UX Designers Tool Kit: Crazy Egg

March 28, 2019 - Posted By: CreateApe

There are many tools in a UX designer’s tool kit, and Crazy Egg is one of our favorites. Crazy Egg is a website that allows designers to track various types of data on their designs. Two of their most prominent features are their heat mapping and A.B. testing tool. Today, we’re discussing why it’s important to use these critical insights in UX design. 

Mapping Designs is Essential

There are various types of maps that UX designers use to strengthen their designs. Scroll maps, for example, show where the user is scrolling and where they tend to stop. Confetti maps show which areas of the site are getting the most clicks and which are not. Heat mapping shows where users have clicked the most on a website, what pages they’re visiting, and what designs they’re responding to. This data is also broken down by where the traffic is coming from and browsers used. Whether we’re using heat mapping, confetti mapping, or scroll mapping, these insights help us interpret how users are behaving and allow us to design accordingly. 

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An example of heat mapping. Where the saturation increases, the level of user engagement is high.
Data Reveals Crucial Insights 

In a world that’s saturated with data, it’s important to understand the crucial insights and how to know which numbers to pay attention to. Understanding data from the mapping is one thing, it doesn’t take an analyst to understand that where the most saturation is on a heat map is where the user is visiting most frequently, but it does take technical and creative skills to implement data into a design that converts.

“Crazy egg provides additional levels of data for the savvy UX designer. Breaking down traffic through heat and confetti maps allow the designer to ascertain real data regarding user activity,” comments our CEO Alessandro Fard.

 

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Increased Certainty

The maps on Crazy Egg give us more certainty. Because we do projects from a variety of different verticals, there’s no certainty that one business user will respond like others. This gives the design a far stronger chance of survival. Think about it like genetics. If we keep tracking the things that are working and making improvements to the designs’ DNA, it’s survival of the fittest. This gives our designs a competitive edge and gains traction with customers. When you stumble upon insights that make a huge difference in how responsive your design is, we clutch them tight and never want to let them go.

The great thing about mapping is that it offers insights that allow designers to make changes that aren’t a shot in the dark. There are no longer ambiguous insights and it doesn’t feel like playing Russian Roulette with your designs.

Gone are the days of trial and error to see what actually works. We no longer need to conduct dozens of tests to see what’s working and what’s the most impactful. Don’t get us wrong, testing designs is essential and one of the most important aspects of UX, but it’s no longer just based on luck. We see this with A.B. testing.

A.B Testing

Crazy Egg is one of our go-to user research tools. We use it with most strategic redesigns and pivots. Not only does if offer heat mapping to see where we need to make changes as designers, but we get to test the capability and impact of our designs with A.B. testing.

A.B. testing is when you test designs to see which one the user responds to the most. This could be small changes like testing the responsiveness of the color of a button, or more complicated designs like an entirely different landing page.

We see this a lot with how personalized websites are becoming. There are now various landing pages that are designed to be used on different types of people or personas. A.B. testing allows the designer to see which landing pages are the most impactful for a certain demographic. 

Alessandro comments, “Using the crazy egg A.B. testing feature, you can observe the impacts of testing variations to a page such as button placement, color, wording, etc. The crazy egg tool is also fairly simple and powerful and has been built to not overwhelm users.”

A.B. testing can clue us into small changes that translate into bigger metrics. For example, one thing we constantly see are people clicking on the feature images when they aren’t clickable elements. People were clicking them anyway and it gave us a tip as to what users found valuable on the page. These small insights allow us to change things like copywriting and placement that ultimately results in boosting conversion rates.

The Tool Kit

After all, UX is a blend of art and science. It takes a skilled designer to know how to implement both aspects of UX in a way that is meaningful and responsive. Thanks to Crazy Egg, we can continue to deliver products to our clients that are supported by data and show clear results. The simplicity of their product combined with the immensely impactful insights Crazy Egg offers is essential for any UX designers tool kit. 

 

The Psychology Of UX

March 21, 2019 - Posted By: CreateApe

When I first started as an intern at CreateApe, I was new to the UX/UI space. While I was familiar with some components of it, but understanding wasn’t fully developed. Now in my academic and professional career, I interact with the psychology of User Experience and User Interface design non-stop in daily life. As Cristina (our Director of Communications) and I were browsing blog topics for the month, one of the things we found really interesting were the blog topics on UX Magazine.

Why These Categories?

