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Blog Directory ID: 28120 Get VIP Status?
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Blog Description:

The latest content in user experience design, research, and strategy. Articles on the latest trends, valuable resources, and career advice for the UX community. Weekly podcast episodes hosted by Nicholas Tenhue with digital design professionals and respected thought leaders in the field of User Experience as guests.
Blog Added: June 26, 2016 10:34:42 AM
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How to Run a Successful Remote User Study

Plan, launch and analyse a comprehensive test that will greatly improve your site or product, and drive business growth.

By now, we all know about the invaluable knowledge that can be gained from user testing. It is one of the most effective ways to improve your site or product, by seeing real users interact with the digital side of your business - and offering a wealth of feedback you couldn’t otherwise obtain.

But for many organizations -- the time and effort involved has long seemed out of reach. Thankfully, remote user testing has become an affordable and crucial tool that can now fit in every company’s toolbox. And it’s never been easier to get started.

How to Get Started

The first step to executing a successful user study is to clearly define its goals. What is it that you’re hoping to learn? What is the scope of the study, and what specific aspects of the product, app or site are you trying to improve? What qualifies as a success or a failure, as users begin to take on various tasks and provide feedback?

It may seem obvious, but establishing specific, actionable and attainable goals will enable all stakeholders to plan and execute more effectively, aid in measuring and interpreting the results, and help the company realize a larger ROI.

Decide whether to study a specific part of your site or product, such as a user’s path to make a purchase, or several screens of a planned redesign. Typically, a 30-minute session contains several establishing questions, 6-8 tasks, and time for users to provide feedback, depending on the complexity of the tasks. It’s possible to test almost anything -- but begin by clearly defining the elements involved and what the organization wants to learn.

Platform

After defining the goals and elements to be studied, teams must decide on which platform to run the test. Two such platforms are  Usertesting & Userlytics, and there are others as well. Compare each company’s offerings and prices and seek referrals, or speak to colleagues who have completed similar user testing projects.

Once prepared, schedule a kickoff meeting with all stakeholders and the user-testing partners. Come armed with a plan, plenty of questions, and all of the needed test assets. It’s okay if some assets are not yet final, but be sure to include the time needed to prepare them in the overall testing plan. Also define all of the devices and/or screen sizes necessary for the study. You will likely need to create separate tests for each type of device or screen size, as the tasks tend to change - sometimes substantially - when the user’s view of the product changes, too.

Target/Demographic

After choosing the platform and the specific assets for the test, it’s time to define the target persona(s). Personas represent an organization’s target customers, and are meant to answer the question: “who is this product, app or site for?” Personas reveal a typical user’s demographics; including age, location, and archetype. They also highlight a user’s motivations (what drives them to do what they do, on and off the site), their goals and pain points. They can also include a short bio, which links back to the project by expressing the user’s needs as they pertain to the project at hand.

The ideal persona(s) match the customer or user type that makes up the product, site or app’s core audience, or a group that ideally would be that core audience (for unreleased products.)

Most remote user testing companies allow you to filter based on:

  • Country/Region
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Profession
  • Education level
  • Technology profile
  • Income
  • Intere sts/hobbies

If the testing needs are very specific, for example a user who has experience with competing products or who works in a specific industry, advanced user testing platforms enable a screener survey to find the right kind of user. Potential participants answer a series of questions, and participants answering the predefined “Approve” or “Accept” fields are then provided the test.

And of course, some remote user testing providers allow you to supply your own participants.

Prepare & Launch Your Study

Once the preliminary work is complete, the next step to launching a user study is writing a test script. The script often includes an introduction to bring participants into the right frame of mind, a series of survey questions to better frame the discussion and understand your audience, as well as written cues aligned to the various tasks the user must perform, and questions they will answer as they explore and try out various functions of the product.

When preparing a script, try to put yourself in the place of the user. This person will likely be seeing the prototype for the first time, and they will using it under sometimes less than ideal conditions. Think about the user’s wants, needs, challenges and strengths. Some questions to ask include:

  • Are they web savvy, or less frequent web users?
  • Do they have experience with similar products, or are they new to this platform?
  • Are they in a rush, or using your product, site or app at a leisurely pace?
  • What is the most likely environment in which the user will interact with your product?
  • Are the questions and tasks short, clear and concise, or long, meandering and ambiguous?

As the tasks are planned and written, consider what the user will need to know or should not know in order to complete them. Be sure to provide enough information for the user to understand the task, but do not write instructions or questions that are leading or “give away” the answer. This will undermine the results.

