Top 8 Signs Your Site Is Outdated


Having an updated site is a huge part of giving users the ultimate
user experience. For instance, your site users can’t enjoy using your
site if the pages load slowly because of outdated features in your
site. Also, unresponsive sites are downright outdated since they
aren’t up-to-date with the mobile devices most people are using today
to access the internet. Read more »

6 Effective User Design Tips for Inciting User Emotion

Overview: User design for inciting emotion

For more than a decade, web designers have focused solely on logical design factors i.e. meeting web standards, choosing layouts & fonts, organizing navigation etc. Design, however, is evolving at a very fast pace. The focus has shifted to inciting user emotion. Web designers are focusing more on creating user interfaces which give complete experiences by offering users web experiences that touch on their emotions on top of presenting them with aesthetically appealing sites that meet their product/service needs. Read more »

May 28th, 2014

Why Marketers Should Care About UX


User experience refers to any interaction potential or existing customers have with a brand. Although user experience is a relatively new concept to many people today, the concept has proven to be very important in online business. In the recent past, user experience was confined to web design. Today, the concept spans to on-page website experiences, the functionality and usefulness of correspondence such as emails, the significance/impact of ads displayed around the web, the presentation of brands on social media channels etc. Read more »

May 13th, 2014

User Experience Is The New Differentiator


The nature of the internet is changing as businesses demand better experiences for their users/customers. This has been fueled by changes in the location of the people who drive business. Almost all businesses today across all industries have an online presence i.e. websites, social media accounts, forums, blogs e.t.c.

The most important business issue in the future will therefore be centered on how businesses treat new users/customers once they get them. The businesses that will be able to offer the best user experience on a global scale will win the online business race which is expected to change the internet for good.

Customer experience improvements come in very many forms i.e. new mobile apps, data driven cross-platform messaging, proactive outreach & troubleshooting e.t.c. Whatever tactic you consider to improve user experience, the stakes will be very high in terms of expectations. Online business owners need to consider a number of key issues. Some of the most important concerns will be;

1. How does the current multi-device environment complicate the process of delivering web content?

2. How do website owners assimilate multiple browsers and devices while maintaining a consistent user experience?

3. How do webmasters balance between delivering the best online user experiences for certain devices without increasing overhead costs?

4. How will innovative multi-device strategies disrupt status quo?

5. How will the multiple mobile experiences incorporate native and mobile web apps?

6. How will website owners maintain customer relationships through mobile strategies?

Below is a more in-depth discussion on how and why user experience is the new differentiator.

How will user experience change the internet?

Improved customer experiences rapidly turn negative when internet is slow or unavailable. The internet was made with reliability in mind. Performance and speed were 2nd class citizens to availability. The negative business impact of slow is however more real than most website owners would want to imagine.

According to a recent study by Google, half-second decreases in speed translate to a 20% drop in site traffic. This simply means that slow is the new downtime from a website visitor’s perspective. Website owners can’t afford to have slow sites if they plan on maintaining competitive advantage. It is important to note that information must travel through the infrastructure. If the distance travelled by information via infrastructure is longer, the experience will definitely be slower.

This latency has as much (if not more) impact on the speed and responsiveness of a customer’s experience than the type of bandwidth connection a user uses to access the web. There have been attempts by the internet community to address this through the deployment of CDNs (Content Delivery Networks). CDNs are simply dense infrastructure pockets in common internet exchange locations responsible for caching static content.

The CDN strategy has worked perfectly for the past decade focusing on the permanent reliability of the internet’s architecture. This strategy isn’t expected to work for the next ten years considering technologists are shifting their focus outwards to the internet edges. In a nutshell, it’s time for an outward strategy that doesn’t rely on the inherent reliability of the internet’s architecture.

It’s getting crowded

As businesses search for competitive advantages, the demand for faster user experiences is skyrocketing. There are however many macro trends which are causing slow web experiences as the internet continues to expand. One such notable macro trend is manifested in some of the most densely populated areas of Europe and North America where urbanisation has started straining internet infrastructure.

The search for new users has forced operators to deploy many backhaul networks. Investing in many new backhaul networks can be defined as a duct-tape solution to acquiring new users. Such a strategy can only work in the short-term. Regions like Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East have lead changes in internet growth. The unique economic, geographic and public infrastructure attributes of these areas are expected to challenge operators as well as CDNs in many aspects the most notable being delivering the same kind of performance enjoyed by internet users in America, Europe and North America.

