Here's the thing - Bolt | Peters was acquired by Facebook. This site will live on.

*EXCLUSIVE* Apple to debut Mac Shuffle at MacWorld

Jan 14th, 2008 No comments yet

Apple is going to release an ultra-portable tomorrow at MacWorld without a doubt, and I think it will be a Mac Shuffle that lets you do random computing functions every time you press the space bar. Like email all your friends or create a photo album. You can just leave it on random and not even have to worry about what computing function will be next. Genius.

Remote Tasting, or: We Brought Mike to Lunch

Dec 17th, 2007 No comments yet

We wanted a way to include our B|P homie Mike in our holiday lunch, but he works from London now, and flying him out just for lunch seemed a tad much. So instead, we decided to bring him with us remotely. All we needed was one laptop with a big-ass battery, one EVDO revA card, two skype accounts w/ the new MPEG4 video codec, one booster to place at his chair so the laptop would be at table level, and one friendly waitress at the Slow Club, in San Francisco.

HOW-TO Use UserVue Internationally

Nov 29th, 2007 1 comment

At the clubs, people are always asking the same thing: “I love UserVue for remote user research, but I hate that I can’t use it internationally!” For those unhappy party people, here is a guide to dialing internationally with UserVue.

When Live Really Means Live

Sep 25th, 2007 No comments yet

A couple weeks ago, we were doing research onsite at a client’s office. We had an audience of about 10 and we were live recruiting. It was a high traffic site and we were catching most users within 5 minutes. The interviews were good, but since the focus was on form filling and error message handling, we decided nothing could replace seeing users encounter the pages for the very first time.

B|P Goes to London

Sep 13th, 2007 No comments yet

Hello, chaps! I’m writing this from the future… ooooooo! Well, not really – but I have moved across the globe to London. Cool your jets, I’m still working for Bolt | Peters as your friendly Captain Ethnio. We figured, if we want to brag about how remote our methodologies are, we might as well walk the walk. So here I am – drop me a line if you’re in the neighborhood. Cheerio!

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

Sep 12th, 2007 No comments yet

A month since our last post…you might imagine a bunch of researchers lounging on a beach in an obscure archipelago, unreachable even by IM.

Users Suck

Aug 9th, 2007 No comments yet

I’m not sure if Todd Wilken’s blog post on Why usability is a path to failure at the adaptive path blog was just venting, or maybe even going for the “99% Something Inflammatory” blog topic methodology, but I took Todd to mean what he said, and I kind of dug it. Here’s why. For years I’ve been noticing that products with a lot of soul or strong vision don’t seem to need usability at all. Big Steve’s stuff of course, and even MySpace before it became dead to me and I deleted my account, seemed to rise above the need for any usability in the traditional sense. But products without a lot of soul, or a vision that’s naturally diluted by large numbers of stakeholders, seem to need usability hella bad. So in honor of products and services that are lucky enough to fall into the first camp, I’ve made this t shirt for Todd that you can order from Zazzle and the rest of us to wear to our next design research meeting for a product. For some unkown reason, the inspiration for this t shirt came from Jeff Veen’s awesome bet combined with that recent Entourage episode.

Peering into the Users’ Technological Ecosystem

Aug 6th, 2007 1 comment

Of course by now everyone knows what we mean by “Live Recruits” – they’re usability recruits that we snag when they’re in the midst of visiting the website we’re testing. It’s most often done through mini-surveys on a DHTML overlay (not a popup!). If someone fills out our survey and they’re a match for our target quotas, they’re contacted and interviewed immediately. There’s no scheduling participants and no lag time between the time when a participant is on a site and when they’re interviewed. We talk to them about the tasks they were already doing: no make believe required. It’s the closest way we’ve figured out to observing users interact with a design in their real life circumstances, without artificial barriers of the lab.

Product Detail is King

Aug 6th, 2007 1 comment

Just this week, we’ll be presenting the same usability finding that has come out of three separate studies. We’ve been calling the finding “Product Detail is King.”

Crown!It may sound obvious, but when users are looking at products online — whether it’s software, healthcare, or crockpots – detailed information about the products is of utmost importance. And a user’s success in finding that fine level of detail can truly make or break whether they have a positive experience on the site.

Upside-Down Architecture

Jun 26th, 2007 No comments yet

UPA Remote Usability Sessions

Jun 22nd, 2007 No comments yet

Most folks we talked to at the UPA conference this year in Colorado had conducted remote moderated testing using some combination of web conferencing tools and Morae. There were a couple sessions on remote usability tools, and they focused primarily on web apps like WebEx, Breeze, GoToMeeting, etc. One speaker, Mike, did mention that tools like ethnio moving forward will be the way to go since they are made for usability profesionals, which is cool.

UPA, Y’all

Jun 14th, 2007 No comments yet

I’m in Austin, Texas attending the UPA (Usability Professionals Association) conference. Last night there was a “Birds of a Feather” group for folks interested in remote usability testing. The discussion was moderator by Aaron Marcus and about 30-40 people showed up. It was great to hear how excited and passionate this small group was about these fairly bleeding-edge methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative.

Bolt | Peters Goes Back to College!

