Urban Renewal Comes to Downtown Birmingham

By | Community, Culture | No Comments

As many reading this blog probably know, Daxko is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. While not originally from here, I have grown fiercely loyal to my adopted city. So, it is with continual hope that I view the recent great strides this city has made to bring new industry, tourism and beauty to the downtown area. In fact, a recent New York Times article highlighted the urban renewal happening in our dear city. From Railroad Park that borders the rail lines dissecting the north and the south sides of the city to our brand new minor-league baseball stadium to the new funky shops and restaurants along 2nd Avenue south, Birmingham is “reviving the downtown district.”

This success has been a long time coming. In the 1920s, Birmingham was a booming steel town, boasting the “heaviest corner on earth” with the four tallest building in the South at 20th Street and First Avenue North. With the declining need for steel after World War II, the selection of Atlanta as an airport hub, and the civil rights firestorm that enveloped the South, Birmingham lost its way.

But, this story is one of hope. In the 1970s Birmingham found new ways to diversify. It has since become one of the major medical and research centers of the South and found new ways to prosper in the realm of banking.

It took much longer for visitors and residents to come back to downtown for leisure activities. Only recently has Birmingham been able to entice people downtown after business hours. But now, on any given Saturday you can find Birminghamians downtown walking off a big meal at Railroad Park, taking in a game at Region’s Field, or indulging in food, drink, music or all three at Birmingham’s 2nd Avenue district or at the new Westin hotel located close to the convention center and the soon-to-be “Entertainment District.” In addition, the craft beer industry and the food truck trend have both found there way here and are prospering as well.

We at Daxko couldn’t be more proud to be in Birmingham. Many in the Daxko Nation grew up here. I have experienced all these changes as a transplant and I am happy to report my adopted home is thriving.

User Testing at Reach: Uncovering the “Why”

By | Customer Experience, Events & Happenings, Industry | No Comments

“It only takes 5 users to uncover 80% of high-level usability problems.”   – Jakob Nielson

 

Jakob Nielson is often considered the leading expert on usability testing. And, according to Neilson, usability is “a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word ‘usability’ also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process.”

Daxko tries to incorporate usability and user experience testing as often as we can, but for five of the past nine reach customer conferences, we’ve also had a dedicated Usability Lab where all attendees have the opportunity to provide feedback across a range of our software products. This is an opportunity for our software engineers to work one-on-one with our clients to understand how they use the products every day and how we can make those everyday tasks easier and quicker through software.

Why Usability Testing
In some ways one-on-one qualitative usability testing is more valuable than any survey we could produce and get 100 customer responses. Why? While quantitative testing (i.e. surveys) provides the “what,” qualitative testing (usability testing) provides the “why?”  We learn certain features are not working in a quantitative test but we learn the very important “why” they are not working with qualitative research.

The Daxko Approach
Traditional usability testing can be extremely regimented. At many companies, the end product of a round of usability tests is a bulky, boring report that nobody reads. We don’t want that. Here at Daxko, we take a more agile approach that really fits our company culture. We want to create actionable results, very quickly from our usability tests. We actually take that information straight back to the product teams so they can start prioritizing what needs to happen next.

Prioritize Future Product Functionality
Usability testing helps us prioritize features. Even with a very small sample size, we can quickly get a consensus on not only what the issues are but also what functionality is really needed. We are dedicated to finding the opportunities that will benefit the most customers, and we schedule updates accordingly based on what we find that will help the most people.

Are you going to our Reach user conference this year? Registration closes Sept. 3rd, so It’s not to late to sign up!

If you are going to Reach this year, sign up for our Usability Labs to have a say in the roadmaps for our products in the coming year.

Want to learn more? Check out this blog post on our collaborative design workshop at Reach 2012. And, check back next week to hear more about Daxko’s Reach Usability Labs and read examples of product functionality that has come out of usability testing at Daxko.

Social Media for Nonprofits: Driving Altruism

By | Engagement, Industry, Marketing, Online, Uncategorized | No Comments

This is the second part of our ongoing series devoted to social media for non-profits. In the first installment, we offered basic tips to help elevate social media efforts for your association.

