Utilizing Storyboards To Understand The Users World

A lot of research and time goes into the final design that an end user sees. Before all of the pretty colors and typography is added to a website or application, there is an entire user experience process, where your UX design agency begins to understanding goals, gather requirements, and conduct research, to better understand the user, and to design with data and research in mind.

Different UX design companies will use different research techniques, such as interviews and surveys, contextual inquiry, and group workshops. Then, the UX designer will take this data and summarize their research findings into user stories or user flows. This helps the team communicate their findings and solutions to the team, along with wireframes and personas.

Personas are typically created to help the designers understanding who they are designing for, and why, and wireframes help layout the application or website, before adding the graphical aspects. So, where do storyboards come into play?

What are storyboards and why should you use them?

A storyboard is a graphical, linear set of illustrations to portray an entire story of a user completing a task. Stories are one of the most effective and powerful ways of delivering information. In user experience design services, a storyboard is a visual tool that will predict and explore the user’s interactions with the platform, to help understand the flow of someone’s interaction with product over a given time.

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Why storyboards? Well, a storyboard forces the designer to think about the user flow, prioritize what is important, and allows a team to work together to create a very clear picture of what is being designed, and how a user will use it.

It also helps a designer put real people at the heart of the overall UX process. When dealing with data, research and analytics, it can be difficult to put a human face on a handful of numbers. However, storyboards help put the user first.

How to get started with a storyboard

Simply start with a pen and paper, and start mapping out the most simple interactions. You can then break up your story into individual moments, and decisions that the user will make.

If your mobile app development agency is building a mobile app to help consumers diagnose a sickness, the first step might be that consumer feeling sick and staying in bed all day. After you create those first interactions, start adding emotion into the story. How does the user feel when they find the app and create an account? Next, every step, or interaction, can become a frame, emphasizing every moment and the emotions that are felt at that point. At this point, you can start adding visuals to to bring the story to life.

After you have your first draft storyboard, start adding in images and graphics, or even just sketches. Pass this along to your team, and start collaborating on the story. Your UX company or mobile app design company may find interactions that were either missed, our thought of as less-important as it should be.

Your storyboard doesn’t have to be pixel perfect, it just has to tell the story of your user. Once you have the story complete, you will be much more prepared when putting together the wireframes and overall flow of the platform.

Looking for extra assistance with your user experience? Chat with the experts at Codal!

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Utilizing Storyboards To Understand The Users World

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

Here’s Where Grocery is Headed

Over the past few years, eCommerce is taking over industry after industry, and it is completely changing the way that consumers spend their money. One particular industry that is interesting, is the grocery industry.

Unlike other industries, people are still shopping in brick and mortar, physical stores to purchase their groceries. While grocery stores are not shutting down like other retail stores are, this type of shopping is still going through a rapid, technology-driven alteration. As an Android and iOS mobile app development company, we’re expecting many changes in this industry in the next 5-10 years.

Offering services like eCommerce mobile app development, and eCommerce website design and development, we have to pay attention to these things to ensure that our clients are staying on top of industry trends.

We have seen the inception of many online and mobile grocery services, like HelloFresh, Blue Apron, and InstaCart. These companies definitely took advantage of all of the UX research services out there, and jumped on the bandwagon of online grocery and mobile commerce.

Online Grocery Models

As stated above, there are multiple different models for online grocery in today’s age. For example, HelloFresh and Blue Apron are subscription services, whereas InstaCart is an on-demand app, where you can get your groceries delivered within an hour.

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The on-demand (or Uber-style) industry is vastly growing. There’s an on-demand app, for almost every industry out there. Whether you need your hair done, would like massage, need childcare, need your laundry done, there’s an on-demand app for it, where you can get what you need done within an hour. As an application development agency, we constantly hear “I want to build Uber for ____.” It is definitely an economy that is not going anywhere!

On the other hand, many of the other current online grocery models are subscription style. For example, when you subscribe to HelloFresh, you pay weekly, and the company sends you a box of all of the ingredients you’ll need to cook a few different recipes for the week. Blue Apron is the same- a subscription service selling you the ingredients you need for specific recipes.

While these two models (on-demand and subscription service), there are so many other possibilities for online grocery. This is only just the beginning.

The Possibilities of Online Grocery

It is pretty intriguing where the possibilities of where online grocery can go. With Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods, they could start incorporating Amazon’s Dash button to help their customers order grocery items instantly.

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The Amazon Dash button brings another idea to online grocery: the emergence of IoT. There are already smart refrigerators out there, it is just only a matter of time when more and more consumers start purchasing these. An internet-enabled refrigerator can open up many more doors for more companies to move their business model to online, mobile, and automatic online orders.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re a grocery store, this means that you better start thinking ahead, and future-proof your business. Utilizing services from a UX design agency or mobile application development agency will help you get you ready for the future of online grocery.