UX Magazines featured topics are under the categories: Accessibility, Data Visualization, Emotion, Empathy, Personas, and Storytelling. UX designers are familiar with all these categories, but I found some of them surprising. Why are things like emotion and empathy critical when talking about design?

Understanding UX/UI has changed the way I look at communication. At UC Berkeley, I’m seeing so many things I haven’t seen before, especially when connecting UX/UI to consumer behavior and human emotions. Upon deeper exploration, I’ve concluded that UX design goes beyond just the aesthetics, it’s the psychology behind the design in our lives.

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Data Visualization:

At Berkeley, it’s incredible the amount of emphasis that is put on numbers. “Big data” and “data analytics” are buzzwords that float through classrooms. It seems as if everyone is in a number crunch race, but for what reason? Numbers tell a story. Number’s tell stories, sometimes even better than words.

For example, in UX/UI, we use heat mapping to let the user tell us a story. We utilize reports on what users have been clicking on the most, where their eyes first land when browsing a landing page and more. This data helps interpret a path the user takes through a series of clicks. From the amount of time someone stays on a landing page, to what part of the website they frequently visit- all aid in the quest of understanding our actions and why we act in certain ways. When we see a perfume ad, our first instinct may be to look at the people in the ads. Why is that? It all boils down to psychology and it’s the UX designer and marketers job to explore and understand why.

Qualitative vs. Quantitive

Data can tell us where the future is moving. Both qualitative and quantitative data gives us valuable information about consumers and how they approach design. Although there is an emphasis on numbers, qualitative data is just as important.

This Ted Talk by Tricia Wang reveals why human insights in data are so crucial. Nokia had been conducting surveys about smartphones in rural Asia and receiving the data back. While the data stated that the demographics of the area had no interest or need for smartphones, Wang’s ethnography findings found just the opposite. She had talked to and observed those in rural Asia and found, in fact, that there was an increasing desire for smartphones within the community. Nokia refuted the data simply because it wasn’t rooted in the numbers and has been trying to catch up in the smartphone industry since.

The UX/UI designer is in many ways an ethnographer. They have to observe a user base, understand how they use their current tools and design accordingly. Like a 5-year-old, they must ask many ‘why’ questions and never stop re-evaluating, why? Both qualitative and quantitative data are essential in allowing designers to bring a human insight approach to design. Quantitative data can tell us about a demographic but qualitative data can extensively show us how the user is interacting with designs (like user testing).

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Story Telling

There’s no doubt that storytelling is crucial in the way designs are presented. Storytelling is a form of communication that’s designed to connect with the user. We tell stories to connect with others. It’s the same with UX. We create pathways and stories through designs that are impactful and connect with users on a personal level.

Good design limits choice. In consumer behavior, we talk a lot about decision fatigue. If a user is overwhelmed by a decision in which they have too many choices, they end up making no decisions at all or make a rash or spontaneous decision. This is why storytelling is so crucial. Users don’t want to make decisions 100% of the time, and if they do they want them to be easy. In order to create an impactful story, we must use anticipatory design.

Anticipatory Design

Anticipatory design eliminates choices for the user. We think we want a lot of choices, but psychology has proven we actually don’t. This is evident just within the In n’ Out menu. Its simplicity and limited choice have allowed the brand to flourish. There is a freedom in limited choices, like having your credit card information already on file rather than choosing which one to use and re-input every time you shop. There’s a reason why designers like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wore the same thing every day.

When we have choices omitted from us, it’s easier to follow a path or a story. That’s what UX aims to do for the user. Designing simple and impactful illustrations is what makes using products and browsing interfaces that much more enjoyable. Good UX is supposed to anticipate our next move before we do, and it works. Designing stories and a path for users to take utilizes anticipatory design.

Accessibility:

When scrolling through UX Mag’s website, their articles about accessibility focus on availability. It’s about designing for everyone. UX/UI isn’t just about design, it’s about breakthroughs. It’s about that ah-ha moment that makes life just that much easier. It’s no surprise that great designs can change the world, but they can only change it if they’re accessible. A great example of this is the Apple Watch. Their interface is designed for an athlete, stay at home mom, student, chef, or virtually anyone. It’s designed for the everyday user and pushed the boundaries of design. The creators of the Apple Watch anticipated wearable tech that now has opened many possibilities for design and made it accessible and friendly for each user.

