UX Patterns to Improve Mobile e-Commerce

Every week on The UX Blog Podcast, Nicholas Tenhue interviews user experience professionals about current trends, hot topics, and their careers. Subscribe on iTunes or Google Play Music!


Pek Pongpaet headshot

Pek Pongpaet is the founder of Impekable, a full service digital agency headquartered in the Bay Area. Impekable also run intensive UX workshops.  You can check out some of their impressive work on their Dribbble page. Their clients include Google, HP, Discovery, Groupon, Twilio, Legalzoom. Pek is a mentor at 500 Startups and Hackers and Founders. In this episode we hear Pek talk about his journey from UX freelancer to the founder of Impekable, dark UX patterns, mobile e-commerce, and Pokemon GO.

You can get in touch with Pek directly via email: pek@impekable.com


Transcript

Nicholas Tenhue: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the UX blog podcast. I’m joined today by Pek Pongpaet, who is the founder of Impeccable a full-service digital agency headquartered in the Bay Area. Their clients include Google, HP, Discovery, Group-on, Twilo, Illegal Zoom, and many others. Pek is also a mentor at 500 startups and Hackers and Founders. Today we will be talking about UX pattern to improve mobile e-commerce. So thank you very much for joining us Pek.

Pek Pongpaet: Thank you for having me, Nicholas. It’s a pleasure.

Nicholas Tenhue: So why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your past, how you got into UX, and where you are now.

Pek Pongpaet: Sure. So I have an engineering degree, and I go way back to the dawn of the internet age, till when I went to college, the internet was just starting to get consumerized, Netscape, Mozilla, all that stuff was happening all around me. Then I started my career early in doing engineering with an engineering degree, did a lot of programming, a lot of Microsoft tech stuff back then. About several years into my career, there was a lot of dot-com startups, and so I worked a lot for dotcoms, and you had to wear many hats, and I found myself enjoying product more, the fun in more, the design more, so rather than focusing on the backend. I slowly transitioned to finance stuff, design stuff, and even back then User Experience wasn’t even a word, but I essentially was, I guess I was practicing it by figuring out how to make things easier to use, designing front-ends, user interfaces so that products were easier to use. That solidified when Apple started coming out with the iPhone, and consumer internet products started focusing a lot on User Experience. There was a huge difference between enterprise, software, and then consumer internet products and people started thinking “Why should I have to put up with this bad user interface, or user experience with enterprise software?”, versus what’s available with consumer internet software.

Nicholas Tenhue: Right.

Pek Pongpaet: So that’s when I saw that there was a need there, but also that’s kind of where I enjoyed being, not kind of nitty-gritty writing the technical code. I felt like I had more of an impact being on the front-end.

Nicholas Tenhue: So for you, it wasn’t this sudden realization that you were a user experience professional. It was more of a steady kind of hey, I'm doing product, hey, there’s this thing called User Experience that people are talking about, oh I'm doing user experience, or I have been for many years. Is that kind of more how it went for you?

Pek Pongpaet: It wasn’t quite black and white, but there was a moment where I went to an Adobe conference, and back then there was the Adobe Experience design team was always showing cool stuff, and what they were working on, and that had a cofounded impact on me. Wow, this is cool stuff that I should be thinking about, and I should be doing it, thinking about experiences rather than implementing, or just purely the implementation. 

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah, just thinking about cool technologies, but rather the application itself. 

Pek Pongpaet: With Impeccable, the company itself, that too was a gradual process, so Impeccable, we’re about 30 people now that are headquartered in the Bay Area, although probably ⅔ of our team is remote. We’ve gunned over 200 projects with over 100 clients spanning everywhere from New York, Boston, Chicago, LA, to the Bay Area. Even then that was, the company itself was gradual, I basically was a UX freelancer, a product freelancer for a guy for a while, and then I slowly just took on more and more work until I couldn’t handle it anymore, so I hired my first part time UX designer, and then went on, got a team to work well, I hired another person. Before you know it I had like a small team of 3 or 4, and then you fast forward several years to now, and I have a pretty decent sized team now.

