CATEGORY: User Experience

We’ve got a new tool for helping you choose the right products for your website

Choosing the right products and services for your websites can be confusing. What’s WordPress? Do I need hosting? What if I don’t know how to code? How do I get my own email address?

These are pretty common questions for someone building a website for the first time, so we’ve taken a stab at simplifying the process. Creating a website for your business or an online portfolio for your job search is super important, and it shouldn’t be super hard. We’ve built a tool that will help you choose exactly what you need based on the type of website you have in mind.

Speed up Your Website | The Web Address Ep. 6

We were perusing Entrepreneur Magazine (you may recall our appearance in the prestigious publication) and we came across a Boulder company sharing some dire news: If you’re a small or medium business and your website isn’t loading fast enough, then you’re going to have a hard time competing. The Amazons and Ebays of the world have entire teams dedicated to optimizing their websites. What they don’t have, however, is one Mr. Robert Shires. He’s part of the brilliant team behind Lagrange Systems, a company dedicated to turning your eCommerce up to the speed of mind-blowing astonishment. Shires isn’t only technically savvy, but also hilarious, so you get necessary information about improving your website speed (aka Application Delivery) without drowning in tech talk. And, as you’ll see, we’ve taken measures to make sure he stays away from mind-numbing buzzwords.

App Design with Todd Clary of Appsorbs & Colin Thomas-Arnold of Colinta, llc | The Insightful

Todd Clary and Colin Thomas-Arnold build apps. Todd is the creative side and Colin is the coder–but wait! They’ve discovered a working relationship that blends the creative and the code. No longer two separate entities working in two different worlds for one project, they advise business owners that for the best app you need a coder who’s more than a “black box” into which you can pour instructions. You need more than a code monkey, but a guy who gets the importance of the user experience. This is Part 1:

The Insightful is posted here every Wednesday, and offers information and advice to entrepreneurs and business ninjas. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for regular informative and entertaining videos.

The Best UI/UX: Tips, Tricks and Golden Rules to make your website work

You’re not developing for you!

They say a video should be really short–like about 90-seconds–to keep an online viewer’s attention. Unless…UNLESS…it’s really good information. This is really good information. Sherri is our reigning queen of the User Interface/User Experience. She recalls how designers were once employed to make things pretty, and then shares the important reality of making your website’s copy, icons, images and voice one coherent, profitable masterpiece. Now that’s inner beauty that radiates across the web…and into a really hot conversion rate.

The Insightful is posted here every Wednesday, and offers information and advice to entrepreneurs and business ninjas. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for regular informative and entertaining videos.

User Experience Part 3: Getting Down the Bones

In my last UX blog post I discussed defining the strategy of a project by inquiring about user objectives and company objectives. I’m sure you all went out and immediately started scheduling stakeholder meetings, agreed on a strategy, and then looked around at each other with that “now what?” look.  Is that what happened? If so, worry not! The next step is straightforward and obvious – write it down.

writing down your user experience

Have a developer take a look at your notes to make sure you’re not delusional.

Putting the strategy and the flow on paper ensures that you don’t forget it. It also serves as the first section of every product manager’s most beloved (and simultaneously most detested) aspect of his or her job–the scope of work. Call it what you will–the scope, the SOW, the spec (this is what I call it), technical specifications, the scoping document, etc.  The bottom line is you need one in order to actually get the product you want to get.

After you have a strategy, define functional specifications, which specify requirements for the project, how the product will function, and criteria for user acceptance. Functional specifications are typically written out and are accompanied by content requirements.

Page content usually has to do with information. You define content requirements by compiling a list of all of the places that messages will need to be communicated to the user through page titles, headlines, error messages, calls to action, etc. Have you ever seen a cryptic error message on a website that is too technical for you to understand? Brainstorming a list of all the required content will prevent issues like that. It assures that you have thought through every possible scenario your users can arrive at.

As soon as you have functional specifications and content requirements you can start scoping out the structure of the product. Wireframes are very helpful in this phase of project planning. Wireframes detail the layout of pages in a bare-bones image. They provide a guideline for the skeleton of the page and are essential reference materials for designers and developers who will actually work on bringing the product to life.

Finally, when the team has agreed upon the functional specifications, content requirements, and layout of the wireframe you can create Mockups in Photoshop

user experience wireframe

I use Balsamiq for wireframe. Ashley leans towards Gliffy.

or in actual HTML/CSS code that illustrate the visual design and ensure that standard site elements are being used on the page. Creating a mockup also demonstrates information and functional design elements for the team to examine.

Putting strategy, functional specifications, content requirements, wireframes, and mockups together in a document will give you a spec that your project team can work off of in a sane manner. It is not a simple process, but it makes development move faster because most of their questions will have been answered in a clear way and there is reference material to go back to if key stakeholders are absent.