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Emotion:

Emotion in design is impactful. We see, think, and feel emotions every day. We make choices and design our life based on emotions. The world around us has the ability to influence user experience and design. Going back to the Apple watch example, it was designed to be worn on the wrist because of it’s psychological placement on the body. The design was made with emotions in mind, our wrist being associated with being delicate, often intimate and right on the pulse. We can now send our heartbeat to a loved one via our Apple watch and our Spotify recommends playlists are based on our moods. Emotions shape design.

Amanda O’Grady, the Design Strategist at Intuit says, “True emotional connections come from experiences that feel magical and meaningful.”

Even the actual design of emoji was made for us to convey emotion. Each emoji is based on a feeling, an emotion that is designed based on movements in facial features. Dr. Ekman, ranked among the most influential psychologists of the 21st century, is world-renowned for his research on facial expressions, emotion, deception, and compassion. His research has aided to furthering emotions in design and worked on movies like Inside Out. This inherently shows that we gravitate towards designs that help us convey or relate to emotions. This trait is crucial in UX/UI as the first step of design is understanding the emotions behind it.

Empathy:

I thought it was amusing that UX Mag’s image used for this topic was a man changing one foot into a heeled shoe. We see empathy in design everywhere. In the design world, and the real world, there aren’t any empathy filters. Designers aren’t going to wake up one day and think to start designing with empathy. But empathy allows us to consider how people are thinking and feeling. Being empathetic in design is to put yourself in the user’s shoes.

Most designers designed something because they have empathized with themselves. For example, the person who invented the bike probably hated the fact they had to walk miles and miles every day. Empathizing with users allows designers to gain a genuine understanding of how to solve users problems and build better products. Designing with empathy is human design. It’s not an algorithm made from a device, that’s why UX/UI is so crucial, it’s personalized designed built from human nature.  

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”- Theodore Roosevelt
Personas:

A persona is a group of users who all exhibit similar types of behavior. This is the ideal customer or user, the one who is going to have the most impact. In consumer behavior, personas are often used in targeting a certain demographic and usually require some research. Personas allow for perspective. Like empathy, personas put you in the user’s shoes and allow the designer to ask the crucial questions on how the user will perform while using their products. Understanding who you’re designing for is the first step to any design success.

Personas help teams find the answer of who they are designing for. Not only is this helpful for segmentation, but it’s helpful in understanding empathy. Creating personas makes designers understand that users have varying needs and expectations. A persona puts into perspective how a person interacts with a product, their patterns, and puts behaviors into context.

Psychology of UX: 

At the root of UX/UI is a question of why. UX is supposed to provoke questions. It’s supposed to ask why humans do things, why we do them the way we do. These blog categories encapsulate the core of UX design. UX is about combining data, regular human emotions, using empathy and accessibility to connect that to impactful storytelling. As a design field based on human nature, it has deep roots in psychology.

Additionally, there is a historical aspect to this type of design. It’s an example of who we are as a society at any given time and a peek into how we live our lives. Historically, you can look at UX/UI designs and know what society was like at any given time because designers were building for that society.

What’s ultimately successful in UX Mag’s blog titles is their ability to provoke questions. The purpose of UX design is to ask the questions. Why do we do this? Why is it purposeful? Could we function without it? The average person wouldn’t know what UX/UI design even was, so why is it so important?  UX marries both design and psychology, and in the end develops as a sort of sociological report on who we are, what we believe in and what we want. That’s why it’s important.

Designing a Call-To-Action That Converts Every Time

September 18, 2018 - Posted by: CreateApe

If you’re in the design space, you’ve probably heard the acronym CTA. While it sounds like a disease, CTA stands for “Call To Action.” It’s a button or a link that users can interact with in order to inform or convert them to make a buying decision. Marketers love to throw out phrases like “We need a strong CTA” and we’re here to discuss what that even means.

A typical call to action you see on eCommerce websites are the “Buy Now” and “Click Here” boxes. Although it depends what your goal, product, and demographic you’re targeting is, there are some common denominators every CTA should have. Here’s a checklist to make sure you’re maximizing conversion every time.

1. Placement

First, a strong CTA should be easy to see and should have a prominent placement. Although some may think size and color are the most important factor of a CTA, it’s about what’s happening around the space that you need to be conscious about. Think about the button in context with the page. If you have a CTA with pictures all around it it’s going to be hard for the human mind to see it. A CTA with clean boundaries is going to get more clicks.

