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Picture such a situation: you install the application and the first thing that you are asked to do is to register. Don’t you find it annoying when you need to enter your email, create a password, and share your private data before you even get to know the essence and the value of the app? Quite often it results in deleting the app without even giving it a try. As a result, it leads to poor user engagement. Think about it like this: the app market is oversaturated. Apart from technical issues, there is also a number of other reasons why users churn (https://cxdojo.com/how-to-increase-user-engagement-a-three-step-structure):
If your app requires an account before the user can interact with it, make sure to provide a valuable user onboarding experience. The so-called hook that will arouse interest in the product and elicit further interaction between the user and the app. Otherwise, they might get demotivated and not provide the information necessary for registration. This will result in lower conversion and engagement rates.
There are a few ways in which you can optimize user onboarding:
Based on the example of one of our recent projects, we would like to introduce you to our three-step structure on how to increase user engagement and retention.
While traveling the world, our client faced the challenge of finding kid-friendly restaurants. It turns out that the availability of such places is not a common thing in many countries and cities. He had to spend time searching such restaurants, exploring their web pages, and reading reviews to find the right one. “Wouldn’t it be great to have all of them available in one place?” he thought. With this in mind, he came up with the idea of creating a mobile application that would allow us to easily find such restaurants when traveling with kids. So, we helped with creating a digital strategy for this product idea.
Apart from mobile application development, our team was responsible for the entire customer experience. Our client wanted to start engaging users from the very first version of the app; gather relevant data and update the service based on the received feedback.
In a nutshell, the main focus was to lead the user unobtrusively from the pre-register phase to full interaction with the app.
We wanted to present the app’s benefits before asking users to register. The idea is to let customers understand how useful the app is for them and whether it’s worth wasting time and registering on the first screen. At this stage, the user gets the minimum functionality from the app but doesn’t instantly prompt to create an account. Time is priceless, and people want to know if they will spend it profitably. Simply put, your users will immediately know what they get from your app, without demanding anything in return. When users understand your app’s benefits first, they’re more likely to register the app.
As part of our project, when a person downloads the app, the first thing they get is an opportunity to try the basic functionality of the app. In our case, the application shows one kid-friendly restaurant in the neighborhood. Instead of forcing users to create a new account straight away, we let them try the app and see its value. Such an approach ensures that users get to know your app and what problem it will solve.
The next step is registration itself. After the user creates an account, we reward them by giving a little more. Instead of one restaurant, we now show three restaurants. Thus, there’s no need for users to log in each time they access the app. The moment they open the application, they immediately see three kid-friendly restaurants in their location.
The third step allows buying our subscription, which includes the full package: advanced options, the use of filters (such as the availability of baby carriage ramps, suitable furniture, children’s meals on the menu, a play area, and other), access to the entire list of kid-friendly restaurants and their descriptions, etc. The idea is that you can subscribe only after trying the key functionality of the app (step one), and only after that decide whether you want to register and try the premium version.
Smoothly adding functionality allows users to first understand what our service is about and decide whether they want to spend time interacting with the app. With each step, we receive different statistics and get to know our users better.
That is to say, if a user installs the app, tries the basic functionality but doesn’t register, then we need to optimize the first step so that there are more registrations. Accordingly, the more registrations, the more chances that the user will buy a subscription. This structure is just one way to boost user engagement, increase app retention, and improve app stickiness.
The only thing is that you’ve never formulated a social media strategy for your company before. Sure, your business has a Facebook and Twitter account that it occasionally posts on with an interesting industry article or to get the word out about a promotion, but that’s about the extent of it.
You hear how your company needs to be present on social media, but you aren’t seeing the results that are everyone keeps claiming are yours for the taking.
Effectively posting on social media requires a well-thought-out strategy that must be continually tweaked and re-implemented. The occasional posting about company news or promotions will no longer cut it.
How do you start a social media strategy? There are so many social media channels out there, which ones should you post on? What kind of content should you post to get the most engagement? Should you pay to promote your posts? Do you know where to look to see how well everything is performing?
Before you get overwhelmed, here is a guide to get you started on the right path of a successful social media strategy for your business:
Before you start a campaign in any business, you need to have goals and objectives in place to assess progress and know whether you’ve achieved success. A social media strategy is no different. If you don’t have any goals or objectives written out, you won’t know how your campaign is performing. These provide the foundation of your blueprint for your strategy.
Every subsequent course of action within the strategy is aimed at meeting or exceeding these goals and objectives.
With goals and objectives, you can quickly see when and where your social media campaign is going awry and make immediate changes to put it back on course.
When creating goals and objectives, it the S.M.A.R.T method is a good starting point. According to this method, the goals and objectives are to be specific (S), measurable (M), attainable (A), relevant (R) and time-bound (T).
After creating the goals and objectives for your campaign, you should look at where your current strategy stands.
What social media platforms is your company currently posting on? What kind of material is being posted? How much or little engagement is there? When do you post? How often do you post?
It helps to create a spreadsheet to document your answers to the above questions. Use this spreadsheet and compare it against your strategy’s goals and objectives. Are there things you’re already doing well? What needs changing in order for your goals and objectives need to be met?
Besides looking at the health of your current social media channels, be sure to completely fill out your company’s social media profiles, with a clear, identifiable picture and keywords. Completed social media profiles make your brand easier to find by consumers and it adds to your brand’s credibility and authority.
Maybe your company is posting on the wrong social media channels, or posting the wrong type of content, or is currently not on another social network it could leverage for increased attention. Maybe your posts are going out at the wrong time.
It can be tempting to be on as many social media networks as possible. The downside of this is that you will wear yourself out, waste valuable time, and produce hurried, boring bulk postings.
Social Media Strategy 2.jpgYou need to do some research on your industry, your desired audience, and even your competitors. Where are your ideal audience members most active? When are they most likely to engage? What interests them and what messaging catches their attention?
