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!

 

Team Spotlight: Jungle Guide Cristina

February 21, 2019 - Posted By: CreateApe

Marketing and Communications Director:

We love our team, and we know you will too. This week we’re covering team spotlights! Meet our jungle guide, Cristina. As our communications guru from Southern California, she’s the glue to our CreateApe team, putting out our fires and acting as the liaison between the team and clients.

 

Q&A

Describe your role at CreateApe:

I am the Marketing and Communications director at CreateApe. My main role is to help the company move forward to better position ourselves as the premier UX/UI resource in Southern California. That being said, I wear a lot of different hats here at CreateApe and I spend a lot of time nurturing our relationships with clients, keeping team morale up, and strategically thinking about future opportunities to grow.

 

What do you love about CreateApe?

I love that we are quirky, fun, and efficient! We embrace a collaborative team environment that isn’t judgemental and allows room for creative individuality, but we also work really hard. People are always surprised by how fast and efficient our team is in delivering results. My favorite thing about CreateApe is our amazing and talented team. We evoke a sense of warmness due to our creative collaborative environment that translates really well with our clients. I love seeing our clients excited by the transformations we provide for their projects. Especially when we get into user testing and they see the metrics in front of them.  It’s a very empowering moment for both the client and us, as vendors, to see the real-time impact that our efforts are producing.

 

Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on so far? Why?

I think my favorite project so far is Mosaic Network. We’ve become so integrated with them and their team. Our retainer covers more than just design and allows us to delve deeper into the philosophy that our founder Alessandro created in the UX/UI university of life. Everything that we do as a UX/UI component. While we work with Mosaic on public advocacy and marketing we’re bringing a perspective on UX/UI to the table. As we create business development, copy, and designs we’re in the weeds with them from day to day. I’m loving seeing the growth their having and how our impact as an agency is helping them to evolve their own agendas. This is truly a case study example of how Create Ape becomes a part of the team. We’re not just a vendor, we’re a partner in the companies success. I have a masters in Political Communication and this project marries my background in social science with my passion for strategic communication.

 

What do you value in your position the most?

I love working with really talented people. I like the fact that I get to work on a variety of different project across a variety of verticals. The thing I value most about my position is that this is a family company of sorts; my sister is Director of Operations, my brother is the CEO, and when we work with our bigger enterprise clients, they feel like they’re getting something unique because of that family aspect. In terms of leadership, we have more connectivity and leeway to jump in when things are great or when things are going wrong. We’re siblings and because of that, we can be more candid and honest with each other in a way that most HR Departments would frown upon. We don’t pull punches amongst the executive team. That’s definitely part of our special sauce! We’re more effective as a company because we never get stuck on ego or minutia. We all are comfortable in our roles, and nobody is looking to “move up the ladder” in our company. We succeed as a team, and we fail as one too.

 

What is unique about working with family?

When we’re on calls with clients there’s this family aspect that allows people to be at ease with us. They value what we bring to the table in terms of expertise, and we are of course always professional (let’s read the room people), but this lack of a barrier between the executive team creates an environment that is so much more collaborative for our clients and us. That’s very unique. Clients aren’t used to a company like ours providing the resources that they need for their large scale projects efficiently, while also feeling like they get the customer service of a boutique operation.

 

What is the most meaningful part of your job?

Transformations. I love that as a company we are helping people to imagine their dreams. I know that sounds cliche, but the reality is we help our clients to take their thoughts or dreams of their product/website/campaign, etc., and turn them into something they couldn’t even have imagined.

 

When do you have the most fun at work?

We have a very active and lively Slack. Because our team is not all co-located, we rely on our tech to help us keep connected throughout the day. Our general Slack channels are full of funny memes, and congratulations on milestones like babies & weddings. It’s a way for us to nurture our team and build our internal support structures. We get to express ourselves and be connected to our colleagues while still being effective with our time, and that’s an important part of our business.