2. Color

General rule of thumb is to make sure the color is vibrant. Websites with a black box and white text may not perform as well. A colorful button that stands out in the design will attract more clicks. Be wary of going overboard. If you have a website that has colorful text, design, links, and you have a colorful CTA, it’s going to get lost in the composition.

This Madewell CTA could have been more impactful with color differentiation. Due to the black and white, the user has to stop and read both buttons to make a decision instead of making a subconscious choice. For example, a “yes” button being green and a “no” button being red.

CreateApe-CTA-Conversion

In this example, the designer uses green and grey to differentiate. As a result, the user gravitates towards the green “Yes” intended to capture the greatest conversion.

CreateApe-CTA-Example

 

3. Size

Your main CTA should be fairly large. Not large enough to be be obnoxious, but it should be larger than most of the items on the page. For example, on your typical landing page you’ll have title, subtitle, some text and two CTA’s. Typically, those CTA’s like “buy now” or “learn more” have a greater emphasis on them then the rest of the items on the page. The main CTA like “buy now,” should have a heavier weight due to it being the button that will lead to greater conversion and monetization.

Additionally, having a sub-CTA like “learn more” is important for those who aren’t ready to buy in the moment, but maybe want to buy in the future. In the context of this example, your main CTA “buy now” should be stronger than the sub-CTA intentionally. If they’re both the same weight then the mind will have to differentiate between the two. If the “buy now” is stronger, it will get more clicks.

Why CTA’s are Essential:

Most importantly, designing an effective CTA is the difference between converting a customer or generating a lead that will become a customer later on. It’s an integral part of digital marketing and user interface design. With the these tips, you’ll be able to design a CTA that’s effective and engaging.

Are you a business owner or entrepreneur that needs help deciding on which applications are best for your business? Let us help get you get #JungleReady. Let our CreateApe expert team be your jungle guide. We will help you traverse the wilds as we take your project to new heights.

Clutch.co Ranks CreateApe Top Design Agency in Orange County

September 6, 2018 - Posted by: CreateApe

CreateApe is now featured on Clutch.co and has already received two stellar reviews for outstanding service. Clutch is a Washington DC based research, ratings and reviews firm that covers thousands of business to business firms from over 500 different industries. Each company on Clutch is evaluated on multiple criteria such as; market presence, client base, and industry experience. Clutch’s platform allows firms to compare similar services and choose the one that best compliments their future business plans.

Additionally, CreateApe’s talented team of experts are not only capable of implementing the newest technologies on the market, but also excel at providing the highest customer service possible to all our clients. No matter the level of complexity of the project, CreateApe is eager to develop modern, visually appealing products that not only look good, but are functional and intuitive. In addition to UX and UI design, our team can also help with web development and over all digital services. For any business inquiries or questions, please contact us here.

A recent client of ours has given feedback on a project with us on Clutch.co and rated us a 5- star service. The project was to create a real estate management platform that was easy to use for all parties. The reviewer was incredibly impressed with our turnaround. They said,

“We can give them a skeleton model and they come back with an incredible representation of what we’re seeking.”

 

 

Another reviewer of CreateApe on Clutch’s platform really appreciated our refreshing approach compared to other businesses they’ve worked with. They said,


“What was refreshing about CreateApe is that they took the time to understand the technology we’re using.”

 

This reviewer goes on to talk about the results of the web design we created for them. They also said,


“It’s getting positive feedback on the look and feel, a major improvement from the previous site.”

 

All this positive feedback on Clutch has already made us a leader on their Orange County UX Designers page. Furthermore, Clutch just announced that on September 5th, they’ll be releasing a press release of the top business service companies in California. Even with two reviews, we’ll be included in this press release because of our hard work and commitment to clients.

We look forward to collecting more Clutch reviews on our profile to rank even higher as a UX and Digital agency. Thank you to our clients for spending the time supporting us and leaving us feedback through Clutch’s platform!

Why Go On A Retainer?

September 13, 2018 - Posted by: CreateApe

If you’re a client that’s been working with a company on a month to month basis for a while now- you might want to start thinking about going on a retainer. It’s a win-win for both the client and the business.

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Why Get a Retainer: 

One of the biggest benefits of working on a retainer is the security and predictability for both the client and the business. You know the resource will be available for your needs when you need them, and the resource provider knows they will secure that work. A retainer can solidify and strengthen your working relationship.  

