4 Key Tips to Improve NAP Consistency on Google My Business

Determining an NAP or (Name, Address, and Phone number.) is critical for retail stores to be easily found. This is why this information must be correct and up to date across the web to rank high in organic and local searches.

When users search for product or store information, Google performs searches with a business’s NAP information to decide which stores to display. Therefore, it is important that retail store owners make sure their NAP information is in a business’ Google My Business Account. Doing so will make it easier to appear in listings across the web.

Here are some tips to keep your NAP Consistency regulated and maintained.

1) Make a NAP Format and Stick to It

There are a few things to consider when creating a NAP format. Most importantly, you need to ensure that your NAP format is consistent across all of your online platforms.

Another thing to consider is how to best display your NAP. Some businesses choose to use a badge with their NAP on it. Others choose to use their NAP as text on their website.

2) List Your Business Under Local Categories

Google My Business allows entrepreneurs to list their business under up to five categories to help people find the type of business that they are looking for.

Here are some of the categories your business can be classified under:

  • Bank or financial institution
  • Clothing store
  • Golf course
  • Health club
  • Lodging
  • Movie theater
  • Park
  • Restaurant
  • Retail store
  • Shopping mall

Get creative with the categories that you use. You may find that you have more than one category that you can use.

3) Use Different Social Media Platforms

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to social media is that they only use one platform. They might use Facebook, but they don’t use Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. Or they might use Twitter, but they don’t use Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat.

You can use the same content on each platform, but you need to change the way that you use it. Each social media platform is optimized for specific kinds of content. When you can maximize that, you can successfully spread your NAP.

4) Highlight Your NAP on the Website

Your website is one of the best places to put your NAP. You want to highlight it on the first page of your website. Ideally, you can put it in the sidebar or the header. You can also put it in the side panels that are applicable to you.

It’s important to have your Google My Business listing visible in several places on your website, including the homepage, contact page, and header/footer. You should also consider embedding a Google Map of your business address on your contact page. This helps with local SEO.

Conclusion

Google My Business is a powerful tool for local businesses and should be used in tandem with other local SEO strategies. If your business is not listed on Google My Business, you are missing out on an opportunity to increase your visibility and attract new customers.

Nerdalert Solutions is here to provide you with guidance on building your online presence. We are an SEO company in Riverside that can help you out. Get in touch with us today!

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A Guide to ADA Compliance: What Does It Mean for Websites?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance standards are a set of guidelines that organizations must follow to become accessible to people with disabilities. This includes people who use computers and smart devices. ADA compliance is an effort to make organizations inclusive and accessible to all people. By becoming accessible to all people, organizations can grow.

A Guide to ADA Compliance: What Does It Mean for Websites?

ADA compliance refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is a set of laws that protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. These laws cover a wide range of areas, including employment, education, transportation, and access to public places. ADA compliance also extends to websites, meaning that all website owners must take steps to ensure that their sites are accessible to everyone, regardless of ability.

There are a few different ways to make a website compliant with the ADA. The most common method is to use web accessibility software, which can help to identify and fix any accessibility issues on your site. You can also hire a web accessibility consultant to review your site and make recommendations for improvements. Finally, you can use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to self-evaluate your site and make sure it meets all of the necessary standards.

Why Is ADA Compliance Important?

ADA compliance is important because it ensures that everyone has the same opportunities to access information and use services online. For people with disabilities, having a website that is accessible can make a big difference in their ability to participate in the online world.

In addition, ADA compliance is becoming increasingly important from a legal standpoint. In recent years, there have been a number of high-profile lawsuits filed against companies whose websites were not accessible to people with disabilities. In many cases, these lawsuits have resulted in significant settlements. As a result, it is important for all website owners to take steps to ensure that their sites are compliant with the ADA.

How Can I Make My Website ADA Compliant?

There are a number of ways that you can ensure that your website is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. First, you should check to see if your site has all of the required features and functionality. The ADA requires that all websites be able to provide the same level of functionality to users with disabilities that they would be able to provide to users without disabilities. If your site does not provide the same level of functionality, you may need to add some features or make some changes.

Second, you should check to see if your site is compatible with screen reading software. Screen reading software is used by many people with disabilities in order to be able to access and use websites. If your site is not compatible with screen reading software, you may need to make some changes in order to make it compatible.

Third, you should check to see if your site is accessible to people who use assistive technology. Assistive technology includes a wide range of devices and software that can be used by people with disabilities in order to access and use websites. If your site is not accessible to people who use assistive technology, you may need to make some changes in order to make it accessible.

Finally, you should check to see if your site is accessible to people with disabilities who use text-based browsers. Text-based browsers are used by many people with disabilities in order to be able to access and use websites. If your site is not accessible to people who use text-based browsers, you may need to make some changes in order to make it accessible.

Conclusion

Creating an accessible website is not as difficult as it may seem. By following the tips in this article, you can create a site that is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

If you are looking for a creative agency in California, come to Nerdalert Solutions. Nerdalert Solutions is a Digital Marketing Agency offering local marketing, and digital marketing company strategies based in Riverside. We are your local marketing experts! Search Engine Optimization Digital Marketing Social Media Marketing Web Design Nerds!

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8 Web Design Tips to Improve Loading and Performance

Designing a website isn’t always about the aesthetics or the overall look of it. While the design itself matters a lot, the speed and efficiency of your website should also be at the top of your list. Now, designing a website that is both fast and efficient can be a daunting task. However, by following a few simple tips, you can create a website that both looks great and performs well. In this article, we will discuss some of the best ways to design a fast and efficient website.

