How Snackable Content is Going to Power Your Future User Experience

The User Experience (UX) Needs to Continually Evolve

There’s no doubt that snackable content is the way of the future. According to a study by Microsoft in 2015, people now have an attention span of eight seconds – down from 12 seconds in 2000. Who knows how short attention spans will be five years from now, or even next year! Social media fuels the fire – so to speak – for the decline, allowing people to absorb information quickly, in tiny snippets.
This bite-sized revolution is now spreading into all types of digital content. In fact, it is going to change the entire user experience (UX) as we know it.

What is Snackable Content?

We’ve talked about snackable content before. It’s basically content that has been pared down so that it can be ingested quickly and easily. It’s accessible, relevant, and enlightening. It’s also based on the idea that users are going to read it when the right situation presents itself, which means that it needs to contain the right information for the right circumstance.

Enter the UX.

Impatience is changing the way designers are arranging content flows. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, developers are now tackling customized digital journeys for users.
The new UX needs to:

    • Account for different delivery methods. Not only does your website need to be responsive, but it also needs to keep your omnichannel marketing strategy in mind. To maintain a consistent brand, your UX needs to uniform – whether a customer is in your store, watching a television commercial about your products or services, or looking at one of your ads in a local newspaper. Can customers access the same information on your website as they can in the store?
    • Be location-specific. Metadata is paving the way for more customized content experiences. With meaningful classifications and characteristics, snackable content can be tagged based on a particular location or other unique attributes. This means that users will only see content that is relevant to them, based on what they are searching for and where they are located.
    • Know the context. Again, metadata is key here, but machine learning is also an important factor. As machine learning improves and devices are connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), the UX can be shaped based on a user’s individual preferences and behavioral patterns.

How will It Work?

To redefine the UX, webpages will soon become template-driven. Pieces of snackable content will be displayed based on each user’s journey. Part of this UX will be based on journey mapping, where web developers take the various levels of interaction a customer has with your company into account. The other parts will be derived from technological breakthroughs in machine learning and artificial intelligence – many of which we haven’t even heard of yet.

One thing is certain: keep your content short, sweet, and snackable. Before you know it, that content will be personalizing your customer’s UX and impacting his or her journey on your website. Searching and scrolling will be as foreign to the UX one day as rewinding a VHS tape is to the Generation Z crowd.

Is your content ready?

The Top Web Design Trends and Tips for 2017, Part 1

Not fads but the future of web design …

Web design trends are constantly evolving. As we approach the midpoint of 2017, it’s time to see how things are shaping up for the rest of the year. Some trends have spilled over from 2016, while others are just now beginning to pick up steam. If you already have a website, it’s probably time to think about refreshing it and incorporating some of today’s hottest design aspects. These elements aren’t just fads; they are a window into the future of web design.

10 Web Design Trends and Tips for 2017

  1. User Experience (UX)
    Trend:
    Virtual reality and interactive, immersive experiences are extremely hot right now. It’s all about connecting with your audience and getting them to linger on your website.
    Tip: It’s not yet feasible to bring virtual reality to all of your customers, but it is possible to engage them in a way that mimics it. Try 360-degree videos, 3D visual effects (within a GIF), or conversational interfaces. Parallax scrolling is also a great feature for adding interest and depth to your site.
  2. Videos
    Trend: If a 360-degree video isn’t in your price range, other types of videos can be compelling, too. Users want video content that is short and to the point, but also entertaining.
    Tip: Not all videos have to contain paid actors. Behind-the-scenes clips of your business can be very effective if they are done well, and animated shorts that explain a product or service can serve as an educational tool for your audience. If your video begins to play automatically, make sure that it doesn’t play with the sound on; give users the option to listen on their own terms.
  3. Layouts
    Trend:
    Simple is back “in” again. Powerful images can be seen everywhere above the fold, with wording kept to a minimum. Grid-style “card” designs are also popular thanks to websites like Pinterest.
    Tip: This trend is all about scaling back design in favor of a more exciting UX. That precious real estate above the fold can be treated as a hook – drawing your audience further into your website. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to have an image as your background; sometimes, negative space can be just as potent.
  4. Colors
    Trend:
    Gradients are really big right now, featuring bright, bold colors. On the other hand, there’s also a move toward neutrals. Many sites are toning it down with beiges, greens, grays, and other subdued tones.
    Tip: Try using a gradient over an image – or part of an image – for a cool effect. If you want to try neutrals, think about all the colors that can be derived from nature and use them as your color palette.
  5. Typography
    Trend:
    This trend isn’t a new one, but custom typography still strong in 2017. Forget Times New Roman and Arial! Designers are pushing the envelope to create typefaces that are unique and memorable.
    Tip: Once you establish a custom font, consistently use it on your marketing materials so that customers will begin to associate it with your brand. Think of how successful the Walt Disney Company has been with its typography; it’s recognized all over the world.

