Last month our CEO and Founder, Ania Rodriguez, joined the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association to discuss “Optimizing User Experience for Conversion”. She joined other panelists from Ion Interactive and HiConversion. Top takeaways from the event:
– You can find 80% of the issues with only 5 users
– Eye tracking can detect if call-to-action size and color make a difference in your conversion results
– Strong colors attract the eye, but if there is too much competing for the eye’s attention the people can get overloaded
– Do not put a search bar under the mega menu button or it will get lost and decrease your conversion rate
– Test and embrace user experience design to continually improve, solve and remain relevant in your space
– One great tool for quick usability test: KlueMobile
by Kelly Nercess
Ever think about the interactions you have with a company? How each precise moment may seem tailored to your needs and catered towards the experience you are looking for? In the UX industry there is a technique used to ensure this end result and it’s called alignment diagrams. I had the opportunity to read a very interesting article on the idea of alignment diagrams and how they serve a perpetual purpose among the growth of companies. , written by James Kalbach & Pul Kahn, shared their discoveries on the business process and provided advice to take full advantage of each customer touch point.
There are three major design avenues that play a component in the user/customer process, those being: Information Architecture (IA), User Experience Design (UXD), and Service Design (SD). Along with these visual techniques to map out the strategic thinking to guarantee customer satisfaction, the idea of alignment diagrams allows a business to visually map out the touch points they have with a customer throughout the business process. Alignment diagrams are created to allow for a structure to reveal the customer touch points and give constructive insights to where the design and business process needs to be altered in order to optimize the experience.
There are two very important components to a successful alignment diagram, the customer behavior and the business process. Common visualizations that are used in the UX industry include: site maps, overview diagrams, workflows, customer journeys and service blueprints. These visualizations are gathered from a number of data collection methods, including: ethnographic observation, user interviews and card sorting. All of these methods play a unique role in gathering insights towards a positive user experience.
“The business focuses on maximizing a target market’s profits and potential for growth. Customer-centered design focuses on maximizing the value of a product or service to the customer” writes Kalbach & Kahn. The idea is to be able to pinpoint the location in the business process where there is an overlap between the consumer and the company. This maximizes the value for both parties and allows for a hyper focus on that exact moment of intersection. Decreasing the noise between the customer interactions and keeping the experience seamless proves to not only be beneficial towards the customer but also increase value for the business. Once the business understands customer perception and loyalty they can begin to align their business goals. Kalbach & Kahn also note, “Mapping the steps in a production and consumption process is the best way to see opportunities for improvement.”
Several other design techniques come into play when mapping out the steps of the business process. Using a service blueprint to help structure the customer journey is the best way for a designer to visually see where the issues occur. Furthermore, mental model diagrams allow you to visualize where your business strategy aligns with the current user experience. Journey maps play a large role in the experience design, allowing to fully map out the beginning to end. This will include the first time a potential customer researches the company to the point where they decide to make the purchase. All these interactions reiterate the idea of ‘touch points’, providing an opportunity to reconstruct that interaction to a more positive one. The journey map defines the customer perception of the company and illustrates the amount of time invested in to their ‘relationship’ with a business. Each touch point may be different for each customer. Someone who tends to spend more time researching the internet prior to a purchase will need a more personalized experience tailored to their specific needs. Someone who skips the research portion and spends an extensive amount of time interacting directly with the company versus purely researching it.
By using these techniques, specifically alignment diagrams, benefits both sides of the transaction – the customer and the business. The PJIM article’s closing statement says, “These visualizations reveal value that can not only aid in the creation of products and services, but also improve changes in the business strategy as well.” The important takeaway is to consider all aspects of the relationship between a business and customer. By leveraging these diagrams, you can discover opportunities that increase your customer loyalty and benefit your business strategy.
Overall words to describe the Big Design Conference 2014: Jam packed, smart people, memorable and, of course, Phil freaking Tippett. In case you don’t know this legend by name, he’s been the visual effects creative mind behind on Star Wars and Jurassic Park! Here’s the highlight reel on Day 2 to close out this exciting two day conference.
Do You Trust Me Now?: Content Convergence in the Age of Social Media by Rahel Anne Bail@rahelab
Rahel talked about having a content marketing strategy. The quicker your company realizes that everyone is a brand ambassador, the more successful you’ll be. A couple takeaways:
Unless we’re creating content meant for social validation and social interaction, we’re not doing it right.
Social media is not the same as social business. One-way communication is not social. It’s advertising.
Customers may claim that they don’t care about social in business context. They’re in denial.