Nicholas Tenhue: That’s quite impressive how there was no sort of grand plan to start off with, but everything kind of grew from the ground up, and you’re still incredibly successful, and doing great things. 

Pek Pongpaet: There was no grand plan to become from engineering to UX, and also to start this firm. That said, we started as a pure UX firm, but we slowly realized the problem is, you can give, the problem I was facing was, well one was growth, there’s so much UX you can do at some point where, if you do such a great job, you can outline the patterns, and give them great examples, you’re working yourself out of a job cause you do such a great job, they don’t need you anymore, but the other problem was, you can do such a great job, but then when it’s handed over to the client, a lot of times, what we was seeing, they were taking our work as sort of a loosely based recommendation, like okay that’s nice, we will kind of do this. We do that, and then the result was never quite what we expected, or it didn’t live up to expectations.

Nicholas Tenhue: They didn’t know what to do with the end product really, and they didn’t have the right direction, nor the right strategy in place to implement it. Is that kind of what was happening?

Pek Pongpaet: They didn’t either have the talent or the right strategy to implement it, and then the result, the end customer experience, they weren't quite happy with our service, so we took it upon ourselves to make sure that we offer higher funding engineers, back end engineers, because all of that affects user experience. You can have great wire frames, great designs, but if you don’t have an engineer who can convert those designs and realize your vision, you have less than quality product. And then if you have a great fund in, but the back end is not great at all, then you have lags, and the system doesn’t work well, and it crashes, so ultimately the User Experience will suffer as well, so more and more we took on more responsibility, it’s sort of like Apple, they felt like they had to control the end user experience to give users a much better user experience, we ran into the same problem with client delivery services where if there was a part where we didn’t control, it may or may not have turned out well, but from the customers, they hired us, and if it’s not working, they don’t care whose fault it is.

Nicholas Tenhue: That’s quite a big pivot from just a UX consultancy to a full-service design team. 

Pek Pongpaet: Even then, again, it was organic because they were like, oh okay we did a good job, but this wasn’t a good job, okay how do we fix that. Then we realized we had to take more and more on.

Nicholas Tenhue: And that’s also a great thing that you say there with UX isn’t just about the wireframes or the front end, it’s also about the back end. And what people don’t realize is that it’s invisible when it’s going right, but it’s so visible when things are going wrong, and there’s bad user experiences.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah, there’s a certain very popular app right now, that is so popular that their servers are not responding well at all, and there not being able to handle the load.

Nicholas Tenhue: I wonder which app that is. Should we give the listeners any hints?

Pek Pongpaet: They will be able to guess, hopefully.

Nicholas Tenhue: Alright, I think that is a good transition into the main topic of this show which is UX patterns to improve mobile e-commerce. So why don’t you just tell us a little bit about what that is for the newer listeners, and then we can dive right in.

Pek Pongpaet: Sure. So, we’ve done a lot of projects with startups with companies being more and more mobile. There is a lot of Facebook traffic is mostly mobile now. You can see a lot of traffic from everywhere; mobile use is only increasing. So in terms of our company probably 60% of our work is mobile with the other being web, so I thought maybe some advice around mobile, and what we’ve learned would be great for your audience.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah, absolutely.

Pek Pongpaet: We’ve had clients where we’ve done, helped with mobile commerce clients, things from like Groupon, or Kohl's department store, we’ve done some Apple Watch stuff. A lot of mobile commerce startups where they are selling stuff, so we thought we would share some of the stuff we’ve learned over the years.

Nicholas Tenhue: Alright. So, when it comes to user experience in e-commerce, what are other things that people don’t realize, what are things that people get wrong all the time?

