Today, the digital world is getting increasingly competitive. To stay relevant, you need to build personalized user experiences and engage your audience in a meaningful way. What makes a website interactive? An interactive website is one that communicates efficiently and provides interactive web user experiences. It can be used to create an online presence for your business, or it could also be used as part of the marketing strategy for your company. The main goal of any website should always be to provide users with the information they need in order to make informed decisions about their purchases. This means providing them with all relevant information on products and services offered by you and/or your competitors. An effective way to do this would be through the use of graphics, videos, animations, etc., which are known collectively as "web 2.0" technologies. These types of websites allow users to interact directly with content without having to navigate away from the page first. They're often referred to as being more engaging than traditional static sites because they encourage interaction between visitors and the site's owner. In addition, these types of websites tend to have higher conversion rates compared to other forms of advertising. The Benefits of Creating Interactive Websites Interactivity is a key element in the success of any website. It can be as simple as adding an interactive map to your business directory, or it could involve creating a complex database-driven application that allows users to search for products and services by category, price range, location, etc. The main benefits of interactive websites are: Increased engagement. Users will spend longer periods of time browsing your site if there are multiple ways for them to engage with what they see. For example, if you offer a product comparison tool, then people who want to compare prices may find themselves spending hours looking at different options before making a purchase decision. Higher conversions. People like interacting with things that interest them. If you've ever been to a museum, you know how much fun it is to look around exhibits and learn new facts while doing so. You'll probably end up buying something after visiting such places. So why not take advantage of this fact when designing your own website? More targeted traffic. When someone visits your website, they have already made some sort of connection with you. By offering them additional opportunities to connect with you further, you increase the chances of converting that visitor into a customer. Better SEO rankings. Search engines prefer websites that contain lots of valuable data. An interactive website gives you many more opportunities to include keywords within its pages, thus improving your ranking in searches related to those terms. Better user experience (UX). A good UX makes life easier for both customers and employees. Customers might not mind navigating complicated interfaces; however, they hate slow ones. Employees dislike working with systems that require too much training. Both groups appreciate easy navigation and intuitive designs. How to make your website interactive There is a wide variety of tools and website features available today that help you build interactive websites. The most popular elements and features for making websites interactive are: Simple software tools that relate to your business like tax calculators, quizzes, or surveys. These types of applications allow visitors to interact directly with your content without having to leave your page. They also provide valuable feedback about your audience's interests and preferences. An eCommerce solution that integrates payment processing, shipping, inventory management, order tracking, and other functions needed to run a successful online store. Social media widgets that let you embed social sharing buttons on your website. This lets your audience share information about your company via their favorite networks. Videos on web pages make great examples of how to create interactive websites. The best part about using videos is that it doesn't need to be fancy -- just get creative! Visual designs tend to attract and engage more users. User-generated content can add value to any type of site. It helps people feel connected to what you're saying by giving them an opportunity to contribute ideas and opinions. A blog allows users to comment on posts as well as read others' comments. Blogs often have polls where readers vote on topics. Interactivity isn't limited to these five categories. There are plenty of ways to incorporate interaction into your website. For instance, if you sell products, you could offer free samples so that potential buyers can try them before buying. If you want to promote your brand, you could ask followers to submit photos of themselves wearing your product. You could even use Twitter hashtags to encourage conversation around certain subjects. You can get creative when it comes to interactive content on your site and use the following interactive elements that, as simple as they might look, can engage more users: Google Maps is a very useful interactive element to introduce on your site because it helps users save time and energy. Live polling gives users the ability to respond in real-time to questions asked through live chat. Search functionalities that make the user navigation more straightforward and effective. Feedback forms give users the chance to express their opinion about something specific and offer a feeling of connection with the brand. Making your website interactive strongly supports your digital marketing efforts An interactive website design and functionality can significantly improve the customer experience, which will most likely increase engagement among your target audiences. Your digital marketing strategies can greatly benefit from an interactive design layout and functionality. According to a study, "the average person spends more than two hours per day consuming digital media." An interactive website design and functionality give businesses the chance to engage with consumers at all times. How interactive elements affect SEO The more interactive experiences you provide on your website, the better they'll perform when it comes to search engine optimization. In fact, Google has stated that sites with rich user interactions tend to rank higher in its results pages. Google uses many signals to determine whether a webpage should appear high up in its rankings. One of those factors includes how much attention users pay to each element on a given page. For example, if someone clicks on one particular link within a post, then this action indicates interest in that specific topic. Therefore, engaging your audience as much as possible through interactive features and elements will help boost your organic traffic and help you rank higher on SERPs. Interactive websites as part of a strong online presence Successful modern businesses provide valuable interactive website examples as they leverage the potential of interactive websites to create stronger connections between customers and companies. They understand the power that lies behind creating a positive impression on visitors by providing them with relevant information and making sure they feel valued. What tools or features do you use to make your website more interactive? Photo credit: John Schnobrich on Unsplash.
