User experience is the backbone of a software solution’s success and demand among target users. Modern TAs crave not just an experience, but a high-quality time of their life with a digital product they’d want to recommend to their friends. And the level of UX you provide directly reflects how much you focus on the users’ convenience and satisfaction.

But how to achieve a truly impactful level of user experience that won’t confuse or plain repel users? Northell’s specialists have been researching, building, and optimizing UX for years of market practice. And we can now state one thing for sure – UX audit is a “must-do” procedure when it comes to any solution at the stage of design or even a running digital product.

 

The following info will come in handy if you are:

 

  • a project founder looking to reinforce the quality of an MVP or early product prototype;
  • a product owner with an intent to cleanse the UX from errors and flaws;
  • a marketing specialist adjusting the user journey and looking for efficient conversion methods.

Why Is It Such a Big Deal?

 

What’s the use of UX audit in the first place? At its core, the whole process is sort of preliminary research that helps to:

  1. Identify the best practices and common software design trends in the market;
  2. See what you may need less or what you should add to your own product;
  3. Approach product design more in-depth as a whole.

Based on this fundamental info, you can kick off the UX implementation phase of the project in the most elaborate way and more likely achieve the desired metrics and user satisfaction results. It’s simple, really – when you audit experience you are about to introduce to the target audience, you know for sure how the whole software design would work and act in practice.

And in the long run, a well-design product with UX elements that hit the spot is what drives sales and business profits. This is a brief take on why a timely audit can be such a big deal. We mention more particular benefits below. But let’s start from the top. 

 

User Experience Audit – How It’s Done

 

The process is subsequent and mostly about observing and analyzing. As for the timing, it’s never too early and never too late to start going through the UX flaws and errors. The process is commonly implemented either at the early stages of product creation or in terms of the software redesign effort. Here’s how it goes stage by stage.

 

Setting goals

 

Of course, it is best to know exactly what you are looking to tackle with the audit you are about to conduct. In particular, the process can go as the whole design audit or be focused on separate elements (e.g., plain usability audit or strict content audit of the UX). So, first, figure out what exactly you will be auditing – buttons, image frames, search boxes, or all elements at once. 

 

Gathering data

 

There are multiple ways you can start outlining the UX data to be further analyzed and put in the basis of product requirements and specifications. 

  • User’s perspective – the most standard thing to do is to put yourself in the place of a user and see what elements hinder you in doing target actions, what you find really convenient, what the interface might be missing, etc. 
  • Surveying and interviews – discussing the main UX points with project developers, sales and marketing specialists, stakeholders, and product owners, you get valuable insights from people deeply involved with the project specifics. For instance, you can find out what challenges had to be tackled by developers and what they think about the results they achieved thus far in terms of UX functionality. 
  • Analytics – if we are talking about a running solution, Google Analytics, for example, can be used to gather and review real-time analytics. This allows pinpointing traffic tendencies, user behavior traits, traffic spikes and declines, etc.
  • Trends analysis – yet another common method is to analyze the top relevant trends on the market and compare the existing UX elements and functions with them. This simply helps to stay in line with the most hyped-up tendencies in the market niche and make sure you get a firm competitive edge to operate in the arena.

 

Reporting the hypothesis

 

Based on the insights you gather in terms of the above efforts, you can outline in detail the scope of auditing, i.e., what and why you should audit in the first place. This is called a hypothesis and it can go something like “the website lacks efficient CTAs”, “the product’s value isn’t highlighted well enough”, or “the type of software isn’t the most demanded on the current market”. 

 

Composing recommendations

 

The research comes down to final audit recommendations on what should be tweaked, customized, polished up, or removed completely for the sake of the best user experience. These recommendations must be easy to comprehend and apply. Pro tip – keep it positive. Clients wouldn’t enjoy a plain raw critique of the whole product. Try to focus more on product improvement opportunities.  

 

Real-Life Use Case

 

Timely thorough research and a detailed UX outline set the stage for the future design of the whole project. An essential part of UX audit is receiving and analyzing feedback from future users and the client.

For instance, with the Racers360 case, an in-depth study and constant communication with the client and target users of the solution allowed us to indicate the definite efficiency of gamification elements in the solution’s UX.

 

What is Racers360?

 

Racers360 is a complex sports video analysis platform that makes the life of coaches and sports managers much easier with powerful video capture and analysis tools. The powerful solution aims to provide the top efficient sports analysis capabilities in the market. 

This is a unique platform in its own right and it was both challenging and exciting for our team to get a grasp of all the specifics and make a contribution to the platform’s overall UX improvement. 

 

What we did exactly was:

 

  • preliminary and user research for the most proper further user audit
  • getting feedback from future users to add more on-point capabilities;
  • adding the lacking basic functionality features (like separate interfaces for user and coach authorizations);
  • reworking the existing software from scratch while preserving the basic concept;

Adding gamification elements should enable coaches using the platform to motivate their clients – the racers they train – to get more engaged in the process and eagerly return for more lessons. At the same time, a hassle-free, simplified user interface doesn’t repel coaches that don’t like to bother figuring out new software specifics. 

In a nutshell, we made the Racers360 user interface simpler to understand and navigate, enriched the design with more user-friendly elements (big buttons and more contrasting colors), and improved the user-coach communication opportunities. 

 

The Benefits We Got

 

With the Racers360 project as a vivid example, conducting an end-to-end UX audit brought us a bunch of benefits. And you get these, pretty much, from every other well-prepared UX audit, no matter the type and complexity of the solution in hand. 

 

Competitive edge

 

Comparing the product to existing competitor offers is among the main UX audit tasks. Setting it in line with the major market trends and combining the best approaches of various top market players can result in a firm competitive edge that will make the market introduction and further promotion of your product more efficient and well-received.

 

User behavior awareness

 

You get to know your users better and can implement the most useful, on-point features based on particular behavior patterns. And knowing your target users well enough to pinpoint their major pains and needs is half of the product’s success. Gaining such a valuable perspective also helps better indicate and understand declines in user popularity in the future.

 

Cost savings

 

When it comes to redesigning an existing software product (like we did with Racers360), a project improvement roadmap composed during a UX audit helps save costs by avoiding the need to redo big patches of the project completely. The product may not work the way it should or fail to meet the proper expectations, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s hopeless altogether. A thorough UX audit allows outlining the specific interface and functionality aspects to rework them only.

 

Profits boost

 

Along with the saved costs, you get much more chances to gain higher profits with a well-audited product launched in the market. In the course of the audit, direct communication with users helps create the most relevant point of value, which allows better hit the demand in the market. And this is a sure way to achieve a product that pays off fast.

 

Bottom Line

 

The benefits of UX audit are undeniable – preparation is everything in the development of a software product of any purpose and complexity. Note also that the last but not least important stage of the whole process should be a follow-up UX audit. Reinforcing the proper effect of implemented changes will be the ultimate conclusion to project preparation or optimization.

Do you have a project that you need to make sure hits the market with a proper bang? Contact us to create a unique product of any complexity and puropse with a top-notch user experience. 

 

Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to achieve smooth and profitable customer interactions in a highly competitive environment? Having problems prioritizing sales, marketing, and working with different customer groups? Perhaps, you just don’t understand them well enough and they leave dissatisfied. In that case, you need a sturdy CRM that would give you the power to understand the core needs and desires of customers to offer them the right portfolio of products.

At Northell, we create digital products that help companies and entrepreneurs achieve unique business goals. And we are happy to share our in-depth experience in product design and web development with you, explaining the ins and outs of creating an efficient, integral CRM solution.

Why is CRM Important?

A CRM solution is usually a platform for managing all relationships and interactions with existing and potential customers within a customer-driven workflow. The CRM system helps to better stay in touch with customers and optimize internal processes, expanding the capacities of your workflow and boosting business profitability as a result.

But it’s not all about tools and automation technologies. The gist of any CRM is that it helps build and employ a customer-centric business interaction strategy. Thus, a good CRM solution will help you:

  1. maintain a goal-driven customer management strategy based on the visible milestones and events that helps to provide the smoothest customer experience. The continuous experience of interacting with your business forms the image of the brand and its values in the minds of customers. At Northell, we take CRM design with utter dedication, knowing full well that a bad customer experience is a way to lose customers.
  2. centralize all customer data. CRM software helps store all the info on sales, marketing, and customer service in a single centralized database.
  3. automate business-boosting processes, such as budgeting and planning in various aspects.
  4. focus on top-priority customer-focused processes and improve them based on the monitored rates of satisfaction with the efforts in:
  • marketing;
  • sales;
  • customer relations.

 A CRM system tracks all actions related to potential customers as well. It is a single repository of documents, phone calls, and emails. And once a single interaction with a potential customer took place, all the gathered data is centralized and can be accessed by any other involved employee.

The more your employees and you know about the customers you target, about their preferences and behavior traits, the more likely you are to come up with “an offer they can’t refuse”.

For a small business, with about a dozen customers and a small number of queries per day, Spreadsheets are enough to manage customer data. As the business grows, however, one needs to start dedicating more efforts to customer information management.

Random data edits, lack of sales automation, poor reporting capabilities, and inability to integrate with third-party applications can be a true nightmare for sales, marketing, and customer support. This all results in overdue transactions, lots of unprocessed requests, and negative customer feedback – things that can be easily prevented and avoided with a good CRM system at your side.

Creating a CRM Product That’s On Point

For a company using a CRM solution to reach new goals, it must be enabled to clearly define, structure, and streamline the essential business processes. This should be achieved with the automation of customer-related tasks and processes.

In order for a CRM product to meet the expectations of its users, you need to do some serious background check work. Pay attention to 5 key elements:

  1. It is important to understand the main task of CRM. Why it is created and what content it should help manage. CRM is a more technical thing that involves working with a variety of large amounts of data, so first, you need to understand the goals ─ what content and what data sets you will have to operate.
  2. Based on that, the system should be divided into sections. Simple to use user navigation is outlined. All this is done at the stage of information architecture and is followed by low-level design (wireframing). The task of developers is to achieve the easiest, quickest, most intuitive user data processing and management capabilities.
  3. A very important trait here is a common understanding of best practices for data optimization and the ability to create clean design templates. All that depends on the experience and skill of the developer.
  4. Remember – at the heart of any CRM is the proper visualization, processing, and handling of data.
  5. Surveys of potential target audience members can also help you create the most proper product and assess how well it works with real users.

Today, managing a company without a trusty CRM system is quite difficult, to put it mildly. The modern market offers tons of business management products and solutions adapted to different industries and business sizes. But it’s hard to pick something that would fit your business structure precisely. Which is why a custom CRM solution tailored specifically to your workflow processes is the best way to go. 

Northell’s Experience with CRM Projects

We prefer to share the expertise that’s been tried and tested in the field. A lot of it has been gained in the course of the following CRM projects we took part in.

NorthWest Construction Control (NWCC)

CRM capabilities are especially relevant to companies that work with regular large financial flows and investments. This goes without saying when it comes to big construction corporations where heaps of financial data must be managed most thoroughly and precisely. For NorthWest Construction, we redesigned an existing construction finance control system that now allows:

  • managing construction loan inspections
  • conducting budget reviews
  • storing all sorts of involved documentation
  • analyzing project statistics
  • categorizing projects by time and completion
  • organizing invoices and confirmation letters

The NWCC platform has been actively used for over 35 years so we had to implement the smoothest transition to the updated version. For this, we outlined the design that stays true to the essential features and makes the user experience more convenient with new additions.

As a result, we have a hassle-free interface with neatly organized elements that can be easily handled by any user to work on a wide range of tasks.

Referr App

Client referral is a powerful modern marketing tool that helps entrepreneurs and businesses mutually expand and acquire new customers via joint efforts. Yet there aren’t many software solutions that help manage client referrals out there. That’s why it was quite an insightful experience for us to work on the Referr App, which is a responsive web platform to simply and efficiently refer customers to each other. Namely, Referr allows:

  • creating individual portfolios
  • searching required types of referrals
  • referring and sharing customer details
  • tracking referrals
  • managing referral commissions and rewards

We worked on the UI/UX of the web app driven by the latest design trends and custom features to achieve the smoothest, most satisfactory navigation and functionality for all involved user categories. 

Bottom Line

Whether you are in sales, marketing, or customer support, a CRM system can help automate cumbersome business processes and optimize the way you serve your customers. Keep in mind, however, that the implementation of a custom CRM customization can be entrusted only to experienced professionals.

Contact Northell to let experienced customer software engineers help you create a unique digital product. We will design an inviting user interface enriched with content management automation capabilities to boost business performance, hence profitability, and make your brand leading in the niche.

 

Amazon, Airbnb, Spotify, Uber all these companies started out as MVPs. It might be surprising to some readers, but many platforms we can’t imagine our lives without didn’t get so huge right in the beginning. They chose a wise strategy trying out the idea first and adding more features on the go.

At Northell, we see an MVP as a go-to solution for startups that have a great idea but are not sure how to implement it correctly. Some of them instantly agree with such a strategy as they already understand why an MVP is appropriate for their project. Others might be reluctant when they hear this unfamiliar abbreviation. So what is an MVP? And why so many market giants chose this approach at first? Let’s find out.

 

Minimum Viable Product: less is more

 

First off, MVP stands for a minimum viable product. If the minimum and product parts are quite clear, the meaning of viable might cause some confusion. This word refers to the fact that the product is fully-functioning and can clearly present the value behind it. It is up to you to decide which features make the product viable and which can be omitted. 

An MVP is the most basic version of the product that is, first of all, created for seeing the market reaction to the solution. One of the studies demonstrates that 40% of startup failures happen because there is no market need for them. Will anyone really use the product? Does it have any competitive advantage? These are the questions an MVP can answer.

The concept of MVP comes from a Lean Startup methodology. The core of this methodology is the build-measure-learn loop. Lean Startup emphasizes the importance of learning users’ feedback is what forms the product. It is smarter to see how users actually interact with a product than asking what they would do, isn’t it? And an MVP is a perfect instrument for it.

 

Three essential aspects of any MVP

 

Developing an MVP solution doesn’t take a lot of time: it’s only a few months we are talking about. Still, there is a number of necessary steps to take during this short time to be sure that this approach is working for you.

Probably the most important aspect of the MVP development is research. It is a first step towards understanding how the final product should look like and which value it will bring. Market analysis, interviews with potential users, creating user personas it’s crucial to find out as much information about the market demand and users’ pain points as possible.

With the target audience and their needs in mind, one can start mapping out the essential product’s features. There might be many elements that can make a product truly incredible, but the question is, which of them are really obligatory? It is helpful to think about the core problem that the solution has to solve: it defines the most important features.

And, of course, there is the implementation stage. As it was already mentioned, designing an MVP is a bit easier than regular products. It is worth remembering that an MVP is a test: it doesn’t have to be too complex. The main point of such a solution is to get it to users as soon as possible; you don’t really have to spend weeks polishing it. 

 

Step-by-step: how to create an MVP based on Northell’s case 

 

At Northell, we worked with many startups. Some of our clients came with a defined idea or even did research themselves; others had just a vague picture of the final solution. In any case, we get through the same steps for most of the projects. Let’s analyze how we build an MVP using the example of Oprovi a professional feedback marketplace that connects experts with people looking for advice. It focuses on helping individuals improve their digital works by getting advice from top specialists.

 

     1.   Researching

 

Oprovi contacted us having a general idea of the platform they want to see. They didn’t have a defined concept or detailed brief at first. So, we started from the beginning with research. We analyzed the market of similar platforms: who are the main potential competitors, what do they offer? What can be Oprovi’s competitive advantage? 

Next on, we worked on user personas. Those are the hypothetical users. With their pain points identified, we can determine how to solve their problems and what we have to offer to make them interested in the solution.

 

     2.  Creating wireframes and prioritizing the features. 

 

While making wireframes for Oprovi, we constantly reviewed them with its representatives, discussing each element and its role in the platform. It was the key to finalizing the concept of the platform. Working on the wireframes was also a way to define and prioritize the features for the final design. 

We created many versions of the platform: each discussed with the Oprovi team and their potential customers. Gathering such feedback allowed us to clearly see which features were redundant or what should be added to the final design. We were getting closer to the desired platform design with each new wireframes version: the most useful features only. 

It is hard to overestimate the value of the potential customers’ feedback in creating MVP. One should remember that MVP is, first of all, made to test out a particular idea, so engaging users in the design process as early as possible is probably the best way to create a product that will easily find its audience. 

As a result, we designed how users can upload a work, choose the suitable area, type of service, and expert, as well as receive feedback. All these steps are the essential features: Oprovi cannot present its value without them. 

 

     3.   Implementing 

 

With a clear understanding of the most important elements and the value they bring, we were ready to work on Oprovi’s UX/UI design. Despite the simplicity, MVP requires, any design still should present a consistent quality. 

Let’s not confuse a minimal product with a poorly executed one. The final result should be both fully functional and visually appealing. For example, we decided to add some vivid illustrations to Oprovi.

We now keep in touch with Oprovi’s development team to make sure that the implementation of the design is smooth. The developers adjust the platform according to the changes in design we make; we have constant communication flow, so the development process is fast and accurate. In our previous article, we highlighted the importance of such collaboration. 

 

Our results: why was an MVP the best approach to Oprovi?

 

What’s the use of the MVP approach in this particular case, you might ask. Oprovi could have been a full-scope project right from the beginning as well. Yes, it could with a few times bigger budget and a way longer design process.

Oprovi is a startup that takes on a completely new idea: there are no companies with the exact same offer as Oprovi on the market now. Even with careful research and planning, it’s pretty impossible to predict the users’ reaction to a new solution: no one can tell if a product will get popular or not.

Thus, an MVP is a great way to observe a certain product’s dynamics for a reasonable price. It’s quite disappointing to spend a vast sum of money on the idea that people might be absolutely indifferent about, isn’t it?

After Oprovi is tested out by the fairest critics it’s target audience, we can add more and more functions to it or make the design even more sophisticated there are no limits to perfection.

Maybe you also had a good idea in your head for some time, not sure how to approach it. An MVP might be exactly what you are looking for we are open to new partnerships

 

Sometimes, amazing design ideas can turn into not-so-great products. Designers start out with a convenient and stylish solution, spend hours polishing it, then hand it on to the development team, and it turns out that there is no way to make that design a real product. Everyone ends up in a rather pessimistic mood: designers are frustrated because their ideas are not implemented properly, developers are angrily trying to find a way to make everything work, clients are unsatisfied because of the long and difficult process.

Poor designer-developer communication can result in numerous project issues, such as: 

  1. Long work on designs that are simply impossible to put into effect
  2. The final result does not match the designer’s idea and the client’s expectations
  3. Missed deadlines and more time spent on the project

It might seem like the solution to those issues lies on the surface just make development and design collaboration more productive. Easier said than done. Often, it is quite challenging to find a way to streamline the collaboration in a way that suits both sides. Let’s discuss three practices that might help with this task. 

Three valuable practices for an effective design-development collaboration

1. Organize a proper workflow

In many cases, designers just send the finished project to the development team and that’s exactly when the problems start to show up. One never knows in advance: maybe the incredibly looking design will take way too much time to develop. 

An approach we advocate for is involving the developers at the design stage and creating cross-functional teams. In this way, the programmers can give their perspective on the solution and generally have a good understanding of the project.

To engage cross-functional teams at Northell, we resort to agile methodology basics. The agile approach makes our team flexible, which is crucial when working with startups. It is also important for us to stay in touch with our clients, so we are sure that we are moving in the right direction and meet their expectations.

Many discussions still revolve around various project management approaches and their effectiveness: some PMs strictly follow a chosen methodology, others ignore them completely. We prefer not to follow agile blindly but rather see it as a guide to work organization, offering some key principles to base our decisions on.

As collaboration and task prioritization are the pillars of agile methodology, a project management system is a valuable tool for the proper implementation of these principles. There are many solutions available on the market: Jira, Asana, and Basecamp, to name a few.

At Northell, we gave preference to Asana. First of all, it gives our team space for a collaborative approach each team member has access to the project files and can add comments or suggestions. Secondly, it is a tool for ensuring accountability through checklists and deadlines.

One more practice that undoubtedly shapes the workflow organization is documentation. It is an efficient way to streamline design implementation: documentation is the single source of information for everyone involved in the process, including clients. Project documentation consists of style guides, sitemaps, wireframes, prototypes, and other files.

Among those documents, we found checklists to be especially handy for facilitating design handoff to the development team. They consist of all the deliverables that have to be double-checked before wrapping up the project. The checklist also serves as a guide for the developers, listing all the design aspects that cannot be ignored.

2. Learn each other’s language

There is an everlasting discussion on whether designers should learn coding and developers should know the design basics. Of course, we all understand that designers can’t be developers and vice versa. Still, it won’t hurt to learn what the other team is up to and what they are actually doing. 

Before starting work on any project, our PM carefully analyzes and discusses with the team all the details and technical limitations that have to be considered at the implementation stage. Evidently, this discussion can be much smoother if all the participants understand the logic behind particular restrictions.

Having a good understanding of the processes outside one’s responsibilities significantly aids with grasping various project documentation, such as design specifications or coding requirements. And, of course, in that case, the design professionals might not get offended when the changes are made to their ideas, and programmers won’t think that some design elements are redundant.

3. Establish a productive communication routine

It is evident that proper communication is the key to good team collaboration. No matter how sophisticated the work organization is, if people in the team do not talk to each other, there will definitely be a whole load of “I thought he knew that” and “No one told me this could be a problem.”

Some tips for enhancing effective communication inside the team are:

      1.  Choosing one messenger

First off, there should be the main communication platform. Each team member should know where all the information is shared and kept. If all the important updates are exchanged via email, but daily communication goes through Slack, there is a big chance that those Slack messages can be ignored or an email will be seen way too late. 

Thus, it is best if everyone agrees on the preferred communication method. For example, our team uses Slack: we created a system of channels to arrange communication based on the project or department. 

     2.   Agreeing on regular meetings and discussions

Yes, not all team members are fans of long meetings several times a week. But, to be fair, the meetings do not have to be unnecessarily long and frequent. The design and development teams can agree on a weekly catch up meeting that is always held at the same hour.

For example, at Northell, we organize regular check-ups between the design and development teams working on the same project. The project manager facilitates these meetings to keep the discussion on track and not to miss any important points. Such meetings give space for a collaborative design approach. In this way, the developers can make suggestions before the very development stage. 

Remembering the goal

There is no need to highlight one more time why designers and developers working together is so essential for a project’s success. It is the main way to bring much-needed consistency to the work process. With the positive team dynamics and collaborative approach, everyone feels free to offer ideas and improvements, but at the same time understands the accountability behind each decision.

Let’s remember that, after all, each team member has the same aim: offering an excellent user experience. Thus, achieving this goal should serve as the primary motivation for a collaboration between two teams.

 

 

Do you remember how you got your first job? Imagine a young professional trying to enter the corporate world. Getting a suitable position might be quite a challenge for students and recent graduates. Numerous questions arise, such as where to look for job ads and internships, how to contact a company, and many more. Not to mention the time spent on CVs and countless motivation letters. In most cases, job hunting becomes a rather exhausting journey for those only starting a career.  

That’s when Launch comes in handy: this Belgian solution helps students and recent graduates find a perfect internship or first job. Users can see all the available positions as well as apply for them and contact the companies directly. All of this on a single platform, making first job hunting smooth and easy. 

Suppose you are a recent graduate looking for your first career opportunity: how exciting! Let’s explore Launch step-by-step to see how it aids with getting that desired first job offer. Where do we start? 

Finding your perfect company

First off, you would need a properly organized list of all the available positions. Let’s be honest, opening any job search website might be quite overwhelming: the choice is vast, hundreds of positions are to be looked through.

We designed Launch with the target audience in mind, so each feature brings convenience to the job hunting process for students and young professionals. The platform accumulates only internships and entry-level jobs: no need to filter jobs that require years of experience. Let’s take a look at how you might find the most interesting positions. 

  1. Choose the best-fitting option 

Launch lists two main types of positions: 

  • internships 
  • jobs for professionals with 0-5 years of experience. 

You can look through both or choose one category based on your qualifications. Be it accounting or software development, there will be plenty of options to choose from.  Let’s suppose that you are a recent graduate looking for a full-time position; you also did a marketing internship while studying. In this case, entry-level jobs might suit you best you already have some experience to become a full-fledged team member. 

  2. Focus on the companies, not just positions

Сompany matters as much as the job description does, or sometimes even more. While some candidates might be looking for big corporate names with numerous departments and streamlined workflow, others might be willing to become a member of a small startup team, in which each opinion matters. 

Launch puts an emphasis on the companies and their perks rather than just positions. The current job market is highly competitive: while salaries offered by different companies might be on the same level, employees value the non-material aspect of work much more. That’s why basing one’s decisions solely on the job description might not be the best idea. 

  3. Take a look at the tags 

Are you looking for a remote position or, maybe, a pet-friendly office is your priority? Launch features a tag system, listing the perks of each position in a simple way. Just by looking at a set of tags, users can easily understand if a company’s corporate culture suits them. One can also follow a certain tag to see all the companies that, for example, have above average holidays. 

Applying in five minutes

Let’s suppose you saw an exciting option: it is a full-time remote marketing position in a fintech startup. You did your internship in a fintech company, and it is a field that really interests you. Time to write a motivation letter? No, you just need to click on the “show interest” button. Yes, that’s it. Your personal profile contains all the necessary information, so you can be sure that the employer gets to know all your strong sides. 

We designed a personal profile structure that is easy to fill-in and highlights the most valuable information, such as skills and experience; there is no need to spend hours making a CV. Similarly to companies’ profiles, there is a tag system to organize the information more effectively. In this way, candidates save time describing their personal details and qualifications.

If you see a position that is not interesting to you, just click “ignore,” and it will disappear from your feed.

Communicating directly with the company

So, you applied for your dream job. Waiting for an answer can be quite stressful. What if the company did not get the message? Or it went to the spam folder? No worries Launch features a convenient messenger. Users can easily track and organize all the messages. You can be sure that the employer saw your application and will give feedback as soon as possible. 

One more Launch advantage is direct communication with the potential employer. It is easy to pose any question or ask for details you will definitely receive an answer. 

Imaging checking the platform, and here it is: a message inviting you for a job interview! Of course, you agree. Now, you can set up an interview via the platform’s messenger or get the recruiter’s contacts. That’s it, you just made the first steps in your career path using Launch it becomes a simple process that does not take days and days.

Launch: an exciting and convenient journey towards new career opportunities 

One can notice that Launch is different from regular job search platforms: all the jobs and internships presented on the platform are focused on a particular target group. Such an approach makes the hiring process much easier both for candidates and employers.

The platform offers an easy to navigate catalog of internships, jobs, and events. Using the tags, candidates can filter the offers and base their search on certain parameters. At the same time, companies can view candidates’ profiles and, in a similar fashion, evaluate their competence based on tags. 

Moreover, Launch is not only a job and internship search platform: it also offers many career development and networking opportunities. There is a separate section with events, such as company visits and job fairs. In this way, those who just start out exploring their possible career paths can get all the useful information and connections.

The Launch platform is a guide to entering the corporate world as it offers not only career opportunities but also numerous resources for becoming a strong candidate. Thanks to this solution, there won’t be any expectations vs. reality situations: companies are specifically looking for inexperienced employees while candidates can see internships and starting jobs only. No more first job-hunting stress!

Launch is only one example of the projects we worked on. At Northell, we create UI/UX design and web development solutions based on the unique business needs. If you have a challenge to tackle, don’t hesitate to contact us: we will discuss your expectations and how to approach the project.

 

 

With the explosion of social media and user-generated content, the Internet has been changing for the better. To keep pace with these changes and provide more interactivity, developers began building libraries and frameworks that made it easier to build interactive sites. In 2006, John Resig released jQuery, making it much easier to write client-side scripts inside HTML. Over time, other similar projects appeared. At first, they were large, monolithic, and imposed their vision on the developers. Now, there has been a shift towards compact, lightweight libraries that are very easy to add to any application. Let’s take a look at the three most popular of them.

Overview of JavaScript Frameworks 

Starting a new project is always about making decisions. One of the key ones is choosing the right framework or library. Fortunately, Vue.js is a very versatile library that can handle a variety of tasks. 

Vue.js

Vue.js is a library that allows you to inject interactivity and add-on capabilities into any coding environment in which you use JavaScript. Vue can be used both on separate pages, solving simple tasks, and as a foundation for full-fledged industrial applications. Vue.js is an advanced framework for building graphical user interfaces. It is also suitable for building complex one-way applications when used in conjunction with modern tools and additional libraries. 

One of the biggest advantages of the Vue library is that it doesn’t require any special knowledge. Any Vue application is written using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript – familiar to all tools that immediately allow you to dive into work. Even if you have never done client development before, you can always build on your previous experience with the MVC design pattern, which is very similar to MVVM.  

React

Thanks to the React library, you can easily create interactive user interfaces. When integrating React, there is no need to change the code of the current project, the library is implemented painlessly and is only responsible for rendering the interface.  

React systems that support user interface updates make it much easier to create robust modular components for your application. The way the React library does most of the work of maintaining the user interface with data updates is enjoyable for developers (no wonder it is so popular). 

Angular

Angular is a nearly complete development environment. It includes a whole set of programs, including the TypeScript compiler, the AOT compiler, and – attention!  – Web server. Web-server of Angular is intended for debugging sites developed using this framework. It is launched using the same Angular CLI utility, for which you need to go to the project folder in the Windows Command Line and issue the ng serve command. 

Vue vs React vs Angular: Major Characteristics

One of React’s greatest strengths: a robust balance of stability and innovation that allows it to adapt without making life difficult for users. This and other reasons allow React to maintain its position and gain more and more popularity.

Source

Size

Regarding development frameworks, their size plays a crucial role in future app performance. Framework and the app must be loaded prior to the moment when the app starts to function.

Angular is the most complicated in this regard with 143k. Next goes React with 43KB, and Vue.js with only 23KB. Unless your app is huge and incorporates heavy components, it is best to use a smaller structure.

Performance

Within web projects, performance is closely linked to the DOM: it presents the web pages in the browser/code. You can manage web pages via the DOM in the event of updates.

Comparing Vue vs React vs Angular in terms of performance, these frameworks can vary depending on the tasks, but for the most part, they are efficient and fast. React and Vue both implement the DOM. Thanks to its well thought out structure, Vue provides excellent performance and memory allocation. This is where React and Vue.js beat Angular: they utilize virtual DOM – a replication of the original DOM.

Note: the DOM is a way to represent the content of an HTML document as objects. In addition, there is an interface for managing the specified objects. There is a regular DOM (also called real) and a virtual one. What’s the difference? Let’s look at an example. If you want to change certain information found in HTML tags, the algorithms will act as follows: The real DOM will update all tags until it finds the fragment it needs. And this in some cases negatively affects performance and other parameters. The virtual DOM will update only the required HTML chunk.

Community

It is no secret that React is the most popular framework in the world. It was growing in popularity because it offered real promise. The mental model seemed solid, the components made it easier to create user interfaces, the API was flexible and expressive, and the whole project felt exactly as it should. The user-friendliness statements of the API library also contributed to getting a good impression of it.  

Since then, The React library has basically stayed the same in terms of its fundamental concepts and APIs, but a whole body of knowledge and best practices has formed and evolved, and more and more people are working with it. Angular is praised for its benefits and boasts significant community support. Unfortunately, despite its many benefits, Vue.js is not accepted by developers as well and warm as its competitors.

Now let’s compare the three frameworks in terms of popularity and relevance:

  • GitHub: at the moment Vue.js is the most popular framework, although it is the youngest among the listed, this means that more and more projects will appear using it.
  • Google search: React has the most requests in Google queries, it is followed by Vue.js. The least popular now is Angular.js. The popularity of Angular.js is falling, while the popularity of Vue.js is only increasing 
  • Demand in the labor market: most vacancies on Indeed relate to React.js, followed by Angular.js, and only then Vue.js.

Vue vs React vs Angular: Which One to Choose?

So, in order to select the most appropriate library, you should analyze each of them carefully and understand your needs first. Whether it’s an existing project with many dependencies or a new application where you want to use familiar libraries, – Vue won’t give you any hassle. You can continue to work with such CSS frameworks as Bootstrap or Bulma, leave the already written components for јQuery or Backbone, integrate your favorite library for executing HTTP requests, or work with Promise objects. 

To start programming with Vue, all you have to do is connect the Vue.js library to any single web page. No complicated assembly tools are needed! It takes one to two weeks to develop a prototype from start to finish, which allows you to collect user feedback as early and often as possible. Vue 2 introduces support for server-side rendering (SSR). This allows you to minimize the data load at an early stage and request new views and resources as needed. This, combined with efficient component caching, can further reduce traffic consumption. 

The React library is capable of amazing things. Because the entire user interface is defined in JavaScript, you can use the rich functionality of JavaScript to perform various actions within templates. You are only limited by the features of JavaScript, not by the features of the templating framework. When you think of visuals that are fully defined in JavaScript, you probably imagine a lot of quotes, escape characters, and createElement calls. Don’t worry, the React library lets you (optionally) define visual elements using HTML-like JSX syntax that coexists with JavaScript code.  

React differs from the other two frameworks by the following principles:

  • it is rather a library than a framework (originally created to work with UI)
  • itis more versatile, because not constrained by the framework – more a plus for the pros, not for beginners
  • many of the main features that Angular has “out of the box” have to be connected separately here (this approach has its pros and cons, for beginners, it is rather a minus, because of unnecessary movements)
  • more JavaScript than TypeScript oriented (although more TS support with each version)
  • more convenient for creating native Android and iOS mobile applications
  • has a huge number of third-party libraries for all occasions (more than Angular).

Angular has been used in a number of the largest and most complex web applications.

Source

Angular borrows some of the best aspects of server-side development and uses them to extend the HTML markup in the browser. In this way, a foundation is laid that makes it simple and easy to create applications with enhanced functionality. Angular applications are built on the basis of the MVC design pattern (a model that is focused on creating applications that have the following characteristics: 

  • Easy to extend: if you understand the basics, it will be easy for you to understand even the most complex application  Angular, which means you can easily extend applications to support useful new functionality. 
  • Good to maintain: Angular applications are easy to debug and fix bugs easily, which means they are easy to maintain in the long run.  
  • Testing Tool: Angular has good mod support.  go and end-to-end testing.  Consequently, you can find and fix defects before your users encounter them.
  • Standardization: Angular works on the basis of the internal functionality of the browser, without creating any obstacles to your work.  This allows you to create standards-compliant web applications that incorporate the latest functionality (for example, various HTML5 APIs), popular tools, and frameworks.  
  • this is a framework – which means it sets the rules for creating web applications, sets certain frameworks – for a beginner to think less – at the initial stage, plus
  • has huge functionality, if you need something extra, you can connect third-party modules

Vue js VS React: Bi-directional Data-Binding

In Vue, you can easily bind a component variable to a form field. When you change the variable, the form field will update, and when the user changes the form field, the component variable will change. This is much easier than writing event handlers like in React.

Also, many people like to show graphs of the popularity of frameworks, where React wins 2-3 times over Angular. But it benefits greatly from the creation of mobile applications (React Native) because he has it more conveniently implemented in comparison with Angular Ionic. As for the possibilities for web applications (ReactJS), everything is not so simple here.

For example, for web applications, I find it more convenient to use Angular than ReactJS.

You can play around and compare different directions or technologies yourself. To do this, enter a few keywords in google trends and it will draw beautiful charts for you.

Vue.js vs React vs Angular

Vue.js, unlike the previous ones, was created by one person who decided that everything that existed in 2013 was too complicated. The first and second versions of Vue were created by one person, because of this, it could be worse than competitors in some aspects, especially security. The Vue 3 was created by the development team, this means that now many bugs and shortcomings are fixed,  the efficiency of the framework itself is increased.

Should I Learn React or Angular?

It is better to learn both Angular and React. Both have their pros and cons. Experts recommend beginners learn Angular first because everything you need is available “out of the box”, it will be more difficult to make the wrong step (the framework will control). After Angular, you can tackle the ReactJS and React Native directions. Alternatively, you can jump straight to React Native if you only need mobile apps. In fact, you just need to learn the features of the frameworks and that’s it. The rest of the knowledge is universal (OOP, TypeScript, RP). To learn the framework itself – 1-2 weeks are enough and you can already create simple web applications.

Closing Words

It is clear that these three frameworks are very powerful and at the same time very different.  They have their advantages and disadvantages, and there is no general formula that determines an absolute winner. Depending on the app you are creating and your specific needs, one of them can benefit more than another one. It is necessary to conduct comprehensive research before making a decision. It is especially relevant for those companies that work on a commercial venture rather than an individual project.

 

You might have seen many people running in parks, especially in the mornings. Nothing unusual, but some of them might look way too excited or even scared. Why? They are running away from zombies. Zombies, Run! is an immersive app that motivates users to exercise in a rather interesting way: by making them believe they are chased by a bunch of zombies via audio and augmented reality. If all of this sounds confusing, you might not be familiar with the concept of gamification. 

We all get bored from mundane tasks quickly; for example, it is hard to stay motivated to study every day. That’s when gamification comes in handy it plays on human psychology. Reward, competition, and goals are the strongest gamification instruments: they are why we get back to Spanish lessons in Duolingo or can’t stop planting trees in Forest. Some other gamification mechanics include the feeling of community and achieving a certain status.

To make gamification mechanics work, numerous elements are applied. Any of them serves one goal: to provoke action. It can be achieved either by inspiring or rewarding activities. Some examples of the most common gamification elements are:

  • Badges
  • Levels
  • Leaderboards
  • Challenges
  • Points
  • and many more.

One of the best things about gamification for business is that there is no need to transform an existing solution entirely for it: gamification elements can be seamlessly added to any product leaving its core structure untouched. Gamifying also requires a certain level of simplicity: you don’t want users to get confused in the overcomplicated system or shift the focus from the app’s main point.

Our experience: three examples of effective gamification solutions 

At Northell, we implement both web and mobile app gamification strategies. We always strive to choose the most fitting elements considering each product’s specifics. There is a difference between designing gamification apps for education and fitness, right? Let’s take a look at some fascinating gamification solutions we worked on: 

  1.   Zettlo: taking challenges for social engagement 

There is a common misconception that gamification is applicable for learning and productivity solutions only. Of course, that is not true. For example, recently, we worked on redesigning Zettlo. It is a mobile app that promotes social engagement among young people. 

Zettlo combines real-world settings with augmented reality to engage users in a game-like experience. In the Zettlo app, users can participate in different social activities and challenges, explore new locations, meet people, and engage with friends. It is a location-based app that attracts users with unique features, exciting gameplay, and rewards for completing events and challenges. 

 For this solution, we added such gamification elements as 

  • Challenges
  • Points
  • Levels
  • Achievements
  • In-app goods.

These features are highly interconnected and complement each other: the user gets points for completing challenges while those points are needed to move to the next level. What is more, some app features, such as private rooms, are available only after reaching a certain level. We all know what the fear of missing out is, so it is a pretty good encouragement to get to a new level.

Our team leader Virliana shares that community is the most important aspect of this app:

Users should enjoy communication while not getting bored with many challenges. That’s why the team decided that level and reward systems can be the most powerful gamification elements for Zettlo. Each user gets a character who they can associate with and track their journey through the app. Reaching a new level allows users to upgrade their character and get both virtual and real-life rewards.

  2.   Racers360: achievement system for better learning

One more platform with gamification elements that we had a chance to work on is Racers360. It is a SaaS solution that offers online motorsports training. Users can upload their racing videos to get personalized training sessions from a top professional. In this way, Racers360 makes pro-coaching accessible to more enthusiasts.  

The main gamification mechanics in this platform is the achievement and reward system. Racers360 utilizes achievements to motivate users to actively engage in the learning process and facilitate their progress. Users can get a reward for completing such tasks as

  • Getting sessions with a particular number of coaches
  • Reading a set of articles
  • Reaching the goals outlined by the coach.

Gamification in Racers360 helps users stay inspired to keep on learning, says our team lead Virliana:

While redesigning Racers360, our biggest challenge was to make the solution accessible for those people who never used such services before and might be uncertain about navigating them. To encourage them to come back and continue their training, we suggested an achievement system, so learners can clearly see their progress and be confident that they are moving in the right direction.

Being rewarded for one’s effort is always a good feeling: it stimulates users to come back to the platform to try more features and engage in new activities. What is more, such a system enhances a positive impression of the service.

  3.   SecureFlag: competitive spirit for study motivation 

One more platform that utilizes gamification for education is SecureFlag. It is a secure coding training platform. Its main purpose is to allow users to practice their programming skills through exercises based on real-world vulnerabilities. 

 

SecureFlag features a set of gamification elements to make learning truly interactive and fun. These elements are:

  • Tournaments
  • Points
  • Levels
  • Leaderboards
  • Trophies.

The main gamification mechanics used in SecureFlag is competition: it is a highly effective motivation tool. Users can participate in tournaments to compete with others or simply challenge themselves and earn some points. 

The tournaments also help users track their progress and understand if they have any knowledge gaps. Each tournament has a leaderboard showing users how long their way to the top is. It is also a way to make one’s performance visible and, of course, show off a bit.

Gamification totally changes how SecureFlag presents learning: users are not doing exercises for the sole purpose of practicing. Each task they complete helps learners get into the next level, earn some points or a trophy. Thus, learning becomes a real journey, and each exercise is a step towards a bigger goal.

How did gamification enhance these platforms?

Gamification is a valuable UX tool that evokes motivation and engagement. It is not simply adding the element of fun for users, even though it also matters. Gamification can significantly improve the following aspects:

  1.  User engagement     

No matter how old they are, people still enjoy playing games. Challenges, trophies, and badges arouse curiosity and excitement; users want to move to the next level or get as many points as possible. No wonder that gamification might boost up user engagement rates by nearly one third. For instance, Racers 360 encourages users to try out as many platform features as possible through gamification.

  2.  Standing out on the market

Simply good products are not as interesting anymore, so there should be some extra details to attract users. Gamification is what can distinguish an app among dozens of similar solutions. For example, SecureFlag is not just one more coding training platform: gamification adds an entirely new experience to it. 

  3.  User acquisition

It is a well-known fact that people tend to share information about something they like. The word of mouth is a simple yet effective way to promote a product. Additionally, competition is one more engine that encourages sharing: it is always fun to dare a friend. For instance, Zettlo suggests inviting friends to get an app and participate in the challenge.

  4.  User retention

Proper gamification reinforces user retention for two main reasons. First of all, an engaged user is likely to stay active for a longer time. That’s one of the reasons why creating value should be a priority for any solution: no one will quit a product that offers a unique experience. 

Secondly, having passed many levels and gained numerous badges, it is not easy to give up all the achievements. For example, in SecureFlag, each completed exercise contributes to the user’s level. Thus, users are not likely to simply abandon the platform and their position in it.

Final thoughts

Overall, gamification is a powerful tool for making any task more captivating and fun. It is an excellent idea for businesses looking for broader audience outreach and trying to establish their competitive advantage. 

What is more, gamification usually does not require a huge budget and is relatively easy to implement: it pays off. Gamification elements can be implemented both in existing solutions and those being created from scratch. 

These factors make gamification a perfect instrument for engaging and retaining more users as well as genuinely providing a memorable experience. 

If you need a gamification solution that will stand out, don’t hesitate to discuss your idea with us!

 

Modern education is becoming more and more digitized: while even ten years ago notebooks and printed materials were necessary for studying, all you need today is a laptop and an Internet connection. Various classroom management systems are now used for the education of all levels, from primary schools to corporate training. It is a sure way to make the learning process more efficient   for example, taking quizzes and tests online helps automate grading and provide immediate access to the student’s performance. 

With such convenience, it’s no wonder that learning management systems are on the rise. From universal solutions, such as Canvas and Blackboard, to more niche platforms that target specific tasks or subjects, this software becomes necessary for many institutions. Still, according to Capterra’s research, nearly 40% of K-12 users say their school has had their LMS for less than a year. This data clearly demonstrates that there is a great need for further implementation of such systems in education.

At Northell, we had a chance to contribute to making the learning process simpler and more accessible both for teachers and students. Our team worked on redesigning a Singaporian platform Smartjen a solution that is, first of all, aimed at simplifying worksheet preparation but includes many other useful features.

SmartJen: a personalized education system for facilitating effective learning.

 SmartJen is a classroom management software that helps teachers save time preparing for the classes while making the learning process more organized and fun. This platform allows educators to manage student groups, create, assign, and grade tasks, give feedback, and control the progress. At the same time, students can track and complete assignments as well as keep in touch with the teacher. 

SmartJen’s main feature is the worksheet generator. The teacher can choose a subject, topic, and level to get a set of questions. Of course, it is also possible to compose new questions and remove the irrelevant ones. No need to explain how much more effective planning the lessons and exams can be with such a tool. 

 

  Who can use this platform? 

  •   Educators for saving time organizing tests and quizzes.
  •   Students for engaging in lessons and keeping in touch with a teacher.
  •   Parents for having access to the class information, such as assignments and grades.

Despite the main focus being on the worksheet generator, SmartJen is a fully functioning class management system. Let’s take a look at some of the features that make SmartJen a great solution both for teachers and students:

  Creating and customizing worksheets

Educators can choose questions from SmartJen’s bank or make their own. There are fully customizable worksheet templates.

  Assigning worksheets

The platform functions as a stand-alone solution; there is no need to print the worksheets or use email to distribute them. Students can access and complete the tasks on the platform.

  Personalization

While there are ready-made templates to save time making them from scratch, a teacher can adapt worksheets to suit each class or student’s needs. In this way, the test’s structure and content match the students’ knowledge level.

  Assessment

The platform features auto-marking. Educators can additionally send feedback in any form they prefer, be it a text message, audio, or video. 

  Messenger

It is easy to ask questions and give clarifications with no need to use outside messengers.

  Performance pages

The results of tests are compiled into performance reports for each student and the class as a whole. They are grouped by the worksheet, topic, and ability. It is a simple way to track students’ progress.

Creating a classroom management platform: four considerations for an excellent solution

SmartJen contacted us as they needed a platform redesign and more advanced features. It isn’t a standard platform: SmartJen, first of all, functions as a worksheet generator, which adds some peculiarities to the way it is organized. With this in mind, we started analyzing the existing solution to suggest some improvements. Based on our experience, we believe that to make any solution truly useful, it is crucial to dedicate enough time to each of the following aspects:

  1.  Know your user

First off, we conducted user interviews. Any kind of product should be helpful for the users, so it is critical to know their requests and problems. As SmartJen was already a working service, we had a perfect opportunity to find out some pros and cons of this software. 

Many businesses might underestimate this step, and they clearly shouldn’t. User interviews often give the most useful insights for product development. They reveal frustrations that the current users might and give the company a ground for improvements. For a person familiar with a specific platform, its structure might seem obvious, but for the newcomers, a confusing organization and complexity can be a reason to abandon it.

During SmartJen user interviews, we talked with educators, students, and parents. Despite the differences in age and platform’s perspective, the interviewees mentioned the same requests:

  •   Adding some gamification elements: the platform seemed too plain 
  •   Offering a more diverse range of worksheet features

We took this feedback into account while drafting SmartJen’s new structure. For example, now the platform features a leadership board and an option to choose various characters for one’s profile picture gamification in action!

  2.  Know your field and competitor

After finding out what exactly the users are looking for in the platform, it’s time to see how SmartJen fits the learning management software market. Market research helps find out what similar solutions offer and, as a result, determine competitive advantage. 

Based on the collected information, we made user personas: hypothetical customers. This method helps organize and visualize the information we gathered during our research and user interviews. As was mentioned above, there are three types of users who might access the platform: teachers, students, and parents. It is crucial to clearly establish the requests each of these groups might have. With this in mind, we created user journeys chains of steps that users take on the platform.

Our team also dedicated time to evaluating SmartJen’s business logic. It allowed us to assess the platform’s current functioning and see how our suggestions might suit the existing architecture.

  3.  Plan carefully

When we had all the information we needed, it was time for some actions. Starting out with the full scope UX/UI solutions is not the best idea: there might be some alterations in the process. That’s why we began with prototypes focusing on both teacher’s and student’s perspectives. 

We made high-level wireframes to demonstrate how we see all the platform’s features and their organization. Such an approach gives the design and development teams a clearer view of the project. Moreover, it provides the clients the possibility to look at the results in the early stages and give their feedback. 

As one of our primary tasks was to add some advanced features, it was essential to stay in touch with the SmartJen’s team so that they would voice their opinion on our ideas. Wireframes made it possible to adjust the solution as we worked on it.

  4.  Implement using best practices

The final step of our process: the very UX/UI design. We worked on the designs having in mind that SmartJen will be used both by adults and children, so it is necessary to make the website easy to navigate even for the youngest users. Building a child-friendly solution also means paying special attention to the visual styling. It should be equally pleasing to all age groups.

 

We also kept in touch with the SmartJen’s team to provide assistance with the development. For example, we created some additional designs to make the development process more straightforward. 

Building an intelligent learning platform: how to make studying effective and fun?

UX/UI is a tool that transforms the idea of comfortable learning into a tangible solution. Making eLearning accessible and understandable for various age groups was our primary task in this project. While working on SmartJen, our team made sure that the platform has:

  •   Consistent and simple enough layout
  •   Visuals that are appealing to all age groups 
  •   Intuitive navigation
  •   Responsive design

All these features encourage teachers and students to use the platform and make it a preference over some other services or creating worksheets from scratch.

 

Now, the world needs solutions like SmartJen more than ever: learning process organization is going through transformations, and online learning is currently the only choice for many institutions. SmartJen can be great both for in-class and remote learning: it has all the features not only for preparing worksheets but also for organizing the learning process and communication. 

Various learning management systems will likely become an integral part of studying, and students won’t need their print textbooks ever again. It shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how such platforms simplify learning organization. As for now, we can see a clear tendency classroom management software is used in more and more classrooms all over the world. 

Have an idea of the next great education tool? We can bring it into reality!

 

7 Most Important Appealing eCommerce Website Design Features 

Nowadays, eCommerce is entering a new stage of growth. Consumers’ behavior is rapidly changing toward online channels. In fact, experts predict eCommerce sales to reach as much as $1.6 trillion by 2023. The data shows how great opportunities for digital brands are. Businesses that invest in their online projects are likely to emerge as market leaders.

Now is a perfect opportunity to jump on board. Responding to the new eCommerce reality and having a strong online presence is vital for brands. And perfect user experience is crucial for achieving this goal. 

Will developing your online shop make or break your new project? What makes a good eCommerce website? We propose to discuss seven essential features behind the thoughtful eCommerce website design: from the homepage to checkout. 

#1. Accessibility Options

Customers spend 48% more when their shopping experience is personalized. 

ecommerce design - personalization
People hate being shown irrelevant content

Website visitors can easily make use of the accessibility settings window from any page without additional scrolling. The online store should demonstrate a thoughtful and empathetic web design that puts the customer first. Just in mind keep a couple of tips: 

  1. segmentation
  2. be aware of customer experience

Good examples of personalized marketing may include: 

  • adjusting navigation to visitors’ interests
  • personalizing search results
  • mailing based on user behavior
  • using geo-location targeting
  • personalizing the eCommerce homepage
  • reminding of previous engagements
  • showing personalized offers to returning visitors, etc. 

#2. Collect Data

The finished eCommerce platform should meet owners’ and customers’ expectations. Gather data, and work with it. The MVP development stage is the perfect time to collect customers’ feedback before launching the final version. Based on that data further changes could be implemented with minimal losses of money and time.

Data is at the forefront of personalization. You can also extract tons of information about your customers (search queries, page visits, purchase history, etc.) by using tracking tools. 

#3. Be Visually Appealing

There is no one way to create a perfect website design. Be creative in the way you form a unique experience that fits your brand.

The interface is the bridge between users and the content that is being delivered with. Study the stunning trends in eCommerce website design, which facilitates the path of their customers to conversions and makes it exciting at every step. Their approach is user-centric, insightful, and compelling. Their interface is neat, designed to provide a great experience.

To see physically, touch, or try it out is impossible while shopping online. And here appears a psychological barrier, which is difficult to overcome. For this reason, product page design should be very close to the real-life experience. Product specifications, descriptions, and photos should be as detailed as possible. Make the potential customer feel confident about what he or she is going to buy.

According to a Kissmetrics study, approx. 93% of buyers find visual appearance to be the most important factor when purchasing through an eCommerce store. 

appealing websites
Simply Chocolate is one of the most delicious websites on the Internet (and not only visually).

Animation

Interactive design is a great way to draw the visitor’s attention and show the practical benefits of the product. Animation makes the website more attractive and allows you to better demonstrate the features of the product giving the user a clear understanding of what he is buying.

Eye-catching Photos and Images

An image can say a thousand words. Brands use professional, high-quality images to showcase their products and sell them profitably. Represent visually each important characteristic. If it’s difficult to present your products only with images, you should definitely consider videos. The goal is to make the online shopping experience as close to shopping off-line stores as possible.

Bright Colors

You can see that most of the best online store designs focus on bright colors to stand out from the competition and make your brand unique. Fresh colors attract users and are pleasing to the eye.

Elements of Minimalism

The main advantage of minimalist design is that it is simple. The user can focus directly on the product. For example, sites often use clear and simple navigation with a minimum of words and clear planning for ease of use.

Bold Fonts

Make fonts big! Large fonts are important in design because they attract the user’s attention and speak louder than pictures or videos. Font size is an extremely powerful tool. Think like your customer and use it to your advantage.

#4. Implement Responsive Design

The share of mobile traffic is growing annually. Striking data: over 50% of Internet users use their mobile devices to browse sites.  

responsive dedignMobile applications are a very popular way to consume information on the go. Therefore, the adaptive version of the website should be so convenient that the user, holding one hand on the handrail in the subway, could easily order food delivery with the other hand.

When making more thoughtful purchases, it is important for the user to get all the necessary information with his smartphone: see a large photo, product full description, and characteristics, watch a video review, read reviews, product rating, use filters, pay for the purchase, and arrange delivery. They often choose on mobile, and design and buy on the desktop. Therefore, the desktop and mobile versions of the website should be equivalent in terms of convenience, information, and functionality.

Track the traffic distribution across devices on your project. Remember that if the conversion and output rate from mobile is much lower than desktop, this is a reason to check usability. The interface may not be convenient for smartphone users.