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of this year’s trends, we’ll go over some of the lesser-known design elements in our next blog – were you’ll find trends & tips 6-10. Stay tuned to see what would work on your website!

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to give Conveyance a call! We’d love to help you reinvigorate your website and draw customers in with a unique UX and stylish design that conveys your company’s message.

Target Market Analysis – Know Your Generation

Baby Boomers • GenXers • Millennials • DIY

When you are trying to market to new clients, it’s important to meet your target audience on their own terms. If you don’t approach your clients and prospects in a way that they can appreciate and digest, then you won’t be getting through to them at all.

There are three major buckets that most of your audience will fall into: Baby Boomers, GenXers, or Millennials. You may have targets in more than one category depending on your products and services, so keep that in mind. As long as you understand the characteristics of each generational segment, you will be able to speak their language.

Baby Boomers were born between 1945 and 1964. They aren’t always technologically savvy, so they generally prefer face-to-face interaction or phone calls. Baby Boomers are dutiful, process-oriented, and a big fan of paper. They still want to see bills in the mail and paper receipts at the local coffee shop. A Baby Boomer’s first priority is work. They are fantastic customers because they are loyal. How do you find them … paper: think direct mail, print ads, letters.

GenXers were born between 1964 and 1980. Instead of work, they prioritize their families over everything else. A GenX customer doesn’t want you to call or knock on their door – that would be an invasion of their privacy! Send them an e-mail or instant message, and they will respond to you when they feel like it. Even though they have adapted to technology, it doesn’t always mean that they want to be bothered by it. Since family is first, GenXers say things like they “work to live.” GenX still likes paper but will probably request a digital copy (which they’ll print out later). GenX is goal-oriented and wants their ideas to be appreciated. They are great customers, especially when goods or services can benefit their family life.

Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000. They are the generation of Google and texting. They prioritize their hobbies and friends over everything else. Millennials are group-minded, always plugged-in, and fearless. A Millennial doesn’t want anything paper. For the Millennial, it’s more about playing the game than winning it. They like change and they want to be recognized for their talents. They are willing to try new products and services, but are harder to keep as loyal customers. How do you find them … it’s all about mobile: texting, social media, web.

If you are trying to reach a target audience of 25 to 35 year olds, then you need to keep in mind that you are talking to two different groups – GenXers and Millennials. One will may respond to a text, but the other will see it as an invasion of privacy. If your target audience runs into the Baby Boomer group, then a simple mailer may be effective. You get the idea.

On the horizon … the DYI Generation. We know that they are global thinkers, grew up with social media and not sure yet of their preferred work/life balance. They are young consumers, not many spending their own money yet … we’ll be watching their persona develop.

Your marketing strategy needs to address the needs and wants of your target audience. You must keep their priorities in mind and their preferred methods of communication. If you aren’t reaching out to customers in the ways they want, then all your marketing efforts may simply fall flat.

Target Market Infographic, Market Strategy

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Web Branding: The Benefits of Top-Level Domains

Be one-step ahead of your competition when the new domain names catch on

Within the past two years, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has released more than 1,000 Top-Level Domains – TLDs for short. A TLD is simply a little word or set of letters that comes after the “dot” in your web address. The most common TLD is “com,” of course, closely followed by ones like “edu” and “org.” ICANN’s new TLDs are just common words like “marketing” and “coffee,” along with cities like “london” and “boston.”

They also created the ability for a company like Microsoft to apply for their own TLD, creating quite a stir in the Internet world. Originally, ICANN believed that companies would flock to these new TLDs, but many companies have been slow to change.

Who really needs another domain name? You do. It all goes back to branding. You can check out our blog on branding here. Branding your business on the web consists of three things: consistency, differentiation, and customer focus.

A name consistent to the service you are selling promotes trust.

When it comes to consistency, you must consider trust. One way to build trust is with a good website name. It may sound trite, but if you are in the market for a photographer, would you choose “coolphoto4u.co” or “ElliottJones.photography”? Something as simple as a name can really impact how a consumer views you and your business. A name consistent to the service you are selling promotes trust.

The new TLDs offer a level of authenticity that the “com” can’t give you. If you are a bar in Boston that is really big on supporting all sports and events in the city, then “yourbarname.boston” would really sell people on the fact that you indeed support Boston. Just like “nerdybob.tech” would reinforce that Nerdy Bob is in the technology field.

TLDs are also a way to differentiate yourself from your competition. Does the florist down the street have “flowers” on her web name, or “net”? Part of building that trustworthy image mentioned above will actually help you stand apart from others – especially right now. Companies who have bought various new TLDs in order to protect their brand haven’t been utilizing them. This will change, as giants like Microsoft and Google begin incorporating them … and of course trend-setters like Conveyance Marketing Group who owns conveyance.marketing.

