B2B Marketing Expo

August 29, 2019 - Posted By: CreateApe

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! 

 

Experience Tells the Story

August 17, 2019 - Posted By: Alessandro Fard

 

This week we wanted to share a great article from the desk of our founder Alessandro Fard. Read on to learn more about user experience storytelling.

 


Isn’t it bananas how fast Apple releases a new and improved product every quarter? Ever wonder why they are even able to sell those new products so rapidly after just launching the last one? What makes consumers go back for those new and improved products? Hint: it is not the advertising of words that Apple spends on; it’s the experience that keeps the consumer coming back for more.

 

I mean think about it, you get a new phone with an amazing camera on it and you think that it is the best of the best in the world, but then Apple comes out with an even better phone than yours and all of a sudden you need to see for yourself how the grass is greener! Apple doesn’t need to dazzle you with words, you just know and expect that the newer product will be even better. Each. And EVERY. Time!!!!!

 

Welp, ladies and gents…that experience, that expectation, that innovative mindset, and branding is what marketing has evolved into. You can thank Apple for setting that bar so high…jk! 😉

 

But in all honesty, marketing is no longer just a play on words and creative campaigns. It has converged into a massive beast that we like to call experience.

 

Marketing Then v. Now

Back in the 60s a brand’s communication strategy was separate from the design of the product or service. Today, both branches collide, collaborate, and produce the product and design together for a successful service or product launch. As a result, products and services must deliver engaging stories, deepen customer engagement, and organizations must structure creative teams differently in order to grow revenues.

Alongside these changes is the task of delivering the experience to multiple platforms within a network of multiple brands. Whereas in the 60s you really only had the TV, radio, or newspaper as your communication channels; nowadays there is that plus websites, social media, blogging, stories, videos, podcasts, and more. The complexity can be challenging and intimidating when marketing for every platform, but it also gives organizations great tools to get creative and collaborate with their team about the product or service, and an even greater experience for their diverse audience.

 

Calling Allllll Teams!

So what should teams look like if not separate anymore?

As my peeps at UX Magazine so nicely put it, “marketing and product teams need to work more closely. Copywriting and story teams need to collaborate with user experience teams. Likewise, interaction and interface designers, rooted in human need and usability, need to work in integrated ways with marketing and advertising creatives.”

 

In other words, everyone works with everyone. Don’t separate your teams, as difficult as it can be to have everyone stirring the same pot, it is what makes the difference in your campaign strategy because it will be so uniquely progressed through multiple layers, professionals, and creative mindsets.

I want to encourage you to switch it up and take the challenge of team collaboration beyond designated branches. It will greatly impact your product or service to more meaningful, relevant connections with your consumers.

 

10 Paradigm Shifts to Part With

 

What you create is more important than how you create it.

There are so many tools to get you to the finish line of designing a masterpiece, each and every one to ease the process. That being said, keep in mind that the tools or methods you use don’t matter as much as the finished product does. Don’t try to dazzle your clients with how fast your turnaround rate is, take your time to create something that matters beyond what has been requested of you.

 

Your brand must be built around a meaningful idea, not the other way around.

Everyone is branding themselves these days on social media, but a true brand begins with a meaningful, purposeful idea. Don’t let the filters, grids, and logos drive your brand, but instead the mindset and goal should be the focus. What is the meaning of this brand? Why is it important to consumers? What does it feel/look like long term?

 

Maximize the benefit of your brand.

Dive deep into the benefit of your product/service brand. People want to know why your service or product is necessary and what it will help them achieve. Don’t just settle for the best on the market, because let’s face it…there is always better out there or the next best upgrade. Truly conveying why a product/service is going to benefit a consumer is the best way to maximize your brand. Apple doesn’t claim to be the best cell phone in the market, they capitalize on what the cell phone features and the type of consumer that would love it.

 

Own your craft, don’t settle for average.

Take the time to own your craft, focus on those small details that set you apart from the rest, choose to make the experience one that keeps consumers coming back again. Chances are if they’re coming back, they’re likely to share that to other consumers creating that domino effect that can happen through well crafted design.

 

Charm them with simplicity.