Most of the users in these areas are mobile first because of sheer economics as well as their initial encounter with the internet i.e. through wireless as opposed to wired broadband connections. This attracts a set of internet problems based on performance. Horizontal architectures will have to be used to deliver exceptional, reliable and responsive user experiences to new ’mobile first’’ users without attracting unmanageable costs. Horizontal architectures will also come in handy when connecting users in congested urban areas. There will also be a need for infrastructure to be deployed near global users.

Instead of deploying applications in a single location i.e. in one major metropolitan area, technologists are not only deploying applications to every major city but leveraging on multiple deployments in every city in an effort to deliver exceptional experiences on a large-scale. Today, cloud vendors are offering multi-regional infrastructure deployment options as well as cloud-agnostic management frameworks which enable proper management of global multiple vendor solutions. As a result, horizontal scale barriers continue to lower. More technologists are expected to take advantage of this today more than before.


How will all the above developments affect the internet? The answer to this question is simple. There will be a shift (which has already started) focused on user experience. The race to connect the whole world has left a gaping hole in terms of user experience. As new internet users enjoy their first internet experiences through mobile devices, webmasters have no choice but to focus on improving mobile experiences through apps as well as making websites that are more mobile-compatible.

On a more complex perspective, we should expect to see less city-to-city growth in backhaul traffic and investment and more growth in investments which are closer to users (user experience design). We should expect to see more intra-location as opposed to inter-location investments in internet infrastructure and architecture. The focus will be on efficiency as opposed to expansion. Also, architectures are expected to become disaster proof and cost efficient. All this will be aimed at improving user experiences. This clearly shows that user experience design efforts are the new differentiator. Webmasters and network developers among other stakeholders have no option but to conform.

Increase User Retention With A Better User Experience


Convincing users to download your app isn’t as difficult as convincing them to use the app for a prolonged time period. According to recent studies, only 10-20% of users use apps in their device a few months after downloading them. This simply means that user experience is more important in getting users to use your app for a prolonged period of time. Although apps are supposed to create a very powerful first impression, they should also offer exemplary user experience for them to be deemed useful by users. In case you are interested in finding out how to increase user retention with your app/s, look no further. Below are 5 important tips that will definitely give your users a better experience which will in turn increase user retention.

1. Make sure your app provides a perfect on-board user experience

Considering majority of users stop using new apps within the first month, you need to make sure your app offers the perfect on-boarding experience. There are many ways to do that i.e. include welcome messages, tutorials, tours e.t.c. This is important since it helps to break app features into digestible chunks that are easy to understand. It is possible to automate the entire on-boarding experience using any app development software. Your focus should be educating your users as much as possible to drive engagement. You shouldn’t have problems retaining users if your app offers a perfect on-board user experience.

2. Offer In-App support

This is another important tip to consider when you want to create an app that offers the best possible user experience. The most popular apps offer some form of In-App feedback. Your app should make it extremely easy for users to offer their feedback since this is the only way to identify and fix app problems quickly. User feedback (positive or negative) offer real-time insights into app issues, user needs and opinions. Such information is crucial when your focus is increasing user retention rates.

In-App support should also include responses to users. Your app shouldn’t just receive feedback. It should be able to offer appropriate responses to users to inform users that their problems/concerns are being attended to. Such In-App support channels are bound to offer better user experience which translates to higher user retention rates.

3. Improve your app continuously

Web apps are continuously evolving. There are plenty of new app features/tools being introduced on a daily basis in an effort to improve user experience. To ensure your app stays up to par with the latest app trends, features etc., you must constantly look for ways of improving your app. For instance, you need to constantly look for ways of improving your app update process.

According to numerous studies done in the recent past, tedious/cumbersome app update processes are among the main reasons why users stop using most mobile apps after a few months. To avoid this, your app update process should match industry standards in every way including speed, features, engagement etc.

4. Consider engaging your app users on a personal level

Nothing beats personal engagement when it comes to creating customer loyalty as well as increasing user retention. Your app must personalize user engagement as much as possible to create a strong and special bond. It is possible to do this with your app using behavioral based messaging. For instance, your app should be able to message users automatically based on what they normally do or don’t do in your app. 

As an example, your app should be able to send automatic messages to users who haven’t registered themselves, their credit cards etc. Your app should also be able to send birthday messages, holiday messages among other kinds of messages known to boost personal engagement. Your focus when implementing this tip should be improving the quality as wells as the frequency of interaction.