1. Track Your Website’s Performance

Tracking your website’s performance is essential for ensuring that it is running as efficiently as possible. There are a number of tools and services that can help you do this, such as Google PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom. By tracking your website’s performance, you can identify any areas that need improvement and make the necessary changes.

2. Optimize Your Images

Images are an important part of any website, but they can also slow it down if they are not properly optimized. To optimize your images, you should save them in the correct file format and compress them to reduce the file size. You can also use a plugin like WP Smush to automatically optimize your images.

3. Minimize HTTP Requests

Every time a user visits a web page, their browser sends an HTTP request to the server. The more requests a website makes, the longer it will take to load. Therefore, it’s important to minimize the number of HTTP requests your website makes. To achieve this, you need to combine files wherever possible and use CSS instead of images for styling.

4. Use a Cache Plugin

A cache plugin can help speed up the loading of your website by caching your website’s static files (images, JavaScript, CSS, etc.). This will allow the browser to load these files from its local cache, which will result in a faster loading website. There are many different cache plugins available, so be sure to choose one that is compatible with your theme and other plugins.

5. Minimize the Use of Plugins

Plugins are often responsible for slowing down a website. If possible, minimize the use of plugins or use lighter alternatives.

6. Use a Fast Web Host

The type of web host you’re using plays a big role in the speed and performance of your website. Make sure to choose a reputable and fast web host to ensure that your website loads quickly for your users. Some considerations when choosing a web host include the number of servers they have, their response time, and the amount of bandwidth they offer.

7. Rely on a CDN

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers that caches web content for faster distribution. By using a CDN, you can reduce the load time of your website by sending requests to the nearest server. There are dozens of different CDNs available, so be sure to choose one that is compatible with your theme and other plugins.

8. Use JavaScript Sparingly

JavaScript is a powerful programming language that is used to create interactive web pages. While it can make your website more dynamic, it can also slow it down if not used properly. To avoid this, you should only use JavaScript when necessary and minify your code to reduce the file size.

Conclusion

Making your business website fast and efficient is key to attracting more customers and maximizing its potential. By following some simple tips, you can ensure that your company’s website loads quickly and is easy to use. Additionally, using online tools can help you optimize your website and make it even more efficient and reduce loading times.

If you want to make sure your website is running at peak performance at all times, it’s best to seek help from a professional web designer or developer. Nerdalert Solutions has the answer for you through our digital marketing services. We’re not here to just help you market your business, but we’re also a web design company in Riverside that can help you build a beautiful and functional website. Partner with us today, and let’s make your business stand out from the competition.

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Why You Should Give Google Analytics 4 a Chance Today

Google Analytics is useful for gathering data from people using your website. However, if you’re using Universal Analytics, which is the previous version of Google Analytics, you will need to switch to Google Analytics 4. Therefore, it’s time to update and use the latest version of the platform. Aside from that, there are other reasons you should make the switch.

Better and More Customizable Interface

The newest version of Google Analytics has an improved interface that makes it easier to view your performance data, which includes the new interface. The UI is also more customizable than it was with the previous version. If you want to make further changes to your website and the structure of your data, the latest version gives you that option.

Have More Control Over Custom Reporting

While Universal Analytics has a wide variety of custom reports to choose from, with Google Analytics 4 you can create custom reports that suit your needs. You can also choose which data from sources will be displayed in your custom report. 

More Detailed Reporting

With the latest version, you can view a detailed analysis of your site’s performance right on the dashboard. It’s the same with Universal Analytics, but this time, you can view detailed information about the performance of your website.

Better Real-Time Data

The real-time data feature in Google Analytics 4 allows you to track your website’s and mobile apps’ real-time performance. This means you can track your traffic and performance even faster than before.

Experience the New Automatic Tracking

One handy feature in Google Analytics version 4 is called ‘Enhanced Measurement’. This feature automatically tracks the number of actions users take on your website, including when they scroll, click outbound links, or watch embedded YouTube videos. This means there is no need to set up custom tracking as you had to in Universal Analytics. These actions are automatically tracked for you.

More Effective Data Exporting

With Google Analytics 4, you can export a large amount of data to any type of file. You can export as many or as few columns as you want. You also get to export data to a CSV file, which can be easily opened in Excel. You can now easily get your data out of Google Analytics and use it in any way you want.

More Robust Cross-Device and Cross-Platform Tracking

Cross-device and cross-platform tracking is an important feature of Google Analytics. With Google Analytics 4, you can track a user’s device and platform. You can view the site’s performance on a list of platforms and devices and see how your content performed for each device.

To Sum Up

All in all, switching to the new Google Analytics 4 is a good idea. The new version has more features and is more customizable than the previous version. It can help you track your website’s performance even easier. Once your website’s data has been cloned to the new version of Google Analytics, you can then easily view your site’s performance data.

Nerdalert Solutions is a marketing agency in California that offers local marketing. Get in touch with us!

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PageSpeed Optimization in 2022 and Its Importance

You may be wondering why your website’s bounce rate is so high or why your conversion rates aren’t higher. You’ve exerted so much effort into your web design, and you’re confident that your content is unique, relevant, and engaging. Even if the content is excellent, visitors can leave in a blink if your site loads too slowly.

PageSpeed optimization is a significant but often overlooked component of web design. Here, your trusted digital agency in California sheds light on this topic:

What Does PageSpeed Optimization Mean?

PageSpeed optimization is a collection of practices that aim to reduce a website’s load time. You can think of these practices as ways to improve the critical rendering path.

The critical rendering path refers to the tasks that a browser has to complete before it can render a page.

