The Future of Website User Experiences

The Future of Website User Experiences

How was your trip? Yeah. Let me go ahead and record. There we are.
Um it was fantastic man. I I I, have you been to Portland? Yes, many times.
We absolutely love it up there. It’s great.
Yeah, I I um you know, we went to the the japanese gardens and uh where else?
Uh man, it was a city park.
Uh we stayed in a neighborhood called um I think it’s called free is it? No, it’s not.
Is it Fremont fremont? Yeah. Fremont fremont yeah, we stayed, we stayed in fremont. Food there is fantastic.
I mean we loved it. I mean the food game over there is like it really caught me off guard because it’s just, it’s crazy you know, I did not expect, I didn’t expect it to be this good man.
But there’s there’s more restaurants important than there are, there are people, you know, I heard um I heard it’s like they’re proud of their entrepreneurial spirit up there.
So yeah, yeah, we, we love it.
We, we usually stay at the pineapple in so we get the train right from the airport and it literally goes right there and it’s, it’s not, it’s like five minutes from chinatown and we, we actually would walk from there to the japanese garden and it’s maybe a two hour walk and but it’s such a nice jaunt up there and then through the gardens.
Yeah. And um, I don’t know if I told you but we’re thinking about possibly moving to another state.
We’re looking at Oregon. No, you didn’t. So yeah, we’re we’re looking at Oregon.
I mean we went to, we went all over, you know, we’re there for a few days.
And um, we also went to Cannon Beach as well.
So that was, that was really nice to as well.
Eugene, Eugene is a great, a great city if you haven’t been there.
Yeah, I gotta, I definitely gotta go.
We’re thinking about going again possibly maybe for my birthday, like towards like me. Why not? Right. Yeah.
Yeah. And yeah, I mean I loved it and the weather there, obviously it rained during our last leg of the trip, but overall it was, it was, it was nice.
It was very pretty. We got to do a lot of outdoor activities, um, went to this place called Silver Falls also, which was, I was just going to mention this.
It’s a nice hike there and there’s actually a vineyard that’s about five minutes down the road from there as well, that there’s nice, there’s nice wine tasting there.
Oh, nice, nice. Yeah. I mean, yeah, so we’re, you know, we’re thinking about California is getting a little bit too hectic if you want to invest in real estate.
So we were thinking about possibly going to another state now.
So um, yeah, a lot of my friends are leaving California and actually going to Montana and they are so in Montana, I haven’t been there, but according to what they tell me that it’s very similar to Oregon, but like a fraction of the price.
And so one of my buddies, he’s in the medical field and he lives around me here and his parents moved there two years ago and they went back and forth and visit and they’re in the process of selling their house.
Now, we’re gonna be moving there within the next couple of months and you know, for what they sold their their house for here will sell it for it.
They can get a massive house and huge land out there in Montana.
And so you just said that, you know, it’s just a much better quality of life.
They’ve got two kids and just like being in California with that, the crappy schools, crime rate going through the roof.
It’s just not safe. Exactly. And I mean, that’s what we’re thinking.
I don’t know if I told you but my my wife is pregnant, so congratulations.
We’re gonna have our first kid, our first child have your hands full due in november. Nice. Nice.
My birthday’s in november. And same with my son, he’s also a nice beginning amend.
But yeah, it’s a being a parent is, is the hardest job I’ve ever had.
Well, I don’t know anything about it, but I will find out. Feel free to ask any questions.
Yeah, my youngest, he’s four months old And my daughter is 2.5. So you had a boy. Right.
Yeah, so I have a boy and a girl, so they keep us on our toes. Wonderful.
Wonderful, well let’s uh let’s get into our, because we’ve got a lot to talk about today.
So, um so anyways, this is our, this is our second or third podcast, hopefully uh hopefully we’re gonna start, this is uh one of many that that I got planned, but we’re, you know, we’re having a podcast today for a blog section And we wanted to introduce Aaron Dust, which he has over 20 years of experience in the UX industry, in the US field and he has a lot of knowledge to share with us and for anyone looking to start a website, I think this is going to be a very good podcast to start with because obviously user experience is everything literally the beginning stage of almost any, any app, any website out there that you truly want to function correctly and um you know, I just, you know, I felt that erin has a lot of knowledge to share with everyone, so listen up closely because he’s going to share a lot of knowledge with you guys, so why don’t you?
Yeah, so Aaron, why don’t you tell us like how you got started with us?
Because you know, that’s something that a lot of people don’t usually start with.
Um and a lot of people are still, you know, they probably know about UX, but they probably never actually heard that term or, or you know, like, oh I just want to plan on my website, but tell us a little bit of how you started with with us.
Absolutely. So just as a little bit of background and context, you know, we’ve worked together now for a couple of years now, you helped to design the baldies website and we’ve done a couple other projects together and right off the bat, you know, it was clear that there was a synergy between how we understand people and how to communicate the infrastructure of what people’s needs are on a website.
And so that kind of lays the foundation for me of what you X and C X customer experiences and you know, but by training, I am not a UX designer, but more as a strategist who looks at marketing and innovation through a lens of people, right?
And so by understanding what the user needs holistically over time has translated into how do you create experiences and pathways that meet their needs, but also creates surprise and delight moments that actually will allow someone to stay on your site longer use your app more consistently and ultimately transact in some way whether that’s buying a product earning a coin for credit to use later or to be able to fulfill on something else that your brand is looking to create.
And so every time I look to either create an experience and whatnot.
No, I go back to the foundation of UX design and that was by a guy named Donald norman and he used to work at Apple and he created this fantastic book for the design of everyday things.
And in in the book he talks about you know we need to really just pay attention to the complexities of design that are often overlooked and simplify that to make the experience just so much easier for people because it’s very easy to create complexity.
It’s very difficult to reduce complexity and take something to the most essence form and that’s something that we spend our careers really just whittling away, you know, the non important details to look at what is the clear message, what is the takeaway, what is the call to action and just be ruthless on that.
