On the Road Again

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

The Daxko Reach Conference is Headed back to Nashville

Since last year’s Reach conference in Nashville was such a record-breaking hit, we decided to take this year’s conference back to the Music City for an encore! Dust off your cowboy boots and plan to join us for Reach 2015, our 12th annual customer conference, happening August 31 – September 2 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

We selected the Gaylord Opryland because we want our attendees to enjoy top-of-the-line amenities, luxurious guest rooms, exceptional service, and have access to several onsite restaurants and a highly rated spa. Located just steps away from the Grand Ole Opry, the Gaylord Opryland is a convenient location for enjoying Nashville history and culture while you’re in town.

We’ve also refreshed our Reach Website to make finding information and registering for the conference easier than ever. Be sure to check it out often – we’ll be adding more information about sessions, keynote speakers, and night events soon!

This year we’re expecting 300 to 400 YMCA, JCC, and community center professionals from all over North America, so it’s important to secure your registration and book your hotel room early. Early Bird pricing is available now through April 30, so don’t miss out.

We look forward to seeing you in the Music City for Reach 2015!


Yes, We Actually Listen to Our Customers

By | Culture, Life at Daxko, Technology, Workplace | No Comments

Last month, we hosted our annual Reach customer conference. We offered sessions covering thought leadership, product training, efficiency, engagement, and several other topics. We also offered Roundtable sessions, which we typically do every year.

It’s a  unique situation to have several customers in one room, so we wanted to move beyond the typical “airing of grievances” roundtable, to something more constructive for everyone—Daxko team and customers alike. We started with these three simple goals:

  1. Have Daxko customers learn from each other
  2. Generate new ways of using Daxko Engage now and in the future
  3. Everyone has a voice

Throughout the session, we asked three questions that aligned with the goals above. We then had participants share their results with the rest of their table. We had about 6 tables with 6-10 people at each table. Here is what the flow of the session looked like.

  • What are your outcomes? (Participants shared their outcomes with each other.)
  • How are you currently using Daxko Engage to achieve these outcomes? (Participants shared results with each other.)
  • What do you think Daxko Engage is missing (barriers, ideas, improvements)? (Participants shared results with each other.)
  • Then vote on your top three “ideas”, and have one person from each table share those three.













The following week, our interaction designer, Erika B., took all those responses and put together a couple of mind maps for both the outcomes that were jotted down as well as the ideas that were shared. The goal here is to better visualize all the possibilities and understand the relationships between them.
























Patrick B, the Developer team lead for Daxko Engage said, “I learned that we’re in the ballpark about what Engage needs most urgently: support for larger associations. Things like branch-focused view and increased visibility and accountability of engagement efforts are our biggest needs. Beyond that, there are so many big things we can build Engage up to help: prospecting, participant engagement, etc. Mostly, I got a better feel for the sentiment and motivation behind some of these needs.”

Martha C, an implementation project manager was able to find a couple of misunderstandings in the bunch and actually follow-up with a few customers to clarify some items in Daxko Engage.  She also learned that engagement is a moving target and that we have to do our best at aiming.

Laura G, an Adoption Coordinator enjoyed getting the opportunity to observe and listen to the conversations between our customers.

As Patrick B mentioned, we feel better about where we are headed now, and have some better ideas on what to explore in the future.

We’ll use different techniques to further explore each of these ideas, depending on the context and depth of the problem that we are trying to solve. Some examples of how we’ll follow-up include:

  • Follow-up with clarifying questions
  • Look for patterns to emerge.
  • Help implementation and adoption
  • Clear any misunderstandings
  • Prioritize with other customers
  • Form hypothesis and test ideas with customers

I think we’ll certainly follow a similar structure and improve on how we facilitated this session. It was exciting to hear and share ideas with customers, and to see them sharing ideas with each other.

How Customers Help Build Daxko Products

By | Customer Experience, Industry, Marketing | No Comments

We all know that hindsight is 20/20.

How many times have you looked back at something you’ve done in your career and thought, “That was stupid. Why did I do that?” Because you didn’t know better. Everyone makes mistakes, but (hopefully) we learn from them. In software development, this is especially true. When we do usability testing at Daxko, we’re trying to figure out what mistakes we’ve made in our software so that we can make them right. From one-on-one user interviews over GoToMeeting to in-person sessions like the ones at Daxko Reach, improving the experience for our users is top of mind for Daxko.

User feedback has pointed out out some silly things we’ve done. Sometimes, we’ll think we have a great idea for something to include in an app to only later realize maybe it wasn’t so genius after all. When we piloted the first version of Daxko Engage, we wanted to greet users on the home page with a short welcome video. I got “conned” into being the talking head (I’m not great on camera!). After spending all morning patiently watching me fumble my message to our new users, we finally got a decent minute and a half recorded. The Engage team was eager to get customer reactions to our touch of personality in the app. When we started doing usability testing later, however, we discovered that (drumroll) most of customers couldn’t even see the video (it was hosted on Vimeo, a site that most of our customers are blocked from visiting). Who knows how long that video would have stayed in production had we not seen it for ourselves on our customers’ screens during testing.

It’s also highlighted some features that we got backwards…like that time we thought we should require a comment for any tasks that Engage users wanted to mark as “done.” Whoops! Turns out that was a big headache for users, as they just wanted to be able to get the tasks off their list (and not have to type “Done” for every single one). I’m happy to report that today in Engage, users can mark tasks complete with a single click. Easy peasy.

From watching customers actually use Engage real-time, we also learned that “less isn’t always more.” The Engage product development team thought that it would be more efficient if the system automatically saved data when users were in the process of setting up an initiative workflow (versus having to click a Save button after entering the info for each step). It turns out that not having Save buttons actually made users a bit uneasy. They weren’t confident the system was actually saving their input. This uncertainty trumped any anticipated gains in efficiency, and so we ended up putting Save buttons on the interface.

It’s funny how the little things add up.

A bunch of small usability problems can really add up to a negative overall user experience. Doing usability testing on our products helps us find the small wins, the big losses, and everything in between. You can help Daxko make things easier to use by giving feedback on Daxko.com at this month’s Reach conference (you might even get a sneak peek at future product designs).

User Testing at Reach: Uncovering the “Why”

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“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.