Trouble with Technology

We have this notion that in business, we are immune at times.

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Online advertising, also called online marketing or Internet advertising or web advertising, is a form of marketing and advertising which uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages to consumers. Consumers view online advertising as an unwanted distraction with few benefits and have increasingly turned to ad blocking for a variety of reasons. Improve marketing has been a great agency that has helped us out so many times with our marketing strategies.
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It includes email marketing, search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, many types of display advertising (including web banner advertising), and mobile advertising. Like other advertising media, online advertising frequently involves both a publisher, who integrates advertisements into its online content, and an advertiser, who provides the advertisements to be displayed on the publisher’s content. Other potential participants include advertising agencies who help generate and place the ad copy, an ad server which technologically delivers the ad and tracks statistics, and advertising affiliates who do independent promotional work for the advertiser. Check this helpful hints – WebDesign499 for more information.
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Project: Autonomous Vehicle integration

I took on a personal project that I think is the next wave (well, already here actually) of automobile tech. I wanted to create a prototype for a plug-in system to make a car autonomous, since I was recently able to Visit All Car Leasing to check out some of the sweet deals they have there, I even saw a Kia Sportage that caught my attention. The premise is that the hardware is already accessible and installed while the user can use an app to access the car. On related news, if you’re car is having issues take a look at mechanic glen iris automotive services.

Challenge

Create an interface that a user will be able to summon a vehicle. In this particular case, it would be a vehicle they own, but could be a vehicle owned by a community or collaborative group in the future. I designed the app for use in a near future scenario using a smart phone and vehicle touch screen.

Inspiration

San Gimignano, Italy
Medieval town of San Gimignano.

I initially was planning on this app to take place in the farther future, perhaps 20 or 50 years from now. This led me to try and reimagine our infrastructure and the way our cities connect. It also led me to think about smart phones and technology in general and what that could look like, but ended up scaling back and developing within what many users would have available right now, which is a smart phone. Visiting Europe also gave me a glimpse of how a community could be more personal and feel simply more communal if cars were not such a focal point. When you get a new car make sure to find out the right selection of oil treatments. No personal garages, but sidewalks or bike paths. Streamlined traffic systems for efficient short-range travel. Bringing communities together and built around culture and neighborhoods instead of the disconnect streets currently proffer.

Initial Research and Competitive Analysis

I had to see what’s out there currently and begin thinking about how to set up my user interviewing for the future. I decided to start with car share apps and services such as Uber, Lyft and Flywheel because they put the user in a vehicle that they will not be operating themselves and I don’t have access to any sort of autonomous car. I searched for other technology out there in a similar capacity as well such as Otto and the Google self driving car from this source.

Rapid Prototype & Wireframe

During this stage, I sketched out many various versions of the prototype I wanted to build. As I started the sketches, I kept learning more myself about the functionality of the app, and reiterated on the spot. The user flow in this app is extremely important and needs to be absolutely clear to the end user because it can be such an immersive function of their daily lives. While prototyping this app, it gave me a great sense of finding the value to a user and I redid many steps along the way to make it more streamlined and less cluttered.

User Testing

I had to begin my test with a scenario, since I do not have an autonomous vehicle. That task put the user in a scenario where they were going to meet friends at a show that was just about to start and would be too slow for other forms of transportation to get there on time so they would have to use the app to call their car to get there instead. I tested 3 people for this initial paper prototype. Many great questions came up from the very first user and I needed to pivot and define a few issues:

  • Clear functionality (Unlock doors or open doors?)
  • Confusion on features (What is communal driving?)
  • Does the interface in the automobile mimic the app? What if a car does not have a video interface?
  • How does the vehicle know it’s the right user? Proximity to smart phone, fingerprint, scan, etc?