Give a hoot! Mapping (and caring for) the Semantic Environment by Jorge Arango@jarango
This lively (and academic talk) had audience members shouting “Give a Hoot!” throughout the presentation in order to confirm salient points. Jorge taught us how human beings react to and derive meaning from language and the nuances of context. For example, responsive has a different meaning for web designers vs medical device developers. Be thoughtful about the semantic environment in your writing.
The Design of Content: Strategies for Lasting Impressions by Keith Anderson@suredoc
Keith argues the point that the design and reading experience has been improving since the 1450s. He takes his theories from Gestalt psychology, the idea of what the eyes take in the mind will process as a whole. Takeaways from the presentation include:
Content strategy can be defined as the art AND science of controlling the creation, storage, maintenance, and dissemination of words and their associated assets and context to be congruent with an organization’s goals.
The User Experience movement has simultaneously helped and hindered how we communicate.
Our job as content writers is to anticipate readers’ expectations and provide them with quality content within a context perspective.
Take your content seriously. Write and design with a purpose.
Take the time to conduct reader research. Build profiles, conduct surveys, and make sure you understand what they expect from you.
Body Language: Hidden UX Insights from Body Language by Brad Nunnally@bnunnally
Brad cited scientific examples that included the fact that human beings make decisions 7 seconds before they physically communicate them. If we can focus in on body language we’ll get an early indication and non-verbal confirmation from our qualitative work.
Lights, Camera, Interaction: Design Inspiration from Filmmaking by Adam Connor@adamconnor
We’re not filmmakers but in the interest of broadening our horizons we decided to take a closer look. What a treat to step outside the walls of marketing and UX-concentrated workshops to learn more about design in film-making. Adam took his passion for film and his experience in design to share his unique perspectives. Fun fact: Designers with a creative vision are often not put in the position to manage. There is a big difference between leadership and management. Here are some facts we came away with:
Leadership is about vision and inspiration towards the future of that organization.
Management is to keep things together and MANAGE the organization, not necessarily lead the creative path.
Scenarios are the interaction between a persona and a use case.
Mise en Scene: All of the tools other than dialogue, used by a filmmaker to tell a story (everything to design the scene that does not include any actual conversations).
Lessons I Have Learned from Leading UX Designers by Russ Unger @russu
This talk was brimming with great leadership advice that can be applied to any process. For now we’ll just share our favorite quote:
A leader is best when people barely know that she exists
when her work is done and her aim fulfilled they will say – we did it ourselves – Lao Tzu
You’ll have to wait for the blog post for the good stuff.
Headlines, HBO, and Harry Potter: A Case for Context by Justin Smith@xenoabe
Justin can win the award for most compelling topic title. Yes, he did briefly discuss Harry Potter and HBO and how they relate to compelling context. The audience also got to watch a very touching TD Bank commercial, which proves the case that meaningful context can really draw the emotions you are seeking for from your viewers.
Context is the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement or idea, in terms it can be fully understood.
Context is like a green screen.
Sometimes you don’t want to give it all away in your headline. You want to be mysterious It’s ok to play with the user and some fun with your messaging.
Mitigating Scope Creep: Useful Tips for Project Peace by Michael Vaughn
Another good tactical approach presentation. Our top takeaway here centers on taking accountability when you start a project. Accountability for your company AND for your client. If you have a clear understanding of your roles then it’s easier to maneuver the project segues when they happen….cause they WILL happen.
Companies like Target, Starbucks, UPS and Fedex have such a strong brand image that their logos can do all the talking. From passing a billboard in Times Square or swiping through your newsfeed on Facebook, you’ll recognize the logos of these brands. It’s a brilliant visual communication tool….once you have that kind of brand recognition.
When building an identity for your logo and image, put a fair amount of consideration in to the design and colors you choose.
Memes have become a popular way brands can communicate with a younger audience.
Text and image-based posters used for political campaigns were memorable prior to the internet and can be considered a “meme” (think Uncle Sam).
Facebook beats out Instagram, Snapchat and Flickr as the #1 outlet for photos and images to share your life with your friends.
We have one word for Brian’s presentation to close out the workshop portion of the conference: INSPIRATIONAL. Brian delivered a compelling presentation on the much-admired artist, Pablo Picasso, and showed us how to apply Picasso’s work ethics into our daily lives. Here is the secret, it is 5 Ps:
Our keynote closer was Phil Tippett and for this crowd it was quite a treat. Phil is best known for his VFX work on some of Hollywood’s most beloved movies including the Star Wars triology and Jurassic Park. It’s no wonder he’s crowd favorite at Big Design. We were struck by his opening statement that he isn’t a digital designer at his core but a student of art history. He loves making things with his hands and is still committed to stop motion animation. It was a nice ending to a great conference.
