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We are living in a hyper-digitally dynamic ecosystem. As we are moving towards a digitally dependent future, the need for Digital Resilience is increasing rapidly.

Digital Resilience helps companies by providing several ways for businesses to use digital tools and systems to recover from crises quickly. Today, digital resilience and supply chain resilience no longer imply merely the ability to manage risk. It now means that managing risk means being better positioned than competitors to deal with disruptions and even gain an advantage from them. 

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Jamstack (JAMstack), is one of the most popular (and rapidly growing) tools for app and website creation. A unique ecosystem of functionality, Jamstack promises developers the support they need to create powerful websites and progressive applications. 

For a while, Jamstack was mostly written off as just another buzzword in the developer space. However, today, it’s growing to become a powerful investment for many business leaders. Even big companies are getting involved, like Cloudflare, with Cloudflare pages, and Microsoft with Azure Static Web Apps. Elsewhere, we’ve seen brands like Shopify, PayPal, and Nike getting involved too.

So, what exactly is Jamstack, and is it time you transitioned over? Let’s find out…

What is Jamstack?

Jamstack, otherwise known as “JAMstack,” is the name of a developer ecosystem made up of JavaScript, APIs, and Markup (hence: JAM). The solution is a web development architecture allowing developers to access static website benefits, such as higher security and better performance, while still unlocking dynamic database-oriented CMS.

The Jamstack solution allows companies and developers to build a dynamic website where real assets are pre-rendered static files in a CDN. The dynamic environment runs on JavaScript client-side, through serverless functions. 

For a better insight, let’s compare Jamstack to the LAMP stack development strategy, which originated from the four open-source components many developers used to build sites: Linux, Apache HTTP, MySQL, and PHP.

With LAMP, each user request for a page forces the server to query a database — unless the page is cached — and combine the result with page markup data and plugins. Jamstack websites serve pre-built optimized assets and markup solutions quickly because the files are already compiled on a CDN. There’s no need to query the database. 

Jamstack workflows dramatically reduce cumbersome issues with development and excess maintenance, making them highly appealing to developers. 

What Are the Benefits of Jamstack?

Jamstack won’t be the ideal development tool for everyone, but it has a lot of benefits to offer. By fetching HTML from a CDN, the system doesn’t have to wait for HTML to be combined and returned to clients. The solution also provides an improved developer experience with static methods. 

Using Jamstack, developers can build fantastic static files ready to serve by request, hosted on a global CDN. Some of the biggest benefits of Jamstack include:

  • Performance: Because you’re serving pre-built static files from a CDN directly, you’ll achieve much faster loading times, unmatched by typical server-side rendering options. Because you’re serving static files, you’re also better equipped to handle any traffic spikes you might encounter, with minimal slowdown.
  • User experience: Better website performance significantly improves user experience and website traffic, as well as SEO efforts. User experience has always been a critical factor in ensuring the success of a website, and it’s essential to keeping your customers around for as long as possible. Websites optimized for performance will always delight users. 
  • Security: With Jamstack, there are no servers or databases to worry about. You use third-party solutions to handle these issues for you. The architecture of Jamstack means the back and front end of your development processes are decoupled, and you can rely on APIs to run server-side processes easily. Jamstack also comes with security benefits other approaches can lack. Clear separation of services is essential here. 
  • Hosting and scaling: Scaling and hosting can often be problematic in the development world, but because you’re serving files from a CDN, you’re less likely to encounter issues. CDNs are almost infinitely scalable, so you get excellent extensibility built into your development environment. CDN hosting for static files is also cheaper than traditional hosting, so you can keep costs low. 
  • Maintenance: Jamstack makes it easy to push your front end to the edge rather than managing infrastructure directly. Ditching plugins, databases, and other hosting services can help you to save more time and money on a significant scale. 
  • Developer experience: From a developer perspective, there are tons of benefits from Jamstack. You get the ease of a Github, CI/CD, CDN flow, and auto previews with simple rollback to reduce the need for backups. Local developer environments and the ability to run and debug cloud functions locally are all fantastic.

Does Jamstack Have any Limitations?

In a lot of ways, Jamstack is an innovative and revolutionary solution for development. It can help you to create a far more engaging website and present your company in an incredible way. Of course, that doesn’t mean there are no limitations to be aware of. 

Jamstack is developer-friendly, for instance, but it’s not beginner-friendly. You will need at least some knowledge of web development to start unlocking the benefits. You’ll need to understand things like Vue or React, but you should develop a tool anyone can use with a bit of work.

There’s also a handful of things you can’t pre-generate, like user-specific and real-time data. So, this means you may not be able to use Jamstack effectively on projects requiring these kinds of data. Building an analytics dashboard, for instance, probably isn’t a good idea with Jamstack. Other issues for some developers may include:

  • API complexity: It can be overwhelming to try and find the right solution for your needs among so many different options. Of course, this could also be something you’d say about the WordPress ecosystem and its huge variety of plugins. An API usually won’t break your production website, at least. 
  • Long building processes: If you have a large number of pages, there’s more likely to be an extensive building process to think about. Whenever you make a change to a single page, even a little one, you’ll need to rebuild your entire website. This is a problem if you run into a website with thousands of pages. There are solutions to this problem available, however.
  • Handling dynamics: Going with Jamstack doesn’t mean abandoning your backend. An important part of the approach is accessing serverless functions, which are becoming more effective over time. These serverless functions can also be executed on the edge. The backend parts of your website will require regular maintenance as they scale.

Best Jamstack Tools to Check Out

Now you know the basics of Jamstack, let’s look at some of the tools you can use to design an incredible website or application within the Jamstack environment. 

The Git Tool Landscape

There are tons of tools within the Git ecosystem common among Jamstack developers. Starting with Git itself. Git represents a powerful free, and open-sourced distributed version control system. With this solution, companies can handle everything from small to enterprise-level projects with efficiency and speed. The solution is extremely easy to use and learn, and outclasses a range of tools like Perforce, ClearCase and Subversion. 

GitHub Pages and GitLab pages are two hosting services for Git repositories with built-in services to host static pages from out of your codebase. This makes the two solutions fantastic for when you’re building a Jamstack website. You can access the functionality for free too. 

GitLab gives you a comprehensive DevOps platform to work with, where you can enjoy a comprehensive CI/CD toolchain out of the box. The comprehensive solution, delivered as a single application, changes the way security, development, and Ops teams integrate and collaborate. Gitlab helps to accelerate software delivery on a massive scale.

AWS Amplify

AWS Amplify, created by Amazon Web Services, is a development platform packed full of useful features for people in the Jamstack environment. The Amplify offering aims to reduce the complexities associated with Amazon Web Services for mobile and web deployment. You get 12 months of hosting for free with new accounts, and you get Storage with Amplify too. 

