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.

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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.

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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.

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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

How Mobility Can Reduce Healthcare Facility Costs

Having a mobile presence is no longer just a “trend,” it is expected from consumers, and more of a need in today’s digital world. By 2020, it is predicted that the revenue from mobile app’s will be around $44.8 billion.

The evolution of mobility for the healthcare space has invited many mobile app development agencies to jumpstart their processes for healthcare software development solutions.

With almost 100,000 mobile applications related to fitness and healthcare in the mobile app store, it is obvious that there is a very high demand for Chicago app developers, especially one’s proficient in healthcare mobile app development.

The real question comes down to this:

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The GSMA reported that by the end of 2017, mHealth and healthcare software solutions will reduce healthcare facility costs by $400 billion in developed countries.

But how?

Time is Money

mHealth can save countless hours, for both patients, and a healthcare facility, and in today’s era, ‘time is money’.

With the assistance of healthcare mobile app development, patients can fill out forms, schedule appointments, request prescription refills, and view treatment history, all via the internet.

Think about it, you can easily spend 20 minutes every time your at the doctor to fill out paperwork, and it can take hours to get ahold of your medical records via your doctor, and not online.

Less Resources Required

If patients are scheduling appointments through an app, requesting refills online, and asking their doctors a question through a web portal, less human resources will be required to run and maintain a doctors office or any medical facility.

Once an organization onboards a healthcare mobile application, a huge amount of time and money will be saved on human resources. What’s the need to have 4 people at the front desk of an office, if they are not being utilized?

It is also important that once an application is onboarded, that it is marketed to their patients so they use this technology to their full benefits.

Electronic Medical Records and Reports

Having access to your healthcare records, anywhere, anytime, allows less of a back-and-forth between patients and physicians. It allows individuals to access their information faster, and without the help of an office representative or a doctor.

Before technology was around, physicians and office-workers would have to enter a room with a lot of paper medical records:

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Not only is time and money wasted in this, but it is extremely inefficient, as this space can be used for additional things. And if you’re looking at it from an eco-friendly point of view, having this much physical paper isn’t very earth-friendly. 80% of Americans obtain some of the health information online; if your healthcare facility doesn’t have a way for your patients to access their records via the internet, you’re behind the technology schedule!

How Codal Can Help

Codal is a team of high-quality, Chicago app developers and user experience designers.

As a UX design company in the healthcare space, we know what it takes to design around HIPAA compliance and regulations, making Codal a great choice for any project that you want to start around healthcare software development solutions.

How Mobility Can Reduce Healthcare Facility Costs

An AI, IoT and Healthcare Intermix

Healthcare is an industry in which there is a lot of room for error, but it is one of those industries in which technology can fill in the gaps of error. Workflows and processes may not be organized, patients are being misdiagnosed, and many physicians may not have the level of accuracy that they need. Technology such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (the Internet of Things) can trigger a complete digital transformation in healthcare.

Medical Artificial Intelligence

AI (artificial intelligence) has already started ingraining itself in the medical field, and over the years, it will most likely hold more and more importance.

According to Forbes, researchers from Mayo Clinic have already used AI to identify genomic information of a brain tumor, without a biopsy. It also helped discover attributes that are present in an MRI scan, that a physician wasn’t even able to identify. Overall, AI can allow for more accuracy than a physician can.

Soon, every patient will be ”decoded” right in front of us by using this technology. Along with assisting with diagnosis, the array of different healthcare IT solutions are also helping developing and perfecting drugs, and can even assist in the detection of insurance fraud throughout the industry.

It is truly a life-changing, and life-saving technology.

Connected Healthcare Solutions

Taking advantage of connected healthcare solutions can also improve processes, improve patient experience, and even help correctly diagnose patients. While IoT is fairly new in a lot of industries, it has entirely ingrained itself in the healthcare & medical fields, indicating a digital transformation in healthcare.

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Medical IoT is not only innovative hospitals using extremely high-tech equipment, it also includes the FitBit (and any other wearable health device), Life Alerts, and various other healthcare software solutions that are connected to the Internet and a device.

While many clinics and healthcare facilities understand how IoT can help them, and no matter how many clinics and physicians have adopted this technology into their everyday lives, there are still a handful of IoT issues that need to be overcome in order to fully take advantage of what this tech can offer.

Cybersecurity, data integration, and device management are 3 of these issues that need attention. If it is easier for you to access your health data, chances are that it is easier for any hacker as well. Along with the security issue, any facility that takes on IoT, probably will have to alter their IT departments to ensure that this new technology will be properly managed.

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New standards and regulations will be needed in order to integrate all of the data, from all of the connected medical devices being used.

So, What’s Next?

If you’re looking for a custom healthcare IT solution, a healthcare website design, or any software development for the healthcare or medical industry, check out Codal, a Chicago-based agency specializing in these types of solutions.

Companies like Codal that help develop IT solutions can also assist in tackling any of the issues that are related to IoT, or AI.

It is also crucial to hire a UX design agency that understands the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act. Knowing all of the in’s and out’s of HIPAA compliance regulations is incredibly important if you are building any type of healthcare software development solution.

An AI, IoT and Healthcare Intermix

How Color Can Affect UX

Using color at a mobile app design agency is a lot more strategic than many people think. Individuals tend to believe that the designer chooses the color that they think is the most aesthetically pleasing, or would match their industry or brand best. While many designers do have to follow a UI or branding kit, the use and strategy of color should never be overlooked.

Colors have a huge impact on a users behavior, thoughts, emotions, and mood. The success of both a digital or physical product could depend on the choice of color. Common English phrases even sometimes use colors to describe a mood, like the phrase “feeling blue.”

Research that was conducted by Colorcom shows that it does not take very long for someone to make a judgement about a product; only 90 seconds. Within those 90 seconds, majority of the judgement is based on the color. Therefore, using color theory can advance the usability and conversion rates of the product.

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Blue

Blue is an extremely common color when it comes to design. This color gives off an emotion of safety, trust, happiness and friendliness. While different shades of blue can give off different meanings, almost all shades of blue will still give off a feeling of trust. Many large enterprises use this color in their branding, such as Chase, United Airlines, Charles Schwab.

Pink

The color pink gives off a feeling of joy and playfulness. While many people think that this is a feminine color, it may not be as much as you believe. Many times, pink is used for candy, sugar-based products, often associated with innocence and youth.

Black

Black typically represents power, and is used on more serious and formal digital products. However, it is a unique color that should be used with care. Although it is powerful, it can also be used to be perceived as mysterious or frightening, but sometimes sophisticated. As a UX design agency, we know that this is a color that every design teams needs to use with caution.

Check out Chase Bank’s logo below. It includes both black and blue colors, representing power and trust, which is exactly what they want their customers to perceive.

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Green

For fairly obvious reasons, green is typically related to all things earthy and natural, and related to the environment. Many healthy food companies use their color to grab a person’s attention, white most consumers understand what this color relates to.

Since this color is pretty natural to the eye, many calls-to-actions on websites and mobile applications are green so that the user is directed right to that button. As an app development agency, we always have to strategize where calls-to-actions should be places, and how they should look in order to increase conversion rates.

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Red

Similar to black, Red should also be used for carefully. It typically will represent aggression and importance. While red can represent both love and war, it is a proven color to raise awareness, whether it is good or bad. A little bit of red can go a long way.

Any company that you hire who offer’s UI design services, or even just strictly UX services, will be able to help you strategically choose your brand colors, and choose the best places on your digital product(s) for certain colors.

How Color Can Affect UX