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World Usability Day

World Usability Day is a single day of 133 events occurring in 40 countries around the world. It brings together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen, and government groups for our common objective: to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use. 

  • It is about celebration and education – celebrating the strides we have made in creating usable products and educating the masses about how usability impacts our daily lives. 
  • It is about making our world work better. 
  • It is about reaching out to the common citizen and spreading the message: We don’t have to put up with products and services that don’t work well and that human error is a misnomer. 

On November 13, the D/FW UX Meet-up and Refresh Dallas sponsored an event at the Addison Treehouse which hosted about 75 User Experience professionals from across the metroplex. Among them was Bottle Rocket Strategist, Adam Polansky.  This year’s theme was “Engagement”.  To promote the theme, participants were broken-up into teams and asked to create persona; a kind of user profile, for one of several different roles typically found in large organizations.  The idea was to understand the perceptions of people like Brand Managers, Software Developers and Support Specialists as a way to get them engaged in the design and creation of better, more usable products and services. 

Each team presented their user persona along with proposals for increasing their engagement.  Prizes were awarded to the team with the best presentation and proposal. Polansky, who has been participating in WUD since it began in 2004 pointed out the increasing participation from people in disciplines not strictly associated with User Experience and why it’s important.  “What it comes down to is that great experiences are everyone’s business and the more perspective you can get, the better your chance of doing something that has true impact on the way people think about and approach something - the better your chance of enriching their lives."

Worldusabliityday.org

Dallas User Experience Group

Refresh Dallas

Addison Treehouse

For more information or to contact BR,

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Rocketeer Charity: Khan Academy

For the charity drawing this month, we are proud to announce that Khan Academy will be receiving rocketeer support.

As a non-profit school, they seek to change education as it is today. With several programs and courses available, they offer classes for any student. The education is available to anyone ready and willing to learn; teachers, students, home-schoolers, parents looking to brush up on a subject, everyone is accepted. Also, with progress reports and badges for completing courses, Khan makes it easy to track your work and show others what you know. 

This month’s charity was submitted by Matthew Watters who said "I chose Khan Academy because I believe wealth and age should not be barriers to learning. Everyone in the world can access it for free (over the internet) and you don’t have to be enrolled in a school for access. Khan Academy allows me to brush up in all the subjects I did not fully grasp when I was in school,  on my own time and at my own pace."

For more information, please visit KhanAcademy.org

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Judy Johnson named one of Mobile Marketers 'Mobile Women to Watch in 2015''

We are thrilled to announce that Judy Johnson, Director of Product Management at Bottle Rocket has been named one of Mobile Marketers ‘Women to Watch in 2015’. Johnson joins a group of 25 accomplished executives who are set to make a difference in mobile next year.

Johnson is a 15+ year veteran of Product Management and Technology. Since joining Bottle Rocket, she has led the AWE, TV Everywhere division to the successful launch of over 20 apps for brands including NBCUniversal, Scripps Networks and A+E Networks. Her work in AWE has been featured in an Apple Keynote, the latest Google I/O as well as Google’s recent announcement of Nexus Player.  Prior to joining Bottle Rocket, Johnson led product management for several large corporations including Sony, NEC and IBM. Her areas of expertise include global product roadmap development, mobile and business strategy planning as well as team management. We are lucky to have Judy on our team, and we look forward to seeing what 2015 will bring.

We were also proud to see that Arlie Sisson, Associate Director Mobile Application Strategy for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, was also named a Mobile Women to Watch. Arlie continues to push the boundaries in mobile, and it is no surprise that she made this list. After seeing her lead her team through the release of SPG's Android app, Launch of iPad and this week's launch of SPG Keyless, you can only imagine what is in store in 2015.

Congratulations Judy, Arlie and the entire roster of Mobile Women to Watch in 2015. To see the full list of Mobile Women to Watch in 2015 click here.

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Starwood Hotels and Resorts introduces SPG Keyless

Congrats to our partners at Starwood Hotels and Resorts on this week’s launch of SPG Keyless for iOS and Android.  The Keyless functionality is the first of its kind to market. This will give SPG members the ability to open their hotel room doors using their mobile devices.  Talk about serving the user…. this is the ultimate personalized travel companion.  We are incredibly proud of this work and look forward to a continued partnership with the Starwood Hotels and Resorts. 