5. Consider reactivating lapsed users

Acquiring new app users is harder and more costly than reactivating lapsed users. This explains why every app developer should focus on reactivating lapsed users before attempting to bring new users onboard. Event messaging is one of the best ways of reactivating lapsed users. You can consider sending incentivised or soft messages to lapsed users to encourage reactivation. This tip should however be considered after you have improved your app in the best way possible. Your focus should be ensuring lapsed users find a better app.


In summary, the above 5 tips are bound to create a better app user experience that boosts user retention. Although there are many other tips app developers can consider when they want to increase user retention by improving user experience, the above tips are bound to guide app developers on the right path.

3 Ways to Improve UX by Content Alone

When you think of User Experience Design, the word “design” might create the notion that UX is 100% design related. While it is certainly a major factor, there are other elements such as copy and content which can easily make or break the experience of your users. Putting all of your attention in to design elements can ensure you have a beautiful app or website. Failing to consider copy and content could ruin it all.

Here are 3 easy ways to improve your user experience by copy and content alone:

1. Short and sweet copy is an awesome UX

Whether it’s writing for search engine optimization, or if it’s wanting to boast yourself a little too much, there’s too many sites these days that are loaded with copy.  In reality, there’s no real need for so much copy. Your users are intelligent, and they also have a seriously short attention span. If they can’t scan your site in under 5 seconds, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose them.

Here are two great examples from the HR Consulting Industry. Can you notice the difference smart copy makes? (You’ll want to click the image to enlarge)

 FGP HR Consulting Website Thumbnail Better With Bacon Website Thumbnail The chances that the majority of your users are going to read all of your copy, word for word, is extremely slim. By developing your copy to allow for scannability and by highlighting key areas the viewer should focus on, you have a much better chance to convert a lead, or to simply have your user stick around a bit longer.

2. Microcopy

Microcopy is the text you’re using on buttons, forms, labels, etc. It’s the “click here” and “sign up” buttons you might be using on your website, or the UI elements you’re utilizing for your app. Regardless of how you’re using them, they are the difference between having a vague call-to-action and a compelling one that guides your users well.

One simple example is the all too familiar use of the “submit” button. Submit a form. Submit your email address. Whatever you’re doing, “submit” is bland and lacks any interest. Add some flair instead “Join Now”, “Start Banking”, etc. are much better ways to go.

Checking out two examples from the IT Consulting Industry, we can see a huge difference (click to enlarge):

Hitachi Consulting is using the “Click Here” button which provides close to nothing. It’s not enjoyable. It’s not persuasive. There aren’t any nouns.

Hitachi Consulting Website Thumbnail


BMC does an excellent job on the other hand. “Discover MyIT”, “Let’s Get Started”, “Master the Cloud”.


BMC Software Website Thumbnail

3. Continued Ease

With the above examples, maybe you’re a BMC or BW Bacon. Your messaging is clear and concise. Your microcopy is fantastic. Your users are clicking-through and getting to where you want them to go. You can easily ruin everything you worked on and disappoint your users with a sloppy user experience on the very next page. Let’s take a look at two examples surrounding Canadian Immigration.

 Alberta Immigration Website

The copy starts off short and sweet. It’s concise and gets the user to move on their way instead of reading paragraphs of copy. Good! We also have a defined call-to-action with their “learn more” button, though it could be improved.

The next page is as close to a collage as you can get. Regardless of what you want to do, you’re forced to read through over 600 words (200 less than this article) in order to determine where you want to go. Scannability is gone. Call-to-actions disappear. They got the user to stage two, and then left them to fend for themselves.

 Alberta Immigration Website Thumbnail

Canada Immigration has done a better job. While there aren’t any major call-to-actions, we are guided to first determine what info we’re interested in. Perhaps we want to visit Canada as a tourist. Once we get to the page we want, the content is laid out well. Short and sweet. Overall, a much better experience.


Visit Canada as a Tourist

Keep your experience strong

This article has discussed websites primarily. All of the information rings true if you’re working on an app, or an intranet project. It’s important to remember that UX isn’t 100% about design. It’s about providing a rewarding experience for your user. By keeping your copy short and to the point, directing your user down a path and compelling them to go down it, and by ensuring there aren’t any hiccups in their experience, you can ensure a positive experience.

 There are plenty of other sites and apps out there. The more vague and laborious you make your experience, the more you’re compelling your users to head elsewhere. Keep them with you by keeping this info in mind. Your users will thank you for it!

