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The 7 deadly sins of digital user experience

(Tech News) User experience is now understood to be a huge factor in a digital brand’s success, so what are the 7 deadly sins every brand should avoid?

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sins greed

First impressions are everything

“You only get one chance to make a good first impression,” notes Thelton McMillian, Founder & CEO of Comrade, adding that this notion is especially true in today’s digital world.

McMillian states, “Companies must design user experiences for web and mobile that are seamless, relevant and keep customers coming back for more. However, in the race to design smart capabilities, many businesses commit one or more ‘deadly sins’ – damaging that crucial first impression compromising future growth.”

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In his own words below, McMillian offers the 7 deadly sins of digital user experience and suggests ways to avoid them.

1. Lust

It’s easy to lust over design and fall prey to “shiny objects;” however, we cannot lead with a solution or feature without first understanding the problem. Set design principles upfront to ensure judicious decision-making – and always stay true to what’s best for the user while considering their chosen context of use.

2. Gluttony

Over-indulgence often manifests itself in the design process as the dreaded “feature creep.” Projects that start with a clear focus and reasonable scope can quickly find their UX suffering as new features and content are added. One of the best defenses against gluttony is to embrace the “mobile first” approach to product design. Don’t do something just because you can. Place the user at the center and set aside personal preferences to prioritize features and content that will best enhance the user experience.

3. Greed

This is also a sin of excess, but in this case its focus is on material wealth. The challenge of quantifying the return on investment of a good user experience results in UX often sitting low on the list of priorities. But the market caps of companies like Apple, Amazon and Uber are clear indications of the value that user experience brings to a brand. Focus your efforts on building a culture of design and customer-centered thinking in your organization. Make UX the focus of everyone in your business.

4. Sloth

Laziness at any step of the software development lifecycle can lead to usability issues or broken interactions…often, companies release products without fully taking into account the importance of quality assurance and usability testing. The diversity of device types, screen sizes and technologies means you must never stop testing – continue to validate your UX design to ensure you have a full understanding of how your product or website functions.

5. Wrath

Don’t ignore the wrath of your users. Listen to them, be emphatic and trust that their behavior should inform your design decisions regardless of your personal intuition or preference. Understanding the frustrations your customers have with your brand is the first step in fixing your UX.

6. Envy

Influence from others can result in poor user experiences when applied to your own design challenge. It can also stifle your ability to push boundaries. While it’s perfectly acceptable to be influenced by others, find your own groove, differentiate your experience from competitors and use what you’ve seen as inspiration to push boundaries and innovate.

7. Pride

Don’t be too proud of your decisions that you don’t consider making changes in response to an ever-evolving market. Don’t think you’ve designed something that’s foolproof – you can always optimize. There is no such thing as a finished product.

The takeaway

McMillian concludes, “With a better understanding of common missteps, businesses will be better poised to deliver the type of digital user experiences that customers have come to expect. By partnering with experts in the field, companies can further ensure they’re avoiding design sins that could cost them users…and potentially, their business.”

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. The Storyographer

    August 19, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Nailed it. And with a clever twist on a timeless literary classic. Well played, sir.

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Tech News

Facebook policy sets themselves up for yet another failure

(TECH) Facebook’s role in news consumption increases, and their new policy regarding news is raising eyebrows.

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Facebook did not get a lot of likes a when it was facing scrutiny for taking money for Russian ads, and their subsequent role in the 2016 Presidential election. In response to that, Facebook announced its Ad Archive – a public political archive to allow users more transparency in who purchased those ads like you can on television. Additionally, they changed their political ads policy.

Of course, the goal of this is to promote transparency and give the public an opportunity to scrutinize advertisers and have more control about what they do with that information. Facebook and the world at large acknowledges that still isn’t a perfect solution, and there are many problems left to work out, including how perpetrators can get around the new rules by simply setting up an LLC.

Now, Facebook says they will include news pages in their Ad Archives. While this decision was originally opposed by many news publishers, and Facebook compromised by putting them in a separate category, it has officially become part of Facebook policy.

To be a news page, there are several criteria pages and promoters must follow, including focusing on current events and news, spreading factual and true information, and publishing content that is not user generated or aggregated from other areas of the web. Also, the amount of advertising content can not exceed the amount of content related to news.

Facebook’s decision to include news publishers involved some input from The Trust Project was a decent step, but it’s almost certain that many publishers are raising their eyebrows at the decision to include them in the archive, with the indication that news organizations are as suspect as corrupt Russian players. It is particularly grating in an environment where Twitter has opted not to lump news and Russian actors together.