Making improvements to the critical rendering path improves a website’s loading time. These improvements also result in a better user experience.

PageSpeed optimization is also described as performance optimization, as speed is a critical contributing factor to site performance.

Why Does Page Speed Matter in 2022?

A website that loads too slowly is a turnoff for potential customers.

Most users have low interest in waiting for a website to load and a high willingness to abandon the site.

A one-second delay in page load results in an average loss of 7% in conversions.

This is why Google has released a new ranking signal for mobile-friendly sites. In addition to this, Google also penalized sites that load too slowly.

What Is LCP or Largest Contentful Paint?

The Largest Contentful Paint is a new performance metric that Google uses to evaluate website loading time. The Largest Contentful Paint is the first meaningful paint the browser displays on a page.

The page’s first meaningful paint is the first paint after a page’s content has fully loaded. The meaning of this term is that the page’s content becomes fully visible to a viewer. This also means that all page elements can be interacted with.

What Is FID or First Input Delay?

First Input Delay is another performance metric that Google uses to evaluate website loading time. First Input Delay refers to how long it takes for a user’s input to register after clicking on a site’s interactive element.

First Input Delay is what measures how long it takes for a user to interact with a site after the page has loaded.

First Input Delay is measured from the time the user clicks the element to the time the element responds.

What Is CLS or Cumulative Layout Shift?

Google uses CLS to evaluate website loading time and user experience. Cumulative Layout Shift is an indicator of scrolling performance.

Cumulative Layout Shift measures how often a layout reflows and blocks are added. A layout reflow takes place when elements in the page change their layout. A block is an area of the page containing a logical content unit.

Understanding PageSpeed Optimization

PageSpeed optimization is a complex subject.

However, you can still improve your page load time by making three basic optimizations.

You can increase your page’s speed by:

  • decreasing its total page load time
  • reducing the time spent in each of the page load phases 
  • improving the page’s connection time.

Conclusion

Knowing more about PageSpeed optimization is a great way to better understand how websites work. It is also an excellent way to learn about modern website design practices.

PageSpeed optimization is an integral part of website design, and it has a direct impact on your site’s loading time.

This is why you should take the time to understand this vital subject.

If you have any questions about PageSpeed optimization, you can contact an established digital agency in your area that can answer your queries and provide you with the right solutions, too. 

Nerdalert Solutions is a digital marketing agency in California that can help you with PageSpeed optimization and other services that can help your business grow online. Contact our experts today to learn more!

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How to Improve Your Website Speed This 2022: 3 Vital Tips

Website page speed is a vital optimization factor for search engines. Google and other search engines use page speed as a ranking factor.

In fact, Google said that they use site speed as part of their ranking algorithm. They are taking websites’ loading speed into account in their ranking algorithm.

And search engines are the most critical sites for driving traffic to your website. Traffic leads to increased website visibility, and increased visibility drives more traffic.

Improving your website’s load time increases the number of visitors to your site. More visitors to your site means more potential customers, more leads, more opportunities to close sales, and higher revenue.

Here’s how you can achieve that in 2022!

Tip 1: Optimize the Images on Your Site

Images are typically the heaviest elements on a website. And as we all know, mobile devices are responsible for the vast majority of traffic these days. That means that your images are being shown on mobile devices too. If your site’s images are heavy, you risk decreasing your site’s speed.

To optimize your site’s images, you have to compress them. The two most common methods for compressing an image are:

  1. Compressing an image using a dedicated image editor (like Photoshop or Gimp). If you’re a Shopify user, there’s good news for you! Shopify has a built-in image compression tool, which will compress all the images on your site automatically.
  2. The other method to optimize your site’s images is to resize them appropriately. You don’t need a huge image to display on your website.

Tip 2: Convert GIFs Into Video Format

Animated GIFs are popular on e-commerce websites. However, GIFs are heavy and slow. If you replace your GIFs with videos, you can decrease your site’s loading time.

Shopify users can use a powerful app called Loom. Loom uses a third-party tool called GIF Optimizer, which is a very powerful tool that converts your GIFs into video format. The best part? You can do so with just one click!

Tip 3: Audit Your Analytics and Trackers

We often use too many websites and apps to track our progress. We use Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Salesforce, Hubspot, AdWords, Twitter, and many more.

These tools and apps track and record users’ actions and activities using tracking code. The problem is that each tracking code you add to your website decreases your website’s loading time.

Fortunately, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Tool to audit your website’s tracking code.

When you submit your website to the tool, it will analyze it and show you a list of tracking codes. You can select the tracking code you want to remove and submit your website again. Google will show you a list of the tracking codes it removed. It also gives you an estimate of your website’s page speed improvement.

Conclusion

Improving your website’s speed is essential. But it’s only the first step. There are a lot of other things you can do to improve your site’s loading speed. This article summarizes the best practices you must follow to achieve your 2022 website goals. These best practices will help reduce your website’s loading time and improve the user experience.

You can get more information about these best practices if you work with a digital agency that is well-versed with the latest. Nerdalert Solutions is a web development company in Riverside that can help you improve your website performance. Work with us today!

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The Various UX/UI Benefits and Trends This 2022

The past year was a big one for UI design, and this year is shaping up to be just as eventful. The trends that emerged in response to the challenges of 2021 are likely to continue to evolve 2022 as new tools and technologies become available. That said, it is important to know each and every one of them so that we may be able to make the most of them.

Below are just a few notable examples.

