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Reading Between the Lines: The Content and Usability Connection

Very often, when developing a website or app, the first step is presenting the client with wireframes and comps that feature placeholder text which can, and usually delivers a design that is well received, but that may not be ideal in its user experience. As a result, content that is critical to the journey is wedged into places that weren’t built to hold them. Usability testing has shown that an interface with a simplistic structure with high quality, targeted content performs better than its counterpart with a more showy layout and lesser quality content. Beginning with a creative session – content, design and brand should all be taken into consideration. Determining the goals of the site for the organization it will be representing is key to developing a navigation structure and site architecture. Once this framework is built out, the content tends to come together more naturally and authentically. A […]

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3 months, 29 days ago
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Serving the Brand with User-Centered Design

Delivering a web design that both effectively resonates the brand it represents and puts the user first, can be a complex task – especially when multiple markets or user segments are at play. User centered design, sometimes referred to as human-centered design, does a great job of prioritizing the user and making the environment ideal for their tasks – but it may not always serve the brand adequately. Blending customized design strategies and traditional user centered design best practices can prove to be the ideal route, satisfying the needs of each side. Build a Foundation While user centered design can prove to be an ideal creator of pathways for the user, it’s essential to understand the brand: it’s brand values, core messaging and it’s positioning in the current market. Determine business goals and to help construct how the user will be driven to conversion. Follow the Process Whether it be an iterative […]

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7 months, 13 days ago
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Must-Have Ecommerce Usability Features to Increase Conversion

Reports are out that the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2016 was $92.8 billion – an increase of 3.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015. With total retail sales for the first quarter of 2016 estimated at $1,183.9 billion – there’s no doubting the importance of a business having an ecommerce presence. Capitalizing on this ever-growing segment of online shoppers can be as simple as setting up a templated site, however, if not designed or developed properly, these methods can reflect poor user experience, deterring customers from purchasing. The core goal of an commerce site is to make the experience of purchasing as easy as possible for the consumer – so usability is key. Even focusing on a small set of e-commerce usability essentials, a site can become more usable almost immediately. Navigation When shopping online, consumers generally have a goal in mind, […]

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9 months, 6 days ago
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Why Companies Need to Rethink Their Site’s Usability Factor

Usability, while seemingly invisible, encompasses everything from SEO, conversion ratios, user experience and authority in the market. Embarking on a usability path and building a strategy can be a challenging task for an organization, however it is one that will pay off in spades if implemented well and maintained through testing and optimization. The benefits of adopting a website usability optimization strategy through redesign will affect all those who come in contact with the company – from prospective and current customers to internal stakeholders. Following best practices from design to development to offer the ideal user experience can deliver an increased level of positive association and better bottom line to the brand it supports. User experience and web usability are significant aspects of a websites core functionality that every company must pay attention to for the current and long term health of their organization. Its estimated that sites that have poor […]

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10 months, 13 days ago
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Usability Checklist: Improvements to Achieve a More User-Centered Site

A site’s ideal usability factors come down to one goal of serving the user, but it encompasses many elements. It can be difficult to know where to start in optimizing a site for usability as each has their own set of requirements. From design factors to site structure – all the way to loading times – web usability aspects that need to be redesigned, refined or adjusted may not always be apparent. Organizational Schemes Organizational structures are all about allowing users to predict where they will find information on the website, taking into account their individual expectations and displaying those elements so that they can transfer that familiarity from known pages to new ones. Common structures implemented are: Matrix, Sequential and Hierarchical. If a user is familiar with a certain button placement or content flow on the first pages they peruse, then their eyes will automatically look for a similar layout […]

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11 months, 10 days ago
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Ensuring Your Site Will Measure Up to Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Standards

Chances are you use Google and have noticed that one of the search result criteria is whether or not a site is ‘mobile friendly’ or not. This is a result of step 1 in a major implementation on Google’s part to encourage website owners to take the plunge and optimize their site structure. Beginning in late 2014 and implemented in April 2015, this isn’t some power play for Google – it’s simply better for a user-centered system and better business for a site. To reinforce the importance of this shift, with regard to search, as of April 2015, “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” Further, and even more telling to conversion strategies, behavior in spending has shifted to approximately 30% of all online sales now made on mobile devices. Gartner predicts that, by 2017, U.S. mobile commerce will have increased […]

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1 year, 1 month ago
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Refining Health Care UX With Data

There’s little question as to what a health care organization needs to serve it’s user in the digital environment – information, trust, intelligence, transparency and speed – just to name a few. Creating the pathway to deliver the optimal experience requires the careful and meaningful integration of design and data to produce a usable platform for both providers and consumers. Like most regulated industries, the health care digital landscape can always be improved. Advancements are constantly being made and the many websites are operating on dated platforms unable to serve their users full range of needs, or even worse – platforms may not be used to their potential. Organizations, it seems have made sizable investments in electronic health care record (EHR) and health IT (HIT) systems, however 75% are underutilizing the tools because of time commitment or costs involved. Data as a Gamechanger Particularly in health care, usability must be at the […]

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1 year, 1 month ago
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Simplicity: Doing It Right

The act of being simple yet useful is one of the hardest things to accomplish. Particularly in the digital environment, where a prerequisite of complexity must exist for a product to actually work – delivering a simple end product to the user can be an almost impossible feat. Many approach a minimal digital strategy by thinking that items simply need to be removed. This could not be more wrong. True, the removal of the unnecessary is critical, but the addition of a meaningful and usable pathway for the user must be paved. In support of this notion, John Maeda, from the The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life stated that; ‘Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.’  With respect to usability, Simplicity is not the magic solution, but it can make the experience exponentially easier to navigate. To ensure you are designing and strategizing the right path, approach […]

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1 year, 3 months ago
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Usability Testing: Are You Asking The Right Questions?

Usability testing is one of the most effective tools to aid in uncovering problem areas or stuck spots in a website’s design and structure. While any measure of testing is helpful, different types of testing and the way in which questions are asked can greatly affect user response, and ultimately, the outcome of solutions that will be put in place. The first thing to determine is whether to take a scripted or un-scripted approach to testing. Scripting is recommended for testing specific use cases and offers many benefits including delivering the most controlled environment. Reporting from scripted testing delivers both quantitative and qualitative data, all dependent on how the script is crafted. Setting the Scene Foremost, its important to indicate what areas of focus will be tested – this could be anything from the name of a website and how it will register with users to how the product/website functions. […]

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1 year, 4 months ago
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Check Your Site’s Web Usability with These 5 Free/Low Cost Testing Tools

You don’t have to be an expert nor a design firm with the latest in usability technology to run some great usability testing. In the last few years, there have been a large amount of free or cheap tools that have been created by the web design community to help everyday website owners like you. These tools will allow you to cover a wide range of web usability standards and help you make quick improvements to your site. Without further ado, here is a list of some handy tools. 1. Juicy Studio’s Readability Test If content is king then you owe it to yourself to make sure that your content is easy to consume. This testing tool allows you to simply take the URL of your page and scan it for readability. It checks against three different algorithms with explanations on how your page was scored and what you can […]

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1 year, 5 months ago