Raluca Olariu / Oct 13'2021
For people with disabilities, web accessibility is highly beneficial. They use multiple assistive technology tools that often require accessible web design and apps to function properly. It is obvious how web accessibility benefits users with disabilities, but what about businesses? What are the advantages of building accessible sites for your company? Keep reading, and you'll discover seven key benefits of making your website ADA-compliant. Why do companies hesitate to invest in web accessibility? A survey of around 500 U.S. business leaders and web designers shows the main reasons behind the reluctance of some companies to make a website accessible. Most of the respondents confessed they are worried about the financial investments and potentially high costs (73.6%), while 66.9% think optimizing their sites for accessibility will require too much time. We are here to tell you that making your website accessible for people with disabilities doesn't require too many resources, will highly benefit the user experience, and most probably keep you away from web accessibility lawsuits. 7 Benefits of Making Your Website Accessible 1. Increased traffic on your site. There's a myth regarding accessible websites that says accessibility only benefits the visitors. However, by improving the user experience and making it accessible for anyone, you plant the seeds for: Higher traffic rates on your site Better user engagement Improved search engine optimization rankings Higher conversion rate 2. Lower risk of legal complications. As legal requirements regarding web accessibility are getting tougher, optimizing your site for people with disabilities becomes non-optional—unless you don't mind being prosecuted. Make sure your site meets specific accessibility guidelines and pay attention to the accessibility standards required by the industry that you're operating in. 3. Bigger customer base. Making your website accessible means addressing the needs of bigger social groups, and that, in the long term, could lead to you growing your customer base. By investing in accessible design, you can attract more visitors that are likely to engage with your brand on a long-term basis. 4. A more innovative business mindset. Building accessible design for your website visitors challenges you to deal with unanticipated issues and thus puts your creativity at work. The constraint of adapting your design so that it incorporates a whole set of accessibility features challenges you to... come up with innovative solutions—and to preserve that mindset for innovation in the long term. In the current dynamic digital landscape, staying creative and ready for innovation is key to keep up with the ever-changing trends. 5. Boosted SEO efforts. You can improve your site's accessibility by adding ALT-text to images, writing clear content, or choosing a clutter-free page layout. All of these steps also mean good SEO practices. So, by making your website more accessible, you're also making it more SEO-friendly. You probably already know the importance of investing in robust SEO strategies in today's digital landscape. It's all about how high you rank on SERPs and the level of visibility that your website is gaining. 6. Improved brand reputation. Accessibility is also essential for your business as it helps grow your brand reputation. By ensuring your website's universal design grants equal rights and easy access to your content, you raise awareness and build a positive reputation around your business. Today, having an inaccessible website is the digital equivalent of sticking a big KEEP OUT sign in front of your business. 7. Faster page loading time. It has been proven that if you improve a page's level of accessibility, you boost its speed score. As modern internet users demand fast website experiences, you want to improve your page loading times to keep up with your visitors' needs. By implementing features designed for users with disabilities, you're making your site a better place for all users. There are many ways in which you can promote accessibility on your website. For example, users that struggle with visual impairments benefit the most from screen readers to help them understand the content on a particular website. This is a way to make your website accessible for people with sight issues and offer some support in making their daily lives a bit easier. Hopefully, this article sheds some light on the importance of web accessibility for your business and how building a universal design for your site can positively impact your brand. For more insights on how Optasy can help you make your website more accessible, check out our Drupal Website Accessibility services. Photo credit: Wirestock on freepik.
