Lean UX or lean user experience is the method for creating web offerings that are streamlined and visitor-centric, the very elements visitors today demand. Lean UX design best practices help website visitors enjoy a more streamlined and memorable web e…
Lean UX or lean user experience is the method for creating web offerings that are streamlined and visitor-centric, the very elements visitors today demand. Lean UX design best practices help website visitors enjoy a more streamlined and memorable web experience. Similar to lean manufacturing, which is used by top brands to eliminate waste in production, lean UX methods can make your website more effective when it comes to achieving critical goals. For example, SaaS Doodle managed to increase their trial signups by 54% by changing the language on their homepage to focus on business-use cases. The company discovered that this...
Last year, we asked the experts to predict what changes on the horizon would impact Google & Facebook advertisers in 2018. Their predictions… > Read More
The post What Will Shape Google & Facebook Retail Advertising In 2019? appeared first o…
Last year, we asked the experts to predict what changes on the horizon would impact Google & Facebook advertisers in 2018. Their predictions... > Read More
There’s a lot of confusion in the marketing world about split testing, A/B testing, multivariate testing, and the like. What you need to know is that all of these different types of tests prove fundamental to any marketing plan’s success. The enemy of …
There’s a lot of confusion in the marketing world about split testing, A/B testing, multivariate testing, and the like. What you need to know is that all of these different types of tests prove fundamental to any marketing plan’s success. The enemy of every marketer is the assumption. If you assume your audience will respond to one thing, you discount the potential for something else to work even better. That’s dangerous in our hyper-competitive climate. The good news is that, if you’re able to learn how to run split-tests effectively, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring your content,...
The promise of personalization is enticing: a complete 1-to-1 experience for every customer, driven by every detail and data point about that person: who they are, their interests, needs and history. Their customer experience is completely optimized to deliver the right content at the right time, influencing brand engagement, purchase activity and “wow”-worthy customer experiences. […]
The promise of personalization is enticing: a complete 1-to-1 experience for every customer, driven by every detail and data point about that person: who they are, their interests, needs and history. Their customer experience is completely optimized to deliver the right content at the right time, influencing brand engagement, purchase activity and “wow”-worthy customer experiences.
For years, this vision has been a pipedream among marketers, product managers and customer experience professionals. Many clients come to us wanting to “do personalization” but face significant challenges in doing so.
Part of this is due to the fact that “personalization” is so ill-defined.
At Brooks Bell, we define personalization as any experience that is delivered to a user based on known data about that person. By that definition, personalization exists on a spectrum: it can be one-to-few, one-to-many, or one-to-one. In the digital environment, product recommendations, customized search results and even segmented experiences are all considered examples of personalization.
But while many companies are already implementing these experiences, there’s still an overwhelming sense that many brands have yet to arrive in terms of personalization.
Got a bunch of burning questions about personalization? Submit them using the form below.
We’ll use this information to make sure we cover these topics in our upcoming posts.
This is because (not unlike experimentation) personalization is a business strategy that should evolve in order to deliver long-term value. And while it’s true that many brands already have the ability to do personalization, they’ve also found that elevating and scaling a personalization program is difficult, costly and, frankly, can feel pretty darn impossible.
So, how to do this? In addition to the fundamentals for a standard optimization program, there are three critical working components that need to be established for personalization:
Technology: you need top-notch tools to centralize user profiles and deliver personalized experiences;
Data: personalization requires a clean, unified view of relevant customer attributes, and
Strategy: you need research and planning to purposefully and effectively launch, scale and benefit from personalization.
In the coming weeks, we’re going to break down personalization further by each of these components. We’ll outline the best practices, advice, strategies and tips to go from scrappy to smart when it comes to introducing and scaling personalization at your organization.
Marketers already know that one-size-fits-all is out. Segmentation and targeting techniques were developed in response to that realization, in order to cater to audiences with distinct characteristics so that tailored decisions can…
Marketers already know that one-size-fits-all is out. Segmentation and targeting techniques were developed in response to that realization, in order to cater to audiences with distinct characteristics so that tailored decisions can be made for different groups of customers...
