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Here Is How You Design MOBILE Landing Pages That Convert
Mobile rules the day or better said: mobile has been ruling the whole year of 2016 and is here to stay, to constantly evolve and to dominate the digital landscape in 2017, too!   It will continue to redefine the way users perform different actions online and it will definitely continue to reshape the way companies conduct their businesses online.   Implicitly, it has started to redefine the way online marketers are crafting their landing pages, too.    How are you adapting to “the new way” of designing landing pages? Have you gone beyond the “simply stacking content at mobile size” mentality? Have you started to approach content differently when you build your mobile landing pages?   To cut out the lengthy content? To reconsider the placement of your conversion elements, due to the limited amount of space at your disposal?   As you ponder upon the above questions and reexamine your previous mobile landing pages, scan through these 5 strategies bellow, strategies that we, ourselves, are using here, at our web development company in Toronto, strategies aimed at helping you convert your users on mobile:   1. Think Through Your Mobile Content    Content is (the almighty) king on mobile, too! Just make sure you don't “push it off” its throne by approaching it the wrong way.   Which is this “wrong approach” you say?    Not adapting your mobile content to your own specific area of activity and, therefore, to your specific target audience's expectations, as well!   Instead of “jumping on whatever's the most popular trend right now” when it comes to content's ideal length on mobile devices (some will say you should go for a 500-word, others for a 1000-word piece of content for your landing page), you should run some A/B test yourselves.   But that only after you've drawn some pretty logical conclusions from analyzing your area of activity and studying your target audience, too:   Let's assume you run a plumbing company; well, then, my friend, you can't expect a user accessing your landing page (going through a pipeline leak “crisis”) to be willing to read a lengthy piece of content detailing various types of pipelines (let's say), before he/she will have scrolled down like a madman for finding your contact details. It's common sense deduction don't you think?   Let's assume that you run a luxury goods company; considering your items' high prices, you should expect your potential customers to want to read detailed product descriptions, including all the details they need for making their final decision. You should expect them to want pictures, lots of pictures, which will help them visualize those expensive items from various angles, to read all about the lifetime guarantee that you provide and so on.   In one word: you can't just play by “what's most likely to happen” and you definitely can't risk guessing, either.   Just keep in mind the type of products/services that you're selling through your landing page!   Takeaways:   A common sense rule is to place your conversion elements and important content as high as possible on the page, but not to be afraid to continue to deliver quality content and more information about your business bellow the “fold” at the bottom of your users' screens  It's perfectly true that more often than not mobile users would stop with their scrolling (and reading) to he bottom of their screen But! There are also surveys revealing that if websites feature a user-friendly interfaces and engaging content (such as video content) they're more likely to keep scrolling down   Shorten your paragraphs, more frequent paragraph break will help your mobile (potential) shoppers to easily “digest” your content. Remember that a paragraph of reasonable length on desktop will look awfully “crowded” when compressed for the mobile screens! Therefore: ease your reader's job and break your content into breaf paragraphs!   2. Consider and Prevent User Experience Barriers    As we've already relentlessly pointed out here, on our blog: user experience is and will be the main “generator” of online initiatives, strategies and plans impacting your business. You simply can't afford underestimating it!   How does the user experience factor shape your mobile landing page designing efforts?   Easily! It will challenge you to foresee that whole journeys that your users will take once they visit your landing page. It will also challenge you to to review it, beforehand, on multiple mobile devices and by asking the opinion of several users.   Now speaking of the user experience barriers that you should avoid, here are a   examples:   1. Illegible Text on Mobile Devices Don't just transition your text from desktop to mobile and consider your job done!   Make sure your text, once shrunk to mobile size, still looks legible. Is the font too small? How about the background color? Does it impair legibility or not?   Tip: your goal shouldn't be to keep your user “captive” on your mobile landing page, but to direct him/her on your primary Drupal website instead. Therefore, remember to make your logo visible and to provide footer links back to your site.   2. The Temptation of Using Interstitial Forms No matter how tempting it might look to you to use such conversion tactics, resist it!   The result is sure to be a high number of users who'll instantly bounce off your landing page instead of that luring no. of converted users that you might have in mind!   Note: if on the desktop variant of your website it might be easier for your users to click the “X” for closing your newsletter sign up form, just imagine how frustrating this action gets on mobile. Your users might just assume that you will have specifically made it impossible for them to close your form and you can just guess how this will affect your conversion rate, right?   3. Faulty Responsive Design Take your time (it will be well invested time) to think through how you'll stack all the elements of your landing page at a mobile size!   By doing so you'll avoid risks such as: users having to scroll down excessively in order to reach your “Contact” button or your form.   This will also allow you to apply the right layout adjustments for placing your contact form higher on the mobile-size page or for opting for a “Contact” button that remains visible on the page as the user scrolls down.   3. Don't Lose Sight of Your Goal: Conversions   It's not (just) for presenting your products/services, for “wowing” users or for “showing off” your design skills that you're building your mobile landing page! But for converting your users!   That's your main goal and you should steer all your efforts towards reaching it!    How do you do that “constrained” by the limited pace you have on a mobile devices' screen?    Here are a few tips:   you keep in mind to place and to make visible a click-to-call button; remember that it's from their mobile devices that your users access your landing page and, therefore,  they're far more likely to place a call for service than desktop users you keep in mind to place both a “Contact” button and a prominent contact form on your mobile landing page you keep in mind that your form's fields might get awfully shrunk and thus impossible to be tapped on when transitioned from desktop to mobile. Make sure to fix this issue!   4. Make Sure That It Loads “Instantly”   Remember that it's mobile users that you're reaching out to! They don't expect your landing page to load (just) quickly, but instantly!    Gather your team of web development experts and run some speed tests and then figure out how you could optimize your mobile landing page for a better performance!   You simply can't afford to underestimate this aspect!   5. Properly Test It Before Launching It   Without proper testing all your (mobile) landing page building efforts risk to be nothing but a waste of resources!   How do you run “proper” tests on your landing page? Here are some good practices for testing your landing page performance before launching it:   You “recruit” your testers from both the Android and iOS users' communities; make sure to pick users owing different types of mobile devices for getting them to test your landing page   You run A/B tests (you could use tools such as Google Analytics, Optimizely, Content Experiments) to find out which is the most efficient way of placing elements on your landing page   You install a heatmapping tool (we recommend either Hotjar or Crazy Egg) to discover how far into the content your users would scroll down and what elements on your landing page they're more likely to engage with   And here is how you do it! Here is how you put together not just visually-pleasing, but also efficient mobile landing pages.  What other strategies have you been successfully implementing for converting your mobile users?   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 06'2017
Is Your eCommerce Website Millennial-Friendly? A 7-Question Quiz to Help You Find Out