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1. Things get done fast. Like really fast.

Retainer clients are often put first because of the predetermined agreement to a monthly workload. Like we said, retainer clients become family. If the offices are closed on 5 p.m. on a Friday, we’ll still be there to put out fires that would normally be pushed to Monday. When your business gets busy, there’s already a solid resource available.

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2. You’ve found a vendor you already trust!

In the end, you’ll be spending money to have someone do the work anyway, and it might as well be with a designer you already trust. If you’ve been working with them for a while not only do you know how they work, but how you work together. 

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3. Stability and security is hard to come by.

Every month a predetermined amount of work and income allow both parties to plan for the future. Retainers take the guest work out of quarterly estimates and budgets. Both parties can budget and determine hiring based on the stability of a retainer.

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What’s Included:
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Retainers are different for everybody and usually vary from client to client. There’s no one size fits all for a retainer and it varies from the service provided and project needs. At CreateApe, we cover everything. From high fidelity mockups, new conversion centric websites, responsive mobile designs, or even seasonal marketing designs, we offer it all.

Usually a big project that starts off the relationship is the beginning of an ongoing retainer. For example, if there’s a huge eCommerce redesign, we’re going to be focusing on the redesign but also little things might emerge out of the project. Landing pages, marketing banners, print design, things that are needed for basic maintenance of an eCommerce website are a great fit for a retainer.

A monthly retainer service allows businesses to develop a cohesive and long term plan while tracking results, permitting for more return from funds you’d be investing elsewhere. However, in the end, the most important aspect of a retainer agreement is the relationship between the agency and clients commitment to achieving overall business goals.

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Want to learn more?

Let us help get you #JungleReady. Let our CreateApe expert team be your jungle guide.We will help  you traverse the wilds as we take your project to new heights.

Difference between UX/UI Designer & Developer

August 8, 2018 - Posted by: CreateApe

There are many things in the tech space that can get taken for granted. Like a general understanding of common terms. In the UX/UI design space, we throw around a lot of terms we expect people to know. Whether it be CTA, above the fold, or even UX design itself, we assume that people know what these terms we’ve been throwing around mean. But boy is the tech space a bubble!

 

 

While some of this may be hitting some of you over the head, some of you may be sitting there like…

 

 

So it’s time to get #learnt. You might be asking yourself “What is a UX Designer?” “What do they do?”  “What’s a Developer?” and to conclude, “WTF even is the difference?” Well pull up a chair.

 

 

The distinction between a UX/UI designer and a developer is huge.

To make it simple, a UX designer creates the layout and general aesthetic of an application, and a developer makes these things work.

UX design is the infrastructure, layout, and placement of content and copy for a specific composition.

A good example of that is wireframing. Wireframing, one of the most utilized tools in a UX designers toolbelt, is a rough sketch or layout of what the application will look like before adding the details.

Whether wire framing is done on a whiteboard or an application like Sketch, UX/UI designers work closely with stakeholders to translate their ideas into a visual with an intelligent layout and design. At this point in the process, a rough sketch of what the application will look like exists but it’s not fully flushed out, resembling a coloring book before a 12 pack of Crayola.

The UX/UI design process is similar to building a home.

To build a home you’re going to need an architect, someone who will plan the general layout and composition of your space. Somebody that hopefully creates an environment for maximum enjoyment of what you want out of your home. That’s the UX designers job.

The builder, the one who actually brings the home to life, putting in finishing details such as window finishes, painting, and the function of appliances would fall under the UI designers job.

A UI designer will take what a UX designer has produced, color it in, and implement the style guide and branding of the application. These are all things a developer who is coding the front end (what the site looks like) of the application will want to know so that they can do their part.

Find yourself a proper villain:

More often than not a UX designer will also specialize in UI and have a little bit of front end experience just from encounters with other developers. This way when the designer hands the project off to the developer it’s neatly packaged and the developer doesn’t have to dig around to understand the needs and wants. Which in the end, is better for someone who’s paying the developer because costs will be lower and everything will run smoothly.

 

So what does a web developer do?

Once the handoff happens from the designer to the developer, the developer makes the application come to life. Good development starts in the planning phases, even beginning when the designers wireframe. Doing this ensures an understanding of how the application should respond and look like. Now developer will know what the site is, what the flow will be and be prepared for any challenges that may arise.

When it comes to web development, you can have developers that specialize in certain aspects, or full stack developers.