People have been telling stories for thousands of years, and the elements of what makes a good story have changed precious little in that time. Through the stories we tell, we not only entertain and connect with others, but we also convey information about our own beliefs, tastes and aspirations. Brands use stories in the […]
People have been telling stories for thousands of years, and the elements of what makes a good story have changed precious little in that time. Through the stories we tell, we not only entertain and connect with others, but we also convey information about our own beliefs, tastes and aspirations.
Brands use stories in the exact same way, and the best marketers understand how important stories are when it comes to demonstrating the how, what and why of a brand’s offering. Although the components of a good story remain as they’ve always been, the process of telling a story in the digital age has evolved considerably as new advertising technologies have emerged.
It’s incumbent upon marketers to ensure their use of new technology adheres to the principles and ground rules of good storytelling and advertising. Rather than common, linear storylines, we can now build complex story frameworks, capturing the right user’s attention, in the right place, at the right time, on the right device, with the right array of messages. Stories are no longer stuck on one set of rails but are capable of more and more unique variations. What follows is an overview of the new components of modern brand storytelling in the digital age.
Stories should be real time
When stories are told around a campfire, the best storytellers adapt to their audiences’ reactions and new information they might provide during the story. Today’s digital brand stories must do the same, and emerging automation tools make this possible. Automation enables data to be analyzed and executed well within the blink of an eye, leading to instantaneous ads that can make use of a variety of data sources.
One pivotal way real-time advertising can support creativity and storytelling is through dynamic ads, which help improve efficiency and optimization, as well as personalization. In short, a dynamic ad allows for the delivery of multiple variants of the same ad through automation, making it possible for the same ad to say different things depending on who it is being delivered to. A travel company, for instance, could take live data on flight options and then send relevant holiday packages and pricing to users depending on their travel interests, browsing activity, location and more.
Reporting should inform your stories
Reporting and attribution are often viewed as being on the opposite end of advertising’s creativity spectrum from storytelling. But in reality, reporting has become a critical component of the brand storytelling process.
Data from accurate reporting on user interactions with an ad can be used for intelligent retargeting and can help execute complex and adaptable campaigns. User interactions logged in an ad server can be used to build real-time segments, which can then be actioned and correlated with creative to build the story. It is the relationship between the analytics, data and creative that builds the fundamental story framework.
Your stories must be built for reach
As advertising technology enables access to more and more channels, advertisers can extend their scope and speak to more users. With new channels and media comes the potential for more interesting and emotional storytelling, and advertisers have a responsibility to adapt their messaging to make the best use of these different platforms.
Modern brand storytelling must be built to follow users as they hop across multiple devices during their daily internet browsing. Reaching the same user across mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop become an ever-present challenge, particularly when understanding their preference for using each device. With purchases, for example, one user might favor their mobile phone via an app, whereas another may prefer their laptop. Understanding these preferences is a challenge that must be met for the sake of efficient retargeting, frequency capping and to measure a user’s interaction with the ad. Cross-device is also required for successful sequential messaging across difference devices, a mainstay of modern storytelling.
Don’t neglect relevance and reaction
Relevance and reaction have always been cornerstones of good storytelling, and they are even more important in the digital age as far as consumer expectations go. Regarding relevance, data is bringing about a renaissance that has the potential to bring ads and users closer together. In fact, the key driver behind the digital advertising revolution has been the gift of personalization. Advertisers are no longer shouting into the void, but can instead tell stories to users that they can safely assume have at least some interest in their offering.
Meanwhile, every good story should elicit a reaction, and marketers must ensure the stories they tell are designed to elicit the right ones. While marketers can use data to find the right audience and ensure ads are reaching as many users as possible, their ads need to form an emotional connection with the audience to move them to action.
Technology can and should help facilitate the continuous interplay between user and advertiser as a brand narrative unfolds. In this regard, technology neither replaces or hampers the modern brand storyteller. Leveraged correctly, technology can make the story all the more powerful.