And so the field of C. X and UX and as a as a form of thought leadership really just exemplifies that for for people looking to create a website and like you said, there’s tools today and they’ve come a long way to be able to help anyone to be able to lay out a flow a wireframe of something.
But when you apply behavioral psychology to it and and behavioral economics, those things change a little bit right and that’s where C. X actually really shines, is being able to dovetail those together to create a consistent brand experience so often, you know, I’ll work on creating some frames based on a set of insights.
I’ll work with other you XCX designers and other creatives and together collaboratively come up with a site design and experience that is going to be representative of the brand or the project I’m looking to work on.
No I mean that’s ah I mean that’s that’s that’s brilliant.
I mean everything starts with with UX obviously and and yeah I did forget to mention we have worked on a few projects and um I can say that Aaron as you know as part of UX makes everything so much easier for us.
Yeah usually you know when we start a website for example we don’t get as much information as easy and as tailored as you as you obviously put it, you know and um sometimes we you know actually I kind of started You know diving into U. X.
a little bit of a long time ago probably like back in 2010 um you know creating wire frames and whatnot.
Um you know and sometimes clients didn’t understand why are you creating this?
Like why can’t you just slap something together you know?
And but then after I created the wire frame it just made the whole process and the whole project a lot more smoothly and and everything progressed very nicely where the client finally understood.
Okay this is the reason why we’re creating wire frames, this is the reason why we’re actually planning out like the mapping out the content of how it’s gonna go and all that but um but yeah I mean, you x is definitely um something that’s that’s evolved, you know, throughout the years, especially like you said with Apple, um now I know I know that Apple, when did they actually start with this whole clean design?
You do you did it start with this?
Um I think it goes all the way back to steve jobs and really right at the core of wanting simplicity at the core, so I would say that it goes back that far and it’s continued to evolve.
Um you know, Donald norman was there in the in the late eighties and nineties and on.
So, you know, he was there, you know, when all of this stuff was like the cutting edge that no one would know what ux is.
You know, even back then, it was still largely just designed, you know, because again, it’s context for people like this is still a dial up days, very early web, you know, 31 point Oh, so this is, this is like going O G but but I think what it does is it really just looks at, you know, how do you draw on that complexity and simplify in a way that’s going to help to reduce roadblocks for people and, you know, when you think of it, you know, we’re doing this as a podcast auditory lee, but the majority of people today are visual learners, they respond visually and hence to your point about, you know, how people will respond when they see, you know, a wireframe.
It’s because the visual recognition makes sense to them. You know, they’re able to justify it.
They see it, they imprint into their mind something that’s familiar to them.
They’ve all, you know, people have been on websites, they know, but when you speak about it abstractly, it’s so difficult to to get a client to understand that.
So, you know, this is where you know, again you and I have worked in the text version of something it makes sense, but sometimes to a client it’s not always as clear and concrete.
They have to imagine where these cells and fields would go.
But as soon as you put it into a wire frame that automatically the lightbulb goes off and they’re like, oh I see exactly what you’re talking about, I see where it goes.
I see how it flows in the progression and you’re able to move them much faster because you’ve created a reference point to start from.
Yeah, yeah. And um you know, I know you’ve been in this industry for about 20 years.
I know you also have um you also have experience working all across the world, you know with companies in Canada and in uh in europe as well.
I I um and I also know that you you’re a big fan of of what what is it called?
The coral coral reefs reefs keeping exactly keeping. Yeah, reef keeping. Yeah, that’s that’s interesting.
And I know that you also work with um with a lot of these companies that are that are in that industry.
Um can you tell us a little bit about your work experience?
Like what you’ve you know where you’ve been at?
I know you’ve also been a CMO at a company, so that means that you have a lot of experience as well with marketing And um and yeah, tell us a little bit about that as well.
Yeah. Yeah. So so I spent nearly the last 20 years, you know, kind of at the intersection of storytelling and story selling and you know, applying it towards marketing towards strategy innovation and product design around the world.
So, you know, I’ve been fortunate enough to really start my career in Asia.
I started in Singapore, working for a consultancy company there.
That really helped to take companies outside of Asia who are looking to get into the asian market to understand that.
So from an anthropological perspective and to create brands experiences and products that be tailored to both folks living in Asia, but also expats living in Asia who are wanting, you know brands from around the world.
And so I spent some time there really just learning the craft of stepping into other people’s shoes.
And again as a skill set that was something that I could apply and have throughout my career.
Um And then over time, you know, I lived across Asia and then hop skipped over to europe for a little while, lived in Scandinavia for a bit and then in Canada teaching at a design school, they’re called cod and then moved to new york where I taught at Pratt Institute and then worked for some rather large agencies in new york are G A B in one of the largest, where I really just, I was able to take my craft as a strategist and planner work with sex and ux designers and creatives to learn the skills, learn how they all correlate with one another and be able to advance that, you know, and several years later, be able to take them and continually, you know, grow through different ranks of different organizations to now be a CMO So chief Marketing Officer, chief strategy Officer at an L. A.
Startup, so, you know, really being able to take these things and bring it to life in a way that Kind of like building blocks right, and take things throughout your career to use it in different ways.
So I attribute a lot of what I do today is being able to like a DJ would take, you know, the two different tracks and splice them together.
And so, you know, I take a lot of my experiences in over the last 20 years and splice them into things to create new things and stuff that would otherwise be overlooked.
So again, one of the core principles of us, what do you enjoy more working on marketing or we’re designing experiences.
I mean, honestly, I I don’t think that they’re separate.
I think that they’re they’re one and the same because if I’m creating a campaign to launch a new product, it’s often tied to an experience because everything we do today is an experience.
So, you know, you you made define it slightly differently, right?
An online experience, an event, a digital experience, a site experience.
But all of that is marketing in different ways because you’re telling a story, you’re conveying a message.
So I think these days the lines between stuff has become so blurred that it’s just about resources and tools that you have that you can apply it to get to an end game or an end state.
Yeah. And what you said about the lines being blurred, that’s absolutely true.
I mean now there’s you know, all these empty malls there, there’s ideas swimming around and you know online where these businesses, these online only businesses, e commerce stores are opening up shops just to create a experiential X.