You'd better write this down: it's the milennial generation that will determine all your future initiatives, as a “player” in the online “arena”, and it's them, again, who'll continue to (re)shape it in 2017, as well!   There's no halfway to adapting your Drupal e-commerce website to their own different lifestyle, different experiences, different set of behaviors and overall different mindset.   If (maybe) you've “shyly” started to consider them as an emerging buying force and, subsequently, soon to become your target audience in 2017, now it's certain: you'll either model the user experiences that you provide on your site after millennials' different expectations or, well, you'll be left behind, stuck in baby boomers' age.   Since this time of year is perfect for evaluating and examining how you've been running your business online (so that you can outline your first business initiatives in 2017), let us assist you with 7 questions which will help you estimate just where you stand.   Whether your e-commerce website is luring millennials in, or, on the contrary, it drives them away.   1. Do You Deliver The Best Mobile User Experiences?   Millennials crave convenience! They want to get things done, to access the information they need or to shop the products they want while on the run: quick and easy!   They're pretty much “glued to” their mobile devices! Therefore, you either go for a mobile-first mentality (that Drupal 8 is already famous for) or you run the risk of losing an entire generation of potential customers!   Direct most of your web development and web design efforts for making your website perform and look great on mobile.   And once you've achieved that, mind you don't rest on your oars: remain “vigilant” and always on the look for new and new ways of perfecting the UX you'll delivering to your highly-demanding millennial shoppers on mobile.    If you don't do all it takes so that they can easily flow through your website, during their visits, you can as well kiss millennials goodbye!    2. Do You Incorporate Philanthropy Into Your Business?   That's right, the millennial generation is far more likely to genuinely devote itself to philanthropic causes as compared to their parents' generation! There's also a certain level of coolness associated with philanthropy.   How does this core value dear to the younger generation affect you, as a company? Well, if you want to reach out to these potential customers and to turn them into long-term loyal customers, you need to incorporate philanthropy into your business strategy.   Choose a philanthropic organization for directing your donations or stand for the eradication of a global disease, it's totally up to you how you choose to get involved. Just make sure that you broadcast your philanthropic initiatives on your website.   Remember: as compared to baby boomers, charity/environmental awareness is no longer a matter of personal choice to showcase on certain occasions. It's a way of life for the millennial generation (both personal and professional)!   3. Is Your Content Vivid, Funny or Rather Corporate-Like?   Forget all about corporate language if you want to efficiently reach out to millennial shoppers on your Drupal e-commerce website!   Take a “brutally” honest look at the current content on your website and if it sounds impersonal and rigid to you, consider giving it an overall content facelift for 2017.   Millennials appreciate vivid, funny and personal content. Therefore, jump of the video content trend that's so popular right now and rewrite the existing written content so that it should tell (in a slightly informal language) a story, your story. Make it fun, engaging and unique!   If there's something that millennials hate, that's “boring” corporate language and content lacking a personal touch. Keep that in mind!   4. Is Your Site's Design Simple, Yet Visually-Intriguing?   Keep your website's design simple, yet not simplistic!   In other words, strike a balance between a minimalist web design and visually-appealing elements. Simplify your young users' journey from your homepage to your shopping cart page, but make sure you don't bore them, either.   In a nutshell: millennials need to access the information they're looking for immediately and effortlessly. But they want to be entertained, surprised and engaged, as well!   Therefore, you'd better learn how to juggle with various web design techniques, that any web designer in Toronto, familiarized with the latest trends, would apply, in order to reach these goals:   ample white (or negative) space eye-pleasing directional cues, vivid colors, intriguing graphics, non-conventional fonts etc. minimalist web design techniques   Note: deliver your message in a straightforward way, make sure to go for an inviting (friendly) theme on your site and stay away from “common” when you're striving to simplify millennials' journeys on your site.    5. Does Your Website Load Instantly?   Remember: you're striving to reach out to the very first generation of digital natives!   Your millennial shoppers are highly technology savvy, so you simply can't afford not to keep up with them.    Make sure your website loads not just quickly, but “instantly”. And here your minimalist web design will make your best “ally”.   Keep in mind that your younger audience does not appreciate brands that compromise speed for added value. They want both: quality, engaging content and instantly loading web pages.   Therefore now, at the beginning of the year, it's the best time for you to run a speed test on your site and to figure out how you could optimize it for mobile so that its pages should reach better load times!   6. How Socially Active is Your Brand?   Millennials are more likely to get familiarized with your brand and to get to know your products/services, on social media, rather then by visiting your website.   So, how are you going to greet them there? How will you introduce your brand to them on social media?   You should direct a great deal of your efforts towards putting together an active social media presence for your brand. Keep your channels constantly updated with both promotional and engaging types of content. Aim at winning their trust there, at building a community of social media active millennials loyal to your brand!   Also, remember that the millennial generation has different expectations. They're expecting their favorite brand (hopefully you) to attend to them individually. To answer their questions and to take criticism well.    Be active, be positive, be always ready to engage with your millennial customers on social media and: be creative when you craft your social media presence!   7. Do You Provide “Complete” Online Shopping Experiences?   Online shoppers Millennials expect it all!   You just have to deal with it!    How? By offering them not just “an” online shopping experience, but a “complete” online shopping experience.   They want to access product information fast and effortlessly, to have product reviews and price comparisons displayed instantly.   They want a customer-oriented call center to answer their questions fast and all the shipping estimates-related info to be delivered to them the instant they've added an item into their cart.   There's not halfway here! If they're don't have this information and facilities at their fingertips, millennials will just go to another brand, no matter how amazing your products might be.   Convenience plays a major role in millennials' busy lives!     Now take your time to answer to all our suggested questions and to put together your millennials-centered business strategy for 2017!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 05'2017
The Top 8 SEO Resolutions You Should Make This Year
Deep in budget plans and marketing strategy drafts these days?   We so know the feeling and we're in the right position (since we're pretty much in the same situation ourselves, as well, here, at our Toronto web design company) to empathize with you!   But we'd like to go beyond (just) empathy! We'd like to help you in your online marketing efforts specific to this time of year!   In this respect, we've put together a list of 8 SEO resolutions that you should make and keep this year. Take them as some truly efficient little "adjustments", for they won't “shake” the foundation of your business plan, nor will they ruin your budget.   You should see our suggested SEO commitments, that you should make and stick to in 2017, rather as some mindsets that you should start adopting, as a marketer, or as different angles that you should start approaching SEO this year.   1. Create Mobile-First Experiences    “Mobile-first” and “experience” will be some truly influencing words/trends in 2017!   The online marketing arena has given us enough clues in 2016 that we're about to enter a new mobile-focused era, clues ranging from Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages to Facebook's Instant Articles, to Apple's News.    Now if we are to relate the first one of these 3 major clues, the AMP, to your SEO success in 2017 we should say that:   The little green lightning signaling AMP pages to searchers will attract visitors to your website   AMP is assumed, in the online marketers' community, to be a raking factor (a “supposition” that you should keep a close eye on till it turns itself into a fact)   As for the second powerful word of 2017's digital landscape, “experience”, expect it to influence marketers' approaches to SEO this year.   How come? Well, it won't be a matter of “pleasing” search engines anymore. SEO will become a matter of “pleasing” your visitors landing on your site from their mobile devices first.   The higher ranking on search engines will come too, if you play your “crafting the best mobile experiences” card right!   How do you ensure a good experience to your mobile users?   You improve your web page's load time on mobile devices   You make your users' journeys on your website intuitive, accessible and convenient, designed for them, consumers of mobile experiences, rather than just adapted, subsequently, for mobile.   2. Optimize Your Site For Your Visitors First   … and you'll be automatically optimizing it for search engines, too!   If in 2016 you've started to “shyly” adopt the “customer-first” type of thinking, as an online marketer, and to slowly leave the search engines-oriented type of thinking behind, in 2017 you should turn it into a must-adopt mindset.   Don't think exclusively about the algorithms and about winning search engine' favors when you optimize your website for mobile: do it with the “image” of your visitors in mind!   How intuitive are their journeys on your website? Are they enjoying the best mobile experience during their visit on your site?   