Digital Marketers wanting to land B2B deals are often optimizing for the wrong metrics, focused solely on conversion rate and getting low-quality leads. You’re doing it wrong! That’s why I interviewed my friend and seasoned B2B expert, Bill Leake, to discuss the most common mistakes in b2b marketing and how to optimize your website to […]
Digital Marketers wanting to land B2B deals are often optimizing for the wrong metrics, focused solely on conversion rate and getting low-quality leads. You’re doing it wrong! That’s why I interviewed my friend and seasoned B2B expert, Bill Leake, to discuss the most common mistakes in b2b marketing and how to optimize your website to land b2b deals the right way.
Done right, optimized mobile forms can deliver more than an increased conversion rate: They can become a competitive advantage—a reason users choose to fill out a form on your site. It’s not hyperbole. Consider the number of interactions it takes to book a room on Hotel Tonight compared to its competitors, something Luke Wroblewski highlighted […]
What follows is a mobile-specific framework for form optimization:
Key differences between the mobile and desktop UI
Tools to measure form performance
(If you’re new to form optimization, start here. If you really want to get into the weeds, consider Tom New’s course at CXL Institute.)
1. Key differences between the mobile and desktop UI
Three key UI differences create challenges for mobile-form design:
1. Aspect ratio. About 80–90% of smartphone use occurs in portrait orientation, which makes width a precious commodity: There’s more vertical space, and vertical scrolling is more intuitive.
In addition, of course, the screen size is smaller compared to tablets and desktops, making it less likely that your entire form will fit on the screen without scrolling.
2. Touchscreen navigation. There’s no mouse, and smartphone users with a stylus are in the minority. A touchscreen places added demands on the size and spacing of elements. It also means that there’s no hover state in which to add helpful information.
3. Limited keyboard. Smartphones have a limited keyboard—and an inconsistent one. Those factors justify careful consideration of which keyboard to show for which field and whether to enable (or disable) automated functions, like auto-capitalize.
These UI differences add to existing challenges—mobile users already represent a hurried, less-tolerant segment of users. Mobile conversion rates still lag behind those on desktop devices, though the conversion gap continues to close on segments of traffic, like email.
That gap in time-to-completion is almost certainly greater on mobile devices, which prioritize vertical scrolling.
Multi-step forms have the potential to eliminate scrolling entirely by fitting each form section within the smartphone window. They have added benefits for long forms:
Information can be saved after each step, making follow-up easier for form-abandoners and avoiding potential user frustration from a total loss of input caused by an accidental click or loss of connectivity.
They chunk segments of the form to reduce the cognitive load. For long forms, this can make the process seem less intimidating.
Multi-step forms come at a cost, however: Every step requires another page load—and load times may lag if your visitor doesn’t have a great connection (whether they live on a farm or pass through a subway tunnel).
A 16px font size isstandardfor body copy on mobile devices. Smaller (or larger) font sizes may cause issues, especially for those with visual impairments.
An NNGroup report on sizes, based on research from MIT, offers caveats for text elements that require only a brief “glance”—one to two words in isolation, like “Phone number” or “Street address.”
The MIT study, which measured reading speed, compared two font sizes (10px and 8px) as well as different cases and letter widths. Their findings offer baseline recommendations for smaller-than-average text:
Don’t use a font size below 10px.
Use all caps.
Maintain standard lettering width.
Small buttons risk imprecision on the part of the user or the device. Touch-targets for mobile devices have minimum size recommendations. Per Steven Hoober, the minimum size grows larger as the target moves away from the center of the screen, where user taps are most accurate:
7 mm in the center of the screen.
9 mm along the edges.
12 mm in the corners.
Material Design Accessibility guidelines offer a similar recommendation: 7–10mm for touch targets. (Convert to other units here.)
Notably, visible buttons or icons may be smaller than the touch targets, but the size of the touch targets should cover the minimum area, even if the icon or button doesn’t fill the space.
As far as padding between touch targets—again, not the visible buttons but the invisible touch targets surrounding them—Material Design guidelines recommend a minimum of 1.3 mm.
Total form fields
As noted earlier, conventional form wisdom suggests that fewer form fields yield more conversions because each field increases friction.
