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

What You Need to Know About iOS 11

As a Chicago mobile app development company, it is absolutely crucial for us to stay on top of trends, including all types of software updates, whether it be iOS or Android.

Just this week, iOS 11 was launched to consumers. Everyone at Codal, all of the marketers, mobile app developers, and UX’ers are enjoying the new update so much that we decided to put together a guide for things that you need to know about the new interface.

UI Design Changes

u1While the UI design did not get a complete overhaul, many of the built-in mobile apps now use a heavy, larger font and have a different interface. The Camera, and Message apps are perfect examples of this new design change.

The Control Center (which is now customizable,) and the lock screen both both have some of the most significant changes yet. The Control Center now takes up the entire screen, which can be customized in your iPhones Settings.

Siri Gets Smarter

As an iOS development firm, offering custom software development services, artificial intelligence is always a hot topic. Siri just got smarter, which we are obviously excited about.

Wondering about the new things that Siri can do?

  • Siri can now translate English to other languages (Spanish, Italian, German, French, and Chinese)
  • She now will make smarter suggestions to you based on your browsing history and interests
  • Siri will now sound more human-like with a natural voice, more expressions and better pronunciation
  • She’s grown a love for music, you can even ask her “who is the drummer in this tune?”

Files, Files, Files

u2If you use your phone for business, which everyone typically does from time-to-time, this new feature will make your life a lot easier.

The Files app is supposed to mimic the MacBook’s “Finder” app. The Files app will be just like Finder, well-organized and searchable.

iOS app development companies are now able to integrate Files into the app’s they build, to that individual apps will be listed inside of Files; this makes it very easy to transfer doc’s between apps.

Other Awesome Features

Our team at Codal (Chicago mobile application design company), has compiled a list of some of our favorite new features.

  • Sending Money: Money can now be sent through iMessages, with a simple fingerprint initiation.
  • Indoor Mapping: Maps now has an “indoor” feature for certain places, like malls and airports.
  • One-Handed Keyboard: This feature allows the entire keyboard to one side of the screen, to make it easier for the user to type with only one hand.
  • QR Codes: Finally catching up to Android devices, the new iOS can now scan QR codes and will respond to the QR appropriately.
  • Apple Notes: You iPhone can now scan a document, and will even recognize handwriting on any document that is scanned.
What You Need to Know About iOS 11

3 Ways to Conduct User Research When You Can’t Speak to Users

Most digital agencies that offer UX UI research would probably agree that the core of UX is being able to talk to users, gather useful data, and apply that data to your design. Most UX research services will include user surveys, user interviews, and focus groups; it’s just part of the UX process for most user experience design, or mobile app design companies.

But without any users to speak to- how can you conduct true user research, and gather just as valuable data as if you were talking to a real user?

Emails and Support Tickets

UX companies strive to understand pain points for users. One way to understand major pain points of your customers is to dig through the support tickets, or emails that come through about the digital product.

Emails can be very rich with information that is coming directly from the users. If you find a pattern around users not being able to find a certain page or functionality on the website, it is obvious that this is a pain point that needs to be addressed.

Any user experience design agency should be able to sort through emails of support tickets to find the most problematic aspects of the website or application. This data can be heavily used to dictate the UX and UI design down the road.

Mobile App Reviews

Reading the reviews on a mobile app will also give you direct input from users about how they feel about the application. The App Store and Google Play are full of data that users are actually writing about how they feel using the app.

Many app reviews have both positive and negative feedback; both are useful for the overall design. Some things to look for when conducting research in an app store are:

–  Potential missing features
– Aspects of the app that are confusing to the user
– Are there bugs? Any performance issues?
– Did users know how to use it? Was a tutorial needed?

Reviews of Competitors

Any business is always trying to beat its competitors and launch the next life-changing feature. Every business also wants a lot of users on their app, and they want those users to love using their product. As a mobile app development company, we almost always do a competitive analysis during our UX UI research phase. By looking into competing apps, you can gather feedback based on their app review.

For example, if you are trying to launch a food-delivery application, look at what users have to say about GrubHub or Uber Eats. It’s also important to look at apps similar that have failed, and figure out what made the app fail. What made certain apps succeed? This can tell you a lot about how a user interacted with certain features, or certain design elements.

While there is never really a complete substitute for doing a user interview and speaking with an actual user, there is no good excuse for not gathering feedback from any users. These 3 simple tasks can give you a lot more insight than not doing any research at all.

A solid user experience design is always based on some type of data. UX is supposed to be data-driven design (or else it really is not UX!).

3 Ways to Conduct User Research When You Can’t Speak to Users

Improving Your Mobile Checkout Process

In upcoming days and months, it is time to start thinking about the holiday rush of shoppers. Although halloween hasn’t even hit, and it is only a few days into September, it’s time to start optimizing your website for the holiday season.

Optimizing and improving your mobile checkout process is a great way to start. It is said that 54% of emails are opened on a mobile device. This means that if you’re sending email campaigns for your eCommerce business, not only the email, but your website, and even checkout process has to work perfectly on mobile.

