When UXers Should Use A UI Kit

Have you thought about using a UI kit? If the answer is no, it may be time to take the plunge and make your life easier while streamlining the design process. As a UX design agency, we’ve found that UI kits are great because they can also help save time and money while making your designs perform and look better.

141The basis of UI kits are aimed at frontend developers who would rather take a modular approach to building a website or app, but may not want to be restricted or tied down by a template.

One big reason for a UXer to want to use a UI kit is because its makes web development simply a quicker process. As an agency that specializes in user experience design services, a faster design process means more websites can be built which leads to increasing efficiency which is every UXers end goal. However something to consider, this doesn’t address the development side, even though it may cut down a few hours in Sketch it still has to be implemented from scratch in code.

A UXer may use a UI kit to get a more realistic sense of how long a project will take for their UI design services project. While it won’t make the estimation for you the design is already known so what’s left for you to do is less than what it would be starting from scratch. After you know which design you want to use you can take elements from the UI kit and set them up according to the wireframe you created. This process ends with customizing those design elements to fit your branding.

To eliminate learning how to solve common problems like breadcrumbs, CTA’s, navigation styles, notification boxes, and icons a UXer may use a UI kit to eliminate these issues. With the amazingly-detail oriented nature UI kits have you’ll end up with a better result than if you were doing it all by yourself, and faster!

142Another reason a UXer may want to use a UI kit is to have a standard look and feel for their website. Once you use a UI kit that includes icon packs and custom color palettes etc., it’s simple to keep the same overall look for all elements in your website. Users will go through different pages on the site and different components but still feel that they are similar.

Looking for more insight on UI kits, UX design services, or user experience design services? Are you wanting to develop an app or website and you need to know more information on how this web development agency chicago based company is? Visit Codal’s blog, or come talk to us here! We’d love to hear from you.

When UXers Should Use A UI Kit

Development Approaches: Waterfall Versus Agile

Web design and developers in Chicago and all over the world will tell you how important it is to come up with a game plan for how a project process will go. Agile and Waterfall are potentially two very different ways of delivering project. As an agency that specializes in UX services, we’ve learned time and again why these two ways are very important to understand.

The choice you make on which to use of course impacts how your team will operate, and while it totally depends on the project and requirements you should understand the difference between the two.

Waterfall has been known as the traditional methodology for software development and its rapidly losing popularity as agile methodology is increasingly being adopted by companies.

121Agile methodology follows a linear sequential approach while providing flexibility, waterfall is a sequential model where software development is segregated. This agile methodology provides flexibility in a way that as project requirements change so does the methodology approach.

So what are some advantages and disadvantages? This is a great way to put these two models into perspective.

Advantages of the Agile model:
This is focused on client process which in turn keeps them involved at every stage.
Agile teams are motivated and self-organized which is likely to end in a better result.
The process is totally based on the incremental progress.

Advantages of the Waterfall model:122

  • An easy model to manage with each phase having specific deliverables and a review process.
  • Results in a faster delivery of the project.
    Works well for smaller projects with easy-to-understand requirements.
  • And, of course, there are some disadvantages.

Disadvantages of the Agile model:

  • Agile only works best when members of the development team are completely and totally dedicated to the project.
  • The involving nature of Agile development may lead to a frequent rethinking if the full scope of the system is not accounted for in the initial architecture and design. Without this rethinking, the system can suffer from a reduction in overall quality.

Disadvantages of the Waterfall model:

  • It can be time consuming to gather and document requirements on each step since its difficult to assume things about the project at the beginning.
  • In general, the risk is higher with the Waterfall approach because the scope for mistakes is higher. If something goes wrong, fixing it can be hard because you have to go through a few steps back.

Still not sure on which to go with? Think long and hard about your project requirements and what the best possible outcome could and should be. Looking to work with a ux company or a mobile app design and development agency in Chicago? Are you wanting to develop an app or website or simply want more information on our UX design agency? Visit Codal’s blog, or come talk to us here! We’d love to hear from you.

Development Approaches: Waterfall Versus Agile

3 eCommerce Lessons From LuLaRoe’s Downfall

LuLaRoe was a force to be reckoned with as an eCommerce merchant a few years ago. Riddled with lawsuits and conspiracy, the once-booming clothing retailer has since hit its downfall.