Pek Pongpaet: Sure. It’s not that so much you get wrong, but there’s things you can layer in, to lubricate mobile commerce. Because, with mobile, I think for example like Amazon, a lot of shopping still goes on the web, and when people buy stuff, people need to read reviews, and they need to see recommendations. There’s some homework involved. The bigger the item, the more homework, or the more research is involved in. Then there’s certain products, classes of products, where mobile commerce is happening all the time, and it’s so frictionless, take for example all this ride sharing stuff, you put up your credit card right up front with Uber or Lyft, and then you never deal with that again. You never have to deal with payment in the sense that, sure you pay but they’ve already captured your credit card, everything is very seamless. We’ve helped with similar concepts. Instead of a car on demand the startup was valet on demand for the Bay Area, downtown SF. This was, if you drove to SF, and you couldn’t find parking, rather than dealing with it. You open up an app, hit a button, and valet shows up and takes your car, so stuff like that, there’s mobile commerce involved in terms of the patterns that mapped really well to existing services like Uber and Lyft.

Nicholas Tenhue: Right, right.

Pek Pongpaet: They take your car.

Nicholas Tenhue: So it’s fascinating yeah. There’s that first barrier where the User Experience has to be so fluid when you're entering your card details, and anything from using the camera to scan your card, and put the details in can make that experience or can completely break that experience if there’s a card that’s too shiny. You’re trying to scan it outside, and it’s reflecting onto the camera, and you can’t capture those details, and then you’ve lost a customer.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah.

Nicholas Tenhue: So, it’s a lot to do with the context of use, these kinds of almost unpredictable things that you, as a designer, have to think about, that makes it really interesting but also really difficult to predict what’s going to happen. 

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah yeah, smoothing out the onboarding flow, rather than having the user manually enter out the card number, scanning it, that’s a great user experience. We love that. We want to always recommend that. There’s a couple other key points and ideas to think about when doing mobile commerce, and then we can apply it. I will kind of be reiterating an answer I have on Quora, which this was an answer, there was like a knowledge prize answer on Quora regarding if the Starbucks mobile app could be improved in any way such that, there would be significant financial impact. I offered several suggestions which ended up being the winning answer, so one thought, of course, some of these are like tried and true principles of commerce in general not just mobile commerce that you can just apply it. One is, of course, urgency, so one-day sales, every department store has learned this trick over and over, right, like every holiday, every special event, there’s always a sale, so that’s the sense of urgency, these one-day sales. 

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah, yeah. Do you see that a lot with modern day internet marketers almost using it as a dark pattern with these self-resetting timers, and everything else to create that sense of urgency.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah, and that’s the trick, it doesn’t have to be real, it can be just a sale that’s at that moment they get there. It’s almost like you said, it is a dark pattern, yeah. Number two is scarcity, so use that as a dark pattern, so scarcity is showing how much you have left, great example of this is Amazon. When you go to a product page, especially if it’s like something that’s old, it’s not mass produced stuff, or it’s not sold directly by Amazon, but any third party. You may see that, oh there’s only one left in stock, or two left in stock, that gives you a sense of urgency, the scarcity gives you the sense of, oh I must act now because I want to get it before other people get it. 

Nicholas Tenhue: Fear of missing out. 

Pek Pongpaet: Fear of missing out. And that doesn’t have to, again that can be a dark pattern where it doesn’t even have to be real, it can always be one left in stock. We see popular games in current events where there're monsters you have to hunt, and you have to catch them before other people catch them.

Nicholas Tenhue: I think we’re getting closer to the name of the app.

Pek Pongpaet: Sure, sure.

Nicholas Tenhue: Alright. So those are two really good examples of mobile e-commerce, do you have any more that you can kind of relate?

Pek Pongpaet: Oh, ya, a few more.

Nicholas Tenhue: Back to this.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah. The third one is achievements, a great example of this is Foursquare, where you have bad news for checking in, and that’s one form of achievements, with the answer for Starbucks was, Starbucks does have a reward system, a tiered reward system, I think it’s three levels. So they do that well. They could even break that down into micro-categories, so that is what Foursquare did if you checked into a lot of pizza places, or a lot of burger joints, you would get a burger badge or a pizza badge, so you divide things.