Less is always more. Charm can be extravagant, but those grand romantic gestures in movies that are way over the top–yeah those aren’t a win in design. Think about the speed of life lately, everyone only has a few minutes to do things, the faster, easier, and simpler the better when it comes to interface and design flow.

 

Continually assess your strategy.

With technology shifts and social media trends changing on what seems like every day, it is important to reassess, improve, and reinvent what you’re delivering to your customers and the methods you are using to do so. I like to take some time at the end of every month to assess what worked really well, what could be improved, and what was a bust.

 

Update only what is necessary and keep what is working.

I know it is redundant considering number 6, but assessing and changing the version are really two separate parts. Version upgrades and updates can both increase or harm your customer base. Consider all personas when updating what is not working, and also when deciding what is working. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

 

Remember social media goes both ways, beware of creating bad rapport with clients.

If you’ve been to high school you know the role that social media plays in destroying and raising ego. Needless to say, it is all too easy for consumers to completely defame a company or any entity. The best way to mitigate that is by ensuring that the client/consumer doesn’t feel fooled or wronged through faulty promises/products. Don’t create crap that creates crap!

 

Keep the core brand promise.

Let’s face it, sometimes we get too creative and lose sight of the central truth that a brand was developed for. We want to create art that impacts without considering the impact itself to be the core truth about a product or service. In my experience it is far better to create around a central truth, than to create and then try to apply that truth to what you magnificently created.

 

Be a trendsetter, not a copycat.

It was true when your mama told you, and it’s still true today. Stand out means not blending in. Blending in means copying what’s being done. There is not one client design that is similar to another in my portfolio, and for good reason. I truly believe that every product or service has something unique to offer, and it’s up to me and my team to find that out. Thinking outside the box is truly an art that I’ve come to master and love. The more personalized the better rapport with clients, the better experience with consumers, the better product design, the clearer the focus, and so on..

 

Create the Experience

In order to create the experience and succeed in branding, both product development and campaign marketing teams must work together, collaborate, and reinvent the experience to match the story and core brand. We’ve come a long way since the 60s, but the main thing has always been the main thing, tying them together into a story that results in a positive experience for consumers is the trend…and it looks as though it’s here to stay.

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. 

 

Recap…

  • 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 Personas & How to Create Them

June 6, 2019 - Posted By: CreateApe

Whether you’re a small business owner or a large corporation working on a massive marketing campaign, a UX persona can increase your profitability margin exponentially.  UX designers take these profiles of your target audience and create custom User Experiences that help make them, your target user or client, feel supported, intrigued, excited, etc. (Or whatever else you want them to feel, ya digg?)

Seems like a no brainer, right? Well… for the UX designer creating a persona isn’t just a good idea, it’s a friggin must.

 

What is a UX Persona?

 

UX personas are an important tool for your team to understand who your user is, what their particular needs are, and the problems that lead them to requiring your services and/or products. Likewise, a UX persona will also help your team’s efforts in creating a usable product or feature specific  to the needs of real people.

Of course we understand (and it’s important to note) that your product or service is not just specifically made for one person or one type of need. For example, people from all walks of life suffer from sleep apnea, and a company serving the needs of those communities will have very different patient profiles. One patient could be  super tech savvy and love the ease of a more efficient CPAP, whereas another patient may want the simple, not so technical CPAP because they get easily overwhelmed by too many options. A good UX design team will encourage their clients to create more than one UX persona for their product and/or service if multiple target demographics exist.

 

Simple Steps Every UX Designer Should Know (About Personas):

 

 

When it comes to creating UX personas every designer does it differently. However, there are a few aspects every designer should address. Your typical who, what, where, when, why format can get you started. And remember, these don’t have to be “real” people, just based on real life issues. Get creative!

 

Who is the person? (Name & Age)

What does he/she do for his/her occupation? (Work Life)

Where does he/she work at? (Location & Space)

When does he/she work? (Schedule)

Why is this person perfect for your service/product? (Relevance/Context)

 

 

Once you’ve created the personal aspects of your persona, you can move into different subgroups to create multiple personas. For example, determining their specific needs and goals, their workspace details, and personal history/background.