Certainly, how publishers spend their dollars and make platform decisions will be impacted, especially as this continues. Given the broad domains of ad archive – elections, elected officials, and issues of national importance – we are likely to see how things play out over the next few months.

The biggest concern of course, is how this sets Facebook up for another failure in regards to how it handles news, and how this will impact the people receiving that news. And hopefully, we find out before the stakes are too high.

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Tech News

Quickly delete years of your stupid Facebook updates

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Digital clutter sucks. Save time and energy with this new Chrome extension for Facebook.

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When searching for a new job, it’s always a good idea to scan your social media presence to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure with offensive or immature posts.

In fact, you should regularly check your digital life even if you’re not on the job hunt. You never know when friends, family, or others are going to rabbit hole into reading everything you’ve ever posted.

Facebook is an especially dangerous place for this since the social media giant has been around for over fourteen years. Many accounts are old enough to be in middle school now.

If you’ve ever taken a deep dive into your own account, you may have found some unsavory posts you couldn’t delete quickly enough.

We all have at least one cringe-worthy post or picture buried in years of digital clutter. Maybe you were smart from the get-go and used privacy settings. Or maybe you periodically delete posts when Memories resurfaces that drunk college photo you swore wasn’t on the internet anymore.

But digging through years of posts is time consuming, and for those of us with accounts older than a decade, nearly impossible.

Fortunately, a new Chrome extension can take care of this monotonous task for you. Social Book Post Manager helps clean up your Facebook by bulk deleting posts at your discretion.

Instead of individually removing posts and getting sucked into the ensuing nostalgia, this extension deletes posts in batches with the click of a button.

Select a specific time range or search criteria and the tool pulls up all relevant posts. From here, you decide what to delete or make private.

Let’s say you want to destroy all evidence of your political beliefs as a youngster. Simply put in the relevant keyword, like a candidate or party’s name, and the tool pulls up all posts matching that criteria. You can pick and choose, or select all for a total purge.

You can also salt the earth and delete everything pre-whatever date you choose. I could tell Social Book to remove everything before 2014 and effectively remove any proof that I attended college.

Keep in mind, this tool only deletes posts and photos from Facebook itself. If you have any savvy enemies who saved screenshots or you cross-posted, you’re out of luck.

The extension is free to use, and new updates support unliking posts and hiding timeline items. Go to town pretending you got hired on by the Ministry of Truth to delete objectionable history for the greater good of your social media presence.

PS: If you feel like going full scorched Earth, delete everything from your Facebook past and then switch to this browser to make it harder for Facebook to track you while you’re on the web.

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Tech News

Why are all apps starting to look exactly the same?

(TECHNOLOGY) As apps evolve, they are beginning to look uniform – is this a good or bad thing?

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Have you noticed that all apps are beginning to look a lot alike? Many popular social media apps are utilizing minimalist designs, featuring lots of black and white with negative space and little color.

At a glance, you may not be able to differentiate what’s Airbnb and what’s Instagram. Normally, something like this could be argued to be unoriginal and boring. However, let’s look at the positives.

If every app – for the most part – is operating with the same design, they’re not trying to constantly one-up each other with the next big look. As a result, they have more time to focus on what’s important – the content found on the app and the functions of the app.

While many apps offer similar features (like Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram both having Stories), every social media app has its own flair that keeps users coming back. And, user retention is higher if they feel comfortable using the app – which is another plus of them all having similar designs.

If you have 12 different social media apps with 12 different interfaces and means of operation, it’s unlikely that a user will keep up with all 12. But, if they know exactly how to use them, the user can flip back and forth like it’s nothing.

However, “app fatigue is a real thing,” said Yaz of UX Collective. “Most people have grown tired of bouncing between too many apps or learning how to use a new interface after every new download.”

Below is Yaz’s exploration of the uniformity in apps:

Research has found that a quarter of all apps are deleted after just one use. People tend to stick with the apps that they have found made a positive impact in their lives – either for communication with others or apps that save them time.

Uniformity means developers can spend more of their time on creating the content that will aid in better communication and more time saving options.

Again, what it comes down to is the content and function. That’s where the true creativity comes in. People aren’t using Airbnb because the app or the website are ridiculously exciting; they’re using it because it offers a service that is beneficial.

What are your thoughts on app uniformity? Unoriginal, or a stepping stone for what’s really important?

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