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SF AppWorksApr 27, 2022 10:34:42 PM5 min read

The Next Great Thing podcast and Netflix’s A/B test love story




NEW! The Next Great Thing podcast…

What separates the good tech from the great? You know, the app that’s reimagining the way we connect with each other. Or the technology that’s reshaping our economy or saving the planet. It’s not just one thing, it’s lots of things: ideas, people, inspiration, distribution, longevity, luck. The Next Great Thing podcast is an exploration into the digital products and experiences that are on the cusp of changing our lives — and conversations with the people behind the technology who are making them great. To kick off our new season, host Andrew Greenstein talks with Josh Lessing, CTO at AppHarvest, a leading agtech company based in Kentucky. They talk about the booming agtech industry and how AppHarvest is creating the future of farming in tightly controlled environments -- where robotics, AI, and data analytics are working together to predict and perfect the way our food is grown. 


Learn how robots grow your tomatoes>


Netflix, a love story with A/B testing…



If you know Netflix, you know their data science team LOVES to A/B test every feature rigorously with their subscribers -- be it on their UI or on how their recommendation algorithms work. In user surveys, Netflix discovered that its binary 👍/👎 rating system was too limiting; and, the universal symbol we’re all familiar with -- a ❤️ -- wasn’t cutting it, either. So, the data and design teams did what they do best: test, test, test. Over the course of more than a year, via design sprints, user surveys and interviews, qualitative feedback, and lots of A/B testing, Netflix found the option that lets users show their undying love for Bridgerton or Ozark best: 👍👍 (that’s two-thumbs-up). We see you, Siskel and Ebert!


How Netflix tests and learns>


Ever considered a co-founder prenup?…

Your startup is funded. Your 12-month product roadmap is on track. Your tech stack is humming. But if your relationship with your co-founder isn’t collaborative, honest, and harmonious, the consequences will eventually show up in the business, and, quite possibly, doom it to failure. Co-founder conflict is the reason why 65% of startups fail, according to Noam Wasserman, author of The Founder's Dilemmas. What if you’re fiercely at odds over the culture you want to build, an important new hire, or who gives that first interview to TechCrunch? The key is to take proactive steps to nurture your co-founder relationship before conflict happens. Game out conflict scenarios. Be clear about working styles and who’s responsible for what. Oh, and always schedule time to hang out with each other outside of work. 


 5 steps to nurture your co-founder relationship>


The true colors of inclusive UX...

An estimated 300 million people worldwide are affected by color vision deficiency, otherwise known as color blindness. For these people, the inability to decipher certain colors, patterns, and logos can make online shopping risky; digital pictures are unreliable guides to what a product really looks like. (Remember The Dress?) To assist people who perceive colors in different ways, two Adobe employees, Lauren Dest, a senior user experience designer, and Michelle Saad, a commerce data scientist, created a prototype software to solve this pain point for color blind shoppers. It just became Adobe’s latest feature: Project Design Decoder. The new software uses AI and machine learning to help designers create apps and digital e-commerce experiences that are more accessible and inclusive for the color blind. 


See how Project Design Decoder was made>


Finding the right mobile payment gateway...

Move over ecommerce. Mobile commerce, or mcommerce, is taking over. Today, around 73% of total ecommerce purchases are done from a mobile device, versus about 52% five years ago. For app developers, this rise in mobile retail shopping makes choosing the right payment gateway imperative in order to give users the best, most seamless experience. But with so many payment gateways to choose from -- like Square, PayPal, and Authorize.Net, just to name a few -- it can be difficult to decide which payment gateway meets your users’ and your specific needs. And, what should you consider before integrating any payment gateway into your app? 


 Before you integrate a payment gateway, start here>



Our Team’s Pick for App of the Month: Empathy


empathy app screens (1)


Making death a little less stressful for the living…

The grief that hits you following the loss of a loved one can make handling the logistics of funeral planning and settling one’s affairs feel insurmountable. There are several digital services trying to help people make this process easier. Our favorite is Empathy. It’s like a mourner’s project manager, personal assistant, and trusted grief counselor all-in-one. The app makes it easier to cope with, handle, and plan for all the issues that need to be dealt with following a loved one’s death -- quickly and easily. Empathy’s services are tailored to your specific location and family situation. You get step-by-step instructions, checklists, and support for everything from obituary writing and funeral planning to filling out insurance company paperwork and canceling the deceased’s accounts and subscriptions. And you don’t need to do this all by yourself! The simple interface lets you invite other family members to collaborate on tasks and get support from Care Specialists who can assist with finding local services and providers.


Check out Empathy>



AI vs. humans. Who designs better?…

There’s an inherent latency in human design. Human UX designers rely on user insights from the past to inform the user experiences of the future. AI, on the other hand, can collect and analyze user data in real time to inform and optimize UX in the present. It’s a decision making process AI uses called a problem-solving loop. But AI lacks human reasoning. It can’t tell you why it does anything. It just does it and learns from doing, over and over again, regardless of the consequences. AI can’t make ethical decisions like humans can to ensure that AI-driven design doesn’t amplify bias or harm society. But AI does have clear advantages in its ability to design versus its human counterparts. The key for designers is not to compete with AI, but rather to work with it


Pros and cons of AI UX design>




Did you enjoy The Wonder?