If you’re a consumer, not in this industry, than you simply know what to expect in the years to come when it comes to purchasing your groceries!

Here’s Where Grocery is Headed

The Importance of mCommerce Within eCommerce

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Commerce is slowly moving from brick and mortar stores, to online and mobile. According to BigCommerce, 67% of millennials and 56% of generation X, prefer to purchase products online, rather than going into a store to shop. In order to stay on top of industry trends in this age, you must have eCommerce, and mCommerce incorporated into your business.

eCommerce includes all forms of doing business through the online exchange of data, where mCommerce is the trading of products through mobile, or wireless, handheld devices, like a mobile phone or tablet, using a mobile app.

While these two are different, neither should be prioritized over the other.

Internet Usage

One main difference between the two, is that eCommerce will always require using an Internet connection. Without WiFi, or an Internet connection in general, a user cannot purchase products from your website.

On the other hand, if a user has your app downloaded to their phone, they can make a purchase anywhere, anytime, whether the user is connected to the WiFi or not. This is why working with an eCommerce mobile app development company can be beneficial for your business.

The Experience

In order to grow your business, you need to ensure that you have a positive experience, across all platforms and aspects of your business. If a user looks for your app in the app store, and it isn’t there, you’re probably losing out on a sale that your business could have gained. Keeping a positive experience within every aspect of your business is more than important; you have to keep your customers happy.

In order to keep a solid experience for your customers, having a stellar design is also very important. If you don’t work with an eCommerce website design company, you probably should consider hiring one to make sure that your web design (and mobile!) stay consistent with your brand, and that your website or app look like a trustable place to make a purchase.

Mobile Usage

In a study done by BigCommerce, 20% of American shoppers have made a purchase from their mobile phone while they are in the car, or in the bathroom. People are truly making purchases from everywhere and anywhere, which is why it is so important to have a mobile presence if you’re a retailer or merchant.

If people are making purchases from the bathroom, than I have no doubt that users are browsing their retail apps while they wait in line, are on their lunch break, at work, etc. As one of the leading mobile app development agencies in Chicago, we understand and see the importance of mobile. Mobile usage has increased tremendously over the past few years, and that number will only continue to skyrocket for the years to come!

TechCrunch reported that users are using over 30 apps per month, whereas just a few years ago, that number was around 26. As more and more mobile app design companies launch useful app’s into the iOS and Android stores, the more people will continue using apps that either help them in their day-to-day life, or that they simply find enjoyable (like PokemonGo!).

So What?

So, if you have an online store and have customers that continue to make purchases from you, than you are, no doubt, in need of a mobile application. Consider getting into contact with an expert eCommerce website design and development agency to help you out!

The Importance of mCommerce Within eCommerce

2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Website Checklist

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge opportunities for merchants and retailers to make a lot of money. Last year, shoppers spent an average of $300 online shopping throughout the weekend. Adobe had stated that $5.27 billion was spent online after Black Friday alone (17.7% more than the previous year!)

As a web and mobile app development agency in Chicago, it is our duty to make sure that all of our clients who are participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, have their website ready to go! Making sure that your website if functioning properly, as well as having the user experience up to par couldn’t be more important around the holiday season.

Below is a checklist to help ensure that these holiday months will be profitable for your online store.

Ensure that your site can handle a large load of traffic

Depending on the platform that you’re using to sell online, your store can crash if it sees a huge surge of traffic at once. Before BFCM, you must test your server load capacity to ensure your online store doesn’t crash or break during peak hours.

You can use either LoadImpact.com or Blitz.io to test your store.

Banner Promo’s and Hero Images

You need to make sure that you have some nice graphics and visuals to promote your holiday sales. For every holiday promotion, you should have new banner ad’s to represent those specific sales and promotions. If you work with an eCommerce web design company, like Codal, than they should be able to take care of this for you.

Mobile-Ready

Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday is close to an official holiday, most people are back to work on Monday and may be doing their online shopping on-the-go. This means that your website needs to be 100% ready on mobile as well. Touch base with your mobile app design company to make sure that you don’t miss any mobile issues.

Tracking Pixels

Make sure that your tracking pixels are properly working if you are running Facebook ads, Google AdWords, Twitter ads, etc.

Typically, you should be able to do this yourself. Here is a guide for Facebook pixels, and here’s a guide on how to tag your website for Google AdWords. If you cannot implement this yourself, consider working with your web development agency in Chicago to help.

Ensuring that every page of your website has the correct tracking pixels, you’ll have a deep understanding of where your users are coming from. From analyzing this data from BFCM, you can make data-driven improvements to your ad’s for the rest of the holiday season.