There are multiple social networks that allow you to gain insights into these questions. Facebook, for example, allows users to target specific audiences, see the interactions on their posts, the best and worst time for post engagement as well as demographics of those that interact with the posts.
In terms of scheduling posts, there are automation tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite that allow you to sync and schedule posts on multiple social networks in one place.
Observing what your competitors are doing and how well they’re faring on social media can give you tips and tricks on what to try out and what to avoid when formulating and implementing your social media campaign.
You can be on every social media network and still not get the engagement and conversions you’re looking for because your content is bland, sales, useless and impersonal.
You won’t know what to write without first identifying your ideal audience and social media networks. When coming up with content, you want to not only catch people’s attention, but you want to make your brand stand out as an authoritative and trustworthy source of information in your industry.
As you do this, it’s important to design your content to take advantage of each individual platform. Twitter, for instance, only allows for 140 characters and utilizes hashtags. Instagram, and Pinterest utilize images. Facebook utilizes text, images and videos. YouTube utilizes videos.
Your content needs to match the format of the platform, be interesting, and be useful. It should not come off as impersonal or condescending. Have your content make your brand appear as a person, not an organization.
Like putting together a social media audit spreadsheet, and using scheduling tools for posts, creating an editorial calendar can help guide you as to what you write. With an editorial calendar, you’ll know what you’re going to write about and have details
Once you research your audience, craft your content and schedule the posts on the appropriate social networks, you may be tempted to sit back and relax.
If you put a lot of time, resources and energy into a social media strategy, you want to make sure the ROI is worth it. Otherwise y, u’ll remain stuck and stagnant in your efforts.
As with any aspects of internet marketing, things in social media change constantly.
If you post a Facebook post at 2 pm one week and get a lot of engagement can turn into an ignored post the next week. Consumers also get bored seeing the same content all the time.
Just doing the occasional posting on a few social media channels will not result in a successful social strategy.
A well-performing social strategy begins with goals and objectives. You need to see where your current strategy is, research the best social media channels and your target customers and create high-quality, useful and interesting content.
Being a product owner can be overwhelming – like you’re trying to juggle lots of things at once. Between defining the product scope, creating a great experience for your customers, working with cross-functional teams, and understanding when something is your number one priority and all focus should be on that.
In this list of never-ending tasks, the key one is the ability to manage project risks. Risks are almost inevitable, and to mitigate them, you need to prepare yourself. Even a simple activity can turn into an unexpected problem. Addressing and realizing those risks in advance can save you time, costs, and sometimes your product. When you plan the digital product development process, first of all, answer this question: “do I understand the problem I’m solving, and is this problem worth solving?”
In this article, you’ll find more about risk mitigation planning, why you need it, and how to build products customers actually need.
First of all, let’s figure out what are the reasons that something can go wrong in your project. Here are some of the most common risks associated with product development.
As an industry expert, you might think that you know what your users need. This assumption creates a risk of working on a product that, as a result, will be used only by you and possibly by several more people (sorry for being straightforward). The risk is higher as you grow the product idea on assumptions or without conducting enough user research.
Starting a business is hard. A survey conducted by CB Insights among 101 failed startups states that 70% of startups fail because there is NO market need for a product (42%). It follows that companies should build products only according to the real needs of their users.
There are several questions that you should answer to minimize the risk of building a product that doesn’t meet users’ needs and wants.
The result of your answers will help you to differentiate your product and create a unique value proposition (UVP).
There’s no universal formula to guarantee project completion on time. However, there are a few tips that can help you mitigate the chances to fail meeting the project deadlines.
Things happen. When the work on the product is in full swing, one of the developers leaves the project.
As a result, you might experience team members’ change-over or lack of qualified specialists. To minimize risks associated with human resources, try to organize team members into small groups. In this way, team members can jointly plan a project, share knowledge, perform code reviews and work together on tasks from the get-go. Also, the team should be able to easily perform work if one of its members is temporarily absent or has left the team.
Before you start working on the project, you’ll want to be meticulous when deciding on a tech stack and whether it suits your business goals. This choice can make or break the entire product performance and UX. Here are four (at least basic) rules we recommend to keep an eye on when deciding on a new technology stack for your next project:
Here are a couple of things to catch up on when managing risks and your project:
You can’t resolve a risk if it’s unknown. For starters, try to make assumptions, brainstorm all potential risks, and write them down. This way you structure all of your concerns. Think of all the possible things that can go wrong and note them. Don’t forget to refer to past projects as this is a source of real risks that you can prevent in the current project. After you make a list of possible risks and review them, assign who is responsible for what risk.
Don’t be afraid and don’t avoid talking about risks. On the contrary, pay close attention to risk communication during team meetings and make sure that everyone in the team perceives risk management as an integral part of the project.https://giphy.com/embed/rZwm8oOApXjDBjs3Pk
Prioritization focuses on what matters most in the risk mitigation process. However, ‘what matters most’ can vary during the project: some risks may have a higher impact and probability than others. To evaluate what risks may have the most negative impact, and have a higher probability of occurrence create or use ready-made evaluation tools to categorize and prioritize the risks.
Before defining how to manage risks, the project team should identify what can cause the identified risks. Think about the effects and consequences of a particular risk. https://giphy.com/embed/SAAMcPRfQpgyI
First, let the entire team answer these questions as accurately as possible:
The acquired information will provide valuable insights into your project, and you will find it helpful later when optimizing the risks.
For each major risk identified, create a contingency plan to manage it. You then act according to how you’ve prioritized those risks. Arrange a meeting with your project team and try to find answers to the following questions:
Answering these questions allows your team to improve the digital product development process. Based on the above-mentioned points prepare an action plan and convert it into feasible tasks. Once you implement the risk mitigation plan, your work isn’t finished. Risks are dynamic and tend to transform, evolve, and reappear throughout the entire project life cycle.