The Amazon Amplify solution dramatically improves the regular AWS workflow, especially if you’re just a novice user. There’s a huge documentation hub to help you too, which is way more convenient than Amazon’s usual documentation solutions. Amplify is still accessed from a somewhat bloated console, however. 

With AWS Amplify, companies can access features like a comprehensive data store to sync data between the cloud and websites. There’s also easy-to-use interface access across all different categories of cloud operations. The service works well with a range of JavaScript central tools. 

Netlify

Netlify is a pioneering solution in the Jamstack environment, allowing users to go dynamic with their websites and applications on their own terms. You can access a range of add-ons and integration, access your favorite tools, and make your own. The flexible environment enables developers to run websites on a multi-cloud infrastructure designed for speed and scale automation. 

Built to be entirely secure from the ground up, Netlify makes it easy to build a site that’s custom-made for performance and deployed directly. You don’t need to worry about managing, scaling and patching web services, which means you can more quickly implement your Jamstack architecture. 

Unlike other large legacy apps, Jamstack projects are neatly separate from your front-end pages and UI from the backend databases and apps with Netlify. Using this service, the entire front-end can be pre-built with highly optimized static assets and pages, and developers can deliver new web projects faster than ever before.

Next.JS

Inspired by the functionality of PHP, Next.JS is a solution for pre-rendered JavaScript modules. The solution allows developers to easily export the components of their apps and perform individual tests to determine how each element works. You can also access a wide range of components and modules from NPM. The Next offering allows developers to save time, removing the need to use webpack bundles and transform with compilers. 

The full solution is extremely intuitive, ensuring developers can create solutions quickly. What’s more, the technology you build will allow you to load only the bundle needed from your JavaScript workflow, rather than all the JavaScript at once. Pre-fetching, one of the features of Next.JS, also picks up where standard code-splitting leaves off, allowing for optimized bundles of code to load seamlessly. 

Next.JS also supports hot-module replacement. This means instead of reloading an entire application when you change the code, you only recreate the modules you’ve altered.

Angular

Probably the most widely-recognized of all the JavaScript frameworks, Angular, designed by Google engineers, appeared first in 2012, offering developers a new way to create dynamic pages. Before this technology, there were other opportunities for creating dynamic pages, but they were nowhere near as convenient or speedy. 

Angular is probably one of the most essential tools companies can use when building a Jamstack website or environment. The front-end web development tool attracts developers from all over the world. Every version is packed with features and constantly upgraded to ensure you can generate the best results. 

Angular extends HTML file functionality with powerful directives, and it requires very little effort to enable these directives too. All you do is add the ng- prefix to your HTML attributes and you’re ready to go. Angular also allows developers to create widgets leveraging editable data with two-way binding. This means developers don’t have to write code that syncs constantly between the model and view. 

With Angular, developers also get access to things like virtual scrolling, which can help with displaying large lists of elements performantly, rendering on the items that fit on the screen to reduce loading times. 

React

Another must-have tool in the JavaScript world for Jamstack, the React solution was launched first in 2013, and has won thousands of customers across the globe thanks to fantastic functionality. Today, the full landscape is maintained by Facebook, along with all the members of the standard developer community. The solution is used by some of the biggest giants in the tech industry, like Netflix, PayPal, and Apple. 

React is a true pioneer in the Jamstack ecosystem, with its sensational approach to simple and straightforward solutions for JavaScript management. You’ll be able to access batched and virtual DOM updates, which makes it easier to unlock components quickly, and write your components the way you see them. There’s also the added benefit that React is compatible with a lot of tools. 

You can build a comprehensive app or website with the help of React, and you’ll have no trouble accessing some of the top features, particularly with plenty of support available from the React community. 

Gatsby

Created from the ground up to improve user experience on a comprehensive level, Gatsby is a static site generator with heavy focus on things like SEO, performance, and accessibility. The solution offers plenty of out-of-the-box features to help developers deliver the most immersive solution for their users, without unnecessary complexity. 

Gatsby users pre-configuration to develop static websites giving developers faster loading pages, stronger code splitting, and server-side rendering. You can also access features like data prefetching, asset optimization, and quick image loading. Gatsby boasts excellent documentation and starter packs to help you get your site up and running more quickly.

The GraphQL data layer of Gatsby also means the system can collect your data from anywhere, including your CMS, JSON, Markdown, and APIs. More than just your standard site generator, this is a tool built specifically with performance in mind. 

Agility CMS

Developing an effective Jamstack website means having access to the right CMS technology. Agility CMS wasn’t the first CMS solution to support Jamstack, but it is one of the better-known options. As one of the first headless CMS solutions to hit the market, the company has quickly captured the attention of a huge range of developers worldwide.

Agility CMS is a Jamstack pioneer, capable of helping developers to build a foundation for any online ecosystem. The technology is an API-first CMS with support for REST APIs, so developers can connect all the third-party apps and front-end frameworks they like.

The technology also gives developers the freedom to code their solutions their way. You don’t have to follow a specific set of guidelines for how content is created, but templates are available to fast-track development. Agility CMS also hosts and abstracts your database, so you don’t have to worry about connection strings, backups, and maintenance. 

With a strong content architecture to help companies manage digital content and a partnership with Gatsby, Agility is ideal for Jamstack development strategies. 

Building Your Jamstack Website

The Jamstack solution is more than just a buzzword in today’s development world. This unique approach to building incredible development experiences delivers an excellent advantage to both developers and their end-users. Fast, scalable, and full of solutions for customization, Jamstack is a powerful way to bring websites to life with simplicity and speed. 

Every day, more companies take advantage of the Jamstack environment, and we’re constantly seeing a wide selection of new tools, APIs and offerings emerging to help enhance the Jamstack landscape too. This environment is definitely worth consideration for any developer looking to significantly speed up their development strategy.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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It’s normal to pull up sharp in front of a problem; after all, if there was a known solution, it wouldn’t be a problem. But knowing that it’s normal, doesn’t make encountering problems any less frustrating. So how do we avoid sitting in front of a UX problem for hours, achieving nothing?

That’s what creative problem solving is all about.

In this post, we’ll explore creative problem solving, and how it can help you as a UX designer. Then we’ll analyze how you can solve UX problems in a few, easy-to-remember steps. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the tips you need for UX problem-solving.

What is Creative Problem Solving?

Creative problem solving is a term developed by Alex Osborn, the founder of the Creative Education Foundation. In a nutshell, this term is about overcoming challenges in our work lives through innovative solutions. But, of course, such solutions vary by profession.

For UX designers, creative problem solving is about solving UX problems with efficient tactics, that work. And that’s precisely why UX problem solving is so essential because following a specific method can help us avoid getting stuck.

