The Importance of UX Design

Ever wondered what UX Design is? You have probably heard your tech-savvy friends talking about it during a conversation – where you already have no clue what they are talking about. Not quite as confusing as IQ, PQ and OQ acronyms for the quality control industry but UX stands for User Experience. The experience of being the clueless odd one out is frustrating. Most of the time it makes you feel dumb. Continue on reading, as I’m keen to share what I know and enlighten you about the subject regardless if you’re just curious or wanting to branch out from your old discipline of design. So let me guide you through the “What”, the “Why” and the “How” of the subject. Basically the baby steps for now, because we’ll be here till the proverbial cows come home.

What is UX Design?

Starting with the question of ‘what is it’? It’s a User-Centric design discipline with several facets that need to be addressed and the User’s Experience (UX) is at the heart of it all. I know what you’re thinking… that was quite a mouthful to digest. Don’t worry, as I’ll break it down for you. As illustrated in the diagram below, it expresses a multitude of facets that create the user experience. It’s quite a detailed and thorough process; you’re essentially conceptualizing an experience and then creating it. As you can tell I’ve been emphasizing a particular word that is a defining factor amidst all of this: Experience. Because that’s what it’s all about. The most common example of user experience is an interaction between the user and a systems user-interface, such as using a smart phone. You swipe left, swipe right and you press on the particular app you want to use. An easy experience for anybody. Features like this contribute to constituting a user Experience. However that is merely the beginning, as UX DESIGN essentially aims for a positive and memorable experience for the user and this is when the other factors come into play, even before the interaction. A good example for good UX is the iPhone by Apple. The iPhone UX is so simple it contributes to the brands image, reputation and fits very well. Fun fact even the marketing contributes to a good UX (such as stepping into the apple store itself).
the spectrum of user experience design

The spectrum of User Experience Design

Why UX Design?

At this stage you’re probably wondering why is it such a big deal? It is a big deal. To put it quite simply: we are dealing with and catering to the needs of the user. It’s not rocket science. To justify the need of good UX is easy, because it has a several facets that constitute the experience as a whole. Websites have become bigger, more complex and brimming with additional features – this has taken away the simplicity from the user experience. Not only have websites have become bigger and complex but they have become more accessible from different devices other than just desktop computers; such as through mobile, tablets, and even the television! This has created a need for greater UX Design to tackle these problems. To simplify what is complicated, and to give users a better experience without sacrificing the additional features, and making it accessible on the many new platforms available.

How can UX be done?

Now we must conclude this article by settling the question of “how can this be done?” As I said before, it’s quite a thorough process. There are several tasks that a UX Design performs at different parts of the process, such as evaluations of a current system, Option A VS B Testing, surveys, wireframes and prototypes. The list goes on.
wireframe example

Example wireframe

For now let’s look at the technique of Wireframing as an example. As you can see this technique is pretty simple to grasp, because all you’re doing is just simply plotting how where features will be placed prior to development. If you’re resourceful enough, you can also do this on pen and paper.  Take into account these wireframes are derived from evaluations, testing’s, surveys etc.  So take your time at this part of the process. At this point the importance of UX DESIGN should be abundantly clear. I hope this article helps you as much as it helped me sharing it. Images credited to the respective owners: UX Spectrum – http://randsinrepose.com/archives/a-design-primer-for-engineers/ Wireframe example – http://webarmy.co.nz/portfolio/ For a more in-depth read on UX check out this great UX Checklist

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[email protected] August 21, 2015 0 Comments

New Mobile update from Google – What’s there to know?

To ensure the highest usability and quality Google has launched their new update in their algorithm especially for mobile friendly usage all around the world. The update was over thereports/news for the last two months like a hot beverage. With being mobile friendly now a crucial part of SEO. Launched in 21st of April Google named this update “Mobilegeddon”. It even sounds exiting, doesn’t it! In any case it’s new and it’s trendy and it should matter the most right about now.