Raluca Olariu / Jul 12'2021
Websites and web applications are becoming increasingly complex, providing rich and interactive experiences. However, despite these emerging changes, the success of a website still relies on how the visitors perceive it. Is the website accessible and easy to use? Does it provide any value for me? Is it fun to navigate? Your users' interaction with your website comes with these questions in mind, which build the foundation of their long-term decision to become regular customers. What Does User Experience (UX) Mean? UX is how a digital user feels when interacting with a website, web app, or software. Today, human-computer interaction should be accessible, efficient, provide value and utility for the user. User experience design is a discipline that aims at meeting all these needs of the modern digital consumer by offering seamless web experiences. Why Is UX Important? User-centric business models are increasingly popular nowadays compared to how digital design was approached prior to the codification of user-centered design. Websites were built, and design decisions were made based on the preferences of the client and the designers' creative ideas. The focus was on the brand and how the website looked, without considering what the users might feel when they would interact with the site. However, as the Web is transforming at a fast pace—59.5 of the global population uses the internet today—and websites are becoming increasingly feature-rich, user experience designs are a must. The design industry understands the need for optimization as users are interacting with web applications through multiple devices (mobile phones, tablets). Also, businesses also recognize accessibility as an essential requirement for modern digital users. Key Steps for Creating Top-Notch User Experience Designs 1. Evaluate your current system to learn about your website's current state, existing issues, and possible improvements. 2. Use A/B testing to compare and decide upon the effectiveness and reliability of different user interfaces. 3. Hold user surveys to find out what existing, and potential users of the system think about its design. Remember, the user experience is a subjective one, so what better way to collect insights about it than by interviewing the users? 4. Build user flows to outline how visitors move through your website. This enhances the ease of movement through your platform by ensuring that your users don't waste time looking at what to do next. 5. Develop wireframes and high-fidelity prototypes to convey the overall direction of the user interface. 6. Create design patterns to provide consistency and find the right user interface elements, like module tabs or slideshows, for specific tasks. By doing so, you'll be able to build improved, more familiar user experiences. 7. Do a content inventory so that you can enhance the user experience by changing your information architecture. 8. Get to know your audience, as this is an essential step for creating user-friendly website designs. Create user profiles and personas that support you in delivering experiences that reflect the needs and voice of your audience. 9. Create content style guides that provide UX designers and writers with the correct input for building consistent brand and design elements. How do you know your project needs UX design? Identifying the areas where UX design would be of most benefit is important. While all Web systems could benefit from a design of the user experience, resources are not unlimited, and things need to be prioritized in the complex world of web development. Complex systems with complicated architectures like multi-faceted websites, interaction-rich apps, or e-commerce sites can benefit a lot from UX design. The same goes for start-ups and small companies, which can opt for training existing employees in the art of UX design to save some extra costs. However, creating solid user experiences in the first version of a product can generate more organic traffic and attract more visitors. But start-ups might not have enough resources for recruiting a highly-skilled UX designer. UX design is also a good choice for projects with longer timeframes. Although UX design is not one size fits all, the concept can benefit long-term website projects by potentially saving time and costs. Are you in doubt whether or not you need UX design or not? Don't worry, Optasy has your back. Contact us, and we'll do the hard work for you—analyze your website and offer advice and support on your UX design capabilities and opportunities. So let’s have a chat! Photo credit: UX Indonesia on Unsplash.