1. Dark Mode

Dark Mode is nothing new, but in 2022 it became more popular. This is a feature that allows users to switch from the regular background to a darker one. A dark mode makes it easier on the eyes and is more suitable for night usage. Some companies like Twitter and Facebook have introduced dark modes for their users. The concept might sound simple, but it is quite hard to get your head around. Designing with dark mode requires a lot of thought and consideration.

2. Voice UI

This is, in fact, one of the most innovative UI trends of 2022. The introduction of voice UI has led to the demise of buttons and handles. With voice UI, the whole process is automated. You just have to speak, and the machine will do everything that you ask it to do. It is also very efficient as well. Voice UI is also making things easier for the user. It is, in fact, very convenient to ask a machine to do what you want than to go through the troubles of finding the relevant buttons and handles.

3. Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality is no longer something out of sci-fi movies. It is an everyday thing. It has been, in fact, designed to make your life easier. In 2022, seeing people using their VR devices everywhere was not unusual. In fact, it has now become a basic need in many people’s lives. With VR, you can do a lot of things like watch movies and TV shows, listen to music and even attend a meeting. All you need is to put on the VR glasses, and you are good to go.

4. Scroll-Hijacking

As you browse through your feed, you will find that content is automatically loading as you scroll down the screen. This is called scroll hijacking. This is a good strategy for brands as it ensures that their attention is held for longer periods of time. This allows brands to get their message across or sell their product as the user is engaged for longer periods.

5. Vertical Videos

The introduction of high definition has been the reason for the emergence of vertical videos. With the consistent increase in the demand for high-resolution content, it is not a surprise that videos too had to change. Vertical videos allow you to get more content on a single screen. With more and more users preferring mobile phones, vertical videos are definitely the way to go. The introduction of Instagram TV has also popularized this trend.

6. Glassmorphism

We have already seen a lot of physical changes and alterations. This, however, is something new. It is the addition of physical and digital elements to enhance the user experience. The result is a blend of the two physical and digital worlds. In 2022, we saw this brought about by wearables, smart furniture, and even countertops. This trend is changing our perception of the physical world and reshaping how we interact.

Conclusion

Some of the trends that we have outlined above might not necessarily take off in 2022. However, it is not difficult to see that they are definitely shaping up to be the trends of tomorrow. The way we use interfaces and how we interact with machines will be totally different from how we do it today. One thing is certain – as we go deeper into the future, the changes that we will see will be huge.

If you are looking for a reliable web design company in Riverside, CA, look no further than our expertise here at Nerdalert Solutions. We are a Digital Marketing Agency offering local marketing, and digital marketing company strategies based in Riverside. Call us today and let us boost your website’s UX/UI in no time!

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5 Factors to Consider in Creating a HIPAA-Compliant Website

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a law protecting patients’ privacy to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI). The rules apply to all types of PHI, even those available on digital platforms like the internet.

Not every website must abide by the HIPAA compliance guidelines. However, if the website collects, displays, stores, processes, and transmits PHI, creating a HIPAA-compliant website should be the company’s utmost priority. But which factors should doctors, hospital managers, and other professionals in the medical industry consider in making a HIPAA-compliant website? Here are some ideas.

1. SSL Certificate

The first key security measure is to have an SSL Certificate installed. Your website uses HTTPS to communicate with users. It ensures that their communication is encrypted and protected from cybercriminals. It’s a vital tool in protecting your company from e-criminals as well.

2. Chosen Server

Choosing the correct server for your website is also an essential factor in creating a HIPAA-compliant website. It should be secure, compliant, and above all, reliable. If the server is not dedicated, it could affect the availability and performance of your website, which are essential in meeting the privacy and security requirements.

3. Encryption

Encryption is an essential step in creating a HIPAA-compliant website. To protect the data being transmitted to and from your website, it’s vital to have HTTPS installed and encrypted form fields. More importantly, the encryption is not only applied to the data in transit but also to the data that is being stored in your database.

4. Access Control

Access control is another crucial factor in creating a HIPAA-compliant website. In this case, access control means segregation of duties between the company’s employees and the IT department or code writers. The former shouldn’t be able to modify the code. It brings us to the next point.

5. Audit Trail

Another critical factor for companies in creating a HIPAA-compliant website is the audit trail. You must know who has modified your website, when, and how. It also helps you identify any code breaches. The audit trail must be kept in a secure location and should not be accessible by anyone other than the HIPAA compliance officer or auditors.

Importance of Complying with HIPAA

When it comes to HIPAA, the main objective of the law is to protect patients’ privacy. The HIPAA Privacy Rule applies to all covered entities that use or disclose protected health information (PHI). The covered entities are health plans, hospitals, physician offices, pharmacies, and many more healthcare providers.

The HIPAA Security Rule regulates how covered entities deal with electronically protected health information (ePHI). It explains how to safeguard ePHI from breaches and unauthorized access. The HIPAA Act is enforced through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Any entity that violates the HIPAA regulations could be subject to fines of up to $50,000 and $1.5 million per violation if the violation were intentional.

Conclusion

Creating a HIPAA-compliant website is not for the faint at heart. You must ensure that you have the right team, that you’re using the most secure and compliant technologies, and that your website’s design and functionality are pleasing to the eyes and safe.

If you’re unsure how to create a HIPAA-compliant website, you can always get help from a HIPAA Compliance Company like Nerdalert Solutions. We can ensure that your website meets the requirements set by HIPAA to ensure seamless business.

Nerdalert Solutions is a creative agency offering digital marketing solutions. Our goal is to help clients build a website catered to their needs. We also provide reputation management, ensuring companies the assistance they need in building their online presence. Take the following steps in making your business stand out by booking an appointment with us today.