Exmaple of GOOD and BAD

MobileGeddon FAQ

MobileGeddon FAQ

Some people might think that this new update is quite useless in fact it’s making things even worse. Some website are losing their momentum by the lower traffic since the update. But it isn’t trying to get any website out of business. Rather than hurt any single website or to hamper its reputation, Google is aiming for higher performance according to the new trend which is smartphones. Its main intention is to increase user’s usability to its fullest. And by far it’s achieving its goal quite nicely.

Some of the key features of Mobilegeddon:

  • With this update you will be able to see mobile apps in their best ranking according to app indexing. But this facility will only be allowed for  users who are signed in.
  • Mobile ranking factors will completely change its ways by determining through their new algorithm website rankings according to the site’s Mobile Usability.
  • According to Google, most users will get more accurate search results which is suited for their device.
google mobilegeddon facts

mobilegeddon facts

Reasons behind Mobilegeddon

Google has been considering for this new update for quite a long time, it’s not like that they invented it as a fluke. After careful consideration they have decided to verify if a page is mobile friendly or not. Most searches are from mobile devices. The testing tool provided by Google will also determine and detect the issues of a non-friendly site so it’s fairly easy to update and fix the website. Users searching through a mobile phone can experience this new update and its usability’s to the fullest. But other than that users who are using tablets, laptops or even desktop won’t get this feature. For those users the results will be the same as always.

The right thing to-do:

mobile friendliness

mobile friendliness

Google said this is expanding on its mobile ranking demotion algorithm launched back in 2013.

Google also said “Users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimised for their devices.” This update in Google’s algorithm only effect mobile searches from Google, not any other devices. So, if one particular site doesn’t have good traffic according to Google then one probably shouldn’t think about changing it, it won’t be worth the time and money both. Non-branded site queries are being demoted rapidly in the searches because according to Google it’s even worse to rank a website at the top which is not mobile friendly, even if you search for the exact same website. Updates can also be valid on per paged bases. So, making even a single page mobile friendly will not go in vain. UK Web GeekZ commented on the update and they have reported increased rankings for mobile optimised websites. To check if your site is mobile-friendly, you can examine individual pages with the Mobile-Friendly Tester check the status of your entire site through the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools.  

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Welcome to Bournemouth: The top emerging hub of digital economy

Recently there’s been a huge buzz about the digital industry thriving in the UK, with countless of digital marketing agencies and tech startups such as self-storage comparison site like WhatStorage. Now is the most popular time for starting a digital agency in the country, especially in Bournemouth and Poole of Silicon South. Thinking of starting a digital business in Bournemouth? That seems to be the trend! Graftene, a Bournemouth based web design digital agency explain what they’ve learned while setting up their web development and digital marketing business. Bournemouth, a coastal British town, is home to a number of creative digital agencies that provide services and products such as website design, app development and digital marketing services. It is the top emerging cluster of the digital industry with 24 percent of the start-ups created within 2013 and 2014. The digital industry has played the most important role in the UK’s economic recovery with new sectors and businesses emerging continuously. The first Tech Nation report has provided amazing insights of the current and ongoing situation of the digital economy in the country.

“12.4pc of our GDP is attributed to technology and digital business, that’s the highest in the G20. We are the most digital nation in the world and it is important that government policy makes the most of this enormous potential.” -Baroness Joanna Shields, Chair, Tech City UK

What is Tech Nation?

Tech City UK is a Government supported Cluster Alliance dedicated to helping the digital entrepreneur and accelerating digital growth thus creating the ‘Tech Nation’. “The digital sector is growing and creating jobs, economic growth, and national prestige. “ Says Baroness Joanna Shields, Chair of Tech City UK. According to Gerard Grech CEO of Tech City UK, now is the right time to shine the spotlight on this exciting network of digital clusters, and map out the prospects for professionals and investors. The Tech Nation Report analysed 47,200 digital companies in the UK and 2,000+ of them were surveyed. The results were fascinating. Even though the public had a partial idea of the flourishing digital economy in the country it wasn’t clear until now that it is the nation’s booming industry. But the research that shows how one of the top clusters of digital is Bournemouth is even more astonishing, no one was expecting that.
Bouremouth statistics-1

