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

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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Refreshing Analytics Tips for 2015

If you’ve been researching for new alternatives on assessing traffic, rankings and or just trying a new software to use for gathering insights, you may also consider trying these ideas in your analytics that you may have not used or reviewed in a while.

Geography and Visits

Have you ever considered checking what countries the traffic comes from? Then it would be a new way to think about the coverage being able to target the next strategies to certain demographics and geography It can be a new insight for your PPC Campaign, or local target market to mix traffic sources. You can make the necessary changes in the Demographics/Geography settings in the analytics. All you need to is the population, paid and organic traffic. And making it into graphics to better analyze the data. Its also a great way to determine spots where new competitors are entering the market.

Frequency Time and Behaviour

If your users transact online, do they buy instantly or take time lingering in the product. Do you only have one chance in selling to your visitor? These are some of the many questions that can be answer by using the behaviour in frequency part.

High Value versus High Traffic

Do you get high traffic but no conversion or you get low traffic but high conversion? Landing pages are another indicator of the visits and the conversions of the visitors. Sorting through the landing pages and turning off the pages that are not converting visitors will increase website load time and limit clutter. Linking your converting pages to your blog and social media can drive more traffic that are filtered to the users that are in search of your products than users that is by far not interested at all. The key is finding the users that is in need of your product or service.

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[email protected] February 2, 2015 0 Comments
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