If a task is too complex for a user to accomplish, try breaking it up into a few tasks. Or consider whether the actual interaction is itself too complex, and perhaps needs to be reworked before being tested?

Remember, the idea is to determine whether the product performs as expected and to uncover any pain points - not to test the users’ ability to use a computer or smartphone.

Putting It All Together

One key to a successful study is using the right tools in the testing toolbox. Single choice, multiple choice, rating and “open answer” questions are good for surveys or to collect feedback directly after a task, System Usability Scale (SUS) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) can provide metrics to compare with previous iterations or competitors’ products, and the Five Second Test can uncover the clarity of the design, how effectively it communicates the intended message, and gauge users’ first impressions.

You may also wish to leverage the branching logic that advanced user testing platforms offer, enabling you to show tasks and questions in accordance with previously selected answers or actions.

Consider using a combination of the above to get a well-rounded picture, and consult with UX testing experts to understand which specific methodologies and tools will best suite the study’s needs.

Once the results are in, it’s time to analyze the data and collect the feedback. Take time to watch, listen and read the participants’ responses. Watching real users interact with the product will garner new insights, and in fact will likely uncover previously unseen issues.

Video based user testing platforms enable a wealth of rich insights, but can be time consuming to digest; consider leveraging automated transcription tools, time stamped and searchable, to accelerate your identification and sharing of key insights.

Then, consolidate that data to draw testable conclusions, and share that data with stakeholders to iterate and improve the product.

Rinse and Repeat

A single study can provide invaluable feedback, but repeat testing is where the true strength of online user testing lies. Once you’ve made changes to the test assets and incorporated feedback into your product, test again. Repeat the same tasks to establish the project’s progress when compared to a baseline, as measured by things like task completion, time on task, user feedback, ratings, SUS or NPS. Also consider adding new tasks, if necessary, to test the success of changes to the design or user flow.

If there are two competing solutions, another option is to conduct A/B testing. This is most effective when the test focuses on a single variable, such as the position of a headline or the label of a button. But the test can also run participants through two different user flows to determine which is more effective. A/B testing can be extremely valuable in helping direct the design down the correct path.

Conclusion

Getting started is often the hardest part, from convincing teams or executives to buy-in to the process, to securing funding and preparing the assets for testing. But once you see the valuable feedback gained from the first round, the process becomes much easier. Often, that initial feedback is all that’s needed to convince stakeholders to push further.

Good UX compels us to test with real users, to better understand their behaviors and their reactions to different situations. Your product will be better for it.


About the Author

John Saginario

John is a UX professional with experience in user research, information architecture and UX strategy. He advocates for user-centric design and testing. He also enjoys having spirited discussions about bad UX on social media. All of my opinions are my own, and not of my employer or its affiliates.



6 UX Rules Tech Startups Need To Master

Get these 6 rules drilled into your mind as early as possible, and you’ll have an easier time producing designs that communicate value and keep customers happy.

Anyone who’s familiar with best practices in design fields knows how important it is to commit time and resources to UX development. How people feel when they use your UI has a significant effect on the actions they take and the opinions they form, which of course affects conversions, profits, and overall business success.

But tech startups tend to spring up almost from nowhere, fueled by programmers who may not have a great understanding of the importance of front-end polish. That’s how you end up with UX designs that confuse, infuriate, and ultimately raise more questions than they answer.

While there are countless UX rules you could reasonably identify, I’m going to pick out the 6 I think are the most important for tech startups to recognize as early as possible in the development process (or even preceding it). Let’s get started.

Rule 1: Drop the Vanity Designs

Your back-end tech ideas may be wholly revolutionary, but it doesn’t mean that any design you come up with is automatically fit for purpose. The only opinions that really matter when it comes to UX are those of the users, and they don’t usually leave much room for vanity design.

I consider this the very first rule for a startup to accept because it’s a tough thing to confront. We all like to think we know best, even on topics slightly removed from our fields of expertise— after all, UX is still basically part of software development, isn’t it? Surely users just need to get used to the new design paradigm you’re offering them?

But don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Unless you have an incredibly compelling justification, adhere to existing UX standards, and give your users something recognizable instead of something revolutionary (familiarity beats novelty). Being creative is fun and might make you feel accomplished, but if it doesn’t impress users, it can’t be part of the UX design process.

Rule 2: User Psychology is King

Marketers like to say that content is king, but that isn’t really true. User psychology is king. Content is just one way of affecting it, and UX is another. In fact, top UX designers are masters of psychology, carefully studying how and why users take particular actions.