Remember that Google turned user experience into a ranking factor for mobile, so don't be too surprised if it will do the same for desktop sites, too, in 2017.   Meanwhile, be prepared! Get to know your audience and to constantly improve their experience on your website.   Here are just a few strong reasons why better user experiences will grant your a better search engine ranking:   the more engaged with your brand your visitors are, the more chances you have for them to convert your inbound traffic   the more pages they'll visit on your site and the more they'll linger on your site, the more chances you have to get a better ranking   happy customers (happy with your site's load time, with how logical and intuitive their whole journey on your website is) translate into a lower bouncing rate and implicitly into a higher conversion rate and also in higher chances to win Google's attention (in a good way)   the better experiences you'll craft for your visitors, the more likely they are to “spread the news” about your brand    SEO= Optimized User Experiences in 2017!   3. Write Longer-Form Content   In 2017 you either go with the flow, which is the rise of the long-form content, or, well, the flow leaves you behind!   Deal with the fact that readers have gradually got sick of the same short-form and rather superficially written content.   They've started to look for content which should provide them more added value . This calls for more time invested in research and for more resources of time (again) in crafting and in elaborating longer-form, richer (more detailed) pieces of content.   Here are some benefits that high quality, long-form content will bring you:   you'll get to make a winning difference, to set yourself apart from competition you'll build trust (which is gold in your relation with your potential customers) the two above benefits will automatically grant you more conversions   4. Audit, Audit, Then Audit Some More   “Laziness” is one of the main reasons why SEO campaigns fail or grow less and less efficient in time.   Therefore, a “must” resolution to add to your list of resolutions for 2017 is to regularly audit your marketing campaigns. Make a pledge!   Proactively auditing will help you fix issues even before they get to turn into problems.   5. Perfect Your Video Editing Skills   In 2017 it's no longer a matter of “should I go for video content?”, it's a matter of “how can I create better video content?”   Adding video content is no longer an innovative trend, it's turned into a common practice for the “actors” of the digital world. Just start counting all the major platforms (Facebook here included) which have started to use live videos for complying with their users' demand for such type of content.   Now the question that arises is: how do you perfect your video content?   Let us give you a few tips and tricks:   go for more creative, even surprising ideas   insert helpful information, practical advice for your users   always keep in mind the entertainment factor    consider collaborating with charismatic hosts   invest in better production resources   6. Embrace the Voice Search Trend    Users have quickly embraced the trend of looking something up online just by uttering the right search terms and it's certain that in 2017 they'll grow to like voice search even more.   So, how will you adapt your optimization efforts for complying with this ever growing demand from the part of your customers?   Just take some time to think about that, to actually visualize your customers performing their voice searches and you'll find the answers to how you can perfect their experiences on your site from this perspective, too.   Consider the fact that voice searches rely on longer search words!   7. Start Using Rich Snippets   Rich Snippets and rich answers will grow more and more frequent this year. So, you'd better learn to deal with it, to get on top of this SEO trend.   It's all about easing Google's work (and thus ensuring your higher ranking): micro-formatting makes it easy for the search engine to go through the whole content structure on your website.    8. Make a Habit of Constantly Analyzing Your SEO Efforts   Are you already measuring and analyzing your SEO efforts, on a regular basis? Then you should consider doing it even more frequently in 2017!   Still, that's not enough: you should aim for “efficiently” tracking and analyzing your data. You don't just need to gather more and more data, but to actually handle it better.    How? Ask the right questions, examine the key sections of your campaign so that you gain truly accurate and helpful insights, rather than speculations.   Don't guess your future SEO initiatives, but determine them based on the efficiently analyzed data that you dispose of.   Everything can be measured! Remember? So, commit to measuring your efforts more frequently and more efficiently this year!     And this was the last (but definitely not the least) resolution that we advise you to make and to keep in 2017 if one of your main goals this year is to be an (even) better online marketer.   Now your turn! How does your own list of SEO resolutions look like? Which are the key commitments that you've inserted there?   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 04'2017
Why Would You Want to Start a Company Blog? 11 Powerful Benefits- Part 2
See? We're a team of our word!   We're back, as promised in our yesterday's post, with the other 6 reasons (from our list of 11) why you should inaugurate 2017 by starting your business blog. One that will give a major boost to all the digital marketing efforts concentrated on your company's website and on your social media channels!   As above mentioned, your primary goal, when you start a company blog, is not to make your sales “explode”, but: to build trust. If your customers come to trust your business blog, then they'll get to trust your company, too, and it's only as that point of the lifecycle that they'll buy your products or become willing to try your services.   It's a “healthy” mindset that you should have when your start your company blog: build trust first (through quality content that adds value to your users' lives), then you'll gain credibility, then you'll earn your authoritative voice in your niche and it's only then that: your conversion rates will improve!   Now let's cut it short and let us reveal to you the other 6 more reasons (in addition to the 5 ones presented to you in our previous post) why you should start a company blog. Reasons that we, as a web development company in Toronto, are always presenting and detailing to our customers before we start working on their web projects.   6. It Helps You Develop An Authoritative Voice    Authority goes hand in hand with trustworthiness!   It's quite logical, if you come to think of it:    you strive to post only high-quality content on your company blog, to bring value to your readers' lives just through that specific content (we don't bring in your products/services in the equation, not just yet)    thus you'll become trustworthy in your readers' minds   and they'll turn from readers who will have already benefited from the value added to your blog content to customers eager to enjoy the benefits of your products/services, as well.   Don't you think it's one of the best strategies for any future-driven entrepreneur? Invest now (in your blog) and you'll thank yourself later!   “Later” you will have already become an authority in your niche, a go-to authority for your customers, you'll become trustworthy (trustworthiness: your ultimate source of leads) and you will have won them over.   And yet: turning this possible scenario into reality does require considerable resources of time, expertise and creativity for crafting your high quality pieces of content posted on your business blog.   We won't hide it from you: it will take you plenty of time and work for making your blog work for you!   7. It Connects You With Influencers In Your Niche   Quality content doesn't attract “just” potential future customers, but experts in your niche, as well!   You never know who might land on your blog and what influencer in your field your posts might leave a great impression on!   And you never know what fruitful collaborations and great business opportunities might derive from those “decisive visits” on your company blog!   8. It Boosts Your Conversion Rates   A rule of thumb: once you've started a company blog, you need to keep it constantly updated!   You either stick to a content publishing plan or you'd better not start your blog in the first place.    How come? Since it's not just valuable content that will help you build trust and then brand loyalty, as well, but consistency, too.   And trust is what will bring you those conversion rates that you've been dreaming about!   9. It Turns Your Brand Into a Go-To Source of Value    What's in it for your reader? What will he/she get out of your posted article?   These are the key questions you should ask yourself each time you've completed a piece of content! If you can't actually come up with an answer quickly enough, then you should go back and rewrite your piece of content or write a brand new one instead.   One that should: inform educate entertain  … your readers (ideally it should reach all these 3 goals).   You don't just pass on (any) information. You first decide whether it will be helpful for your readers, whether the way you'll write about it will bring added value to their lives.    It's that added value that you'll provide that will help you build your online presence, your influence in your niche and, eventually, the “aura” of a trustworthy brand, which will translate into better conversion rates.   10. It Generates More Leads   Now here's another “more than obvious” type of reasoning: the more pages you have on your Drupal website, the more chances you have to collect leads!    