One of Europe’s leading marketing events is hitting SoCal for the first time this year! The B2B Marketing Expo began and planted its roots in the UK. This year the event will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on October 2nd & 3rd, 2019. THIS WILL BE THE FIRST B2B MARKETING EXPO OF MANY (we’re sure)!!! Our proper villain, Alessandro Fard, is one of the key speakers and we can’t help but brag. 😉
Each year the event attracts vast, highly targeted audiences and offers a truly engaging experience. We expect this event will be even larger as it will be the first time it hits the US. The B2B Marketing Expo is currently responsible for over 50 shows across the world ranging from niche industry events to major global events. No discrimations!!! They have offices set up in Germany, Hong Kong, US, and the UK (and we’re sure it’s not stopping there).
Our CreateApe team will also be exhibiting at this event along with over 200 other exhibitors. There will be hundreds of seminars and the expo is expecting over 10,000 visitors at the Los Angeles event this fall. THIS WILL BE A HUGE EVENT! You don’t want to miss…
The marketing industry is always changing, and this expo offers organizations some insight from thought leaders like Alessandro who can share their strategies and breakthroughs. Free access to proven leaders in their fields? No brainer. #winwin
Alessandro will be hitting the stage to talk about all things UX/UI related. LIKE A BOSS. Other keynote speakers include Nike, Google, and Microsoft to be sharing their thought leadership ideas.
Jeetendr Sehdev author of The Kim Kardashian Principle will be the official headline host for the event. Sehdev is a media personality, the world’s leading authority on celebrity branding, and a sought-after advisor to top international companies. We are prepared to be dazzled by THIS INFLUENCER’S INFLUENCER.
Some of the event highlights will include influencer marketing, data and analytics, direct marketing, AI, account based marketing, and UX/UI development (of course), among many other topics. This is the ultimate event for keen sales professionals.
Tickets are free for this event and can be requested here. Don’t worry if you can’t make it, you can still follow Alessandro Fard’s stories on Instagram/Facebook to get behind the scenes and watch him live in action!
We are looking forward to this event and hope you will be too. SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday October 2nd, and be prepared for some “proper villain” magic from our CEO. Make sure to stop by our booth for more information about UX/UI. Let us show you how much proper UX/UI can benefit your business. See you in October!
Tips For A Successful First UX/UI Meeting
August 28, 2019 - Posted By: CreateApe
It’s a jungle out there, and while most of the jungle is wild and filled with some rather vicious monsters, we’d like to consider ourselves the jungle guides. Nothing scares us and no beast is too large to manage or tame (*cough* 10 cooks in a kitchen *cough*). Many of our previous clients return because they value the CreateApe difference and know that we are experts in our field when compared to what’s out there. The pickings are slim people!!
We attribute our success to a successful kick-off with our clients. The first meeting always dictates the tone, direction, and collaboration amongst our clients and our team. Our founder and CEO, Alessandro Fard, has broken it down to some key questions to kick off the meeting, and we’re proud to say it works!
Aside from narrowing down a meeting date, time, and location that works for everyone, we also have a general pattern of the questions we like to ask for the first meeting. We make it a point to hear out the client’s vision and expectations for their new product/service launch. Leadership is not just about directing the path and giving orders, leadership takes an open mindset and ability to adapt skill sets into the path we map out collaboratively speaking.
So what are these general key questions?
What do they do?
Why do they do what they do?
What have they done or tried in the past?
Why did they do it?
What happened or what was the result?
What do you think went wrong? Or right?
What they hope to achieve next?
Who’s going to be around to do it?
What’s your company about?
This question is a given. This is their opportunity to shine and dazzle you with a history of how they got started and where they see the company or product heading. The important part to address here as UX designers (which usually doesn’t come up) is how the company makes its revenue. Did you get that? HOW DO THEY MAKE MONEY?!? No money, no business. No business, NO client. NO CLIENT!!! WHAT?!
Create Ape knows successful UX ninjas prioritize not only the user, but the business as well. While learning the history and vision of the client, it is important to know the profit and benefit for both the user and the client from a business perspective. And guess what else? Some of the best challenges are when the users goals and the business goals are completely different. How do you marry the two? Great UX gurus live for that!
You also have a chance to address the essential reason of why they called you in the first place: how they can make it better and how they can MAKE MORE MONEY. What else draws businesses to launch new services and products?
With years of experience, it’s safe to say that most companies come with limitations, and it’s a ninja’s job to exploit those limitations and convert them into possibilities. Mind blown, yet?