Nicholas Tenhue: Right. And would all of these sort of come into the same umbrella of gamification as well even if they are kind of achievement based?

Pek Pongpaet: Well like scarcity and sales aren’t gamification, but like this achievements could be considered gamification, but that’s like the basic level of gamification is the achievements. 

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah. And I suppose even on things like LinkedIn, you could look at your IE rank in this percentile of my connections, how can I get to the next level, or here’s a suggestion; you could add this skill to get more views to your profile. So we see it across almost every service that we interact with on a daily basis to create that behavior loop that these companies are looking for, so you're going back again and again, and revisiting and rechecking any new Amazon items on the feature page.

Pek Pongpaet: Yep.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah, that’s really interesting stuff. I am being manipulated all the time.

Pek Pongpaet: We are. I think the wonderful thing is, I think it’s just as a user experience designer is just being self-aware that you are being manipulated. I think it’s really interesting. A lot of people, if you’re not in the field, things just happen to you, oh I got to buy this lure, or I got to buy more items to do this so I can do X, you’re being compelled. I think as a user experience designer, I think often times when I, things like these things happen to me where I'm compelled to do a certain action, I constantly reevaluate, so like okay what’s happening here, what’s going on here, which is fun.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah, that little self-check when you’re like “Hold on, I know what’s happening here”. A great person once said if I get it right “With great knowledge comes great responsibility.”, or was it “With great power comes”, what was it again?

Pek Pongpaet: With great responsibility, with great power comes, I think uncle Ben has said that.

Nicholas Tenhue: So, yeah I guess as designers, we need to think ethically as well when we’re looking at things like these, so we don’t turn to the dark side.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah. User experience designers are, in a sense, guiding people through a journey of an app, so it is their responsibility on how best to do that, right? As you mentioned, dark patterns are essentially manipulative behaviors you are trying to induce. If you are doing something obviously illegal, to me that’s a dark pattern. I’ve seen your diagram. This three circle diagram where user experience is essentially where there’s the business need, there’s the user's need, and then what’s technically feasible, that intersection is a good user experience. We can’t always cater to just the user’s need because the business would go out of business.

Nicholas Tenhue: Exactly, exactly.

Pek Pongpaet: You have to draw the line so that it would make sense for the business. News sites have to put in ads every so often so that they can feed themselves to bring you the good news. That’s kind of like the line.

Nicholas Tenhue: A good way to think about it is probably if stakeholders as a whole come out net positive in terms of the benefit, it’s probably worth doing.

Pek Pongpaet: Exactly.

Nicholas Tenhue: And by stakeholders I mean everybody involved, including users, designers, anybody that is going to gain or benefit from an investment. It doesn’t matter, but our goal is to serve the needs of all the stakeholders.

Pek Pongpaet: Right. A good pattern on that, with the games we are seeing is, a lot of games they, a lot of free to play games now prey on the fact that they make you wait for everything, like oh you do this action that’s going to be five minutes, oh you died, you used up your lives, it’s going to reset in 15 minutes. It’s like, oh but for 99 cents, you can continue right now, or if you invite all your friends, and spam all your friends, you can continue right now. That, I think, is a net negative for the user, right, no one wants to sell out their friends, people don’t, especially young kids don’t want to spend money. A new pattern that we are starting to see is, rather than doing either of those, like hey watch an ad, oh I don’t want to watch an ad, but I will happily watch an ad to gain something, like to not wait, so that’s a better pattern I think, speaking of things that are positive.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah. Sort of monetization through advertising.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah.

Nicholas Tenhue: I guess we’re going to see a resurgence in ads, kind of in the sense that web ads and banners are going through this banner blindness thing. We need new avenues and new clever ways to expose things that we’re not blind to anymore as viewers.