LuLaRoe has an unconventional business model as a clothes retailer. LuLaRoe does not sell their products themselves, they sell through independent retailers worldwide. Through multi-level marketing (MLM), LuLaRoe requires their sellers to make an initial purchase of $5,000, to turn around and sell these products to customers.

LuLaRoe’s sellers price these items at a markup and sell them through their medium of choice. What LuLaRoe coins as, “a social retail model,” these sellers can create “shopping communities” in-person or online. A few years ago, LuLaRoe communities were commonly on Facebook: sellers would set up a group, a time for the sale, and then conduct the transactions themselves.

Now if there are alarm bells ringing in your head already, you have good instincts: this is a sketchy business model. As a company that provides eCommerce web design services, we could not agree more.

This unique way of conducting business has since caught up with LuLaRoe and they have been in many legal altercations: many accusing them of being a pyramid scheme, and violating sales taxes. LuLaRoe also received complaints about their quality and their refund policies.

So where did it all go all ‘LuLaWrong’ for LuLaRoe? What can we learn in the eCommerce industry from their mistakes? Here are three lessons that we can take away from LuLaRoe’s downfall:

  • You should be conducting business through a secure central medium

One of the most glaring issues with LuLaRoe’s business model is that they do not use a central secure medium to conduct their sales. There is no central hub that customers can return to for questions regarding their purchases. LuLaRoe conducts all of their sales through third parties.

Their company site is essentially a front, filled with graphics and photos, with no real substance. Customers can see items but have no way of purchasing them without an independent seller. Furthermore, the return policy detailed for LuLaRoe customers, is that they should, “Get in contact with the independent fashion retailer.”

So what purpose does the company site serve? Besides being aesthetically pleasing, I question its functionality otherwise.

This is one major takeaway from the LuLaRoe business model, you should be conducting your business through a secure central medium, to serve as the nucleus of the organization. With LuLaRoe, there is no core to their eCommerce business. You should be conducting your business through one consistent medium. Which can make an eCommerce business more efficient for you and your customers. As any eCommerce website design and development company will tell you!

This can increase your product and employee satisfaction. With LuLaRoe’s model, it was averaged that 70% of LuLaRoe representatives sold less than $5,000 worth of their retail goods. If business was conducted through their company site, LuLaRoe wouldn’t have inflicted this loss upon their retailers.

You should be conducting your business through a secure central channel, if you don’t want to make the same mistake as our dear friend, LuLaRoe.

  • You need to be prioritizing the safety of your customers

With LuLaRoe’s buying and selling process, as we detailed above— there are third parties involved. LuLaRoe does not have a single, secure channel that customers can complete their transactions and receive customer support.

In conducting their business through their independent sellers, LuLaRoe does not provide a safe channel to protect their customer’s information. LuLaRoe is not strict about which payment provider their independent retailers decide to use. Although they do not encourage their sellers to choose a new payment platform— there are no regulatory measures in place to prevent them from doing so.

As a result, there have been allegations that certain independent sellers have been swindling their customers. And with no secure payment avenue in place, LuLaRoe has made it easy for them to do so.

In the eCommerce industry this is something we can learn from, ‘less is more’ when it comes to outside parties. When it comes to handling sensitive customer data it should all be under one secure company platform.

  • You need to ensure the quality of your products

Aside from a rather blasphemous return policy, LuLaRoe does not provide a solid way to ensure product quality. As an eCommerce merchant, the most important thing you can do is: provide a quality product to ensure customer satisfaction.

LuLaRoe did not comply with this golden rule and has received multiple complaints about their product quality. There was no transparency from the company. LuLaRoe makes their independent retailers purchase their products, without seeing them first. Thus, the independent retailers have no way to ensure quality and sold these products to their customers. With this system: there was no check and balance regarding product quality.

Many customers complained about holes and weak quality of the products— primarily in their leggings. This issue was so significant, that the outraged customers banded together to start the Facebook group, “LuLaRoe Defective/Ripped/Torn Leggings and Clothes,” which boasts thousands of followers. When prompted about their quality control, LuLaRoe’s CEO simply responded, “We weaken the fibers to make them buttery soft. We have done all we can to fix them.”