You know, some sort of experience where they can experience the product, hold it, you know, and then purchase it online.
Obviously they don’t have stocks there but they make it easy so people can just order online.
You know, so you’re you know, you’re diving into that hole and you’re you know, you’re absolutely right, that’s everything has become blurred.
Uh you’re you know, you’re giving off data, you know everywhere everywhere you go and you know, nowadays ai allows you to to collect all this data and really process it and come up with, you know, specific uh what is it, a user user experiences?
Right? That’s right. And passed the person and this is what I think the frontier is, it’s like, you know, where up until now and maybe even within the last few years, you know, you gave your data away for free and brands, brands collected it and minded for their own purposes and profit.
I think there’s a new wave of currency coming, which is your own user data and how do you monetize it and sell it to companies based on the actions that you’re doing?
You know, it’s because it’s it’s kind of like influence or two point, oh, they would give you stuff to be able to talk about it and you’d be able to keep it and make a small amount of money off it.
I think that there’s gonna be a paradigm shift where people’s data is going to become more and more private by choice.
And by a necessity. And I think that we will come the day where you will be able to sell pieces and parts of your data to brand and they will be able to work with it and use it.
But I think that the shift of power is we’re at the preface is right right now.
Yeah I mean everything is just everything is progressing so fast and I know there’s a a big battle going on with you know especially with data and I know the guy I think the the FCC right is trying to trying to regulate that as well.
And Apple with a new um with the new IOS. You know they’re blocking a lot of data from facebook.
So um there’s you know there’s a lot of battle, there’s been there’s a lot of battles going on for your data.
I mean who would have thought that that’s that’s one of the most valuable things in the world.
Data has become you know the golden key you know who controls the data controls everything.
And so you know this is interesting when you look at going back to the transaction and purchasing mm There are certain things that we’ve become so comfortable with transacting online with not needing to tactical tactile really experience it.
There’s other things that we still like to go to a store and physically touch something and hold it and to see and try it on.
And it will be interesting as time goes on what those experiences are.
You know the the whole notion of you know getting something in a box and then sampling it and keeping and sending stuff back is again I think changing the way that you experience things and again all of the different birch boxes and boxes of every brand that that exist today.
Um Take what I think is an interesting user experience online.
You select preferences, you get stuff sent to you, you keep what you need, send the rest back.
Um It kind of is that bridge between physical and digital transactions that I think as as a concept is may be waning in uh at the moment but I think it starts to create a new cycle of how people are used to or breaking the cycle of what people are used to buying and and how stuff is delivered to them and how It’s not enough just to have a 24 hour same day delivery but that delivery has to have products and things that are meaningful to you.
Exactly and for e commerce um you know going into into some of the projects I’ve worked on.
Um I know for a fact that every time we worked on you x it increased um it always increased the checkouts, increase the conversion rate.
You know with the same amount of traffic and I always tell people well you should pay attention to your experience on your website because with the same amount of traffic you can double your sales.
Right? So as long as you can double your conversion rate with the same amount of traffic that you you know you’re spending.
You know tirelessly and you’re all these all this marketing is leading up to uh you know all this traffic coming into your website.
If you just double your conversion rate, you double your sales, you know, with the same amount of traffic when, once you start telling people how it’s actually going to um, to affect them or affect their pocketbooks, make them more money.
That’s when people are very, very interested in the, in the user experience, you know, Absolutely no.
There’s a field of marketing called chopper marketing and it really looks at how does the physical layout of the store impact the volume of sales?
Oh yeah. Unfortunately, I think there has been a little bit of a lag in that in the digital space and understanding how to optimize it to be able to get, you know, the sale.
And I think that may have been in, you know, some legacy terms of what success is, you know, what’s the click rate, what’s the bounce rate time on site?
I feel like uh, those early metrics kind of impeded our ability to look at optimization of an overall flow of an experience like you would in a physical location to the digital space.
And I think it’s only come to time now where brands and uh, store and company owners are beginning to look at that in greater detail because they can see the cause effect of that exactly to your point.
If you show them a better experience is going to yield more sales.
They’re then willing to invest the time to think about or pay someone to think about for them and what is that that path the purchase to be able to bring someone through the funnel?
Yeah. Yeah. So um speaking of you know obviously this taking it a bit further.
So what are your some of your principles that you um you know that you think are probably the best when designing an experience like what are some principles that you advise other people to look at?
Yeah. You know, so there’s something that I believe and I know if you go online you’ll you’ll see different permutations of these and you know depending on what you’re your background is you’re going to gravitate closer to some of these than others but for me it all stems to the user right?
You know what how are we defining and focusing on that user and is there one type of user is their prospects and you know in return customers and and how are they different and what’s the their needs and expectations in a site.
If it’s a repeat customer and repeat purchased, you just want them they’re renewing as quickly and as easily as possible, you know?
And obviously you could create ways to have repeat shopping cards on a monthly basis that is sent out to them if it’s you know somebody who’s a prospect, there’s more education that needs to be done up front.
You know you have to look at the brand awareness, you know, how much do they know about a brand, um what education do you need to give to them in order for them to see that these products are relevant and meaningful and then how do you actually move them through to be able to transact?
So for me it all comes down to starting with the user defining who they are, what are their needs, what are their pain points and creating some sets of different personas and other ways of building their identity out right and mapping their paths forward to be able to take him through that sequence.
So for me again as a marketer as an anthropologist, it starts with that secondly, it’s about being able to look at predictive analytics and behaviors, so it’s kind of an extension of the first, but it’s about really being able to say okay, if I do this, what is the next most logical step in action that somebody is going to take?
And is it the one that I want them to or have I designed the experience sub optimally and I need to change that flow to naturally fit with that user behavior because once you can identify that behavior and predict for it, you’re going to then make it so much easier for people to engage with your sight and be able to walk you through it.
So obviously, you know that they kind of work together but um you know, we call that often anticipatory thinking about being able to look at those behaviors and map them out with each step what’s the cause and effect that happens?
We kind of alluded to this before.
But the third one for me is that really reducing cognitive load and these are the friction points.