Startups can easily get stuck in a rut when it comes to psychology, imagining one type of end user and getting trapped by their perspective. People are more complex than that. Users will vary in countless ways. You can’t account for them all, but you can do a good deal of research and come up with general personas that cover most of your target audience (try using a guide on how to create personas).

If persona 1 has a lot of disposable income, but persona 2 doesn’t, and they’re both important to your design, then you need to find a way to accommodate them both instead of just focusing on one of them. Otherwise, you end up with a ‘perfect’ UX that manages to neglect a large chunk of your visitors.

Rule 3: Keep It Simple

The best user experiences are streamlined, trimmed down for speed and efficiency. You might think this simply calls for compressing images, using clear language, and avoiding unnecessary data entry, but there’s almost always more to be done. Even if you think you’ve stripped your design to its bare bones, chances are you can remove more.

When prototyping a UX, you should cast an eye over every single element — every image, CTA, paragraph, button, or piece of styling — and ask “Is this really necessary?”. If you get rid of it, does the end user lose anything of significance? Will they find it harder to achieve their goal, or like the site any less? If an element doesn’t justify its presence, scrap it. Smooth out the friction.

A simple design is easier to demonstrate, understand, run, and maintain. And you can always add something back in if it becomes clear that there’s a demand for it.

Rule 4: Maintain Consistency

Some layouts can be extremely confusing, with variable design elements and unclear contextual clues— and confusion leads to anger and irritation that pushes users away. That’s why making your UX design consistent across every aspect of the project is essential.

This ties back to rule 1 in that playing with basic structures for no good reason is ill-advised. Think about basic visual elements like icons. We don’t really pay that much attention to them when they’re used correctly, but they glaringly stand out when they’re used poorly.

You can get a solid idea of what you can and can’t play within a layout by taking one look at the themes for a standard website creator like Shopify. Change the colors? No problem. Change the font? Also fine. Alter the icons or the basic navigation? Not the best idea. Get it slightly wrong and users will have no idea what’s happening. You don’t want to make your users think.

Rule 5: Never Stop Iterating

You don’t create a final UX design in one fell swoop. It takes time to go through all the stages — coming up with ideas, prototyping them, testing the prototypes — but even then you’re not done. You’ll certainly have missed things, and you’ll need to keep repeating the process if you want to make your work as good as it can be.

If anyone ever asks the question “Didn’t we already figure out the UX stuff?”, they haven’t been paying attention to this. The most valuable information and feedback often don’t become available until late in the day, and good enough isn’t really good enough in the long run.

So don’t put any energy towards ‘getting things perfect’ early on in the design process, because it’s a waste of time and energy. Just try out your ideas, stick with the ones that work, aim to consistently make things better, and you’ll eventually get where you need to be.

Rule 6: Use Real Copy

At some point in UX design history, someone decided that creating layouts and populating them with fake text (usually Lorem Ipsum) was a good idea. It really isn’t, and the sooner you get out of the habit of using empty copy, the better off you’ll be.

At the very least, this is because text is a core component of UX. It steers people away from certain areas and towards others, and has a knock-on effect on how the rest of the interface is perceived. If you leave it until the last minute, you’ll not only miss that effect— you’ll also miss numerous opportunities to subject your real copy to real testing.

And make no mistake: iterating upon copy is just as important as iterating upon any other UX element. As early as you possibly can, add some meaningful copy to your UX designs, and start getting valuable feedback from users on everything from the clarity of your category names to the tone of voice. It’ll make a huge difference to the quality of your final product.

UX can seem like a distant concern for a tech startup focusing on functionality and scaling, but where there’s software of any kind, there’s a demand for great UX that cannot be overlooked.

Get these 6 rules drilled into your mind as early as possible, and you’ll have an easier time producing designs that communicate value and keep customers happy.


About the Author

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Kayleigh Alexandra - Content Marketer & Startup Specialist. I write about startup culture and entrepreneurship at MicroStartups.org, where all website profits go to charities that help people reach their full potential. You can find out more on Twitter @getmicrostarted.



Improving UX with the Right Front End

User experience designers focus on enhancing the customer interactions and experience as a whole, while UI developers translate product design and content into a responsive and interactive interface.

UI and UX, two terms that are mistakenly used as synonyms. The difference between UI and UX is that UX, or user experience, is all about how users experience the use of an application or website, while UI, or user interface, is the presentation of information or look and feel of an application. User experience designers focus on enhancing the customer interactions and experience as a whole, while UI developers translate product design and content into a responsive and interactive interface.

Design Trends

User experience has become an essential part of designing and developing great websites and applications. Below are just some of the most popular design trends in the last couple of years that have been impacted by the integration of user experience web and application design and development.