 

Perhaps that sleep apnea patient works graveyard shifts and her needs are different from a patient that works day shifts. One persona can be a female, the other a male, and both the same age; or all personas can be the same sex but different ages and so on and so forth.

 

Each UX persona has different wants, expectations, beliefs, and goals. In its essence, a UX persona is a description of the user. While the persona is “not a real person” per say, the needs, wants, beliefs, frustrations, and expectations definitely are. We recommend doing some research on your users before diving into creating your personas.

 

Below is an example of a UX persona that we made for one of our clients: Apria Direct…

 

 

As you can tell this persona is based off a 58 year old male who is a sleep apnea patient. Chuck is a construction worker who likely works long hours and sometimes graveyard shifts. His sleep patterns of course fluctuate according to his employment and we can grasp from his frustrations that in general he’s just a busy man who can’t have too many steps in his daily routine added to what his work life. We can gather from this persona that an automated refill order for his CPAP supply would best suit him. We can also gather that the refills should be shipped directly to his address in order to save him the time and inconvenience of insurance and billing processes, and of course remembering to PICK UP those refills.

 

Lastly, we’d like to zone in on some key differences between user personas and buyer personas.

 

Buyer Personas v. User Personas

 

Buyer personas are focused on sales and are developed by quantitative research. Your team’s research can help define the brand’s marketing message/slogan, product targeting, and content strategy. Buyer personas also aide in determining how your product will resonate in the marketplace and provide insight to your brand strategy. Essentially, buyer personas can help you initially attract a customer to your brand.

 

User personas are focused on habits and behavior, and are developed through qualitative research of much smaller/niche groups. User personas help define what the user would want and need in real life to reach their specific goals. This type of persona will aide in determining the context of use for your product/service and the typical behaviors of your users. User personas help your brand keep a customer once they’re interested.

 

At CreateApe we’re all about understanding your users and creating designs that make their experience that much more personal and relatable. . We also take pride in working out the efficiency measures needed for your users to navigate your website or mobile app with ease.. Through UX personas we’re able to create a unique space for your users  that’s specifically made to match their needs–because, let’s face it, we’re tired of hearing about users going bananas over sites that are difficult to navigate, understand, and use!

 

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. 

UX-Designers-Tool-Kit-Create-Ape
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.

 

UX-Designers-Tool-Kit-Create-Ape
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.

psychology-of-ux
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).

psychology-of-ux
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.

How We Get Lucky In The Jungle

March 14, 2019 - Posted By: CreateApe

We know we got you with that tagline. As we celebrate St. Patricks day you might all be going out to explore the luck of the Irish, but this is how we get lucky in the jungle. This St. Patricks day, we want to say a big thank you to our clients over the years who have expressed how lucky they feel to have found us in this massive corporate jungle!

We all have different expectations of what’s at the end of the rainbow. For us, our pot of gold is hearing impactful and positive feedback from our clients. This year, we’ve been feeling the luck with Clutch.co. In 2019 alone, CreateApe has been featured as a top UX/UI leader in Orange County and Los Angeles. The companies featured are chosen for leadership, technology, and marketing expertise and we’re elated to be among them.

Getting Lucky In The Jungle 

Voted as one of the top agencies for creative and design, our feedback from Clutch reflects our success that’s all due to our clients! Although we love the creativity and challenge that’s involved in flushing out a project, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the benefits of our work coming to life and hearing positive feedback from our designs.

As we look back on all of our favorite projects, we can’t help but look at the results too. Not only do our clients feel the benefits of fully robust new designs, but the numbers don’t lie. Increased conversion rates, visitations, and page impressions are all a product of the design work our team creates and we couldn’t be prouder.

Clients Getting Lucky

CreateApe was rated as a 5-star service by a client of ours who provided feedback on a Clutch.co. In this case, the project was for a real estate management company and involved a full-size digital rebrand. The activities ranged from web development, an overarching website redesign with various landing pages, and email design.

Their VP stated, “CreateApe is now a trusted, long-term partner thanks to their constant drive towards innovation and the conscious effort they make to provide top-level communication. They use an iterative approach to hone a brand’s core message, and never lose sight of a projects ultimate goal.”

