives them the ability to be more in control of their illness. Also, if the app records a pattern or consistent low mood, their doctor is automatically alerted.

KIU-ClinTouch

To increase engagement and continued longer term use, the app was designed to be very easy to use. This is really important for anyone with mental health issues – the last thing they need is a frustrating to use or confusing app! Emotional engagement was also deemed important to aid longer term use, so we added personalisation features, such as the ability to choose a background photo or upload one of your own – something that will motivate the user. The app also contains motivational quotes and messages.

Cintouch is the creation of Manchester University and was thoroughly tested with psychosis patients. It is now being trialled in several NHS trusts with great success.

ClinTouch-Screens-Keep-It-Usable2

There is a great deal of scope for health and wellbeing apps to improve our lives, cut NHS costs and improve the relationships we have with our doctors. However, it is crucial that these apps are designed by professionals in collaboration with health experts so they actually work and have a high level of efficacy, otherwise they just join the thousands of health apps already in the app store that are downloaded and never used.

Independent research that we conducted with users of health and wellbeing apps showed that there is a great deal of distrust and disengagement with health apps (caused by the quality of apps in the marketplace at the moment). Users want trustworthy apps that are easy to use and will do what they claim to do. Clintouch is hopefully the first of many apps that bridge the gap between patient and doctor and make a real difference to both the NHS and people’s lives.

Read the newspaper article

Fired Groupon CEO advises ‘start with the customer’


groupon

Did you read the letter from Groupon’s CEO about his leaving (or rather being fired from) the company? There was one paragraph that particularly stood out to me:

If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness – don’t waste the opportunity!

Start with the customer, base your decisions on evidence not intuition. Don’t just redesign your website, redesign it starting with the customer, do research into their lifestyle, their wants and needs from your product or service and how you can best meet those needs. Design the site and test then retest and retest again to get it spot on. Get it right the first time and in the long run you’ll save yourself the huge cost of rework and guesswork that results in lost customers and sales. Do it right, spend a bit more at the outset and reap the rewards.

Ask me about customer research and the design process >>>

 

Free ‘Getting Real’ book by 37signals

Getting Real 37 Signals37signals are most well known as the creators of Basecamp. I love their approach to business and highly recommend you buy their book Rework. It’s packed full of really useful business advice that’s incredibly down to earth and makes much more practical sense than any other business book I’ve read.

They’re now giving away free copies of their book, Getting Real: The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application.

On Amazon this book currently retails at £15.89 for the paperback and £6.99 for the Kindle version, so I recommend you download your copy whilst it’s free!

BBC Home page research and redesign

I conducted a quick piece of research on the BBC Home page as part of an event called BBC Connected. Did you know it’s the third most visited home page? Yet only a very small percent of visitors actually use it? As our research discovered, most people bypass the page completely, preferring to use the navigation bar or a direct url (usually saved as a bookmark). Here, we share our findings and a few of our design proposals to improve the user experience of the BBC Home page, in particular under-served audience(s).

How do you use the BBC website? Do you ever look at or click on items on the home page? Have you used it more or less since the last redesign? I’d love to hear about your experience. Share your story using the comment box below.

Research by Keepitusable.com

20 FREE eBooks you need to design an outstanding user experience / ux

I’ve put together a must-have list of 20 FREE eBooks that anyone who’s interested in improving their design, user experience, creativity and time management should read. Put together, the whole list is perfect for people looking to improve their user experience design, but individually the books can be applied to many disciplines. Have a look, i’m positive you’ll find at least 2 you just HAVE to download right now! Press the button below which will take you to the list of books. You can then choose which to download.

free user experience ux eBooks

Usabilitygal wins Entrepreneur of the Month!

I’m not the type to boast (or ‘headwank’ as my ex-manager used to say!), indeed I left a local group recently as people were throwing their credentials around like a game of tennis to try and score points. I really can’t be doing with that, my passion is usability and design. However, I thought some of you may be interested to hear that I picked up the award for Entrepreneur of the month yesterday.

I’ve been working on several projects over the last 2 years. One I will hopefully be able to divulge the details of very soon! Another is keepitusable which I co-founded with my partner Ricardo in September last year. And more recently I setup catloves a fun site for people who want to enjoy browsing cute pics and vids of cats. Interestingly, I read in the telegraph yesterday that 1 in every 10 uk pets has a social network profile so I think catloves has got a good future ahead of it. People certainly love their animals!

Don’t worry I’ll be back to posting about usability very soon! In fact I started my next post yesterday, so be sure to pop by in the next few days!
usabilitygal x

Intro to persuasion and social influence

Many years ago, when I was a student working as a project administrator in my spare time, my manager asked me ‘If you could have any super power, what would it be?’

I thought about this and decided i’d want the power of invisibility. I guess this makes sense now, considering how much i enjoy observing and analysing human behaviour – you need to be truly invisible to not have an observer effect. My manager however decided upon the power of persuasion. He said if he had the power to persuade anyone to do anything he could do and have whatever he wanted in the world.

Luckily for us, persuasion is something that can be learned, practised and used in our daily lives. Brands leverage many principles of persuasion to convince us of their value and to purchase their product.

Principles of persuasion image

It is no coincidence that the Loreal adverts now show Cheryl Cole as their brand ambassador. She is officially the most liked female in the uk. People are more likely to trust her and be persuaded by her as she has a very high ‘Like’ factor. She also provides ‘social proof’ however there is more resistance now to celebrity social proof as people look more towards their peers for advice.

Sites such as makeup alley (shown below) rely on social proof to work. Users can read what their peers think of products, they can see the rating they gave it, what percentage of people would buy the product and importantly, they can see that the people are real.

Companies often use scarcity to act faster or pay more. Below is an example from a website that sells bedroom furniture. They use both limited time free delivery and a limited number of free drills to try to persuade the customer to purchase their products soon, otherwise they will miss out. People have a fear of loss so the thought of potentially losing something that is ‘free’ (another motivator) can be enough to get them to act.

We all look to experts for advice and recommendations. Even amongst our peers, we have experts who we turn to for advice. For example, if you need a new TV you might ask cousin John as he always knows a lot about entertainment systems. Or if your cat is ill, you might ask your friend Sarah for advice as she’s got 3 cats and is cat crazy! Each person is highly persuasive in their own way.

Persuasion is a fascinating subject area and i’ll be covering it in more depth in future posts, in particular how you can design to persuade.