A recent Forbes article by Roger Dooley, “Nonprofits: Driving Behavior with Social Media,” explores “the huge opportunity that social media offers to nonprofit groups.” In fact, social media provides many nonprofits unparalleled exposure for little to no cost. By appealing to members’ altruistic instincts, nonprofits can use social media to drive retention, memberships, and donations.

To highlight the possibilities of social media for social good, article author Dooley uses Facebook’s promotion of organ donation. The campaign spurred an unprecedented +2,000% increase in organ donation sign-ups and earned a lot of buzz in the process. Your association can use the same principals on a smaller scale to achieve success (after all, we don’t all have the backing of Mark Zuckerberg).

Dooley states that “humans are wired for altruism” and he offers examples in evolutionary biology that illustrate this statement. But, how can a non-profit use that to gain support? By publicly acknowledging, thanking and encouraging donations on your social media page, non-profits can reward and publicly recognize altruism. This drives behavior in two ways; it feeds members and donors natural inclinations for altruistic behavior and provides positive recognition and rewards for giving.

Are you curious about some other ways to use social media to drive behavior for your non-profit? Try these tips:

  1. Share Successes. By sharing successes on social media, your non-profit association is providing positive proof of how donations help carry out your mission.
  1. Tell Stories. According to The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani, you shouldn’t be afraid to share success stories and explain why you are proud of a project. Just be sure to … “do it gracefully and genuinely. People are smart and can usually sense when you aren’t being genuine.”
  1. Use social media to get online PR. Kabani also explains that bloggers and reporters often follow Twitter and other social media for stories. So, if you are sharing genuine content on these channels, try to make friends with these folks. According to Kabani, “They need stories as much as you need the press.”

Social Media Tips and Tricks for Non-profits

By | Engagement, Industry, Marketing, Online | No Comments

We see our client organizations on Twitter all the time, doing a great job showcasing their association and their members. But, everyone can use social media tips to make their jobs easier, and if you are just starting out in your social media strategy, this post on will help you get started.

Whatever your social media skill level, the tips below will help you be more efficient and effective with your social media efforts. This is the first part in a series of posts with the best social media tips and tricks compiled just for our non-profit clients.

  1. Create a consistent voice. “Having a (social media) strategy in place will ensure that a consistent voice and relevant content is shared across platforms and throughout advertising and promotions,” says Becci Hart of Intermark Public Relations (as cited in the Birmingham Business Journal, July 19, 2013). Make sure that whoever is interacting on social media for your association (even if it is multiple people) share a similar style and feel across all social media channels. This will help your content resonate more with your audience.
  2. Create a community of colleagues.  According to Shama Hyder Kabani’s book, The Zen of Social Media Marketing, it is important to create a “community of colleagues” on social media. So, follow other association executives that are active Twitter users, follow other associations, and be sure to become active with those other users. Feel free to share tips and tricks of your own. That is, after all, the best of what social media can offer business users.
  3. Don’t forget to monitor your feed!  Most of what happens on Twitter happens on the fly so monitoring your feed on a regular basis (say once an hour if you have the manpower) is a great way to keep up with the chatter.  There are several great resources (some paid and some free) for doing this:  Hootsuite offers a great free version that allows you to monitor multiple streams on Twitter at once. You can even monitor LinkedIn and Facebook accounts from the Hootsuite dashboard. Best of all, you can schedule your posts in advance with the same service. Other great Twitter services that have similar functionality are Tweetdeck and TwAitter (now gremln.com).
  4. Keep an eye out for keywords on Twitter. Many of these dashboards will let you set up streams to monitor keywords or trending topics of your choice.  This works similar to Google Alerts in that you get all tweets featuring the chosen keywords. For Example, if you want to hear the latest news on group exercise, you might set up a stream to follow the hashtag “#groupexercise.”  The service, TweetBeep, will even let you set up email alerts for keywords that you are really interested in.

Stay tuned to Daxko’s Industry blog where we will be offering Twitter and other social media tips and tricks as an ongoing series.