Logical, right?    Now consider your future company blog: more blog posts means more pages, which inevitably means more chances for you to insert email opt-ins, quote requests, form submissions and so on.   Why should you leave money on the table when you can actually earn them through your business blog?   11. It Makes a Great Frame for Showcasing Your Discounts   Let's delve deeper into the future of your (future) company blog, after it has been fully fledged with high-quality content, after it has helped you build a wide community of loyal readers/customers around your brand. Now it's the perfect time to turn your blog into a frame for showcasing your promotional material.   Having a loyal audience who not only that constantly reads your blog posts, but buys your products/services, as well, offers you the chance to post your promotions and discounts on your blog. It's the right channel where you connect with your loyal customers, so why not get the most out of it?   Still, make sure you don't push it, that you don't overload your blog with promotional material, eitherwise you'll witness the boomerang effect: the more you'll “annoy” your readers/customers with your promotions, the less loyal they'll become to your brand!   In other words: why should you rely exclusively on your social media channels for “shouting” your discounts, when you can use your (future) popular blog? This way you'll automatically attract readers on your Drupal website, where the discounted products/services are, thus streamlining the whole online purchase process.   These are our 11 answers to your legitimate question: “Why should I even bother to start a company blog?”.   If you're still hesitant, we're looking forward to read all about your objections in the comments here bellow. If, on the contrary, you have some more reasons to add to our list, feel free to share! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 03'2017
Why Would You Want to Start a Company Blog? 11 Powerful Benefits- Part 1
Have you made some business-related wishes, too, on New Year's Eve?   We wish you all the luck achieving all your business goals for 2017 and, moreover, we're here to help you steer your efforts in the right direction, by offering you valuable information throughout the year.   Still, before we go on to the “valuable information sharing part”, let us dare you to answer to a slightly “tricky” question: What makes you stand apart from the crowd of entrepreneurs and small-business owners in your niche striving to "wow" their customers (and their possible collaborators and competitors, too) with their business websites?    Does your Drupal website feature a stunning design?   OK, so a great web designer from Toronto has designed your site so that it should visually delight your visitors, but is that enough to make them come back?   They'll see the same “visually arresting” design over and over again after all (for no reasonable website owner would go for a complete redesign of his/her company website on a weekly or on a monthly basis, right?)   Isn't this rather just a short-time “wow” effect instead?   Does your website “lure” your visitors with “hard to resist to” products or services?   Then you seem to have all the chances to distract your visitors' attention from all your “rivals'” similar products/services.Your website might just steal all the spotlights in your niche, but how do you actually light their path to your great products/services showcasing website?   Also, which will be the signals that will let Google know that your website's worthy of its attention?   Are you relying exclusively on the content that you boosted your business website with when you launched it (product descriptions, services description, a few words about the team behind and a few lines about your company's values) for getting inbound links and for ranking for long-tail keywords?   Just be honest with yourself when you answer these questions!   If you want to set yourself apart in today's digital landscape you need much more than “just” amazing graphics and great products/services.   You need to offer added value to your customers.   You need to engage.   You need to “humanize” your business (even if just a bit).   You need to share some of your expertise with your audience and not just to sell them stuff.   You need a company blog!   Now, without any further ado, let's break down the 11 reasons why “creating a company blog” should be on top of your priorities list for 2017:   1. It Makes a Great “Channel” For Engaging With Your Customers   No major or minor brand can afford to “just” present/talk to something to their audiences, since their customers expect to be engaged, they look for interaction and “dialogue” instead of “corporatestalk” (or better said “monologue”).   This being said, a company blog, through its comments section, will help you create the perfect context for “chatting” with your audience.   Challenge them to share their own suggestions with you, their feedback and critics, too. They'll, then, realize that you care for their opinions and that will make them stick around, while you'll get to collect some “gold” information about them. Information that will help you craft your future engaging blog posts.   2. It Invests Your Brand With a (Unique) Personality   “Blogging”, even if it's technical information that you share with your audience, tends to be a lot about how you write and not just about what you write. Blog posts are not simply information-stuffed articles, you know.   No reader, no matter how technical savvy or expert in a certain field might be, will land on your blog to read posts written in a purely impersonal, lacking personality type of style.   Trust us, they don't! Any Toronto developer will confirm you this.   Instead, dare breathing some life into your blog posts (instead of making them sound as if written by a machinery), make them tell chapters of your company's story, too, while informing or entertaining your audience.   A little joke here and there, a highly suggestive quote, an unexpected comparison or, even better, a true personal story would instantly draw them in, keep them engaged, keep them reading (for let's face it: 99% of blogs in a niche cover pretty much the same topics, so it's how they do it that makes all the difference).   3. It Helps You Put a “Face” On Your Audience   Remember that we've mentioned, in our last post In 2016 about learning "to “exploit” analytics and adopt a “data-driven” business mentality in the year to come"?   Well, 2017 is here and you need to learn to get the most out of the priceless data that your blog offers you "on a silver plate".   Take a look "behind the curtains" and discover which posts are more popular among your visitors. It's this data that will determine the choice of your future topics.   Take a look at the comments that your users are "spoiling" you with. They, too, tell you plenty of valuable information about your audience, if you just know how to decypher them.   Find out what they liked and disliked about your blog posts, what suggestions they wrote there, what words and expressions they used more frequently, whether they're beginners or experts in the field etc.   4. It's No Longer a “Should”, but a “Must” for SEO   People love high-quality content which adds value to their lives (whether it keeps them informed, it educates them or entertains them) and which they can relate to, which “oozes” personality, so to say.    And search engines love the content that people love.    That's probably the simplest way to resume how the whole “getting yourself a constantly updated blog for SEO reasons” scenario works.   If we are to detail it a bit, here are some of the favorable contexts for business growth that your blog will create for you:              1. More content (more blog posts) means:    more pages under your domain name indexed in Google   more chances to rank for a wider array of keywords   increased traffic on your site   the chance to rank not just for certain business-specific keywords, but for higher-converting, long-tail queries, too             2. Valuable content means:   building trust and credibility, 2 foundation stones of your relationship with your audience more backlinks (or inbound links, if you prefer to call them this way), including those “priceless” ones coming from high-authority blogs, from experts in your field etc.              Imagine your blog (one fully fledged with high-quality content) as a constant “leads converter” in the years to come, a great business initiative for any future-oriented entrepreneur.    And you do fall into this category, right?   5. It Boosts Your Social Media Efforts   You can't even start drafting a social media strategy without considering the need to post great (and regular) content right?   But where will you be getting this valuable content on a regular basis from?   From your future company blog, obviously!   Why should you share exclusively content created by other “gurus” in your field, when you could share links to your own blog posts? It will help you direct your users to your Drupal website (and this is a highly valuable strategy especially if it's an e-commere website that you own).    Moreover, your future blog will make an amazing source of unique, high-quality content for your email newsletters, too.    How does an email “reminder” highlighting 5 of the most popular posts within a month sound to you?     And these are but 5 of the 11 benefits that we've selected for you, benefits that you can “exploit” for growing your business with the help of a valuable and engaging content-loaded blog. We'll reveal to you and detail the other 6 benefits from our list in tomorrow's post.   Stay tuned! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 02'2017
Which of the Digital Predictions for 2017 Will Have the Biggest Impact on Your Business?
