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.

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When UXers Should Use A UI Kit

Pro’s and Con’s of Using WordPress

WordPress is the most popular platform for building websites and powers millions of websites. WordPress is very user friendly, simply put, it makes website building easy. WordPress is great because you can customize with thousands of website templates and design that you can choose from. Each template/design comes with different options for customizing which allows the user to create very unique websites.

131From experience working at a wordpress development company, Highlighted in this article are some of the pro’s and con’s of using WordPress.

A few WordPress Pros:

1. User Friendly CMS. WordPress is extremely simple to organize content without having a background in website management. It’s easy to navigate through content and the pages on a WordPress site.

2. Plugins. A major bonus for WordPress is that there are over 50,000 mostly free and paid plugins that are available to users. These plugins help the users customize and enhance any WordPress site.

3. SEO. SEO is now more important than ever so best SEO practices follow suit. WordPress does a good job of promoting best practices and offers a wide variety of plugins to optimize content, keywords, and meta tags.

A few WordPress cons:

1. Vulnerability. One major con for WordPress is that’s it’s extremely vulnerable and easy to hack into. Someone was able to hack into our website that we built on WordPress using our website.wp-admin and logged in. Since it is an open-source platform this makes it attractive to potential hackers.Being an open-source platform, WordPress is attractive to potential hackers.

2. Many Updates. Of course, everyone needs to install updates and its important to your WordPress site’s health. That being said, it can also be annoying because there are constant updates.

1323. Customization. If you aren’t a WordPress expert and one didn’t build your website, customization can be an issue and become expensive. Mentioned above with the updates, it can cause some problems on your site if they aren’t fully functional.

With any platform or website builder there will inevitably be pros or cons. Many of the cons listed in this article can be resolved with the right ux design agency or person managing your website.

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

Pro’s and Con’s of Using WordPress

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

What Will IoT Be Like in 100 Years

The Internet of Things (IoT) is something more than a hype that will fade away. The IoT has already changed how we work, live, and play! It is being used across all industries; real estate, healthcare, manufacturing, education, and more. According to Statista, by 2025 there will be over 75 billion connected devices, and according to McKinsey, by the same year, IoT could have an annual, global impact of $3.9 trillion.

This is a large impact on society’s economy, and over the next 100 years, we will start to see these changes in action and truly evolve. As a ux ui design company and a IoT mobile app company chicago based, we have to stay on top of trends and statistics within the world of IoT in order to provide our clients with the best business solution possible. Two areas where we can expect to see great changes in IoT are with smart homes and agriculture.

b111Smart Home
App developers in chicago have seen a major boom in the need for mobile apps where Internet of Things is changing real estate with HVAC systems and smart devices. HVAC systems and smart devices now can respond to the presence/absence of occupants and can adjust air conditioning, heat, and light. When someone lives in the home for a long period of time, the system starts to pick up on usage patterns and find the best way to cut down on energy costs and maximize performance.

For example, having a smart home device such as a wifi enabled water heater gives homeowners the control to choose how long and when the water heater runs during the day. This device provides hot water when it’s needed the most by optimizing water temperatures.
As a home ages, of course maintenance and issues are unavoidable. But, what if homeowners could see these problems and fix them ahead of time? IoT predictive analytics enable homeowners to identify issues and address system failures even before they happen. Through this idea of predictive maintenance, there are sensors and real time energy monitoring that can keep track of any irregularities and have the power to alert you when it’s time for maintenance, when an issue is about to occur, and can predict a maintenance schedule by knowing how much energy has been consumed.

In 100 years, all homes will be smart homes, this will be part of everyone’s daily lives. The technology will of course improve and evolve. This IoT technology will become more mainstream in the future.

b112Agriculture
IoT livestock management solutions are changing the livestock management paradigm. Livestock wearables are used for monitoring heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, blood pressure, and even digestion. These monitors also track the location of an animal. This data gathered is sent to the cloud which allows farmers to identify and fix problems in their livestock via user interfaces. As a mobile app design and development and a ux design services agency, we’ve seen the rise of these interfaces and it will continue to grow.

Modern farming involves heavy machinery and equipment to perform a variety of farming operations. The farming sector is continually struggling because of a shortage of skilled workers and also lacks people’s interest in working on a farm. IoT helps farmers in this situation with automated tractors, plows, cultivators and other machinery to meet the need for minimum or almost no human dependency. Just like smart homes, the agriculture industry will continue to advance with technology and you can expect to see many advances in 100 years.

Looking for more insight on UI design services, UX services, or a mobile app design company? 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.

What Will IoT Be Like in 100 Years

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Ignoring Your Websites UX

Web and app developers in Chicago and all over the world will tell you how important it is for users to have a great experience on your website. As an agency that specializes in UX design services, we’ve learned time and again the reasons why your website’s UX should never be ignored. Here are 5 reasons you shouldn’t be ignoring your websites UX.

1) First impressions are everything. Good design and first impressions are important and visuals make up for much of that. In terms of user experience design services, its very crucial to not let your design get in the way of how the user interacts with the site.

b1012) You want your site to be trusted. The last thing you want your user to feel is uncertainty or ask if they can trust your site with their information. If a user is asking themselves questions and is unsure of the answers they think in their head, they probably want to get far away from your site and won’t want to ever come back.

3) Slow loading site. It’s more than frustrating when you come across a website that takes forever to load. It’s a frustrating experience for the user and if they were unsure about your product/service and wanted more information on it, this is a sure way to make them turned off. UX research services have proven there are numerous ways you can speed up your website even if you have tons of imagery and multimedia or are making it very creative; there’s always a way to speed it up.

4) A positive user reaction. Safe, comfortable, happy; these are the feelings you should want your user to have when they see your site. The user should feel comfortable that they’ll find what they’re looking for on your site and that you’re the website that will make everything good. Feeling validated, that you’ve done the right thing and made the right decision in your click.

b1025) Lack of contact information for next steps. Picture this, a user ends up on a site that has the products/services their looking for, they go through product information and details and are meticulous about what they’re searching for. They believe the information satisfies their needs so they search for the business’s contact information but its not there. No form to fill out, no physical address, no phone number, no email. This makes the UX crash down.

If you’re a beginner just getting into UX design, or a seasoned vet who’s forgot what the basic tools are, these are some good examples of what you should never ignore in your UX design.

Looking to work with a ux company or a mobile app design company in Chicago? Are you wanting to develop an app or website or simply want more information on our web design agency? Visit Codal’s blog, or come talk to us here! We’d love to hear from you.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Ignoring Your Websites UX

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