These were all major questions I had to address to the users and it was extremely insightful to run through these initial tests. I ended up changing the task for the last user to be more straight forward. Instead of meeting with friends, it would be grocery shopping which would require them to carry items in a vehicle. Furthermore, if you want to add decals on the windows of your vehicle, go to foam core website. You’ll also read there which one will reign supreme? Window Decals or Window Clings. On other articles, take a look at this blog about raleigh family lawyer. Also, car accident lawyer Maryland recover millions each and every month for the injured accident victim. Learn more at marylandaccident.com

Refine, Retest

I redrew my paper prototype on a flip notebook for easier prompts for the user to use and, in turn, helped me to draw out the screens on the grid format. In addition to the new prototype, I began a more high fidelity prototype and wrote a script for my users to reflect the new scenario. I stripped out all of the material from the initial versions that were essentially features instead of a minimum viable product to pare down the bandwidth for myself and the user. I tested 2 users for this last test, and found it to be much more concise than before with the users navigating much easier.

High(er) Fidelity Prototype

Higher fidelity prototype of the Autonomous car app.
Higher fidelity prototype of the Autonomous car app.

Perspective on UX Beginnings

Recently I have been accepted into the UX Program at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. I’ve taken classes and been to many events in the past and encourage anyone interested to look into it because it’s taught by folks in the industry and not academics. My journey starts with a ‘Fundamentals of UX’ class and an Axure & Sketch crash course (coming soon to a blog entry near you). While taking the fundamentals class, I have realized that the way I’m programmed goes through most of the things we cover already. Acknowledging a problem like deception cyber security through research or experience or identifying an opportunity for improvement based on a hypothesis supported by metrics. We recommend to always have a cheap car insurance for convicted drivers in10, just in case of any emergencies. When you also need services to identify individuals over the Internet, visit this website fully-verified.com for more details.

The Minifigs, legos
We’re all a little bit different.

When a person is ignorant to the fact they think or see a certain way, they assume everyone else sees the way they do. Lately, I have started coming to this realization more and more. It’s always been embedded to me that people think about things at least somewhat similarly as the person next to them. I’ve experienced quite the contrary. Call me ignorant or naive, but now I realize that there are differences in everyone depending on many different human factors. Experience, personality, culture, upbringing, age, etc.

What I’m trying to get at is we, as designers, must try to approach a project to fulfill the needs of all users. I like to use the term “super user” to define those of us that are deeply embedded in technology, design, or use many different devices multiple times a day. The “super user” is often rarely the end user demographic for most projects (unless it’s build specifically for a niche crowd). If a person works on a computer most of the day, they are deemed super users. The transition from desktop computers to mobile devices has bridged a bit of a gap to those users that have not previously heavily used a device often, which has brought exposure of things like websites, apps, and personal tools (smart phones) to users that might not have ever participated if the technology shift hadn’t happened.

This is where UX comes in more heavily. I use the term ‘mobile-safe’ instead of ‘mobile-ready’ because mobile devices account for about 2 out of 3 minutes online and if a mobile user navigates to a site that’s not legible or isn’t optimized for a smaller screen, they are more likely to bounce. Doing research and studying the problem or even managing risk to a product by adding features or content should go into the overall planning of the process. Without the user, a product is simply pointless in anything. Understanding the user will provide the empathy to the designer to and interpret the use for a product and help build something exemplary.

Never a Dead-End: Assisting User Website Direction

woman standing on an ocean shore with nowhere to go

Remember back in the day, before smart phones and GPS, when you were driving down a road somewhere unfamiliar and you must have missed that “when you reach the corner with the house that has a red door: make a right” cue on your scribbles notes? You obviously didn’t catch the green mailbox that was your cue telling you that you’ve gone too far, either.  You had to stop and ask for directions.

