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Insightful Tech: Project Team Mistakes, ADA Review, Web Analytics and Bots, Zoom Security Vulnerabilities, and Together Mode

July 16 2020

Product Teams and Usability

wav insightful tech july 2020As part of my business, I provide a partner selection service to assist brokerages in vetting products. A product team's role is to deliver the product's vision to the customer. An area that the team puts a lot of effort into during the development process is to ensure their product is usable by the customer.

A frequent conversation that elicits the word 'usability' is product adoption. Product adoption is especially true when deploying tools for real estate agents and brokers.

PropTech companies use different techniques to validate their products' usability. They spend time performing extensive user focus group interviews, engaging clients in user alpha/beta testing, and utilizing expensive Graphical User Interface (GUI) tools to learn how users interact with their product.

What is the biggest mistake product teams make? They do not eat what they cook.

Leave it to me to bring a cooking metaphor into building technology products. Look, we know that good chefs and home cooks always taste their food when preparing dishes. As they make a meal, they can quickly pivot if the taste is not up to their expectation.

Companies and product teams who are using their product as part of their business are tasting their food.

Examples of companies taste-testing their dish

A good example of a company that is taste-testing their food is MoxiWorks.

Whenever MoxiWorks demonstrates its products to my clients, what software do they use? Yep! MoxiPresent.

Since they present their pitch using their product โ€” they eat the food they make.

I recently validated this approach again while serving as interim CTO for a PropTech startup company. We implemented UX/UI testing throughout the entire development of an agent tool. We utilized many different resources to perform this testing, including input from the development team, examination by a quality assurance team, and feedback from a beta group of 30 agents.

While all of this testing was necessary, the best testing occurred when the co-founders used the product within their business. They used the tool as part of their normal business process with a client. Their findings exposed usability issues not detected in any of the other testing.

Lesson learned โ€” use your product within your business as much as you can.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This week, there are several industry conversations scheduled to discuss ADA in real estate. WAV Group first identified ADA and the California Unruh Act as a critical issue last September in this article, "Failure of ADA Compliance by Restaurants Web Site Says the California Court of Appeals."

I am glad there is more discussion that focuses on website accessibility. It is the right thing to do for those who have disabilities. Still, there has been an uptick of lawyers sending out notices of non-compliance to the Federal Fair Housing Act to a brokerage and its agents.

Yes, agents are now receiving these notifications.

I have completed several basic ADA website assessments to help clients capture low-hanging fixes. These assessments are difficult to complete and even more of a challenge to resolve.

Please make sure you listen to this week's conversations, as they are vital. Afterwards, please contact Marilyn or myself for a comprehensive ADA action plan that includes:

  • Digital Accessibility Evaluations and Audit, including automated, manual and functional tests
  • Accessibility System of Record and Automated Testing Platform
  • Accessibility Program Management and Remediation Support
  • Legal Complaint Resolution Support
  • Online Web Accessibility Training and Enablement Program
  • Video Captioning and Transcription (up to 1 hour)
  • PDF Remediation Plan (up to 10 pages)

Please note that not only is the corporate website required to be ADA compliant, but any digital assets must also be compliant. If you have:

  • A blog on a different platform
  • Listing websites
  • Marketing landing and squeeze pages
  • Recruiting sites

They must comply with ADA regulations.

Google Analytics to filter out bot traffic

Finally, there is some good news on the website analytics front. Google Analytics is automatically going to filter out bot traffic from your traffic numbers.

Why is this good news?

We use website analytics to gain insight into consumers' behaviors and interactions. We use the tool to determine the breadth of the content viewership and its resonance with readers. The bots that are hitting your sites skew these numbers, and, as data-driven citizens, they can evoke unwise business decisions.

WAV Group continues to monitor website analytics for several clients. Once we have some concrete findings, we will share it with everyone.

Are you using Zoom on a Windows 7 device? Update Zoom NOW or better yet, get a new PC!

Last Thursday, Zoom announced a new software update for a security vulnerability on Windows 7 devices.

Word of advice.

If there are Windows 7 devices in the organization, please purchase new equipment with Windows 10. There is very little justification for having Windows 7 within your brokerage or company. If there is a device that needs to remain Windows 7, it should not have access to the Internet.

Microsoft initially scheduled to stop offering security patches for Windows 7 on January 1, 2015. The popularity of Windows 7 with consumers and businesses made Microsoft push that date to January 14, 2020.

Since the beginning of the year, Microsoft is no longer providing support or security patches for Windows 7. If there are Windows 7 devices in the organization, the risk to security breaches and vulnerabilities has increased to a higher level.

Talking about digital conferencing: Microsoft Teams Together Mode

If your organization is on Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), you probably have used Microsoft Teams to collaborate during the pandemic. Microsoft's vision of making Teams an all-in-one collaboration tool continues with its latest launch of new features.

One new feature coming soon is โ€” Together Mode. Microsoft engineers created a video interface to make us feel like we are in the same room.

I was surprised by how this virtual environment made me feel emotionally engaged with my colleagues. Watch the video:

Microsoft expects to start rolling out Together Mode in August 2020.

Wrapping Up

This wraps up July's Insightful Tech. I hope this is informative for everyone in the industry. If there is a topic we should cover, please comment below.

Next month, we will explore how easy it is to use lead management data to create insights with a data visualization tool.

Enjoy, stay safe, and have a great and productive week!

To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.