 

What is one fun fact/interesting thing about you?

I’m a total foodie and I love to travel. My favorite thing in the world is to go on grand adventures, but the surprising fact is that I’m terrified to fly. Even though I took my first flight when I was four and a half to Europe from California by MYSELF, I still get anxiety, really bad anxiety, about flying no matter how far it is! I hate to fly, love to travel.

 

Who inspires you?

If someone were to say who inspires you I would honestly say, my sister. My sister Francesca shows every day her ability to grow even when it’s uncomfortable and I admire that. It inspires me to look at the challenges of my own day and realize often that those things aren’t that stressy after all.

 

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about God, my family, and my country. I know that sound’s super lame but it’s my “knee jerk” reaction answer to this question. Maybe that comes from my background. I got my bachelors in Political Science, and I really wanted to get involved in changing the world. When I went to get my masters from the LSE in London and has traveled extensively abroad, (I’ve lived on and off in the Middle East and Europe from a very young age) I realized that the things which are most important to me are not material. Without a doubt, the things I’m most passionate about are my faith, this big extended family I have, and my imperfect country. Even with all the craziness going on in our political arena I’m so proud to be an American and proud of my family. I’m actively always trying to be a better Christian. If we’re being honest, those three things really encapsulate who I am.


Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

When I was younger my extended family lived in the Middle East, and on a visit back to the U.S. before they left we were all having lunch and my uncle casually was like, “Hey do you want to go with us to Dubai tonight?” And I thought he was joking. Long story short, he wasn’t joking, and because I was doing a private distance-learning high school program at the time, I was technically able to go anywhere. They bought me a ticket and I rushed home to throw everything in a suitcase to leave on a flight that very night.  And that’s how I ended up living in Dubai for a few months. It was totally unplanned and unexpected. I’d never done anything like that in my life, that’s definitely one of the craziest things I’ve ever done.

 

Anything you’re binging on Netflix currently?

I binge watch everything. I am a professional purveyor of content.

 

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey is classic.

 

Favorite hobbies?

My hobbies are gourmet food experiences, outdoor adventures, and I love all creative content (movies, tv, books), etc.  

 

Three items you’d take to a deserted island?

My sister (she’ll have to suffer with me but as a team, we’d probably figure it out), a pot, and a way to make fire. If we’re talking about a non-scary situation a yacht, luxury glamping materials, and a personal chef.

 

CreateApe’s tagline is “It’s a Jungle Out There, Don’t Go At It Alone.” How do you survive in the jungle?

With humor, patience, and empathy.

 


Need help organizing all of this for your business? Let our CreateApe experts give you a custom quote by clicking here —>  Start A Project Today

 

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
CreateApe-Valentines-AT&T CreateApe-Valentines-AT&T

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
CreateApe-Chanel-AT&T

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
CreateApe-Valentines-Kenneth-Kole

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.

Are There Benefits of Being a Google Partner for a UX/UI Designer?

October 4, 2018 - Posted by: CreateApe

SEO. It’s another one of those acronyms and buzzwords people in the tech space love to throw out. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s the reason why certain keywords show up first when using search engines.

SEO can be vital for organic growth

Studies will show if you’re not on the first page of a search engine, it doesn’t matter where you are. In fact, if you’re running a small business or an entrepreneur, you’ve probably received a phone call from companies claiming to be Google and promising your company top placement on the first page. Chances are, they’re probably not Google. As much as we’d love to believe those in charge of ranking and indexing at Google have our personal cell phones, that’s not the case.

The Google SEO Game

This is important because in my opinion, if you want to play the Google indexing and ranking game, you probably want to look in to PPC campaigns. PPC stands for pay per click and is usually the single specialty of an agency. If you’re going to pay Google, actually pay Google and pay for the clicks. That way you know every dollar you spend is going towards a click that could be a future client. Essentially, you’re paying for eyeballs on your content. The cost per click might be pretty high, but is probably a wiser choice than paying an arbitrary company who claims to have the “secret sauce” to changing the SEO game.