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Ethics In User Experience Design – Usability Geek

Ethics In User Experience Design

Professional ethics exists in various fields, but how does it manifest itself in user experience design? What can be done to provide users with products that put their interests up front, and how do brands do it?

User experience design is a term that has many different layers. Those who practice it are paving the way for users to interact with a product. Decisions are based on this fact. Some decisions may result in a limitation of the users’ actions or doing things that the user would not necessarily choose.

The area of ethics in user experience design lies on a scale that ranges from providing complete freedom for users, up to making all the decisions for them.

As a part of our daily routine, user experience designers “hack” into the thought patterns of their users. When they succeed, it very likely results in the success of the product itself. The process starts by choosing which options are available, while limiting personalization capabilities. It continues through stages where the flow dictates the user’s actions using learning steps, reaching the point where the system benefits from predicting behavioural patterns.

I would define an ethical challenge as the moment when the line of making seemingly-motiveless decisions that serve the interests of the system over those of the user, is crossed.

Why should we care at all? Well, if we are the ones who plan the processes and make the decisions, these are topics that ought to be addressed from a professional standpoint. No one would like to be labelled as the creator of an app that makes its users feel uncomfortable to interact with. For company owners, it is even more significant. Users today have a developed sense of critique. They voluntarily leave reviews in app stores, use stars to rate, invest time in conversations about the product/service, etc. You would probably like to avoid a PR crisis or a product failure which originated from poor planning, especially when it is relatively easy to prevent by putting your mind to it and gaining trust.

What Do Ethics Have to do with User Experience Design?

Every project requires planning from scratch, and no axiomatic assumptions should be made. Even if something proved effective for one target audience, it does not mean that the same process would work again for a different set of users.

Depending on the project, you are at liberty of taking a number of decisions. For example, you can decide how limiting the onboarding process would be or whether or not you should gamify the process that is leading to a review prompt. You can choose what data to display and what to hide (ideally, basing this on research results). You can decide what should be animated so as to create an emotion before making a decision. These are just some of the various decisions you can take for the benefit of the product. Such decisions have crucial importance for a product since manipulation attempts will very likely irritate users and cause them to leave, or close their account and delete the app. In three words: “that escalated quickly”, and in four: “influencing the user’s opinion”. Users usually make up their minds and accumulate a sense of comfort towards your product faster than you might think.

Ethics in user experience design is not a binding rule, but rather a collection of professional tips that would help you improve your product for your target users. The goal of this article is to create understanding and familiarity with this concept in various applications, so you could group these hunches with your common sense, beginning with your current projects.

Occasionally, while working, I find myself asking ethical questions regarding micro-actions and processes regarding registration, requests for permissions, monetizations and more. For each project, I consider what is the best solution. After collecting several solid ideas, I am sharing with you some of the dilemmas and the solutions I have found. I hope that you would benefit from that, regardless if you are the UX researcher, the product manager or even the CEO.

Recently, for example, I have noticed that Waze’s “Go Invisible” option was bumped up the menu. Waze stresses the social aspect of their app (traffic reports, chatter, seeing friends on the move, even carpool), and yet, they chose to put this option up front. This seemingly opposes their general philosophy. I assume they faced a choice between wanting to showcase active audience in a social network of drivers, and the freedom the drivers have to become invisible, and the latter won.

True, the notion is anything but new in social media apps, from Skype to the happy days of ICQ, we could do the ingenious action of being connected without being seen. Since then, in my opinion, values that deal with the users’ benefits (such as the need for privacy) have triumphed over the social/commercial need.

See the wisdom behind this. In such cases, potential users who would otherwise hesitate about trying the product, feel less threatened and more inclined to try it out. I assume that if Waze were not offering the option to disappear, the abandonment rate would go up or at least several users would consider the app nosey. So, flexibility towards the user’s needs can prove beneficial. Also, allowing users to choose the level of data access permissions, or not requiring many from the start, would allow more untrusting users on the bandwagon – people who are not feeling forced. In other words, users who object sharing personal data would try your product too. Therefore, a system that allows new and curious users to operate in an “unregistered” mode wins.

Every Product and its Ethical Questions

It is not always obvious, so, if you have any suspicion or ethical challenge during the creation of a flow for example, just put the question through the following filter: in a conflict of interests, do the user’s interests win? Meaning, no wasting time, no invasion of personal privacy, no unnecessary limitations and so on.

Can you answer that? Great! You are halfway there.

On one hand, multiple options = freedom to act

In the blue corner of the ring, we are placing the liberal principles of providing maximum personalization options and complete freedom. We expect the user to adjust the parameters however he/she sees fit. Here, all the questions are asked, all the possibilities are presented, and users are free to do as they please. Thus, they claim responsibility for their actions, whereas we, the designers of the system, are presenting the full scale of the system in the easiest and clearest way we can arrange the interface. In such cases, the user is expected to waste much time, as at any moment it is possible to backtrack and change parameters, settings and whatnot. Tinkering with the system itself can be never-ending.

Freedom is the main benefit, and the stage is set for the user, with maximum assistance for every action they might want to perform.

On the other hand, limiting the user = preventing errors

On the opposing red corner, find principles of conservatism and wrapping up the user. Here, we will not assume the user comprehends the entire gravity of their choices. We will ask as few questions as we can, with most choices being pre-made. In such cases, it is common to see a closed circuit of onboarding/tutorial that showcases the options, allowing the user to confirm only the most crucial choices (while being asked just once). Here, we strive to get the system as foolproof as we can. Consecutively, the interface would be linear, reduced and efficient, while guiding the user into performing specific actions without having to mess around with the system. Some might say that this is the optimal experience and the manifestation of respect to the user’s time.