Official Press Release:

It’s a mobile office. It’s a virtual wallet. It’s a lifeline. And now, it’s a hotel room key. This fall, the smartphone will get a whole lot smarter – especially while on the road. Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), introduces SPG Keyless, the hospitality industry’s first truly mobile and keyless entry system that allows guests to use their smartphone as a key. Starting today, the innovative technology will begin to roll out at Aloft, Element and W Hotels around the world.

“We are excited to be the first in our industry to debut this new technology allowing us to further deliver on the wants and needs of our early adopter, hyper-mobile guests who use their smartphones for just about every aspect of their lives.”

SPG Keyless represents a groundbreaking turning point in the traditional hotel experience by fundamentally redefining the way guests arrive and check in to their rooms. SPG Keyless – powered by the SPG app – enables guests to bypass the front desk, avoid waiting in line and ultimately unlock their stay with a simple tap of their smartphone. This innovation frees up hotel associates time, allowing them to engage with guests and transform the first interaction from transactional to personal. It’s high-tech supporting high-touch unlike ever before. 

“Innovation and personalization are at the forefront of everything we do at Starwood and SPG Keyless represents the perfect intersection of these two pillars,” said Frits van Paasschen, Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. “We are excited to be the first in our industry to debut this new technology allowing us to further deliver on the wants and needs of our early adopter, hyper-mobile guests who use their smartphones for just about every aspect of their lives.”

SPG Keyless will officially go live, November 5, 2014, at three Starwood brands: Aloft, Element and W, which were a natural fit to pilot and begin rollout because of their commitment to tech-forward, design-savvy, and eco-friendly initiatives. Aloft Harlem, Aloft Cupertino, Aloft Beijing, Aloft Cancun, W New York – Downtown, W Hollywood, W Singapore, W Hong Kong, W Doha and Element Times Square will be the first ten hotels to implement the technology. Starwood will rapidly expand rollout in the first half of 2015 and, by the end of next year SPG Keyless will be in 30,000 doors in 150 hotels across the globe. SPG Keyless will be available to Starwood Preferred Guest members who book a hotel room through one of Starwood’s channels (hotel websites, SPG.com, the SPG app or call centers).

HOW IT WORKS 

1. After booking a reservation at a keyless hotel, SPG members are invited to opt-in to SPG Keyless and register their phone through the SPG App.

2. Approximately 24 hours before arrival, the guest receives his/her room number and Bluetooth key via the app.

3. Upon arrival at the hotel, the guest can completely bypass the front desk (where available) and go directly to his/her room.

4. Then, after ensuring his/her Bluetooth is enabled, the guest simply opens the SPG App, taps the smartphone on the door lock, waits for the green light and enters the room. 

SPG Keyless is an evolution of Starwood’s Smart Check-In, another industry-first that debuted at Aloft hotels in 2011, allowing guests to bypass traditional check-in and access their rooms with a RFID-equipped key card. Building upon those early learnings to develop SPG Keyless, Starwood tapped the world’s largest lock manufacturer, Assa Abloy, to create an all-new, Bluetooth-enabled lock as well as keyless software, which are designed to securely recognize and connect with a guest’s mobile device.

In addition to the aggressive keyless rollout schedule, Starwood is simultaneously piloting innovations for the next wave of upgrades to the SPG App, which will support and enhance SPG Keyless. These upgrades aim to not only empower guests to control aspects of their stay through their mobile devices, but equip associates with the tools they need to continue Starwood’s legacy of personalization and provide meaningful, custom services away from the front desk.

Join the conversation at @SPG or @StarwoodBuzz #SPGKeyless

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Contact us today to learn how we can help elevate your brand on mobile. 

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Addison named by Google as the 2014 eCity for the State of Texas

Congratulations to the city of Addison for being named by Google as the 2014 eCity for the State of Texas — an award that last year went to Austin. The eCity Awards go to one city each year to each of the 50 states that have the strongest online business communities. Strong online business communities refer to businesses that are using the web to expand their consumer base and connect with current clients, thereby fueling local economies.

 

We love being able to serve our clients from the center of tech in Texas.  We are proud to call Addison home.  Read more

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One of Bottle Rocket Apps' latest applications has given a fast-food bird some new wings.

Chick-fil-A's latest version of its mobile app, released last week for iOS, allows customers to order and pay via their smartphone. The app allows customers to use the new features at more than 130 locations, with more expected to roll out in 2015.

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