WTF Is A Google Partner?

I’ve also noticed the new “Google Partner” badge on some company websites. First off, if I’m a UX/UI designer what does being a Google Partner have to do with anything? Google partner has to do with search, PPC, and SEO. If you’re an agency and you’re a Google partner… good for you I guess. If all you focus on is SEO and PPC it makes some sense, but you’re essentially paying a ton of money to have a fancy badge on your website.

As a UX/UI vendor, putting that you’re a Google partner is nonsensical. It holds no bearing on your design chops, user testing procedures, or any other capabilities in your wheelhouse. Even if you’re doing development all the way to design, being a “Google Partner” still doesn’t have any benefit.

What to Actually Invest In:

When creating a website, there’s still basic semantic SEO, meta tags, and keywords. Then there’s actually implementing campaigns around high ranking metrics, organic SEO, or a PPC campaign. I would argue if you are looking to do a PPC campaign, you should go to an agency where PPC is all they do day in and day out. If they offer UX/UI, development, social media, branding, SEO, and PPC, they may be able to do it really well, but typically in my experience it’s better to go with people who specialize. Do you want somebody who does a little bit of everything kinda okay, or do you want somebody who does one thing extremely well?

If you’re looking for great UX/UI, go to a great UX/UI agency. If you’re looking for a PPC campaign, go to an agency where that’s all they’re known for. Although there are some benefits for being a Google Partner if you’re in the space of PPC or SEO, it really is a badge that validates how much money you put into Google. SEO results don’t happen overnight and neither does Google indexing.

And remember, no company has a magic bullet. They cannot guarantee specific metrics overnight. Do your research and let an expert team guide you towards achieving your goals.

UX Writing 101

June 12, 2018 - Posted by: Brooke LaFleur

Prior to entering the tech space, I had never heard of a UX writer. Even in the UX/UI space people who copy for websites we’re called copywriters. Now, we’re seeing a shift of focus on writing that intends to create a positive experience for the users once they enter a website or an app.

What is a UX Writer?

The main difference between a copywriter and a UX writer is that copy writing makes things sound good, and UX writing makes things make sense. It’s the difference between reading a complex novel and a 3rd grade kids book. One uses bigger words to attract customers, and one uses simple words to explain concepts.

A typical copywriter is sales-oriented and works with the marketing team to tell stories, but often can create copy alone and report back later. UX writers however, are product-oriented and work closely with designers to share conversations.

UX writers often don’t work alone and have to “fill in the blanks”  with the designers. For example, if there are gaps in the user flow, the UX writer needs to be able to mend any points of confusion for the user.

Gone are the days of picking the best writer on the team to write copy for interfaces and confusing pop up messages. UX writing has its own language: clear, concise, and useful.

These age old pop ups are one of the reasons UX writing now exists:

 

What does the UX writing process look like?

Well, it’s pretty similar to the path of a designer. From the beginning they will work with designers and developers in the early stages of production to figure out the flow and map out what copy is needed. A big part of creating good copy is researching and testing. Research of the target market and knowing jargon that is used by a particular vertical helps speak to the users language. UX writing intends to increase conversion and usability, putting hypotheses forward and a/b testing what words have more of a response.

Microcopy like CTA’s, instructions, navigation buttons, confirmation messages, error messages, and even 404 errors need to be written. Contrary to popular belief, these words don’t just come out of the void, someone writes these 404 messages:

pixar-ux-writing-example mcdonalds-ux-writing

Although a 404 page is possibly the worst possible scenario for a user on a website, using graphics and words that convey humor and sympathy make it a positive experience landing on a page a user typically doesn’t want to see. That’s the beauty of UX writing.