Bouremouth statistics-1

A closer look at numbers and facts

A cluster is an economic phenomenon formed of digital companies in a region. This is why the Tech Nation Report focuses on clusters as the core focus of the research. The nations digital companies are 98 percent small businesses, 50 per cent of them were formed from 2008 and onward. The largest increase being between 2010 and 2013 where Bournemouth took the lead with a high 212 per cent of emerging start-ups. Last year 56 percent digital companies in the UK saw a rise in their revenue, whereas this year 90 per cent are expecting a blast in sales. The digital industry is outrunning traditional industries and new sectors of the digital are being born, creating a larger demand for new skill sets and more employment opportunities. It is expected to outperform the traditional industries in job creation by 2020; today, 7.5 percent of the UK workforce is employed in the sectors of this industry. In the Dorset area, 7,272 people are a part of a digital business. Currently there is a skills shortage in some of the digital sectors, which is why agencies and initiatives such as the Bournemouth Silicon Beach festival and Digital Day Bournemouth are engaging in discovering potential employees and talented students from Bournemouth University. In fact,a major part of the digital businesses that were interviewed for the Tech Nation report stated that the reason of growth of the digital cluster in Bournemouth is due to the availability of talented individuals with key skills in the top growing sectors of the region.

What makes Bournemouth so special?

The most notable growth of the digital economy in Bournemouth is in the ecommerce sector. Last years revenue growth was 55 per cent, but this year this number has risen to a stunning 77 per cent. According to the Tech Nation Report, the key benefits of the Bournemouth cluster are access to social networks and access to talent.
“Bournemouth has a vibrant network of meet-ups and events, feeding off its community of creative and app development agencies.”-Matt Desmier, Founder Silicon Beach

The top three digital industry sectors in Bournemouth:

  • Marketing and advertising
  • Ecommerce
  • Games development and production

The top five capabilities of the Bournemouth cluster:

  • UI and UX design
  • Mobile and tablet development
  • Visual and audio design
  • Content and media production
  • Digital marketing
Bouremouth statistics-2

Bouremouth statistics-2

Creative start-ups of Bournemouth

Graftene, as well as a number of the creative emerging start-ups of Bournemouth are part of these sectors. This digital agency provides services such as web design and development, logo and graphics design, digital marketing services such as SEO and mobile app development. It is a small business of five members, but this creative team could be the next little digital star of Bournemouth. Since their establishment they’ve kept their success rate on a high level, providing their clients from local and international locations with high quality websites and mobile applications. But what makes Graftene stand out from the crowd are the affordable prices they provide in the sector of growing competition.

So you want to be the next digital start-up in Dorset?

You’ve probably already thought about starting your own digital business if you haven’t maybe you should think about it. Whatever the case, now’s the right moment to go digital because the UK is blooming with the digital industry and it will continue for years to come. But before deciding to start your own digital business there’s a variety of things to consider. Read on for some great advice that will help you start off. Specialists and experienced entrepreneurs will agree that there is a series of steps that should be followed in starting your own business.

The core of these steps boil down to the following actions:

  • Define your idea
  • Define SMART goals
  • Research the market
  • Plan your business
  • Find sources of funding, suppliers and possible partners
  • Register and set up your company

Common mistakes and things that you should be aware of when starting a business:

  • Risks and failures are a part of having your own business
  • You must be ready to face all kinds of challenges and obstacles
  • A major part of business failures is due to lack of planning, especially financial planning
  • Hiring the wrong people can often be very harmful
  • Inadequate research, especially of competition

Get help and support from other organizations and initiatives:

The Dorset Growth Hub is a business support programme founded by WSX Enterprise, the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bournemouth Borough Council and Dorset LEP, and funded by the Regional Growth Fund. The web portal offers extensive information and support for starting and growing a digital business. These include educational courses, online information and financial support in the means of finding grants or loans. http://www.wsxenterprise.co.uk/ http://www.dorsetgrowthhub.co.uk/ http://www.dorsetlep.co.uk/ http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/ Other government organizations that provide help and support services for business start-ups: https://www.gov.uk/starting-up-a-business http://www.poole.gov.uk/business/business-support-and-advice/starting-and-growing-a-business-in-poole/business-advice-and-networking/ Tech City, the authors of the Tech Nation report whose mission and vision is to create a Tech Nation of Digital Business in the UK: http://www.techcityuk.com/ Schofields Online are the go to for finding an accountant: http://www.schofieldsonline.co.uk/ Start Your Own Business is a very informative web portal with lots of resources and information for new and growing businesses: http://www.syob.net/ Outset provide free business start-up support programmes: http://www.outsetbournemouth.co.uk/

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eCommerce: How Product Packaging Influence Buyers Decisions

Selling online is twice harder than putting the products in grocery store. Even if the other products in an aisle with the same function, how a product packaging design makes a huge buying decision making factor. So how does a buyer decide to buy one product vs. another? Is it the colors, logo, price or how it is placed or perfectly well-done dieline? Too many options to consider for a simple decision to do – to buy or not to buy . First ensure that product packaging content is accurate. Software such as Global Vision Quality control platform helps to eliminate any errors in packaging.

Using this cues we have listed will enable you to make necessary moves for your products to sell on your ecommerce store.

Packaging influences subconsciously

– first impressions last in business. Basically the product is a representation of the company. If the company promises quality and experience. It should be telling the customers that in the packaging itself.

Product Convenience and Keywords

– effective alignment of product name, keywords and description helps customers find the product they are looking for. Making the decision to purchase easier.

Recognizable Icons

– Icons easily captures customer’s eyes in products. When a product has a personal and emotional touch even for an icon that promotes environmental awareness it suggests straightly that they need to purchase the product. A lot of best selling products are triggered by emotional memories since most of the consumer’s decisions to buy a product are based on its needs. So what better way to utilize that advantage than getting your products selling?

Typography and Colors

– just as keeping your website clean, clear and concise and pleasing to the users. So as the products should be easily read and have direct impact to the customers. And by that means, customers should be able to read the packaging easily without the migraine of so many redundant typography and flashy distracting colors.

With careful planning and consideration of your users, customers, products and packaging design, you can easily use your product as a powerful marketing tool for your business.

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[email protected] February 25, 2015 0 Comments

Negative Web Rankings: Are you one of the victims of an SEO Attack

One of the many web owner problems last year was getting penalised by Google. This sneaky tactic is commonly referred to as Negative SEO; where people create bad or spammy links to competitor’s website so that whenever Google crawls their website they get penalised. Its a method to get around Google’s success in cleaning the web with spammy link building that hinders spammers to play with the system and get the ranks in their favor so they take out competition with sneaky attacks instead.

So how would you spot an Attack?

It is evident that the attack will not be magnanimously seen if you are not an analytics geek who studies the numbers and links going into your website. Sudden spike of links
– A sudden spike of links usually gets google’s attention and if google finds this links bad the website gets penalized.
Link hosted links comments
– Usually blogs are common victims to these attacks as links are posted into the blog comments. We call it “comment spamming” and its thorn by the side.
High keywords are the target
– With intense scan and audit you will see that a specific keyword will be target for the attack.
The immediate effect of the attack is you get penalised and losing visibility in the search engine. Removal of these links is one of the solutions you do immediately to get back on the track and inform google of the attack. It will take a little explanation and presentation of rankings, and evidence but once it is done. The Penalty can be lifted but the visibility have suffered. Google would like to see a lot of efforts being made in order to recover from the penalty but not to lose heart, you just have to wait for the next Penguin Update that Google will release.

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[email protected] February 24, 2015 0 Comments

Effective Social Media Content for your Business

Timing is key. Just like many aspects of your personal life, you don’t want to go on a holiday on the holidays to avoid the rush. Or hold a very important meeting when everybody is surely late by 8am. The concept is also true to creating content for your social media marketing. If you want your content to succeed in social media you’ve got to strategize well before you publish.

