UX Design Tips for E-Commerce

Top 7 UX Design Tips for E-Commerce Product Pages

A product page that conveys a purpose and benefit of a store item, and smoothly take a user through all the features and demos, and to the checkout page is considered an ideal user experience (UX) design. The web design UX focuses the removal of every possible hurdle that may stop a user from taking action and the addition of a feature that adds comfort to the user in reading, clicking, entering detail, or paying for the order.

Pursuing a UX design is not restricted to the layout or appearance of the product page, in fact, it is about enhancing the web design usability and understanding for the end users. Like, easing the users in scanning the content, viewing the images with a focus, comparing prices with product features, expediting the checkout process, and lots of more.

Optimizing the UX design for higher conversion is crucial as the developer, designer, or the merchant has to put himself in the shoes of a common user and examine the areas that have to be improved. Following are some of the UX design tips that may give you a checklist to expeditiously review product pages and adopt relevant strategies to enhance the ease and usability for a layman.

1. Set a Competitive Price and Justify It

Price of a product is a major driving force of a purchase decision. The internet users are browsing the internet and compare product prices along with features at different online stores. They roughly draft a cost versus benefit analysis of the product in your store. To facilitate them in knowing the best value for money, clarify the price you charge and justify it with the features you have in hand.

The price clarification means showing direct and indirect charges. For example, you display a white color T-shirt at $10, but secretly increase the price when a user selects a black color. Avoiding tricking people to select a product at a low price and quote a higher one when they convert or about to convert.

2. Add Quality Images with Zooming Features

The online stores have virtual shelves that can never provide a real-life experience to the users to examine a product from each and every corner. But, professional photography and zooming features have the power to provide a somewhat similar experience. Add high-quality product images from various angles, and allow the users to zoom in or out a specific part of the image as well.

Try experimenting different product zooming options. In addition to quick-view and zoom-in feature, a 360-degree view is also an emerging trend in enhancing the user experience. It demands to capture multiple product images and sorting them in a series so that a user can go through every detail of the store item.  

3. Acquire and Display Customer reviews

Acquiring reviews from your happy customers is a tangible and long-term asset to your product pages. It is an effective strategy for gaining trust and credibility in the eyes of your potential buyers. The users are more likely to read what your existing customers have found about your products and services.

According to a survey published by MarketingLand, about 90% of the customers have agreed that the online reviews are highly influential in making a purchase decision. So, don’t miss on your losing your potential customers who only need to hear from a few fellow customers.

4. Publish Scannable Product Descriptions

Reading content on the screen is a completely different thing than reading text on a hard paper. In fact, the screen readers scan the content rather than reading it word by word. Unlike the novel and short stories, people are here to absorb the information of their interest and skip the rest of the text.

Compose the product content that is simple, clear, and crisp that caters to the exact needs of your targeted users. Incorporate story-telling in a way that keeps the users engaged rather than making them cross the tab and switch to another one.

A product page shall begin with a short summary and leads to highlight the core features. Let the readers know about the product at first instance. Make the introduction attractive to compel them to scroll down the page and review the features one by one.

5. Consider Simplifying the Checkout Process

Checkout is the conversion borderline. A successful checkout means an accomplished sale. The UX design needs to be improved in a way that smoothly takes the users all the way through the product description to the cart pages and the checkout page. A minor difficulty in filling the details or understanding an option may result in cart abandonment.

For smooth checkout experience, you can simplify the entire process with different strategies like allowing one-page checkout that removes the multiple steps of entering shipping, billing, and personal details all at once.

Additionally, you can modify the design with stick checkout that carries forward transaction details as the user goes through the multiple steps. The permission of guest user checkout is also a way forward to improve the user experience. Make the user registration voluntary and observe the difference in conversions.

6. Display Relevant and Bought Together Products

Do not limit your customers to view a single product on a landing page. A Majority of buyers are willing to select more relevant products from the same store. It helps them save the shipping charges and time in browsing multiple stores. By displaying relevant products or frequently bought together items, you can facilitate users in adding more products to cart and checkout for all of them at once.

With the help of widgets, plug-ins, and modules, you can automate the display of similar products in a small block right on the product page. It will surely help you to cross-sell and up-sell products that ultimately boost the revenues.

7. Show Product Availability or Stock Top-up duration

A user covers a long journey in reaching the ‘add to cart’ page but feels disappointed when finds that the required product is not available in stock. To save them from the hassle, display the stock availability in numbers and minimum items they can order. This will allow them to quickly add a required number of items to cart. Avoid cart abandonment right on the product page.  

The addition of out-of-stock notification tool is also a way forward in informing the users about the expected inventory top-up period. With the help of such a tool, users can get email notifications about inventory top-ups so that they can return and buy the products that were out of stock on their last visit.

Final Thoughts

The above-discussed UX design tips may help you quickly restore a viable user experience that contributes towards higher conversions. But, this is not the end. UX design is an open concept that welcomes the addition of every feature and functionality that aims to reduce the user stress in buying a product or service. Be creative in coining new ways of improving UX in addition to the ones mentioned above, and take the lead in your niche.

Asad Ali is an experienced Digital marketing expert having more than 7 years of experience in eCommerce industry. He is currently working for GO-Gulf Dubai web design company. As leading executive for GO-Gulf, he has specialized in search engine optimization, user experience & conversion optimization. You can reach him on LinkedIn.

Why You Should Increase Your Graphic Design Budget

Knowing when to increase your design budget

The graphic design of your business is intricately tied to your overall company’s image and branding strategies. The last thing you want is to use outdated logos or designs that make you look unprofessional. Let’s face it, though — design work can be expensive. You may already have a design budget and are wondering if or why you should increase it.

Designers spend untold hours creating the perfect balance for your brand. Most businesses are on a budget and working in the extra funding for design is tricky. There are a number of reasons why you should increase your graphic design budget, and things you should keep in mind as you make this important decision about where to spend your business’s cash flow.

1. Branding Matters

increase your design budget

You might be able to hire someone off Craigslist to do a logo design, but how will it tie into your overall branding plan? You also may not know how skilled the designer is until you receive the finished project. Good design takes into account every aspect of your brand and your goals for your business. It costs more than just a one-off logo design, because that logo is going to perfectly match all the other aspects of your branding.

For an agency that creates a design focused on your branding, expect to pay between $15,000 and $50,000. Costs might be slightly lower if you hire in-house or use a smaller company or freelancer to do the work. You’ll need to increase your budget to reflect this price range, but understand that you’re paying for more than just a design. You’re also paying for branding, which ties into your marketing.

2. Hourly Rates

Whether you’re hiring a professional agency, in-house designers or contracting a freelancer, understand that these services require a lot of skill and are in high demand. The median hourly wage for graphic designers is $22.90 per hour, and one with added experience or skills will command top dollar. Plan to pay the hourly rate that will allow you to hire a designer with at least a few years of experience in the industry. In design, you often get what you pay for.

3. Don’t Underestimate Time Involved

Non-designers sometimes have a hard time estimating the time it takes to create a truly brilliant design. There is far more involved than simply throwing a logo together, for example. The designer must spend time studying the brand and getting a feel for the overall messaging and style of the business.

The graphic designer then searches for the perfect font or unique designs for the client. Other elements must be pulled in, and then the entire design will go under a microscope to see what elements need adjusted, how well the positive and negative space balances, and if colors and styles match. Allow the designer to give you a ballpark estimate instead of guessing how much time a project will take.

4. Make a Good First Impression

increase design budget

It takes a lot of work to get visitors to your site. From the second they land on your home page, they are evaluating everything — from how visually pleasing your site is to whether or not you seem trustworthy. In one study, it took a mere 50 milliseconds for people to decide whether they liked the look of your site.

Well-done design explains what your company is and does and leaves visitors with a positive impression. Pay for the best designer you can afford, so your first impression has power.