As an eCommerce merchant, you should be listening to your customer’s complaints and making a product that is high quality. In eCommerce, learn from the mistakes of your fellow fallen retailers: ensure your product quality and listen to your customers.

You live, you learn

LuLaRoe has provided us with an example of what not to do in the eCommerce industry. With their flawed business model, it provides a learning experience for eCommerce providers everywhere.

If you would like to continue learning about what makes an effective eCommerce business, you should get in contact with a professional. Reach out to an eCommerce web development company, to ensure your company will be a success in the industry, rather than a flop.

3 eCommerce Lessons From LuLaRoe’s Downfall

4 Ways To Make Your Business’ Shoppable Instagram Successful

Say you’re an eCommerce merchant that has been wanting to advertise your products through social media. In a culture dominated and shaped by social media, this can be a great way to reach potential customers and raise awareness about your business.

Now, you have quite a few different options to choose from. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, the list goes on. However, if your product can be showcased visually and it is appropriate for your target demographic, a great choice for social media marketing is Instagram.

Instagram has been on the rise as a photo & video sharing application. Some users have already begun to assert that Instagram is replacing Facebook as their dominant form of social media. The New York Times reports that roughly 700 million users access Instagram each month, with roughly 400 million users logging onto the app daily.

If you are an eCommerce business owner that has been looking to expand your reach, Instagram could be an untapped market for you. Multiple eCommerce stores and social media influencers are already capitalizing by engaging their users through this social media forum.

If you are new to Instagram and are unsure how to sell your products, have no fear! Codal has worked with countless eCommerce merchants to assist them in achieving their goals. As a writer for an eCommerce web development company, I have compiled a basic how-to guide for selling on Instagram.

Providing Humanized Content

So, you have decided to take the plunge into the world of Instagram. Aside from the obvious housekeeping tasks— choosing your username, picking a profile picture, writing a description—your content plays a huge role in your account’s success.

Instagram is a visual app; therefore, you need to be providing material that is visually engaging through your profile. Ritual is a great example of this aesthetically pleasing and intriguing content.

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(Screenshots from Ritual’s Instagram Page)

Although they are a vitamin company, their page seems almost artistic. Thus, it makes it interesting for the user. They are showcasing the vitamin in a new way and it is working— Ritual boasts 63.5k followers with 584 posts.

Ritual is also successful because of how they make their product seem tangible. Due to the fact that their product is intended to be for people, they have people marketing and showcasing their vitamin in their content. Ritual humanizes their page through their product representation.

Aside from this human connection, Ritual makes their product’s intention straightforward in their posts. The average user can understand what the vitamin is for upon first glance at Ritual’s page. For example, their page shows their vitamins being balanced on someone’s lips. If I am a user that knows nothing about their product, I assume that it is meant to be ingested— no caption needed.

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(Screenshots from Ritual’s Instagram Page)

In order to sell your product through Instagram you need to make your content seem tangible and your intention be straightforward.

Ritual is just one great example of a brand using Instagram to sell products well. But follow their lead and you can also see yourself gaining user engagement insta-ntly.

2. Exhibiting Quality Marketing Techniques

The developers at Instagram recognize that their platform is being used to sell products, so they have made it nice and easy for merchants to be able to promote their products through advertisements.

If you fork over a little cash, you can purchase photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and sponsored Instagram stories. This can assist your business on extending your reach beyond your profile. With these ads, you can customize the particular demographic of users that you would like to target.

These ads might be brief, but with your demographic parameters set- they can be funnelled straight to the users that are the most compatible. Now that’s what I call marketing.

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Although these ads are great, a drawback would be your inability to directly link your product in the caption. If users want to learn more they can, through ‘swipe to learn more’; however, you are still unable to link to your company website.

A way around this minor roadblock would be putting your company site in your business’ Instagram biography. That way, if a customer wants to find out more about your products, they can have a set place to look.

Furthermore, you can send a customer your company link through a direct message (or a DM, as the kids call it these days). For example, you can post on your Instagram story an advertisement, and tell your users to “DM you for more information.” Now, with that sidestep, you can link the user to your company homepage directly.