We pride ourselves in being intuitive and adaptable, and our clients think so too. One of their team members also commented, “We can give them a skeleton model and they come back with an incredible representation of what we’re seeking.”

Getting Over the Rainbow

Some of the challenges we overcame with this project? We wanted to create a more cohesive brand for their online presence. To ensure that, whenever a user went to their site, everything was consistent and clear in terms of visual and content. We also wanted to add ingenuity and innovation- but just enough it wouldn’t distract and deviate from their brand vision. Ultimately, leading to higher conversion.

Another project we did for an AI Marketing Company was raved about on Clutch.co. At the time, the company was going through a complete rebrand that included renaming and repositioning themselves. That’s where we came in.

After we helped brainstorm ideas, we redesigned their website from the ground up. We were able to develop a whole new look and feel of the site and assisted in transferring the backend to WordPress.

Not only did their internal team appreciate the new design, but investors and the in-house sales team found the website easier to navigate. They reviewed, “CreateApe went above and beyond to meet all needs, while their expertise and exceptional communication skills helped them deliver a top-notch product on time.”

“The website was part of our rebrand campaign, so the design was very important to us. CreateApe understood exactly what our CEO and our team wanted. They were able to interpret our ideas even when we weren’t articulating them clearly.”

We love when our clients lean on us for expertise and knowledge. Even better, we love it when we see our customer’s reporting increased results. Want to get lucky in the jungle with us? Let our CreateApe expert team be your jungle guide. We will help you traverse the wilds as we take your project to new heights.

How A Retainer Transformed Renovation Angel

March 11, 2019 - Posted By: CreateApe

Over the years we’ve worked with some great companies and amazing individuals. We love the work we do (or we wouldn’t do it). But more importantly, we love and value the relationships we create with our clients. This is the story of one of those relationships.

Six years ago, we met Steve Feldman, founder of Renovation Angel. In addition to what was at the time two subsets of their company, Green Demolitions, and Kitchen Trader. Since 2005, Steve and his super talented team have conducted thousands of projects for members of the Forbes 400, professional athletes, and everybody else in-between. With a long term retainer in place, Renovation Angel, America’s premier recycler of luxury pre-owned kitchens and renovation items, allowed CreateApe to lead them on a digital rebrand.

What Are The Benefits of a Retainer?

First, let’s discuss the parameters of a retainer. Retainers are beneficial for several reasons. One of the most obvious is that the client receives a discounted rate in exchange for a long-term commitment. In the bigger scheme of things, however, the best benefit of a retainer is the freedom of collaboration. Both the client and the design team know there is a wealth of hours to allow room for excellent products to be created. Neither side is worried about pinching hours to stay within a certain budget. All the work being done is already included!

It isn’t just the security, trust, and speed; it’s the collaboration and the teamwork. As an agency, we’re able to fully enmesh ourselves into the brand. We learn the nuances which help us deliver consistent success. Working with Renovation Angel, we knew the brand inside and out. We knew the stakeholders and what they were expecting and the best way to approach success. This kind of investment from both the vendor and client is priceless.

 

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An example of social media imagery designed for Renovation Angel.
How A Retainer Transformed Renovation Angel

When Steve initially contacted us it was to revitalize their website’s User Experience design. Since then, we’ve helped them kick off and improve their entire digital footprint from Renovation Angel to Green Demolitions. Now that they have let go of their other two brands: Kitchen Trader & Green Demolitions.

What had begun as an initial “UX-friendly” revamp turned into a full-blown site re-launch. At the time, not only were we just working on Renovation Angel, but also Green Demolitions, the e-commerce portal of their company. With our help, their website traffic increased by 40%, and their overall sales increased by 15%. Brand engagement almost doubled, and the sleek modern feel we helped to create was being mentioned by consumers and industry professionals alike.

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On a retainer with Renovation Angel, we were able to collaborate on this idea for a step and repeat.
Increased Flexibility

There are many moments when both the client and us, as the vendor, benefit from the flexibility of being on a retainer. On a retainer, the client can pivot from idea to idea. Because they have a clear outline of the scope of work possible, (the actual tasks we can do), without worrying too much about budgets. Our dedication to transparency keeps expectations manageable and deliverables on schedule.