Raluca Olariu / May 12'2021
“Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” - Chris Brogan, Chief Executive Officer of Owner Media Group. And how else can you build brand reputation in the digital era than with a robust online presence? Today, leading companies are leveraging web design to sustain their digital marketing efforts and are seeing remarkable business results. The following article provides a clearer picture of how digital marketing and web design can work together to deliver digital-readiness and build long-term customer relationships. What makes a great web design strategy? User-friendly web experiences. One of the primary purposes of a website is to build brand awareness, attract, and retain customers. Consequently, when crafting your web design strategy, the user experience should be a top priority. Think big: accessibility, usefulness, credibility, value, desirability, usability, ease-of-use. All of these are core elements of what attracts website visitors to turn back to your site and, ultimately, become your customers. Search engine optimization (SEO). An SEO-centric web design approach will help you build a solid online presence and a long-lasting brand image. When thinking of SEO, you must consider your long-term objectives and adjust your optimization techniques according to these objectives. On-page and off-page optimization methods, meta descriptions, catchy headlines, alt tags in images, etc., are just a few of the elements in the arsenal of a solid SEO strategy. Content optimization. This is the backbone of your website, and it can work well in tandem with SEO. When done right, your content will be easy to read, accessible, comprehensive, and informative. You don't want to overwhelm website visitors with too much text, so keep it short and concise. And don't forget about engagement. Think from your audience’s perspective—what would you like to learn from the content displayed on your website? Streamlined navigation. It might sound basic, but the truth is many websites could use some serious work when it comes to navigation. A user-friendly website allows visitors to quickly move from one page to another without 'getting lost'. A site map can prove to be really effective for this purpose, offering interactive and functional features for the users to know exactly where they are on the website and how to get to the desired location. Branding. Your website should reflect your brand's identity, your business’s culture, and the way you relate to your customers. You can create this brand-website link by investing in visually connecting your logo, print material, and brick-and-mortar location. In this way, you'll add an extra layer of credibility and enhance your brand’s overall image. “Your website is the center of your digital eco-system, like a brick and mortar location, the experience matters once a customer enters, just as much as the perception they have of you before they walk through the door.” - Leland Dieno. What makes a great digital marketing strategy? Content management and planning. To be successful in digital marketing, you need to set realistic frameworks from the beginning. There are plenty of strategies and tools that can help you with this, such as content mapping, editorial calendars, or timelines. At this point, you want to plan smartly and organize your project with well-defined outcomes in mind. However, nothing is certain in life, especially in business, so leaving room for uncertainty can be a productive mindset. Set your key performance indicators (KPIs) and ensure that they match your overall business goals. Choosing the right KPIs. Speaking of goals and performance metrics, how do you accurately set them? To stay on target, you must understand your digital needs and marketing efforts. There are some key questions to ask here: How are your KPIs connected to your objectives? What's the subject of your measurements? How do these measurements relate to the user experience? To what extent do you need to monitor these specific metrics? Answering these questions will not only help you go beyond data and address the human experience but will also support a solid digital and sales marketing strategy. Leveraging effective content strategies by addressing the 3 R's of engaging content: reliable, relatable, and relevant. Getting to your audience and performing effective outreach campaigns relies on wisely chosen content. Provide your customers with fresh, relevant information, and you'll quickly build trust and position yourself as a reliable advisor. Strategies are important, but so is flexibility. In business, as in life, it is always wise to leave room for uncertainty. That means building a strategy that is flexible and can adapt to new, unexpected scenarios. In other words, leave some unfilled spots in your timeline so that you can, later on, incorporate things like viral competitors' articles, trends, and current events, or unforeseen expenses in new technologies. To build flexibility, ask yourself these questions from time to time: Where could I improve my strategies? Which tools should I choose to keep the business in line and better organized? Where is the business getting the most traffic from? What KPIs am I interested in at this stage? Measure your content's performance and see where it is heading. In digital marketing, you always want to know where the business is standing. That's why visualizing a clear direction and planning accordingly to reach your goals is essential. That means being aware of each stage of your funnel and adapting your strategies to match your current activity’s needs and demands. Why web design and digital marketing should work together? The impact of web design on your digital marketing outcomes is substantial. The way you design your website speaks volumes about your brand, and it plays a vital role in how your overall business is perceived and engaged with. Elements like the website experience, SEO, social media outreach, and branding are essential components of your digital marketing ecosystem. Blending web design and digital marketing is a modern approach that takes digital businesses to the next level. “Websites promote you 24/7: No employee will do that.” - Paul Cookson. What are your thoughts on the importance of connecting digital marketing and web design in a holistic business approach? If you want to leverage the full power of the digital, have a look at Optasy's services and see how our web development and digital marketing agency in Toronto can craft a personalized digital strategy that will suit the needs of your business. Let us build your roadmap to digital success! Photo credit: edhoradic on Unsplash.