Minimalist Interface

2017 found itself in the peak of minimalist designs; minimal graphics, generous white spaces, and clean lines became the most prominent design features of applications and websites, and it seems that the trend will continue to be all the rage. Minimalis design ensures that the focus is on the content and supplements the experience with convenient navigation and clear visual communication.

Gamification

This trend puts emphasis on integrating game mechanics into non-game environments, such as learning and fitness apps that track progress and milestones to encourage continued use. Aside from milestone and progress tracking, challenges are also incorporated into the design flow, which aims to promote more interaction between user and application. 

Augmented Reality

One of the most exciting trends that came about in 2017 was the integration of Augmented Reality into applications, as evidenced by the very popular Pokemon Go!. With the release of ARKit and ARCore - augmented reality developer platforms - a lot more applications coupled with Augmented Reality can now be developed. Augmented REality is when virtual objects or space can be superimposed on our physical world.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality has been a big hit in the entertainment industry, from movies to games to virtual experiences. Virtual reality brings people into a virtual space where they can do anything, imagination is the limit! Outside of immersive entertainment, TiltBrush provides you a VR space dedicated to your art; design, sketch, or draw in a VR space and share it with the world. Like AR, Virtual Reality has extensive potential, especially if integrated into our day to day tasks.

Emotional Connection

Memes, hashtags, vines, and GIFs are but a few small mediums that are used to engage the emotions or the expression of emotions of users. User experience and interface are now no longer limited to aesthetics, convenience, or ambiance. User experience designers now work on establishing that emotional connection between user and application, ensuring that applications and the experience that users encounter are highly grounded in human emotions and experiences.

Functional Animation

Animation no longer stands as a standalone video or caricature on the side of a website interface, nowadays, animation has become a tool to enhance the look and feel of an interface and provide a more immersive user experience. The animation is now used to simplify and enhance digital experience of the user; becoming a large part of encouraging user engagement through numerous interactions and micro-interactions that users have with their devices and apps.  

Personalization

With Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence being applied more and more in product development and design, application and website provide less and less static content. With these learning tools, applications are now capable of providing content that is based on user activity and preferences. Spotify has been one of the more popular applications that have effectively implemented this; providing daily mixes tailored to your playlist preferences and most frequently played songs.

Tools and Technologies

All these UI/UX design trends won’t be realized without the tools and technologies that UI/UX developers utilize. Outlined below are the major tasks that user experience designers and UI developers accomplish and the most popular tools that they use.

UX Tools and Software

Common Pitfalls

Even with design tools and technologies nowadays, UI/UX designs can still fail. Below are just some of the design pitfalls that drive home the importance of user experience.

  • Only having responsive design for the sake of having a responsive design, is not really helpful to anyone. Responsive designs should be built around user experience and not just for form.
  • Unresponsive designs can be just as bad. Clear and simple actions and functions should be able to address lagging or unresponsive design elements.
  • Too much information in a design can put off users. Focused information should be prioritized and presented well.
  • Complicated navigation inconvenience users. Simple navigation coupled with clear and consistent actions are better alternatives.

Best Practices

The fundamental aspects that bring these design trends and tools and elevate them to these level of popularity and standards are the UI/UX developers. Below are just some of the UI design and user experience tips that developers found to be effective when used to improve the user experience of websites and applications.

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1.   Focus on users.

Design with users in mind; their goals, needs, and how your application can meet these goals and needs. The user-focused design is results-based design, thinking of the impact that you want to make, which elevates the potential of your application even further.

2.   Simplify and be clear with actions.

Always think of the shortest possible sequence of steps that are needed to complete a task. Ensure convenience by applying simple and concise actions and function that you incorporate into the design.

3.   Identify and adapt design standards.

Don’t mend something that isn’t broken. Common design standards ensure that users are more familiar and comfortable with these design elements. Using this familiarity, identify these standards and adapt and integrate them into your design.

4.   Provide structure to your content.

Responsiveness is no longer just enough, content is also paramount in UI/UX design. Content should be meaningful and have structure; providing focus on key points and putting them at strategic locations to grab attention and interest while having enough supporting details to sustain that user interest.

5.   Use design elements to make a statement.

Typography, layout, color scheme, and components are fundamental design elements that, if used right, can enhance the message and content of a design. Ensuring layout and placement of components can reinforce your visual presentation, while typography and color scheme can set the tone, mood, and atmosphere of your design. 

User experience coupled with the user interface can lead to an overall engaging and popular applications and websites. Creating software when considering only the user experience without considering the user interface is like having a very useful but ugly tool, while the reverse would be having a very pretty tool that isn’t really useful. So UI and UX need to be applied in tandem to achieve the best results possible.