This scenario is very much similar to how in the iOS interface, the “closeness” of elements allows the planning of streamlined processes, thus making the experience more consistent.

How much emphasis to bestow unto each approach

In reality, things are not black and white (…but rather, red and blue). Let me explain.

Let us take a banking app. Depositing a cheque would require the app to walk the user hand in hand, confirm multiple times while checking the balance and should not require any specific assistance. Meaning: when facing an action with significant consequences, where no mistakes are allowed, we need to lead our users, while confirming the understanding of each step and pacing by them.

Alternatively, think of states in which you have no direct control over, let us say, Gmail’s or Google Docs autosave features at intervals. Changes are saved automatically, sometimes allowing you to view the drafts or change history. As opposed to the banking app, there is no escorting. The decision has been made for you. Even if you are an above-average user, you cannot choose when to auto-save. Any negative implications for auto-saving? Virtually none.

Have you ever thought about the question “should your credit card details be saved for future purchases?” and whether it is toggled by default? (Hint: if it is on, someone has been relying on the statistic that a user would refrain from doing any additional action he/she is not sure about). Even though it might be easier not to retype the details, the system designer, in this case, is willing to compromise the data and to a certain degree, this decision is being taken in the light that it is in the system’s interests). The default might tell you, as users, a great deal about the intentions of the system’s planners.

Using passwords: A problematic topic from its very core, passwords are tough to remember and to type them cumbersome. However, the system is still expected to do whatever is possible to keep the account, data and password safe. Sometimes, the experience would be “educating” to the point of frustration: “you should use at least eight characters, one capital letter, digit and special symbol at the very least”. True story. In such situations, try to think of an action that would be a reasonable compromise for the user that would save future attempts to reset forgotten passwords. Example? Social login (Google/Facebook/Twitter), external confirmation (email/SMS), or even providing a little “life hack” to your users on how to remember passwords. The system loves me!

Newsletter registration: It is quite obvious that whoever builds a registration form is interested that users would sign up. On the other hand, as users ourselves, most of us can attest the problems in newsletters. You have been participating in a conversation online, and the next thing you know, you are getting a newsletter, ads and notifications of new posts without explicitly opting. So, should we pre-check opt-in checkboxes or not?

Social networks: If we think of Facebook’s default settings for a moment, when commenting, unless set otherwise, you will be notified of every new comment. It is true that it is useful (to keep track of the conversation), but there is no ignoring the fact that Facebook benefits from you returning over and over to check your notifications. The fear of missing out (or being left out, in this case) can become addicting eventually. I am quite certain that they have considered the number of notifications to walk the fine line between being informative and wasting time.

A recent feature has been introduced on Facebook. Besides (not instead) the notifications we are used to seeing, comments on someone’s wall post pop up in a seemingly “chat window”, next to the “regular” chats. For example, if I have congratulated someone, and they thanked me, it pops in the form of a conversation window, encouraging me to keep the conversation going (take note – publicly). For Facebook, it is close to a magical feature. A small change in a familiar pattern, yet one that increases user engagement. You are used to seeing private chats appear this way, so the primary instinct would be to divert attention there and keep on chatting.

There is no debate over the fact that if you want any product to survive, one major long-term goal is always to make the users come back and act over and over again. That being said, users who feel burdened by distractions demanded by less-important visuals would probably be irritated when being forced to divert their attention.

To summarise this part: The dilemmas grow more and more significant when the actions become more “critical”. As mentioned, when money can be accessed (PayPal, or apps that allow purchases and money transfers), it is advisable to make the process slightly longer to eliminate mistakes, even though it might be tempting to design a system that “compels” the user to make such an action quickly. We, as the experience planners, can make such choices. Everyone is rooting for ease of access and lightness of processes. Still, you might not want to be held responsible for making an instant loan request process too easy and impulsive, even though it might make the financial institution that provides the loan euphoric.

Guidelines to Resolve Ethical Dilemmas in UX Design

I have compiled seven guidelines that would help your users benefit from your choices, and I hope it might help you when making decisions:

1. Foolproof it

Even when that means “taking the wheel”. If the user is clearly heading for an action they might regret, plan ahead and prevent it. Think about the scenario of a highlighted save button when attempting to close an unsaved document. It is like stating: “We understand that you might regret leaving now, so, at the very least, we would like to show you the action you are assumed to prefer”. In most cases, this action should reversible.

2. Be the good guys and girls!

As a typical user, what would you expect to happen? Would you like to be signed in automatically to the mailing list? Would you like to see a summary before wiring money away to an account you have never wired money to before? Would you trust the app to have access to your personal and/or social media accounts? In such cases, keeping the best interests of the average user is probably the correct answer.

3. Yeah, science!

There are dozens of tools that allow you to conduct research. Whether it is a data analysis or the creation of an alternative page/site/app/feature, use real data to reach conclusions regarding the things your users prefer and how they react. The average developer should be able to tweak a simple form in moments, allowing you to see if the existence of a particular field affects conversion. So get it checked where doubt exists.

4. Correct data hierarchy

It is advisable to avoid any difficulty in accessing options the system is advertised to provide and making the user waste time in vain. Windows 10 users, for example, you are welcome to see whether it is easy to change the screen resolution as it used to be in previous versions.

5. Do not fear change

Even after a decision has been made, there is no reason to feel too attached to it. Gather feedback, take it into account, reply to your users and remember that the ones who bother to complain are those that are inclined to like your product. They are the users who invest the time to provide feedback. Also, you can always leverage a flow change for a new version upload that would benefit your PR.