So what type of contents gets attention and shared a lot by people?

Great content is nothing if it’s not properly well executed. That includes moods, situations among other things that go around. Here are 5 top list content posts that get a lot of attention: Videos
– giving the audience a fun or graphic representation of the brand or sharing a momentous occasion of the company.
How to’s
– usually these kind of posts answers a problem, gives a thorough explanation on how to go about it and focus on that topic solely.
Why Posts
– provides the readers a sense of purpose to help out or provide a point of view on a certain situation or topic.
What Posts
– giving further information on specified topic and references to a certain topic.
List
– focus on a certain topic, and then give out number of points and a brief conclusion.
The social analytics shows different results though to certain industries. Judging how every person is reduced to not receiving notifications to businesses that they don’t want to see or hear about. It is safe to say that the content should cater to audience preferences and behaviors. A close assessment of the social metrics is a good indicator for the audience tastes, timing and relevancy key especially if you want to your posts to go viral.

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[email protected] February 23, 2015 0 Comments

Top Tips to Consider When Hiring for a Web Design Company

As a business owner you understand that you need to be found online as well in order for your business to continue to grow. But you don’t have any idea what to ask or look for when you are considering a company to design your website? You are not alone. From our experience, finding a good web design company tends to be a bigger frustration to many business owners. There are a lot of companies out there that make a lot of claims but only a few that stand out and walk the talk. We have listed the 5 most important things to look for in a Web Design company.

Tip – Design

If you take into consideration the big changes in technology over the decades you’d understand that design is everything. Its one of the most competitive advantage that companies in the world use to get ahead. Its a different story how you will keep the users hooked in your website but getting their attention is. The website with best design gets the customers and conversions. That zooms into the fact of finding a web designer that have good eye for design and details. And it can understand the latest trend, like mobile compatibility in all devices.

Tip – Price

Prices should always be reasonable. One common sin for some business owners is that they see their website as a “cost” not as an investment. For example you buy a phone, if you want a phone that will last for a lifetime or can live up to your demanding high volume of phone calls and audio playbacks, you need a quality phone and that comes with being pricey right? That logic goes with the price of web design If you want awesome design and fast responsive website then you pay what you get. It is safe to consider that you are paying for time, and effort of artists that makes a website as a work of art with a functionality than just work of art that you put on the wall.

Tip – Web Maintenance

Web design companies interaction with the business owners usually ends when the website is done. It is absolutely necessary that the web design company should take time and patience in helping you understand how you take control of your website. Here at Graftene we offer web maintenance for clients. Take the updates and maintenance off their hands so that they can focus on other things like “Golf”.

Tip – Marketing

No matter how awesome and fast your website is, if its not search engine optimised it wont be in front of customers looking for your business. SEO (search engine optimization) is a crucial aspect that helps website rank in search engine. Helps in targeting your customers to your website, the web design company should be able to have that service as a back up. A web design company that builds website knows all the little corners of the website therefore will easily find their way in updating and keeping it optimized in the process. If you want to handle the SEO yourself, we can recommend a simple 5 step process, but we always emphasize how a professional company that handles SEO since Google is very strict in rankings and what better way to help your business than lettng the professionals do the work.

Tip – After Service

Customer support is one of the best aspects of business. And if the web design company do a lousy job at giving you answers to your questions what more if you are having problems with your website and you are losing clients by the hour. Its a red flag if the web designers or company won’t take time in understanding your business and how critical it is to lose customers. It is also important to check your contract to see what after-service was agreed on before signing on for the service. With that said, we havent even tackled the other crucial aspects like social media and link building but that is for the next blog post. Keep learning, keep giving value online and you’ll soon see how valuable this new marketing channel is for you. If you are thinking of hiring us to do all the work for you, give us a shout. We love to talk. Seriously!