5. Value Your Time

Imagine that you’d like to create a design for a new website, but you have no idea how to put one together. How many hours would it take you to come up with the perfect design? You’d have to learn coding, figure out how colors work together, choose a palette and a hundred other little things. Your time is worth a lot of money. How much do you value your time? Consider this when planning your graphic design budget. An experienced designer can complete the work in a fraction of the time it would take you to learn how to use Photoshop.

6. Consistent Look

In today’s competitive marketplace, brand recognition is vital. A brand that is presented with consistency is about three to four times as likely to be seen, likely due to the number of times a consumer has to view your brand before they remember it. Spending more on your graphic designs allows you to ensure everything has a consistent look that aligns with your brand’s goals.

7. Count Design as Marketing

The typical established business sets aside about 10 percent of income toward marketing, and design should be included in that budget. New businesses may want to allot more of their income toward marketing as they work to build a base. One way to increase your graphic design budget is to look at it as part of your marketing efforts.

8.  Color Matters

A professional designer understands the psychology behind color and how people come to recognize and relate to your brand on a subconscious level. Color impacts brand recognition by as much as 80 percent, with colorful logos being more memorable than ones with little personality.

If your brand doesn’t yet have a basic brand color palette, then you’ll want to work closely with a team made up of graphic designers and marketers. This will allow you to choose the color that shows your company’s personality and also speaks to your target audience.

Graphic Design Budget

It’s challenging to figure out how much you need to set aside for graphic design. Costs can vary widely by project type. Make a list of the high-priority projects you’d like completed first, so your graphic designer can focus on those. Adjust your budget as you go along and keep in mind that a designer is experienced at estimating how much time should be spent on a specific project.

Improving Navigation Bar

What Is Your Navigation Bar Lacking and How Can You Improve It

A navigation bar is common across nearly every site on the Internet today. It is the way that site visitors orient themselves to what is on your page and where to find it. It can set the tone for your entire landing page. One could argue it is one of the most important elements on your website.

Upon reaching a company website via referral, about half of site visitors use the navigation menu to figure out where they are and where they want to go next. There is no denying your site’s navigation is one of the most important features of your website.

However, your nav bar might lack in a few key things. Below are six possible ways in which your navigation might lack and how to fix any issues. Your site might be lacking:

1. Search Box

The search box is a handy tool for those who know specifically what they are looking for and don’t want to go through several steps to get there. Around 59 percent of website visitors state they use a site’s internal search engines to look for something specific. A search box keeps the site visitor on your page instead of them hopping away to Google or some other search engine.

Improving Navigation Bar

TD Ameritrade offers a search function right at the top of their landing page. This is an excellent way for users to find information on a specific stock. Think about some of the big websites you visit and how they use the search function to help you navigate their site. Some big ones that come to mind include Facebook and Amazon.

2. Simplicity

It might be tempting to add all types of fancy designs and tools into your navigation bar, but for something that should simply be functional, the basics are often the best. Place the bar in an easy to locate spot and keep the colors and designs simple. Even the font you use should be easy to read and should translate well on different screen sizes. You’ll also want to narrow your categories down to as few as possible. You can always add sub-categories under your main category headers.

3. Easy to Find

As people navigate through your website, they’ll want to know they can count on a couple of elements to move back to previous pages or to choose other options. Your navigation bar should be located in the same location every single time and quick and easy to find. Things such as linking up your logo to your homepage or adding a sticky bar work well to keep the user organized as he or she navigates your site.

When people read on the Internet, they use an F-pattern where they scan across the top of the page horizontally and then down the page on the left before returning to the middle of the page. This means your navigation bar needs to be near the top of your page at all times.

Improving Navigation Bar

Take a look at the Reynolds’ website navigation menu. Not only does the website and their 24-hour emergency services toll-free number appear at the top, but as you scroll down the page, it becomes sticky and follows along making it easy to find as you navigate through various elements of the website.

4. Distinct Wording

It can be tempting to try to turn to words that are creative and cute. Naming different areas of your site might seem like a fun way to draw in users, but the truth is that not everyone will get your humor or sense of style. It is better to stick to the basics when choosing the words you use for your navigation headings.

Instead of calling your online shopping area, the “Fashion Zone,” simply title it “Shop” or “Products.” Once the user lands on that page, you can show off your sense of style and creativity, but until the user navigates to where you want it is best to keep things simple and to the point.

5. Mobile Responsiveness

Ninety-five percent of Americans today own some type of cellphone, and 77 percent own a smartphone. That means more and more people use their mobile devices to browse online. When designing the navigation for your website, have you considered how that navigation will function for those using smaller screens?

Ideally, your navigation will become condensed. This will likely mean limiting yourself to a couple of categories and then adding a hamburger menu that the user can expand if needed. This type of style allows even those on very tiny screens to move around your website easily.

Improving Navigation Bar

Disney’s website is a great example of taking the same information and condensing it for mobile. At the top of their mobile website, you will simply find three choices and a search function. There is a link to each major theme park in the United States and a link to shop. They then present the hamburger menu at the top left, near the logo, so you can make additional choices. Or, you can use the search function to navigate where needed.

6. Images Paired with Words

When a relevant image is added to words, 65 percent of people remember that information as much as three days later. If you can add images to your navigation, not only will the overall affect be visually appealing, but your site visitor may be more likely to remember your site and return again. Consider adding a small flat icon along with the words for your content areas, for example.

Improving Your Navigation Bar

Even though it is smart to try new colors, designs, different wording on your call to actions and other elements within your navigation bar, it is equally as important to be a bit predictable and simplistic with this important feature. Place the navigation where it is easy to find and make it as intuitive as possible for that user.

Always test any changes side-by-side with the old version to see how they are converting with your target audience. With a little forethought and care, your navigation bar will serve its purpose and help drive conversions.

Awesome Local SEO Practices that will Help You Become #1 on Google

How To Get To Number 1 On Google Using SEO

When looking for a business in your vicinity that will sell you a perfect toy for your kids’ birthday or fix your favorite pair of shoes, where do you find it?

You search for it online, I suppose.

And, your customers will do the same.

Namely, studies show that 50% of the consumers that conduct local searches via mobile visit the store within a day.

This is exactly why you need to make your store more visible to your potential customers. And, to do so, you need to invest in a solid SEO strategy.

Here are a few local SEO techniques that will help you lift your rankings in the SERPs and drive more traffic to your site.

Write SEO-friendly and Unique Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

On-page SEO is immensely important for your ranking. The idea behind it is simple- once you do your keyword research and find all relevant phrases you want to rank for, you need to optimize your page elements for them.

And your title and meta descriptions are a brilliant starting point. These are HTML elements that get displayed in search results and tell both search engines and your customers what your webpage is about.

Writing these tags is considered pure art. In today’s highly competitive landscape, where there are numerous businesses similar to yours, optimizing their sites just like you, you need to stand out. Otherwise, you won’t engage your potential customers and your click-through rate will suffer.

Now that Google’s main search results are is 600px wide, every character you write is precious. You need to make sure your text won’t be cut off. Even though this may not be that dangerous for your SEO, it does look extremely unprofessional and unappealing. So, your text needs to be concise and, at the same time, informative.

  • Your title tag should be approximately 50-60 characters long, while your meta description should be between 160 and 200 characters.
  • To reach your local customers, add the name of the city or the area your business serves (SEO agency Chicago, Chicago SEO agency, etc.).
  • Focus on implementing just one targeted keyword to both your title tag and meta description. Your aim is to place it close to the beginning of the tag.

Optimize your Site to Make It User-Friendly and Crawlable

To drive more traffic, convert customers, and jump to the first page of Google, your site needs to be impeccable. First, it needs to be user-friendly and easy-to-navigate. Second, its structure should allow Googlebot to crawl and index it effortlessly.