About the Author

This article was provided by Mobilunity. Since 2010 Mobilunity has grown from two people who spent their days and nights working on projects, to a team of over 120 who now spend their days and nights working to bring their clients vision into reality. We have grown steadily step by step overcoming obstacles and developing into a stable well structured company. We are in constant search of new challenges, and truly believe that there is no limit to what we can accomplish in the future.



A Quick Guide to UX Writing

UX writers help create a great customer experience through the written word. It’s a role more companies are looking to hire.

“I don’t get this and I never will!”

Just about everyone has felt this way at some point when attempting to understand something new. Whether it’s furniture assembly instructions posted on a website or a guide to using a new software package, the difference between a satisfied user and a frustrated one can boil down to one thing: words. This is why tech companies are now employing the talents of UX writers. The field is growing faster than average.

UX writers help create a great customer experience through the written word. The following guide is designed to help writers add UX writing to their skill set, and to help other professionals understand how writing plays a role in overall UX.

Understanding UX Writing

First, there are a lot of similarities between copywriting and UX writing. Both are jobs intended to make a product easier to understand and more desirable to users. The difference is that the job of copywriting is traditionally done after the design phase.

For example, a web design team may create the layouts and functionality for a new web page. They then send screenshots or mock-ups to the marketing department complete with ‘Lorem Ipsum’ space holders. Then, copywriters are given the task of filling that space up with instructions, information, or calls to action.

The problem with this approach is that everything the user sees on that webpage was created by the coordinated efforts of the web design team. The only exception is the words that appear on that page. As a result, the written content may not be as clear as it could be.

With UX writing, content creators are an integral part of the design team whether that’s for an app, software package, website, or online content. Any copywriter knows how frustrating it can be to communicate something to an audience while being constrained by both inches and word count. While the UX writer still faces constraints, the situation is greatly improved when content is prioritized during the design process.

For tech companies, this is the best of both worlds. Content is maximized for user experience. In addition to this, those creating it also have an understanding of communicating branding.

Which Companies Hire UX Writers?

Tech companies such as Spotify, Google, Amazon, Wix, and others have UX writers on staff. Major retailers such as CVS, Nordstrom, and Honeywell do as well. Those are just a few examples of some of the major players who have or are adding these positions. Essentially, any organization that uses on-screen text to communicate with users can benefit from the talents of a UX writer.

What Does a UX Writer Do?

UX writers are sometimes referred to as microcopy writers. They write the text that users see as they are navigating their way through apps, websites, devices, and software. They provide the content for error messages, on-screen help text, pull down menu content, and more. In some companies, this is an entirely different position from web copywriting. In others, they are one in the same.

UX writers contribute to a better experience by making things clear and intuitive. They must also communicate effectively while also keeping branding in mind.

Necessary Skills For a UX Writer 

Not all writers can succeed at UX writing. They must have the ability to be concise. Even when content is part of the design process, there is always a limitation in what can be fit onto a computer screen. Space becomes even more limited on phones and IOT devices.

It’s also important to be able to communicate diplomatically. In many cases, a UX writer is creating simple explanations and error message text, for example. They must be able to do that without coming across as patronizing or confusing and frustrating the customer more. At the same time, they must also maintain brand voice.

UX writers must also be careful not to be intrusive. Not everything the customer sees on the screen requires extra help or explanation. For example, hover help is great when something could be confusing. On the other hand, it’s intrusive when it isn’t needed.

Understanding And Thinking Like a User

Just like copywriters must rely on customer personas to communicate effectively, so must UX writers. This means looking at screens, putting themselves in the role of the user, and understand what they are trying to accomplish. A good UX designer will recognize points of potential friction and frustration. They can also recognize opportunities to offer extra information, even push someone a bit further down the sales funnel.

Helpful Technical Skills

Because UX writers often work with design teams during the development process, there are some skills that can be helpful to them. These include:

  • Developing familiarity with agile and other development methodologies
  • Using collaborative tools such as Google Docs
  • Learning the UX design process
  • Using A/B testing software
  • Using Videoconferencing software
  • Learning prototyping tools
  • Use of project management and collaboration tools such as Trello
  • Learning to recognize brand voice and to apply branding to microcopy

While there is no degree specifically for UX writing, many employers require a degree in English or technical writing. However, there are plenty of job opportunities that are more flexible. In large part, this is a career where you must build your own skill set. Successful UX writers have skills that can be learned in a combination of classes such as:

  • Web Design
  • Marketing
  • Digital Marketing
  • Content Planning And Management
  • Brand And Product Development
  • Technical Writing
  • Project Management
  • Data Analytics

Helpful Soft Skills

First and foremost, UX writers should work well in teams. They spend a lot of time in meetings and collaborative sessions. It helps to be articulate. They should be able to explain ideas and understand how their goals work in concert with those of others. It is also helpful to be naturally curious. While a UX writer does not need to understand technology at the coding level, they should be willing able to learn basic concepts.