3. Providing Shoppable Instagram Posts and Including Instagram Influencers

Recently integrated into Instagram is the ability for users to check out products through ‘shoppable Instagram posts.’ Sephora integrates this ability into their page with ease. If a user likes the way a product looks- a simple click, and they have the information at their fingertips.

A savvy way of selling your products, a user can browse products from your business without ever leaving the app. This feature prioritizes the importance of providing ease for your user.

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In addition to making shoppable posts, it can be great marketing for your business to team up with a social media influencer. As an influencer, these individuals have access to a vast number of users.

If these users agree to work with your company, it can increase the amount of site traffic for you and your social media mogul. A win-win.

4. Your Page’s Cohesiveness

When making a successful Instagram brand, it is important that your brand’s flow be seamless. Anyone who provides solid ui design services would stress that your color, logo, and aesthetic should match on both the website and the Instagram page itself.

Therefore, if a customer clicks on the company site while on the page, the brand seems to extend itself beyond these two forums. A user should never feel like they are looking at two different brands when they are looking at your site and Instagram side by side.

With your website and Instagram page, cohesiveness is key.

Do It For The ‘Gram

As you are developing your business’ Instagram presence, don’t forget about the other parts of your eCommerce business. As an eCommerce web design company in Chicago, Codal is committed to helping you achieve your eCommerce goals.

Contact us today for help in developing your business further!

4 Ways To Make Your Business’ Shoppable Instagram Successful

UX Case Studies – Tasty

Ah, Apple’s App Store. An amalgam of applications, the App Store offers something different for every user that scrolls through its never-ending rows. As an average user, I tend to avoid these uncharted app waters. However, for today’s piece, I voyaged into the App Store to look at Tasty’s app and its UX.

As a writer for a UX Company, I am aware that in order to have solid UX, an app needs to be applicable to any type of user with any range of experience. Thus, I selected an app that specializes in an area I’m not familiar with: cooking.

Normally, my version of cooking is boiling water, throwing in pasta and coating my al dente masterpiece with red sauce. Voila! Five-star cooking, in my book. Thus, for the purpose of this analysis, I am an amateur chef- at best. Which makes me an ideal candidate for Tasty’s step-by-step cooking app. Will this app make cooking seem easy? We will see.

Tasty is self-described as a “food recipes and videos” application. Created by Buzzfeed, Tasty boasts 4.9 stars on the App Store with 112.4 K reviews. With this high level of user engagement, this foodie app is rated #9 in the Food & Drink category, which is any mobile app developer’s dream!

In its App Store description, Tasty asserts that it is my “new cooking coach.” As a mediocre chef, I am clearly skeptical of this claim. Yet, all uncertainty aside, I dive into this culinary creation and download the latest iOS 10 version of the app. Get your aprons on folks, we’re about to get cooking.

Onboarding

Delving into Tasty’s app, we are welcomed by an aesthetically pleasing sign in page. Tasty’s UI is rather adorable: a bright blue background, with multi-colored pieces of food peeking out from the screen’s corners.

t1

Tasty’s account creation options are stacked at the bottom of this page. From the get-go, Tasty’s UX is versatile and they welcome any type of user. Users can create an account using their Facebook profile, their phone number- or shocking enough- with no information inputted at all. Users that don’t want to make a profile, do not have to. Tasty allows users to bypass this onboarding step with the “maybe later” option.

After I select the “log in with a phone number” option, the screen shifts to the next step. However, Tasty incorporates a creative detail in this progression. While waiting for the next page to load, there is a tiny donut that dances up and down on the screen. I am so amused by this minor detail, I almost didn’t notice the app lagging. To illustrate their app loading with a piece of food, I thought was an imaginative UX detail.

For my account creation, I am required to: input my phone number, get texted a verification code, enter that code into the app, and create a username. To my annoyance, many of the usernames that I inputted were taken. A necessary evil for many onboarding processes for apps; however, for a food app, I thought so many steps was overkill.

But all of a sudden, my qualms about the number of steps to sign-up was resolved. Users are able to scroll and select a piece of food as their profile photo. Tasty’s UX allows users to personalize their profiles. I got to choose a smiling piece of pizza for my profile- my favorite food. All is well in the food universe.