Pek Pongpaet: Right.

Nicholas Tenhue: So why don’t you talk a little bit about some of what might be possible in the context of a certain game.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah, so right now we have a very popular game in the media that’s taking the world by storm. Just maybe within the last week or so, and there’s certain very interesting elements, with it being a game. Obviously it has a lot of game elements, but it’s also made a lot of money in the recent news. It’s making roughly, estimated, $1.6 million a day now. 

Nicholas Tenhue: Really. I had no idea it was that much already. Well I suppose with the servers crashing, and me not being able to log in, i’m not surprised.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah. So, there're certain actions, you can do, and you will run out of things, so you can buy more of those things. If you want to catch a certain type of animal at a point, where maybe their not showing up enough, well you can spend money to buy lures to attract them. So there're things that you can buy to accelerate your progression in the game, and also kind of building on that sense of achievement. There are things you can collect, in this case, monsters, and you want to collect more than your friends, and there're teams even, so there’s that social pressure, peer pressure to perform and get more, and collect more, be able to catch more, so with that there're monetization schemes to either give you tools to catch more, or get the monsters to appear more, very interesting right now.

Nicholas Tenhue: Right, right. And for those who haven't guessed it, it’s Pokemon GO. What do you think we’re going to see in the future there? What opportunities does that game have to expand that? There're a couple novel things, or maybe not novel, but things that we haven't seen used that much in mobile e-commerce, or advertising, and that’s the whole kind of location-based gaming, maybe you want to talk about that a little bit.

Pek Pongpaet: Sure. Games have had advertisements. They’ve been advertisements in games for a while now. You can play Xbox or PC games where you may see an ad for a soft drink and stuff in a game, but that’s more like brand awareness, there’s really nothing transactional going on there, but with geo-located mobile apps like this where in order to make progress in the game, you have to be in different locations, it presents a lot of interesting opportunities for brands and businesses, especially ones with retail presences. You can see some businesses taking advantage of Pokemon GO already by offering like, hey if you catch an animal here, a monster here, Pokemon, we will give you something, and that’s incentivization.

Nicholas Tenhue: Right. I think there was the local 711 next to me was giving away slushies I think for anybody that showed that they have checked in on Pokemon GO. There was a long line outside.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah. I know there’s compelling statistics that if you can get someone to come physically into your store, the chances of buying just goes immensely up because you’re physically located there already, the inventory, the products, are right in front of you.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah.

Pek Pongpaet: So, there’s high incentive for retail store to incentivize you to get into their store. Right now there just taking advantage of the fact that, oh if there’s a Pokemon near me, I can take advantage of that, but I can see the Pokemon brand be extending itself, because you can see that companies are trying to shoehorn themselves into this already, if Pokemon GO built tools to let brands do this, so that maybe you see brands advertisement, right now you just see generic locations and hotspots you can’t really tell, but what if you could see, oh this is a Starbucks Pokemon stop, or this is a 711 stop.

 Nicholas Tenhue: And certain companies might make certain deals that only rare monsters hang out there, at the Starbucks.

Pek Pongpaet: Exactly. And maybe there're special monsters, that is exclusive to them, then that makes it interesting.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah. What’s interesting, for me especially, I think that the mode of usage is so different when you look at something like Foursquare, or when you look at something like Yelp, you are looking for somewhere to go then. With Pokemon it is a passive thing where you play every single day, and then you might change your normal behavior from, oh I'm seeking somewhere to go to, oh wow I need to go here to get this Pokemon, oh hang on, I really like this store I'm going to keep coming back here, and be a repeat customer, so it’s like capturing a new audience that wouldn’t necessarily go into that store.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah, it’s flipping the model, with Yelp or something where I'm looking for something to eat, I'm going to be driven by reviews, but Pokemon GO user might go into a restaurant or place of business just because there’s a monster there, and then discover new places, they haven't before.