You know where is there a point in the in the UX experience?
That is someone that someone’s going to stop and be like this doesn’t make sense to me.
This copy isn’t right, I don’t have the right image to support this.
It takes me down too many options to click and therefore I’m not going to click any I’m going to leave.
Right? So cognitive load is just simply put is that the user has to think too much about the action that they’re going to be doing.
So if you eliminate those friction points to make it as simple as possible, you’re obviously going to be able to guide them through that experience a lot easier and faster taking them to the stuff that’s actually more important to them.
Mhm. Yeah I know I would say that in a couple of others, you know would be about oversimplifying the situation and particularly looking at functionality.
Uh you know there was a time when having these multi built out navigation bars was the way to go.
I think that that has definitely simplified, it was single page scrolling where you have you know max 45, maybe six things on the top and they kind of just correlate as you scroll down the page by oversimplifying that functionality, it just makes it again so much simpler for someone to go through and it kind of goes to the next one about consistency, consistency counts and matters.
Some people may not be able to articulate a design is not right for them, but their actions will definitely tell, So if some part of a site experience is inconsistent, you’re again you’re going to create roadblocks for someone who really just like you know what, I I don’t want to go any further, it’s uncomfortable for me, I don’t want to do it which which kind of I think it would go to the next one about you know, building a road to go back, you know, building the building the path home, you know, how are you helping that user to be able to hit that that logo button or a back to be able to take them to something that is again a little bit easier, a little bit more comfortable for them so they can start that path again.
I think far too often we create experiences that are just driving towards the sale and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But also bearing in mind that sometimes we have to allow the user to go backwards in order to go forwards again and and that ultimately comes down to is just clarifying the call to action, like what do you want someone to do?
Do you want them to learn more by now? You know sign up for something.
So having that clear C. T. A.
Will make all the difference in the world to be able to then increase the time on site.
And the basket side is there It kind of goes without saying but reducing errors you know these are some of the things the 404s that drive me and other people nuts.
You know so if you building out your site check every link make sure everything takes to the right page and manage those errors effectively.
If you’ve got them people are gonna find them and they’re gonna it’s gonna annoy the heck out of them.
So the more you do that the more value that you’re creating and the more that their time which is precious is going to be seen as something that is worth you know investing in to be able to look at.
Okay this this site this brand is something I want to come back to. Oh yeah.
Have you have you ever heard of Russell Bronson? Um He’s the creator of click funnels.
Um Yeah he has um he has a book he has a few books.
One of them is called Expert Secrets and another one’s dot com Secrets.
I only read dot com Secrets and he talks about simplifying he you know he obviously goes a little bit deeper and you know we were you know we don’t have all the time in the world, but he goes a little bit deeper into what you talked about as well.
And um he’s talking about pretty much the whole book really just talks about simplifying the whole process, like just keep it simple, stupid, you know?
Um Yeah and and and yeah, he um he so I don’t know if you’re familiar a little, if you’re familiar with click funnels but click funnels is a company that um allows you to create landing pages right?
Um they’re all about creating landing pages and um a lot of these, you know, quote unquote Gru’s online use it like the ones that are obviously getting traffic from social media like the Tai Lopez is and the and um who’s the other guy?
Super famous guy that that has people walking through fire, I don’t know which the the guys that he’s super, super big, Tony Robbins, Tony Robbins, Yes, Tony Robbins.
Yeah, Tony Robbins worked with Russell Branson and um in the book he talked about um so they met at a, at a Tony Robbins um first time they met was that of Tony Robbins event and and russell Bronson told him, hey um you know like with the traffic that we have here at the event, I bet you I can triple your sales and I can do it this weekend if you want and what I’ll do is I’ll show you how, so he built a landing page for um they created something, you know, out of out of the blue, within one day he created a landing page and the landing page I think was nothing but a video and a button to buy.
That’s it, you know, it was that simple.
And and he talked about how um how Tony Robbins was incredibly impressed, even though it’s extremely simple, you know, he was incredibly impressed.
And so he, I guess he hired uh Russell Branson to manage his, his online experiences, you know, and then, yeah, it’s a great story of just being able to take something that would be nice to do and actually doing it.
And yeah, you know, an old boss of mine was looking at one of the things I had written at the time, and, you know, they said it was so complicated, you know, that it’s like stereo instructions that, you know, right, right this as if it was for your your grandmother or your your parents to understand.
And I say that now, and it’s something that I, I tell a lot of folks, and it’s like, if you, if you use simple clear language on that people are gonna get it and it’s going to be more meaningful to them.
So, you know, that that’s a great example of just creating a simple look page, a video and one button to to have that action to move forward and people will do it because there’s that you’ve removed all those frictions exactly, and that, you know, as I um you know, I’m obviously in the, in the online marketing scene as well and from what I’ve seen, a lot of these landing pages are starting to get simplified.
Even successful e commerce stores. Um, you know, I go on flip, I’ve bought and sold websites on flip as well.
Um that’s something that I obviously do on the side as well.
Um, and um, some of the most successful e commerce stores even on Shopify are extremely simple.
You go to the homepage and um, and you can buy right away, those are usually the most successful and, and they always, there was some, I remember there was some guy that was selling mugs and he had donald trump tweets on the mugs and and he was selling like the, the, you know, top tweets that were straight on the website, like he didn’t even have a, he didn’t even have an actual hero banner, he just literally had the products they’re ready for you to buy.
This is funny and he was selling, uh he was, you know, he was, I think the, I think the website was in the, in the hundreds of thousands that he was selling per month.
The outset, it’s, it’s uh, I mean stuff that I’ve seen really, really surprises me and I’m out there, I think that just goes back to anyone who’s looking to create a website and it doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
You know, it’s not something that takes, you know, weeks and months and years to be able to come up.
It’s something that is an iterative process. Excuse me.
That if you’ve got an idea and you can spend a little bit of time just, you know, back at the napkin and you know, you can go, you know, to the folks like louis and begin to get it made and just that simple little bit of clarity that you have will be able to get it to him to take it further to the next stage and be able to bring it to life to create those frames and and then go back and forth on it.