Retarget All Customers

The holidays are the best time for you to retarget all of your past customers. You should be sending email campaigns to older customers. When you retarget previous visitors, you are reaching people that may have forgotten about your store.

It is very likely that people you have already sold to in the past will be much more receptive to your BFCM sales and promotions.

Set up Heatmaps

Implementing a heatmap to your website will also allow you to make data-driven changes to your website for the rest of the holiday season. Knowing where your users are dropping off, and where they are spending a lot of time on a certain page.

As a web application development company in Chicago, we are quite frequently implementing heatmapping tools. One of our favorites that we frequently recommend, is HotJar.

Now What?

Now that you have your Black Friday and Cyber Monday checklist ready to go, it’s time to start planning your marketing campaigns, talking to your development partner agency, and creating those graphics for your sales and promotions.

Happy BFCM!

2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Website Checklist

Must-Ask Questions for a Development Agency Before Hiring Them

When hiring an application development agency, there are things that you should know and fully understand prior to hiring anyone. If it’s your first time working with a developer or an Android or iOS development firm, then here is a list of questions that you must ask before getting started:

Will I own the code?

It is absolutely critical to know if you will have ownership of the code and all of the assets before working with a mobile app design company. Any good developer, or trustful company will ensure that you will own all of the code, and all of the assets used to design, or develop the application.

What tools do you use?

The person you hire for the custom software development services should be using quality tools throughout the entire process. For example, all of the code should be in a code repository, such as GitHub or BitBucket. If your agency or developer isn’t using a code repo, or if you don’t have access to it, this should be a red flag. Other industry tools, like a project management system, and JIRA are important to the development process. You should be fully aware of what tools will be used for your project before getting started.

Here at Codal, we give our clients access to all of the systems and tools we use, to obtain full transparency with our customers.

What level of involvement do you need from me?

As a Chicago web application development company, we want our clients to be be as involved as they can be. We are truly open to as much collaboration on projects as our clients would like.

Typically, the more collaboration that exists between us and the client, the smoother the process goes. Client feedback is important to us, we want to build software that our clients will fall in love with.

How and how frequently will we communicate?

The mobile app development company in Chicago that I work for, gives clients at least 1 weekly update on their project. However, in most cases, clients and project managers will be in communication much more than once a week.

Where are your developer’s located?

There are talented developers all over the world. While it does not necessarily matter their location, it is important that you know where they are, so that you can have a mutual understanding of what is being worked on, and when. For example, if your website crashes during the middle of the day, you need to understand who is available to fix it at certain times.

In my opinion, the best model for this is to hire a company that has both onshore and offshore teams. This way, someone is always available to help you, and your potential “offshore” fear can be overcome. This is the way development is done at Codal, we have app developers in Chicago, as well as a team in Ahmedabad, India, and Lincoln, UK.

Must-Ask Questions for a Development Agency Before Hiring Them

Important Metrics of Measuring Mobile App Success

In Part 1 of Important Metrics of Measuring Mobile App Success, some of the metrics that were discussed were as follows:

  • Number of users
  • In-App Engagement
  • Session Length

In this article, we will discuss the monthly (or daily) active users, network errors and app crashes, and abandonment rate.

MAU + DAU

Looking at the daily (or monthly) active users on your app is definitely a metric that you want to track. This will tell you who your true user base is, and how many people are truly engaged and consistently using the mobile application.

You or your mobile app development agency should be looking at this quite frequently and recognizing any possible trends (are your DAU’s shrinking, growing, staying the same?) This will also help you determine your target audience, and who you are marketing and advertising to.

App Crashes + Network Errors

I’m sure that you have experienced a mobile app crash at one point or another. The average rate for app crashed is 1-2% but of course can vary depending on the type of mobile app and how much it is used. Obviously, the less crashes the better. If your crash rate is above 1-2%, you will definitely want to work with an application development agency to get the issues resolved, as you most likely will lose users, in turn, lose revenue.

On the other hand, a network error is typically from the service provider, but can still lead to mobile app crashes.

Abandonment Rate

Your mobile app’s abandonment rate is ultimately the ratio between the transactions voided compared to transactions initiated.
If many of your transactions continue to annul through your app, chances are that either your user experience is not up to par, or that the app performance wasn’t up to the expectations of the user. Any UX design company should be able to take a look at the app, and conduct a UX audit to give user’s a more positive experience while using the mobile app.

As a UX design company in Chicago, Codal takes mobile app success seriously. Codal strives to not only be your UX design agency, or just your go-to Chicago app developers, but we strive to be your partner for everything digital. We don’t just want to build your app, but we want to see your business succeed.

Important Metrics of Measuring Mobile App Success