“Fortune favors those who dare” it's a saying which, adapted to the digital context of 2017, will easily turn into: “Fortune favors agile brands!”   How agile is your brand?   Nowadays it sure isn't enough to just “jump back on your feet after each blow you've taken from am unexpected, unforeseen quake in the digital marketplace. You need to to go beyond that if you want to remain relevant in your market: you need to be able to predict and, if possible (and this is what truly influential brands do), to be the one “causing” these major shifts.   How quickly do you embrace innovation? How adaptable and capable are you, as a web development company in Toronto, to “decipher” the given data of the actual digital marketplace for predicting and even “writing” its future trajectory?    It's no “shocking” news for any brand operating in the digital ecosystem that SOCIAL and MOBILE have been the trends that acted just like some “dictators” of the digital world in 2016.   You had to shift quickly from “mobile friendly” to “mobile first”, from “going social” to almost “moving your entire business on social media”, to collecting all the valuable data issuing from your the social media accounts for drafting all your future business decisions.   What other new influencing “actors” will step forward on the digital market stage, in 2017, for stealing all the spotlights and for impacting your business to a great extent? Let's find out:   1. Immersive Content Experiences   2017 will be less about “consuming” content, but about “experiencing content”!   Therefore, be prepared to respond to this ever-growing challenge: telling your story to your audience in a way that should “provoke” them to interact, to participate though their imagination. Accept the fact that your online customers want to be challenged to stop playing the role of passive “content consuming” users, that brands have given them in the past, and to accept far more active roles instead, to get involved.   So, to resume: 2017 will be all about experiences and, if we tackle the issue immersive content experience, we can't but point out a type of content that will dominate the digital market in 2017:   VR-content: you can no longer ignore the tremendous popularity that virtual reality content has gained in 2016. You either embrace it and incorporate it into your brand's whole online content strategy or your business gets overtaken!   Where do you add that some of the influential brands are putting a great deal of efforts for making the usage of a headset culturally acceptable (given the immersive software's growing popularity).   2. Conversational Experiences   See? If “engage” has been “the star word” of 2016's digital landscape, it looks like “experience” will be the one rocking in 2017.   Conversational experiences are, in fact, messaging apps “with a human touch”, we might say. Since we've already pointed out that virtual reality will rule in the year to come and since we've talked about the idea of “experiencing content” as opposed to “consuming content”, here we can easily “detect” a growing tendency towards dialoguing as opposed to instant messaging.   Conversational interfaces will definitely “seduce” users with their personal touch: they'll get to ask questions or to perform certain tasks during a pleasant conversation, rather than going through a bunch of drop-down menus or to keep typing text messages.   It's convenient, it's far more “natural” and “humanized”. And speaking of the latter, predictions for 2017 point out the key role that “intelligent assistants” (your “dialogue partners” so to say) will play in boosting conversational interfaces' popularity, but about this aspect we'll be talking about in detail in one if our 2017 posts (it's a promise!).   3. Chatbots   Even though chatbot experiences are strongly linked to the conversational interfaces trend that we've just point out, we still see it as a trend on its own instead of just a “segment” of the previous one.   After Apple's now more than famous Siri, other major brands (Sephora, Mastercard) have started to adopt the “man-machine type of communication” trend.    Chatbos are here to stay and you should not just consider, but actually prepare your plan for starting to integrate your own brand's future chatbot into your business strategy for the year to come.   It provides that human touch (that users have been craving for and that now they are “demanding” for) that “humanizes” digital interactions, so reflect on that during this short period of time left till we all welcome 2017!   4. Application Program Interfaces: API    Now this is the digital trend of 2017 that will test not just your agility, but your ability to seize opportunities of growth in tying together (and therefore sharing, too) with other technology/software companies for mutual benefits.   By far the best example of such successful partnership between Ebay and Paypal, who've understood an opportunity of growth by tying together through API (in the name of an enriched “user experience”).   How about you? Are you willing to cooperate with another “player” in your market and to embrace digital transformation with the help of an application program interface?   5. Big Data and Analytics   Everything can be measured now in the digital world!    Now, how are you going to turn this fact into the driving force behind your business's success in 2017?    You should start by getting the most out of your data. Examine really closely your analytics, dig up all the valuable information about your customers, those that will help you put together their accurate profiles.   In other words: take no decisions, either minor or major, and start putting together no strategy, no business plan for 2017, before you've closely analyzed all your data! Learn to “exploit” analytics and adopt a “data-driven” business mentality in the year to come!   6. Glocalization   What do you get when you combine two powerful trends of the digital marketplace, globalization and localization? You get a superpower-concept: glocalization! A concept that Toronto developers have started to incorporate in their web projects.   Resulting from the whole “user-centered philosophy, this trend is predicted to become even more “demanding” in 2017.    How does it impact you, your business? Well, you need to start “speaking your customers languages” and to adapt your whole online presence to their own cultural environment.    Gone are the days when users were thrilled by the mere fact that they were able to access their favorite websites from wherever they were and to buy their desired items with just a few clicks: so simple and convenient.   In 2017, even more than in 2016, users will start to expect more, to get even more demanding: they'll expect the websites/apps they'll access to offer them “online experiences” and not just products and services.    And you do agree that no user will enjoy a whole experience to the fullest if it's not in his mother language and fully adapted to the cultural context that he's a product of, right?   7. Platforms Will Rock in 2017   It's the perfect time for you to start embracing a “platform thinking”!   Big brands like Apple, Android, Uber and Airbnb are already enjoying the benefits of such type of business mentality. It's about “cutting out the middle man” after all!   And it's definitely not just about your own obvious advantages, as a company (for we'll continue to delve even deeper into the “User's era” in 2017): it's about streamlining all the processes/transactions taking place on your cloud-based platform and therefore about making your customer's whole experience more agreeable.   Give it a try! If big brands are doing it already, why shouldn't you see it as a digital trend with a huge impact on your business' growth, too?   8. User Experience   “There is nothing new under the sun”, you might say. Enhancing the user's experience has been the ultimate goal of companies operating in the digital markeplace.   It's true, yet you should expect an exacerbation of this reality (for it's no longer “just” a trend).    As already stated, customers will become more and more demanding and therefore more and more hesitant to engage to brands that don't pay attention to their preferences in detail.   What can you do for coping with this reality that 2017 will enhance?    