For example, every month Renovation Angel had a monthly sale that required a lot of soft and hard collateral to be created. Several different web banners of various sizes, an email design, and a price tag design (for use on the showroom floor) were created. Being on a retainer allowed the entire team the flexibility of trying different things over a period of time. That eventually served as the foundation of our well-oiled design process.

Design Processes

Flexibility and agile design processes are definitely important parts of our long-term client success. When redesigning their site to be an e-commerce website, it made it easy to spec out the scope of the project together. Even while decisions were being made, we were able to maintain the status quo of business as usual while putting our best foot forward. We had accumulated knowledge over the span of several years on their target client demographic. This allowed us to come up with impactful conversion-centric designs in much less time.

“That was a really big win for the retainer because we were able to work even at times when they weren’t available to provide guidance and ultimately help move the needle forward. Having the opportunity to work within the boundaries of a retainer proved to be advantageous for the business in more ways than one,” said CEO Alessandro Fard.

 

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One of the many sale banners that we created for Renovation Angel.
Efficiency of Operations

Renovation Angel took many risks over the years, especially when it came to brand architecture. While Renovation Angel focused on the donations side of their company, both Green Demolitions and Kitchen Trader were e-commerce based sister-brands. Each sold luxury kitchens and home renovation items. Fast forward to 2019, the brand organization is has undergone another transformation. All three brands have merged under the Renovation Angel umbrella, bringing its own set of challenges and opportunities.

Our new job was to capture the attention of many verticals. The new website, one that merged all three aspects of the brand so far, had to be luxurious, modern, edgy and welcoming. It’s part non-profit, part recycling, part luxury, and interior design. We had to create a fully immersive online space that customers could easily shop and understand.

The feedback from their team was, “Oh my gosh, this makes it so much easier to not only upload information and keep the information up to date for the users to see, but also for our team to manage information.” Now, when Renovation Angel would receive phone calls asking questions about their products, they were able to reference a fully robust website. They now had up to date information that was not only easy to engage with, but impactful. Not only did they see an increase in sales, but in their daily efficiency of overall operations.

 

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BEFORE: The Renovation Angel website before e-commerce transformation.

 

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AFTER: The updated Renovation Angel website.
A synergistic win.

One of our favorite aspects of collaborating with a client within a retainer framework is the opportunity to work on exciting new projects all the time. As Renovation Angel took off, we had the privilege to work with an organization that had undergone many iterations for continued quality improvement. We ultimately saw improved success markers across the board.

Not only were we working on keeping their websites up to date and ensuring things continued to convert, but we also got to develop social media channels, and direct marketing campaigns. The work that we did went from just a one-off project to become a six-year collaboration that we’re very lucky to be a part of.

In the end, the most important aspect of a retainer is the ongoing relationship between the agency and the client. Risks, opportunities, and great ideas don’t exist in a vacuum. Our retainer with Renovation Angel allowed us to bring those ideas to life in the best way possible. We feel so lucky and grateful to have worked with such an amazing team at Renovation Angel over the years and can’t for what lies ahead in the future!

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.

 

5 Valentine’s Day Landing Pages We Go Banana’s For

February 14, 2019 - Posted By: CreateApe

At CreateApe, we speak the language of love. Not only are we here to help you traverse the jungles of UX/UI, but also the groves of the heart. We love holidays around here, so it’s no surprise we want to spoil our significant others on Valentine’s Day. Depending on your significant other’s tastes, the bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolate from the grocery store might make the cut. For most of our team, it’s impossible not to fall into a trap.

First, it starts with flowers, but then comes the contemplation of adding a nice piece of jewelry, maybe a candlelit dinner, or the gadget they’ve been casually slipping into a conversation for the past two weeks…

For the average American on Valentine’s day, we found that the classic roses and chocolates aren’t cutting it anymore. According to USA Today, 55% of Americans who plan to celebrate Valentine’s day are estimated to spend $143.56, reaching total spending of 19.6 billion. That’s 1.4 billion up from last year.