Before I could get started on my new Tasty food regiment, I am bombarded with a pop-up. For UX design agencies, pop-ups are typically a no-go; however, I thought this one was well placed. Tasty inquires if I am vegetarian or not, and promises to show me recipes with meat or without, depending on my choice. I thought this was an innovative feature of their UX: the user is able to customize their dietary preferences and restrictions.

t2

Main Interface

After I answered the series of questions presented to me, I am– finally– brought to the main page. I am greeted by rows of colorful looking recipes and their corresponding categories. Upon scrolling further, I was pleased to discover that the app has clever names for their food categories, like “Okie Dokie Artichokie,” for example.

t3At the bottom of the main interface, the page is organized by the tabs, “Discover,” “My Pages,” and “One Top” (as seen below). A solid setup for Tasty’s page, their UX is user-friendly and their layout makes sense. If I ‘discover’ a recipe I want to cook, I can save it to ‘my page’ for future reference. The flow of the main interface seems self-explanatory.

However, the “One Top” tab is dedicated to the sale of Tasty’s new cooking pan. Tasty tries to sell the pan in-app with the options, “Order yours today” or, “I have One Top.” A savvy marketing move, placed conveniently next to the other features of the app.

If we click on a recipe on the “Discover” tab, we are transported to an informational page on that particular dish. I selected an “Avocado Quinoa Power Salad” to learn about. As soon as I selected the meal- after the donut loading icon- I was brought to its interactive recipe page.

t4Tasty incorporates a quick step-by-step video at the top of the page that shows the dish being made. For any user that struggles with cooking, Tasty made it look easy. Their experience continues with an ingredients list and a slowed down version of the video at the top of the page. Tasty made me feel like even I could make that ‘powerful’ dish.

Tasty’s easy to use design doesn’t stop there. To make the dish even more convenient for their users, Tasty’s app offers to ‘export’ the recipe’s ingredient list. That’s right. Tasty is making your shopping list for you.

Final Verdict

As a writer for an app development agency, I applaud Tasty’s clever UX and appealing UI design. Furthermore, as a mediocre chef, I praise how easy their recipes seem. One thing’s for certain, I have found my new recipe book. Sayonara, bland pasta with red sauce.

UX Case Studies – Tasty

HIMSS 2018 & Codal – Disruption of The Healthcare Industry

In just a few weeks, HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s Annual Conference & Exhibition) will be occuring in Las Vegas, Nevada. HIMSS brings together 45,00 healthcare IT professionals. Chicago mobile app development company, Codal will be exhibiting in the conference, to continue to conduct digital transformation in healthcare across healthcare organizations across the board.

Some of the conference topics that will be heavily discussed are:

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Codal’s purpose of being at HIMSS is to create a smarter and healthier tomorrow by helping healthcare organization’s with their digital products, whether it be a web patient portal, an mHealth app, or healthcare wearable device.

Digital Transformation in Healthcare

Digital transformation in the healthcare industry is already happening. We are now accessing most of our health information via our mobile phones, and scheduling doctor appointments online. Physicians and clinics are using advanced technology to diagnose the world.

Various healthcare IT solutions have allowed for 52% of smartphone users to gather their health information on their mobile device. Along with this statistic, 80% of physicians use smartphones and medical applications, and 93% of physicians believe that mHealth apps can improve patient health. As for just standard smartphone users, 61% of them have downloaded an mHealth app on their device.

In a recent study done, one major healthcare organization that hired a UX design agency digitized and revamped their sign-up and onboarding process. The results? They were able to automate many of the important parts of the process, and improve the overall customer and patient experience. Their bounce rate was majorly reduced, by 80%, and the spending on sign-ups was reduced by 30%.

The solutions that we’re going to see at HIMSS are part of this digital transformation. There are vendors that are exhibiting that manufacture tablets specifically made for the industry, phone charging stations for hospitals, virtual care platforms, indoor navigation systems for hospitals, and the list can go on!