Reduce the Number of Fields

Your form should include the bare essentials of questions and fields to fill out. While a question like “Where did you hear about us?” might help the vendor tremendously, you could lose customers if the form appears to be too long to fill out. UX and UI research will show that shorter forms will equal more conversions, especially when talking about mobile!

During the holiday season, users are making very frequent purchases, on many different websites. Customers should be given the option to checkout as a guest for this very reason. How many accounts are they going to make in such a short amount of time?

Put simply, a user is much less likely to go through the process of purchase if they have to create an account. Most mobile app design companies will also make this suggestion to their clients.

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Show Progress of Checkout

Users will be much happier knowing how many steps they have to take to complete a purchase. A simple visual design to show how many steps are left, keep the user informed. Any individual or company that offers UI design services can help craft a beautiful design that not only is visually appealing, but will be very informative for your customer.

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Take Advantage of Third Party Services

PayPal, Amazon, Apple + Google Wallet should be your best friends. Why would you force your users to pull out their physical wallets, and type in their credit card number when they don’t have to?

When a customer utilizes one of these services, their information is typically auto-populated, making the checkout process as easy as it possibly can be. Not only is it easy, but these platforms are extremely trusted by customers.

While these types of integrations may seem like they could be difficult, it would be a piece of cake for any mobile app design and development company.

Improving Your Mobile Checkout Process

Maximize on the Potential of Your eCommerce Website

Most user experience and visual designers can spot a templated design from a mile away. Surprisingly, a large number of eCommerce websites use templates for their design. Why? Probably because it is cheap, and quick to launch. However, if you really want to maximize the potential for your eCommerce business, hiring a company that offers UX design services would be highly recommended.

Some of the things that matter most on websites that sell products are conversion rates, bounce rates, branding, and seamless path to purchase.

A UX design agency that also offers web and app development services is probably just what you need. Here’s how a UX design agency can help you optimize your site for maximum conversions.

Analysis of Current Customer Data

Many UX research services begin with an in-depth audit of the typical buying journey, from the customer’s first visit to the checkout process. By dissecting the current conversion funnel, a design agency can identify areas for improvement in the process, and leverage research-driven design strategies to make improvements on the website.

Seamless Path to Purchase

All businesses have a unique path to purchase.The buyer’s journey should be as simple as possible. By reducing the overall number of steps it takes for the user to make a purchase, your eCommerce will most likely see a reduction of drop-off rates. Many templates path-to-purchase is already completed, and was not thought through for your specific, unique business needs.

Journey Map All User Types

Chances are that your business has multiple buyer personas. It is important that each of those buyer personas are accounted for. A UX design agency will map out every user type to ensure that the website is user-friendly and seamless for all user’s to use.

Marketing Driven Conversion Testing

Before launching any website, it is important to test it first, before it’s live in the market. This is especially true for eCommerce websites, where the website itself generates money without the help of a sales team or outside personnel.

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Testing an eCommerce website focuses on the checkout process, product pages, cross selling, up selling, navigation and product search-ability. Here at Codal, our conversion testing strategies are designed to mitigate shopping cart abandonment and decrease bounce rate.

So What?

Using a template will not fix current pain points of the website, it also will not take into considering your unique business needs, and all of your different customer types. If you hire a UX and UI design agency, they will take the time to understand your business and make recommendations based on that. One template does not fit all!

Maximize on the Potential of Your eCommerce Website

Google Play Versus Apple’s App Store

As a mobile application design company offering iOS development services, it is critical to stay on top of trends and statistics on both Apple’s app store and Google Play.

Apple App Store: The Numbers

appleIn 2008, when Apple’s app store was launched, here were only 500 mobile applications available. Within 5 years, the number of apps in the store skyrocketed to a million. Just this past January, the app store reached 2.2 million apps.

In 2016, the app store recorded a bit over 25 billion downloads. In quarter 4 of 2016, the App store reported that they generated $5.4 billion.

Google Play: The Numbers

androidThe Google Play store was also launched in 2008, the same time as Apple’s App Store. However, this past January the total number of apps in the store was over 2.7 million.

In 2016, the Google Play store recorded over 75 billion mobile app downloads.

So, while there are more downloads and more apps in the Google Play Store than Apple’s App Store, Apple was still able to generate more money from mobile applications within that time period.

But, Why?

Are there more Android app design companies than iOS development firms? Do more people have Android phones than iPhones? Are Android app development services less expensive than iOS?

Not particularly. One large factor of this is that Apple has a lot larger of a quality control process than Google does. A mobile app development company that releases both an iOS and Android app will have two different waiting periods to get approved. Typically, Android approves their apps a lot quicker than Apple does.

While it completely depends on the features of an app, an Android app can be approved within a day of being sent for review. This is rarely the case with Apple, as it seems that they spend more time reviewing the app’s and have completely different guidelines than Google.

Apple is all about quality and quality control. They are much stricter about what types of mobile app’s are allowed to be available to download, and they have a lot more guidelines for approval/rejection. For example, if your app needs a code update, Apple will let you know; and if you don’t update it, they’ll take control of the situation and remove it from the app store.

If you’re looking for an agency that offers iOS development services or Android app development services, get in contact with Codal, and let the UX design and development agency bring your idea to life!

Google Play Versus Apple’s App Store