Web

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 – 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.

 

Moving Toward the Future, Part 2: How Traditional Small Creative Agencies Can Re-tool for the Digital Era – Overcoming Tech Differences

Submitted by Sam Moore on Sun, 08/30/2020 - 10:22

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Online meeting on laptop

At least up until the arrival of COVID-19, few small creative agencies typically worked remotely. They generally built their processes and workflows around in-person meetings with clients, staff and vendors, with a possible phone call or rare online meeting thrown in when deadlines came down to the wire.

Not only did this tend to make the work process more cumbersome and expensive, it also slowed it down. Because digital-first agencies tend to be built by highly tech-savvy principals (if not downright tech nerds), their foundations include the use of communication, project management, and brainstorming software such as Basecamp, Slack and MindMeister to allow most—if not all—of these processes to happen virtually.

Though it may remove some of the more personable aspects of business, these types of software packages can help today’s traditional agencies retrofit their processes to be able to compete with their digital-first peers.

Resonetrics: A Friendly Tugboat to Guide Your Ship to Open Horizons

Submitted by Mary Shafer on Thu, 10/03/2019 - 18:48

Last time, we discussed the rise of the Content Management System (CMS) as a tool to allow businesses to retain control of and access to their own websites on a timely basis. This post will describe how we are responding to this evolution in creating and maintaining a professional, useful online presence.

Enter Resonetrics
At Resonetrics, our challenge is to empower our clients not just to produce, but to regularly—and with as little effort and as few resources as possible—publish their own online content at a professional level. It has become part of our job to help them take ownership of their corporate voice in the world’s busiest and most densely packed information pool. And that’s the new era we’re kicking off with this post.

In concrete terms, what does this actually mean?
First, we take stock of the specific problem to be solved. We’ve thought a lot about it, and based on our experience, we think it comes down to three basic issues:

  1. Content organization & preparation – If it’s being done right, every organization’s website content consists of material provided from across the breadth of their expertise and knowledge. This means a variety of voices, language usage, tonal approaches, visual design and image types are being submitted by various contributors from all departments and sectors of the organization. It’s critical that this disparate content is well-edited and organized to shape it into a cohesive, single brand voice for the client. This is a skill set unto itself. Not everyone has it, but everyone can learn enough to ultimately execute at a higher level.
  2. User interface design – Regardless which 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 means that website content updates are basically just another load on their plate, which needs to get done at whatever frequency is called for. If their experience with the CMS they’re required to use is difficult, stressful and unrewarding, they will reject it. If you notice a strong resistance to this task in your organization, we’re probably talking about you. Part of our job is to identify the collective wisdom already accumulated to date around this issue, and leverage it to prescribe specific strategies to successfully deal with your particular situation. We do that both in individual consults and here on our blog, as appropriate.
  3. Corporate culture – All the best editing and technology design in the world cannot overcome a bad attitude, from organization management to the content 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.

Tools Change, But The Mission Remains
A hundred years ago, wagon builders and harness makers, blacksmiths and wheelwrights all thought they were in the business of manufacturing their little piece of the huge horse-drawn conveyance pie. But then along came the automobile, and they had to decide if they were in their specialty business, or if they were in the larger transportation field. 

Those who decided the former either retired, took their former trade into hobby status, or ended up going out of business altogether. Those who recognized the larger picture stayed in business and thrived in their new part of it. That's why, for the longest time, Fisher Bodyworks still used a carriage as its trademark, paying homage to its humble beginnings. Massive brands such as General Motors carried that logo on their vehicles well into the 1970s.

But rest assured, GM continued to modernize until, along with other American car makers, it held on too long to the old manufacturing models. It was beaten out of its top spot by foreign car makers who weren't invested in history, but in the future. Those victors still lead auto makers today, while the “Big Three” American companies—who pioneered modern vehicle manufacturing processes—continue to struggle to find their place in the highly robotic, overwhelmingly technologized global industry.

Get Proactive or Perish
It’s the same now for every modern organization, whether commercial, financial, institutional or nonprofit: Master the technology, or it will surely master you. 

At Resonetrics, we’re embracing technology and staying out ahead of it, so our clients can concentrate on what they do best. They trust us to thoroughly grasp its implications and lead with this bold vision, so they can feel confident in the direction we’re helping them move. 

In return, we ask only that they respond with open minds and a willingness to try new tools that will smooth the path ahead for us all.

In future posts, we’ll be diving deep to address myriad facets of the three issues listed above, as they relate to discovering, formulating and helping you implement best practices in these areas. We invite you to forge ahead with us into a future that may not look a whole lot like the past, but whose promise is great. 

We need only remember that however uncomfortable it may be to venture out of our comfort zones, a ship is safe at harbor…but that’s not what ships are for.
 

Vice: We're Getting Rid of Comments on VICE.com

Submitted by Sam Moore on Thu, 12/22/2016 - 11:05

As we all know, the comments section of many sites is simply an open sewer.
 

We don't have the time or desire to continue monitoring that crap moving forward. Besides, there are plenty of other ways for you to publicly discuss our work and the personal worth of our staff. We'll still be reading your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and we legitimately do enjoy getting IRL mail (no bombs) sent to our offices in Brooklyn.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/were-getting-rid-of-comments-on-vice

AdWeek: Ikea Renamed Products After Frequently Googled Problems That Those Products Solve

Submitted by Sam Moore on Fri, 12/16/2016 - 09:30

Anyone doing Search Engine optimization will appreciate Ikea's clever play here - when someone searches for a relationship problem ("My partner is annoying"), their product pops up on the SERP.
Apparently only in Sweden, but still...

Conveniently, ...searches for terms like "He can't say he loves me" will lift Ikea's product ads to the top of the Google Adwords pile—a visibility coup so maniacally clever that it's hard to hold a grudge. 

http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/ikea-renamed-products-after-frequently-googled-problems-those-products-solve-175005

Search Engine Land: Finally going mobile-friendly, but on a collision course with Google’s mobile-first index [Case Study]

Submitted by Sam Moore on Thu, 12/15/2016 - 20:30

Here's a case study on some of the issues that can arise in a mobile-first world, which we're now entering.
tl;dr - make sure your mobile visitors are seeing the full monty, because that's what Google is going to index.

Google has clearly explained that site owners should make sure their mobile URLs contain the same content as the desktop pages. Those mobile URLs will be the ones used for ranking purposes and to understand structured data.

http://searchengineland.com/finally-going-mobile-friendly-collision-course-googles-mobile-first-index-case-study-265227

Backlinko: KEYWORD RESEARCH FOR SEO

Submitted by Sam Moore on Wed, 12/14/2016 - 15:35

Brian Dean is best known as the backlink guy, but his SEO and keyword research info is well worth a read. here's the update for 2017.

If you can master the art of finding awesome keywords for your business — you’ll not only benefit from more search engine traffic – but you’ll also know your customers better than your competition.

http://backlinko.com/keyword-research