Use all the valuable data at hand and adapt all your strategies to the key information you have in your analytics: what do your customers want, what do they need, how do they land on your website, what pages to they prefer, what can you tell about their preferences from the comments they post on your social media accounts etc.?   Collect all the valuable data, analyze it and use it for perfecting your customers' experiential journey on your website/app!   9. Video Content Will Be King   That's right! The “Content is King” expression will turn into “Video Content Is King” in 2017.    Putting together video content is no longer the issue now (since it's got easier than ever to make a video), but “crafting” videos is.   Those who manage to impress and to engage their audiences with truly stunning, visually-appealing and powerful (through the loads of emotions they're upgraded with) will be the ones benefiting from this digital trend.   Will you be one of these agile business owners?   10. Age of Community   2017 will be all about co-writing brand identities!   What does this mean? It means that you'll need to start (if you haven't already) co-opt your employees and your online customers in the “writing” of your brand's identity.   It means you'll need to “loosen the reins” and to be more receptive to the input that your own “community” of users will offer you. And you should encourage them to offer it to you.   Here are 2 examples of big brands doing just that, co-opting their customers to “help” them shape and reshape their own brands:   M&M with their “Vote for Your Favorite Peanut” contest Ziploc with the “Inspiration” section on their site where customers get to come up with new, innovative ideas for using their famous plastic bags   Take some time to reflect on all these predictions for the year to come and to consider to what extent each of them will impact your brand. Then, decide which should be the first measures to take for being one step ahead of these 10 predictions before they even get to turn into some highly influencing trends!     ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Dec 23'2016
Adobe Spark Video: How to Create Powerful, Engaging Videos... The Easy Way
“Engaging” could easily be called “the word of 2016” in the digital world!   Everything you did, as a website owner, a website developer or a web designer in Toronto has been oriented towards (and will continue to be in 2017, too) getting your audience engaged, right?   Which have been your most efficient “tools” for keeping with your own audience “engaged”?   “Video” and “Visual storytelling!” Bravo! Correct answer!   It's been a while since Adobe allowed you to combine these two powers and to boost all your content marketing plans with the power of video-storytelling.   It brought you Spark Video: the app that helped you engage with your users, inspire them and motivate them through customized animated videos. They used to “tell” your story and therefore to pull your users into the world you created for them and to get your message conveyed to them far more easily.   Such powerful visual aimed at adding meaning and triggering emotions!   Now Adobe strikes again!   It announced on their blog a major update to Spark Video: enabling users to craft beautiful, powerful video clips (that will gradually replace the now “old” animated videos).   Say “Hello!” to a new era of video-storytelling!   Say “Hello!” to a new wave of traffic on your website and not just any type of traffic, but one made of loyal users, “seduced” by and committed to your brand thanks to "the power of video clips”.   Before we go on with the step-by-step guide on how you get to create video-clips in Spark Video, let's sum up, very briefly, what you've been able to create and to share with this app up to now (when it got seriously upgraded):   Animated videos featuring: icons  text narration                                               In a nutshell: you've been able to breathe life into your animated videos by adding all the features specific to immersive, interactive visual storytelling.   Now here's how you can flesh out stunning video-clips that will help you “lure” new users, bond with your users, engage them and keep them engaged to your brand, using Spark Video:   1. Add Your Video Clips Faster Than You Say “Spark”   Adding a new video clip is nothing but a sequence of two quick steps:              1. you first add a slide to your Spark Video projects               2. you browse through the video collection on your device and pick your target one   A way too tempting feature: as compared to “standard” video editors, using Spark Video you get to cut your video into a series of slides varying in duration times.     2. Make a New Point Over The Same Video Clip   How? Nice and easy: you simply click on the “continue” button and select a new slide, then you coat it with your visually-pleasing icon, with your compelling text and with narration and it's now that you can adjust the volume, too.   3. Trim It To Your Liking    Get the most out of Spark Video's one-touch trimming feature for customizing precisely those points where your video clip starts and ends.   4. Breathe Life Into Your Video Clip With Narration    It's now easier than ever to add voices to your video project: just tap on the record button and start telling your story to your audience. Next, with another quick tap you get to align the narration's length to the video's length.   Can you already predict your brighter future as Toronto web designer who's been “slaving away” to constantly come up with interactive and engaging web design? A type of design that should “tell” a meaningful story, one that should trigger emotions in the audience?   5. Craft The Desired Mood Through Music   “What possibly could be so engaging about a video clip with no music?” your users might ask themselves.    Therefore, add the background music, too, the one that will help you craft the right mood for your video's watchers.   How? Quick and easy: add either your preferred track saved on your device or pick one of the app's suggestions!   If you really want to go deeper with your video clip's customization through music, get this whole process even more refined: use Spark Video's mini-feature which allows you to highlight and therefore to draw your audience's attention to key moments of sound from your video clip.   Therefore, instead of getting overwhelmed by data forecasting VIDEO-s “dictatorship” in the digital world, you'd better embrace the future of the video: video clips!   Here's how this video-related data looks like now, at the end of 2016:   it's been proven that if you “upgrade” your landing page with a video your conversion rate will increase by 80% by 2019 video will represent up to 80% of global Internet traffic data proves that in just one month over 3 million small businesses shared a video on their Facebook accounts   So, how about taking the new Spark Video for a “test drive”?   Have some fun, try out all its new features and put together some sample videos clips so that you'll learn to master the upgraded Spark Video and to get the most out of its improved features by the time it becomes a huge trend in web design and development in 2017. ... 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Adrian Ababei / Dec 22'2016
7 Dark UX Patterns and Their Negative Impact on Your Brand Reputation