Nicholas Tenhue: I think that we’ve cracked it.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah.

Nicholas Tenhue: I hope that somebody in the business department over at Pokemon gets in touch with us, and...

Pek Pongpaet: I think they can’t help but see the news, and see what’s happening, it’s really an eye opener, they may have opened a new way that people think about this, a lot of apps have been all about discovery, but discovery has always been around the content of the actual restaurant or venue, and this gives people a totally different unrelated reason to just be there.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah. So, on that kind of note, do you think that other apps can just pop up and do this, or do you think it’s inherently tied to the success of Pokemon in the past? 

Pek Pongpaet: I think this is one of those 'flash in the pan' things. So this was revisioning another app, Ingress, how in the fact that Ingress didn’t blow up the way this Pokemon GO app tells you, well Pokemon has over a 10 year history of gaming and content and people who grew up with Pokemon has a history of Pokemon, they know the history, they know the monsters, they know what to do, so I don’t know if you could repeat that with a new unknown thing. I think this was a good exercise in merging what a good mechanic with a very popular brand. In the same way that the Kim Kardashian game, for example, was very very popular, I mean that was a reskin of a very popular game genre where there’s like a store you go in, and you tap a lot, you collect stuff, and you do missions, and you do these activities, and this was paired with great marketing. 

Nicholas Tenhue: Right. Ingress was more of a cult phenomenon; there was a lot of hardcore Ingress players that were building up these armies of people to take over towns, and things like that. So I'm pretty sure that we will see that, if not more intense with Pokemon.

Pek Pongpaet: I think we’re see a lot of attempts, for sure, like hey it worked for Pokemon, let’s see if it will work for this, and some of them may even gain decent popularity, but I don’t know what, I can see for example like Disney, with it’s popularity and strong brand or perhaps Angry Birds or something attempting this, but other smaller startups trying to twist off this it might be tough to replicate its’ success.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah. Maybe it is time for Angry Birds to make a comeback. They’ve fallen out of the limelight a little bit. 

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah.

Nicholas Tenhue: Okay. So, what else do we think that we have in terms of User Experience in e-commerce? Are there any final parting words that you would like to say for all of those aspiring designers out there? What are your top tips?

Pek Pongpaet: For tips, I would offer, just be very inquisitive, be very open minded, and one way to practice at it is downloading a lot of apps. If your job is to make a successful mobile e-commerce application for a company, it would be cool for you to download a bunch of e-commerce apps, from women’s shopping, to gadget shopping, to your eBay, to your crowdfunding, and just really dissect those, and games as well, games, look at Clash of Clans, I think they made like 2 Billion Dollars last year, so they’re doing something right.

Nicholas Tenhue: They must be with that.

Pek Pongpaet: Right. So, take a look at that, and dissect that, and see what you can borrow, and go for it in terms of ideas.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah. It’s something that is ignored, or not talked about as much in User Experience as I think it should be is that, there’s so much second-hand research, and second-hand secondary sources that you can go and look at to start your journey before you start talking to users. It’s obviously when's the last time you talked to a user, is a great question to ask in any UX job interview, and then if it’s been longer than a month, that’s probably a bad sign. The Importance of secondary sources is huge.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah.

Nicholas Tenhue: Those people have done their research before to be in that position, so learn from the best.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah. And the internet, and Twitter, and social media makes it so accessible. If you’re trying to do a mobile commerce app, you can easily look at LinkedIn, and see who you’re connected to. For example, I express as a clothing brand, and I am connected to the folks who worked on that, so if I were doing mobile commerce, one of the first things I would do is probably catch up with him, and “Hey, let’s talk for an hour”, or something, and I would love to learn what you have learned, whatever they could share, so not just talking to users is great, but people who have done it before, why make the same mistakes, why make mistakes on your dime, just take knowledge from other people, and see what’s worked for them, and see how it can apply to you.