Getting Started

Becoming a UX writer and applying those skills begins with developing or adapting the right skillset. Those who already work in writing or software design are already ahead of the game. The next step is to look at examples of UX. Websites that are easy to navigate or apps that users adapt to quickly are usually that way because they offer great UX. UX writers can learn by paying attention to the ways in which written content contributes to that experience.


About the Author

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Leona Henryson is a freelance writer and UX designer at Essay Supply. Also, she is a contributing writer for various blogs. When she is not writing or designing, she is swimming, hiking, and, weather permitting, snowboarding.



10 Ways to Improve Your Website Design

It’s not easy creating a website design that works. It really isn’t...

It’s not easy creating a website design that works. It really isn’t.

Did you know that when a visitor arrives on your website, you have about five seconds (or less) to capture their attention and keep them where they are? That’s not a whole lot of time to impress someone, so if your load time is not perfect or your site’s navigation is all over the place, you can say goodbye to your visitors.

Believe it or not, the rapidly changing world of technology is not helping with this, either. New trends can easily make your website outdated and render it all but useless, leaving you with fewer visitors than you started with.

So, how are you supposed to fix this issue and keep your visitors? How do you create a website that looks good, functions perfectly, and communicates your message clearly?

A complete redesign comes to mind as a valid option, but in some situations, you just won’t be able to do it. Full redesigns are expensive and take time, which means that not only will you have to invest additional money in the project, but also put your website on hold for the foreseeable future.

However, even if a redesign is out of the picture, there’s no reason to panic. There are still a lot of ways out there for you to improve your website without having to spend your life savings and lose any more visitors. 

In the infographic which follows below, we talk about ten ways to improve your website design and give you tips on how you can immediately boost your site and, with it, your online presence. We’ve covered everything from moving to responsive design to paying more attention to color schemes, so we’re sure that you’ll be able to find something that will help you better your site in no time at all. 

Happy reading and good luck!

1. Make sure your entire website is responsive

responsive design

Over the past couple of years, people have started using their mobile phones more for browsing the web, which is what ultimately led websites to move to a mobile-friendly or responsive design and why Google began penalizing sites that are not mobile-friendly in 2015. So, if you have your website, you have probably created a responsive version of it by now—if you haven’t, it’s high time that you do. A responsive design will do wonders for your website regarding SEO and help you position yourself higher in SERPs.

2. Simplify your navigation

simple navigation

If you don’t want your visitors to run away from your website because they can’t get the hang of your navigation, then do your best to make it as simple as possible. You’ll want to have no more than seven items in your menu (the point is to make it easy for people to move around your website), try to be as descriptive as possible in your labels, and even keep your navbar fixed. That way, your visitors will be able to stay longer than five seconds on your site.

3. Improve page speed for lower bounce rate and longer sessions

page speed

Website speed has long been discussed in the world of marketing, and it’s one of the main reasons why a lot of visitors tuck tail and run away from certain websites. In fact, if you’ve got even a two-second delay in your load time during a transaction, the chances are that your potential customers will abandon their carts and you’ll end up with one customer less than you started with. So, work on speeding up your websites before you do anything else—there are even tools out there that you can use to help you out!

4. Make a clear Call to Action, guide user behavior

call to action

Does having a CTA button on your page matter at all? Does making it a certain color change something in the way your users act on your website? It sure does! Studies have shown that orange CTA buttons boost conversion rates by 32.5%, while red buttons boost rates by a whole 21%. Now, that’s a huge difference right there for your website! Plus, if you want your CTAs to be game-changing, make sure to use actionable words in them such as: discover, start, learn, etc.

5. Make the most of social media, we live in a world of sharing

social media

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past decade, then you might have noticed that social media networks have taken over the world. There are 800 million monthly active users on Instagram and 100 million daily active users on Twitter, which is why it’s important for your website to offer social buttons to your visitors. There’s a chance that they will like what they see, share their thoughts on their profiles, and boost your presence even further. 