So I think that a lot of folks get hung up on that.
It has to be perfect right off the bat. And I’ve seen that working with clients all the time.
It’s like, it doesn’t have to be, you can just get something back of the napkin and then iterate iterate.
Iterate, that’s really where the success comes from. Not it being the best thing right off the bat. Yeah.
And you know, I have a client who I’m not going to mention, but we’ve tried to launch the website so many times, but they’re trying to get the perfect website.
And um, and I told them, well, why don’t we launch and you guys can collect feedback from the people that are, that you guys are trying to create the solution for, you know, so, um, and they finally, the Ceo’s wife finally just had enough and she’s like, well we just got to launch it like at this point, you know, we’ve been trying to launch since probably for about six months now.
So it’s, it’s uh, it’s, they’re, they’re trying to launch with the perfect iteration of the website.
And I told him guys like this doesn’t happen even if you look back at the first version of Airbnb, you know, like however rudimentary it was even Uber, I mean a lot of these websites out there, the first version they launched, it looks nothing like how it is now, you know, they just by the process of collecting feedback collecting data, they finally got it to the, to the point that we’re, we are at today.
Yeah. And I think that’s a great point, you know, just reinforcing the iterative process that, that organization because you only see the current state right?
It’s so difficult to look back at the different iterations of a website.
And as a society, we’re so not only risk adverse, but we’re failure adverse as well.
So if something is perceived to be not perfect or not right off the bat, there’s a natural reluctance, see not to publish it because of, its not the way that I needed to be at this point versus, you know, being able to take a much more progressive iterative approach and say, let’s let’s launch it, Let’s see how it does.
It’s a prototype and continuously moving it from their companies that do that teams that, that scrum and do that type of stuff are able to accelerate stuff much faster and taking those learnings and insights and over time you’ll see that that site will far outperform a company that works to do perfect off the bat, right off the bat.
They may outperform, but the long tail of that is the companies that iterate constantly to make it better are the ones that are going to ultimately succeed, yep.
And that is uh that is 100% correct. What are, what are some?
Obviously you as an expert use a lot of different tools um what are some tools that you suggest or um a few tools that maybe you use to to kind of drill down that that use your experience.
Yeah. And and we we we we’ve kind of highlighted a few of those through the conversation that thus far, you know, the first one for me again, going back to the user at the court is creating the different personas like who are they put a picture to them, put their demographics, their techno graphics there.
So she a graphics, their shopping habits behaviors, any data that you can scrape and collect and find to create these composites for them is gonna go a long way because when you and your team start to say okay, we want to be able to create a product for, you’ve got a name for whom?
Right, what are the barriers, what are their pain points?
What are frustrations that they have And how is that particular solve? Going to be able to ameliorate that?
Well, if you don’t have a persona you will know right?
So to being able to create and name these personas allow you to go back and forth and to be able to say okay, we’re going to create this persona of jo jo represents these things, these attributes, here’s how we need to be able to resolve and rectify it for them to create a positive experience.
So for me that that’s a no brainer when it comes to creating a powerful and meaningful user experience the next on that and we’ve we’ve kind of talked about is the different user flows and wire frames.
So how is someone in the most ideal state, going to interact with your website, interact with your app, interact with your brand, which kind of also then goes, you know, what what type of experience you want them to come away with having, you know and what is it that is the current.
Excite experience. So it’s always fun if you have something to be able to do that now, like evaluate, you know, what is your wireframe evaluate, what are your user flows?
How is someone going to navigate where the hiccups and then to be able to take those learnings to say, okay, how can I make it better for them so that these problematic areas or these 404 of these roadblocks, these friction points are gone.
And then by doing so, you’re able to create new wire frames and new user flows that are ultimately going to be a little bit more consistent on that.
One of one of the other tools that I like to use is prototyping and it often gets a bad rap is being expensive and time consuming and sometimes it is, but more often than not, you can do rapid prototyping, low fidelity stuff and just knock stuff out of the park.
You don’t even have to publish it.
You can just create it, review it, learn from it and just continuously do the next.
And that really does help to speed up the process as well.
So again, going back often, we’re visual learners, things are impregnated into our mind visually.
So when, when, when we see it and we create these prototypes, it either makes sense or it doesn’t make sense that we’ve got to go back to it.
The next thing I like to use is looking at that path to purchase and being able to map out the different ways that we’re either going to drive to an action or drive to a sale.
And so by mapping that out.
Again, it’s kind of a a dovetail of some of the earlier points but it allows you to be able to see are there things that I could do to simplify that path to purchase to either increased basket side, increased sales if someone is on the card page, is there things that are too complex on that?
Such as setting up delivery times, tracking info, different transaction types, um you know using different cards and different apps or is it is it important to you just to have one of those things and just keep it simple?
Right. And so being able to map that out really just goes a long way and again, what’s important is once that’s created to your earlier point is getting that user feedback go back and do those interviews have site surveys up there, get people who are, you know, repeat purchasers and be able to have them look at some heat map and tracking of your site.
And you know, there’s there’s tools that exist to do that for you and to really utilize those things to see, okay, you know, in my mind this made a lot of sense.
But you know what my my ideal customer is not seen in the way that I did.
Here’s the data to prove that let’s go back and let’s make some changes here.
So these are a few of the tools that I like to use and again I see them as iterative to be able to grow and create a meaningful user experience.
Yeah. And and um you know, 11 specific industry that needs a lot of this is I think crypto because um there’s uh there’s an old coin that I follow and they, the name is Saitama, that’s that’s that’s the all coin there.
One of the new coins, you know, they’ve they’ve been trying to launch this what this app, this exchange for for a long time.
And um and they kind of botched the whole launch.
So what happened was it done it that affected the coin price heavily?
Um So um you know, and what’s what’s what’s interesting is that at that level of the game when you’re risking so much, so much investors, uh you know, we’ll all their investments, pretty much all their money when you’re risking that much.
Um I don’t think you should definitely gamble, You should gamble with uh you know, just launching something without actually mapping it out, prototyping it.
Um you know, their first launch, they had a lot of um um you know, a lot of these ux errors that we spoke about.
Um and they they they broke a lot of these uh a lot of these rules, you know, so they, and what I feel is that they they kind of bypass this whole prototyping stage.
You know, I think they kind of cut a big corner and they didn’t focus on their user experience and this affected their launch heavily, you know, so this hit their bottom line.
Um and that is uh that is just one instance that I can tell you where where someone should have used some of these tools that you mentioned, especially this rapid prototyping even even to you know just prototype it and map out how the user is going to go about their purchase or to get to the goal.
Um but um but yeah a lot of these apps that I’ve seen also are are they probably, you know, they they’ve launched without actually just putting some sort of thought into their user.
You know, I noticed, you know, now that these tools that are coming out, you know that allow you know users to build different things.
Um as I see more of that coming out, I do see a lot of these UX rules being broken.
Um and um and I see a lot of failures because they’re not using um you know they’re not thinking about the the customer the the end user from the beginning, you know, so um that’s just one thing that I wanted to share.
But um I know that you um do you do you recommend any, you know literature or anything that can help you get better at U. X.
Or that can maybe if anyone is interested in learning more about UX can can go can go find a little bit more information.
Yeah. You know this may put me as old school but there’s a couple of found foundational books. Yes.
Books that I think will go a long way.
And so I’ll start with the books and then we can talk about some of the online stuff.
So the design of everyday things, which I mentioned earlier is a fantastic book.
The laws of UX is one of those seminal books for anyone looking into get into the field of U. X and C. X elements of user experience.
Again in O. G. Um, don’t make me think is another great book and lean UX.
That designing great products are probably some some of the foundational books.
If it’s if you XcX is something that you’re interested in, you should be aware of and have read these books and help to build the vernacular.
You know, what, what you exes outside of physical books or e books, you know, there’s a tremendous amount of websites that you can look at and folks that publish a lot of stuff for free out there online.
Um, and I think joining some of these facebook groups or online groups, um, UX groups and that will just help you to see what’s coming down the pike and just understanding why some of the decisions are being made.
And I’ll tell you that as a group of people, folks who are UX designers are generally very open and collaborative with their information.
They’re very willing to share stuff because it ultimately makes the field much much better and brighter.
So, you know, it’s one of these things, if you show the initiative and the effort and you’ve got a baseline of information, people are going to go the extra mile to help you understand it better.
So, um start with some of the books as the basics look, do some searching online, reading some of the different websites.
It’ll really help you to just get your foot in the door and and then play around right, you know, actually create some stuff yourself and post it on some of these forums and get to get the feedback from people who are on there and use that constructive feedback and criticism as a way just to make your style and your designs better.
Yeah. What are some new things that you’re seeing in the space as far as like user user experience, customer experience?
Um, some maybe um, you know, um just new trends that you see uh that maybe some some Someone that’s listening to this podcast might want to take into account on their website.
Yeah, I think the first thing is that the whole notion of customer experience and user experience is now part of business vernacular.
And I would say that 10 years ago it wasn’t, it was something that only progressive organizations knew about and teams are like contemplating and those who did it well, won a bunch of awards for best websites.
I think what you’re seeing now is that there’s become a democratization of U. X.
Where almost everybody knows it hears it all in the students at university or taking classes in it knowingly or unknowingly some of these things.
So I think that the trend has been is just to disseminate what you X and C X.
Is as a way for people just to overall understand it.
And you see that in some of the new websites that are being designed and tools that exist today that are making it that much easier.
So, you know, in terms of some of the tools and some are free, some you’ve got to pay for.
But you know, adobe XD is a great tool, you know, to look at prototyping and overall um micro integrations of how a different pieces of information are working together um illustrator and and again, you know, you don’t just need to be a graphic designer to do that.
But you know, it has great graphic design, web design and while you’re framing capabilities to be able to do um Photoshop again, you know, in the adobe suite is something that will help to do some of these in the editing because unfortunately pictures matter, right?
And that that comes down to such an important part of UX is do you have the right image at the right resolution that’s going to be able to convey because if you create the most beautiful sight experience and you’ve got high pixelated, low fidelity images, it’s gonna be crap, right?
So so if you have or can take in raw and know how to manipulate those photos, the better off you’re going to be or you know, hiring someone who can do that for you.
But definitely the more you can do that, the better off you’re going to be. Mm hmm.
And I always tell my students and teams like download and play with sketch. It’s, there’s a free version.
There’s a paid version. Play around with it.
There’s so much that you could do, you know, outside of the adobe world that’s a little bit cheaper to do.
Um, and it will help you to master some of these skills and build up the dexterity of creating stuff, you know, pretty quickly and easily.
And um, yeah, I mean, I, I know adobe is, is um, is rapidly expanding their suite of tools.
Um, I know they um, I forget what it’s called, but they did launch a mobile.
Um, I think a mobile is it, is it like a mobile web design app to, I can’t, I can’t recall what it’s called, but um, but anyways, I know they’re expanding um heavily and I think they just purchased magenta as well, which is, which is used to be an open source.
Um or I, I don’t know if it was completely open source, but it was mainly aecom worse solution.
So their, their rapidly expanding their, their whole, their whole universe of these tools, not just the design tools, but also to design user experiences to design websites.
Um so um yeah, and and you know, the magenta is an interesting one because it’s kind of gone head to head with the wicks and the Shopify eyes and and the woo commerce, you know, and each one of those have their different strengths on it.
And one of the magenta strengths is the visualization they put in there and they really tried just to to simplify a few things.
Um you know, but I would say that if you compare that in a Shopify, Shopify has more tools in it that you can utilize and building out templates that are much more accessible, whereas magenta you kind of define that yourself.
So you know, depending on if, if again it cost us no option being able to look at which one of those paths better suit your style if you want stuff that’s completely custom, the magenta maybe a better way to go if you want to follow a template to get your teeth wet sinking and sink your teeth into then a Shopify.
Woo commerce wicks is a, is a better path you to start. Exactly yeah.