Whether you are a newbie or an experienced designer, you are probably focused on projects that require you to solve problems. If you have never had a problem before, you must be a superhero; for us mere mortals, here are the steps we need to follow to solve a UX problem:

UX Problem Solving in 5 Easy Steps

Delivering a great UX solution is influenced by two key parameters: user research and creative problem-solving. Suppose you have done your user research and are currently looking for an original solution to a problem. In this case, the methodology below will be handy:

1. Identify the UX Problem

I know this may sound obvious, but think about it. How many times have we lost days because we didn’t identify the real problem? If you are solving the wrong problem, it does not matter if your solution is original and innovative.

That’s why the first thing you need to do is think about the problem. Ask yourself what the real problem is, and then get to work solving it. Identifying the problem may take some time, but it will prove beneficial to your project in the long run.

2. Clarify the UX Problem

Now that you have identified the UX problem, it’s time to demystify it. In this step, you could create a user journey plan. It does not have to be perfect; some low-fidelity sketches are more than enough.

Set a timer and start visualizing your solution on paper. Remember, sketching is not about perfection or fine details. Once you have created a customer journey you are happy with, it’s time to move on to the next step.

3. Use Analytics

UX design isn’t about design per se. It’s also about numbers and data. This is why analytics are critical to UX problem-solving. Once you have gathered some data from users and competitors, it’s time to create patterns. This will help you better understand the problem and change your drafts accordingly.

Numbers and data alone can help you a lot if you combine them with an original idea. However, facts alone are not enough, and your original story will not be compelling without them. So what’s better than combining them?

4. Use Your Feedback

So you have come up with an innovative solution to the UX problem. You have successfully combined this idea with essential data. Unfortunately, your work is not yet done. 

The next step is equally important. Once you have polished your ideas, you should share them with colleagues and/or customers.

It’s not easy to get feedback for your UX mapping, but it’s very constructive and will ultimately make you a better designer.

5. Solve the Problem

The last step is also the most fun. Once you have listened to people’s feedback, you can redesign your original solution. Then you are just one step away from solving the UX problem. Now it’s time to digitally redesign your idea.

This is the step where fine details matter. Creating a high-fidelity wireframe is not easy, but most UX designers have the knowledge and tools to get it done.

UX Problem Solving: Useful Tips and Tricks

Be Methodical

In my opinion, this is the most useful tip when it comes to UX problem-solving. You do not always have to be in a hurry. In the early stages of a project, try not to get distracted by other problems. Focus on finding the real problem.

Once you are sure you have found it, you can move on to finding the best solution. Then move on to the next step and so on. It becomes clear that being methodical is a brilliant tactic.

UX Problem Solving is All about the Ecosystem

UX problem solving is not about fine details. So try to care less about the design and more about the ecosystem you want to create. That will help you gather all the data you need, from user opinions to analytics.

Low-Fidelity vs. High-Fidelity Wireframes

Starting with sketches and low-fidelity wireframes is a brilliant thing to do. Whenever I have tried to start a project directly with high-fidelity wireframes, I have gotten bogged down in details.

For this reason, pen and paper should be your best friends in UX problem-solving. Sketches help you explore different approaches and get the feedback you need.

Explore Different Tools/Approaches

When it comes to solving a UX problem, there is usually one efficient solution. But that is not always the case. In most cases, we have to consider different alternatives and identify more than one critical interaction.

For this reason, feedback is also crucial for UX problem-solving. Your colleagues and customers will help you find the best method. Try to accept criticism and be open when listening to feedback. This way, you will ensure that you will find the best possible solution.

Wrap Up

Solving a UX problem is not easy. However, if you identify the real problem and illustrate different approaches, you will be on the right track. Also, do not neglect to use the data and feedback you collect. The more tools you have in hand, the better UX designer you will be.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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With the holidays fast approaching, there are plenty of fun gifts for you in this roundup of new tools and resources for web designers. Make sure to share anything you find helpful with others to spread additional holiday cheer.

Here’s what is new for designers this month…

Volley

Volley, billing itself as Snapchat for work, is a new way to collaborate with remote teams. The tool addresses the two main problems of remote teams (lack of communication and loneliness) with an async video messaging app with interactive transcriptions neatly organized into workspaces. Volley emphasizes talking over typing (76% of volleys sent are video), doesn’t require you to coordinate schedules (it’s 100% asynchronous), and lives in a threaded conversation with context that’s neatly organized. Plus, the tool is free to use.

Upnext

Upnext is a new type of reading list. It’s designed to help you save, organize, and focus on fantastic content while expanding your knowledge on your favorite topics. You can create playlists with almost any type of content that you can refer to later and follow “thinkers” that you love. Search and filter content, focus on reading, integrate videos, and even highlight and note specific content in your customized library. This brand-new web app has a waitlist that you can join to get access soon.

Startup 5

Startup 5 is a new version of the popular website builder, and it’s a perfect tool to create your online presence. With Startup, it’s fast and easy to get your business online with pre-designed blocks. It includes a visual editor with 150+ blocks with pre-designed and pre-coded elements and styles you can easily customize in a drag and drop interface. It’s an easy tool for building a website quickly without a coding background. Most users can publish a website quickly and easily.

Flatmap

Flatmap generates Mapbox Vector Tiles from geographic data sources like OpenStreetMap. It is memory-efficient so that you can build a map of the world in a few hours on a single machine without any external tools or database. Vector tiles contain raw point, line, and polygon geometries that clients like MapLibre can use to render custom maps in the browser, native apps, or a server. Flatmap packages tiles into an MBTiles (SQLite) file that can be served using tools like TileServer GL or even queried directly from the browser.

Cleanup.Pictures

Cleanup.Pictures is a web-based tool to remove objects, people, text, or other defects from your images before using them in projects. It’s an AI-based alternative to other photo-editing software.

Linkz.ai

Linkz.ai helps you make smart link preview popups for your website to help encourage greater engagement and interaction for links. It works with a line of code you can install quickly and easily, and then you get smart link previews (in two style options) for every link on your site.

Llline

Llline is an SVG generator that helps you create smooth and organic lines and strokes with plenty of customization options for almost any application. This tool helps create graphic elements in just a few clicks, allowing you to add a few points to a canvas and then draw a smooth curve using these points. You can then tweak the resulting SVG graphic by rotating it, changing its color, giving it a gradient, making it a dashed line, and then you can download or copy the SVG markup.

Lorem.Space

Lorem.Space is a valuable placeholder image tool. With just a little bit of code, you can pop cool placeholder images – from movie posters to shoes – right in your website mockup so that the design is easier to visualize. It’s a great solution that’s fun and keeps you from having to put empty boxes throughout the design. And everything can be randomized, so you don’t spend time looking for placeholders.

Huetone

Huetone can help you create more accessible color palettes by making use of the Advanced Perceptual Contrast Algorithm. The contrast ratios and color combinations show on one screen to help you quickly develop palettes and combinations. Plus, the tool has hotkeys that make it easy to change hues, toggle, and adjust quickly. Then you can export everything to Figma.