We’ll be sharing more opinions over the next few weeks so stay tuned if you want the inside scoop on BigDesign Dallas 2014.
If you haven’t been following our Twitter feed, then you have been missing out! Our Key Limers, Kelly Nercess, attended Day 1 of the Big Design conference in Dallas. Wish you were here soaking up all this UX knowledge? Do not despair. Here’s a brief synopsis of our day.
Opening Keynote: Building a Culture of Innovation by Jeff Gothelf@jboogie
Jeff had lots of great tactical advice on how to build a culture of innovation. We’ll write more about that later but the short answer is
Give Your Team A Meaningful Busines Goal
An example might be to increase repeat site visits or decrease shopping cart abandonments. Send back and let them figure it out. Give them a problem to solve not a solution to implement.
Real-Time Content Marketing in a Connected World of Search and Social by Rob Garner@robgarner
Rob shares his insights on the way real-time content marketing has changed the way we relay information. Content marketing has emerged as a marketing budget line item and new digital discipline. You MUST have a strategy in order to make content marketing successful. There’s no flying by the seat of your pants in this approach. Real-time marketing is the extension of real-time communications across other outlets. Social media content is more than a simple tweet. You need relevant meaningful content, strategy and planning to make it all work.
The single most important UX issue that we as a nation face is the design and usability of our voting systems. Only since the 2000 election has this become a prominent issue. We’ll be writing more about this later but we encourage you to get involved at the Voting Information Project
101 Different Amazing Engaging Content Ideas by Bernadette Coleman@berniecoleman
CONTENT IS KING. In this engaging talk Ms Coleman took things one step further and crowned a “King of Content” to illustrate the importance of real-time communication. You can check out his photo here. She also broke down 21 secrets to leverage your content. We’ll give you the first 5 and save the rest for a later blog post.
Step 1: Publish The Article On Your Blog
Step 2: Publish It In Your Newsletter
Step 3:Submit Industry Blogs & How To Articles
Step 4: Post The Article On Google +
Step 5: Offer To Post The Article On Somebody Else’s Blog
ABCD of UX: – Understanding, establishing and sustaining human-centered design by Matthew J Doty@matthewjdoty
Generally speaking we’re talking:
A = Awareness
B = Basics
C = Change
D = Discipine
Again we’ll cover this topic in more detail later. Our main takeaway? In order to effect true change your team needs to be able to answer “YES!” for two important questions.
Can I do it?
Is it worth doing?
You can’t move forward without that level of consensus. You’ll also need an awareness of what good UX can really do. If you can explain that value to others, you’re on your way.
Introverts & Extroverts: Extreme UX Personalities by Mike Townson @miketownson
As a self-described introvert, I loved this talk. The idea of the introvert and the extroverts has been a fundamental component of our personality development. Key takeaways from the workshop:
Can you be a little bit of both an introvert and an extrovert? Yes, they are called ambiverts.
“Introvert while sober, extrovert while drunk” is a reasonable and common occurrence.
Create an amazing team by combining one extrovert and one introvert. They can be a deadly combination and extremely competitive. They naturally compliment each other. Yin and yang anyone?
Extroverts will easily tell you all about their lives and what they ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner that day. Introverts tend to be more internal and bottle up their thoughts.
Introverts are typically perfectionists, while extroverts may be procrastinators.
From Scientist to Storyteller: How to Narrate Databy Eric Swayne@eswayne
What is the best definition of an insight?
Something I don’t know AND
Something I should know AND
Something I can change
Inspiring Confidence: 5 Strategies to Establish Users’ Trust In Your Website by Tom Bowen
Everyone has the goal to have a trusted and and welcoming website so what drives users away from a website?
Only 3% of visits to the average website result in a conversion so anything more is good.
Make sure the overall look-and-feel of your website is up-to-date. Follow current design trends. Websites from the 90s send a warning shot to users. It appears no one is minding the store. Literally.
Competitive pricing is key. Be realistic.
Neglected ‘About Us’ pages can be a red flag that the website is outdated. Keep this data current!
CDO vs SEO: Why Content Discovery Optimization is the new SEOby Dan Sturdivant
Let’s start thinking in terms of great content instead of great keywords. Create an experience. In terms of Twitter, your ratio of content should be 9 informational tweets to every 1 self-promotional tweet.
What People Really Do On Mobile and How to Design For it by Pamela Pavliscak@paminthelab
Are you addicted to your phone? Do you take it to bed with you? Typical mobile users check their phones 150 times a day and 44% of users sleep with their phones (No, not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter!). Pamela ran several tests to learn how people interact with their mobile phones. Key takeways:
80% say that their phone is the first and last thing they look at every day.