Yes, risk mitigation might seem like a daunting task. But if you do your homework and embed a risk management strategy into the digital product development process, you can reduce the chances of project overrun, escalating costs, resources challenges, and more.
The digital strategy is the application of technology and digital media to create value, i.e. it defines in the digital realm what we do and how we do it. A successful digital strategy requires different areas because it will mix technology with marketing and operations. It is something complex to execute if you do not have the necessary profiles so the help of a digital agency or consultant is often essential.
Once we have seen the definition of digital strategy, let’s really see what it is and why it is important.
The digital strategy must be aligned with the business strategy, after all it will be the digital piece of our business strategy. The objectives of the company must be previously defined and it will be then when we will create the necessary strategies to reach them.
Internet and the digital world ceased to be something optional for companies some time ago, can be somewhat overwhelming, but if we do not take advantage of digital media our company will be doomed to failure. We cannot do without having a digital strategy in our company.
If we look for digital strategy we can find many different definitions, mostly marketing oriented but a digital strategy is not a marketing strategy, in fact, a digital strategy will usually contain a marketing strategy.
A digital marketing strategy will generally be outward-oriented, will focus on bringing value to our customers, giving us visibility, increasing our reputation, brand value, etc..
On the other hand, the digital strategy is applied to the organization as a whole, both internally and externally. So our digital strategy will look at how to apply technology to our entire value chain.
Creating a digital strategy is not complicated, but if it requires talent and previous knowledge as well as some experience, what do we need?
Once we have what is necessary, we only have to see how to reach the proposed objectives using technology and digital media. To do this we must use multidisciplinary profiles and create actions that lead us to the proposed objectives.
The important thing will be that for each line of action, or part of the plan, we have defined metrics that inform us of our progress. After all, the environment is very dynamic and many of the actions in our plan will have to be adjusted, so having some metrics that are easy to consult is key. We must test, measure and modify in order to optimize to the maximum and get the best performance from our strategy.
The big problem usually comes at the time of having the necessary talent in the company to make a good strategy. That’s why digital consultants and digital agencies come into play, such as Xtrategy Digital who can provide you with the talent you need. This time companies will work together with your operations and marketing staff to devise and implement that strategy that will make you achieve your goals.
If you need help you can have a look at our digital consulting service, we offer you experts in different fields that will help you in what you need, take a look here.
Have you ever been confused with the concepts of customer experience and user experience thinking that they are one and the same? For most, it’s still unclear what’s the difference between the two terms. While UX is about digital product usability, CX is about how the customer feels about the brand throughout the whole customer journey. It’s what closes out conversions, and drives long-term loyalty.
In this blog post, we’re going to sort things out and look a bit closer at these two quite different experiences. First of all, it’s good to understand what people mean when they use these terms. So let’s take a look at the meaning of each concept.
In 1995, Don Norman coined the term of user experience, to describe the set of activities his team was engaged in at Apple Computers. Eventually, the term UX has taken a more limited interpretation in practice. It’s a user’s interaction with a specific digital product, such as a website, app, or software. It focuses on the digital interface in terms of utility, usability, navigation, information architecture, ease of use, and visual hierarchy. The key UX metrics are:
UX is an inevitable part of the CX. To put it another way, UX is the experience your users have with your product, whereas CX is the experience they have with the entire brand.
Related article: Motion Design: How To Win Hearts & Minds Of Your Users?
On the other hand, customer experience has a broader meaning. CX describes a larger experience a user has with an organization. It’s an umbrella concept that encompasses the way customers perceive your brand and feel when interacting with it across every stage of the customer journey. Above all, CX is the sum of all touchpoints, interactions, and engagements that a customer has with a brand and a product throughout the life of a customer relationship.
The customer experience metrics help you understand how loyal and satisfied the customers are with your brand. Customer experience is measured with metrics like:
Related Article: CX metrics: How to measure customer satisfaction?
For any digital product development, user experience optimization across all platforms and devices has become a basic rule. No matter how fancy your product might be, if your users don’t know how to navigate and use it, they won’t come back. In the hearts and minds of humans, no feature or benefit will ever outweigh usability. In fact, you have only seconds to capture users’ attention and keep them. The UX connects your users with your products and increases brand loyalty. UX design is focused on research, analysis, and testing, and because of that these risks can be reduced. In addition, investing in a good UX design can help improve SEO rankings.
Customer experience isn’t a buzzword. It relates to customer satisfaction and their willingness to pay for a particular product. In other words, the more satisfied customers are, the more likely they are to stay loyal, become your brand advocates, and recommend your product to their friends. We live in an experience-brand economy. Today customers are buying not just products. They buy brands that can transform their lives. Now more than ever, companies should rethink their processes and deliver an exceptional customer experience so that their customers come back.
Learn more about our CX-aware solutions development approach, and let’s build a digital product together in line with your goals!
To dilute the theoretical part of the differences between CX & UX, let’s take a look at the example of the biggest digital music service Spotify.
At the heart of Spotify’s customer experience strategy is delivering a tailored listening experience to the users. One of the wizards behind Spotify is user researchers who work together to understand what users are doing on the platform and why. Spotify is considered to be among the top of customer-obsessed brands. They continually work on uncovering customer insights to improve their entire experience. Spotify’s approach to the customer experience is multifaceted. First of all, the onboarding process is fast and clear. Spotify makes it easy for users to collaborate on playlists and share music, follow friends, check their music preferences. By using prediction models and data analytics, Spotify offers simple suggestions like “Your Daily Mix” or “Discover Weekly”, thus introducing each user personalized playlists.
No surprise, the next example that we’d like to mention is our favorite Netflix. A lot has been written about their approach to creating a personalized experience.