Apart from writing sweet title and meta description tags, here are some other elements of your website you should definitely optimize:

  • Your domain name needs to be short, meaningful, easy-to-remember, and unique. Just like your business’ name, your domain name needs to be brandable. To make sure no one steals your branding idea, you could even consider completing your company registration, business name registration, and domain registration at once.
  • The 2016 Google’s report highlights that 30% of all mobile searches is related to a company’s location. So, optimizing your site for mobile searchers is inevitable and it means adding easy-to-spot CTAs, making your forms simple to click on and fill in, boosting your site’s load speed, and making your phone number easily clickable.
  • Add a map to help your customers find you.
  • Show your most prominent customers’ testimonials. It’s not a secret that customers trust each other more than brands.
  • Use Schema for local businesses to tell search engines what your site is about and showing that it is a local business and not a huge corporation.
  • Make sure your NAP (your name, address, phone number) is prominent and correct.

Produce Quality Local Content to Earn Links

In today’s era of sophisticated Google’s algorithms and their initiative to penalize every spammy and unnatural SEO practice, earning links is directly related to creating top-quality content. It is what makes you authoritative and sets you apart from your rivals.

Start a blog

Start with building a blog on your site’s domain.

When optimizing your posts for search engines, ensure you implement local city and neighborhood information. To make your reach a bit wider, you should also include neighboring places and unofficial terms local customers use.

If there are any local news and events relevant to your business, elaborate them in your articles. This form of information is not only extremely valuable to your SEO, but also to your sites’ authority.

If you participate in charity events, sponsor any teams, or support any organizations relevant to what you do, make sure you let your customers know about it.

Most importantly, never focus on writing about your business. Instead, make your content insightful, engaging, and highly informative.

Sooner or later, people will start to see the value of your content and link to it naturally. And, as you already know, backlinks are the most prominent localized organic-ranking factor.

Build links

We all know that link building is the basis of every powerful SEO strategy. According to Moz’s research, link signals are the most significant localized ranking factor.

So, to boost your rankings, you need to have a detailed link building strategy.

Here are a few techniques you may want to try out:

  • Start with publishing on relevant sites in your niche.
  • Mention influential people in your niche in your piece of content and ask them to share it on their blog or social networks.
  • Leave insightful comments on authoritative sites and blogs. Don’t overstuff your comments with links. Instead, aim to provide their followers with relevant information and answers.
  • Find broken links on important blogs in your niche and offer your content as a relevant replacement.

Get Reviewed

A recent research shows that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, while 7 out of 10 will review your business, if asked.

The reason why people love reviews is that they tell them honestly if you’re good as you say you are.

So, the first thing you need to do is check your reviews.

If you have anything less than four or five stars on all major review sites, well, that’s bad.

Your poor ratings will drive your target audience off, triggering the drop in your brand authority and revenue.

On the other hand, by boosting your score by just one star, you will skyrocket your cash flow by 10%.

Now, getting reviews requires a long-term strategy you’ll have to stick to for the life of your company.

Once you receive negative reviews (You will. Everyone does.), make sure you remain professional while answering them. Also, use them to improve your business and provide your customers with impeccable products or services.

Now, where to get reviewed?

Start with Google reviews that, according to Moz, have the greatest impact on your rankings. You can even make its shareable link and promote it widely. Some other awesome customer review sites are:

  • Yelp
  • Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Angie’s List
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Glassdoor
  • Trustpilot
  • Which?

Pro tip: When asking your customers for reviews, don’t ask for too many of them. A huge inflow of positive reviews may seem suspicious and may get you removed from some of these platforms.

Over to You

The number of your competitors is constantly rising. Precisely because of this, the only way to reach the first page in the SERPs is to invest heavily in local SEO. It will not only help you boost your rankings and traffic, but also turn your leads into conversions and boost your brand’s authority.

All About Logos with Chelsey Kovar for Go Media

All About Logos

I am passionate about branding and have learned a lot while helping businesses develop their brands. There is a lot more to a logo than just your company name and there are some important factors to keep in mind when branding, or rebranding, your business:

Trust a professional

Don’t go into the logo design process blindly. You should have a clearly defined idea of who your company is, where you’re going, the audience you’re serving and the vision you’re trying to convey before venturing into the logo design process. Once you’re ready, it may be tempting to go with a designer who’s the least expensive, because identities are pricey, but it’s important to hire a professional. We’ve been trained to do more than push pixels and can help you narrow down ideas, show you new options and help you maintain your brand direction.

There are 7 different types of logo marks to consider.

Discuss with your designer the option that works best for you.

1. Lettermarks (monogram logos)

2. Wordmarks (company name logos)

3. Pictorial marks (logo symbols, no words, works best for large companies)

4. Abstract logo marks (a specific non-recognizable abstract design that represents your business)

5. Mascots (think sports teams)

6. The combination mark (logo comprised of a combined wordmark or lettermark and a pictorial mark, abstract mark, or mascot)

7. The emblem (badges, seals, crests etc.)

Consider whether or not your idea can be executed.

Your logo might look great on a billboard, but when we shrink it to a postage stamp size, is it still working? Answer some of these questions before choosing your mark:

1. Does it translate from small to large & vice versa?

2. Does it work in black and white? (Your logo MUST be able to translate to greyscale!)

3. Can it work as a PNG? (transparent background)

4. Does it convey my brand’s identity?

5. Is it balanced or is it too detailed?

Lets talk details…

It doesn’t matter if your logo is unique or intricate if nobody can tell what it is. Have you thought about adding your tagline, address or other information to your logo mark? There are times you may want to have those extras on your mark, but they should not be on your standard, every day logo. You can have these ‘companion pieces’ created as extras to compliment your logo and use them as needed.

Stop Following the Fads. Be a Trendsetter.

Fad is, in one word, short-lived. Trends have a much longer lifespan than fads. In fact, they can continue to be fashionable for years and even decades. Digging into what is now and fun is fine, but consider how will it impact your business in 1 to 2, even 5 years. What does a watercolor splotch have to do with your business? Why is there an ilustration on your mark that has nothing to do with your business? Is there a reason for the over the top flourishes at the beginning and end of your name? Your logo should mean something to you. Avoid adding things just to add them; know when you know it’s time to edit yourself.

Setting trends and setting yourself apart means you don’t have to be overly obvious with your mark. If you’re a preschool, your logo does not have to look like it was written by a child. It should convey childhood and immediately let you know it is for children. Keep in mind, it is not targeted to children, it’s targeted towards their parents. Know your audience!

Avoid simply using your business name.

Think you don’t need a logo and can get by with just typesetting your business name? Think again. This gives off an unprofessional air and doesn’t translate across all media. Your name will be written in so many different types, that it will not be instantly recognizable like it would be if your logo mark was standard across all materials.

Are you guilty of being a fad follower or are you more of a trendsetter? Help drive your client’s specific direction with these helpful logo tips. Have more to add? Let me know!

How Important is a Mobile App UX Design for Startups?

The dawn of the new mobile age is upon us. Mobile apps are not just darlings of corporate giants in the league of Facebook or Walmart. Any business can capitalize on developing a strong mobile product. As for startups, they can use it as a breakout strategy to increase visibility, reach new customers, spread brand awareness, and establish a potent marketing channel.

However, they often do not even get a chance to communicate the groundbreaking intent behind an app because they do not have the right presentation. Well, that is when user experience (UX) comes into play as a vital component of any app’s success, a natural part of the designer’s workflow. It allows you to keep up the pace and take your business game to the next level.  

Mobile App UX Design for Startups

A game-changer

To really stand out in an overcrowded landscape of mobile apps, you need a unique visual identity. This is a great way for startups to make a stunning first impression and drive engagement. But, to do this, the app has to be created with UX as a focal point, guiding light during the design and development stages. This is a multi-faceted concept that encompasses elements such as layout, colors, sound, brand, text, and interaction, tying them all up into one coherent amalgam. It depicts the reaction and emotion of people who come in contact with an app.

Users in focus

An app is supposed to solve a particular problem or add value to the user’s everyday life. This is the promise you have to deliver on, which is to say that usability (user-friendliness) is one of the main qualities that a successful app needs to ooze. In other words, eye candies account for little when main functions of an app are not easy to accomplish. Therefore, one has to always consider how users will interact with and navigate the digital environment of an app. Nowadays, they tend to rely on functional staples like pop-out navigation bars, so make sure to implement them.  