Rowy

Rowy is an open-source tool to build on the Google Cloud Platform. You can manage Firestore data in a spreadsheet-style user interface, write Cloud Functions in the browser, and connect to third-party platforms.

AdCreative.ai

AdCreative.ai uses artificial intelligence to help create better ad creative. To get started, you upload logos and color files, connect social and other accounts, pick the sizes you need, write text, pick a background, and upload product images, and let the AI do the work. Once you have the creative you like, you can connect to your online ad accounts for easy use. This is a premium tool that’s free to try.

Flowrift

Flowrift is a tool to browse and then copy and customize Tailwind CSS blocks in groups of collections. Filter by block type and then experiment with the options. It even has e-commerce blocks.

Layout Patterns

Layout Patterns is a collection of layout patterns built using modern CSS APIs to help you build common interfaces such as cards, dynamic grid areas, and full-page layouts.

You.com

You.com is a new private search engine that summarizes the web. The tool is in open beta and includes superior privacy choices, actionable results, extensible apps, and personalization through preferred sources.

3D Icons

3D Icons is a fun set of three-dimensional, full-color icons that are free for all uses. (Donations are accepted.) They integrate with pretty much any web design tool you are using and come in four color styles – clay, gradient, color, and premium – so you can get just the right look for your project. Each icon also includes three rendering views – dynamic, side, and isometric.

Arco Design

Arco Design is a comprehensive React UI components library based on the Arco Design system. It includes a customizable theme and more than 60 crafted components that you can use out of the box.

Seekvectors.com

Seekvectors.com is a search tool to find free resources in five different formats, PNG, SVG, JPG, EPS, and AI.

Outline to Single Stroke

Outline to Single Stroke is a tool in the Figma community that works just like the name implies. Select a filled vector on the canvas, and then you can outline it to a single stroke and adjust the line weight if you like.

Codeamigo

Codeamigo is a new self-paced platform to help you learn coding skills. It’s packed with various lessons for different languages and templates and has something for every level from beginner to advanced.

Sizze

Sizze is a Figma to React Native export tool to create app prototypes and instantly export to code.

CodingFont

CodingFont is an excellent game that can help you pick a font to use for coding that you like! If you spend a lot of time looking at code each day, the right font can help reduce eye strain and make the work a little easier to see.

Christmas Revue

Christmas Revue is the first in a trio of holiday typefaces that you can use this season. This SCG color font is fun and perfect for the holidays with exciting glyphs. It is free for personal use only.

Hotsnow

Hotsnow is a fun display font that has interesting fills and shapes in an all-caps character set. It is free for personal use.

Marlwich

Marlwich is a feminine handwriting-style typeface that has the feel of signing a holiday letter or card. It contains upper- and lower-case characters and is only for non-commercial use for free. (A paid option is available for commercial projects.)

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As a web designer, you’re responsible for a lot of things. Your client is relying on you to ensure that their website is user-friendly, accessible, eye-catching, and even good enough on the back-end to capture the attention of the search engines. 

However, what many business leaders and clients don’t realize is that they also have a part to play in ensuring that they get the right results from their site; there’s more to the client and contractor relationship than an exchange of funds. 

Today, we’re going to examine some of the most common mistakes that clients make when they begin working with a website designer for the first time. After all, when a client makes a mistake, it’s up to you to show them how to get back on track. 

Client Mistake 1: Providing Minimal Insight

Creativity, for the most part, is the responsibility of the designer in any web-building project. You know best what you can do for a client. 

When you’re discussing an upcoming project with a business owner, you can walk them through concepts like dark mode design or strategies for digital accessibility. However, you’re still reliant on your client to let you know if there’s anything specific they need. 

An insufficient brief in a web design project usually means that you waste time on a project because you have to go back and forth multiple times, making updates and edits. Getting a brief ironed out properly from day one can reduce misunderstandings and mistakes. 

To get your client started, ask them to share some details like:

  • Who’s the target audience? Do they have a user persona they can share?
  • What specific features does the site need? Landing pages, forms, widgets, etc.?
  • Competitor sites they like: What do they appreciate about those designs?
  • Brand colors and assets: What kind of hues and shades should you use?
  • Technical feature requirements: Does the site need to have its own app, integrate with APIs, or have a checkout solution, for instance?

Client Mistake 2: Underestimating The Workload

Perhaps one of the most common mistakes that clients make when seeking help from a designer is that they have no idea how much work it will take to create the kind of site they want. If they haven’t provided a great brief in the first place, they might not have had a chance to see all the work they’re asking for written down. Walking your client through the brief process can help here. 

On the other hand, if your client has already provided a brief, along with an unrealistic deadline for completion, you might need to have a discussion with them about what you need to do. Walking your client through some of the processes involved in creating their website could give them an insight into how long it will realistically take to bring their ideas to life. 

Additionally, ensuring that your customers fully understand the amount of work you’re taking on could also mean that they can better grasp why you’re charging a certain price for your services. That brings us neatly to the next mistake…

Client Mistake 3: Not Having The Right Budget

Pricing your design services can be a complicated process for web designers. You need to make sure that you’re charging enough to cover the cost of things like essential software and hardware for your company. At the same time, with so many other designers out there, you also need to ensure that your costs are competitive. 

After you’ve gone through the hard work of figuring out what your pricing structure should be, you also need to be capable of justifying that expense to your client. It’s common for many customers to go into their work with a web designer expecting that they’ll be able to get an entire website, blog, and app for less than a couple of hundred dollars. 

Make sure that your client is aware of your pricing immediately to avoid any confusion. If possible, have a pricing page on your website or portfolio which highlights the cost of different packages and precisely what your clients are going to get. 

If your customers can see the value in your services and even equate to an hourly workload or skillset, they might be better equipped to set the proper budget. 

Client Mistake 4: Making Too Many Technology Decisions

You’ll find that you work with many different types of client during your time as a web designer. Sometimes, you’ll have people who come to you not really knowing what they want or need. This means that you may need to spend some time speaking to them about their expectations and discussing what’s possible. 

On the other hand, there’s always a chance that you could work with a client who thinks that they should be making all of the decisions themselves. While it’s true that your client should have some control over things like the style of their website and what features it has, it’s up to you to make technical decisions like what kind of tools you’re going to use. 

If your client tries to dictate everything you do and how you’re going to do it, this could make it difficult for you to deliver your best work. Explain your processes to your customer in advance and find out why they want you to use specific technology. 

For instance, if your client wants to use a specific kind of website builder because they’ve heard it’s “the best,” you can explain what you like most about the product you’re already using. 

Client Mistake 5: Being Too Attached To An Idea

This is a problem that happens in a lot of creative industries. A client goes out and finds something that they like on another website. It might be an attractive landing page or a specific checkout process. They’re so excited by what they see there that they refuse to compromise on that idea when working with their designer – even if the concept isn’t suitable. 

For instance, your client might come to you wanting a website that’s full of dynamic animations and videos. However, if they only have a limited amount of bandwidth from their hosting provider, this could mean that they end up with a slow site that aggravates their customers. 

The best thing you can do when this happens is to present the issue to your client in a way that they can understand. For instance, if you’re worried something will slow down their website, talk to them about how speed is essential to good customer experience. You could even share some page speed stats like: if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, over half of all visitors will abandon it. 

Seeing the stats for themselves could mean that your clients are more likely to change their minds. 

Client Mistake 6: Working With The Wrong Designer

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes any client can make is working with the wrong website designer. There are a lot of professionals out there, each with their unique skills to offer in things like UX design, ecommerce page creation, and so much more. However, it’s not always easy to know what you need as a business owner getting online for the first time. 

The good news for web design clients is that there’s a lot of information out there that you can use to get informed fast. The bad news for designers is that this means you’re going to need to work at keeping your skills on the cutting edge if you want to attract the widest selection of customers. 

To ensure that you’re more likely to be the right designer for your customers, stay up to date with the latest web design standards, and check out what’s trending in your industry. Webinars, articles, and even TED talks can be an excellent way to brush up your knowledge and make your portfolio much more appealing. 

Strengthen Your Client/Designer Relationships 

Succeeding as a web designer isn’t just about building a robust portfolio full of excellent websites where you can showcase your skills. While it’s true that you need to stay on the cutting edge with your design talents, you also need to make sure that you can create positive relationships with every client that comes to you. 

Like designers, clients can make mistakes too, but not knowing what they want, trying to take too much control, or simply failing to understand the scope of a product. Rather than letting those mistakes hold you back, prove your mettle as a designer by helping your clients navigate these issues. The result will be more streamlined project experiences, happier customers, and better reviews for your company. 

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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As the year begins to wind down, there are still plenty of new and evolving website design trends going strong. Much of what you’ll see this month carries over from things we’ve been seeing all year but with fresh touches.

From peek-a-boo designs with neat animated elements to vertical bars to brutalist blocks, there are a lot of highly usable trends to work with.

Here’s what’s trending in design this month.

Peek-a-Boo with Animation

Designers have been experimenting with cut-out and layering elements with animation for some time, which has evolved into full peek-a-boo styles with a lot of visual interest.

How each design comes together is a little different. Some have the animation in the back, others in the front, and some include text as part of the style. There’s almost no set of actual rules to how to make this design trend work.

Each of the examples below does it somewhat differently with varying degrees of success. The commonality here is that it is almost one of those visuals that you either see and love or hate.

Jatco Insurance is the most stunning example here, with a bold color choice and a peek-a-book element inside the oversized “J.” The overall effect is soothing and interesting and naturally draws the user across the screen from the top left to the background video layer. The small tagline, “Individual attention you deserve,” is perfectly placed.

Liron Moran Interiors takes a different approach with the peek-a-boo concept with the letters peeking out from behind an image. The animation is restricted to a hover and scroll effect that adds a liquid element to the image as well as changes to the image and color background. The challenge here is in readability. More of the words show on wider screens, but is it enough?

Melon Fashion also layers text and animated effects for a neat peek-a-book style that almost seems cut out from the background. The overall look appears to have three layers: background video, middle layer for the yellow color block, and text on top. The opacity of text elements with the peeking video is interesting and well pulled together without sacrificing too much readability.

Vertical Bars

Vertical color bars are a design element that keeps popping up in different ways. Designers can use it as a standalone element or container for content, such as navigation or other click actions.

Vertical elements are helpful because they can help create a more consistent and unified user experience from desktop to mobile screens. This shape can also be somewhat disruptive because you don’t see it featured that often. (Although with this style trending that might become less true over time.)

New Classrooms uses a vertical color bar on the left to help you move through the design. The color actually changes as each slide progresses on the homepage.

Serving uses multiple vertical bars as links to different content entry points. Clickability is emphasized with a change from a red overlay to a full-color image. The navigation is also tucked inside a white bar on the left side of the screen with a hamburger menu therein.

TechnoAlpin goes with a skinny vertical navigation menu on the right side of the screen. The icons with menu elements make navigation highly visual and intuitive. The color, which significantly contrasts with the rest of the design, also helps.

Brutalist Blocks

Not many people thought brutalism would stick around when it started trending. Elements of brutalism keep sneaking in, though, although they are much less stark and harsh than some of those original trending website designs.

This version of brutalism focuses on block elements that contain images or text and often click to other pages in the design. The blocks themselves are essentially the buttons that help you navigate to additional content.

The critical question about this design technique is whether this click action is intuitive enough. Will users interact without buttons?

The answer likely depends on your audience base, but if you opt for a style like this, it is essential to keep a close eye on analytics to ensure that users know and understand how to engage.

Milli Agency might be the most intuitive example of the brutalist blocks trend. The homepage is essentially a giant navigation menu. Each block changes from white to yellow on hover and expands, further encouraging clicks.

Sick Agency uses brutalist blocks with experimental typefaces and bold color for an in-your-face design. You can’t help but look at all the different things happening here. The biggest question might be, where should you focus and click next? The cursor provides some visual cues, but it’s not quite as intuitive as you might want it to be.

Mawo mixes brutalist blocks with a big blue cursor to help users click through the design to see more clothing options. Even the images here have a rather stark feel, which isn’t typical for e-commerce. Every block element above the scroll on the homepage includes a click action from the navigation blocks across the top to the “Shop Women” and “Shop Men” images. Further, the blue cursor dot helps show where users can click, and text buttons change to blue on hover as well.

Conclusion

Most of the examples here show trends as homepage elements, but you aren’t limited to that application. Try some of these techniques on landing pages or interior pages that you want to add a little something special to.

This can be an excellent way to test the design and see if your users like the style and know-how to interact with it. If it works, then you can extend the aesthetic to more of the design.

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Many markets are saturated with competition; it’s no surprise that customers are expecting top-of-the-line experiences. Businesses must keep up with these ever-changing demands to remain competitive and drive forward.

One way to ensure customers have positive experiences is to take a look at your website. Your website is like your digital headquarters, where customers can browse through products or services, have frequently asked questions answered, and be able to reach you if they need direct support.

Making a site user-friendly and customer-centric will assist businesses while they work to build a loyal customer base. Customer happiness is more important now than ever and has the potential to make or break your business. We all know that happier customers spend more, and delighted customers will always come back for more.

Let’s explore some ways you can level up the customer experience on your website to foster customer loyalty and retention, as well as garner brand advocates for your business.

How Important Is CX?

As a site manager, your goal should be to meet customers’ needs. Creating a website is no simple task but can transform CX (customer experience).

Suppose a customer visits your site only to see a buffering symbol or a lag on their desktop or mobile device. This wouldn’t make for a positive experience, would it?

When customers have to spend extra time navigating your website to find what they’re looking for, it can directly lead to site abandonment, where customers leave the site before browsing. It’s vital to consistently monitor your website metrics to see if abandonment rates impact your overall traffic.

Customers who have enjoyable experiences browsing through your site are more likely to appreciate your brand and strongly consider purchasing whatever offerings you have.

Additionally, positive customer reviews can help your business gain new customers — word-of-mouth marketing is still relevant in 2021’s digital marketing landscape. Earning those 5-star reviews can help other potential customers see that they too could have a positive experience with your brand.

As you can see, CX is just as important as the products or services you offer, so keep that in mind as you set out on the journey to improve your website to advocate for your customer base.

Below, we’ll cover some of the most important elements and features of a strong business site so you can implement them.

Valuable Features to Include on Your Website

The features of your website are the foundation of your business. One of the best parts of building a killer website is that you can get as creative as you’d like with all of the features at your disposal.

Whether you use WordPress or another platform to host your website, you can always explore other paid services or offerings online to bring your site to the next level.

For example, the WooCommerce WordPress extension allows e-commerce sites to improve the overall appearance of their site, add customizations and, generally speaking, create a high-quality e-commerce store.

Below are some examples of elements you should consider incorporating into your web design. Offering these features will surely keep your site visible, relevant, and attractive to all types of customers.

1. Add Personalization

Every type of customer can benefit from a personalized experience, and it helps you turn them into loyal customers.

Personalization is becoming more prevalent in web design, whether it’s including past products they’ve viewed on your landing page or making it simple for them to log in to their account.

Maybe you allow your customers to create a wishlist, just as Amazon does. You could also make personalized deals or recommendations for your customers based on their past purchases or search history. When customers see this level of personalization, it may influence their purchasing decisions and make it simpler for them to order products.

2. Include Compelling and Unique Content

Every professional in the digital marketing space knows that content is king. The companies that include the most compelling content garner the most attention and increase the number of customers who make up their customer base. Here are some examples of what your content should look like:

  • Comprehensive
  • Useful
  • Accurate
  • Visually appealing
  • Helpful
  • A direct answer to a search engine query

By following these descriptions, your content will improve. Whether it’s a blog post or a photo or video, quality content is a driving factor in your user engagement. It helps to support your SEO strategy and will undoubtedly keep customers coming back.

3. Prioritize Speed and Usability

Because technology is an integral part of most people’s lives, customers expect to visit a fast, reliable website. No longer will customers wait patiently for a site to load. The dreaded buffering symbol is a clear indicator that your business is not taking customer experience into account.

It’s critical to create a website that loads quickly and is easy to use. Avoid organizing any tabs in a confusing way. Ensure that your website is visually attractive without overwhelming color schemes or photos that take up too much space.

Go for a more modern, contemporary look that’s easy on the eyes. Customers will appreciate this and will likely spend more time browsing your various website pages.

4. Focus on Navigation

Users should be able to access any page on your website with ease. They shouldn’t have to search for the right drop-down menu or type into the search bar unless they’re searching for a specific product or service.

The majority of users on a site, 70% to be exact, spend most of their time navigating freely without using the search bar. This should tell you how vital good navigation is to your business website. Placing menus on the top of your site is common practice — if you would rather place your drop-down menu somewhere else, make sure you’re putting it in a section where it’s easy to find.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. See what types of designs you can incorporate into your site to elevate UX and make browsing simple.

5. Make Sharing Simple

One of the best ways to grow your customer advocates is by leveraging your existing customers. Your customers should be able to easily send your product or service descriptions to their friends and family.

Rather than copying a link, include a share feature. If something on your site is worth sharing with other potential customers, make it easy for them to send it.

Social sharing plays a significant role in digital marketing — it helps to garner organic traffic to your website. You can reach a larger number of people than originally intended, which is the most important benefit to reap by making it easy to share links from your site.

6. Incorporate Chatbots

Offering customer support by using chatbots is something major companies are incorporating into their website designs.

Suppose your customer is trying to complete a purchase but runs into a problem with a coupon they’d like to use. Rather than wait on hold on the phone or for an email in their inbox a few days later, an automated chatbot can step in and assist them.

Chatbots are on the rise, and it’ll be critical for your business to include them on your site. Proactive web actions can increase your site’s conversion rates and improve the overall customer experience.

7. Allow Customer Feedback

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that allowing your customers to share their experience with your brand can help you better understand them and the solutions they’re looking for from you.

Did you know that brands with superior customer service can generate 5.7 times more revenue than their competitors? When you’re in touch with your audience, you’re better able to include features they want and need to have a positive experience. By taking advantage of customer feedback, you can make necessary changes to your site to better serve your customers.

Advocate for Your Customer Base

All of the examples listed above can help elevate your site and improve the overall experience for existing and potential customers. Isn’t that the goal of any business, regardless of industry?

To serve your customers effectively means they’ll feel valued and come back for more. Whether that’s ordering more products or requesting more services, you’ll see the benefits of including the elements we’ve covered in this post.

As a recap, here are some steps you can take to advocate for your loyal customers:

  1. Add personalization
  2. Include unique content
  3. Make your site fast and usable
  4. Provide easy navigation
  5. Allow for easy sharing
  6. Leverage chatbots
  7. Be open to feedback

Overall, customer experience will become more important in the future as customer expectations change. Standing out from your competitors is no longer an option but a necessity. So many markets are struggling to do just that — so if you’re able to offer unique features on your site, it could potentially draw more customers in and drive them to purchase.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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There are some spook-tacular finds in this month’s October collection of resources and tools for designers and developers. From interesting tools that can help in the design process to boo-tiful typefaces, there’s something for everyone here.

Here’s what is new for designers this month…

Atropos

Atropos is a lightweight, open-source JavaScript library to create touch-friendly, three-dimensional hover effects. The results are stunning and have a nice parallax style. Everything is highly configurable and customizable. It’s available for JavaScript, React, and Vue.js and has zero dependencies.

CSS Gradient Editor

CSS Gradient Editor helps you create the perfect gradient style – you can start from presets – that you can use in projects. Design a background, fill, or almost any other gradient element you might need, make adjustments or customizations, and then get the CSS with one click so you can use it right away.

Octopus.do

Octopus.do is a fast visual sitemap builder that lets you work in real-time using the content brick method. Share and collaborate in real-time and there’s no signup required to use it.

Pirsch Analytics

Pirsch Analytics is a privacy-friendly, open-source alternative to Google Analytics — lightweight, cookie-free, and easily integrated into any website or directly into your backend. It includes filters to see metrics in the way you want and light and dark modes.

Basic Pattern Repository

Basic Pattern Repository is a collection of simple SVG patterns for projects. Everything is rooted in a simple style to help push projects along quicker. You can get it via GitHub or as a Figma Library.

Blobr

Blobr is a way to get a branded API portal, manage access, and monitor usage all in one place. Customize everything to fit your brand and the tool grows as you do with the ability to increase or change capacity. Plus, it is easy to set up and free to use.

HEXplorer

HEXplorer helps you better understand something you use all the time – HEX colors. This pen by Rob DiMarzo shows how the values for different colors come together to provide greater comprehension when it comes to this color format.

CCCreate

CCCreate is a curated collection of tools and resources for web creators. It includes some tools that have been around for a while as well as some newbies. Everything is grouped and sorted by type of resources – color, icons, type, layouts, animation, shapes, docs, and miscellaneous so you can find what you are looking for faster.

Glass

Glass is a photo-sharing app for photographers. It’s a social network of sorts that lets you share images with the greater photography community without “likes.” Just great images.

Revolt

Revolt is a chat app that’s still in beta and designed for easy communication without having to download apps. It’s an open-source project that is customizable and with an intuitive and recognizable interface. The thing that’s different about this app is that it is built on a privacy-first model.

Doodle Ipsum

Doodle Ipsum is the illustrated version of placeholder elements. Customize your doodles, grab the code, and use them on your web prototypes, landing pages, or no-code tools.

Mechanic

Mechanic is an open-source framework that helps you create custom, web-based tools that export design assets in your browser. The best part is you can try it right on screen using the “poster generator.” If you like what you see, there’s plenty of documentation to help you along the way.

Medio Website Template

Medio is an agency-style website design template for Bootstrap 5. The layout is perfect for a design agency or marketing group but can be adjusted for almost any multi-purpose design. The free template includes a minimal design and includes features such as parallax, popup video, and more.

Tutorial: Simplifying Form Styles with Accent Color

This tutorial is a life-saver when it comes to using and understanding the new CSS accent-color property. This quick lesson will help make your life easier and is simple to use. It starts with setting an accent-color property on the root element and then applying it.

Houdini.how

Houdini.how is a worklet library that is full of CSS and code examples to help you work smarter. See how different elements look cross-browser and learn to adjust the code and put them together in just the way you want. Houdini is a set of low-level APIs that exposes parts of the CSS engine, giving developers the power to extend CSS by hooking into the styling and layout process of a browser’s rendering engine.

Chainstarters

Chainstarters is a powerful, rapid, Web3-enabled platform for software developers. It eliminates the burden of setting up and maintaining a secure and scalable infrastructure, allowing you to focus on creating amazing technology.

Web Vitals Robot

Web Vitals Robot is a search optimization tool that monitors SEO metrics for you – so you can prevent your business from disappearing from Google.

Searchable

Searchable is a unified search tool that looks at local, cloud storage, and apps to find the files you are looking for. It returns results in a jiffy with previews so you don’t have to open every file to find what you are looking for.

Athlone

Athlone is a fun serif with lots of personality. The free demo version includes a limited character set for personal use only and the full version has everything you need for fun display or branding with this typeface.

Capitana

Capitana is a Geometric Sans typeface with humanistic proportions and open apertures. This means that all shapes are constructed from basic forms, the circle, triangle, and square, and are designed according to the classic proportions of the Roman Antiqua. Distinct ascenders and pointed apexes with deep overshoot give it a cool beauty and classic elegance. It includes 784 characters per style in nine weights from Thin to Black, it offers both light and extremely heavy weights for striking headlines.

Colours

Colours is a funky script with just enough texture to keep it interesting. The free version includes a partial character set and is for personal use only.

Flexible

Flexible is a variable typeface that includes 18 styles in the family. It’s made for creativity and display use. This typeface is made for experimenting because there are so many things you can do with this single family.

Singo Sans Serif

Singo Sans Serif is a simple and strong typeface that would make an excellent display option. The free version is for personal use only. Fun fact: Singo means Lion in Indonesia, which is where the name of this strong font comes from.

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User experience is one of the most important principles of web design. There’s no doubt that you focus on UX with every page you design on the web, whether it’s a portfolio, a profile page, or an entire website. 

Unfortunately, what many experts forget is that UX doesn’t just apply to digital pages. That means that you need to discover the right UX strategies for everything from your website homepages to your email marketing messages and even your listings on Google. 

Today, we’re going to explore ways you can apply UX principles to your client’s image on search engines. 

Why Your Search Engine Listing Matters

Let’s start with the basics…

89% of customers start their purchasing process with a search engine. 

That means that whether you’re creating a portfolio to sell your services or building a website for a client, the first connection a customer has with your design isn’t on the homepage.

Developers and designers know that first impressions count when it comes to succeeding online. However, they assume that those first impressions happen on a social media channel, a landing page, or a home page. 

The truth is that most of the time, you’re driving a specific experience for an end-user before you even realize it. Before you can wow an audience with a beautiful site design or a fantastic CTA offer, you need to convince them to click on your Google link.

Just as UX on a website is all about giving your audience what they need in an informed and strategic manner, UX in search engine results works the same way. 

How to Make Your Search Listing Stand Out with UX

So, how do you begin to apply the principles of UX to your Google Search results?

It’s much easier than you’d think. 

Step 1: Show Immediate Value 

Delivering an excellent experience on a website often means providing end-users with the information they need as quickly as possible. Imagine designing a landing page; you wouldn’t want your audience to scroll forever to find what they need. Instead, you’d make sure that the value of the page was immediately apparent. 

When creating an image for your search engine listing, you’ll need to take the same approach. This often means thinking carefully about two things:

  • Your headline
  • Your meta description

Around 8 out of 10 users say that they’ll click a title if it’s compelling. That means that before you do anything else to improve your SEO strategy, you need to make sure that the title of your web page is going to grab the audience’s attention. 

The best titles deliver instant value.

Immediately, these titles tell the audience exactly what they’re going to get when they click onto the page. The promise drives action, while clarity highlights the informed nature of the brand. 

The great thing about using an excellent title for a page is that it doesn’t matter where you’re ranked on the search results. Whether you’re number 2 or number 5, your customers will click if they find something they want. 

It’s just like using a CTA on a landing page. Make sure your titles are:

  • Informative: Show your audience value immediately
  • Optimized for mobile: Remember, your audience might not see your full title on some screens. That means that you need to make the initial words count.
  • Easy to read: Keep it short, simple, and straightforward. Speak the end-user’s language

Step 2: Build Trust with Your URLs

Trust factors are another essential part of good UX

When designing a website for a new brand, you know that it’s your job to make visitors feel at ease. Even in today’s digital world, many customers won’t feel comfortable giving their money or details to a new company. 

Within the website that you design, you can implement things like trust symbols, reviews, and testimonials to enhance brand credibility. In the search engines, it all starts with your URL. 

Search-friendly URLs that highlight the nature of the page will put your audience’s mind at ease. When they click on a page about “What is SEO” in the SERPs, they want to see an URL that matches, not a bunch of numbers and symbols

Use search-friendly permalink structures to make your listing seem more authoritative. This will increase the chances of your customer clicking through to a page and make them more likely to share the link with friends. 

