Google Meet Gets the Redesign We’ve Been Waiting For
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The beauty of using a SaaS app is that you never know, when you close the app in the evening, how this app will surprise you the next morning.
Our latest weekly meeting at Eleken started in a shiny new Google Meet interface that has instantly refined the agenda from discussing tasks to discussing new bars and buttons.
It has been a year since we all shifted to online communication and video meetings, and now everyone has a story of a quarantine conference that went hilariously wrong. Just for the record — one out of 10 has now seen a colleague partially or fully naked thanks to the new ways of working.
Looks like Google Meet feels in some way responsible for our ragged peace of mind, poisoned by the year of remote work. Because their redesign is a response to the most common complaints coming from home offices.
"Hey, sorry, I'm back. I meant to unmute myself"
We don’t know who told Google that it was a good idea to put a hang-up button just in between the audio and video mute buttons (and make all three look exactly the same). I'm guessing it was a double agent for Zoom because there were no other interface features more annoying.
Now let’s appreciate the updated bottom bar wherein you won't accidentally hang up when trying to unmute yourself!
The end call button became bright red and moved on the right, away from the camera and mic buttons. I’ve found a few people on Twitter saying new buttons are anxiously small and close to each other, but overall this change was met with applause.
Also, you don’t have to move your eyes back and forth between the upper and lower bars anymore. All the controls are now being moved to the bar at the bottom of the screen.
The interface structure has improved. The elements are grouped by purpose. In the center are actions that relate to the call; on the right side are general and additional settings. All the content has become more holistic, even colors work better now — a dark interface helps to focus on the meeting making tiles stand out.
Maksym, UI/UX designer at Eleken
“Sorry, it’s the garbage truck driving by”
What usually ruins the working climate of remote meetings is surprisingly unorthodox background activities.
For a long time already, Zoom has had a bunch of features to camouflage your cluttered/embarrassing/illegal background noises and images. Google Meet now extends the range of its cloaking technologies to compete with Zoom on an equal footing.
The app now adjusts the light automatically, so that participants can see a bright picture of you even if you’re speaking from a dark cave.
Another promising feature is AI-powered autozoom, which is going to position you squarely in front of your camera even if you’re dropping out of frame.
Love it. Now when it’s your third meeting today and you slide down the chair
being curled like a shrimp, Google camera will slide down with you.
Daria, UI/UX designer at Eleken
Video background replacement — I haven’t seen them yet in my updated version, but in its press release, Google promised us an opportunity to turn our messy room into a natural-looking classroom, a party, or a forest.
“Let me know when you can see my screen”
With the new Google Meet, you can finally see what you're presenting, so you know if they can see your screen without asking. The new feature also helps to avoid that awkward moment when all the team is waiting for somebody forgetful to stop screen sharing when the presentation is over.
Another helpful change in a screen sharing mode is that you can unpin your presentation to view it as a tile in the grid or a floating picture. You still can’t interact with content in the meeting window, but the ability to view the participants in addition to your own screen sounds promising.
It's cool that you can share your screen with any collaborative tool being opened to work together and still see the faces of colleagues — feels almost like working side by side in a good old office.
Daria, UI/UX designer at Eleken
"Do we have everyone here?"
Now it is more convenient to control what you see during the call.
No need to guess who just joined — the re-designed participant tiles help to see everyone, up to 49 people, if you zoom out in your browser.
The updated app also gives you more control over self-view. If you prefer not to see yourself, you can minimize or even hide your own tile. Looks like this feature has a lot of fans.
In Zoom, you can hide your self-view, and I always do it. Your own face distracts attention from what people tell you. So I love that Google added a similar option.
Daria, UI/UX designer at Eleken
So what can we say about the Google Meet’s refresh?
Jen Aprahamian, Product Manager at Twitch, summarises the popular sentiment: well done, Google. We at Eleken agree with her.