Jul 30th, 2013

The Top 5 Usability Myths

Usability Myths
When it comes to technology, there are various guidelines that are essential for good user experience. This includes accessibility, user interface, information architectures and usability. UX design is the ultimate human vs. computer interaction where certain methods and techniques are employed to produce a desired, predictable and well executed result. Accessibility, user interface, information architectures and usability can be controlled by a designer to suit the uncontrolled aspects like goals, user’s lifestyle and even habits. UX design uses the controlled aspects of technology to suit the uncontrolled.

Usability is a controlled aspect of UX design that seeks to ensure the end-user doesn’t strain or doesn’t encounter problems with the use of a web page or navigation. There are several myths that have been put up concerning usability in respect to UX design. These myths tend to make UX design seems like an unlikable aspect of computer technology when it simply shouldn’t be. The top 5 usability myths are:

Usability Makes Things Easy
Usability is not about making everything easy. The main areas that are brought about by usability are efficiency, effectiveness and ultimate satisfaction to the end user. Efficiency is in the sense that users perform the intended task with desired speed and can execute the desired command. Effectiveness measures its availability and unavailability. It brings the sense of comparison between usability with technology and without technology. Finally is the end user satisfied with what it’s capable of doing?

Usability Is Expensive
This is never the case as it’s normally portrayed. If, for example, only a limited number of users can access a page while others can’t because of lack of proper page formats. This doesn’t mean you will pull down the whole page, but it will just need additions or modifications on content to suit all. This will incur some costs, but in the long run it will be well worth it.

Usability Is Inquiring From Users Their Preference
Although usability is human centered, getting the right set of user preferences is far better than asking just a handful of users. The end users are the best source of information, but it should not be taken blindly. Getting the facts, across the board, helps to ensure it’s consistent before finalizing on usability.

Usability Must Look Nice
This will be a clear indication of misplaced priorities. The first goal of usability is efficiency and effectiveness while beauty comes later. Aesthetic value comes after it has been proved that a product is usable. One must dwell on the products usability before embarking on working on the beauty of the product.

Usability Can’t Be Measured
Before embarking on improving a product, its usefulness has to be measured in order to ascertain its efficiency and effectiveness. Several parameters are essential in carrying out an assessment in order to determine where and what to improve or change to get maximum usage. Before improving, a measure has to be taken so that the final product, when compared with the original, will clearly show the differences.

Always know the difference between a luxury product and a usability product. This will set apart the necessary improvements from the unnecessary improvements. In usability, the aim in increasing UX design is neither luxury nor beauty. The 5 items listed here are not an exhaustive list of all usability myths, but they do seem to be the most common when it comes to  making a new product or making improvements on an already existing product.

The Importance of UX in the banking industry

Bank Sign

As people, we all care about money. It’s not unusual for a person to want to check his/her bank account at least once a week, and it’s self-explainable why. We live in a financially-driven world, and many things revolve around our account balance. Therefore, even if we like it or not, we’re constantly in need to make financial decisions. When it comes to money, these decisions are mostly in regard to value exchange and transactions.When operating an ATM, using online banking services to pay for bills and/or to check the account, or when accessing financial services on our mobile phones, we always get in touch with user experience design. That being said, a quality design can ease the way people handle their finances, can reduce the time needed to access certain features, and can lead to a more pleasant experience overall. By comparison, a poorly thought out design can easily lead to the customer getting angry or upset and thus orient himself towards the competitions services.

Financial institutions have always focused on the performance of their products and services in order to attract customers. This focus hasn’t changed much over the years, although users have become more impatient and are seeking an immediate response to their needs and issues. User experience design plays a very important role in this, as it can facilitate users’ access to a number of services.

We live in a society where the market competition is highly fierce, and this is especially true when speaking about the banking sector. Nowadays, there are so many banks and financial institutions on the market that customers can be easily tempted to switch from one to the other. However, smart banks know how to adapt to customers’ expectations by making use of technology, and this is easily revealed by looking at their profitability stats. Banks which have understood that an adaptation to customers’ needs is essential had the most to gain, both in terms of clients as well as in revenue.

But how does UX design influence this field? In more than one way! Consider that user experience does not apply only to a website, although this aspect is perhaps the most important of all. Customers interact in person with self service ATMs, mobile banking, internet banking, pay by phone services and more. All these take UX design into account, for in the absence of it, there would be nothing else but tech-savvy devices that only few would know how to use.