Once you decide on a link structure, make sure that it stays consistent throughout the entire site. If a link doesn’t appear to match the rest of the URLs that your audience sees for your website, they may think they’re on the wrong page. That increases your bounce rate. 

Step 3: Be Informative with Your Meta Description

To deliver excellent UX on a website, you ensure that your visitor can find all the answers to their most pressing questions as quickly as possible. This includes providing the right information on each page and using the correct navigational structure to support a visitor’s journey. 

In the SERPs, you can deliver that same informative experience with a meta description. Although meta descriptions often get ignored, they can provide a lot of value and help you or your client make the right first impression. 

To master your meta descriptions:

  • Use the full 160 characters: Make the most of your meta description by providing as much useful information as you can within that small space. 
  • Include a CTA: Just as CTAs help guide customers through the pages on a website, they can assist with pulling in clicks on the SERPs. A call to action like “read about the” or “click here” makes sense when you’re boosting your search image. 
  • Focus on value: Concentrate on providing your customers with an insight into what’s in it for them if they click on your listing.

Don’t forget that adding keywords to your meta description is often helpful too. Keywords will boost your chances of a higher ranking, but they’ll also show your audience that they’re looking at the right result. 

Step 4: Draw the Eye with Rich Snippets

You’ve probably noticed that the search engine result pages have changed quite a bit in the last couple of years. As Google strives to make results more relevant and informative, we’ve seen the rise of things like rich snippets. Rich snippets are excellent for telling your audience where to look. 

On a website, you would use design elements, like contrasting colors and animation, to pull your audience’s attention to a specific space. In search engines, rich snippets can drive the same outcomes. The difference is that instead of telling a visitor what to do next on a page, you’re telling them to click on your site, not a competitor’s. 

When Google introduced rich snippets, it wanted to provide administrators with a way of showcasing their best content. Rich snippets are most commonly used today on product and contact pages because they can show off reviews. 

Install a rich snippet plugin into your site if you’re a WordPress user or your client is. When you enter the content that you need into the website, use the drop-down menu in your Rich snippet tool to configure the snippet.

Ideally, you’ll want to aim for the full, rich snippet if you want to stand out at the top of the search results. Most featured snippets have both text and an image. You need to access both of these by writing great content and combining it with a relevant image. 

Step 5: Provide Diversity (Take Up More of the Results)

As a website designer or developer, you’ll know that different people will often be drawn to different things. Some of your visitors might immediately see a set of bullet-points and use them to search for the answer to their question. Other visitors will want pictures or videos to guide them. So, how do you deliver that kind of diversity in the SERPS?

The easiest option is to aim to take up more of the search result pages. Google now delivers a bunch of different ways for customers to get the answers they crave. When you search for “How to use Google my Business” on Google, you’ll see links to blogs, as well as a list of YouTube Videos and the “People Also Ask” section. 

Making sure that you or a client has different content rankings for the same keywords can significantly improve any customer’s experience on the search engines. Often, the process of spreading your image out across the SERPs is as simple as creating some different kinds of content. 

To access the benefits of video, ask your client to create YouTube videos for some of their most commonly asked questions or most covered topics. If you’re helping with SEO marketing for your client, then make sure they have an FAQ page or a way of answering questions quickly and concisely on articles, so they’re more likely to appear in “People Also Ask”.

Step 6: Add Authority with Google My Business

Speaking of Google My Business, that’s another excellent tool for improving UX in the search results. It allows business owners to manage how information appears in the search results. 

With this service, you can manage a company’s position on Google maps, the Knowledge Graph, and any online reviews. Establishing a company’s location is one of the most important things you can do to help audiences find a business quickly. Remember, half of the customers that do a local search on a smartphone end up visiting the store within the same day. 

Start by setting up the Google Business listing for yourself or your client. All you need to do is hit the “Start Now” button and fill out every relevant field offered by Google. The more information you can add to Google My Business, the more your listing will stand out. Make sure you:

  • Choose a category for a business, like “Grocery store.”
  • Load up high-quality and high-resolution images
  • Ensure your information matches on every platform
  • Use a local number for contact
  • Encourage reviews to give your listing a five-star rating

Taking advantage of a Google My Business listing will ensure that your audience has all the information they need to make an informed decision about your company before they click through to the site. This means that you or your client gets more warm leads and fewer people stumbling onto your website that might not want to buy from you. 

Step 7: Use Structured Data Markup to Answer Questions

If you’re already using rich snippets in your Google listings, you should also have a plan for structured schema markup. Schema markup on Google tells the search engines what your data means. This means that you can add extra information to your listings that will more accurately guide your customers to the support they need. 

Providing additional schema markup information to your listings gives them an extra finishing touch to ensure that they stand out from the competition. For example, you might add something like a “product price” to a product page or information about the product’s availability.

Alternatively, you could provide the people who see a search result with other options. This could be an excellent option if you’re concerned that some of the people who might come across your listing might need slightly different information. 

For instance, you can ask Google to list other pages along with your search results that customers can “jump to” if they need additional insights.

Baking structured data into your design process when you’re working on a website does many positive things. First, it makes the search engine’s job easier so that you can ensure that you or your client ranks higher. Additionally, it means that your web listings will be more thorough and valuable.

Since UX is all about giving your audience the best possible experience with a brand, that starts with making sure they get the information they need in the search results. 

Constantly Improve and Experiment

Remember, as you begin to embed elements of UX into your search engine listings, it’s essential to be aware of relevant evolutions. Ultimately, the needs of any audience can change very rapidly. Paying attention to your customers and what kind of links they click on the most will provide you with lots of valuable data. You can use Google analytics to A/B test things like titles, pictures, featured snippets, and other things that may affect UX. 

At the same time, it’s worth noting that the Google search algorithms are constantly changing too. Running split tests on different pages will give you an insight into what your customers want. However, you’ll need to keep an eye on the latest documentation about Google Search if you want to avoid falling behind the competition. 

Like most aspects of exceptional UX, mastering your SERP position isn’t a “set it and forget it” strategy. Instead, you’ll need to work on constantly expanding your knowledge if you want to show clients that you can combine UX and SEO effectively. 

Make sure you have plenty of tools set up to offer reports and insights into the kind of changes that you may need to make to align with search engine expectations. 

Making the Most of UX in the SERPS

It’s easy to forget that there’s more to UX than making your buttons clickable on mobile devices or ensuring that scrolling feels smooth. For a designer or developer to deliver excellent UX for a brand, they need to consider every interaction that a company and customer has. 

This means starting with the way a website appears when it’s listed on the search engines most of the time. Getting your SEO listing right doesn’t just boost your chances of a good ranking. This strategy also improves your reputation with your audience and delivers more meaningful moments in the buyer journey. 

Don’t underestimate the power of UX in SERPs. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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