What has been done thus far?
This question opens the discussion about time and money. Another favorite thing to talk about! Many times than not, a client comes to us when “sh*t hits the fan” and they are down to a final deadline, the last inning of the game with little to no resources left to spend. Then you’re left to clean up the mess, and possibly start from scratch…depending on the beastly damage. Yup, damage control. We said it!
Remember to keep realistic expenditures and time frames for clients, especially if they’ve already been burned. It is better to be real than to try to meet their demands in order to land the job. It all takes time and money, don’t beat around the bush! Transparency is what wins the client and keeps them coming back.
What should we review to be caught up to speed?
Give the client an opportunity to expound on what has worked and what has not. AND MEMORIZE IT!! Ok…maybe not memorize it, but definitely pay attention. This is different from the company history in that it relates specifically to the project at hand. This is important information to make sure that you’re not busting out the same ideas as the last team.
It also gives you feedback on direction and concept with what has worked in the past, and allows you to expand that concept to further limits. We love pushing limits, not buttons.. Dive deep into the core brand/product and don’t be lazy in your review.
SO don’t just flip specifically to what has worked and ignore what hasn’t. The stuff that didn’t work is equally as important. Knowing what exes to avoid from the past saves you time and money.
What would you like to achieve next?
While the client has already given you an overall goal of where they want to go. This question is meant to deepen the goal and methods or conversion rates they wish to apply.
Driving traffic is easy, but what you want the traffic to do is where the nitty gritty stuff comes in. Questions like: Do you want to increase sharing? Increase page views? Increase sign ups? Increase retention rates?
As the client answers these questions, explain to them that for every action there is a reaction. We can’t escape Newton people!! This will help you remain transparent (and apply some physics to your accolades) so that the client can decide what the priority is and how it will affect their results. You can’t have your cake and eat it too…..or can you?
Client Collaborators & Team Collaborators
Who is going to report to you and who will be reporting to them? When it comes to UX design it’s a lot smoother to have less collaborators because the more eyes it needs to reach the longer the turn around rate is before it actually gets approved. (Remember that kitchen *cough* we talked about?).
This swings both ways, and in an ideal world, we like to have 1-3 points of contact on a project to create true villain magic. It nicely ties back to our leadership spiel and navigating what it takes to successfully kick-off a product/service. Once you establish the team on both sides it helps establish you into that leadership role, which in turn helps everyone out and holds everyone accountable.
Another thing we’d like to address while on this topic is the method of communication that both teams will use to get the job done. One of our teams favorite is Slack. Be clear as to where the primary communication will go down so that the client knows exactly where to go to find the goods.
Sometimes with so many apps and management tools out there, it can be easy to get lost in communication. We also like to hold weekly meetings with our stakeholders to ensure that everything is getting communicated effectively and that goals are being met by the team.
Lastly, let them know you got this:
The grand finale of the meeting is your chance to shine. We know it sucks holding in all of your awesomeness until the end, but trust us it works!
The conversation should end with the approach you’d like to take from there–that first meeting. Yup, how are you planning to tame the beast?
Talk about the research you plan to review of previous successes and disasters to avoid. Also mention future steps after reviewing everything they give you, the interview and selection of users you’d like to talk to, and the outcome of the similarities and/or differences that affect the vision of the product.
More future topics to shine light on include: the product mission statement, competitive design principles, success metrics to track, wireframes, and prototypes. Let the client know that through every step of the way, from infancy to maturity, you will be holding their hand–advising and answering any questions that arise.
Yes–these secondary steps will follow the initial approach, but it is important to highlight what is ahead so that they can see a light at the end of the tunnel and know what to expect from a UX ninja.
First meeting MATTERS MOST.
Leaders aren’t cocky, they’re open-minded.
Let the client shine FIRST.
Prompt the client further with key questions.
Don’t be lazy, do the research.
Get to know the team you’ll be working with.
Seal the DEAL!
It’s been a fun tour of this jungle ride, but now it’s time for us to go tame more beasts!! We hope you feel better equipped to do the same. Or at least more organized with the kick-off flow. 😉
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.
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.
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.
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 a 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 is 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.
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).
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
ThisMadewell 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.
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.
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 ourCreateApe 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How easy is it for users to follow a desired action? Can they accomplish basic tasks the first time they see the design?
How quickly can tasks be performed?
If leaving and returning later, how quickly can they remember how the site works?
If the user makes a mistake in the desired user flow, how quickly can they recover?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.