Meaning, they do everything from front end development, what you actually see in your browser, to back-end development, what the application is built on like WordPress and Magento.

Once the UI elements are made from the design the developers should start thinking about the backend.

What database should they use?

What do they need to use?

All those different questions, and planning it out from the design phase helps in the long run. You’ll have less technical debt, code that’s maintainable, and getting to the finished product will be much easier.

The relationship between the UX/UI designer and developer is integral to the success of the project. Although very different roles, the two have to work closely together so small details aren’t over looked. If you give a developer instructions to create a website without a design, you’ll most likely end up with a website that looks like it was made in the early 90s and vice versa. Like most specialities, it’s safe to say the job of a developer and a UX/UI designer adheres to the age old motto: #stayinyolane.

Are you a business owner or entrepreneur that needs help deciding on which application is  best for your business? Let us help get you #JungleReady. Let our CreateApe expert team be your jungle guide. We will help you traverse the wilds as we take your project to new heights.

Driving Conversions: Graphic Designer or UX Designer?

July 23, 2018 - Posted by: CreateApe

There’s a common misconception that a UX designer is just a glorified graphic designer who knows how to design for mobile. I mean, we get it. They both do graphic design work, and it’s a totally valid mistake. But the two couldn’t be anymore different.

Every designer has a niche and a medium, things that they’re very good at and specialize in. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, you want to get the best fit service you can to make it happen. That’s where the differences come matter most.

Simply put, a UX/UI designer creates the interface and architecture of a website. UX/UI design  includes copy, content, branding, and translating stakeholder wants with stakeholder needs in a web medium. UX/UI designers make sure that all digital designs created will look good  for mobile and desktop. They pay special attention to where buttons should be placed, where titles must go, and everything in between to help best produce awesome metric-conversions. A good UX designer is going to take the content provided and come up with intelligent suggestions for design in order to create a conversion centric website.

A graphic designer may cover a multitude of things. Are they a print graphic designer, or illustrator designer, or do they make motion graphics? They are most likely  specialized in one area specifically.. If you want an illustration that’s incredibly unique to your brand and not something that’s just tweaked on shutterstock, that’s when you would utilize an illustrator. Regular graphic designers, of the average variety, will often focus on beauty before function.

You might be asking, well can’t a graphic designer just come up with a website? Sometimes we’ll see business owners and stakeholders go to a graphic designer to design their website, and the lucky few will have zero problems there. But a graphic designer that doesn’t specialize in web, and it’s not what they do day in and day out, will no doubt miss critical steps that are incredibly important to the success of your website.  

If you want someone coming to your site, purchasing your product and sharing their experience on Facebook  you’ll need a UX/UI designer (who’s a proper villain). You’ll be in good hands, and what your hoping to create will come to life in the best way possible.

Want to learn more?

Let us help get you #JungleReady. Let our CreateApe expert team be your jungle guide.We will help   you traverse the wilds as we take your project to new heights.

Travel Websites Can Teach You Great UX

July 17, 2018 - Posted by: CreateApe

I always say that UX inspiration comes from the world around us, and we can learn a lot from websites we’re constantly browsing. When planning for my summer vacation brought run-ins with countless hotel timetables and booking forms on travel websites, I paid attention to what worked and what didn’t. What was easy to use and what was simply annoying? I took notes on what made me exit the browser and what made me stay booking with certain companies.

Here’s what I learned.

Quick lesson on UX/UI Usability:

The travel websites I used the most had nailed the value of usability in User Experience. Although usability is a quality of User Interface (how easy something is to use), it’s also one of the many aspects of User Experience that involves “everything that affects the experience of the user.” According to the UX research firm Nielsen-Norman Group usability consists of five main goals: learnability, efficiency, memorability, errors, and user satisfaction.

Learnability:

How easy is it for users to follow a desired action? Can they accomplish basic tasks the first time they see the design?

Efficiency:

How quickly can tasks be performed?

Memorability:

If leaving and returning later, how quickly can they remember how the site works?

Errors:

If the user makes a mistake in the desired user flow, how quickly can they recover?

Satisfaction:

How pleasant is it to use?

These factors were what I used to determine whether a site was ultimately, easy and pleasant to use or just didn’t make the cut. As I browsed the void of travel websites (trust me there’s a lot out there) the best had the following features:

1) PLACE TO START

Planning vacations can be overwhelming, that’s why websites that gave me a place to start were automatically winning in the UX department. If a website is easy to use, it should be easy to navigate. Websites with a clear indication of where to start on the homepage took the stress out of planning a vacation. Since the homepage is usually the place with the most interaction, placing engaging and foolproof content will keep visitors intrigued and wanting to use your site.