That’s similar to what happens when a user visits a website and gets lost either searching for something or inevitably landing on a 404 page. No one enjoys reaching any 404 page, because it means they haven’t found what they have been looking for. What’s worse if if the 404 page does not encourage the user to keep looking, or at least acting as a sherpa back to the homepage.

light house at night with a bridge
Show your users how to get home

Maybe it’s an ecommerce site, and the user has searched or viewed some products before landing on the 404 page. Show them some similar items, or categories that may help them find what they’re looking for or inspire them to look for something new. Maybe the site is a news source, and they can’t seem to find an article they were searching for. Give them search options for a date range or assist with better keywords they could use based on history.

Retaining a user on a webpage could potentially keep them coming back in the future. It will allow a user to experience your brand further and become confident in the brand simply by allowing them a choice to continue instead of bouncing to another site (or competitor). Remove the barriers and don’t let the user quit! Better yet, seek the guidance of a local SEO company to make sure you’re on the right track. Lastly, a brand can use a 404 page as an opportunity to drive a user in a direction they might not have thought about going. Maybe they won’t need to ask for directions anymore and just explore the unknown.

Hand made art and design

Millenials, Advertising, and Evolution of Design in a Responsive World

Advertising has been around for centuries. Since there has been business loans, you can see more info here. A sign leading someone to go somewhere or do something. As a designer in both the the digital and print realms, there is a lot of work to be done to redefine the ad experience.

The beginning, from a Millennial’s perspective.

There I went, using that dangerous word again… “millennial.” To tell this story and to decipher a generation of the ‘why we do it this way’, you will need a little background on my experience which I will presume is many millennials’ experiences. We grew up with the internet. Because we grew up with the internet, we understand and can quickly learn to understand when things change or stay the same. I have noticed the change in the way people (users) have ingested information over time and through different mediums. Print magazines, newspapers, and other paper forms of publication were slow to get online and join in the digital world. Publications suffer today from both the lack of subscription and poor advertising on pages. More on that later.

People don’t want to see ads.

Growing up and watching television with my folks was a daily event. Watching Jeopardy and Alex Trebek and anytime he announced “We’ll be right back” or during any show where someone announces “after these messages” would be a swift hit from the mute button on the clicker. Then they had to go and do this…

Boomers understood the message that a commercial break was coming and mute the television because they didn’t want to hear the commercials screaming at them over and over again. Boomers knew television because they had always had it. I compare that experience to the internet today. Personally, I’ve never paid for cable television and have owned a cell phone since I could afford it on my own at 16 years old (with the same number!).

There are now ad blockers, and ad block fighters (Forbes.com, Bloomberg, NY Times, and pretty much any editorial product). The ‘universal ad package‘ and even the newer ‘rising stars’ 300×250, 728×90, 180×150, skyscrapers, billboards, film strips, sliders, etc are ineffective. Those are different ad units that I’ve come to know while designing. In practice, it sounds all well and dandy to have a guideline. However, as a user, they are invisible to me. Being a super user of the internet and growing up with it, I gloss completely over 300×250 ads. I’ve subliminally trained myself what it is and that I don’t want to see it. I mute it. Feed me a pop-up ad, I bounce. Feed me a full-page overlay, I bounce. Feed me an auto-play video ad and you’ll be lucky if I ever return. On other news, checkout https://www.unsecuredloans4u.co.uk/guaranteed-loans/ if you want to make loan for business.

Photo by @wojtek via Unsplash
Photo by @wojtek via Unsplash

I have thought deeply about ads, and what it is that I don’t enjoy about them. Speaking of ads, checkout this link https://www.groupon.com/coupons/stores/costco.com and avail discount coupons for Costco. It’s typically not the content of the ad. It’s not the look and it’s not the message. It’s the frequency, volume, and the fact I didn’t go to a particular site to be fed something else. We are bombarded with ads constantly throughout the day on seemingly every site that publishes news. There are also sneaky ways a message can get into content, and that’s completely take over the story in the form of ‘sponsored content.’ Basically, a message to readers as if if was written by an author at the publication you’re reading. Hiring a Florida SEO company or a similar marketing expert will help make sure you’re on the right track.