Every time we, every time we get a new client that’s interested in e commerce site, there’s a few questions that I always ask them, but one of them is um what is your experience with with e commerce?
Are you have you already had experience managing an e commerce store if it’s your first time um Shopify obviously got it right, you know that’s the reason why they’re the biggest e commerce platform I think now and I tell I tell you know these prospects I tell them well you know obviously if you’re looking for something extremely simple, you know, extremely user friendly than Shopify is going to be your best bet.
And I think I think that’s one thing they capitalized on, I think that’s the reason why Shopify is actually very successful um if you take a look at Wix or squarespace for example, they also you know go daddy website builder, they all have e commerce solutions baked into them as well.
But um Shopify from the get go has been Ee commerce website platform only, you know, so they they’ve managed to perfect their their whole and you know even Shopify they keep changing their whole, you know they even changed like I think it’s it’s been a few months but they recently changed the way the the way the experiences for the for the managing users to manage the back end, they they they’re still changing, you know they’re still they’re still evolving their whole platform but I think um as far as Shopify they definitely got the the the user, the management side of it, they got it right, you know because it’s just very very simple if you log into like woo commerce or magenta for example, like I have experienced magenta magenta for example, um you know, it used to confuse, used to confuse people, you know, it used to confuse the admin like, like where do I find this?
How do I get this? It was very um it wasn’t user friendly, it wasn’t it wasn’t user friendly and I didn’t think about like um you know, is the user, is the user, is it their first time managing an e commerce store?
Um so these are things that obviously I asked ask about, you know, in the beginning, in my questionnaire when starting with a new client, um but you know, Shopify definitely has a right woo commerce as well, allows more customization, but um but it’s also not that user friendly and of course you have to keep updating it because it’s it’s it’s off with the WordPress engine.
Right? So um so yeah, but um speaking about other tools like what do you, what else do you recommend?
Um I know balsamic or balsamic, how do you know, how do you say it?
I’m not sure about balsamic.
I I’ve used it quite a bit, it’s so simple and it’s it’s great to use um I’ve also used marvel as well um envisioned studio is another good one um you know, for people to start to play around with and and I’m sure that there are so many other tools that are out there and look around and find it, you know, there’s no shortage of tools.
It’s just coming, coming down to engaging with them and you know, setting your intentions right off the bat.
And what do you want to do with that tool? Mm hmm. Exactly.
And I know how are you with time by the way, Are you, are you still good with time or?
Yeah, I’ve got about 15 more minutes here. We can, we can, we can go through. No problem.
I wanted it, I wanted to see if you wanted to break down a website, you know, and just kind of go through the whole methodology of it.
Yeah, there’s a couple of websites that, that I think have done a really good job for different ways.
So I’ll share you, do you want to share your screen and maybe pull it up?
Um, I’m gonna talk through it if, because I want people to first understand and then we can pull it up.
So, um, a lot of people will know NPR is for, it’s, it’s, you know, radio and auditory messaging.
It also has a very robust website that allows for a lot of rapid discovery of content.
So you wouldn’t naturally think of it as as a content engine, like a news cast station.
However, they have created a fantastic experience that I think for many users would really surprise and delight them that you can discover content that they won’t actually talk about on air in your location, but they brought to life in ways that they’ve made it very digestible with really clear headlines.
Um, and and copy that’s really stackable underneath until you click on it and you could either read more or click the video and they’ve also created a good balance of near ground and foreground.
So they have, you know, a white copy field with a gray background.
So that really sets the focus to your eye to be able to see exactly what you’re looking at and where, why.
I think that’s important is because again, being, being a lot of visual learners on on things when we see stuff, we have to know tell our eyes where to go and look at it.
So I I think that as an organization, they’ve done a fantastic job being able to build out of sight that in many ways surprising delights people when they first go.
But also it can be highly modular and adjusted based on your interests and your preferences to be able to give you stuff in in a quick bit and the headlines or if you’ve got the time to really click on it and go check it out.
So I think that they’ve done a really good job at that.
I’m going to go through two more and then we can open up the pages if you want to do that.
So the next thing we talked about this earlier, which is Airbnb.
So their first version was definitely not what it is now you can see that they become not only solution orientated with a really strong call to action right off the bat of just getting people to go in and to make a booking right?
It’s it’s become as simple as that. They know why you’re there, you know why you’re there, right?
And it’s like look at a page, so you know, you’re going to go somewhere, you know when mhm what’s going to help drive that decision?
They know that social proof via reviews are going to be the top thing that you’re going to be looking at.
So they put that right off the bat, right?
And then they have the information in there about, you know, featured places and then discovering new places and they’ve really made it easy for you just to go in and find a place that suits your needs and your habits and if you have an account with them you can go into your preferences and you can make changes so that it will auto feed to you stuff that aligns based on the things that you’re looking for.
So they’ve taken, again, data utilization for your preferences and showing you stuff that’s been tagged in the back end that’s gonna be relevant to you while at the same time it’s hugely personal, right?
It doesn’t feel like it’s a commerce site, you know, a property commerce site, they’ve they’ve been able to use really beautiful photos and I don’t know if they still do, but you know, they used to be able to send a photographer out to your property and they would photograph it for you.
And that was the way that they ensured consistency, Right?
And an ideal brand experience by photographing in a similar style, in a similar way that every time you would go and you would see their photos, you would know that it’s an Airbnb quality photo and place that you could go to.
Again, I don’t know if they still do that, but that was one of the things that they did, you know, early on and I think it paid off for them to be able to get really high quality pictures of the, of the homes.
The last one in a different category is the Khan Academy. Right?
So as an education provider, education can often be really dry and how you really would engage with that site.
But they did a really good job addressing very specific audiences and the type of information that you need to know, are you a student, are you a parent, are you a teacher facilitator needing to get information out there?
And so they’ve grouped it in a way through the use of color and imagery to be able to guide someone through, you know, the scroll to be able to say, ah this is meaningful for me, like I’m over here, this is meaningful for me.