CreateApe-Airbnb

 

Airbnb knows that it’s users are going to their website to find a place to stay in any desired location. In response, they placed a straightforward search engine on the top of their homepage, effectively keeping their site simple and easy to use. If you know where you want to go, it’s easy to search for places to stay, and if you’re a spur of the moment person, suggestions are right below the navigation. If you haven’t picked a destination yet, Airbnb prompts suggestions of homes you might like.

2) HIGH IMPACT IMAGERY

You’re lying to yourself if baby blue water and resort photos don’t draw you in. Especially on travel websites, high impact imagery sells the experience. Instead of stock photos, select imagery that is reflective of the brand and services that motivate users rather than bores them. If the call to action isn’t strengthened by an image, it’s not the right photo. Imagery is supposed to evoke emotion from the users, and websites that showcased beautiful scenery made me want to book with those companies.

CreateApe-LoneyPlanet

 

Lonely Planet utilizes high impact imagery throughout their entire homepage which inspires users to choose a destination. It also offers suggestions on what to do in those locations.

3) SIMPLICITY

Travel websites often evoke an overwhelming feeling. So many options, so many deals, right? I immediately clicked out of any browser that was crowded and confusing, or cluttered with a thousand images and CTA’s. For user experience, “less is more” is a phrase to live by. Focusing on relevant information and keeping things simple is easier for viewers to follow a desired user path.

CreateApe-homeaway

 

HomeAway doesn’t overwhelm the user with a thousand different pictures and navigation options. Their CTA is made more impactful with it’s simplicity.

4) CLEAR NAVIGATION

With so many travel websites out there, it’s hard to differentiate and understand all the services one company offers just by looking at the homepage. That’s why having a clear navigation is essential. Navigations aren’t always self explanatory. Having clear categories that are recognizable can increase function on your site.

createape-tripadvisor

 

At first glance, TripAdvisors homepage looks like its only service is to help users find hotels, but it’s navigation clearly indicates where users can click to find out about other services. We naturally want to categorize and having sections to easily search on a navigation makes using travel websites all the more pleasant.

5) EASY TO USE ON MOBILE/APPS

If a travel website didn’t have an as equally easy to use mobile pairing, I didn’t use it as much. Given the nature of the demographics who use travel sites, often times it will be used in a mobile setting It’s important when visiting a site that they tackled their standing on both mobile and desktop. It’s even more important now than ever with Google changing its indexing and ranking to have prioritizes those sites with an exhaustive mobile platform. Since travel prices fluctuate so frequently it was nice to be able to open my phone and check what was available for what price while I was on the go.

Overall, the easiest sites for me to use were simple, innovative and clear. Although I was merely booking vacations, jumping from website to website revealed the necessity for UX. Instead of being frustrated browsing through a site that’s overwhelming, the travel industry is learning what increases conversions and customer experience overtime.

How to Find a Proper Villain

July 13, 2018 - Posted by: Alessandro Fard

If you’ve been following our YouTube channel, we’ve been talking a lot about how to find a proper villain. If you’ve ever watched Oceans 11, I’m referring to the scene when Brad Pitt, playing Rusty Ryan, is walking with Don Cheadle’s character, Basher Tarr, and Tarr declares, “It will be nice working with proper villains again.” In the tech space, you know when you’re working with a proper villain. So what sets apart a standard UX/UI designer from a “proper villain”?

Know the basics of other specialties

A proper villain might be a designer, a developer, or even a copywriter, but they are a proper villain because they know more than just their specialty. If you can speak with authority and understand other disciplines in the tech space, you’re a proper villain.

If a UX/UI designer can speak to front end development, like what bootstrap is and why it can be important, you’ve found yourself a villain.

How do I find a proper villain in the UX/UI space?

The Portfolio

The first thing you’re looking for is a portfolio. If a designer has their own domain showcasing their designs, I can often get a feel of their personality and design work. I want to see they have an understanding of UX architecture, conversion, and mobile design.

Work should be curated and easy to browse. Showcase 3-4 detailed case study project that lead the viewer through a story about the start, difficulties, and outcome of a project. Simply, how did you get from point A to point B.