Netflix managed to develop cutting edge algorithms. These algorithms allow them to serve content that caters to the users’ tastes and preferences. This level of personalization is what makes users come back for more. No doubt that Netflix is an industry giant with a great staff, including data scientists. Not every business can afford such a level of customer experience approach. But what each business, no matter small or big, can learn from Netflix is being customer-centric and delivering a great experience with every interaction. Data informs every decision they make at Netflix. It begins with data collection. Ensure you collect data points across all customer touchpoints. This includes complaints, support requests, transactions, social media, and customer feedback. Netflix has turned customer engagement into a science. They’ve prioritized learning who are their customers and how to reach them.
Are UX and CX different? Yes, they are. Should they be considered completely separate and exclusive disciplines? No, if you want to win the loyalty of your users and customers. To make sure you’re making the right investments in both CX and UX, ask your customers. With this knowledge, you don’t have to choose between investing in your CX or UX.
“Don’t you guys make it look pretty?”
This is a question often overheard from people who don’t really know what product designers do, or from those who are new to the industry. So what do product designers do?
Let’s try an experiment. Walk around the teams in your room and ask a developer, a PM, a UI designer, a UX designer, and maybe a QA engineer what a product designer does. Now formalize your findings… I bet you will find they all vary and some may even be shocking. This may be the right time to get your teams together and host a fireside chat to discuss what a product designer actually does.
It’s not uncommon in many organizations to have different opinions as to what a Product Designer does. I have worked for some of the biggest organizations, and even there it was a grey area. If you really get into it though, it makes sense: product design and the whole digital design ecosystem has moved and evolved so fast in the last two years that role specifics can confuse even the most seasoned designer.
This confusion may be attributed to competing and complementary niche roles. Specialists in UI design, UX design, information architecture, UX copywriters, mobile designers, web designers, interaction designers, animation designers, and so on, can often be lumped together or crossover in responsibilities.
I hold the role of Director of Product Design at aequilibrium, a digital product agency in Vancouver, BC, and I like to consider myself akin to a conductor of the digital orchestra. In my experience, product designers typically come from one or many of the listed specialist roles and have adapted to another, then another, building out their toolkit over many years (and late nights) to become the holistic, data-driven, results-based, pixel-perfect, bleeding-edge technology masochists that we are. Although the role is still much in flux as the industry changes day by day, this is my attempt at conveying the breadth, wealth, and utility of this sadly underestimated role.
Product design is about problem-solving, and product designers seek to improve the experiences of products by solving complex design problems. If you look at your Product Designer as someone that makes your solution look presentable, look again. They are there to help you identify, investigate, and validate the problem. Ultimately, he or she is there to craft, design, test, and ship the solution.
“Product design is not purely aesthetic.”
They do so by using a variety of skills:
“Present a product designer with a solution, and they will tell you what’s wrong with it.”
A Product Designer will never commit to one idea from a client or a manager. Instead, they will explore various alternatives to solve a single problem. Using analytics and gathering existing user data are critical to finding the right solution, as is employing cross-functional teams from every corner of the business to help brainstorm as many solutions as possible.
Product Designers use wireframes and prototypes to validate their designs. After user validation, they will provide several fully baked low-fidelity concepts (more wireframes, and workflows) that will aim to solve the problem at hand. With a clear strategy for how, when, and what to A/B test, the build and release plans will become evident.
“A product designer will design the solution until the problem changes.”
During active sprints, Product Designers will join the development team to see through their solution. UI audits, micro interactions, App Store requirements, you name it, are all part of the Product Design process. On smaller teams, Product Designers will also work with marketing and stakeholders to ensure the story is consistent with the product through the development of social assets and websites.
What I find most personal is that Product Designers will often take part in the continuation of a product long after the first version has been released. They will follow up on data and metrics to continue validating their design, possibly until the end of time.
One of the major areas of work that is often overlooked in the role of the Product Designer is branding. It is part of the Product Designer’s job to ensure the product is designed on brand; if the product doesn’t deliver what the brand promises and what the stakeholders have asked for, users will not stick around. Trust me on this one.
Product Designers are therefore regarded as the caretakers of the business’ foundation. Any such discrepancies will ultimately cause the product to fail. As such, it’s of utmost importance for the Product Design team to work closely with the Marketing team.
This is an ever-evolving world. We all feel it. That which was extraordinary yesterday is mundane today and stale tomorrow. Product design is still trying to figure out its place within this highly reactive space. Hell, half the platforms we have to design for today didn’t even exist a couple of years ago. And you can be sure there will be even more in the years to come with even more complex experiences to discover and create solutions for.
Product design is thus adaptive, agile, and flexible. As Product Designers, we need to understand that while good, well thought through design is timeless, nothing is forever and we need to be open to whatever change may come our way.
A strategy I enjoy deploying is preparation. By understanding and keeping up with industry standards and the latest tech and tools, I’m easier able to tackle new ideas and iterations. Microinteraction prototyping using InVision Studio is an example of a tool I recently started to learn, along with my design team where we learned the basics together. We currently spend any free time between projects playing around so that the following week we all have something cool to show each other. So far it’s been a lot of fun, and one of the meetings each week that I actually find myself looking forward to the most. I encourage all Product Design teams out there to consider following our lead. It’s an excellent way to stay apprised of the latest developments and to continuously hone your skills. If we deem the new process a great value-add to our team and also to our clients we start assimilating it into our design process–– we win and clients win.
We’re just starting to wrap our heads around Product Design, and that’s ok because this industry and the technology behind it moves so fast we are running to keep up with it. New capabilities in codeless prototyping, microinteractions, animations, and work tools like the aforementioned InVision Studio not only allow us to push the limits of product design but also the capabilities of the tools we used to create and show them.
Unfortunately, product design has classically been seen as purely aesthetic. “Make it pretty,” they say. This is a perception we have to change. We are the architects of the user experience! And as such, it is our responsibility to educate those around us, above us, and under us, about what it is we actually can and should be doing.
When you hire a Product Owner, you likely do so because this person is well-versed in a wide range of disciplines; they understand some front- and backend coding, timing, budgeting, business valuation, analytics, management, etc. In many ways, this is how you should be thinking about hiring Product Designers. Sure, they might have a beautiful portfolio, but can they be a key player throughout the entire product development process? A good Product Designer should know a bit of animation, prototyping, coding, user research, visual and interaction design, market validation modeling, customer scenario, and journey mapping modeling. They should know when to deliver wireframes, and when to deliver pixel-perfect mockups. They should know when to use animation, and when to prototype. They should know how to validate a product hypothesis, communicate and gather data on what the user wants, and aggregate this data into business intelligence information to the stakeholders. Last but not least, they should know how to convincingly communicate their solutions.
In my time at aequilibrium, we’ve gone from a handful of mainly Visual Designers to a full-stack team comprised of Product Designers, User Researchers, Prototypers, and UX Copywriters.
We’ve gone from being at the end of the product development and design cycle (“We need buttons on this new feature we’re going to launch”) to the very forefront (“We want to investigate all the possible ways of enabling our users to interact and explore our product”). In a nutshell, you could say that we’ve truly gone from being a cursory consideration as the beauticians of the product to the curators of that which matters most—the user experience.
It’s important to start by saying there’s no commonly accepted definition for UX design.
User experience design is a concept that has many dimensions, and it includes a bunch of different disciplines—such as interaction design, information architecture, visual design, usability, and human-computer interaction.
But let’s try to get a clearer picture of what that really means.
According to a study from the Oxford Journal Interacting With Computers:
The goal of UX design in business is to “improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product.”
In other words, UX design is the process of designing (digital or physical) products that are useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with. It’s about enhancing the experience that people have while interacting with your product, and making sure they find value in what you’re providing.
But unfortunately, that isn’t a comprehensive explanation of UX design either. So to help you get a better understanding of what it really is, we reached out to 15 thought leaders in the space and asked them:
What is UX design?
Said differently: “How would you describe UX design to someone who was learning about it for the first time?”
Here’s what they had to say:
“If UX is the experience that a user has while interacting with your product, then UX Design is, by definition, the process by which we determine what that experience will be.
UX Design always happens. Whether it’s intentional or not, somebody makes the decisions about how the human and the product will interact. Good UX Design happens when we make these decisions in a way that understands and fulfills the needs of both our users and our business.”
“Your question is simple, the answer is a little complicated, and it sometimes can be controversial.
User Experience Design is an approach to design that takes into account all the aspects of a product or service with the user. That includes not only the beauty and function: (usability and accessibility) of a product or a flow, but also things like delight, and emotion—things that are harder to engineer and achieve.
While a designer can create a toggle, a flow, or an interaction that is beautiful, unique, sexy, and functional in a flow—UXD extends into all the disciplines that come together to make the user experience as a whole great.
Yes, you have interaction designers, but you also have content strategists, information architects, user researchers, engineers, and product managers—all of whom have a shared responsibility to create an experience that is easy to use, and leaves users pleased because it is adding value to them.”
“UX Design is an empathically-driven practice crafted to solve human and business problems, and remove obstacles and friction from a user’s desired goals—hopefully delivering delight in the process.”
“User Experience Design (UXD or UED) is a design process whose sole objective is to design a system that offers a great experience to its users. Thus UXD embraces the theories of a number of disciplines such as user interface design, usability, accessibility, information architecture, and Human Computer Interaction.
User Experience Design is practiced by User Experience Designers—who are particularly concerned with the interaction that occurs between users and the system they are using.
So, for example, a UX designer would take the principles that state how to make a product accessible, and actually embody those principles in the design process of a system so that a user that is interacting with it would find it as being accessible.”
“In 100 words? Yikes! (There go four of them already. Oops. Make that ten.) Here goes: The deliberately squishy term “User Experience” encompasses UX Research (figuring out how people perceive and interact with a product, system, or service) and UX design (improving or manipulating how useful/easy/pleasant/marketable/addictive it is to use it). UX descended from Ergonomics, User Centered Design, and Usability/Information Architecture until in the wake of the success of the iPhone it morphed into the current 46 subspecialties and flavors du jour. From its noble heritage of advocacy for the user (“improving the user’s experience”), it has displayed an alarming tendency to lean towards advocacy for the producer (maximizing usage/sales/addiction). [Sorry for turning dark there at the end.]”
“User experience design is the culmination of content, research, design and strategy and its effect on the delivery, selling and use of a digital product or service. In many instances, a user experience happens by the incidental smashing together of code and assumptions about people, so I think the distinction is in brands that recognize the value of a carefully crafted digital experience. In many ways, it is the fulfillment of a brand’s promise and recognition that how customers’ feel has a huge commercial impact.”
“UX design is the art and science of generating positive emotions among people who interact with products or services.”
“UX design is a commitment to building products that are created with the customer in mind. It starts with studying who the customers are and what they need and taking that information to provide products and services that improve the quality of people’s lives.
Design ideas are validated through real customer feedback and iterated on to ensure the final product will work well for those that will be using it.”
“If we look at an interactive thing like a website or a device or a piece of software, designing the user experience for that thing is the creative and analytical process of determining what it’s going to be—what it’s going to do for people, how they’ll use it, and what it looks/sounds/feels/smells/tastes like.”
“For me UX design is so much more than just designing for a screen. The user experience is impacted by decisions made across an organization from the boardroom to the way a developer codes for performance.
Take for example the new Disney Magicband. This doesn’t have a graphic user interface and yet creates an amazing experience using sensors and well-implemented customer service.”
“UX Design is simply design with an awareness of all the touchpoints that comprise the overall experience with your product/service. So it goes beyond screen and visual design to things like email correspondence, the way people answer phones, marketing messages, return policies, release notes, and everything in between.
It is critical to focus on the entire experience in the Internet Age because it is likely you will never meet many of your customers face-to-face. Eventually, though, the letters “UX” will fade away and it will be understood that all of these things are part of designing any product or service.”
“UX Design is the purposeful application of logic and rationale for creating experiences that offer both utility and value to the end user. It’s a process of deeply understanding the user’s needs and objectives, identifying where their greatest problems exist, and working generatively to ideate ways to solve these problems. Rarely centered on the creation of a single screen, UX Design is instead the intentional act of crafting countless interactions that span the entire user journey within a given product experience while also adhering to brand, design and usability standards.”
“User Experience is a commitment to developing products and services with purpose, compassion, and integrity. It is the never-ending process of seeing the world from the customers’ perspective and working to improve the quality of their lives.
It is the never-ending process of maintaining the health of the business and finding new ways to help it grow sustainably. It is the perfect balance between making money and making meaning.”
(Note: If you want to read more about Whitney’s take on user experience, check out this article.)
While I understand you’re targeting the big picture, as a user researcher I think of UX *design* specifically as interaction design, a piece of the UX pie along with a whole host of other UX skill sets, some which are fully design-oriented and some which are not. I’ve been in more than one situation where people referred to me as a UX designer who does research. Of course, there are people who are UX designers that do research, but not me. My UX identity is simply that of a plain old researcher. As such, I fall into another piece of the UX pie—intimately connected with UX design—but still only parallel.”
“Many people state that experience cannot be designed because experiences are something people have—not something that can be designed. On one hand, I completely agree.
On the other hand, UX enables us to identify what makes a good experience versus a bad one. And when done well, the designed elements of an experience become invisible and the user is delighted because we have anticipated their needs to give them something they don’t think to ask for.”
As you can see, UX design has multiple interpretations but it’s really all about keeping your users at the center of everything you create.
Digital marketing is more important than ever. Take steps to create or improve your marketing strategy today to accelerate your results
Where do you start if you want to develop a digital marketing strategy? It’s still a common challenge since many businesses know how vital digital and mobile channels are today for acquiring and retaining customers. Yet they don’t have an integrated plan to support digital transformation and company growth, and engage their audiences effectively online.
If your business doesn’t have a strategic marketing plan you will suffer from the ten problems I highlight later in this article and you will lose out to competitors who are more digitally savvy.
For each of the ten problems, I will also recommend marketing solutions and next steps to help you optimize your marketing strategy to win more customers.
Digital marketing, specifically, refers to ‘Achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies and media.’
Digital technologies and media include:
However, to be truly successful, digital techniques must be integrated with traditional media such as print, TV, and direct mail as part of multichannel marketing communications. More importantly, now more than ever, you need to be able to demonstrate the value of your work.
Our RACE planning framework splits up the customer’s digital experience over Reach, Act, Convert and Engage – the full customer journey.
Within each technique, there are lots of detailed tactics that are important to success. So, they need to be evaluated and prioritized. For example, dynamic content for email automation, website personalization to programmatic, retargeting, and skyscraper content for organic search.
Not sure where to begin? Our dedicated marketing training gives you all the tools you need to optimize your marketing strategy across 10 of the hottest marketing channels and strategies.
Smart Insights members are applying Learning Paths to strategize, upskill, and grow their businesses. From campaign planning, to email marketing, SEO, content, and more. Get started today.
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In my experience, a common challenge is where to start drawing up your digital marketing plan. I think there is a fear that a massive report is required, but we believe that lean planning works best. That’s why all our Learning Paths are integrated across the RACE Framework, so you can create one integrated strategy.
Your plan doesn’t need to be a huge report, a strategy can best be summarized in two or three sides of A4 in a table linking digital marketing strategies to SMART objectives within our RACE Framework. As a Business Member, we can support you to get it right the first time.
From talking to companies, I find the creation of digital plans often occurs in two stages.
Our Managing Digital Marketing 2020 report found that that nearly half of companies don’t have a clearly-defined digital marketing strategy. But of those who do, the majority have integrated it into the marketing strategy (the second step mentioned above).
Currently, about 12% are still using a separate digital document, which is the first step in the process towards a fully integrated strategy.
I’m sure many of the companies in this category are using digital media effectively and they could certainly be getting great results from their search, email, or social media marketing.
But I’m equally sure that many are missing opportunities for better integration, or are suffering from the other challenges I’ve listed below. Perhaps the problems below are greatest for larger organizations that most urgently need governance.
We’ve got bespoke marketing solutions to support both large and small businesses to optimize their marketing strategy with Learning Paths. Our step-by-step marketing training supports you and your team to plan, manage and effectively optimize both your daily marketing tasks and longer-term strategic action towards your goals.
All our marketing tools and templates are integrated across the RACE Framework. This renowned marketing structure is designed to empower managers and marketers with a clear, concise winning marketing strategy, to win more customers. Find out more.
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So, if you don’t yet have a strategy, or maybe you want to review which business issues are important to include within a strategic review, we’ve set out the 10 most common problems, that in our experience arise if you don’t have a strategy.
I find that companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don’t have a clear strategic goal for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. And if you don’t have goals with SMART digital marketing objectives you likely don’t put enough resources to reach the goals and you don’t evaluate through analytics whether you’re achieving those goals.
Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven”t researched this. Perhaps, more importantly, you won’t understand your online marketplace. The dynamics will be different from traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behavior, competitors, propositions, and options for marketing communications.
We’ve got marketing tools to support your research and planning. Our popular competitor analysis module in our RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path is packed with templates and matrixes to review the relative performance of your key competitors. Plus, find out more about your audience’s intent with our Google Keywords planning tools.
All our marketing training will support you and your team to build a winning marketing strategy to reach, convert and retain more customers and accelerate your ROI from digital marketing. Sound good? Take your next steps to a winning strategy by getting started today.
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If you’re not devoting enough resources to digital, or you’re using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will eat your digital lunch!
As a member of Smart Insights, we’ll keep you updated on the latest trends and innovations in your sector. So you can stay ahead and not fall behind.
