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Let Your Users’ Fingers Do The Talking (UI Design & Testing)

While the Windows team at Microsoft faced widespread shock and dismay at the radical UI changes in Windows 8, feedback from users helps them to shape the OS into what the world wants it to be, and they've accelerated their typical release schedule.

While the Windows team at Microsoft faced widespread shock and dismay at the radical UI changes in Windows 8, feedback from users helps them to shape the OS into what the world wants it to be, and they’ve accelerated their typical release schedule.

Beyond the thousands of aesthetic and functional decisions that designers and developers make before an app goes live, the most overlooked step in designing and optimizing UI (User Interface) for native & web apps is recognizing that your users are in the best position to help improve the interface because they are the ones who don’t carry the baggage of product history.

The problem comes from the way the software life cycle used to exist – periodic major releases incorporating many improvements, and fixes to all the bugs since the previous release. But in today’s fast-paced development environment, too often when releasing an app, designers and developers are so caught up in the rush to market that the metrics they use to measure success are based on whether people are using (or continue to use) their application instead of why and how the users are using it. And simply plugging in Google Analytics, or any of the myriad other measurement platforms available, isn’t enough.

Designers must conceive – and then communicate to developers – the specific ways how and places where they want to streamline user interaction. And developers must work with designers to turn broken, under- or misused interface elements into opportunities for out-of-the-box re-design. There may be five ways to return to the app’s main view or site’s homepage – which one is being used the most? What views/interfaces/pages seem to have the best and worst user flow and bounce rate? What features aren’t being used as often, and should they be de-emphasized, or promoted more heavily?

Putting together a focus group (it can even be staff from within your company, or friends and family!), A/B testing new UI features in the field (you’ll be surprised how streamlined this is with today’s tools!), and simply asking for direct feedback from users are all critical steps to implement, and not just once. The “set it and forget it” mentality of compartmentalized design and heavy development followed by light refreshments and a tropical vacation is no longer sustainable for a business of any size. Today’s application development is agile in every sense of the word, and today’s most innovative companies and products – that’s most innovative, not just biggest – are constantly testing and improving their products with a “fail fast” mentality.

Here at ATS Mobile, we work with our clients to closely track the apps and websites we create after they are released, and continually make changes to improve the user interface so that users keep coming back. We leverage major analytics platforms as well as some of our own proprietary tools that help us link apps and web services to the ad campaigns that feed new users in, and work to improve attribution in this constantly evolving multi-channel world. In short, our work is never done because a product is never finished. Today’s bug may become tomorrow’s new feature, and with an open-minded attitude toward design and function and the help of your users, digital products can take on a life of their own.


Make Sure Your First Brand Impression Isn’t Your Last!

Running from the Bulls
Don’t scare your customers away with a site that doesn’t meet their needs – their needs are your needs!

Creating engagement on the first consumer impression of your web presence is critical, and yet totally misunderstood. Where 20 years ago our first impression of a business as consumers is the physical storefront or office, it is without doubt now a business’ website. What does your site say about your design prowess – is it consistent with the visual culture of your brick-and-mortar location, and in sync your other marketing materials? Who is your intended audience – is the content written with them in mind? What information are they looking for, and how hard is it to find? Most importantly, how quickly can you convert each visitor into a lead or a sale? If anything on your site isn’t contributing to conversion, it should be cut, or at the very least de-emphasized in the navigation.

Remember, the pace of the digital world should be at the forefront of decision making about your website. If your page doesn’t load fast enough or does not adapt to the user’s device, they will move on quickly to a competitor whose site performs better. Leverage analytics tools to determine whether you are retaining first-time visitors; the path they take through your site; and their demographic and location data. Your website should be optimized for the platforms that matter most to your particular customer profile. Retail businesses should be sure to offer a compelling tablet experience for second-screen sofa shoppers; a doctor’s office may want to gear their mobile experience toward providing critical contact information front-and-center for patients on the go. If the graphic design and branding of your website speaks to your business’ unique culture, the user experience certainly speaks to your reliability.

If your website is about YOU, it is impossible to engage your customer/client. Your website should be about THEM – after all, customers are the reason you stay in business! Make sure you know who they really are and what they really want, and think of your site as speaking WITH them, not TO them.


High Income Households Most Likely Tablet Owners

Thirty-five percent of Americans now own a tablet, according to a recent study by Pew Internet.  Those that are more likely to own a tablet include Asian-Americans, adults 30-49, and high income Americans.

Our previous study that we posted here at the ATS Blog shows that 34% of Americans owned a tablet.  This study was also done by Pew in May, 2013.

tablet ownership stats 2013

Just who owns tablets?


Tablet Ownership Hits 34%

Over a third of Americans now own a tablet, according to a recent study by Pew.  Just a year ago, that total was just 18%.  Of those who earn $75k or more per year, 56% owned a tablet.  College grads had a 49% ownership rate.

Tablet ownership in USA 2010-13

Tablet ownership is helping to spur the mobile revolution.

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