Google updated its conferencing service to keep it competitive with services like Zoom, and refreshed its UI, giving it a neat look. Looks like everything worked out, but we all need to use it just a bit longer to see if there are any drawbacks.
Nice to have a free tool for calls that is no worse than its paid analogs. Actually, Google Meet won't be a free tool for very long now, but that's a story for another day. Now, let’s get back to work.
And if Google’s redesign inspired you to update your own app, remember that you can discuss your ideas with one little design agency that is very good at this sort of thing.
7 Useful Tools to Help with Your UX Audit
Did you decide to conduct the UX audit? Congratulations! You’re really serious about your business. Many SaaS entrepreneurs realize the importance of a seamless user experience for business growth. However, significant time and money spent make most of them keep this thought laying on the shelf.
I wouldn’t say that the UX audit, if being appropriately done, is a no-brainer. The good news is there are a few online UX testing tools you can use during your audit and benefit from them. In this article, we’ve prepared a list of UX tracking and analytics tools that proved to be helpful and insightful.
1. Google Analytics
Using Google Analytics for the UX audit may seem a bit of an unexpected solution. This tool typically comes to mind when we’re talking about market research and the digital marketing area. Yet Google Analytics can efficiently serve as a UX analytics tool, providing you with valuable insights regarding your website visitors, which you can utilize for user experience improvement.
Conversion is the most important indicator of website performance, and it’s not a secret that a great user experience has the power to make people take expected actions - leave their contact data, subscribe for a newsletter, or purchase. Based on various metrics, you will be able to better understand your audience’s behavior from the first minute they land on your website. For example, Google Analytics data will tell you where your potential customers come from and how long they usually stay on your landing page.
Behavior reports help you answer the questions:
- How many unique visitors visited your website?
- What were those CTAs customers reacted to?
- Which page performed the best in terms of customer engagement?
Data like demographics, interests, locations, languages, and devices let you adjust your user flow, CTAs, and overall UI. Our designers know that even the smallest detail in a page design can be a turning point leading either to checkout or to leaving a site.
By understanding users’ behavior, you can enhance a customer journey and ultimately lead more people to conversion.
As for mobile devices, Google offers mobile app analytics for Firebase that provides insights on mobile application use and customer engagement, being a good tool for UX audit.
Unlike Google Analytics that tracks website visitors and is great to have a general understanding of traffic, Mixpanel is focused on actions users take on your webpage. This tool helps receive answers to questions like “how many users pushed the CTA button from the pricing page,” for example. The results may hit designers upon an idea of what needs to be changed in UX to improve conversion.
However, Mixpanel insights may be too one-sided, being based mostly on UX researchers’ assumptions. Thus, it would be more effective to compare Mixpanel with other analytical tools data to reach unbiased conclusions.
Kissmetrics is one of the most expensive web analytics tools, but it is definitely worth every penny. The tool offers robust analytics and customer behavior reports that help UX designers better understand customers and improve user experience.
The Kissmetrics functionality allows to:
- Find out what features customers use the most
- See key business metrics (churn rate, MRR, subscriptions, new trial starts)
- Identify the most viewed webpages
- Track the best customers and cohorts behavior
- Discover weak points in the onboarding funnel
Being not as detailed as Mixpanel but undoubtedly more profound than Google Analytics, Kissmetrics provides an effective mix of raw and interpreted data. Just press the “Analyze customers behavior” button and get insights helpful for your design audit.
If you want to understand what people are doing on your website and what elements and information attract them the most, you can have a sneaky peek at their behavior. Nothing illegal, just a smart digital tool! Hotjar creates interactive heat maps of users’ clicks, scrolls, and moves to give you an idea of how users interact with your website.
Hotjar’s line-up consists of four products: heat maps, session recordings, surveys, and real-time feedback pools. However, heat maps are the product Hotjar is mainly associated with. The “heat” is a color scale highlighting the most popular “hot” webpage areas with red color and the least interacted or “cold” - with blue color.