6. Read the room

Nowadays it is safe to say that every product has a market share that used to (or expects) a certain user experience. Get to know the patterns and the audience. In case you have chosen to provide more options for a more advanced user base while giving up a bit of “streamline”-ness, make sure you understand tip #4. Alternatively, opting to provide fewer variables to more basic users should go hand in hand with having the interface teach the “game plan” in the best way possible.

7. Small bites

Facebook (and every company in the big data game) are known to be able to change the interfaces for billions of users on a whim, for better or worse. That is why they implement changes gradually: remember the frequent timeline changes? The registration for the new timeline layout (for users who wanted to see it first)? That is how you do it. Reveal features gradually or run several versions of your product in parallel (yes, A/B testing is advisable), and collect user feedback and data. This will make data gathering easier, diminish the feeling of intolerance towards existing users and reduce hurting the user base.

A Word on User Testing

User testing is a subject often raised when discussing ethics. I beleive that conducting user tests, knowingly or otherwise, yields a vast source of knowledge and provides the means for gathering data to evaluate. There are many ways to conduct research, whether it requires sitting next to users and watching them use the product, recording their actions or providing customised versions for specific crowds, and anything in-between.

As opposed to meeting your users in person or virtually, anything that is being done “behind the curtains”, whether the users are aware or not, has a layer of ethics on top of it. Every user of the Waze beta program is mindful of the fact that they get the chance to experience the latest features ahead of everyone. Whereas errors and even inability to use the app are not rare, at least, the user is aware of what to expect.

A/B testing is conducted, when versions of an active product are being operated side by side without the user being aware that they are a test subject. A particular question is in order: “is it OK to have users try things out without knowing, in the benefit of making the product better for everyone?”. Very often, the answer is yes, it is fine, as long as there is no harm done and no personal data is revealed. Indeed, a small percentage of users might face difficulties, but the aim is that the test is limited appropriately and the results are worth the trouble. This is particularly applicable in products that are provided free of charge. Some would prefer the chance for small, controlled instability, with the purpose of making the experience improve for the greater good.

There are those who have done something about it. Ind.ie are a Swedish duo who attempt to be the pioneers of technological ethics. In many aspects of it, interface planning included. You are welcome to watch them speak here:

In Conclusion

Ethical challenges often arise while planning and creating the initial wireframes, and particular ethical difficulties continue to rise during the product planning stage. It is advisable to conduct properly to avoid negative public opinion and trust pitfalls in the future.

I suggest thinking ahead about where the user is to be given freedom of choice, and where choices are to be made for him/her, in an attempt to provide the best experience possible and respect their time. In which cases we would prefer to point towards the “correct” action, so we will prevent errors, misunderstandings and keep things reversible. The field of ethics in UX planning is devoid of fixed rules and guidelines. Choices are measured in actions: how do users perceive your product and how much do they eventually trust it.

Consider the character of the product and its message. Within these frames, choose the amount of freedom you would like to provide. Base these decisions on research, tests and your personal experience as users (do not be afraid to make changes accordingly). You should strive to understand the product you are planning, both as a creator and as a user.

The most useful advice I can probably give you is to be as friendly to your users as possible. Keep their best interests in mind, and you will eventually benefit from it. Let them enjoy trusting you while feeling comfortable using the product, whether it is free or costly, simple or complex. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I have originally published a similar version of this article in Israeli on GeekTime and I have adapted it in English for UsabilityGeek.

http://usabilitygeek.com/ethics-in-user-experience-design/

On – 04 Apr, 2017 By Hila Yonatan

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A Guide for CMOs on the Integration of Social Media with Traditional Marketing • blogbrown

 

Digital transformation has shown us a new face of
marketing.

With the increased use of electronic gadgets and the IoT
(Internet of Things), the gap between businesses and customers
have reduced to a great extent. Finally, businesses realized
the importance of digital marketing and started hiring in-house
digital marketers.

Marketing mostly deals with the
advertisement and promotion of products. Marketers should make
a continuous search for the platforms where they can interact
with more people. In this context,
social media evolves as the next big advertising platform

after television and print media.

And in reality, it goes beyond them.

Social Media Marketing and Strategies

Nicholas Lamphere of Harvard University
defines social media as:

  • “A media for interaction using
    highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.”

Social media acts as the nexus that connects around 2
billion
netizens worldwide. It would seem that social
media is a treasure trove of potential customers.

Leveraging the social media networks for business is
called social media marketing.

If you are a blogger, you can
generate traffic for your business
. A service or
product-based business can advertise and promote their services
and products. These are the ways that businesses can use social
media.

Your specific strategies, however, depend on the niche of
your business. There are
so many social media networks available
. Each platform
allows marketers to function in different ways. So, you have to
determine which platforms serve you the best.

Social Media Integration in Business

Social media is the perfect place for:

  • Brand promotion
  • Lead generation
  • Customer support
  • Customer relations management

The number of social users increases rapidly as the
business invests more time and resources into social
media.

As per the recent reports of the CMO’s survey, the
social media spending of businesses is above
10%.

And it seems that spending may rise dramatically.
According to the report, the spending will see a 3%
rise
 in the next 12 months and will be
doubled
in the next five years.

In the below infographics,
you can see the social spending of B2B in 2016:

In the below table, you can see the social spending of
B2B and B2C businesses:

social-media-spent-over-years

If you observe the table, B2C services are
investing more on social media
marketing when compared to other businesses. This reason
is due to more exposure to their audience.

Well, the overall spending is in a healthy state.