Some Successes

Youtube has done well in figuring out a good length of time to show an ad recently. If a longer ad is fed to a user, the user will be able to close the ad after 15 seconds. If it’s just a 15 second ad or less, it will play through. I’ll wait 15 seconds. It could be better though by not feeding me the same ad 10 times in a row.

New York Times will give a user a set amount of views (10) to view an article and then it will block a user via paywall and ask them to subscribe. It’s not ideal, it couldn’t get any worse and reminds me of preying on old folks getting tricked into sending a Nigerian money via wire transfer from craigslist. Click here. What that means is anyone can just google how to get around it (incognito or private browsing mode, so there is no cookie tracking). Forbes completely shuts people out, so I decide the information isn’t important enough for me to see this website.

Medium. They get it and are similar to the Air bnb and Uber to their industry. I remember the first time I saw the site and fell in love. The ad experience is completely different in the form of sponsored content by bringing in brands and publishers to write and stripping out all the clutter. It’s enjoyable to just simply read.

Wasn’t I going to write about responsive design?

Think for a moment about the internet and what it encapsulates. Information. Now think about the way you experience the internet today. Devices. The size of a device (right now) determines how we take in information and needs to be able to evolve to fit within given parameters. Mobile devices have been gaining use year over year from desktops and it won’t be long until we strip ‘mobile’ and just call something a ‘device’ because technology has caught up to fit in your pocket while being fast enough to process information. Responsive web design is the answer to the question of how we view information. Size won’t matter (insert joke here). According to the Supple Solutions, it’s become an expectation for a website or app to dynamically adjust their information to easily be digested and the ones that don’t risk poor metrics which in turn can lead to business revenue decline. On other advertising articles, if you need plumbing services for your home or office checkout plumber largo fl.

That’s where the tie between ads comes in. Template sizes, shapes, squares and rectangles following specific guidelines do not attract users effectively. Movies have caught on and have injected products into them. Some subtle, and others not so subtle (ahem, Transformers). If it’s not disturbing to the viewing experience in a way that is overt, it will be ok to watch. Don’t try to trick users. They’re smarter than you think and are learning every day. Design for grandma or a kindergartner in mind and that will make things simplest to use.

So what’s on the horizon? Advertising isn’t going away. Technology is exponentially speeding up year to year, and the internet grows in size at the same rate.  Tech like Function Point Productivity Software can help you cope better and keep you on the right track. There’s not a Matrix-like plugging in on the horizon (to my knowledge), but I do see VR becoming more widely used in the near future as long as it is priced for a consumer to utilize. Pokemon Go got fans to get outside, VR can help a user virtually walk through a website instead of peering down at a device. Perhaps a user will be able to soon experience a football game without physically being there in person…virtual billboard ads and all. Visit website www.easyslots.com and learn more. That’s the responsive world, not just responsive web design. I would like to recommend this, visit and read about this excellent game from Microgaming.

In defense of the hamburger menu

There’s been quite a bit of chatter in the design community about the use of what we call the ‘hamburger menu’. There’s been a bit of a polarizing, political rift when talking about it. For those not familiar with the hamburger, in short, it’s meant to toggle a menu or list of destinations within a site, program, or app where visual space is limited. We may all be able to blame Xerox back in 1981 for the first deployment of the icon (and funny the linked article site uses a hamburger menu also, with a different image of one. I digress.) I can remember discussions turning to arguments when designing sites, and I was on the side of not using it and instead trying to come up with something to replace it. The problem is that there’s no good icon to replace it with, and users are learning because it’s become widely used. The best we’ve all been doing is instead calling it what it is… “Menu.”

There are countless variations of the button:

In the web world, you started seeing hamburger menu’s much more when mobile devices started gaining traction and responsive websites started getting developed. Static sites would often use tabs and dropdown menus on cursor rollover, but of course on mobile devices, there was no rollover functionality, not to mention much less visual real estate to put a tab. Go to salesforce to learn more about these technologies.