Since filling out a form is less convenient on a mobile device—keyboards are smaller and partial, touch is less precise than a mouse click—the reasons that removing form fields usually works on any device are, presumably, more true for smartphones. (That logic won’t bail you out of testing.)
Some pre-conversion form fields can be moved rather removed:
Account creation. Account creation is a common source of friction that is unnecessary for purchase. “Thank you” pages can help solve that challenge by:
Moving form fields from a checkout process to a post-purchase phase.
Asking only past purchasers to create an account that eases repeat purchasing.
Prepopulating fields with information from the just-completed sale.
CAPTCHA. Consider replacing a CAPTCHA with email confirmation; the semi-scrutable lettering may be wholly inscrutable on mobile, and an email confirmation may be equally effective at ignoring spam entries.
In 2017, Google began demoting “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results.” These pages blocked their “main” content with pop-ups, or interstitials, which are often lead-generation forms:
Google defines three acceptable types of interstitials:
Those that inform users of cookie usage.
Those that require age verification.
Those that use “a reasonable amount of screen space.”
Any form optimization effort that ignores Google’s guidelines risks cutting off a supply of users to fill those forms, irrespective of their conversion rate.
Autocorrect. Autocorrect may mistakenly correct information in fields with proper nouns (e.g. name, address).
Auto-capitalize. Auto-capitalize saves users effort for name and address fields but should be disabled for password fields.
Autocomplete or autofill. Autocomplete may be useful for finishing a known email address, but it may erroneously try to complete an order number with a phone number, or vice versa. You can offer hints in the code (e.g. autocomplete=”address-line1″) to increase the accuracy of autofill. (A zip code can also autofill the city and state—as long as users retain the ability to edit the occasional error.)
Location detection. Location detection can identify the user’s country (at a minimum) or, using Google’s Places API or another geolocation API, a more specific place, like the nearest airport. Time your request for location information carefully—if you request access before users see the relevance, they may decline.
Luke Wroblewski refers to dropdowns as a “UI of last resort;” research shows that mobile forms with dropdowns take longer to complete. That’s because mobile dropdowns:
Require more interactions.
Obscure user choices.
There are other options:
Steppers. A +/– set of controls can be grouped together or separated by the element label. Steppers work well for quantities that have a reasonable upper bound, like hotel or airline reservations. (Site visitors rarely book rooms or flights for more than a few people.)
Segments. When the options are limited, a segmented control allows a user to see all available choices at once:
Sliders. Sliders can be used for large ranges or those with a Min-Max variable:
Date pickers. A calendar picker, rather than a drop-down list of days, months, and years, can reduce the total number of taps. (Unless you’re asking for a date of birth—clicking back decades in a calendar would be an ordeal.)
The same research study that found that dropdowns slowed form completion also found that a single date picker—despite requiring fewer total interactions—slowed form completion, too. Two separate date pickers (for start and end dates) resulted in faster task completion:
Notably, Luke Wroblewski’s study found the opposite effect—a single date picker worked better. (Takeaways: Not all date pickers are created equal; users vary; a single study is not immutable truth; the better option is the one that wins a test on your site.)
For added post-selection clarity, consider displaying the total time and days of the week the user has selected:
For large ranges that are a bad fit for the aforementioned alternatives—like a U.S. user’s state—predictive input fields (a form of autocomplete) can quickly narrow down a long list after a user enters the first letter or two.
Field masks can help reduce errors and speed up form completion by displaying the proper format for a response that could have many formats, like a telephone or credit card number:
Masks can also ignore invalid inputs (e.g. a slash in a credit-card number) and reduce the urge to split fields for the sake of data validation (e.g. making a phone number three separate fields). Moving between fields, especially ones with small touch targets, is cumbersome on mobile devices.
Be visible from the start. If the mask reveals gradually, users are still guessing from input to input if they’re on the right track.
Not include placeholder text. Doing so may cause users to skip over a field because it appears pre-filled. An outline of the expected input, such as “( ) – ” can set expectations while also clearly looking incomplete. If you use placeholder text, an obviously incorrect response “(XXX) XXX-XXXX” may cause fewer users to skip over it.