Raluca Olariu / Mar 18'2021
The design and development industry continues to grow more competitively over the years. Agencies that have specific niches and all-around firms are popping left and right. Aside from those, there are also different types of development and design works. As a player in this game, we are driven by our clients’ reception. We value their success and their feedback more than anything else because that’s how we will continue to thrive and grow. We are OPTASY, a digital commerce, marketing, and web development agency based in Toronto. With 16 years of experience under our belt, we’ve experienced so many ups and downs that equipped us with the knowledge we need. We’re an internationally renowned and award-winning team that continues to work hard for our clients. With that said, it has just recently come to our attention that we’ve been selected by Clutch, an established B2B review agency, as one of our nation’s industry leaders. Our team has ranked among the top Drupal and Magento designers and developers because of our spot on projects. "We are thrilled to have been chosen as one of the leading web developers by Clutch!" - Adrian Ababei, CEO of OPTASY, Inc. Clutch also created a list of the top fifteen companies. They measured agencies’ ability to deliver and service focus to determine the industry leaders — and OPTASY ranked sixth on their Leaders Matrix. In addition to that, our team is also found on The Manifest’s, Clutch’s sister site, top 100 mobile app developers in Canada list. This helps us prove that we can handle different projects and deliver phenomenal results. These two recognitions are igniting our drive to further our success this 2021. We are grateful for those who support us, especially our clients. This means so much to the whole OPTASY team. What can we help you with? Contact us and let’s start collaborating!
Adrian Ababei / Feb 15'2021
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to take the Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) Certification exam. In this post we are going to discuss why I took this exam and more importantly, how I passed it and became an Acquia Certified Site Studio Site Builder. Optasy and its commitment to quality through knowledge You already know that quality is part of the corporate culture of Optasy. For us quality is a key factor to protect our clients' investments and guarantee them a high ROI. But having a good QA department is not enough. Actually, it's often too late when the QA team detects an issue. At Optasy we prefer to ensure quality at the early stages of our projects, analyzing deeply the needs of our clients and transform them into effective digital experiences but we also know that the quality of the code we produce comes from the experience and the skills of our developers. That's why Optasy has an internal 'skill knowledge acquisition program' to help its employees (optasians) to acquire new skills or improve them. This program gives to each optasian one day off per month (paid by the company) to study a particular field. As a way to ensure knowledge acquisition and validation, optasians also receive paid leave to study and give their Acquia certification exams. This includes the exam cost too, that’s why many of the optasian developers are actually Acquia Certified developers or Acquia Certified site builders All things considered, it was a pretty easy choice for me to take the exam, not only do I get to improve my skills, but I get paid for it too! What are the Acquia certification programs? Acquia is a preferred Optasy partner that delivers a cloud-based digital experience platform built on Drupal that enables organizations to build experiences that scale. Acquia is committed to facilitating certification programs allowing developers to validate their Drupal skills year after year. Acquia certification exams are administered at Kryterion Testing Centers in more than 750 locations across the globe. Exams are also available as online-proctored tests and are often offered at DrupalCons across the world. What is Acquia Site Studio? Acquia Site Studio (formerly Cohesion) is a low-code solution for building and editing Drupal sites. As an Acquia partner, our team got the chance to become an early adopter of the technology. Acquia Site Studio is a sort of layout builder on steroids without writing any line of code. Not only can you build layouts or templates, but also you can build whole websites from the headers to the footers, and everything in between, like components and widgets, just by using the interface. No code required! It's a kind of atomic design system (like Pattern Lab) where you can create and preview CSS style guides, components, template layouts, page layouts or view layout from a visual user interface with simple “drag and drop”. And all of this within your Drupal site! To be fair, Acquia Site Studio is an amazing tool allowing designers and marketers to create and modify any layout component without calling the development team. If you’re a designer with no coding knowledge you’ll be able to create totally unique layouts based on your designs using intuitive drag and drop layout builder. If you're an editor, you may choose the layout you want to use and add all the pre-designed components you wish. Want to add a slider or a 'Related Articles' block? You drag and drop it in your layout! 