Click maps show which CTAs users click the most. Also, you can find out that some non-CTA UI elements attract more attention and draw users away from taking expected actions. Being aware of these nuances, you’d probably decide to rearrange important buttons to improve user experience and increase conversion.
Scroll maps show how deep to the bottom of the page your website visitors usually go. If users don’t scroll down, it means they can miss some information you want them to know.
Move maps track mouse movements without clicking or scrolling. It can tell us what information a user finds interesting to check on your webpage.
Hotjar has a decent competitor with even more robust functionality to facilitate the UX audit.
5. Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg offers five reports analyzing users’ behavior from different sides. There are no chances something will remain hidden after Crazy Egg’s behavioral analysis.
Heatmap report highlights with different colors the most and least popular areas of your webpage. You can track whether the area where you place your CTA button falls into users’ attention.
Scrollmap report shows how far to the page bottom your website visitors go. If you think about putting your important CTA button somewhere close to a footer, you’d probably change your mind looking at the report’s results.
A lovely Confetti report displays each user’s clicks instead of a total number of clicks. You can create 22 customer profiles to have deeper insights into how each customer segment is performing.
Overlay report filters clicks by various criteria like new and returning visitors, device type, UTM campaign.
List report shows you the percentage of users who clicked on each clickable element on the webpage.
With the help of CrazyEgg UX testing, you can get a comprehensive picture of users’ interaction with your website and think about customer journey enhancement.
“UXCam is the market leader in app experience analytics, empowering mobile teams with fast, contextual, and high-fidelity insights,” - states UXCam on the official website, and we have nothing to object to. This tool does have excellent capabilities for app analytics. Session recordings, heat maps, crash logs, and even integration with Firebase, a Google platform for creating mobile and web applications, makes UXCam a great addition to your UX audit toolkit.
Here is what UXCam can help you with:
- Record, analyze, and share sessions and events to identify if there are any users’ behavior patterns
- Track screen flow to overview how users interact with your app and what frictions they have
- Create heat maps to find out whether users encounter complication while using an app
- Log app crashes and UI bugs to communicate the issues to the product team to make necessary adjustments for the next app releases
The last tool in our list seems to be the greatest one as not figures, but real people tell you the truth.
UserTesting is not a conventional review site. It’s a platform where you can get prompt customer feedback on websites, mobile apps, and prototypes user experience.
You receive audio and video messages from your target audience once they will test your product and accomplish another task you assigned to them. Also, it’s possible to schedule live conversations, put questions, and get insightful answers with the help of which you can:
- Сheck market feedback on your design decisions before the product development stage
- Detect the bottleneck in user experience that causes frictions when using your product
- Make clear your customers’ needs
Small startups and large enterprises like Facebook and Grammarly are among UserTesting clients, so you can be sure it’s worth trying this tool for your UX audit.
A final word
UX audit can be a complex and time-consuming process, but with the right tools, it will reinforce the manual job your team or a third-party consultant does. However, it’s crucial to choose the tool that will serve the best to your project and accomplish the correct interpretation of findings.
We at Eleken have profound experience in doing UX audits for our clients working with various tools. Drop us a line if you ever need our assistance. Also, learn how to conduct a UX audit in our next article.
What Does a Head of Product Actually Do? A Week in the Life of Head of Product
Heads of Product. They are in the epicenter of digital product leadership, but they are also the most mysterious members of product teams. They are omnipresent. They are omniscient. They are omnipotent.
*David Attenborough Voice*
Heads of Product are difficult to see in their natural habitat because of their constant busyness and non-public nature, but today you have a rare chance to observe this professional during her work.
We at Eleken UI/UX agency were lucky enough to talk with Tanya, a Head of Product from an AI-powered video meetings app called Whoosh. The company has recently become Eleken’s client, so we took the opportunity to walk our readers through Tanya’s weekly routine.