Placeholder text is not a replacement for a form label since it disappears once a user starts typing, forcing them to rely on their short-term memory for form-field identification, which becomes more challenging if the field later returns an error.
The condensed space on a mobile device makes easy-to-read field labels essential. The aspect ratio alone (portrait instead of landscape) effectively mandates labels above rather than beside form fields. Otherwise, almost any entry would require horizontal scrolling to see the label and entry field at the same time.
The solution preserves screen space while also maintaining a persistent field label.
Since its release in 2014, HTML5 has allowed developers to define the input type (e.g. “email,” “tel,” “datetime,” etc.) to return an appropriate mobile keyboard when a user taps into the field.
Keyboard types offer obvious (a number pad for phone numbers) and subtle (the inclusion of the “@” symbol for email addresses) conveniences.
On most mobile forms, users can’t see the entire form; vertical scrolling is necessary to see all fields. That makes real-time, in-line validation—a best practice for forms on any device—more important.
If users need to scroll to the top of the form to see errors, then scroll back down to the specific field, they may get lost or frustrated and give up.
Form autofocus. Autofocus, another HTML5 attribute, highlights the current input field, making it easier for users to see which field they’re working in.
Suggestive field sizing. Sizing fields relative to the length of the anticipated input (e.g. a longer field for a street address compared to a zip code) offers a subtle reminder to users about input expectations.
Disabling the submit button. After a user taps to submit a form or complete a purchase, disabling buttons prevents an accidental click that may cause resubmission or navigate the user offsite before the conversion completes.
4. Tools to measure form performance
Granular measurement helps identify trouble spots within forms:
Which parts of the form take users the longest to complete?
At which point do users most often abandon the form?
Those trouble spots, in turn, allow for smarter testing. Google Tag Manager (GTM) is capable of tracking many aspects of form submissions through six built-in form variables:
During a recent (statistically insignificant) discussion on form analytics in our Facebook group, Formisimo was the preferred paid option, with an entry point of around $500 per month. Formisimo also has a higher-priced enterprise counterpart, Zuko.
Mobile forms restrict user interactions—there’s no mouse, an incomplete keyword, and a smaller, vertical screen. Those limitations make an intuitive and efficient user experience more important and, at times, more challenging to deliver.
But they also make some choices easier; not every form “optimization” needs to be tested. Delivering the appropriate keyboard for the appropriate field is a clear win. So, too, is a reasonably sized touch target or the use of a field mask to reject invalid inputs. Those UX improvements are an immediate opportunity for all sites, not just high-traffic ones.
Like all online efforts, form optimization is not a static discipline. Newer features like Touch ID, facial recognition, or photo scans of credit cards promise streamlined interactions at a critical juncture that, every year, occurs more frequently on mobile devices.
The weekly UX Design newsletter from Loop11. Try Loop11 free for 14 days Video & audio recordings 5 second & first click tests Heatmaps, clickstreams, NPS, SUS, success metrics & more Create your free account today! The State of UX in 2019 …
The weekly UX Design newsletter from Loop11. Try Loop11 free for 14 days Video & audio recordings 5 second & first click tests Heatmaps, clickstreams, NPS, SUS, success metrics & more Create your free account today! The State of UX in 2019 — the big picture uxdesign.cc 6 Tips to Keep in Mind for Iterative Usability Testing […]
Gartner predicts that the average US adult will own more than six smart devices by 2020, making cross-device IDs and identity resolution — the ability to consolidate disparate sets of data into an individual profile — a critical need for marketing effectiveness. As the number of touch points in the customer journey expands, Customer Data […]
Gartner predicts that the average US adult will own more than six smart devices by 2020, making cross-device IDs and identity resolution — the ability to consolidate disparate sets of data into an individual profile — a critical need for marketing effectiveness. As the number of touch points in the customer journey expands, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) allow marketers to break down first-party customer data silos to unify and normalize contact information.
Also included in the report are profiles of 22 CDP vendors, pricing information, capabilities comparisons and recommended steps for evaluating and purchasing. Visit Digital Marketing Depot to get your copy.