5 tips to successfully pass your Acquia Certified Site Studio exam As other Acquia Certification exams, the Certified Site Studio exam requires both experience and knowledge. Though the test is not difficult, it’s not something you want to run into unprepared. From my experience, the questions ranged from a very low to medium range of difficulty, there were barely any difficult questions. This exam validates your ability to: Understand the features and functionality provided by Site Studio Install and configure Site studio environment on new or existing websites. Build a website using Site Studio style builder, components and website structure design elements. The official description of this exam can be found on Acquia's certification overview page. But in short: The tests are all multiple choice. They don't require that you actually configure a Drupal site or write any code. They are available in person at a testing center, or at home by installing the exam software on your computer. The price was $155 (In my case, Optasy paid for the test) Get a good understanding of Drupal Layout Builder As I mentioned earlier, Acquia Site Studio is a Layout Builder on steroids and many concepts are the same, so having some experience with this Drupal module will help you a lot, like the inline editing tools or the concept of drawing element into the layout. This is not mandatory, but I felt really comfortable with Site Studio having this previous experience. Read carefully the contents of the exam On Acquia's certification overview page you'll find the blueprint of the exam like the following: But below it, you'll find the content itself. Read it carefully and repeatedly. This should be your guideline during your study. This will help you focus on what really matters but also to recap and structure your notes. Read and study the documentation While there are really good videos on the Acquia Academy site about Site Studio, watching all of them won't be enough. If you don't have prior experience with Site Studio, it's a good starting point. But it definitively won't give all the knowledge you need to pass the exam. Reading the documentation should sound obvious, but you'll really need to read and study all the documentation in depth. Don't leave anything behind cause the exam covers all the aspects of Site Studio, from the basics to more advanced topics. This will also give you the right vocabulary to understand the questions of the exam, since sometimes they can try to trick you changing just one word. So the technical vocabulary has an important role, and that's where the documentation comes into play. Write down some notes after reading each section. This will help you a lot during the recap! Train on the Acquia Site Studio demo environment You can request an online demo environment for free at the bottom of this page The main benefit is that you won't need an API key or an Agency key, so you can test Site Studio for free, the environment acts just like a normal Drupal website. and the site will be all yours to experiment on. This site will be your friend during your study, you should test everything you learned in the documentation here. Do it several times and try different cases. The night before the exam, after reading back your notes, try to build a site from scratch in this environment to recap all the main concepts. This is key! Don't forget the 'Miscellaneous concepts and features' part These three concepts are not placed in one section, they are dispersed in the documentation. Study and practice all of them because you'll have a question about each one. They are only three, it doesn’t sound like a lot but they are worth 15% of the exam! That is a quick and easy win! A bonus tip What really worked for me was to read a section, practice the concepts of this section in the demo environment, read again the same section and take some notes. The day after, read all the notes of the previous day, do the same 7 days later, reading back your notes and practicing again on the demo site. That way, 80% of what you studied will stay forever in your memory. Conclusions Acquia Certification Site Studio Site Builder can be a good way to validate your skills and knowledge There are barely any difficult questions Study all the documentation because the exam is based on it, but also because the exam will cover all of it. Practice a lot, recap a lot.
Karim Boudjema / Aug 27'2020
How precisely does a user journey map help you improve the user experience on your website/app? What are the benefits of customer journey mapping? Should you expect a direct impact on your conversion rate? In other words, why would you bother creating one? In this post, I've listed the 7 best answers (or “benefits”, if you wish) to your legitimate question: “Why use customer journey mapping?” 1. But First: What Is a User Journey Map? What exactly is a customer journey? And why should you bother... mapping it? It's a timeline that shows all the touch points between the user and your website or application, along with the emotions, motivations, and thoughts that he/she experiences at each step of the process. A shorter “definition” would be: A user journey map is the visualization of an individual's relationship/experience with your website/app across different channels that he uses to interact with it, over time. Does this answer your question: “What is user journey mapping in design thinking?” With this map at hand, it becomes easier for you to... locate the weak spots, where you need to improve the user experience... Too many teams focus almost exclusively on the user experience at the top and on the bottom of the sales funnel and underestimate the steps in the middle. So, they ignore precisely those touchpoints that drive conversions... 2. Why Use User Journey Mapping? Top 7 Benefits What's the purpose? Why and when to use a user journey map? What design problems does it help you solve? Here are 7 strong reasons why you'd want to bother mapping users' journey on your website: 2.1. It urges you to adopt a more user-centric approach to web design In short, you get to see your website/app through the user's eyes. From his/her point of view. You step into the user's shoes, see how the user interacts with your site, and detect those areas of the user experience that... could be better. 2.2. It helps you answer your “What if...?” questions In other words, with all the valuable information of a customer journey map at hand, you're free to brainstorm ideas. To plan new features, ambitious updates for your website that would: improve the user experience increase engagement with your website and eventually... boost conversions 2.3. It enables you to make strategic recommendations backed up by UX data Are you monitoring quantitative KPI metrics in your company? If so, then a user journey map will help you back all your future recommendations for improving your site's performance with user experience data. 2.4. It helps you see where exactly your website doesn't meet the user's expectations By mapping the customer journey, you get to detect those specific systems and processes — part of the user's journey on your website — that are not aligned with his/her expectations. And to address these inconveniences that are costing you sales. 2.5. It helps you identify opportunities and pain points in the user experience Opportunities that, otherwise, you might just... overlook. And which you can now tap into for... further research (the “what if” question, remember?) A customer journey map helps you visualize both successes — where your website performs best from a UX standpoint — and areas where you could make an impact. 2.6. It gives you a realistic picture of the user experience on your website Maybe you're convinced that you're doing a great job, yet users are having a really bad experience. Mapping the user journey will provide you a realistic evaluation of the situation from the user's perspective. 2.7. It helps you evaluate the impact of the changes that you make to your website A user journey map makes a great tool for measuring the impact of the updates that you make. Updates that you'll decide to implement based on the information that such a map will provide you with. To sum up, here's a short inventory of the benefits that you get from mapping the user journey: you improve your website's/app's design you improve conversion funnels you can compare the experiences of different audience segments you get to “fuel” your user research you get to measure the impact of touchpoints 3. How to Create a User Journey Map: 8 Steps Now that you know why you'd want to map your user's journey on your website, let's see how you do that. What key stages should your user journey map template include? And I've broken the whole process down into 8 simple steps: Step 1: Set a scope for your customer journey map Which could go from a high-level map — the end-to-end user experience — to a more elaborated map, that focuses on one specific user interaction (i.e. filling in the check out form). Step 2: Create your user persona To put together an accurate persona profile, you need to do some user research. Collect as much relevant information about your target audience as possible before putting together the user persona's profile. Step 3: Determine the scenario and the user expectations For instance, a scenario could be: buying an item from your store using your eCommerce app. Whereas the user expectation, in this case, could be: having that item delivered in 2 days at most. Step 4: List the touchpoints It's that step in creating your user journey map where you make a list of all the user actions and interactions with your website/app, as well as of all the channels associated with them. Step 5: Define the problem that the user's trying to solve What's the user's motivation/intention? What drives him/her to interact with your website? Is he/she looking for more information on your products/services? Or has he accessed your website to buy a specific product? Step 6: Make a Sketch of the User Journey With all the information you've collected up to this point, put together a step-by-step interaction map. Where each “step” stands for a specific experience that the user persona has when interacting with your website. Step 7: Pinpoint the user's emotional state at each step in the journey What does the user feel at each step of interaction with your website/app? This empathy map will help up visualize the “ups” and “downs” in the user experience, so you should know where to... intervene. Step 8: Validate and adjust the user journey accordingly Rely on the information you will have collected during your usability testing sessions and from your app analytics to put your user journey map against a real use case. No matter how truthful your map might look to you (since you know it's based on intensive user research), it's crucial to validate it and to... adjust it, if needed. 4. User Journey Mapping vs User Story Mapping “Is a user journey like a user story?” Well, there are some key differences to be aware of. What's a user story? user stories describe small, specific tasks a group of user stories forms an “epic” they're essential for user acceptance testing and agile development The standard formula for creating a user story statement if the following: As a..., I want to..., so that I...” For instance: As an SEO specialist, I want to keyword-optimize this text, so that the website ranks higher in Google search results. And how is a user journey map different from a user story? When you map a customer journey you start with post-in notes on a whiteboard. You: determine who your website/app addresses to sketch the big picture detail each “epic” define a release strategy define a learning strategy (small experiments to minimize risks) define a development strategy Is it much clearer to you now why you need a user journey map for improving the UX on your website, but the process seems too... time-consuming to you? Just shift the burden to us then... Drop us a line and let's identify all those opportunities for improving the experiences your users have when interacting with your site/app.
Silviu Serdaru / Aug 26'2020
How to Approach User Experience Design: The 8-Stage Process (with specific activities and deliverables for each phase)
Adriana Cacoveanu / Aug 24'2020
The road to cluttered website design is paved with good intentions. For you want to make users' visits on your site as visually-pleasing as possible. So, you start adding lots of illustrated graphics and embellished fonts and... till it turns into a "carnival" of colors and styles. You also want to impress them with loads of features. And to give them the freedom to choose from (so) many options. The result? A confusing mess that sends visitors away in seconds. So, how do you simplify design? How do you set up a powerful, simple website design that converts? Here are 10 handy techniques that you can implement: 1. Make Every Design Decision with the CTA in Mind What do you want users to do on your website? to download an app or maybe a free eBook? to sign up for your newsletter? to request a quote? to leave a comment? to share your blog post on social media? Got your answer? Great! Now make sure that all the design elements on your site collaborate to help the user carry out that specific goal. See that your call to action's visible enough and present enough times on your web pages, even if that means getting rid of elements that are purely decorative. 2. Use the 80/20 Rule to Prioritize Effectively Applying the "law of the vital few" is a great way to simplify design. Here's how it works: since 80% of results (i.e. more clicks, more conversions, etc.) come from only 20% of the design elements on your website (buttons, CTAs, traffic funnels, specific UI elements, even white space) ... you need to focus on that 20% of the content Keep this criterion in mind whenever you need to prioritize certain design elements over others. Whenever you need to get strategic about distributing your design efforts. 3. Start Questioning the Necessity of a Sidebar As Neil Patel dared to put it into words: "Do you really need a sidebar?" To be sure, just run some tests (a tool like Crazy Egg comes in handy here). You'll then know for sure: how many visitors actually click on your website's sidebar if it's a design element that converts or... just a distraction 4. Stick to 3 Color Options at Most Sticking to a color palette is another effective and handy technique to achieve simplicity in website design. Choose your 2-3 colors and... stick to them. Go with that cohesive color scheme to create a sense of harmony with all the elements of your website's design. 5. Trim Down Your Menu to Maximum 7 Items to Simplify Design The short term memory is no myth. Nor is the "paradox of choice". With that in mind, you'll want to have up to 7 (preferably less) items on your menu. 6. Use Standard Navigation Why not get "daring" and surprise your website visitors with alternative navigation? Or maybe a hidden one? Why should you stick to the same ol', same ol' style of navigation menu? Because it's familiar. And "familiar" means less effort from the user. Because it's straightforward. And "straightforward" means "more usable" In short, you'll want to: stick to the top or pop-out navigation menus do your best to avoid mega-style navigation menus that end up overwhelming the users 7. Increase the Text Size "But doesn't this technique to simplify design contradict other web page design rules?", you might ask yourself. And I know which "rules" you must be thinking of: the one that says that larger lettering is counter-intuitive on small-sized screens the one that says that all key elements should be above the scroll The truth is that mobile users are already used to scrolling and larger text size is easier to read. So, why no make their task easier? 8. Keep Options to a Minimum How can you simplify a design? By limiting the number of options. This way, you take a "saboteur" like choice overload out of the picture. In other words, present users with fewer choices and they'll be more likely to choose... something. 9. Break Up Complex Tasks into Smaller, Manageable Steps And this is a straight path to creating a simple website design. Where "simple" stands for "better user experience". Let's say you go to a website and at some point, you need to fill in a super long form, with lots of fields and multiple-choice questions. And they're all there, squeezed on the same screen: a discouraging network of columns with fields, and subfields, and... Pretty daunting, isn't it? But what if you: rearranged everything on the screen into a single column? broke up that "wall" of tasks into several little steps to take one at a time? sequenced all the info across multiple screens? In other words: What if you hid your form's complexity using progressive disclosure? Users could fill in some fields on the first screen, then a few more on the next screen... This way, they don't get overwhelmed thinking about what to fill out next. They can distribute their efforts more easily by taking one page at a time. You'd then increase your chances of having users take some minutes of their time to fill in your form. 10. Stick to the "One Page, One Goal" Rule How do you simplify a website? You first answer this question: "What is the one thing I want the user to do when they are on this page?" (Neil Patel) Then, you implement that answer. So, what is it that you expect your website visitors to do on a given page of your website? to read that blog post? to start a free trial? to sign up for your newsletter? to... click the "products" menu? What is it? Find out, then design your web page around this primary action. Don't try to "juggle with" too many options, to ask the user to carry out several actions on the same page for... you'll only overwhelm him/her and send him away. Choose one clear primary action for each page instead of placing your bet on multiple, equally important actions. The END! These are our 10 handy tips for you on how to simplify design and make it clean and easy to use. Too many projects on your plate right now? Don't have the time and the team available to declutter your website's design and make it more usable, more... efficient? Just shift the burden to us! Drop us a line and let's simplify your site. Image by Roland Steinmann from Pixabay
Silviu Serdaru / Aug 19'2020