Remember that any effective branding focuses on the customer. With TLDs, this couldn’t be truer. Customers are ultimately going to decide if these new TLDs succeed or fail. Can they break old habits and move on from “com”? I think users will come to love the differentiation they provide. The new TLDs can also have a positive impact on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when combined with the appropriate site content. If customers can find you easier … that’ a good thing?

Go out and grab the TLDs that make sense for your business right now. They will help your online brand in the long run, and you’ll be one step ahead of your competition when these new domains catch on. One step ahead is always a great place to be.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Using Web Design to Brand Your Small Business

A cohesive website design is crucial to branding

The needs of small businesses are no different than those of larger corporations. Small businesses need to establish their brands in the marketplace just as much as the big guys, if not more. When you are talking about choosing between Coca-Cola and Pepsi, that’s one thing. But when you are trying to stand out as a landscaper in a sea of other landscapers, branding is essential.

A cohesive website design is crucial to branding. It can also be a catalyst for establishing your brand as a whole. Conceptually, branding has three major components: consistency, differentiation, and customer focus.

Consistency

Consistency is key to business recognition. To establish consistency, your website needs to reflect the aura of your physical business.

Using a professionally designed logo, interesting photos, infographics, and professional headshots is imperative. Nothing will turn users away faster than grainy, unprofessional pictures and graphics.
Typography, illustrations, and coloring choices are also important to producing a consistent brand – both on and off line. If your logo is fun and funky, then your site should be. Conversely, if you have a very polished, clean logo, then your site should match that feel.

Differentiation

To set your business apart from the crowd, you have to differentiate yourself. A website can help you do this through its User Experience (UX).

There is a huge UX push in web design right now. It’s all about getting users engaged in your site and keeping them engaged. Videos, animation, and other visual elements come into play here, but there’s more to it than that. UX attempts to know what your customer wants before your customer does. There’s sociology and psychology behind it. If you can anticipate your customers’ needs, just think of how much you will stand out from your competition.

The more you can get customers to interact, the more they will remember your brand.

Customer Focus

An excellent way to attract new customers and retain current customers is to focus on written content. Blogs are one of the best ways to bring content to your customers (and also boost your Search Engine Optimization). Your blogs should be written in a style that is consistent with your brand, with topics that are interesting to your target audience – and pertinent to your business.

Don’t forget about your “About Us” page – too many businesses put little thought into this page when it’s actually an influential page for potential customers and often the second stop in a website visit.

It’s hard to establish one without establishing the others. If you can’t tell where your web brand ends and your physical brand begins, then you’re on the right track.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

Trending Now: The User Experience

Here’s why is UX so important …

User Experience (UX) is all the rage these days in the web world. Companies are hiring UX Designers to help them improve the way users interact with their sites, while maintaining User Interface (UI) Designers on staff, too. It all gets very confusing. Who does what? Why are they different?

Donald Norman, co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, brought the term “user experience” into popularity in the 1990s. Per their definition, “’User Experience’ encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” This is a broad definition indeed, and isn’t just referring to UX on the web. UX, in the context of web design, isn’t detached from the User Experience that a company wants to portray as a whole.

CareerFoundry, an online training resource for Web Developers, UX, and UI Designers, has an amazing graphic that explains the difference between UX and UI. This cool graphic shows UI as a person’s skin, programming code as the skeleton, and UX as the heart.

UX-dissected, web design

UI is there to brand the company. It is the visual component of your web design, finding itself somewhere along the lines of graphic design. UI is your outward appearance.

UX is the heart of your website. It makes your website come alive to your end users. UX Designers are more analytic and scientific. They use site interaction to engage users. With no engagement, a website really has no purpose.

The reason UX is such a hot topic this year is due to the fact that desktop use is about to be overtaken by mobile devices. Tablets, phones, and phablets are making normal computer use a thing of the past. Your website needs to perform on any device. It needs to re-shape to fit whatever dimensions the user gives it. It needs to respond to touchscreens. It needs to utilize voice recognition.

It needs to give a user the content they want, when they want it, and how they want it.

In my opinion, UX is the brain of site design just as much as the heart. UX Magazine says, “Today, users expect some type of personalization; they’re looking for an experience that is predictive and anticipatory without being creepy.”

A quality UX Designer knows the sociology of your audience, the technology behind your processes, and the goals of your bottom line. It’s all about getting the end user to interact in a way that meets the needs of your business while maintaining the identity of your brand.

UX is more of a concept than a recipe. It’s going to keep evolving because companies need a virtual UX that mimics what users experience in the real world. The heart (and brain) of web design is finally getting the attention it deserves.

All you have to do is make sure your website can feel (and think), too.

Conveyance Marketing Group is a marketing and web development company with a passion for delivering strategic, sustainable and affordable marketing and web solutions to start-ups and small businesses. Our service offerings include video, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, graphic design, logo design, advertising and web design. Our creativity is limitless, let us help accelerate the growth of your company! Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.