During our conversation with Tanya, we identified four main categories of tasks a Head of Product is responsible for:
- Project management tasks
- Strategic tasks
- Product tasks
- Operational tasks
Below, we will take a closer look at each category and block the time that Tanya spends on her tasks in Google Calendar. By the end of the article, you’ll have a visual understanding of what the Head of Product’s responsibilities are and how much effort they take.
Project management tasks
Since a Head of Product is a leadership role, Tanya is often busy with setting tasks for her colleagues and tracking their results. In turn, she reports back to C-level executives — CEO and Chief Product Officer (CPO). Tanya keeps project management activities on track thanks to regular daily and weekly meetings.
Our Head of Product has three short daily meetings that go one after another in the morning.
- 9:30 — a daily call with a Business Analyst (BA) and Chief Product Officer (CPO).
- 10:00 — a daily stand-up with two development streams.
- 10:15 — a daily stand-up with two other development streams.
Weekly meetings with product team managers
Two Product Managers that are responsible for two development streams each work under Tanya’s direct supervision. Twice a week, Tanya has half-hour meetings with each Product Manager.
- 11:00, 11:30, Monday — setting weekly tasks for Product Managers.
- 11:00, 11:30, Thursday — PM’s weekly progress reports.
The Head of Product also has weekly meetings with product department leads:
- 14:00, Monday — weekly meeting with Art-lead to discuss art content tasks.
- 15:00, Tuesday — weekly meeting with marketing & sales departments.
- 17:30, Friday — delivery meeting with a Delivery manager and Tech Lead to discuss the team’s productivity and velocity.
C-Suite weekly meetings
Twice a week, our Head of Product has meetings with her manager, Chief Product Officer.
- 13:00, Tuesday — Head of Product discusses with CPO her own tasks for a week. For instance, last week Tanya had to do research on Saas benchmarks on Unit economics. Before that, she examined a psychological problems of Zoom fatigue.
- 13:00, Friday — based on the information the Head of Product got during the meetings with PMs, BA, Art and Design departments, she prepares a weekly report on the product team progress and issues to be solved.
On Fridays, there is a short meeting where PMs and Head of Product present their results, successes and failures:
- 15:00, Friday — Growth meeting with CPO.
Once per month, the Head of Product writes a Management Discussion and Analysis report (MD&A). It includes:
- A summary on product development: what has been done during the month from the technical side, in terms of CusDev, growth hacking, A/B testing, and others.
- Product metrics summary: how the KPIs changed when compared to the previous month.
- Competitor analysis on web and mobile. Via tools like Sensor Tower and Semrush Tanya checks how much the number of users is up or down in competitors’ apps.
- Video conferencing news.
A monthly report is a lengthy document that takes around three days to write if you assign two hours per day to this task. We won’t block this time in the calendar because the week we are modeling opens a new month (and because we need some space for the following tasks).
When regular meetings are over, the Head of Product gets a chance to tackle her own cognitively demanding product tasks. To win some time for concentrated deep work, Tanya has declared Wednesday a no-meetings day.
She disconnects from operational tasks, turns off notifications and avoids communication with colleagues until a report or research is done. When Tanya is back after an hour or two, she receives a million messages, but such is the price of concentration.
As we have mentioned before, Tanya has recently researched a problem of Zoom fatigue. Let’s take this case as an example.
At first, the Head of Product explored the issue in terms of psychology — why virtual platforms lead to tiredness and burnout, and how to avoid this. Tanya bundled all the information in one document and turned her insights into actionable recommendations for a product team about what they can do to solve the Zoom fatigue trouble in the Whoosh app.
All the work took Tanya about two weeks.
Competitor analysis & testing
One part of feature planning is competitor analysis that takes several hours to complete.
For instance, the Whoosh product team has recently worked on integrating private & group chats into video conferencing. Before they started, Tanya analyzed how this feature is implemented by around 15 of competitors, made screenshots, put them in Figma pointing out good and poor choices. Then she concluded how the feature should be realized in Whoosh.
Several times a month, Tanya has a call dedicated to competitor testing. She meets with a QA team to see some competitor features in action. They record the testing so that it can be analyzed further.