The right user experience design can show the user exactly what he/she has to do to complete certain actions faster and easier, thus ultimately leading him to achieving his goals. And a user who understood how the bank’s product/service works from the first time will certainly be a satisfied user, one that is going to recommend the institution to everybody he knows. But perhaps more importantly, the right UX design can prevent users from suffering a negative experience, and thus there is a significantly higher chance for them to remain loyal to the bank for longer.

The “fad” of flat design?

iOS 7 Flat User Interface Design

Flat Design

There’s been a lot of press these days surrounding Jony Ive, from Apple, bringing flat design to iOS 7. He’s had a direct impact on the design of Apple hardware since 1992 and is now bringing his talent to the software space. A TechCrunch article back in April announced this move with a post titled “Apple’s Jony Ive Said To Be Bringing The Flat Design Fad To iOS 7 With Visual Overhaul ”. There is one particularly irritating word in the post’s title – “fad”. Flat design is not a fad. It’s always existed. Today’s flat design is born out of freedom. It’s a natural progression based on today’s technology. As the new look of iOS 7 was just released, now is a good time to discuss the changes that occurred, from skeuomorphism to flat.


In the possible event that you’re unaware of skeuomorphism, you should know that it’s heavily influenced by Apple. The first user interface introduced by Apple back in 1984 introduced ‘desktops’ and icons. As these concepts were new to most users, visual metaphors were required in order to help users learn. Skeuomorphism was a very valuable tool. The focus is on making objects familiar.

Essentially, we’re dealing with digital elements that are made to look like physical world objects. By presenting users with visual cues that they are already familiar with, they are understood. Today, iOS’ look is primarily skueomorphic. It’s filled with various 3D effects, shadows, and textures. Apparently, the skeuomorphic look is a direct attribution to Steve Jobs.

Flat Design

Flat design is gaining attention primarily by Microsoft’s Windows 8 as well as Google Now. Both focus on minimialistic design that is emphasizing usability, colours, and typography. With flat design, generally speaking, the obvious visual cues and textures are gone. Apple is now in the spotlight for embracing this principle with iOS 7. This change can be directly attributed to Jony Ive.

Flat design is aimed at utilizing the strengths of digital interfaces, rather than limiting the interfaces to real world confines. We can take a good look at Jony Ive’s view on this aspect from a Telegraph interview: “Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product. The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That’s not simple. ”

The constraints or lack thereof

So why the shift to flat design?

1. Familiarity

Users no longer need analog world visual cues to understand how to use an interface. They’ve been there before. They know what a folder is. They know what a desktop is. They know how to use a button, and they understand what an icon is.

2. Smartphones

There’s no need to point out the importance of smartphones. Responsive design is now all the rage due to the massive amount of users visiting sites, or utilizing apps, via smartphones. By designing with a smartphone in mind, you realize that you can’t load a site up with massive graphics.

3. Display capabilities

Effects simply aren’t required anymore thanks to better display resolutions. The retina display, for example, provides such great resolution that the fakery that comes with skeuomorphism is no longer required. How often do you see this in good print design? Rarely. With good print design, the techniques from skeuomorphism isn’t required thanks to the beautiful resolutions possible from print.

4. Good Design

Simply put, flat design is almost a nod to the design of the past. That time before computers where flat images were required thanks to the restraints of printing. Furthermore, when “everyone” is utilizing skeuomorphism, why not buck the trend if you have the ability to do so?

Speaking of good design, now is a great opportunity to review Dieter Rams “10 Principles of Good Design”.

1. Good design is innovative
2. Good design makes a product useful
3. Good design is aesthetic
4. Good design makes a product understandable
5. Good design is unobtrusive
6. Good design is honest
7. Good design is long-lasting
8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail
9. Good design is environmentally friendly
10. Good design is as little as possible

Now, think about these points one more time:

Good design is honest
Good design is as little as possible

There are times when skeuomorphism is required, and there are times when flat design is required. It’ll be entirely based on the project you’re developing. If you require realism and its real-world visual cues, then go with skeuomorphism. If something requires a flat, minimal design, then work for flat design. Work on both if needed.

With Apple diving in to the world of flat design, they aren’t joining the so-called ‘fad’ of flat design. They are, instead, focusing on the principals of good design. Isn’t that a good thing?

Jun 7th, 2013

The First Taste Of A Delicious iOS 7

WWDC13 is just around the corner, and the moment we’ve all been waiting for is about to finally arrive – the reveal of iOS 7. While many are waiting in antisipation in order to get the first look at the new design, we feel we already know what to expect. Look no further than the WWDC13 logo. Read more »

Contact Us