UX focuses on emotion and ensures that the path is clear for the user, and doesn’t make the user have to ask any questions. Users shouldn’t have to focus on reading buttons, good copy ensures that users actions are intuitive.

What is good microcopy?
HUMAN ORIENTED:

Using witty language and writing in the voice of the brand. When putting in the wrong blog URL, tumblr’s copy team uses humor and compliments to ease the disappointing experience.

ENCOURAGE USERS:

Good copy prompts their users. Introducing yourself and finding a starting point is difficult in real life. Tinder helps users start a conversation by prompting them to simply give a compliment!

UX Writing is a combination of UX Design and Copywriting, working in tandem together in the development process. UX writing’s primary goal is to make sure that every step of the user flow makes sense and fulfills the users needs. The takeaway? It’s obvious there needs to be changes when writing copy for websites, especially if you want an optimized conversion centric site. Be an empathetic guide and facilitate the users needs with smart copy that conveys real actionable steps.

Want to learn more?

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

A**hole Design Subreddit Makes Us Better

May 16, 2018 - Posted by: CreateApe

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

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

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

(Screenshot of /r/assholedesign)

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

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

Doesn’t everybody love a classic dark pattern?

 

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

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

The Simplicity Key

April 6, 2018 - Posted by: CreateApe

Google, Amazon, and Apple are among the strongest brands of the last decade. They have created billions in brand value and have industry-leading business performance. What else do they have in common? Their brand success can be directly tied to simplicity–to making life simpler for their users, that is. They also adhere to simplicity rules to define their brand experiences. These rules are worth considering for any brand trying to simplify their customer experience and drive customer satisfaction, commitment, and connection.

Consider the context.

Every brand thinks it’s the most important thing in their user’s life. Seldom is this true. A user’s experience with a brand is just one event in an action-packed life. Good brands map out their customer experience looking for opportunities to simplify, eliminate steps, confusion, and complications in ways that add value. Great brands look to where the brand and the experience fit within their user’s overall life, looking to make not just the experience easier but a user’s overall life easier. Amazon, with its 1-click ordering, is a great example of a brand that ‘considers the context’. Typical web marketing theory of the time said that the goal was to keep customers on a brand’s website for as long as possible to increase interaction and engagement in the belief that this would increase purchase. Amazon took a counter approach, creating a 1-click ordering option where user preferences and purchase information could be stored in order to enable a single click purchase. Amazon’s 1-click ordering, and the resultant user satisfaction with its simplicity, is core to the Amazon’s brand promise. By making online shopping as quick and painless as a single mouse click, Amazon made simplicity and customer-centricity core to their brand over 13 years ago.

Go deep.

Simplicity is not just eliminating steps, clarifying language or using intuitive graphics. Brands that succeed due to simplicity understand that everything must work together, clearly and seamlessly. Apple is a brand that lives this. Not only are the devices beautiful, simply to understand and use right out of the box. Not only do the devices work simply with the iTunes store, iCloud storage, and other Apple systems. It isn’t just that their user interfaces are a model of clarity and simplified interaction. Apple realizes everything matters when it comes to simplicity. That there isn’t an end to what can be simplified and made better. That in order to get it right, they must consider everything, they must ‘go deep.’ Only by going deep can brands understand how everything fits together and how everything matters to the user.

Avoid ‘feature-itis.’

Rather than continuing to add incremental features to a brand experience over time, great brands stand firm once they reach a level of simplicity, resisting the urge to add brand bells and whistles. Melissa Mayer, former VP of Google Search Products, is credited with keeping the interface of the Google search page blissfully simple: a white page with a blank box. Despite constant pressure to use the power of one of the most visited pages on the web to promote other brands, Google resists that urge, maintaining a simple page in the best interest of the user.Simple is a powerful strength for great brands like Amazon, Apple, and Google. Increasingly, it will be necessary for every brand. In a world of ever-increasing complexity, brand simplicity is critical for brands to get right or risk customer disappointment and defection.