Will you be a superhero or a villain? What are you going to do with all those superpowers that UX invests you with?    Will you be a superhero willing to build trust and to nourish long term relationships with his/her users or a manipulative villain driven by his urge to get his numbers up at all costs?   UX invests you with so much power! It practically reveals to you all the valuable cognitive psychological biases, all the mechanisms to use for triggering certain emotions in your customers (pride, greed, anger, envy etc.) and for manipulating them to act in certain ways.   It's this power that can either help you gain success or ruin you (you sooner or letter)!   A solid understanding of user psychology, when used the right way, will help you "perfect" your visitor's journey on your website. It gives you the ideal resources for making this journey as logical, intuitive, pleasant and meaningful as possible. Good UX leads to happy customers first, then to loyal customers!   A solid understanding of user psychology, when used the “bad” way will help you deceive your visitors, through certain tricks applied to your interface. It will help you influence them to carry out certain actions that are beneficial exclusively for your business: purchasing, subscribing, installing your software on their devices, revealing the details of their credit cards etc.   In this respect, here are some of the most “popular” manipulative design practices that have taken over the internet (being widely used even by some of the most influential brands, too) and that we advise you to stay away from (“Better safe than sorry!”):   1. The Disguised Ads    You click on what looks like “genuine” copy and "Boom!": a commercial pops up on your screen or (and this is the really bad scenario) a software starts to download on your device!   Does this sound familiar to you? Have you been there already? Have you visited that website since the “incident”?   Well, if you've already been a “victim” yourself, then you (should) have even more reasons to empathize with your own customers: don't use disguised ads on your website! It will only grant you (really) short term gains, but you'll lose a potentially loyal customer (which is gold) and credibility.   2. The Roach Motel   Here is another tricky web design practice that's widely used by web/apps owners, accepted and “perceived” as “an innocent little scam” (pick a web developer at random and he/she will deny that the "roach motel" might be considered as a “truly” deceiving practice). When it fact it's nothing but a skillfully crafted means to trick and to retain users.   You convince them to subscribe to your newsletter or to sign up for your your software free trial, then you turn the whole process of unsubscribing into a discouraging “ordeal”.     By deceiving your users and hiding away from them the information on how they can close their accounts, you will get them hooked on your product for a long, long, long time!   Step into the light! Use your UX superpowers the right way:   inform your users, from the very beginning, that they'll actually need to call you or to write to you if they decide to unsubscribe make your unsubscribing method(s) visible on your website    Turn UX into a force for good!   3. The Forced Continuity   This UX design practice is so ingrained into the digital world that you might even not perceive it as “dark”, but simply as “common”.   How does it work? Picture this scenario: you “lure” your online customers to sign up to your free trial and it's at this point, as well, that you ask them for their credit card details. You're also cunning enough to let them know that they have total control over their accounts, meaning that they get to cancel their memberships any time after the trial period if they're not satisfied with your product (or due to any other reason).    What you (let's assume that it's you who is using this “devilish” UX technique) rely on is that in many cases users forget to unsubscribe after the trial period and that you get to keep charging them, since you have their credit card details.   In those rare cases when they do remember to close their accounts, you'll make it as discouragingly hard for them to do that as possible.   Tricky isn't it? We, at OPTASY, our web design company in Toronto, think it's just “lame” to “glue” customers to your products against their will instead of making them desire your product!   Step into the light and use your UX superpowers the right way:   notify your customers once the end trail ends and give them the possibility to choose whether they cancel or continue to use your product/service make your cancellation method/policy visible on your website   4. The Sneak Into Basket   Now this is one annoying UX design practice (from the online shopper's perspective), that way too many e-commerce websites continue to use!   How does it work? Let's assume you're the next “victim”: you add an item to your shopping cart and you then realize that the website has automatically added another product or service (such as insurance), that you don't want to purchase. Or at least you would have preferred to be asked if you wanted to purchase it before instead of having it “sneaked into” your basket.   OK, so you might “trick” some clients and increase your gains, but just imagine all the negative publicity that all those frustrated customers will create around your brand!    Not only that you'll lose those specific customers, but by spreading the news about the bad experience they will have had on your site, they'll discourage your potential customers, as well, from ever accessing your site.   5. The Misdirection/ The Bait and Switch   A more than suggestive short description of this deceiving practice would be: changing the patterns that you've set up on your website and that your user will have got accustomed to, without warning him/her!   Therefore, you take him/her by surprise and “trick” him into performing a certain action.   In most cases it's about clicking a link/button which, till then, used to lead to a certain page, with no exception: your visitor will click on it without knowing that he/she has just bitten your “bait”.   Now try to imagine the long-term consequences, especially if you're using this deceiving technique for tricking your customers to spend their money on certain items on your website!    Step into the light! Use your UX superpowers the right way:   make all the options of same size and equally visible ask for your user's confirmation: give him the choice to either continue or to cancel    6. The Scarcity Inflation    Admit it it! How many times a day does your inbox get “loaded” with newsletters striving to catch your attention and to make you react immediately to expressions such as: “Only 1 hour left till”, “Hurry Up! The sales end today”, “Only a few left!” etc.?   This deceiving pattern, too, is “exploited” to such extent in the highly competitive digital world (where competition for customers is truly fierce), that you may even not even perceive it as “sinister” and manipulative.    But it sure is! Our advice for you is not to go there: don't “exploit” your users' emotional biases towards scarcity and limited availability. Building trust should be one of  UX design's most honorable goals!   Unless, of course, you do have limited availability to certain products/services that you promote on your website.   7. The Trick Questions   Resist the temptation to “exploit” users' tendency to (just) scan through the written content on a website and to use deceiving copy for disguising opt-in buttons as opt-out buttons!   Be better than that! Be future-oriented instead of (just) “hunting” only short-term gains!   Put these 7 UX patterns on your “Not To-Do List” and decide to put on your superhero “costume” instead of your villain mask! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Dec 21'2016
6 Techniques to Create an Effective Visual Hierarchy on Your E-Commerce Website
Visual hierarchy, especially on an e-commerce website, is a way too powerful “weapon” for you to underestimate it or to ignore it!   When used right it empowers you to steer your visitors' attention on key elements on your website and, moreover it eases their “job” as visitors (possible future shoppers), too. We all need guidance so that's precisely what you'll be offering your visitors: guidance. You'll build “bridges” between different types of content on your website so that they can navigate through, smoothly, without getting disoriented or discouraged by a rigid, monotonous block of content.   By joggling with different sizes, with contrasting colors, with spacing and with overall layout, you determine what gets noticed first and which elements on your website carry more “value”.   Therefore, you discreetly guide your visitors towards “key” components doing them a favor: making their journey time-efficient. They get from point A to point B (your shopping cart page) as quickly and intuitively as they hoped when they landed on your website.   Your make your website “usable”, you upgrade it with “usability”, which is the to foundation stone of user experience.   Enough beating around the bush now: here are 6 “way too powerful for you to ignore” methods that you could use for crafting efficient visual hierarchy on your e -commerce website, 6 techniques that any Toronto web designer should add to his/her own "toolbox":   1. Be Generous With Your Negative Space   Remember that we've “talked about” the white space's importance when we pointed out how the human brain reacts to differently to different colors (in our post on user psychology and web design)? It's there that we mentioned that white space “helps you put together a clean, pure design, one showcasing certain elements of your work“?   