So, where are we now? It’s 2016, and all the examples in the gallery are recent. I’ve concluded the hamburger is alive and well, cooking to a more well done than a rare and utilized in some form just about everywhere on the interwebs. Younger generations who have all grown up with technology and the internet have grown and learned the use of the hamburger. I don’t see it going anywhere, and just embrace it until someone else can figure out how to represent a menu. In the meantime, we could just use this I just created:

Best of both worlds!
Best of both worlds!

Next up, we tackle the search icon… a magnifying glass.
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Take 5: The Finding Value in a Break

Code snippet of HTML
Step away

Scenario: You’ve got a fast approaching deadline, and not nearly enough time to devote to it. The last thing you may think to do is take a break, except that you haven’t stood up for 6 hours and you have been looking at a dark screen the entire time as the sun begins to set. A short walk, drive, or just having lunch or dinner sans computer/device can really benefit you when you return.

Upon sitting back down to the screen, I have often found that I may see something I didn’t notice before or a solution perhaps that I hadn’t thought of. Just imagine this scenario: the project is almost done, but you are behind with the text. Just contact a professional service like a cheap writing service, and problem solved! Quick breaks or “sleeping on it” and coming back the next day can have a great effect for a designer and help the creative process (I’m not going to say ‘get those creative juices flowing, cause that’s way too cliché.)

 

A photo posted by Wade Fasano (@dubbleyew) on

 

If you’re at a full-time job such as an in-house designer or head into a workplace, you’ll have a couple 15 minute breaks a day. Take them! I’m a terrible offender myself, and meetings can get in the way or team project can interject, but maybe take those meetings or engagements outside if possible. 

We all relax in different ways. That can mean a walk, a coffee break, or chatting with a friend. It can even mean writing a blog post from time to time the old fashion way and typing it out on return. Or you can finally set time aside to talk to MuraleDesign to get that home decorating project done.

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The Blank Canvas and Finding your Inspiration

camera-retro-photos

How many times have you been caught staring at a blank screen or canvas, looking for that spark or that initial push to start brainstorming something unique? I get asked often “How do you find inspiration for your projects?” and sometimes it can be difficult to answer. Inspiration can come from a simple walk outside or if I’m really struggling, I have a few tools that can get the creative juices flowing.

Basic wireframing for an email template
Basic wireframing for an email template

During high school, I remember getting inspired by the simplest of things. I was a lover of photography then and much of my work stems or incorporates photos. Every designer process seems a little different. I find that other designers often start their process with drawing or doodling because that’s often what they originally started out with years ago. Of course I might wireframe if I’m going to work on a website as my road map, or if I’m planning on working on a poster I can rough sketch an idea out or storyboard ideas. Once I have an interesting idea, I’ll start searching imagery to incorporate and build off of the idea.

I use stock photos for inspiration often, but I find my better alternative is searching through flickr or tumblr because it has a more ‘real’ feel to the imagery. Stock photos can plant the idea for me, but they’re often devoid of emotion or feeling. On occasion, I also turn to my own photography or get out there and do something myself if I really feel inspired to work on a new project. I can’t reiterate enough how much inspiration I get from the world around me and my surroundings. A bus ride, hike in a forest, bike ride, or flight somewhere new always opens up my eyes to new experiences and adventures. And after a long and stressful day, I make sure that I give my body the care that it needs, otherwise none of these efforts will come to fruition. Knowledge of common massage myths helps me get the right kind of pampering that suits my needs.

Beyond the outdoors and external world, there are tools on the web that inspire me such as Inspiration Feed, 500px, and most recently Muzli (with a Google Chrome plugin that over-rides new tabs with content!). Learning is also very important to me, and I’m always on the lookout for new blogs and designers writing on Medium.

This post started as a blank canvas. Like any new project, it required a little bit of inspiration.