Jun 1st, 2007 No comments yet

Last week, Nate and I had the honor to speak with a bunch of Cognitive Science students down at our alma mater, UCSD. Almost every year we send Nate and others down to talk to a Cognitive Engineering class about how much our HCI degrees mean to us in our professional lives (shocker: it’s a lot). It’s always a lot of fun and we get to meet a bunch of great people and chat it up with our mentors Dr. Jim Hollan and Dr. Ed Hutchins of the Distributed Cognition and Human Computer Interaction lab. We were joined this year by Kathy Seyama from Qualcomm‘s Usability Group, Ed Langstroth from the Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory, and Rod Ebrahimi from Do The Right Thing. Stay classy, San Diego.

The Booth that Gives Back!

May 8th, 2007 No comments yet

Stemming Mediocrity

Apr 28th, 2007 No comments yet

“Mediocre?” you may say, “But it works great and we love it…most of the time.” Well, as they say, there’s the rub. It can work, but it can also suck. Bugs abound, features break randomly or are absent altogether. Basically, Interweb gremlins feast on the fatty innards of the Ethnio beast. (Meaning: our system architecture is broken and we really, really want to re-build it.)

Working on More Free Trials

Apr 25th, 2007 No comments yet

We’re doing everything we can do to free up more trial spots for everyone who’s been requesting them. We’d rather your first experience with ethnio was successful then have you see a bunch of bugs, so bear with us as we work out the scalability of our tool. One surefire way to get your name to the top of the list is to email us your experience and desires for remote testing.

UXI Chicago

Apr 24th, 2007 No comments yet


This is Not a Dress Rehearsal

Apr 17th, 2007 No comments yet

In this business we like to say that the person with the freshest eyes has a perspective that is the least tainted. So as the new kid at Bolt | Peters, I thought I’d talk about my take on this whole remote usability thing.

No More Ethnio Trials or Demos … for Now.

Apr 10th, 2007 No comments yet

We’ve stopped issuing new Ethnio accounts for the next six months while we make the product amazing instead of promising but buggy. We’ve had an amazing amount of interest, and three million people have viewed Ethnio live recruiting screeners, but we’re not content with selling a product that’s mediocre. We want more. Mike and Nate want to build the best moderated research web app ever. So we’re taking time to fix bugs and incorporate new functionality. This army of two people has been focusing on support, sales, and maintenance instead of our ideals, and so we’re taking this break to give you a new Ethnio. Read the bloggy blog for updates on our progress, and as always, we’d love to hear from you.

A Very Funny Thing

Feb 24th, 2007 No comments yet

Achewood, an internet comic where independently wealthy cats write advice columns and robots lie, comments astutely on the usability profession:

New Team Members

Feb 24th, 2007 No comments yet

To support the growth of our research service business and the success of Ethnio, we have some new folks that have joined the team in the past couple of months. Cyd Harrell brings nine years of experience in UX to our team as our new Director of UX Research. Before joining the team, Cyd was a director at Charles Schwab for their representative facing financial service application. That’s RFFSA if you want to get technical.

Remote Dog Treats

Feb 24th, 2007 No comments yet

We are proud to announce that B|P will be leveraging its experience in remote research to expand into Remote Robotic Dog Treat Dispensers. Working with Lego, or actually, working with the toy robot kit we bought from Lego, Nate and Mike built this little robotic arm that receives IM’s with the word “treat” and then dispenses a small treat to the office dog.
YouTube Video
You’ll soon be able to IM the wild pooch a treat and watch it on our office webcam.  The venerable Make zine picked it up, and you can check out the video below! We know what you’re thinking, and no, it’s not clear to anyone at the office why we built this, either.
Watch the Video

Just a Little Help, Please

Feb 24th, 2007 No comments yet

It’s wild how many of our Ethnio customers have been asking for just a little bit of testing assistance for their remote research projects. So many of you are expert practitioners real physical world research, and just need a little assistance in conducting remote research. Whether it’s study design, training, moderating a couple users, helping combine moderated and automated remote methods, using MindCanvas or RelevantView, or just making sure your remote study goes smoothly, we’re down to help. B|P can ensure that the executive team watching your first remote study will denounce corporate social hierarchy and just give you a hug. Unless you don’t want a hug from your executive team, in which case we’ll make sure you get a nice email.
Hook me Up With a Quote

Ethnio Goes International

Feb 24th, 2007 No comments yet

B|P is excited to announce that international dialing and call recording is now included free-of-charge with all Ethnio licenses. But what is Ethnio anyway? It’s the world’s first remote usability web application that allows you to watch and record anyone using a computer in the world with the express purpose of making their computer easier to use. Now you can expand your user research to international users! No need to fly to Japan and France to conduct usability studies unless you’re craving sushi or croissants on the corporate dime. Also, some of the latest organizations that have started using Ethnio are Adobe, CareerBuilder, and HP. They’re off and running with both assisted studies, where our practitioners help with set-up, moderating, or live recruiting, and doing all the remote research on their own.
Take Me to Ethnio Town

Genentech Hearts B|P

Feb 24th, 2007 No comments yet

We completed a rapid remote usability study for Genentech recently for their internal time-reporting tool, and got them up and running with Ethnio. Rather than run off at the mouth about how much we helped them, we’ll just pass along their words: