Digital Marketing

Defining Users for Good UX Design Requires Good Research

Submitted by Sam Moore on Thu, 11/19/2020 - 15:48
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Define Users

In our last post, we discussed the need to recognize that there are two real users we’re designing for in a webdev project: Internal Content Editors and External End Users.

 

Web developers must serve each of these user sets, so the users must be defined in as much detail as possible, to set up the needs and expectations of each, which we will use as our design requirements. We call this the Discovery process.

 

External Users – End Users/Customers

The site's external end users may belong to a monolithic group, but more likely, they will belong to several subsets, differentiated in terms relevant to the client/site owner’s business or purpose. Your marketing department should research and create a Customer Profile for each subset of typical customers.

  • These profiles should be generated using known demographic information as much as possible. Relevant demographics will change according to client needs.

  • Other salient points about them will have to remain conjecture, until use of the new site reveals observable data about external users.

  • When building the project timeline, the webdev project manager should be tapped to follow up on this information, which should help determine anticipated needs and desires for the website's ongoing features and functionality. This way, all future updates are based on actual feedback.

Internal Users – Content Editors

In reality, the Internal User is the first one to consider, because the content editor will be the first one to use the site before actual customers do. They will be inputting and updating text, images and media before the customer ever sees it, so they are key to the success of the site.

  • Because there can be several levels of internal users, each should be represented by a Persona Story, also created by your Marketing department.

  • A Persona Story is a pseudo-personality profile and needs assessment that will help determine the features and functionalities needed on the site.

     

We’ll cover the questions used to build the Persona Story in our next post.

WebDev 101 – Human-Centered Design, Part 2

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 10/14/2020 - 15:54
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WebDev 101 – Human-Centered Design, Part 2

Previously, we discussed the importance of Human-Centered Design in website development. This week, we’ll look at the three basic phases of Human-Centered Design.

INSPIRATION – This first phase of intense creativity, grounded in research. It’s a process of learning about the needs and desires of all users of the site, from internal content editors to end users. It’s when you imagine how you might approach the project, based on what you learn.

IDEATION – This is the brainstorming and iteration phase, during which you begin putting into form the ideas you came up with in the previous phase. Ideally, you bring in people like those who will actually use the site to test your ideas and give you feedback.

 

IMPLEMENTATION – This is where you bring the site design into its final iteration, do the launch, and promote its use.

It takes some practice to get used to using this process, but there is help available. You can download a free PDF copy of The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design that will get you solving problems like a designer. BONUS: This guide helps you apply Human-Centered Design principles to all types of challenges, not just webdev.

 

WebDev 101 – Human-Centered Design, Part 1

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 10/14/2020 - 15:51
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WebDev 101 – Human-Centered Design, Part 1

At the heart of effective User Experience (UX) Design, which is critical to the creation of successful websites, is Human-Centered Design. This is the term for the expression of the oldest and most central design rule in website development: Form must follow function (FFF).

 

In other words, you start with the purpose of the thing you’re designing — What is it supposed to do, why, and who’s going to be using it? — and make sure that every decision you make during its design is based on the answers to those questions. The form of what you're creating must follow the function it is supposed to serve.

 

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Actually, not so much. Many folks approach a design project with preconceived notions or they see it as an opportunity to try some new technique or methodology they’ve heard about, whether or not it serves the purpose of the project.

 

That’s why the FFF rule is so critical: It serves as a strong guiding influence on decision-making the whole way through the webdev project. Some will see this as a constraint to their creativity, but in reality, it’s a way to save all involved from going down innumerable rabbit holes that won't ultimately pay off.

In our next post, we'll look at the 3 basics of Human-Centered Design.

 

WebDev 101 – Technology and Corporate Culture

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 10/14/2020 - 15:48
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Web dev tech and corporate culture

All the best editing and technology design in the world cannot overcome a bad attitude, and that's true from organization management to the content editor/manager.

We may all indulge in a joke now and then about how fast the world is moving, but the reality is that technology acceptance is no longer solely the realm of the resident geeks and nerds. It’s imperative that everyone involved in dissemination of marketing content get on board and, if not actually embrace the new way of doing things, then at least accept and not resist it.

This is a real challenge in some organizations and companies, and it's never more obvious than when dealing with how to get messaging out of the heads of those responsible for generating it and onto the website or other marketing vehicles.

Resonetrics can help your organization (or your client's) create an atmosphere of not just acceptance, but embrace of technology in helping move your marketing forward. If management is on board, it can be a fairly brief process that sticks, positioning the organization to leap ahead in its market visibility and penetration.

 

This process may consist of analyzing the marketing team's technological strengths and weaknesses, providing tech introductions and training where needed, and helping develop an internal marketing workflow that optimizes strengths and minimizes weaknesses. It may also include arranging external assistance where needed.

 

WebDev 101 - User interface design

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 10/14/2020 - 15:43
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Web development user interface design

Regardless which content management system (CMS) people use, unless they are dedicated content managers, they are usually administrative professionals primarily responsible for other activities more traditional to their jobs. This makes web content updates just another burdensome task.

If the CMS they’re required to use is difficult, stressful and unrewarding, they will avoid doing it. If you notice a strong resistance to this task in your organization, we’re probably talking about you. At Resonetrics, we can prescribe strategies to successfully deal with your particular situation.

Generally, we start with an introductory interview to learn your specific needs and situation. Then we talk with your designated content editor, to objectively determine whether that person really has the skill set (or the willingness and potential to develop it) and bandwidth to take on the task consistently, as part of their position.

 

If so, we may offer to help onboard that person to a professional standard, using task modeling and checklists to help establish a repeatable routine that produces the results you seek. We will also help your designee navigate your organization's particular culture to make sure they get what they need for each website update.

If your designee does not appear to be a good candidate for the content editing role, we will help you find someone among your team members who is, or recommend external sources to locate a better fit.

 

Moving Toward the Future, Part 4: How Traditional Small Creative Agencies Can Re-tool for the Digital Era – Adhering to Digital-First Tenets

Submitted by Sam Moore on Fri, 09/11/2020 - 09:19

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digital era

The first tenet of digital-first marketing is in its name: Every campaign concept begins with the idea that digital will be the primary and most important outreach channel. This can be difficult for those whose career path began in the print era, many of whom believe that print assets can simply be converted to digital ones. Anyone who has tried to make that happen can tell you otherwise. There must be an intentional mind-shift in which print takes a subordinate position to digital.

 

Along with that comes getting used to the much faster development and deployment pace required by digital-first efforts. Channels and platforms evolve on a nearly daily basis, and the rules that govern them do, as well. Tech-first professionals such as coders and software engineers are used to thinking this way, while traditional creatives may feel the rug has been pulled out from under them at first.

 

This shift also entails leaving behind the perfectionism of traditional print production, once required because huge, expensive print runs had a significant shelf life in which errors were anathema. Now, creatives must become comfortable with the digital-born “iterate and optimize” mindset, in which something close to a “minimum viable product” gets shipped (or launched) to kick off a campaign, then the messaging and graphics are tweaked for effectiveness based on real-world testing, which is the subject of next week’s post.

Moving Toward the Future, Part 3: How Traditional Small Creative Agencies Can Re-tool for the Digital Era – New Appreciation for IT Staff

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 09/02/2020 - 12:29

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IT Staff

In traditional creative agencies, IT staff have almost been a second thought. Programmers, coders and similar employees were viewed mostly as a pair of hands to execute on the agency’s main value proposition: creative ideas. But in a digital-first world in which a constantly growing mound of content is king, it has become at least as important to make sure experienced, knowledgeable IT pros are present when the paper is blank, at the beginning of any campaign.

These people must be present not only to advise accurately on which concepts can most easily and inexpensively be implemented digitally, but also to vet creative assets such as websites and apps for all-important characteristics such as SEO ranking, cleanness of code and loading times.

Another critical task such IT personnel will fulfill is testing deliverables. Testing everything from links and pop-overs to mobile responsiveness must be built into new digital-first processes by people who understand the nuances of the work, and when such testing is most effective. Ensuring that these folks are integral members of the team will keep you competitive and give your projects the best chance for success of your campaigns…and your business.