Obviously, the bulk of the Head of Product’s tasks falls into the category of product design and development. Let’s get started with a roadmap.
At the end of each month, it takes Tanya a couple of days to check what has been done, schedule and prioritize features. If anything of the plan is pending, it moves to the next month. Tanya presents the updated roadmap during the C-level meeting with the Tech Lead, Delivery Manager, СТО, СРО, and CEO.
Sprint planning & grooming
Whoosh tech team works in two-week sprints that need to be planned and tracked. That’s why the team meets biweekly to discuss what they are going to do during the upcoming sprint.
- 16:00, Wednesday — sprint planning call for the tech team.
A sprint planning session demands from the Head of Product significant preparation. So, earlier this day Tanya takes a time span to think of the list of tasks to be done during the sprint, determine the release version and assign tasks to team members. To decide on this, you need to check everyone’s workload…
You got it, planning before sprint planning requires a few hours of concentration during a no-meeting Wednesday.
- 12:30, Wednesday — Head of Product’s planning before the sprint planning call.
Another biweekly sprint activity is retrospective (“retro” for short). Before this meeting, all team members fill in an anonymous table where they indicate pros and cons of the previous sprint. On the call, the Head of Product with the tech team resolves arising problems and discusses positive moments.
- 15:00, Wednesday — sprint retro call.
In the middle of the sprints, the Whoosh tech team has meetings called to keep tasks clear, organized and ready to be worked on. That’s called feature grooming.
A grooming meeting brings together only a narrow circle of people who work on a particular feature. For instance, a recent call dedicated to a Google Calendar integration was attended by a backend developer, Flutter developer, Tech Lead and Head of Product. They looked at the task description, added necessary subtasks and requested UI/UX design refinements in cases something was missing.
- 14:30, Thursday — feature grooming call.
A logical continuation of feature grooming is a feature demo. It’s a meeting where a team that works on a big feature shows the rest of the team intermediate results.
- 17:00, Wednesday — feature demo call.
Design planning & grooming
Just like a tech team, product designers also require some task planning and prioritization that happens during a dedicated one-hour call. Before the call, Tanya takes some time to think of the tasks she needs to assign to each design team member for the next week.
- 14:00, Thursday — planning before design planning
- 15:30, Thursday — design planning call itself
On Wednesdays, the Head of Product has design grooming sessions. It’s a meeting with a design team where they have an opportunity to show how their work is going, ask questions and share the results. After, the results get verified on weekly usability testing sessions.
- 15:00, Tuesday — design grooming.
- 17:00, Tuesday — UX user testing + CustDev research.
Besides product tasks that move the company forward and happen according to a roadmap, there are also operational tasks.
Operational tasks planning
Operational tasks are the issues that occur without warning and drag the product back until they are fixed. Such issues appear all the time, and the Head of Product needs to devote about an hour per day to plan some specific steps to the solution, create tasks and assign people.
For instance, operational planning sometimes happens along with daily calls. This way, Tanya starts solving problems as soon as they are discovered.
Random calls are unscheduled short hurdles in Slack, needed to clarify a confusing point. Tanya has a huge team of around 30 people, so she has from three to six clarifying calls per day. Sometimes there are even more requests than she can handle.
For instance, on the day when we talked to Tanya, she already had three calls:
- A clarifying call with a designer;
- A quick call with a developer to discuss his A/B testing question;
- A quick call with a QA who also had a question on testing.
Let's call it a week
Now, when you are overwhelmed after just reading the list of tasks that Tatiana performs for the week, she wishes everyone a great weekend and closes her laptop. She needs a good rest because in two days she’ll be back to serving the customers' problems, building a great product to ease their lives and dealing with operational chaos.
It took Tanya four years to come from non-technical education and no product experience to a Head of Product leading a team of 30 people. In our upcoming interview, you will be able to read more about Tanya’s career path and Head of Product’s tips & tricks. So stay tuned!