A new interview, two new guest articles, and two new services

Thrill & Create was featured in guest posts for Theme Park University and Optimal Workshop. We are now offering usability improvements and homepage audits.

A new client (and interview): Theme Park University

At the IAAPA Attractions Expo in November, we were fortunate to meet the editor-in-chief of one of our favorite blogs in the themed entertainment industry: Josh Young of Theme Park University.

Over the past several years, Josh has interviewed many insiders in the amusement industry and provided great insight into Disney and Universal parks, haunted attractions, immersive theater, escape rooms, and other attractions. Josh became one of our clients earlier this year. And in April, our work for him went live!

We worked with Josh to make the Theme Park University website easier to use, using two techniques that are foundational to user research: first impression studies to provide valuable feedback from users as to why they might leave his site without reading his content and a card sorting exercise where his readers told us where they might expect to find many of the site’s most popular articles. There is more about that project in our portfolio and on Behance.

Josh interviewed me soon after the changes went live. Among other topics, we discussed the following:

    • Now that most amusement parks and attractions have reliable websites and active social media channels, what’s next in digital marketing?
    • How can smaller and mid-sized attractions get the results of a UX team without hiring an entire UX team?
    • Why shouldn’t an attraction just buy a website or app template?
    • What are the trade-offs between an attraction working with a local designer versus with a designer who specializes in their industry?
    • Do interactive rides have to be shooting dark rides?
    • How can amusement parks and attractions have apps that get used regularly – if they need an app?
    • What are the motivations behind a program like Disney’s MyMagic+, from a user perspective?
    • Could we see programs like MyMagic+ in other national or global destination parks in the future? How about at regional parks?

Read the full interview here!

Guest columns for Optimal Workshop

We also have two new guest articles for Optimal Workshop, a UX design tools company based in New Zealand, who makes the OptimalSort tool that we have now used for several of our clients.

The first guest article discusses World Information Architecture Day, or World IA Day. This global UX conference happened in 38 cities around the world in February 2015. Attending it remotely due to local weather conditions, I watched sessions from 6 cities live and wrote this post about what I learned.

The second guest article discusses the current state of user-centered design in the amusement industry. Here are some of the questions that it answers:

    • Which companies are working on improving guest experience in amusement park, attraction, and exhibit design?
    • How are amusement parks and attractions currently designing their websites and apps?
    • What are some of the wins that user-centered design is giving clients in the amusement industry?
    • Which factors in the amusement business have implications on the in-park guest experience and the digital user experience?
    • How can attractions improve their online user experience?
    • How can UX designers who work as a “team of one” be more effective in providing the most value they can to their clients and users?

You can find that full article here.

New services

In response to the Theme Park University project, we are now offering two new services: usability improvements and homepage / landing page audits.

Usability improvements

Before, we were only offering new designs, redesigns, and evaluations (or audits) of existing websites, apps, and software.

But many organizations in the amusement industry are relatively small companies. Or, they just don’t see a reason to hire two separate teams for telling them what to fix in their product and then actually fixing it.

We are now going to give you the option to have us do usability improvements ourselves.

Because each usability improvements project differs according to the changes that we recommend, we are now offering free, custom quotes for these. This also means that we now have a more user-friendly form for requesting a quote instead of presenting you with a full table of prices. You can find that form here.

Homepage / landing page audits

Lastly, we are also now offering homepage audits. This is somewhere between a usability test that you can get from a company like UserTesting.com, TryMyUI, or Userlytics, and a larger-scale usability evaluation from us.

What’s different between one of our new homepage audits and a usability test from a tester?

    • We have formal training in usability and user experience and experience in front-end web and full-stack software development. Usability testing websites now generally advertise themselves as low-cost services where the testers are not usability experts.
    • We know what our field’s biggest names (like Jakob Nielsen, Steve Krug, and Alan Cooper) would recommend. We are very well-read in literature pertaining to usability, user experience, design, business, marketing, and other topics – and continually improving in each. Everything we tweet about on @ThrillAndCreate and @DavidParmeleeUX is something we have read in detail.
    • You get your choice of formats for the evaluation: video screencast, Skype chat, or phone call.
    • If the format allows, the evaluation can be a two-way conversation that helps determine your digital strategy. You can ask us for clarifications in the middle of the video. You’re not limited to a video that you can only watch.
    • You get more of our time: 1 hour versus 15-20 minutes.
    • You can get us to look at your competitors’ homepages too and find out what we think your competitors are doing well, versus what we think they can improve.
    • If you’re in the amusement or attractions industry, the person evaluating your site has already analyzed thousands of websites in the industry in detail and has deep familiarity of what these sites have to offer. (We’re willing to work on almost any digital product, even in other industries.)

Prices for homepage audits currently start at U.S. $100 per product. Larger-scale usability evaluations start at U.S. $525 per product, and usability improvement projects are custom-quoted. Up-to-date pricing is always available on our Pricing page.

Interested? Leave a comment, send us an email at info@amusementUX.com, or inquire here!