6. Use white space to create a visual hierarchy  

white space web design

Moving from the social media talk to more technical parts of your website once more. What’s so special about white space, you might wonder? Well, first of all, it doesn’t have to be white—that’s just how designers refer to it. Secondly, it’s worth mentioning that research has shown that the use of white space in the left and right margins, and in between paragraphs, increases reader comprehension by almost 20%. Adding white space means more user interaction, the page looks better, and you can highlight your CTAs with more ease if you have enough white space to go around.

7. Use photos, a picture is worth a thousand words

photos in web design

Let’s face it: we all like visuals. Whether they’re photos, videos, GIFs, or drawings, they are more likely to draw our attention on a page than any piece of text, no matter how great it may be. According to research, users spend 10% more time looking at pictures of people on 'About Us' pages, than they do reading content associated with those photos. This means that you should try to incorporate great visuals as much as you can on your website. Many websites offer stock photos:

8. Use color theory to your advantage

choice of color

The color of something as small as a CTA button matters, as does the choice of color on your entire website. You’ll want to pick one dominant color for your whole site and brand, and then add complementary colors to complete the perfect scheme. The standard language for color communication (yes, that’s a thing!) is called Pantone, and everyone who’s at least a little bit in the business of marketing or design knows about it.

9. Custom illustrations can reinforce your brand

custom illustrations

What’s even better to add to your website than regular, old stock photos? Custom illustrations, of course! They can truly play an important part in keeping your visitors on your site and serve as a great piece of decoration. If you have an in-house designer who’s able to draw doodles and illustrations for your website, then make sure to go for it! Original always beats stock, anyway. Your brand and marketing team will thank you.

10. Use motion and animation with intent

animations

Last but not least, we’re going to talk about animations. Just like all visuals, animations in the form of galleries and slideshows can be a fantastic addition to your website, but what you need to keep in mind is that these are not the only animations that can be found on a site. There’s eight of them, including loading animation (which is there to annoy us all), hover, scrolling, background, and so on. A lot of work goes into creating animations that look good, but once they’re done the right way, your visitors and website will thank you for it.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that you’ll be able to improve your website design in no time at all!

This article was provided by the software development company, KOLOSEKYou can download the full infographic from their website.

references



The MVP is dead, long life to the MAP. (Minimum Awesome Product)

I will say this bluntly and without sugar coating … the MVP has died. What does that mean for product and UX designers?

I will say this bluntly and without sugar coating … the MVP has died. What does that mean for product and UX designers?

MVP: Minimum Viable Product

The minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with enough features to satisfy the initial customers, and provide feedback for future development. Some experts suggest that in B2B, an MVP also means saleable.

“It is not an MVP until it sells. Viable means that you can sell it”.

Yes, this is a copy-paste of a simple definition in Wikipedia. One that I agree with in many aspects. Mainly due to one factor, the analysis. In my opinion a more accurate definition of MVP would be:

The minimum viable product (MVP) is the one that allows us to launch the product with the least amount of features possible so that we can learn and extract relevant information from this trial period and user interaction through a series of metrics and then act based on that data.

The best (and most common) way to explain an MVP is using this famous image.

 Image by Henrik Kniberg. Example of MVP.

Image by Henrik Kniberg. Example of MVP.

The approach is simple.

Do you want to make a car? Perfect! Let’s begin the process. How? First a wheel, then another, then another, then the engine, etc…Is there a problem? It will take too long to create the car we want. Solution? First make a skate, then a bicycle, then a motorcycle and then we end up with the car.

Is the process longer? Yes. Is it more viable? Yes of course!

I will not go into detail about the process of an MVP as there is enough information on this. We are here to comment on the death of the MVP, and the reasons that lead me to believe this.

fast good cheap

It is difficult to do anything that is good, pretty and cheap. At the end there is the need to prioritize when making an MVP. The costs have to be low, at the end of the day it’s a simple “test”, but…

Are potential customers willing to lose quality (or at least the appearance of quality) just because this is a test?

That is the point that I want to get to and I would like to explain; with the new times, new technologies and especially new generations, the internet is no longer a novelty, and e-commerce is no longer a novelty, a free chat application is no longer a novelty. Everything has changed.

A few years ago, with the boom of the new technologies, a potential client was 30 years old, just had started to get internet at home, and the smartphones, it was almost unthinkable to have one if you weren’t an executive, but everything has changed.

My neighbor of 12 years carries a smartphone with a capacity of x100,000 which is what NASA needed 40 years ago for the Apollo 11.

The technological evolution is taking giant steps and consumers are also advancing and moving forward even if they do it at a slower pace.

Yikes! When I was 14 years I didn't know or hear about Facebook, Instagram, Amazon or Whatsapp. None of them existed.  Who in the world at any range between 18–40 years do not know about these services now? Few, if any.

