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Rocketeer Charity: Twelve Hills Nature Center

For our latest charity drawing, Rocketeers are supporting Twelve Hills Nature Center - a conservancy built to "promote positive interaction between diverse community groups."

Rocketeer J.B. Chaykowsky entered Twelve Hills into our charity drawing. 

“The 12 Hills Nature Center board and volunteers are committed to creating an amazing, natural outdoor space to teach environmental stewardship. It is important we continue to give so that everyone in the community has the opportunity to learn about the ecological environment and what we can do to improve it," Chaykowsky said. 

We're looking forward to seeing what impact Twelve Hills Nature Center will continue to have in the Dallas community! 


Turning User Experience into a Brand Experience

Brands are more than the combination of a logo and a witty tagline – they’re a trusted relationship with a customer, a one on one conversation between a company and its user base. User experience, through a website or a mobile application, then, is the most practical and useful way to build on that connection and foster a deeper relationship between a brand and its customers.

UX has and always will be the core of app development – the idea being to minimize frustration users feel and keep the customer engaged with a piece of software.

For most companies, their website or mobile application is the only direct interaction they have with their customer base. It’s important to get the core messaging of your brand in-line with the outward facing collateral you present.

Although it might seem like it complicates the process, looking at your UX through the lens of your brand can make the process of designing a website or mobile application more simple by clearing up certain decisions. Seen through the filter of your on-brand messaging, deciding when to implement an aspect of UX can be left up to the question: does it fit with my brand? Will this reflect what my customers understand about my brand?

A unified, on-brand message that integrates with your UX will always be more engaging and powerful than flashy UX.

At Bottle Rocket, our primary focus is the brand we develop for – when you have deep empathy with a brand and understand their position in the market, the rest of the process falls into place. We spend several days at the beginning of an engagement getting to understand the brand we’re working with and discovering what makes them tick.

Although two companies that are implementing UX with “best practices” in mind may come up with two very similar results, if both of those companies regarded their brand equity as an equal factor in the process, the result would be a highly branded experience that allows the customer to engage on a deeper, more familiar level.

The first expectation of good UX is ease of use and clarity. The user should know when an item is actionable and the structure of actions should be hierarchical in some way – but beyond that, UX decisions can’t all be made in a vacuum of best practices. If my brand prides itself on a subtle, minimalistic approach to business (and that’s the brand equity that I have established with my customers), then my outward facing materials need to reflect those values in their implementation. 


Matt Johnson on Virtual Reality

Matt Johnson, EVP here at Bottle Rocket and General Manager of Thruster, sat down recently to discuss his experience at E3 and the direction that virtual reality is taking with platforms like the Oculus Rift headset.

VR is moving beyond gaming and taking on practical applications, such as real-world training scenarios. With an Oculus headset, for example, first responders can train for emergency situations without the danger of real world consequences.

“Now they can just simulate these environments and give them evaluations, grades, and analytics on how they did in real time,” Johnson said.

Oculus will release the second version of its development kit sometime this year, with several improvements to its successful formula. For one, DK2 should help eliminate judder and high latency. This means that putting on a VR headset will feel less jarring and move more fluidly, which should help with the nausea that some people experience.

DK2 also adds positional tracking to the Oculus toolbox – meaning developers can now use sensors to track where a user is and allow for greater range of motion within the simulated world. All of these factors (accelerometers and gyroscopes) combined will help establish the presence that Oculus and VR developers have been working to cement.

“Having a faster response display is key to this. If they can get that to a point where’s there’s no visible judder, then less people are going to be sick and it can be more widely consumed,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, two markets are going to evolve in the virtual reality arena: one lower end consumer market for new challenges in gaming and higher end experiences like simulated art museums and monuments you can step into from half a world away.

“We’re still at the very beginning, but this is moving faster than anything that I’ve seen before,” Johnson said. 


The Marcus Graham Project visits Bottle Rocket

Bottle Rocket was happy to welcome students with The Marcus Graham Project last month.

The Marcus Graham Project is a group dedicated to identifying and training ethnically diverse men and women in the media industry.

As a part of the project’s 6th annual summer boot camp, 10 students have formed Prismatic – a Dallas-based agency that provides media services to emerging and existing businesses.

We’re excited to see the great work The Marcus Graham Project is doing and we hope our paths cross again! 


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