Nicholas Tenhue: Right. Start building that network, and also realize that they might come back to you, and ask for a favor, and it goes around, and everybody helps each other, and we learn from each other, and that’s kind of how the world works.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah, it is. It is.

Nicholas Tenhue: Alright. So, I think I've learned a lot from both you and Pokemon GO, so when I have my hand on an mobile e-commerce app, I will be coming straight to you for my questions.

Pek Pongpaet: Oh, sure. Absolutely Will be happy to share what we know so far.

Nicholas Tenhue: And just before we end, I think I would like to ask the question that I ask all my guests, and that is “What does User Experience mean to you?”. What is your definition of User Experience?

Pek Pongpaet: My definition of User Experience tends to be pretty broad. I tend to look at many different types of users. For a lot of people, I think, when they’re designing an app or a product the users who use that product, are the users they’re designing for, and that’s the users they have in mind. So that’s one set of users. To me, the other set of users are the business, so we’re a service organization, our clients are our users, not the users of our clients, those are their users, but our direct users are our clients, so I also very consciously think about how I craft my user experience, the experience that our customers, when they hire us, that’s the user experience I also think about. Another experience I think about is my people, my team, they are my users too, they use our company in a sense, so I think about the experience they have at our company when I hire people. What is the perspective from an outside person looking into our company, what is the experience that they have, so it’s quite broad for me because I try to look at different perspectives, when an engineer interfaces with our designers, an external engineer, that’s a user experience right there, so how do we make that user experience as smooth and as seamless as possible, one example is we do design and sketch, the design tool, we will put the prototype in Envisioned, and clients can leave comments on that, and then once it gets past a certain point of approver, we have to provide specs, and prove all the assets to an engineer, so one user experience is this back and forth export of assets, and it’s a lot of emails, a lot of links and zip folders being shared. One way we improve that user experience between designer and engineer is this new tool called Zeppelin, if you’ve never heard of it, as a designer, this is great. It’s a tool to use to create specs for engineers.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah. I love Zeppelin. It’s an amazing tool. I don’t work for them, honest.

Pek Pongpaet: Yeah. I know, I don’t work for them either, but I constantly pay for them now, but that has made the user experience between our designers, both internal and external engineers much better. They can leave comments, like oh you missed this one icon, whatever, hey what’s that font, oh it’s right there. That User Experience is so smooth now because of that one tool.

Nicholas Tenhue: Yeah. I think a lot of people say, what is customer experience? What is user experience? Whether you’re a client facing business, or whether you’re a product business trying to gain more customers. It’s all one in the same at the end of the day, and I think it all comes down to just being able to empathize, and understand, and optimize, and make things better, for whoever the user may be in the situation.

Pek Pongpaet: Yep. Exactly. 

Nicholas Tenhue: Alright, well. Thank you very much for being an amazing guest, and giving some great insight into the world of Pokemon GO, and into the world of mobile e-commerce, so if you would like to give any parting words of advice?

Pek Pongpaet: Sure. I think the best advice just for myself, and other people is to never stop learning. Don’t pigeonhole yourself. You may think, okay I am a user experience designer, so marketing is kind of not my thing or engineering. The more well-rounded you become, the better the User Experience designer you will become, because you just have that empathy, have that perspective, the more you can relate to that person. Because, User Experience does touch on everything, having great product, wireframes is only one aspect of User Experience, because if the technology doesn’t work behind the scenes, if the marketing doesn’t work on the front-end, you’re not converting, that’s not a great User Experience for the business. Ultimately the business will suffer, and then the customers won’t have a great User Experience, so the more well-rounded you can become, I think the better, and then never stop learning.

Nicholas Tenhue: That is great words. I think that is saying, Nick, go and become a renaissance man.

Pek Pongpaet: It’s very tough. A renaissance man is a good way to put it.

Nicholas Tenhue: Alright, great. So thanks a lot, and we look forward to any updates from you Pek.

Pek Pongpaet: Thank you, Nicholas.