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How Codal Can Help

Some of the goals of Codal’s healthcare software solutions, is to boost patient experience and improve clinical workflows. Let’s dive deeper into this:

Patient Experience

One of the largest drivers of digital transformation in this industry, is the user, or patient. In this digital age, and as a UX company, we know that user’s expect transparency, simplicity, and a solid usability of any platform they are using. At HIMSS 2018, we’ll be showcasing some of the products that we have built that have boosted a patient experience within an organization.

One of the products includes Nemo Van, a medical transportation application for patients of various clinics and hospitals.

Improving Workflows

Not only is Codal focused on improving patient experience, but one of the major goals is to embrace automation, and promote efficiency and profitability within an organization workflows. At our booth #12253, we will be showcasing the work that we did for ACCME’s web portal.

Attending HIMSS?

If you’re attending or exhibiting at HIMSS 2018 in Las Vegas, come check out Codal’s booth (#12253). We’ll be giving away 3 free iPads, and a UX audit throughout the week!

HIMSS 2018 & Codal – Disruption of The Healthcare Industry

Your Push Notifications Need to be Personalized

In the year to come, personalizing the experience for your users should be on the top of your priority list. More and more, mobile app development firms are understanding just how important personalization and customization really is. Consumers not only want, but they now expect the website’s their on to be personalized, with content they’re interested in, with their own data, etc.

But why push notifications?

The power of push notifications is quite large, according to Wigzo, push notifications can boost engagement by 88%. This statistic is for standard, unpersonalized notifications. Now, imagine about how much more engagement you can get if that message is personalized to the user.

Another reason for starting the personalization with push, is that most users will opt-in for push notifications. If users are opted-in, than it is a relatively easy way for you to reach your user whether they are using your app or not.

Another fun fact, is that Android users tend to engage with more push notifications than iOS smartphone users. Therefore, you should definitely utilizing companies that offer Android development services, and plan out some effective content notifications.

If you’re still unsure on whether or not to use and personalize push, I’m confident that any UX design company that you hire, will help you strategize this, especially if you utilize their UX research services. With research, you will have real data from real users, giving you data about exactly what they want.

The software development agencies that build the below app’s did something right; they have completely nailed personalizing their push notifications.

Pandora

b1Pandora personalized their push notifications in a great way. The notifications are completely custom to the users in-app activity. Localytics reported that one of their most effective push notifications read “2015 is half over and you have already enjoyed 48 songs on Today’s Country Radio. Here’s to 48 more!”

Not only does is this message directly relative to the users activity while on the app, but it celebrates the users achievement (number of songs listened to on a certain radio station). It also gives the user a new goal, to listen to another 48 songs on that radio. The intention of this message is to make the user excited about their past activity, and encourage them to use the app more.

Good job Pandora! (Or to the UX company that helped them strategize this!)

Trip Advisor

b2TripAdvisor does personalized push notifications extremely well. Not only is this app your best friend while you’re traveling, but their mobile app design company had to have designed it where it is usable even when you’re not traveling. The app lets you know the great ratings of restaurants near you, no matter your location.

TripAdvisor’s mobile app will send you notification when prices are going up on a trip that you’ve had your eye on, and always recommends hotel rooms, flights, and things to do, based in your in-app activity. They also ensure that their personalized push notifications have a strong, actionable call-to-action.

MyFitnessPal

b3MyFitnessPal is another business that does push notifications very well. Not only are they extremely personal, speaking straight to the user about their behavior on the app, but they are extremely relevant, timely, and actionable.

For an example, if a user logs meals every day but skips one, it will notify them to remind them to log that day’s meal. They also send notifications that are bold, but effective, like “Hmm. Seems like these reminders aren’t helpful. We’re going to turn them off.” To say the least, this is quite a bold statement, however, it intrigues and interests users since it is so different, creating more engagement.

Conclusion

Messages that are sent via push notification are much more effective and engaging than emails and even text messages with offers and promotions. Everyday, consumers receive a lot of emails with promo’s and offers that are not directly addressed to them. Personalizing push notifications and keeping the message relevant engage the user and keeps them coming back for more.
engages the user,

If your conversion rates, or your CTR is not improving, you should potentially consider investing a bit more time in redesigning your app, or simply consult a UX UI design agency to get professional advice.

Your Push Notifications Need to be Personalized