If mobile traffic is higher, then it makes sense to apply the mobile-first approach when designing the interface. The difference is that with the classic approach, the convenience of using the desktop version is considered first, and then it is adapted to mobile. And when using the mobile-first approach, the mobile version of the interface is developed first, and then scaled to higher resolutions.

#5. Website development

80% of online customers consider new technologies and innovations are improving their buying experience. And 70% of those don’t complete the payment process and close their shopping carts mainly due to complicated payment procedure which requires many additional steps.

It’s essential to add popular payment options like PayPal and popular payment methods in each country your potential buyers originate from to encourage them to proceed further in their payments plus adding a secure gateway (third-party responsible for taking the money from the customer and send it to your business bank account) to ensure more security in money transfers.

Single page checkout is another excellent element. Here, buyers can fill in their billing, shipping, and payment details, streamlining the transaction process.

#6. Mind on Your Product Categories 

The simplest way for your online shop customers to find a way around your website is to use product categories. Right after landing on your eCommerce homepage, buyers should find a simple, straightforward navigational menu, which guides them through thousands of products. Make it easy for your customers to filter products by things like size, color or type, etc. No drama in finding the item they are looking for. Make constant improvement in the search and navigation website elements. 

In addition, well-designed categories impact SEO and help to index your information. Moreover, an efficiently designed product categories layout improves the visual impression of the presented items.

Next, you should prioritize product ratings and reviews, as these found to be the second most important attribute of online shopping (Statista).

ecommerce products
Product ratings and reviews are the best way to increase buyer confidence

#7. Strengthen Customer Experience

Even though you’ve studied dozens of eCommerce design best practices, people’s path to purchase varies, even within categories and products. Help customers cross the finish line seamlessly. Analyze your (new) online buyers’ path to purchase and provide them with simple (but not boring) and human-centered UX design to create a fascinating experience. Make the user journey short:

  • people want to save energy and focus on other things,
  • some customers are not skilled enough,
  • others are busy and need to save time. 

Say more with fewer clicks. Make your platform stand out from the great number of other stores.

Final Thoughts

You’ve got a great product, settled fair prices, and started working on the idea of selling your products online. UX design for eCommerce is something that factors in heavily to your brand exposure and success. 

How to encourage your web page visitors to shop on your online platform? Northell professionals are always here to assist your eCommerce website design needs and offer your customers exactly what they need and expect. 

Contact us, describe your business objectives, and use the best eCommerce website design services out there! Hop on board!

 

Nowadays, almost every industry-specific business embraces advanced technologies. Especially, due to the global pandemic COVID-19, a tendency of leveraging technology-powered solutions is increasing; the education industry is not the exception. That’s why online learning has skyrocketed – according to the MarketsandMarkets report, the global eLearning market value is anticipated to reach almost $22,4 billion.

global lms

If you are looking for solutions to build your learning management system website (LMS), we have prepared a brief guide with features and advantages in mind. Considering that LMS can be developed with different purposes let’s go into details to understand what LMS is and what functions it covers.

What Is LMS?

A learning management system is a software aimed to optimize learning processes and the way the education is delivered. Initially, LMS’s purpose was to enhance eLearning, but now enterprises use LMSs to ensure effective and efficient team-building by improving employee training. Tracking and reporting features to make e-learning systems more solid offering opportunities for effective assessments. 

Before deciding which LMS platform you want to implement for your business, you need to look through the following factors:

  • Necessary features
  • The number of students/employees 
  • The necessity of extra add-ons
  • The way of students/employees progress measurement
  • Service provider

Core Features of LMS

Once you embark on LMS platform development your development team has to consider the features that can be crucial for your learning management system. Let’s take a look at some basic features:

  • Content and Course Management. 

This must-include feature allows creating various types of e-learning courses: quizzes, assignments, etc., that will be used for employees/students’ training. Therefore, content management is of high priority feature in LMS.

  • Skill Tracking. 

This feature is required more for organizations or enterprises where measuring employees’ performance is much harder due to undetermined timing for lectures. Thus, the visual skill tracking feature is aimed to assess employee’s skills allowing them to learn at their own pace with asynchronous learning.

  • Social Learning.

Social learning is an effective way to incentivize learners and to help educators reduce the pressure on them. With a community experience, learners can get quick answers to their questions via chat or on a forum. By implementing a community feature in your LMS, you accelerate the overall learning process giving the learner more motivation in real-time collaboration mode. 

  • Gamification.

Incorporating game-design elements engage and inspire learners rather than traditional classrooms that leg behind in the modern lifestyle. Such game-like incentives like leaderboards, rewards, levels can foster building stronger teams in your company or motivate students to keep up learning. 

Gartner analysts claim that the gamification feature is not a must-have due to the high expenditures of its implementation in LMS. There are already a plethora of ready-made solutions, however, those that really address your need are hard to find, therefore, hiring a software development team or LMS provider may be reasonable decision-making if you want this feature to be customized. 

How the Development Process of LMS Platform Should Look Like?

Before hiring an outsourcing web development team of professionals or in-house experts who would assist and support you on every step of software development, you need to analyze the process.

Step 1. Validate Your Idea

Many businesses fail due to their unreasonable investments into the products which can turn out unworthy in the long run. In order to prevent loss and anticipate your ROI, it is of high importance to get deep insights into your target audience and conduct industry research. So before getting started to create an LMS web platform validate your idea by learning about its value on the market. 

With this purpose, we recommend to answer the following questions:

  • What problems will my LMS solve users’ problems?
  • Why do I need to develop LMS?
  • What are my competitors and how do they manage to provide great UX.
  • Who will be engaged in LMS development?
  • What is the budget for LMS development?

Step 2. Select the Best LMS Web Development Partner

Before selecting a service provider for your learning management system there are several tips of advice worth taking into consideration:

Communication

Visibility and transparency in communication with the web development team you are going to hire need to be of high priority in order to prevent the risk of getting another product than you envisioned. Your web development partners need to understand your requirements and elaborate upon them if needed. 

We at Northell, keep our clients up-to-date at every step of product design and development providing all the details on the tech stack we use. It is essential to start work on the product only once all the features were discussed beforehand. 

Experience

The company that had prior experience and expertise in the domain is already aware of the possible pitfalls and scenarios on how to mitigate risks. If the development team is experienced they have ready-to-use features that can be utilized in your LMS platform development, so that development time will be reduced and your budget as well. 

Pricing

The company worth hiring for the development of your LMS system has to be flexible enough in terms of the pricing model that would be the most suitable for you. At Northell, we tend to offer such pricing models as:

  • A fixed price (when our team perform a certain scope of work for determining price)
  • Time and material (the client pay for the time spent on product development)
  • Dedicated team (monthly payment for our team rented by a client)

Post-launch Support

Signing a contract with the web development team is a good idea if you want to get continuous technical support during the year, for example, or just fixing the problems as per written request. 

Step 3. MVP Development

A minimum viable product is a method to test your product by developing only core features to solve early adopters’ problems and mitigate risks in the long run. In our article about MVP for startups, you can get a profound clarification of the benefits and process of the minimum viable product before software custom development. 

MVP benefits

Step 4. Test and Launch

To ensure smooth work of LMS features and functionalities running through various tests is a must-do. QA professionals are the guarantees of the ultimate product quality and integrity. Here are the main requirements for QA:

  • Maintains a comprehensive QA checklist ensuring all designs, content, and assessment resources work properly.
  • Checks platform and device compatibility of the LMS website.
  • Scrutinizes every individual functionality.
  • Performs regression testing after each sprint. 

Wrapping Up

With technological advancements, the education sector is also changing. To keep up with the latest trends startups/companies nee and carve out its slice in the market startups/companies need to know the best LMS practices and development process. Developing e-learning websites need a qualified web development partner who not only will help you in the development process but also in maintenance and support. In case you need help and an estimate of the cost for a custom LMS development contact us, and we are always here for you.