Well, well, well! It's time to start perceiving this “empty space, “white space” or “negative space”, however you wish to call it, as a distinctive “element”, one claiming its real importance, and not just as a “absennce of elements”.   Once you've started perceiving it as an element on its own, you should consider it the card up your sleeve that you could use for grabbing your users' attention and for steering it towards elements of high importance on your website.    How? Here are just a few examples:   be generous with spacing between paragraphs and with the margins framing your blocks of text so that your shoppers can perceive your written content as “important” (we talked about “adding value” through visual hierarchy: well this is an example of “how it's done”) and “digest” it more easily put your call to action button into the spotlight by simply adding more negative space around it. It's that white space that will set it apart from the rest of the elements on your website and make it instantly pop out! dare “derailing” from the so very “trendy” and overly used web deign practice where you place a large image on your front page to draw attention to and you “suffocate” it  by other elements crowded around it. Give this central, visually-arresting image a bit (jut a bit more, no need to exaggerate now) more space, white space, and you'll instantly balance out the whole layout and, moreover: your attention-grabbing central image will grab even more attention now with that “barrier” of negative space framing it!   2. Juggle With Different Sizes   Get playful, get daring, but mind you don' forget that: balance makes it efficient after all!   Therefore, enjoy the power of “manipulating” that size invests you with, make sure you don't “sabotage” yourself!   Neighboring elements of different sizes, where some are a lot bigger than others, will draw attention to the oversized one, that's true, but it might as well cast an unwanted veil of shadow on still quite important sections on your website. And you don't want that!   So, make use of this technique while remaining conscious of its counter-effects, of the importance to keep a certain balance in everything.   When it comes to e-commerce web design, we recommend you to play with sizes on your homepage, on the key imagery and text that you have there!   3. Think Contrast When Choosing Your Color Palette   As we already mentioned in the introductory paragraph: you need to adopt a more refined color contrasting technique than the now rudimentary ones like: “paint it all in red” or “set it against a background in a muted color”.   You need to start thinking through how you actually pair those colors, how you group them on your site.    Go for wining “combos” of red-and-green, yellow-and-purple, orange-and-blue and  variations of these combinations of complementary colors.   Think through the selection of your call-to-action and sales announcing elements. Challenge your skills at pulling off the most efficient eye-catching color contrasts: go for a black background and neon colors or simply make sure the elements on your website (images, texts) neighboring thoae key elements that you want to draw your visitors' attention to, are in contrasting colors.   So, you've got our point: bid on color contrast and start viewing the colors on your website as parts of a whole “ecosystem” where each color can outshine/be outshone by or highlight/be highlighted by its neighboring colors.   4. Grab Attention Through The “Static vs In Motion” Effect   It's a scientifically proven fact: our attention gets instantly caught by things/persons in motion. The question that arises now is: how are you going to use this information for determining, in advance, what your shoppers should notice first once on your website?   You have three options for getting the most out of “motion's power”:   you add one or two discreet animations here and there, on key places on your website. And here we need to stress this idea of “discreetness”: your animations should be subtle; it's highly important that you don't go too far. It's quite easy to overdo it, you know, and instead of “cunningly” driving your visitors' attention towards the elements of major importance to you, to annoy them instead, to drive them off your website due to your too flashy, bling-bling animations. Not only that these “overly flashy” animations will annoy your shoppers, but they'll steal even the minimal attention away from the other elements on your website. And you don't want that! you add an auto-playing video. Again, be very cautious not to go for a too absorbing video that leads to nothing (no subscription, no purchase). One of the best practices in this case it to design pages around your video, that your visitors should be discreetly “tempted” to access. you go for a photo-video hybrid. They're such a popular trend in e-commerce web design these days! No wonder, for they put together the visual power of an image with the one of a motion, the latter being so discreet and idealy subtle. Therefore, it comes with the advantage of not outshining the neighboring elements. It's a type of motion-implying (visual hierarchy providing) technique which works wonders especially when applied on a visual that's already stealing the spotlight on your website (e.g. the large central image on your front page).   5. Set Up a Scanning Pattern   No need to strive to reinvent the wheel, when you can just as well use it to your own benefit!   This is the case with the ways users usually scan through the content of a website: there are two main human behavior-determined, already tested patterns: no need to invent a third one. All you have to do is pick one or another.   So, which one will it be? The F pattern or the Z pattern? Even the web design forums in Toronto are divided in 2 groups, depending on the scanning pattern they prefer.   Let us detail each one a bit before you can make a decision:   they both start in the upper left of the website (where usually logos are placed), go all the way to the upper-right corner (so this explains why upper page horizontal navigation bars still rock) and it's from there that they go on separate ways in the F pattern the user's eye returns to the left side of the screen sort of mimicking the left-right-left-right eye movement specific to the act of reading (this is why this pattern is used predominantly on blogs). How is it useful on your e-commerce website? It enables you to nicely structure and display rows of images that shoppers can easily scan through. A “trick” you could use when adopting this pattern is to display secondary promotions on the right side of your website. It's there that the user pauses for a second or two before going back to the left side of the web page. So, “exploit” that short pause, so to say! the Z pattern is already an “emblematic” one for front pages. Here you have the upper row, then the attention-grabbing image in the center of the page, presenting the site's man features or showcasing its products/services, then the bottom row. It's an ideal pattern for pages centered around one single action: such as landing pages or one page presentation websites, but it can be effectively adapted to the specific needs of an e-commerce website.   6. Set Up a Rhythm Only To Break It In The Name of Visual Hierarchy   Crafting a truly effective visual hierarchy is all about mastering the “establishing vs breaking up” patterns technique!   By simply derailing from a repetitive construction on your website you'll instantly draw attention, you'll break up the routine and “make them wonder” while they pause on that disruptive element.   Therefore, dare breaking up the repetition you will have set up in your layout organization, in the whole structure of rows on your website, for drawing attention.   Then, feel free to “exploit” the empty space you will have created there, in that section on your website “different” from the rest, for placing the key element(s) that you want to draw shoppers' attention to.      Maybe “manipulating” is a too strong word, but it describes perfectly the power that a strategically constructed visually hierarchy places in your hands. Give it a try! Pick one of our suggested techniques and see how it works for influencing your users' behaviors on your e-commerce website!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Dec 20'2016