A clearly defined digital value proposition tailored to your different target customer personas will help you differentiate your online service encouraging existing and new customers to engage initially and stay loyal. Developing an omnichannel marketing strategy is key to this for many organizations, since the content is what engages your audiences through different channels like search, social, email marketing, and on your blog.
It’s often said that digital is the “most measurable medium ever”. But Google Analytics and similar will only tell you volumes of visits, not the sentiment of visitors, what they think. You need to use other forms of website user feedback tools to identify your weak points and then address them.
It’s all too common for digital marketing activities to be completed in silos whether that’s a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT, or a separate digital agency. It’s easier that way to package ‘digital’ into a convenient chunk. But of course, it’s less effective. Everyone agrees that digital media work best when integrated with traditional media and response channels.
That’s why we recommend developing an integrated digital marketing strategy, so your digital marketing works hard for you! With your integrated plan in place, digital will become part of your marketing activity and part of business as usual. Find out more.
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Insufficient resources will be devoted to both planning and executing e-marketing. There is likely to be a lack of specific specialist e-marketing skills which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.
As a member of Smart Insights, you’ll have access to strategy and planning tools including performance and digital maturity benchmarking, and regular marketing data reports, so you can keep track of your position in a competitive landscape.
Even if you do have sufficient resources, they may be wasted. This is particularly the case in larger companies where you see different parts of the marketing organization purchasing different tools or using different agencies for performing similar online marketing tasks.
That’s why you need to invest in a marketing strategy that works for you and your team, to plan, manage and optimize your digital channels and platforms. Drive the marketing results you need to achieve your business objectives, and boost your marketing ROI.
If you look at the top online brands like Amazon, Dell, Google, Tesco, Zappos, they’re all dynamic – trialing new approaches to gain or keep their online audiences.
Every company with a website will have analytics. But many senior managers don’t ensure that their teams make or have the time to review and act on them. Once your digital marketing strategy enables you to get the basics right, then you can progress to the continuous improvement of the key aspects like search marketing, site user experience, email, and social media marketing.
So, the good news is that there are powerful reasons for creating a digital strategy and transforming your marketing, which you can use to persuade your colleagues and clients.
If you’re looking to integrate your digital marketing, Smart Insights membership is a no-brainer. We have options to suit small and large businesses, plus consultants, agencies, and individuals, so you can enhance your skills and grow your business.
Apply the RACE Framework to your marketing strategy today to see your results rocket. Our tried-and-tested marketing structure has been proven to boost growth for businesses investing in digital marketing to reach their goals. If you have any questions about membership, or just want to find out more about what’s on offer, why not book a consultation?
Don’t forget, Smart Insights members can use our digital benchmarking tools to track your progress from initial to optimized:
Are you an entrepreneur planning to launch your IT application? Or, are you an enterprise IT manager in charge of building a new enterprise IT application? Before you start building your system, you need to decide the most appropriate software architecture. We explain the top 10 software architectural patterns here.
In this article, we will cover the most relevant questions regarding software architectural patterns:
Before delving into the common architectural patterns, let’s understand what software architecture is. Software architecture is a pictorial representation of the IT system that communicates the following:
The schematic representation is an outcome of the design principles software architects use and the decisions they make. A typical software architecture requires decisions concerning security, performance, manageability, etc.
The design principles, architectural decisions, and their outcome, i.e., software architecture together enable a software system to deliver its’ business, operational, and technical objectives. You need to get the software architecture right due to the following reasons:
Following are indications that you have a good software architecture:
It’s time to study the 10 most common patterns, so, here we go:
We often use ‘N-tier architecture’, or ‘Multi-tiered architecture’ to denote “layered architecture pattern”. It’s one of the most commonly used patterns where the code is arranged in layers. Key characteristics of this pattern are as follows:
This pattern has the following advantages:
Popular frameworks like Java EE use this pattern.
There are a few disadvantages too, as follows:
“Client-server software architecture pattern” is another commonly used one, where there are 2 entities. It has a set of clients and a server. The following are key characteristics of this pattern:
Email applications are good examples of this pattern. The pattern has several advantages, as follows:
Some disadvantages of the client-server architecture are as follows:
“Master-slave architecture pattern” is useful when clients make multiple instances of the same request. The requests need simultaneous handling. Following are its’ key characteristics:
Advantages of this pattern are the following:
Any application involving multi-threading can make use of this pattern, e.g., monitoring applications used in electrical energy systems.
There are a few disadvantages to this pattern, e.g.:
Suppose you have complex processing in hand. You will likely break it down into separate tasks and process them separately. This is where the “Pipe-filter” architecture pattern comes in use. Following characteristics distinguish it:
Compilers often use this pattern, due to the following advantages:
Watch out for a few disadvantages:
Consider distributed systems with components that provide different services independent of each other. Independent components could be heterogeneous systems on different servers, however, clients still need their requests serviced. “Broker architecture pattern” is a solution to this.
It has the following broad characteristics:
Message broker software like IBM MQ uses this pattern. The pattern has a few distinct advantages, e.g.:
“Peer-to-peer (P2P) pattern” is markedly different from the client-server pattern since each computer on the network has the same authority. Key characteristics of the P2P pattern are as follows:
File-sharing networks are good examples of the P2P pattern. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency networks are other examples. Advantages of a P2P network are as follows:
Under heavy load, the P2P pattern has performance limitations, as the questions surrounding the Bitcoin transaction throughout shows.
There are applications when components act only when there is data to be processed. At other times, these components are inactive. “Event-bus pattern” works well for these, and it has the following characteristics:
This software architecture pattern is also used in Android development.
Some disadvantages of this pattern are as follows:
The development team should make provision for sufficient fall-back options in the event the event-bus has a failure.
“Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture pattern” involves separating an applications’ data model, presentation layer, and control aspects. Following are its’ characteristics:
This pattern is popular. Many web frameworks like Spring and Rails use it, therefore, many web applications utilize this pattern. Its’ advantages are as follows:
There are also a few disadvantages, for e.g.:
Emerging from the world of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) development, the “Blackboard architecture pattern” is more of a stop-gap arrangement. Its’ noticeable characteristics are as follows:
Image recognition, speech recognition, etc. use this architecture pattern. It has a few advantages, as follows:
There are also limitations, for e.g.:
A pattern specific to certain use cases, the “Interpreter pattern” deals with the grammar of programming languages. It offers an interpreter for the language. It works as follows:
The use of this pattern is in creating “Classes” from symbols in programming languages. You create grammar for the language, so that interpretation of sentences becomes possible. Network protocol languages and SQL uses this pattern.
Today ‘digital’ is the talk of a town. We hear about digital technologies, digital data, digital media, digital transformation, digital marketing. Everyone wants to go digital. But which way to go? And what is digital transformation and why having a digital transformation strategy is important?
We know now that mobile is the future of everything. With the rise of the Internet of Things and mobile devices our lives and habits have clearly changed. Everything is now connected and if it’s not, it’s about to. We live in a world where you can connect your coffee machine to the Internet and make your coffee via Bluetooth. If your coffee machine can go online and you’re still only thinking about it, what does it say about you?
So, you’ve decided ‘to put yourself out there’? But before you move with your digital strategy, it’s important to understand what it really means and thus how to be able to benefit from it.
Digital transformation is often viewed as an implementation of digital technologies into all areas of business in order to build more sustainable relationships and better understand the needs of customers.
But this is just one of the ways to look at it. When talking about digital, we can think of discovering new frontiers and using innovation and technologies to push your business. It’s about finding new possibilities of an existing service in order to design and deliver a better experience for your customer. Some might argue it’s a new way of interacting with customers. None of these definitions is truer that the other but what we can all agree on is that todaydigital transformation is the force that moves businesses forward.
What is the logic behind going digital? Among the most popular reasons are:
Now that we’ve established the significance of digital transformation, let’s dwell on how crucial it is to plan and strategize.
Strategy is more important than technology – states MITSloan report. And they’ve got some facts to back their opinion.
Simply going digital isn’t going to cut any more. Only 15% respondents from companies that are at the early stages of going digital say that their company has got a clear digital business transformation strategy. While for digitally mature companies, where digital first has helped transform business models and processes, as well as increase talent engagement, the number is more than 80%.
It seems like being a digital company is a key factor in many respects today. Potential employees name being digitally enabled company as one of the reasons to seek employment within the organization.
For companies, a digital business strategy is viewed as means of transforming their business, streamline processes, and making use of technologies to enhance their interaction with customers and employees, and deliver excellent customer experience at the same time. Failing to plan in that field comes with a great price. One of the biggest obstacles to becoming digitally mature company is lack of digital transformation strategy. 50% of survey participants named it the main barrier to digital maturity.
And what is the state of digital, you might ask? In a race between enterprises and startups, the later seems to be leading. 55% of startups have already adopted digital transformation strategy, by contrast, only 38% of traditional enterprises did. But this doesn’t mean that the race is over. Among the established organizations, the wind of change is blowing heavy with 89% of companies either already adopting or planning to adopt a digital-first business strategy, with Services (95%), Financial Services (93%), and Healthcare (92%) at the forefront.
Tecchnologywise, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things are three top technologies enterprises are after. The whole list goes follows:
At this point, you might wonder why to go all the trouble. Sit back as we tell you the stories about the importance of digital transformation.
But this is a theory, in practice the best way to draw your digital inspiration is to learn from the masters like Amazon, one digital company that conquered the retail world.
Ten years ago nothing suggested a threat to brick and mortar stores. Their future seemed bright and promising. Back in 2005 Amazon was just an online bookstore with modest sales numbers. Today it is worth more than all major brick and mortar stores in the United States combined.
While all of the listed retail stores witnessed a loss in value, going as dramatic as -86-96 %, the business for Amazon was only blooming. It has gained 1,934 % in value and went straight to one of the most valuable companies in the world.
So it’s either nothing predicted a storm or brick and mortar stores failed to notice all the warning signs on their way.
There are some that serve like cautionary tales. Take Kodak, a company that squandered every digital opportunity it had. And plenty it had. It was a Kodak’s engineer who invented a digital camera back in 1975. And their initial reaction was that it would be a threat to their main business – film. Instead of seeing the bigger picture, that they are in the storytelling business, Kodak thought they would be able to conquer the new technology with a good marketing strategy. The problem with Kodak was not that they failed to go digital, their problem was in not being able to adapt to the digital age and the new needs of their customers.
Ok, you still think your business is too conservative and doesn’t need digital transformation? Here’s an example from another old-fashioned industry that has gone online recently – a tattoo one. Inkbay is a Swedish startup that was launched in 2016 to help people find and book a tattoo parlour online. Many may argue that tattooing belongs offline, that one of the reasons why it’s become so popular is that it’s something you can’t get on the Internet. But the numbers say the contrary. Inkbay initially linked studios in Stockholm, Malmo and Gothenburg and now holds 60 studios on its platform, only to expand to London this summer and Berlin and a 1-billion $ U.S. market soon to follow.
It may seem that your business is doing just fine offline today. Either because your industry is quite conservative or because you’ve been using other means to get the word out there. But what about tomorrow? In the quickly changing world will it be enough what you are doing today? The lesson we can learn from the Titans of business is quite simple – in the today’s world of digital transformation, be an ‘Amazon’ not a ‘Kodak’. Learn to think ahead of your customers’ needs rather that fail to adapt to the needs of the market. Find a way to deliver today what your customer might need tomorrow.
The main takeaway of going digital is, if you’re not online, it’s like you don’t exist. But what goes into the process is careful planning and strategizing. Both your customers, current or potential employees are interested in the best possible experiences and opportunities. And businesses have no other choice but be on the lookout and continuously improve to engage and retain them.