74% overlook or just ignore bottom navigation options
53% of mobile phone users have had a distracted walking encounter (being so involved in your phone that you walk into another person or fall off a stair)
That’s all for Day 1. We’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of Day 2. We’ll also be posting more robust content and links in the coming weeks.
by Phil McGuinness
A hot topic right now in mobile user experience is the debate between providing an HTML5 web app versus a more traditional Native OS app. Simply put, HTML5 is a method of programming a mobile website to behave like an app (think m.youtube.com) which can be accessed through any modern tablet or smartphone browser. Conversely, apps written for a Native OS are developed to run directly on Android or iOS smartphones (they are designed for each native platform), and must be downloaded through the GooglePlay Store or Apple App Store. Both approaches are a great way to provide web content to smartphone and tablet users, and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Which of these approaches is right for your business? At Key Lime Interactive, we are exploring this question in depth, and have key information to help you make the right decision.
From a development standpoint, HTML5 is the clear winner in both cost and flexibility. If your business has a website, it’s a given that you already have programmers on hand who can write HTML5 code. In addition, your programmers will only have to program the basic code once. Of course, during QA testing some minor edits will need to be made in order to support different browsers and browser versions in the marketplace such as Chrome, Safari, Explorer and more. It’s also important to note that since your code lives on the web rather than on a user’s device, you can make changes on the fly without having to roll out a new application update via an App Store update every time you make a change.
If you decide to make a Native OS app, you will need to hire a team who know the specific language for each operating system, or a jack-of-all-trades programmer who knows all of the relevant languages. These programming skills are much less common, and therefore, can be more expensive, than HTML5-only developers. In order to provide a robust and compelling experience for each OS, you’ll need someone who understands the nuances of each platform. This requires a developer who can write for each operating system, and that’s no small task. If you decide to go the path of a a Native OS app then you’re developing for both Android and iOS and that means you’re now doubling every step of the cycle, including programming, testing/QA, and maintaining the code. When it comes time to update your apps, you’ll also need to release an update two versions via the GooglePlay Store or the Apple App Store.Publishing via either store requires approval before your app can be made available for download.
So why use the Native OS app approach at all you might ask? It sounds expensive AND time consuming. We would submit that developing for a Native OS platform is the right choice. This approach excels at something that we at KLI hold near and dear to our hearts: you guessed it, user experience! Currently, an HTML5 mobile site compete to a Native OS app in look, feel, functionality, and overall speed. Of course, Android and iOS platforms have quirks which make for a unique user experience on each device but the robust and rich UX is worth the price of admission. See our previous article for a detailed discussion about how Android users can be alienated by seemingly insignificant design choices. When building an HTML5 web app to be standardized across all devices, you lose the custom feel ofa Native OS app.
The functionality advantage for Native OS apps comes partially from a better support system – not only from Apple and Google – but from the online community of app programmers – and also from the apps being installed directly on the device. This allows easy access to smartphone features such as the camera, calendar, or contacts. HTML5 web apps are starting to add these functionalities as programmers begin to develop clever new approaches, but equivalency is a long way off at this point in time. Finally, it is well known throughout the industry that the HTML5 web apps react significantly slower than Native OS apps in both UI and load speed. These factors combine to create a smoother, faster, and more intuitive user experience for a Native OS app. The other main areas differences between these two approaches relate to security, monetization, and accessibility, which will vary in importance can be depending on what you want from your app. Native OS apps have better security since the code and URL strings are not accessible like they are in an HTML5 web app. If you happen to want your app to be accessible online, you’ll need to stick with Native OS. To rely on an existing app store for monetization, you’ll need to either build a Native OS app, or use a program like PhoneGap to “wrap” your HTML5 web app to make it appear as an app in the app store that users can download, although it only behaves as a link to the web app itself. Of course, selling your app through an app store means giving away a cut of the profit to the owner of that store/ HTML5 web apps allows you to create your own monetization strategy and avoid the App Store fees.
In conclusion, it takes careful consideration of your business, and knowledge of each approach to make the right decision for you. Do you need a less expensive, low-frills, dynamic experience? If so, an HTML5 web app would be the best approach for you. However, if your major concerns are usability, performance, and security, and you have a little room in your development budget, then a Native OS approach is the way to go. In our opinion, until HTML5 can catch up to the user experience provided by Native OS apps, enterprise companies will almost always want to represent themselves with Native OS apps for the enhanced usability and unparaelleled user experience. In the coming months, Key Lime Interactive will be conducting a study to measure the current user experience of HTML5 web apps, so stay tuned for more detailed information in a future newsletter.