As our team searched around for gifts this year, we couldn’t help but notice some of the amazing Valentine’s Day landing pages that excel in their UX that made us open up our wallets (and our hearts of course). We’re a sucker for a good landing page, especially one made for the holidays. After all, they’re one of e-commerce’s biggest tricks and of course, fun for everyone.

So whether you’re shopping for a gift to surprise your Valentine or getting something nice for yourself, it’s okay we all do it, here are five landing pages that have a special place in our heart.

1. Amazon
CreateApe-Valentines-Day-Amazon CreateApe-Valentines-Day-Amazon

Amazon is like Disneyland for procrastinators. Their prime shipping appeals to the masses and they know that it’s their strong suit during the holidays. On their homepage, they immediately show categories for all of Valentines Day’s most popular gifts. They include a concise section of gift choices, chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and gift cards. Not only making life easy for the user but also giving them a place to start.

To make life even easier, they include gift categories for certain demographics (yes, even your pets) and organize their site based on your Valentine’s Day plans. Date night in? No problem. Galentine’s Day? They already have pre-selected items and showcase the easy to shop possibilities. UX is about not having to make the user think, and Amazon does the thinking for you with their landing page.

Not only is each option presented for optimal use, but each option they promote is also visually separated by shades of pink, red, and purple accompanied by compelling photography. This allows users to segment each alternative without risking information overload.

2. AT&T
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There’s something to be said about the power of a strong hero image. AT&T decided to pass on the various shades of pink and red in its design but instead went with a bold and captivating hero image that reflects AT&T’s brand identity of connecting people through their services.

The image speaks for itself, but text placed in the hero evokes tone and romance. Besides the image, the header and the call to action carry the heaviest weight on the page. The user’s eye immediately goes to the image of the couple and then to “Shop Gifts.” The clean and simple design is alluring and clearly paves out the users desired path.

Even when scrolling down the homepage, AT&T excels at directing the user to options. The packaged deals that indicate what phone plan are the best for you and your Valentine are mapped out and showcased in boxes with clever copy such as, “One for you. One for your valentine.”

3. Chanel
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Chanel’s landing page features their most popular product during Valentine’s season, perfumes. Again, they use a powerful hero image to convey the emotions attributed to the holiday. Using light pink contrasted with the masculine black perfume bottle evokes desire, confidence, and love.

The most powerful part of Chanel’s landing page is within simplicity. They do an excellent job at straying from the overwhelming and kitschy Valentines Day ad’s that can appear too sales-y. They stay true to their brand heritage as a sleek timeless brand while giving the user an easy way to shop their products. The user is left wanting to seek the same emotions the landing page emits and explore Chanel’s other products.

4. Kenneth Cole
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In 2019, standing out among the crowd can be a challenge. Kenneth Cole hit the mark this Valentines Day with their provocative and clever landing page. Instead of leading users to follow the desired path, they encourage the user to simply stay on their site with their attention-grabbing header “This Valentine’s Day Get Some For Date Night.”

Kenneth Cole does a great job of utilizing white space. Immediately the eye is drawn to the text in the middle of the page and there’s a purposeful weight assigned to “Get Some for Date Night.” The contrast between black and white makes it impossible to escape from their bold and playful design and piques interest in what Valentine’s Day items you can find on their site. If you’re looking for direction, we personally love their jeans.

5. Lancome
CreateApe-Valentines-Lancome CreateApe-Valentines-Lancome

Lancome’s page showcases makeup how-to’s and three different looks you can try on Valentines Day. The best part of Lancome’s landing page is their storytelling element. They have the user imagining themselves in every different scenario wondering what their Valentine’s Day possibilities hold.

Each photo is linked to the product’s that are used in each look. This makes it easy to shop and pick out items based on the user’s needs. The emotional appeal is strong throughout the page, as you’re left wanting to emanate the same emotion Lancome has captured and explore their products.

Even cards and lipstick kissed letters are in the background of the makeup photos, adding to the allusion and asking the question what’s in the cards for your Valentines Day?

One of our biggest motto’s is UX/UI inspiration comes from everywhere. Whatever your plans are on Valentines Day, we hope you’re inspired and surrounded by the ones you love! And in the spirit of user experience, get some for date night.

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.

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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.