Usabilla Lab: Behind the Scenes
We recently published a post in honor of our monthly Hack Day’s first birthday. In the spirit of celebrating its first full year of existence, alongside the evolving diversity each event brings, we decided to give it a rebrand. And, as a result, ULab was born.
Usabilla Designer and founder of ULab, Marco Ferraz, explains:
“The idea behind the name change was to create a more inclusive environment that appeals to all people, regardless of technical skill. We also wanted to give it more of an experimental vibe, creating less expectation… We’re not there to build the next big thing, but the fact that we are open to trying it makes it more likely that we’ll get there.”
On the last Friday in February, as the office routinely turned into its ULab hub of creativity, our Social Media Strategist, Neal, decided to quiz individual teams as they dove into willing their ideas to come to life.
So, what goes down in the ULab? Let’s take a peek behind-the-scenes.
“Post-its are awesome, but it’s such a pain to make sure the tasks are also consistent in JIRA, which is our task management system. So, we’re experimenting with Google Vision API to see if there’s a way to automate this process. The Google Vision API is pretty amazing; it allows you to do a variety of things with images and it has optical character recognition capabilities. This is where it gets really fun. We’re going to create a process where we can write our tasks on a post-it note, and upload a picture of the post-it to a Slack channel. A bot calls the Google Vision API to analyze the text, then calling the JIRA API to automatically create a ticket in the system!
There are lots of other cool things we could potentially do with this too. For example, depending on the color of the post-it, we could assign it to a specific team or project. The possibilities are endless!”
Make Insights Great Again!
“We’re experimenting to see if we can make the Usabilla Insights better for our teams in other regions! Every month we have the Insights, which is where the entire company comes together and different teams share what they’ve been up to. Since we now have teams worldwide, we want to make sure the experience is great for them too. By trying out different technologies, we hope to make the audio and visuals better for everyone, essentially making it feel like we’re all together in the same room.”
“As a company, we really love pool. So for ULab, we thought, let’s make our pool tournaments a little more fun and user-friendly, especially the process of compiling scores from all the games. We already have a bot infrastructure for Slack, so we’ve decided to build a bot plugin that will respond to pool messages and compile the information.
A bot would make the pool tournament process so much fun. However, there is definitely a lot of room to go beyond that. We’re thinking we could create a specific plugin that could be used for any other tournament. Maybe even add predictions and analytics such as algorithms that could predict how a player will do based on past experiences!”
Any Excuse for Pi(e)
“What we love about ULab is that it’s a great day to unwind and get creative. It’s just pure experimentation, without any expectations. Having this day where we’re able to work together on random projects gets everyone excited and motivated. It’s a great team bonding activity as well. For our ULab project right now we’re messing around with a Raspberry Pi, and our team has 4 people from 3 different departments!”
We’ll be sharing more from ULab across social media and our blog, starting with this Instagram series. Our main goal remains to turn the event into an even more inclusive environment, where sharing and learning from each other is key. We also want to improve by better facilitating the participation of our both our clients and satellite offices – which, this year, will continue to pop up across the globe!