What is the problem with all this?

Users are accustomed to a minimum of quality, and they expect that of all new products.

What does it mean? That all users expect a new social application to share the activity of that application (whatever it may be) with other social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc… it’s that simple.

If our product does not have such a simple feature, people will automatically believe that it is a bad quality product and they will not take it seriously. It is not what they expect.

Hence my suggestion that the MVP has died and Map was born.

MAP: Minimum Awesome Product.

In the present time, when you’re considering the development of a new product (whether physical, web, app, etc…) You don’t only ask yourself “This is the minimum that I need to make it viable?”, at first, it seems the right question, but the approach changes when we pose the following question.

Is this the minimum of incredible product that I can create to be viable?

quality curve

The change of context is important. Before we only had in mind that the product being launched was functional enough. That the customer/user could do at least 2–3 basic things perfectly, but the client has grown, the client understands 5–6 basic things easily, we have to offer something more, something with which feels familiar and something that will surprise you at the same time.

The best way to see this approach is with an example.

 Example of job search app design, both designs made in little more than 1h. Sorry, in Spanish.

Example of job search app design, both designs made in little more than 1h. Sorry, in Spanish.

What are the differences between the two products? They are really showing the same content. Both have:

Header and Item of employment (which includes: name, date, company, type and remuneration).

But it seems more reliable and attractive in MAP to the user/end customer.

The target of this dummy application is a person (male or female) between 18–36 years, who knows the functions of the online job search, it is possible that they have used the Job type of applications and Talent, LinkedIn, JobToday, etc.

 Example of current job search apps.

Example of current job search apps.

How do we intend to compete in 2017–2018 with a mediocre product when our competitors have apps with several years of advantage and with hundreds of thousands of customers already using them?

Not only do we have to bear in mind that we have to compete with features (features), speed and fluidity, but also in the design of the product, because the user/end customer already has pre-designed in his head “how an application for employment should be”.

“The true competition is to offer a better experience on our product.”

And a better experience includes everything: features, speed, fluidity and design. This is essential to compete head-to-head against other apps.

6–8 years ago when there was no “standard” design or design patterns, everything was to be discovered.

 A simple graph of what was or was being sought with an MVP, which requires a MAP.

A simple graph of what was or was being sought with an MVP, which requires a MAP.

A quick final example, in a new social network, do we really expect a product that does not have, for example, a search bar, a messaging system and a system of favorites or likes? No. We already have the pattern in our head about how things should look like in a social network.

That is why at the time of launch for a new product, in addition to being quick, viable and economically speaking, affordable, we need to be as “awesome” as possible with the resources that we have. We need to make an effort to provide an experience that the user/client can find to be good enough to give you a chance.

“Not only do we have to search for the minimum viable product, it is necessary to look for the best product experience possible with the resources that we have.”

Obviously, there is one detail that Dave McClure mentioned about my article on Twitter, and it's so important…

MAP depends a lot on how “awesome” the available alternatives are in your target industry. If zero alternatives, then MVP = MAP; if lots of options, then MAP > MVP.
dave mcclure

Thank you very much Dave for your comment, very correct. What would be an approach with this idea? Simple.

alternatives vs no alternatives

So the next time you think about MVP, think about MAP, (unless you have no competition, then your MVP will automatically be a MAP, as there is no reference): fewer features, but all properly designed.

mvp to map

Before creating any new feature in your product (MVP) think… do you really need this? If the answer is “Yes”, perfect, do it, but make sure that it works wonderfully (MAP).

“If you’re going to make a new product, think about what your customers expect and try to provide the best experience and product possible.”

And many people will ask… Where can I find developers or designers to make a MAP? Wrong question! It’s not about developers or designers, it’s about the manager. You have to raise expectations, motivate and know that everything needs your time, you can’t do a MAP in a few weeks or a month. And you have to accept it!

You need to manage and accept that everything needs your time and maturity. Better management is the solution for creating a good MAP.

Tell us what you think in the comments!

Disclaimer: Many people will say that the map is the same as the MVE (Minimum Viable Experience), I agree about 90%, but I am more in favor of the experience being merged with a good product, but it does not have to offer a good product design. For example, Craigslist, despite the fact that their service is extremely efficient, the product design very poor, so I prefer to search for products that are as awesome as possible. MAP.


About the Author

Carlos Beneyto

Carlos Beneyto is currently Lead Product Designer at Startupxplore, the premium investment platform, where he applies MAP principles. Check out Startupxplore, the startup funding community. Startupxplore is an online platform created to connect and promote the startup community and its main actors: startups…startupxplore.com



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