How to Engage Consumers Shopping on Multiple Devices How to Engage Consumers Shopping on Multiple Devices

How to Engage Consumers Shopping on Multiple Devices

Design, Ecommerce, Personalization, User Experience, UX

The average number of devices a person owns is on the rise, making it harder to pinpoint exactly how users will enter and engage with your site. Given the increased use of smart TVs, wearables, mobile devices, and personal computers, consumers now have multiple ways to shop and they expect a seamless experience as they jump from one device to another. According to Criteo’s State of Cross Device Commerce, “Nearly one-third of all transactions involve two or more devices from the first website visit to the point of purchase.” Ecommerce brands must adapt their site experiences to keep pace with consumer expectations. I’ve outlined 3 ways you can design with a multi-device path to purchase in mind.

Rethink Customer Journeys

Personas are no longer limited to a one device preference. Users may have a device preference for different actions or different times of day. Consider a young professional who may browse products on their desktop at work and opt to complete their purchase at home on their mobile phone. Now more than ever, it’s important to consider all possible touchpoints when mapping out consumer journeys and acknowledge which devices those touchpoints occur on.

Prioritize Personalization

Personalization throughout the site plays an important role when it comes to familiarizing the user. Being able to remind them of recently browsed items, that may have occurred on a previous device, helps consumers stay focused on why they came to your site and increases their chances of converting. An example of personalization is displaying previously viewed items and keywords in the search bar. If a product the user was previously viewing appears in their search, they will spend less time scanning the search results and more time on the Product Description Page (PDP).

Design Mobile First, Not Mobile Only

As the big push for mobile first design continues, it’s important not to lose sight of the various ways people are coming to your site. Mobile first is a valuable best practice when designing your site for a smaller screen, but it can’t be the sole focus. According to Monetate’s Ecommerce Quarterly Report, “The detected multi-device users outperform the average user in several key areas; including product view rate, add-to-cart rate, purchase rate, and average order value.” If we can better accommodate more devices in our designs, the ecommerce experience will be more familiar for a multi-device user and far more successful for brands.

We expect the ecommerce ecosystem to continue trending toward a multi-device path to purchase, making a cohesive cross-device site experience essential, not optional.

How to Approach Website Accessibility as a Team How to Approach Website Accessibility as a Team

How to Approach Website Accessibility as a Team

Accessibility, Design, User Experience, UX

As a design professional, the number of times I’ve heard or seen the word accessibility has increased exponentially over the years. Conference keynote speakers center their talks around accessibility, blog posts dive into the business case for accessibility and clients ask if we have experience meeting accessibility standards. This makes sense since the web is a place where people have to fulfill important tasks like paying their bills, applying for jobs and keeping in touch with their family.

The growing awareness of accessibility proves how many people benefit from an accessible web. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report nearly 1 in 5 people have a disability in the US, at about 56.7 million people. Web accessibility according to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) means “websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web and contribute to the Web.”

Given the number of people living with disabilities, accessibility practices should be second nature, though many people still struggle with how to start. Using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 provided by the W3C, I’ve outlined a few ways in which various team members within an organization can implement and advocate for accessibility with confidence.

Designer/Creative

  • Focus on consistency early on in your process. If you are creating a brand, a design system or a style guide, use this opportunity to choose color pallets that will be uniform across your brand.
  • Use this same approach of consistency when selecting typography. The WCAG has a clear list of text specific guidelines to make this straightforward. Knowing this information upfront makes it easier to set guidelines in place that can be followed during handoffs to development and post launch.

UX/UI Designer

  • Implement logical and clear navigation. Also ensure sitemaps are included on your website. When diving into a site’s structure, even if it already exists, find ways to make it simpler. Even if that means simplifying the copy.
  • Make sure button, links and controls are large enough for the user to interact with. This is especially important on mobile. Users may have difficulty keeping their hands steady or are using alternatives to make selections on a screen or computer.
  • UI designers can make sure they have adequate color contrast in designs. Tools like Stark are compatible with Sketch and Adobe XD, offering a colorblind simulation and a contrast website accessibility checker.

Digital Marketer

  • When creating content and copy for the website use clear and concise language. Try to avoid idioms and jargon. This is incredibly useful for functional copy like navigation titles.
  • Assist developers with writing alt text for images. Alt text is a description of an image that can be read aloud with the assistant of screen readers, helping users who are visually impaired.

Project Manager

  • Promote your team to read up on accessibility, or if time is limited, provide the team with quick resources regarding the topic.
  • Have knowledge of the functionality that is being implemented in your project that aids accessibility. Be able to further explain with the client the importance of accessibility.

Developer

  • Set up a logical tab navigation or focus states for users who navigate a site with only their keyboard. Best practice is to navigate sequentially through content.
  • Use developer tools to confirm accessibility standards are being met. Chrome DevTools offers an outline of their accessibility features.

I urge you to begin using these web accessibility initiatives in your day-to-day projects. I hope this has inspired you to dive deeper into web accessibility guidelines and to go beyond meeting the basic requirements. Implementing accessibility is a mindset that is cultivated over time.

How to Not Suck at Collaboration How to Not Suck at Collaboration

How to Not Suck at Collaboration

Culture, Design, UX

The Hype

This year was my first time attending the MidwestUX conference (MWUX). I was excited to be a part of an engaging conference that my teammates have discussed ever since I joined the team. Prior to leaving for Cincinnati, I had outlined the talks that interested me most. Day One, I was most excited to hear Karen VanHouten speak on why we overlook the process of collaboration. In her speaker bio, she insisted on aiding us with an applicable system to confront obstacles around collaboration. Her insight and enthusiasm for this topic did not disappoint.

How Do You Approach the Topic of Collaboration?

Karen’s approach as a speaker was different and refreshing. Karen’s talk resonated with the audience because of her ability to be candid and real with us. She did not sugar coat the situations that exist in our professional world. She introduced us to the uncomfortable problems that she witnessed within her own organization. We were all on the same level. Karen described what it is like working on an energetic team with varying personalities, and how it can make it tough to engage everyone to contribute responsibly and respectfully. She created a continuum to represent different personalities that are often in the room—the ‘wallflower’, the ‘mensch’, and the ‘antagonist’ (please note that Karen’s choice of wording here was a different ‘A’ word, but for the purposes of this blog, I will keep it on a higher level). Her continuum is outlined below.

Karen VanHouten's Collaboration Continuum

Karen says, ‘It’s difficult to call foul when we all seem to be playing by a different set of rules.’

Insight: Defining a Set of Rules

Karen is a Culture Architect, and she works to curate her team’s work environment using her background as a researcher, information architect, and UX designer. Her solution to breaking down the barrier of collaboration begins with establishing a Code of Conduct among her team that empowers accountability among team members. She advocates that the team own this Code of Conduct as a means to improve team dynamics and creativity. While these codes were discussed at a design conference, the elements can apply to any area of business.

Code of Conduct

Below I have outlined Karen’s Code of Conduct along with a few points from each code that resonated deeply with our team.

1) How will we treat each other?

  • We assume good intent:
  • I loved the simplicity of this point, it is simple to understand but often times difficult to demonstrate. This is a great reminder that our assumptions frame our actions and relationships.
  • We replace defensiveness with curiosity:
  • Asking why with the intention of genuine wonder is more approachable than engaging with defensive demeanors.

2) How will we approach our work?

  • We assign the right kinds of roles and responsibilities:
  • I thought this code was interesting as it focuses on how we expand our determined roles, project by project. Being able to clearly assign the right kind of roles, whether it be designating a spokesperson or decision maker, allows for transparency and trust during different situations.
  • We recognize the value of exploration for learning’s sake:
  • Sometimes in the business of our workdays, we lose sight of the value of exploration for learning’s sake. It is needed in the Code of Conduct because it can get swept away during our busy times. This is a simple reminder that learning and exploration are the foundation for our work and growth.

3) How will we communicate?

  • We actively work towards alignment, not agreement:
  • Prior to this point, I would have associated our team being on the same page as an agreement but I think a better way to describe it is the term alignment. Agreement implies that we are abandoning our own point of views for the sake of the outcome, whereas alignment implies that we are shaping the decisions on the table. Think: How can this idea work for our outcome?
  • We evaluate ideas based on their merit, not their source:
  • This resonated greatly with me as I know the source of an idea can alter the audience’s viewpoint, whether intentional or unintentional. This brings a focus on analyzing the impact of the idea.

4) How will we make decisions?

  • We trust our designated decision-makers:
  • Verbally designating a decision-maker is key to progress. We must give everyone equal access to voicing their opinion, but if we do not have a dedicated team member to designate progress we will not progress.
  • We are transparent with our decision-making process.
  • Hearing a final decision is not enough. It is important to discuss the reasons behind a decision. Understanding why it is important benefits our projects and our team.

5) How will we define success?

  • Each team member is contributing at an appropriate level.
  • I like the phrasing of this code as it implies contribution is different for each team member and noted at an appropriate level, remembering this will help us define success.
  • This way of working together becomes habitual.
  • This is ultimate success! Having a good knowledge base of the code will aid our team with the skills to collaborate with respect and responsibility.

As a team, we look forward to using this outline as a starting point to defining our own Code of Conduct. I truly appreciated this talk and conference as they both did not stray away from real topics that affect our industry. This conference provided our team with applicable solutions to both technical and social situations that are present in the workplace. I am inspired and can’t wait to apply this thinking. My team and I look forward to next year’s MWUX in Chicago.