But when they were surveyed about the
integration of social media marketing with their
current marketing strategies, the results are not as
encouraging. CMOs are still failing in implementing strong
social media strategies.

Here is the report of the CMO’s survey where they
inquired the chiefs of around 289 businesses in the US about
the integration of SMM strategies with their business.

They scaled up the answers from 1-7:

  • 1 being not integrated.
  • 7 being well-integrated.
  • The mean level of the integration is 4.2.

survey-on-social-media-integration

As per the social media marketing industry
report (Michael A. Stelzner, 2016):

  • 23% of social marketers strongly
    agreed
    that they have integrated social media
    strategies with their traditional marketing
    strategies.
  • 58% marketers simply “agreed”.

integration-of-smm

  • And 40% of marketers feel that SMM has become
    harder
    than it was a year ago.

smm-difficulty

In such a case, social CMOs should hone
their strategies
to get the best outcomes from social
media.

What should the CMOs do?

The younger
generations
are more familiar with social media networks. A
junior employee can know more about social media sites when
compared to the CMO of the business. We can call the junior
staff digital natives.

Digital natives can create good business pages on various
social sites. Digital natives can make outstanding
content. But digital natives may not know the best marketing
route to get the desired effect. They need guidance.

It is an undeniable fact that marketing, be it
traditional or digital, deals with strategies. And this is why
a social CMO, whose primary responsibility is to make
strategies, is good for social marketing.

So the CMOs should keep three things in mind for better
social media outcomes:

1. Give a break to the figures

Most marketers are thinking about their social media
figures:

  • Facebook likes
  • YouTube views
  • Twitter retweets
  • +1s on Google Plus
  • etc.

Of course, these figures are important. But they are not
the most important.

The count of people you have doesn’t matter as much as
what you do with those people.

Simply guide your digital natives around increasing the
amount of likes. They will take care of it.

Once you get those likes, you have to focus on how to
turn your social audience into your loyal customers.

2. Enhance the social skills of your staff

As a CMO, you are the driving force of your business’s
social media success. But you can’t do everything.

As said earlier, your junior staff are likely already
very active on social media. So nurture their skills with
proper training on how to use social media for
business.

There are many
social media management tools
that can manage your
campaigns and
help in generating leads for your business
. Train your
staff on using these tools effectively. Let them know how to
determine targeted users and make conversions.

This mix of strategy and social media skills can do
wonders for your business.

3. Measure performance

Now you have some great social media strategies and a
well-trained team. And you are making good campaigns on social
media. But how do you analyze your performance?

Different businesses have different goals in social media
marketing:

  • Some marketers want to increase their brand
    awareness.
  • Some want to generate leads.
  • Some want to make more conversions.

As a CMO, you have to maintain a checklist of
what outcomes you want from your social media campaigns. We can
call the checklist points key performance
indicators (KPIs).

There are many such KPIs to help you check whether you
are making any difference in your marketing. Let’s have a look
at them:

Key Performance Indicators

1. Rise in engagement

As said above, different marketers need different things
from social media. Facebook likes matter for some marketers and
YouTube views matter for others.

The increase in each parameter indicates your
success.

If you are a retail marketer, measure CTR for your
content on social media and for your sponsored posts. A rise in
these parameters can indicate the increased visibility of your
business on social media.

If you want to use social media for CRM, measure the
feedback for the support you provide on Twitter and
Facebook.

2. Conversions

In terms of digital marketing, getting someone to perform
the desired action is known as a conversion.
In a social media context, getting a response from your
call-to-action is the conversion (a key performance
indicator).

For example, you want to increase registrations on your
website. You use the call-to-action ‘Register’ in your
campaigns. The number of registrations you get from the
campaigns is the measurement of your performance.

You have to measure two types of conversions:

  1. Conversions on your website.
  2. Conversions on social media.

You might want to try
different types of content
on your website to attract your
users. Determine what kind of content gets you more conversions
and make more of that content.

On social media, you may have tried different kinds of
campaigns. Measure how much budget you have allocated for each
campaign and plan how you want to manage your budget depending
on each performance.

3. Sentiment analysis

As people are so expressive on social media, you can
easily measure the sentiment.

Knowing what the public is saying about your brand is a
very important thing.

As a CMO of a business, you are responsible for the
reputation
of your brand. So, you have to know what your
users are thinking about your brand. There are many tools available that analyze
sentiment
.

4. ROI

ROI is possibly the most important KPI.

When you are investing valuable time, money, and effort,
it is so important to make sure you are getting worthy returns.
As per the social media industry report:

  • Only 41% of marketers said that they are
    able to measure ROI.
  • 37% of marketers are still
    uncertain.

roi-measure

But social media is not just for posting content and
getting likes.

It’s a great place for generating leads and driving more
traffic to your website. But this doesn’t happen so easily. It
costs you time, money, and resources.

You have to get the best possible outcomes from social
media. So, CMOs need to measure the social media ROI.

Conclusion

Awareness, targeting, and lead generation (the
trifecta of marketing),
 have become easier with
social media marketing.

As of now, there are around 2.35 billion social
media users
in the world. And it is predicted that
there will be 3 billion by
2020. 

Integrating social media marketing with your traditional
marketing strategies should become the most prioritized task of
CMOs. They should utilize their young talent and implement
potential strategies to make a prosperous business in today’s
digital era.

What are your thoughts on this article? Share your comments
below!

Did you like this post? Share it with your friends on
Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus!

 

http://www.blogbrown.com/a-guide-for-cmos-on-the-integration-of-social-media-with-traditional-marketing/

On – 30 Mar, 2017 By

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