Success by design

Recent years have demonstrated that if you are on the lookout for ways to turn your app into a business, you must use stellar UX design in combination with other assets.  After all, the success is not guaranteed.  To really yield results, your UX has to be aligned with monetization, marketing, and retention strategies. This requires a sustained and joined effort of multiple departments, including BI, sales, digital, marketing, design, and other teams. It all starts with field research, finding the right market, and becoming aware of what users really want and need.

Pieces of the puzzle

Most often, UX designers focus on creating wireframes and design layout. However, their efforts are not limited to these tasks. It takes much more than cute buttons, vivid colors, and picturesque fonts to hit it big. Ultimately, app design should facilitate, not get in the way. It needs to bring more utility and accessibility, and performance, not impede them. It emphasizes positive sides of an app and delivers real value. What makes a real difference is the smart disposition of design elements: everything must fall together in a seamless fashion and be displayed flawlessly on different screen sizes.

Simply the best

Mobile app explosion has brought a slew of trends into existence and one that towers above the rest is minimalist design. Indeed, in the area of user interface (UI), less is often more. We are talking about sleek and sophisticated solutions that both look good and are easy to grasp, process, and manipulate. Apps that attract armies of fans are ones that are intuitive, feature amazing moving elements, run like greased lighting, and are a perfect combination of amazing UI and UX. They streamline functions and simplify user journey and consequently outperform those that overwhelm and confuse with visuals.

Long-term view

You do not know what works until you try it. In the context of UX, this implies a lot of prototyping and testing. These activities precede coding and have a profound effect on the app’s popularity with the users. Now, one crucial thing to remember is that UX is a dynamic, ongoing process. It is not something you do once and that sit back to reap the benefits. To set themselves for long-term success, developers and brands commit to constantly updating and tweaking their design. Soaking in the user feedback is the key to being able to delight them on a regular basis.

Ahead of the game

There are numerous benefits that stem from a well-designed mobile app, but also many moving parts that make or break it. Though it all, UX is what truly elevates an app and puts your work above a myriad of other products. It lands startups on the map and enables them to make leaps and bounds towards their goals.

So, take your time generating ideas for visual representation. Note that UX design efforts gravitate around the user as the main axis. Invest in UX research. Blend prime usability with engrossing visuals. Set yourself apart from the competition, cultivate customer loyalty, and boost engagement across the board.

Why User Experience Matters and How You Win at It

Your client’s website may be aesthetically-pleasing and ranking on top positions, but does it provide a good user experience?

This is one of the things that digital marketing agencies need to understand and an important task that any white label service provider needs to fulfill. You can’t get away with simply making a website attractive. Your client’s website needs to serve the purpose of their visitors, create an emotional connection when they interact with it, and take them on the journey from being someone who’s simply browsing the website to becoming a customer. And if you’ve done it right, visitors will return to it. More visitors can lead to more business for your clients, and this means plus points for your agency. That’s what a great user experience is all about.

The moment customers lose interest in your client’s website is the moment you should start thinking about changing things up. Not only in how the site looks, but in how it makes visitors feel. Everything you do to be successful in your online marketing efforts must focus on your users. To do that, here are a few things you need to understand first:

User Experience is not All About Usability

“My website has a two-step sign up process that’s easy for visitors to use; therefore my website has a great user experience.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

It’s common for some to think that making it easier for visitors to navigate a website means having a great user experience. But here’s what you need to know about user experience: usability is not equal to user experience. It’s one aspect that affects the entirety of user experience.

To fit usability into user experience, you need to answer the following:

  • Is it easy for visitors to familiarize themselves with the website the first time they land on it?
  • Can users move through the sequence of actions seamlessly?
  • Is it easy for visitors to achieve their goals by using the website?
  • Does the website prompt user recall the next time visitors use it?

If your answer to these questions is “No”, you need to analyze the website’s usability and fine-tune it to provide a better user experience.

Don’t Just Focus on SEO

Because search engines know when you do.

One of the things Google believes to be true is you have to “focus on the user and all else will follow.” And this is why the old ways of SEO—stuffing a page with as many keywords as possible—won’t work anymore. Google knows when you’re just in it for the rankings, not for the users.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to abandon SEO altogether. You still need to optimize your client’s website to be found by customers.

When I say that you don’t only focus on SEO, what I mean is you should focus on an SEO strategy that marries well with user experience. At the end of the day, you need a strategy that brings results and will make your clients happy.

A solid SEO and user experience strategy focuses on: who the target users are, what motivates them to interact with the site, and what their intentions are (or what they hope to accomplish on the site).

1. Knowing who the users are

SEO allows you to drive traffic to a website. But, here’s the catch: you don’t just drive any traffic. You need qualified traffic. How do you go about this? By better familiarizing yourself with who the target users are.

In fact, knowing your users is not just an important step in SEO and user experience design—it provides you with a springboard for your entire digital marketing strategy. You start knowing who your users are by identifying the following:

  • Site usage patterns: Do users have a pattern they follow when they visit your client’s site? Hotjar allows you to check for a pattern that users take when they’re on a website. By knowing this, you can configure your client’s website to match user interaction.
  • First click habit: What’s the first thing they click when they land on the site? If users are able to complete one task after the other from that first click alone, you can discern that pattern and identify more opportunities from it.

2. Identifying their intent and optimizing for it

A sound SEO and user experience strategy is not just about making a website rank, but actually getting users to click. And you do this by identifying the intent behind a user’s query. After all, what good will it do if your client’s site is ranking but isn’t aligned with the intent of their target users?

How do you identify and optimize for user intent?

  • Top queries: If you haven’t dived into Search Console, now’s the time to do it. Looking at the top queries that your client’s site is getting allows you to understand what their target audience is searching for. Once you have a better grasp of this, you can start tweaking on-site elements (well-written headings, CTAs, and Meta tags) to match user intent.
  • Content: As user experience is all about making visitors feel good about the website, having content that speaks to the intent of users is crucial. Think of it this way: when a user clicks on a link and finds that your content doesn’t match their expectations, you’re bound to lose them right from the start. Just like Rand Fishkin said, content that addresses the needs of users shouldn’t get buried under tons of content that’s talking about something completely different from what they’re looking for.
  • Segmented landing pages: You can’t direct a user intending to purchase to an informational page, and you can’t direct a user looking for information to a checkout page—that simply breaks the funnel. When you’re optimizing for user intent, be mindful of where you’re directing users in the website.

The User Experience Journey Doesn’t Always Start from One Point

Most websites are designed with user experience starting at the homepage, and that’s where the problem lies. A user’s initial entry point isn’t always the homepage. If you’ve designed the user experience journey in a way that only caters to the homepage, you’re missing tons of opportunities.

This is where your creativity comes in. You need to map the flow and think of the different ways that will lead users to their goals. Combine what you’ve learned previously – who the target users are and what are their intentions. Using this as a guide, you can then determine the following:

  • Where they come from (can be through organic search results, banner ads, emails, etc.)
  • Where they will land on the website
  • What processes are needed to fulfill their goals

By mapping out the user experience flow, you can fix what’s broken in the funnel and create a solid framework that offers maximum conversions.

Why do we optimize for the best user experience? We go back to the statement: everything you do for your online marketing efforts should focus on the user. It’s not all about the brand, but what users expect from that brand. And brands have the responsibility to meet those expectations. At the end of it, the “me, me, me” strategy isn’t going to cut it if your clients are seeking more attention from their audience.

Grab the March 2018 Arsenal Product Bundle

Graphic Design Bundle

It’s a great month to be a member of Go Media’s Arsenal subscription. Not only do you have access to our entire library for only $15/mth, but you are able to download this month’s special graphic design bundle of products at no extra charge.

Members: Download now (no extra charge)

Not an Arsenal Member yet? Join now and gain instant access to our entire library, including this bundle, for only $15.

Get it for $15 when you subscribe

Not interested in our membership? No worries. You can still purchase this bundle for 60% off the original price, now through 3/31/3018 – or the individual products inside of it, on their own.

What’s Included in this Graphic Design Bundle by Go Media’s Arsenal:

Graphic Design Bundle

Graphic Design Bundle: March 2018 Arsenal Product Bundle

Members: Download now (no extra charge)

Get it for $15 when you subscribe

Product Line Branding for Marina Vape

Portfolio Update: Marina Vape

Poster Design Ideas: How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Crest of Arms vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal’s Crest of Arms vector pack

Hello GoMediaZine/Arsenal blog readers! Simon here with a new step-by-step tutorial. We will be leveraging the contents of our brand new Crest of Arms vector pack to create a poster for the release of PWR.CLRS’ first, self-titled, album. We’ll talk about inspiration, layout exploration, and execution.

Buy the Crest of Arms Vector Pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack - poster design ideas

The brief

Our framework for the tutorial is that we’ve been contracted to create a poster for up and coming musical act PWR.CLRS. The experimental musician is based in Cleveland, and produces a mix of hard-hitting electronic beats, distorted guitars, and spoken word surrealistic poetry. He’s releasing his first record, and needs to let the masses know about the fun night ahead. As we’re pressed for time, we’ll be leveraging the library of visual assets provided by the vector set to speed up our design process.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack - poster design ideas

Gathering some inspiration, and putting a concept together

Buy the Crest of Arms Vector Pack

The inspiration from this piece came from three different sources: the vector pack itself, a superb portrait bathed in neon, and wide array of album art examples.

The vector pack features a lot of clean cut, precisely drawn shapes, with careful highlights, shadows, and ornaments. The elements that immediately jumped at me were the shield shapes (actual shield, circular patterned version), the stalks, and some of the oval frames. Although all the elements are exquisitely drawn, their complex highlight and shading made them hard to mix with other elements. We’ll look at techniques to remove some of the fluff.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The next bits of inspiration came from two photos available from the wonderful collections over at Unsplash. The first photo is this striking night portrait, taken by Alex Iby. I knew rapidly this would become my centerpiece element.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The second photo that helped to shape the piece was this other portrait, taken by Jay Clark. The slogan on this gentleman’s shirt was the key to the band name. I started with TRVE.COLORS,  which morphed to PWR.CLRS (Power Colors).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Lastly, the amazing library of album art through the ages hosted at Fonts In Use proved good jump-starting material.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With the elements in hand, it became clear that the shield shapes would support, and frame, our neon portrait. A dark background featuring white text would make for increased contrast. Some additional visual elements (stalks), sprinkled with some textures would tie the whole piece together.

Additionally, we’re locating this era-defining performance at the Phantasy Nightclub in Cleveland (Lakewood), OH. The Phantasy is a special place:

Nine Inch Nails debuted at the Phantasy. The Ramones, Iggy Pop, the Pogues, the Damned, the Psychedelic Furs, the Cramps, Motorhead and the B-52s all played there. The Phantasy was also fertile soil for Cleveland’s ascending 1970s and 1980s music scenes (…)

(via this old news article)

Let’s set a date of February 28th for the performance, and indicate that tickets are available everywhere.

The execution

A few technical notes and reminders

We are going to use both Photoshop and Illustrator for this piece. Photoshop is were 99.9% of the work will happen, but Illustrator will be necessary for opening the pack’s files, and to customize the vector elements themselves.

We are going to work extensively with textures. It’s a good time to remind you guys of a few base rules, and processes:

  1. Don’t know what a clipped layer is? Glad you asked! This means that the layer is only visible/applies to the layer directly below it. You can very quickly do this by holding ALT down on your keyboard and clicking between the two layers. Here’s a quick demonstration.
  2. Every time we’ll work with textures, we’ll follow this simple process: place as smart object, sharpen1, desaturate, enhance contrast with levels, and modify the blending mode.
  3. Placing the textures as smart objects, and using adjustment layers to tweak them, allows us to stick to a non-destructive workflow. We’ve explored in depth the numerous pros and few cons of such a workflow in this past tutorial: “How to Use Textures The Right Way.”

Notes: 1 – accessed through the Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen menu.

With this in place, it’s time to get started!

Document setup

We’re working with an 18″x24″ canvas. I made mine 18.5″x24.5″, in order to work in some bleed area. I’m at 300 ppi, and using RGB, as some of the texture magic happening in the finishing touches rests on it.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we’ll use the automatic guide tool (View > New guide layout) to create a grid to align our elements on. We’ll be using four columns, and eight rows. The margins are set at .25″, so the inside of our outer guides will be our 18″x24″ canvas.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Main elements: the portrait

If you haven’t yet, grab Alex’ portrait over at Unsplash.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s place it as a smart object in our document. It’s sized at 22.5% of its original height and width, and its center is located at X: 9.25″, and Y: 13″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we need to change the color of the background to #231f20 (a rough equivalent to CMYK rich black).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Main elements: the vectors

It’s time to grab the assets we’ll need from the vector pack. Let’s start by opening it in Illustrator. All of the ones we’re interested in are on that first artboard. I’ve highlighted them in red:

  • The shield
  • The “circular patterned” shield
  • The wheat stalks
  • The oval “toothed” frame

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s start by copying all of these in a new, empty Illustrator document to remove some of the clutter out of the way. I suggest a sheet that is at least 8.5″x11″, and in RGB color mode (to match the PSD document). A dark background (#231f20 for instance) will also help us to see our modifications to the assets more clearly.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next up: to copy and paste these four assets to the empty Illustrator document.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Prepping the shield

The main change we need to make is to remove all the fluff from that main shield shape. All the shading do-dads have to go. The fastest solution is to ungroup the asset (Right click > Ungroup), to manually select all of the extra elements by hand, and to erase them.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

At that point, we’re left with this neat, thick, white shield.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we simply have to paste it in our Photoshop document, as a smart object. It’ll be sized 425% of its original size, and its center placed at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.25″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Once in place, this is what our layer stack looks like: the background, the smart object photo, and the smart object shield.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Masking the image using the shield

One of Photoshop many useful features is the ability to click on a layer thumbnail, and to load its content as a selection. Let’s click on the shield layer thumbnail while pressing the CTRL (PC) or CMD (Mac) keys to load it as our selection.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

From there, with the photo smart object highlighted in the layer palette, we can simply click on the Add layer mask shortcut at the bottom of the palette to start the masking.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Et voilà, we have a mask in place. It isn’t showing/hiding the right thing yet, but we’ll get there shortly.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

If we click on the layer mask thumbnail and press ALT/OPTION at the same time, we can have access to, and edit, its content. We’ll start by inverting the image, so it shows the proper thing.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Better, but we also need to mask the photo past the edges of the mask.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s go back to our mask view (click + ALT/OPTION), and paint the outer side of the shield edge in black as well to hide the rest of our portrait.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

If you use the paint bucket to quickly fill the area, remember to use a solid paintbrush to clean the seams.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And with that work done, the photo is properly masked!

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

A bit of extra depth

In order to give the shield around the photo a bit more visual presence, we are going to give some extra layer styles to simulate a real thickness. First, a thick stroke. It’ll be 35 pixels thick, and has the same color as the background (#231f20).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, a strong drop shadow, for the illusion of depth. Note the darker color used (#202020).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The result is a satisfactory illusion of depth and layers.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The circular shield

Time to add the “oval patterned” shield in the mix. After heading back to Illustrator, let’s change its color to pure white (#ffffff), then paste it as a smart object into our Photoshop document behind the photo layer.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

It’ll be sized at 550% of its original size, and positioned with its center at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.25″. Additionally, we’ll change its blending mode to screen, to interact more with texture elements later.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The circular, “toothy” frame

This little one needs to be adapted a bit.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

First, its color needs to be changed to all white.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, it needs to be pasted as a smart object between the photo, and the main shield shape. It’ll be sized at 950% of its original size, and positioned at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.03″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After changing its blending mode to overlay, we get a neat secondary frame effect in place around the portrait, highlighting the face even more.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Last vector element: the wheat stalks

This last one is the finishing touch of the vector assets. It frames the overall piece, and also gives it a visual anchor within the canvas. We first need to head back to Illustrator to change their color to pure white.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we’ll paste it as a smart object right above our background layer. We’ll size it at 1000% of its original size. Its blending mode will be overlay @ 50% opacity, and its center is at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.3″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And all of our elements are in place! Next, we need to talk text.

Copy copy copy

The copy for the poster will be straight to the point: the name of the act, the occasion we’re summoning people to show up for, the location/date line, and the ticketing information. All spelled out, we have:

  • PWR.CLRS
  • RECORD RELEASE PARTY
  • PHANTASY NIGHTCLUB • CLEVELAND • FEB. 28TH
  • TICKETS AVAILABLE WHERE TICKETS ARE SOLD

The typeface we’ll use for our poster is a free one, and comes from the League of Moveable Type. It’s called Orbitron, and has been designed by Matt McInerney. It’ll be the one used for all of our text elements.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

PWR.CLRS is typed at 150 points tall, centered. Its center is located at X: 9.33″, and Y: 2.40″. Note that the kerning is set to optical.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

RECORD RELEASE PARTY is typed at 60 points tall, centered. Its center is located at X: 9.22″, and Y: 21.94″. The kerning is set to optical as well.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, PHANTASY NIGHTCLUB • CLEVELAND • FEB. 28TH / TICKETS AVAILABLE WHERE TICKETS ARE SOLD are all part of the same text object. The “/” indicates a line break. It’s written 30 points tall, and placed at X: 9.25″, and Y: 23.21″. The kerning is set to optical as well.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And with that, all of our text elements are in place. Here’s a look at how our layers are organized up to now. Note the new Background layer group, to separate its elements from the rest.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Time for textures!

Now that everything is all well organized, it’s time to add textures. If you looked at some of my past tutorials, you already know that I LOVE textures. They help us to give substance, depth, and, well, texture, to very clean digital shapes. Luckily for us, the Arsenal has quite the library.

First up, the text

In order for the text to be more worn out, we’ll be using a texture from the Vintage Organic Noise Texture Pack. The texture in question is gma_tex_herbal-organic_09.jpg.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Remember how we used click+ALT/OPTION to edit the content of the shield’s layer mask earlier? Well it turns out that we can do much more than using brushes and the paint bucket when doing that. We can also paste the content of a texture file in that layer mask. Depending on the texture, it can make for a very rapid, and efficient way to give things a worn out aspect.

Let’s start by opening the texture in Photoshop, and copying the content of the file (CTRL/CMD+A to select everything, CTRL/CMD+C to copy).

Then, let’s add a layer mask to the Text layer group.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

By clicking+ALT/OPTION on the layer mask thumbnail, we have access to that pristine layer mask’s content.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

By pressing CTRL/CMD+V, we can paste the texture at the center of the layer.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

In order to cover the whole piece, we’ll rotate the texture clockwise 90°, and size it up to 220%.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

From there, in order to soften the intensity of the texture, we’ll use levels (CTRL/CMD+L) to fade the texture some.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The result is this beautifully, organically worn text.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, the background. We’ll be using a painterly texture from the Brush Stroke Textures, Volume 02 pack. It’s brush-strokes-textures-volume-02-004-sbh.jpg.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s place it dead center right above the background layer, sized at 105% so it covers the whole background.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Remember the technical notes from earlier? Don’t forget to sharpen the texture smart object (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After using a clipped hue/saturation to desaturate the texture layer, we’ll be using a clipped levels adjustment layer to enhance its contrast.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Lastly for the background, we just need to change the blending mode to soft light @ 35% opacity for our effect.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that our background is fully textured. Time to move on to texturing the piece as a whole, to tie everything together.

Texturing the full piece

The first texture we’ll use for the piece as a whole is from the Vintage Organic Noise Texture Pack again. It’s gma_tex_herbal-organic_07.jpg.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

We’ll place that texture centered in the frame, and rotate it counterclockwise 90°.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

It’s sized up to cover the whole piece, at 55%.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After sharpening the texture, we can simply change its blending mode to color burn @ 35% opacity. There’s no need to desaturate it, as it’s already a black and white texture.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

In order to add some highlight at the top of the poster, we’ll then add gma_tex_herbal-organic_03.jpg in the piece.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

This one is rotated 90° clockwise, and also sized up at 55% to cover the whole piece.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After sharpening, we can change its blending mode to soft light @ 25% opacity.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

To add a hair of film noise, we’ll use GoMediaArsenal_FilmNoise_05.jpg from the film texture pack.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

This texture needs to be rotated clockwise 90°, and sized up 2100% to fill the whole piece.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Once we have used a clipped hue/saturation layer to desaturate the texture, we need a clipped levels adjustment layer to enhance the texture’s details.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that done, we just need to change the texture’s blending mode to screen @ 35% opacity.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that, we’re almost done. Here are what our layers should look like at this stage:

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Finishing touches

The last bit of stuff we need to do to this poster to wrap things up is to add a little bit of a halftone effect. Let’s start by making a merged copy of all the layers so far, by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+ALT/OPTION+E. This will create a new layer at the top of our stack.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack - poster design ideas

Let’s rename it to Halftones.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After that, we have to turn it into a smart object. With the layer highlighted, head to Filter > Convert for smart filters.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that done, we can head to Filter > Pixelate > Color halftone. Note the value of the Max. Radius, up to 10, from the default value of 8.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The cool thing with smart filters is that the layer has a blending mode, and the filter itself has one as well. What that means is that we can make the effect even more subtle and believable. Let’s start by assigning the halftone filter a blending mode of overlay @ 100% opacity. To do this, let’s double click on the double arrow icon on the right-hand side of the layer thumbnail.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

We then get access to this drop down menu to choose the blending mode.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

From there, we can change the blending mode of the layer itself to lighter color @ 35% opacity.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

If everything went according to plan, this is what the layer stack should look like.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Additionally, here are a couple of detail shots @ 100% zoom.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And here are some close-ups:

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And finally a full view of the final piece:

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Wrapping things up

Phew, that was a long one! I hope that you enjoyed following along the tutorial as much as I enjoyed creating it, and that your outcome matches the goals you set for yourself before diving in. Did I leave anything unclear? Any suggestions? Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below! I’ll be happy to help.

The Crest of Arm vector pack is now available! Go grab it! If you already have, I hope you enjoy it, and that this tutorial gave you a sense of what you’ll be able to accomplish with it.

Buy the Crest of Arms Vector Pack

And on that note, I’ll see you next time. Cheers!

What’s the Best Type of Testimonial and How Will My Brand Benefit?

The social proof of testimonials lends a lot of credibility to your brand. It also allows people who might not be familiar with the work you do to see that you have happy customers. When it comes to content marketing, customer testimonials and case studies are considered the most effective forms of content. In fact, 89 percent of marketers indicate that testimonials are a necessary part of their overall content strategy.

You’ve probably already learned that testimonials are an effective way to reach new customers from the minute they land on your website. However, there are many different ways to implement testimonials into your content strategy. Here are the best types of testimonials and what they bring to your business model:

1. Interviews

Taking the time to feature a customer does a couple of things for your brand. First, it helps you get to know your target audience better, which in turn will allow you to perfect your marketing to this demographic. Second, it shows potential customers you have satisfied customers who are already using your product or service.

Your first step is to recruit customers to interview. One easy way to do this is to choose customers who’ve written a positive review recently. Ask them if they’d be willing to be interviewed about their experience. However, don’t overlook customers who’ve complained, but whose issues have been resolved. Your ability and willingness to strive for perfection can be a powerful testimony.

Software AG offers an in-depth look at some of its customers. For example, it tells the story of how a Chinese automaker utilizes its business software platform, how one retailer uses it to build a model for customer success and how it has simplified data-reporting for another company.

2. High-Profile Testimonials

When you think about sharing a high-profile testimonial on your website, your first thought might be using an influencer or a celebrity to tout your brand. While a high-profile testimonial can certainly encompass those elements, another way to show you are an up-and-coming brand is by using big-name companies for this purpose. As a result, you’ll gain the halo effect, where a big name makes the things they endorse look better.

Take a look at your client list. Choose your top five clients as far as how well known they are. As your company grows and you gain new, bigger clients, you can revamp this testimonial list from time to time. One creative way to use this method is to do a case study of how you’ve helped said company and then take snippets to show this to the reader, such as how a campaign helped XYZ Co. increase its conversions by 1,500 percent.

3. Video

If you aren’t already using video testimonials, this is something you can easily add to your brand to better engage your site visitors or your followers on social media. About 78 percent of people online watch videos every week. Creating a video testimonial does a number of positive things for your brand, such as forming a better emotional connection with your readers and lending a sense of credibility to your marketing efforts.

Hubble features software with real-time reporting that allows for data visualization and integration. It features a video of its customers describing how they personally use Hubble and the benefits. The video features people from different industries to show how flexible the software is.

4. Social Media Posts

If you plan to share testimonials on social media, there are a couple of options. First, you could reach out to customers with a large following and simply ask them to give your company a shout-out. This is likely the most effective way to add a testimonial, because it looks more organic. About 80 percent of Americans look for a recommendation from someone they know before making a purchase.

Your other option is to add short snippets and combine them with a photo of the customer or the product to encourage shares and retweets of the post. If your customer is online, it is also a good idea to tag them in the post.

5. Snippets

You don’t have to use a long testimonial in every instance. Creating blocks of quoted text that highlight a small part of what your business does is a smart tactic. You can pull these from a larger testimonial or case studies, or you can simply ask your customers to give you a short, one-line review.

Today’s average person is extremely busy. They might have 10 minutes on the train to work to glance at your website or social media page. If you provide them with snippets of information that can be quickly scanned, then the testimonial is likely to stick with them.

Vanderbilt University’s MBA program does a good job of highlighting students and professors who make the program memorable. Note the short snippet from one of its students who earned an MBA. This allows potential students to see what the program did for someone similar to them.

6. Reviews

Reviews are a form of testimonial if you think about it. They highlight a customer and what that customer thinks about the product or service. The last time you booked a hotel, what did you do first? More than likely, you checked out the online reviews. Make it easy for your customers to review your product by adding a review form to your website or sending a push on social media asking for their feedback. You can then pull short quotes from these reviews to highlight elsewhere as testimonials.

Best Types of Testimonials

Companies that were centered on the customer were around 60 percent more profitable than companies without this focus. The benefits to your brand are that you’ll lend credibility to your claims, show you are focused on the customer and reach new customers you otherwise might not have found. Take the time to make testimonials a part of your marketing plan and you’re certain to see positive results.

A Brief Insight into Mapping Content into Your Customer Journey

Customer Journey Maps

How effective is your business’s current customer experience?

Your customers, whether they’re existing or potential, will interact with your business in so many ways thanks to the foundations of the digital age in which we live. This means there are multiple routes in which these individuals can take in order to create a successful purchase, and therefore a successful customer journey.

But what part does your content play when it comes to this sales funnel that you’ve created, and is it working to its maximum effectiveness?

Today, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of this customer journey and how you can enhance your content to create the best, and most profitable, experience.

Mapping Your Customer Journeys

Before you start making improvements to your content, you need to know where your business currently stands. This means mapping out your existing customer journey, so you know where your foundations are.

Firstly, define where your customer first interacts with your business. This could be through your social media accounts, through your blog posts or by actively searching for your company. From here, map the route which your customers take to make a purchase.

Count how many steps, how many clicks and how many options your customer has to choose, press and select until they can get to the final confirmation page. This is the heart, and map, of your customer journey.

Identifying the Pressure Points

Now that you’ve mapped your customer’s journey, it’s time to start focusing on the problem areas. These are areas where your customers will be experiencing problems with your sales funnel and, therefore, could be costing you sales.

These friction areas could be caused by anything. Perhaps your steps are too long, or your calls to action on some of your pages aren’t clear enough, or maybe the customer is simply becoming confused by your content.

When you’re going through your content, put yourself in the eyes of your customers and approach your content with a fresh pair of eyes. You can also look at the analytical data of your website, so you can see where people are stalling.

Writing Your Content

With the problems areas identified, it’s time to start focusing on your content in these areas. This is completely down to you and the dynamic of your business. Perhaps your social media channels aren’t pulling in the number of customers you expect. If so, why not try creating infographics or video content to engage your customers.

“Problems can be caused by the content on your website, or maybe your PPC campaigns don’t have the desired effects. Whatever your problem is, consider what kind of content you can use, change and enhance in order to alleviate the problem,” shares Dillan Chambers, a content writer for Write My Paper.

Improving Your Content Writing Skills

When it comes to actually writing your content, you’ll want to make sure that you’re writing the best content possible. However, as you’ll probably know, this is easily said than done. But, thanks to modern day technology, there are many online tools out there that can help you every step of the way;

#1. Cite It In & Word Count

These are two free online tools to help you add professional citations and references to your content, or to track your word counts.

#2. UKWritings

This is a professional copywriting service that can write high-quality posts on your behalf, as recommended by UK Top Writers in UK Writings review.

#3. Grammar Check & To VS Too

These are two blogs and checkers to help you improve the grammar in your content.

#4. Academic Writing Service & Essay Writer

These are two editing tools that can help you ensure that your content is communicating the right message, as recommended by the Huffington Post.

#5. State of Writing & My Writing Way

These are two blogs full of writing guides that can help you to improve your overall writing skill.

#6. Essay Roo & Assignment Help

Two professional writing services that can help you write UX-optimised content, as reviewed by Best Australian Writers.

Analyse and Reform

Once your content has been up for some time, it’s vital that you take yourself back to step one and start the process all over again.

This is so you can continuously identify any pressure points that have formed with your sales structure, enabling you to address them and, therefore, maximise the effectiveness of your customer journey.

Reputation Marketing Techniques that will Do Wonders for your Brand

Reputation Marketing

In today’s hyperconnected world, building a reputable brand is more difficult than ever. Maybe there was a time in the past when you could entirely control your brand’s development, but today, that’s not possible.

With the rise of the internet, word of mouth has become more powerful than ever. Coming in a form of blog comments, Google business reviews, social media likes, shares, and comments, your customers’ opinions of your brand shape its authority and trustworthiness.

However, this isn’t something you should be afraid of.

On the contrary, you can leverage this rising phenomenon, to see how your target audience really feels about you and tailor your approach to their expectations.

Here are a few reputation marketing strategies your customers will love.

Collect Feedback Regularly

Today’s tech-savvy customers are aware of how important they are to you. To buy from you, they expect you to provide them an outstanding user experience. And, it doesn’t matter if they are satisfied with what you have to offer or not, they will share their opinion on your brand online. They will rate your services, review your products on social networks, or even write a blog post about them.

Precisely because of that, you should go out there and try to collect their feedback on your own.

Here is how:

  • Offer effective live chat support. It helps you get closer to your customers. You will be able to understand what the major challenges they come across when visiting your site are. Once you help them solve these problems, you can ask them for feedback in a form of a few simple questions.
  • Add a dedicated feedback form to your website. Just make sure it’s not too long or confusing.
  • Call your customers to see what they think of you.
  • Use social media monitoring tools to check your brand and product mentions on social networks.
  • You can also track your brand mentions on other sites with tools like BuzzSumo, Google Alerts, etc.
  • Ask for feedback when a user wants to abandon a shopping cart.

Prove your Trustworthiness

If you’re new in the industry, many people will feel reluctant to do business with you. And, the reason behind that is pretty logical- they’re afraid that you won’t be able to deliver the project successfully. So, to grab their attention and prove that there is nothing to worry about, you need to give them something valuable.