Keep it simple. The last thing you want is for a potential client or hiring manager to be looking at your portfolio and get overwhelmed by music and too many graphics. If you’re in the UX/UI space you want your portfolio to emulate an optimized, conversion-centric site.

Everything they present should work well, have smooth transitions, and look great. It doesn’t matter if you worked at Google in the past, if your portfolio isn’t up to par, you’re not a proper villain.

A LinkedIn

A proper villain’s LinkedIn should be hefty. There should be skills, recommendations, a decent work history. Be wary of red flags. If you see that someone has 10 different positions in the course of 2 years, ask more questions.

 

When you’re working on many different products from a freelance standpoint, really big, complex, and robust web applications, eCommerce sites, and mobile applications will take a lot of time. If someone’s been working in that area for over 1-2 years if shows they’ve been able to hone their skills from that project and rub shoulders with key players.

Know industry tools/trends

If I ask a designer what they often use to create their designs in and they follow up with whether that is high fidelity design or low fidelity design, I know I’m in the right place.

Knowing the trends that are happening within the space gives you an advantage. Applications like Sketch, which allows you to wireframe and do prototyping, works well with developers. This shows me you keep up with the latest advancements in a tech driven field.

Are they a good fit?

Proper villains need to work well with each other. At the end of the day whether it be a bank robbery, a heist,… or designing a mobile application, it needs to be a good fit! After about 5 minutes into assessing whether they’ve checked all the boxes to be a proper villain, I’ll ask about culture fit. Do they have a sense of humor? Do they play video games? Seriously though. VIDEO. GAMES. It’s a almost a “must” at my company.

So you’ve found your villain…

Truth be told. You’re never going to know how someone really works until you start to work with them. You don’t want to be in the middle of a crime and have your partner screw it up by accidentally stepping on lazer beams. That’s why sample projects are vital.

Sample projects

Sample projects let you know the things you never were going to find out in the interview. Give them a quick project like ideas around the homepage, designing a quick banner or social image. You’re going to see if they are responsive, communicate effectively, and what questions they’re asking. If they’re responsive and asking the right questions, you’ve found your proper villain.

Want to learn more?

Let us help get you situated for the Mobile First changes coming your way. It’s a jungle out there, click here so you don’t have to go at it alone! Let our CreateApe experts act as “jungle guides” and help you traverse the wilds as we take your project to new heights.

A**hole Design Subreddit Makes Us Better

May 16, 2018 - Posted by: CreateApe

Sometimes the best way to recognize and make up for our mistakes is to laugh at them first. That’s what the sub-reddit /r/assholedesign is for, to call out the UX and industrial designer that insists on making people’s lives harder. Almost everyone’s been subjected to the great feat of simply trying to cancel your account only to be met with a thousand step procedure or a technological design that just complicates or confuses the process. That’s why this sub-reddit hits the mark.

As an offshoot of the popular sub-reddit /r/CrappyDesign that features everything from signs, advertising, and third grade projects gone wrong, /r/assholedesign has over 400,000 subscribers who delight in the humor of “designers who know exactly what they’re doing…but they don’t care because they’re assholes.” The site serves as a place to shame bad design varying from architecture, packaging, and web interface.

Some of the posts will have you wondering what the conversation was like in the design meeting. I can only envision “Ah, let’s make it harder by adding three steps, or better yet, let’s make the unsubscribe button invisible!”

(Screenshot of /r/assholedesign)

According to the moderators, “satire is ridicule of asshole design techniques” and the amusement of posters reveals exactly that. Not only does it intend to amuse, but the sub-reddit reveals dark patterns in design, “tricks used in websites and apps that make you buy or sign up for things you didn’t mean to.” These patterns have implications for society, but also for the future of design.

This guy is definitely a subscriber of /r/assholedesign:

Doesn’t everybody love a classic dark pattern?

 

We need this type of sub-reddit because sometimes, even professionals need a reminder of what and what not to do. Anyone with an iPhone 6 or above feels this struggle when trying to listen with their headphones and charge their phone at the same time (that’s some serious “asshole” design).

Although framed in a comical way, /r/assholedesign reminds us that looking at our failures in a UX/UI community allow designers to focus on designs that make the experience better, and not worse, for the user. Laughing at our mistakes and old designs help us grow as a group of professionals. We’ll be the first to admit that sometimes a lesson needs to accompanied with a good laugh.