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[email protected] February 22, 2015 0 Comments

Tips When Localizing Mobile Apps

Its true with Mobile Apps, what will make an app successful in the market can fail miserably to other apps. That is why the dramatic increase of localization testing on mobile apps over the last decade. We have listed top tips that you should understand when localizing mobile apps and expand to the international market.

So how can you ensure that the success of your app locally equals to success world wide?

Develop an App for the international audience before going local

The world out there is so big that it can cover a big population when your app is launched. The bigger the audience the bigger the chances of notice. Usually the main objective is get feedbacks, reviews, suggestions for the app. Multiple languages, components, culture and western audiences havethe propensity to search for new apps everyday and test it out. The second strategy other mobile apps businesses cater to is localizing mobile apps after it hits a certain download quota. Globalization – Localization; the demographics of the download data usually helps out with the target market of the app and its improvements.

Simple UI

Not all mobile app users are tech geeks and tech savvy. Majority tend to get confused about the use of the mobile app. Simplifying, catchy graphics and sticky color scheme should help enhance user interface and not complicate the app. Busy interface tend to make navigation difficult and slow loading time which converts user abandonment.

Understand Global Cultures and Sensitivities

Generate a study or understand how global mindset works, sensibilities, and expectations in reference to user purposes and principles that can be adapted to the design of the app.

Market Partnerships

There is always a possibility that you will overlook an aspect of the market. What you may learn from partnering with others in building a UI design can play in the success of the app than what you expect. Experts that are grouped together always have the odds for success in any endeavor.

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[email protected] February 18, 2015 0 Comments

Quick Tips In Getting The Attention For Your Business

Search engine optimization helps grow awareness and attracts sales eventually. The general rule of thumb for marketers is, if the customer wont buy on the first time then make an impact that when they think of a certain product they immediately think of you. We know the problem that is why Graftene have listed some of the best realistic solutions that are effective marketing tactic that converts to sales.

Here are the tips in getting the attention you seek.

  1. Be different. Defy the norm.

    Be the purple cow, or the green ox. Stand out among the crowd. If you cant stand out then editors have no reason to publish you on front page.
  2. Hire a good copywrite

    Spend on a good content writer to write about you and your company. Lets face it. A company that doesn’t have a real business owner will not be considered by the customers. A real life person showing up in their website and talking and sharing a little bit about their life and story shouts legitimacy in their passion to help out and that is what customers want to see and read.
  3. Be Visual

    Utilize Visualal platforms like pinterest, google plus, facebook among others in reaching the mass media. Emotional intelligence is a skill set and your customers are in the social media 24/7. So why not be there and be in front of them.
  4. Engage in forums, social media websites and emails

    Work with your team to create a successful email template to be used within the company. Update “about”page and social media profiles often to show genuine profiles that reflects the business expertise. And when people compliment your posts and company take screen shots, or video clips to show to as tangible testimonies.
Be unique but not off topic. Be a giver of information but not outlandish that will appear strange than intriguing. Just be the best version of yourself and your company and eventually the right people and possible the customers will notice you.

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[email protected] February 16, 2015 0 Comments

Graphic Design: Why You Need To Be Picky

When you build a company or a brand, everything you hear about the logo and its importance is true. And yet still fall to the trap of having friends doing it for you than letting an expert doing the design. To further highlight how important the logo is, think of it this way: your logo will be your image. Its by far the image that will mark in your customers subconscious if not yet conscious of your existence (for customers that haven’t yet bought your product). Imagine an image that that pops into your head the moment you hear a name of a company or service. Its the first thing that customers think of first before saying your company name. When a graphic designer creates a logo that precisely represents your company brand, your products, services, works that will brand at all the vast majority requires artistic professional eye, attention to detail, knowledge of different platforms and dedication of process. Whether the logo is for a corporate established business or a start up, logo can withstand test of time and build the name with the business. Once you have decided on a logo and have started the business and getting clients, there is no changing it. Its yours for life and becomes your representation of your brand. If ever you do get board with your logo, you logo can always have an update depending on the milestone or the holiday celebration.

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[email protected] February 14, 2015 0 Comments
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