And so they’ve done a decent job being able to build it out in a way that helps the user to actually get to what they need because they know that not every user has the same goals and so by, by building that out that way, you know, I think they’ve been able to just, I’m assuming and maximize the amount of transactions that they’ve been able to get in and their students to an enrollment because they’ve been able to identify and isolate the types of information needed at each one of those phases.
Yeah, and I know we’re a little short on time.
So what I’ll do is I’ll just, when we’re editing we’ll pull up the, we’ll pull up the website so other users can, can see it side by side.
I think that’s a lot better.
Um So let’s uh let’s talk a little bit about um you know, it’s closing statements.
Um I know that um there’s some e commerce, we kind of already dove a little bit into the e commerce platforms, you know, such as Shopify, Wix commerce, magenta and all that.
Um So what what do you do you have any thoughts on this, like these future technologies or how, you know, you x might be evolving as far as like e commerce.
Yeah. And then, you know, one step out of the e commerce, but I think that the pandemic has created a new environment of working remotely and the normalization of that and so I think that, you know, there’s obviously, you know, the zooms and the different video chat platforms and teams has there, but you’re you’re not starting to see new um organizations come up with new collaboration tools.
So active collab and mural are are two that I think are just like the bee’s knees and being able to help people to have information there that allows them to collaborate in a way that is very fluid, very dynamic and you can insert pictures and copy and video.
Um you know, and I guess I would put slack in there as well who’s a little bit older compared to two mural and active collab but are doing a fantastic job to accommodate people who are working more remote in more creative free spaces.
And you know, while I think that the teams um by Microsoft hazards value, It unfortunately is not the best user experience.
So um for me when I would compare the two from a UX perspective, active 11 mural have a much more intuitive user experience to it than being able to look at at a Microsoft teams for example, so it’s like night and day in the styles of collaboration and what the ethos is for those three organizations.
But but I think, you know, again that starts to set some of the foundation uh you know, in terms of what we’re doing, which goes back to I think to some of the traps that we talked about.
So, you know, how much are we valuing the balance of value and benefits? Right?
Is it valuable for the organization and the user or the user? Right?
So being able to look at that now, it’s important in the trap of like not defining who your audience is and their needs right off the bat.
If you’re not looking at that and not clearing those attentions, your site experience is going to suffer at that because you’re creating something that is very ambiguous as opposed to rooted in exactly who you’re creating the experience for and then ultimately not acknowledging the design is subjective, right?
And I think that that is a trap that we all fall into everyone has an opinion on it.
So when you create your, your wire frames and your user experiences, um, put put some of your assumptions in there, put some of your preferences and share those when you present stuff off the bat to your clients or as you’re building your own knowledge base because that will help to set a playing field for them to know why you came up with some of those decisions and recommendations and the person you’re presenting and sharing.
You may have different ones. And that’s great because that’s where the conversation will come up with and being able to say, okay, these are your assumptions, these are your needs, this is how I created this.
Now. How do we marry them together?
And I’d say last on that is is not considering some of the other actual pieces of UX design, which is looking at color theory.
So how does color influence of what we’re doing?
You can go on google color theory and you’ll see that the use of red on a website is an angry color and that generally is avoided because it elicits, you know, an urgency to leave versus blues and greens are, you know, getting people to stay and be more calm on that.
And, you know, different uses of yellows and orange to be uplifting and effervescent.
So, color plays a huge thing in your site experience. So take the time to look at that.
Typography and casing is another one of these things, I I love typography, but I think it you have to walk the fine line, how easy is it to be viewed?
And and I always tell people do the squint test. So if you squint, can you still read it?
You know, um, is it a font that easily translates on a mobile phone, on a tablet on the computer?
And is a universal font, right?
That if you don’t have that font in your library that’s still going to show up and still going to look good.
So those are things just to be aware of and then creating a clear tone of voice often that, you know, when you’re creating websites, there’s different authors that are going to be creating different pieces and content to take the time to be able to set up some guidelines in advance that goes through again, who you’re designing for, What are the needs, what’s the tone of voice of that document.
So that when you go and you go to publish it, that all of that stuff has a very common flow or at least one editor to look at.
Um, so that when the the viewer is using is looking at it, it seems as if it’s natural from one person as opposed to all over the field.
Because again, these are some things that as an author, you may not notice it, but the reader will definitely pick up on it.
So again, I guess in closing those would be some of the traps to be mindful of.
Um, and just don’t don’t hold what you’re doing is the site experiences the final right off the bat, embrace, embrace that the imperfection in it iterated it, get it better share it with people and you will ultimately create a much better user experience.
That’s that’s fantastic knowledge that you shared with anyone that’s that’s, you know, thinking about launching a website, start with these, uh, you know, make sure you’re not falling into these website traps, especially it’s gonna, it’s all this is going to definitely affect your bottom line.
Exactly, yeah, yeah. Um any other um, you know, as we’re nearing the end of the podcast.
Um anything else that you might want to share. Um I know that you mentioned mural.
Um I thought you said mural because there is also a great tool called neuro yeah, yeah, I I used it constantly.
It’s fantastic. Um I think it’s I think it doesn’t get enough attention by the way but it’s fantastic.
It’s sort of like an online collaboration whiteboard um where you can see everyone um you can see all the users that are in this white board collaborating together.
I just wanted to throw that in there that it’s it’s also an amazing tool for anyone that’s wanting to collaborate.
Um but I guess I would just close on.
There are a tremendous number of tools out there don’t become reliant on the tool really build your knowledge base and let let your knowledge base and understanding guide and influence which tools are best to use for certain things because at the end of the day a client isn’t going to care what tool that you use, they’re going to care about the output.
So it seems it’s easy to find a tool to do it all for you.
But the tool is only as smart as the user who is using it, so take the time to learn the foundation, understand the basics of what you need to accomplish and then work backwards and forwards from that to be able to create the best user experience you can.
Fantastic. Aaron. Well um I think we’ve reached the end of the podcast.
Thank you so much for your time. Very welcome and your knowledge. And uh, yeah, let’s do it again. Absolutely.
We shall do it again, guys. So thank you everyone for tuning in to our third podcast.
Take care, and thank you, appreciate it.
Thank you so much for your time together, so.

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