For example, you can get a performance bond, a guarantee by a bonding company that all your tasks will be completed per the specifications of the contract. The only difference between performance bonds and the insurance is that the bonding company doesn’t simply write a check if you fail to do your job. On the contrary, they hire new contractors or even complete the project on their own.

Once you get a surety bond, you should let your clients know about it. Post this information on both your website and social networks, assuring them that they will see their money back if you fail to reach an agreement.

You could also offer free return shipping. Adweek emphasizes that 68% of shoppers believe that this is very important.

Offer Social Proof

Today, social proof is stronger than ever.

You need to show your customers why they should trust you and here is how to do so:

  • Use customer testimonials on your site.
  • Seek influencer endorsements.
  • Inspire your customers to rate and review your products and services. According to the Adweek’s infographic mentioned above, 49% of customers believe that product reviews on a website are important.
  • Share your business’ milestones, such as reaching a certain number of customers.
  • Show your existing customer base. To prove how reliable you are, highlight which reputable companies have worked with you.
  • Add trust seals to your checkout page to boost your sales.

Create Valuable Content

Content marketing is the nerve center of your digital marketing strategy. It helps you implement your keywords organically, boost your rankings, and become visible to your target audience. Above all, the more quality content you write, the more appreciated you will be in your industry.

And, when I say „quality,“ I mean an industry-specific, original, educative, intriguing, and highly interactive piece of content. This approach helps you establish yourself as an authority in your niche and grow your customer base fast.

What you need to keep in mind is that, with the rise of VR technologies, writing articles is not enough to spark your target audience’s curiosity. You need to upgrade your content strategy, by making your content more engaging.

Here are a few types of content that may work for you:

  • Infographics
  • Quizzes
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Gifs and memes
  • Ephemeral content on social networks, such as live stories

Monitor your Reputation Continuously

Even though building solid online reputation is complex, these techniques may be your optimal starting point.

But, always keep in mind that your hard work doesn’t end here.

Marketing trends are constantly changing. Things that were hot yesterday may be completely irrelevant today.

This is why you need to keep track of your online reputation constantly.

Stay on top of the latest industry trends, collect your customers’ feedback regularly, and tailor your approach to them.

This is how you will manage to boost user experience, earn quality referrals, and even turn your leads into loyal customers.

Hope this helps!

4 Rules for Better Website Typography

Achieving Better Website Typography

For a long time, when developers and designers were building websites typography wasn’t high up on the priority list. This was due to a number of factors, sometimes it was simply lack of diverse web safe fonts and other times it was adherence to strict SEO (Search Engine Optimization) standards. Now, due to the number of internet connected devices and our ability to ceaselessly consume content, digital mediums require strong typographical sense to convey their content to the masses. Included in this article are 4 hard and fast rules to help your website’s typography provide a better user experience.

Establish a Visual Hierarchy

All design is based on communicating visually and a key component of successful design is always establishing a hierarchy, and web typography is no different. What this means is ensuring that there is an obvious separation in size between headings, subheadings and body copy. Establishing a visual hierarchy allows users to scan the content and find content that interests them quickly and easily. Additionally, establishing consistent design patterns across your site will allow users to seamlessly navigate through the experience without confusion. Creating this hierarchy also has a practical purpose as establishing it using HTML best practices creates an easy blueprint for Search Engine crawlers to work through, helping your website rank higher based on SEO best practices.

Font Selection & Sizing

When selecting your font it is important to consider what fonts the brand uses and if they are available for use on the website. This is because of font licensing, basically when you purchase a font you have either a license for printed materials or for a digital license (which is based on the number of visitors/views, but I’m not going to get into that). If the brand’s fonts are unavailable, Google has a fantastic selection of free web safe fonts for use on websites, and almost any brand’s fonts can be somewhat emulated by something in this library. When fonts are decided upon, a good baseline for your body copy is having it at least size 18px (sometimes as high as 22px, depending on the font), which may seem large, but this helps with accessibility and causes less eye strain.

 Line Measure, Alignment & Spacing

Think of physical mediums that you typically read (novels, newspapers, magazines, etc.). One thing they all have in common is a short line measure. When a user is reading your copy you want them to be able to read it without moving their head at all, and this typically means having roughly forty to sixty characters per line. Additionally, opening up your body copy’s line measure a bit helps users more easily consume your content. Finally, if a chunk of copy is over three lines long, it shouldn’t be center aligned as it makes the content difficult to follow. A final word on text alignment, NEVER JUSTIFY TEXT.

Get Rid of that Ipsum

When designing a website or digital product it is important to understand what the final content will resemble. Lorem ipsum is a great solution for initial concepts, but the longer it stays in the design the more of a pain it is to change out and modify the design based on new content types. Typically, designing without content is never a good idea, it’s hard to predict what could be available in terms of copy as designers are rarely experts in the field their website is typically for.

Websites Vs. Webapps, What’s the Difference?

“Programs and other operating information used by a computer” – that is the definition of the term software, and from that definition comes basically everything that we (as a society) do in regards to computers, hardware notwithstanding. Software is obviously a pretty broad term when it comes defining a digital product and although user experience is not relegated specifically to the internet or applications, this article will focus on defining examples of software that lives on the internet, namely; websites and web applications (web-apps).

Websites and Web Applications

When you are viewing content on the internet through a browser, every single website, page, experience, e-shop and social network can be categorized into two broad taxonomies; Websites and Web-Apps. These two categories of digital products are very similar in terms of appearance and how they are accessed. In fact, if you asked a few different people in the industry you’d probably get more than a few different answers, but generally, the arguments will boil down to this:

  • Websites are focused on being informative.

  • Web-Apps are interactive.


This means that static pages that exist to showcase information that doesn’t routinely change are websites. Think of a local restaurant site that has a menu, store locations, hours of operation and maybe an image gallery, this is an example of a simple website. Take those same restaurant pages and add in some functionality that allows guests to set up a reservation and will hold a table for them (assuming they have means of establishing a deposit) without the customer calling the restaurant, you have a web application. Web-Apps require users to input information and will provide feedback based on that information. Another common example of a web-app would be a simple eCommerce website that allows a user to purchase a product online and have it shipped to his location.

Here’s where the confusion around these terms comes in, as how a user interacts with the digital product is what defines the product itself. For example, if a user is using an eCommerce site as a primary source of information regarding the company (and not purchasing its products), the digital product in question (the eCommerce site) isn’t being used as an application but rather as a source of static information (IE a website). So similar to as how all squares are rectangles but all rectangles aren’t squares; all web-apps are websites but not all websites are web-apps.

While the nomenclature may have little impact on the final designs of the digital product, as good UX design is platform agnostic, understanding what you are building and learning how to communicate these concepts can assist your team in further establishing your expertise in the digital realm and build rapport with your clientele. Remember, half of being a good designer (at least) is being a good communicator.

Free Feminist Vector Pack on Go Media's Zine by Shelby Criswell

Celebrating International Women’s Day with our Free Feminist Vector Pack!

Download our Free Feminist Vector Pack!

It’s International Women’s Day, which means it’s time to “celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women” – which we should be doing every day if you ask us. But the fact that women get this extra special day is pretty awesome anyway, so we’ll take it! We wanted to do something special today, so we are releasing a Free Feminist Vector Pack by one of our favorite female designers!

This pack is totally free and totally awesome, so we hope you enjoy it.

The Feminism Vector pack was created by Shelby Criswell, an independent comic book maker, trouble starter, freelance illustrator, and bluegrass lovin’ dork (her words!) straight outta San Antonio, TX that loves to play around with funky linework and strange fonts. Shelby is an artist who creates a lot of cool products for us for our Arsenal, home of the best vectors, textures, mockups, and tutorials in town.

Hey, speaking of awesome women, do us a favor and give Shelby credit for being a kick-ass female…

[Tweet “Hey @shelby_criswell, You’re the coolest! Thanks for the Feminist Vector Pack!”]

Now, onto Shelby’s Feminist Vector Pack – go download and do great things!

Download >> Go Media’s Feminist Freebie Pack

Free Feminist Vector Pack