Would you like to improve your user experience and as a bonus turn internal costs into revenue? Then keep on reading!

What Is Digital Adoption?

First off, let’s define what digital adoption is. If you ask Forbes, they define it as “achieving a state within your company where all of your digital tools and assets are leveraged to the fullest extent”. In plain terms, we can say that it is all about getting your employees as well as your customers to use all your software tools and get the most out of your investment.

How Can You Use Digital Adoption to Improve the User Experience of Your Software?

A few years back, we at TimeLog decided to change our market-oriented focus. We wanted to have a more customer-oriented approach in contrast to the product focus we have had from the beginning. In addition, we wanted to find out how we could best help our users. Part of the new strategy was to look at the technical documentation in our online Help Center. We wanted to discover new ways to make it easier for users to find and read the material we had invested so much time in to produce for them.

That’s how we found WalkMe. Deciding to implement this software was the first step in improving our user experience, because it helps users immediately whilst using  the product.

And what is WalkMe, you might ask? For us a real game changer! It is a tool that can help you through your digital adoption processes. Besides, we use it to improve the user experience in our professional services automation software.

How Does WalkMe Improve the User Experience of TimeLog?

We use WalkMe to educate our users in the use of specific features in our software. We have introduced interactive guides that take the user by the hand and, step by step, show how the system works. It allows us to teach our users best practices, and it minimizes complexity, which in turn improves the ordinary users’ understanding of the system.


It is important to help all users no matter what their technical competence level and understanding of the system is. They can get the help they need here and now, and they do not need to contact our support first to learn more or navigate to a different page.

We not only produce the step by step guides, we can now produce step by step guides. We have several options to communicate important messages, we can point out important features and greet new users. When new users log into the system for the first time, they receive a welcome message, which offers guidance on how to get started in the system. It also introduces the onboarding guides, which helps the users to go through and learn the basics of the system.

TimeLog Welcome Message

How Did We Turn Software Costs Into Revenue?

We had not considered this option ourselves, until we had a few large customers requesting specific guides to explain their own processes. They saw a unique opportunity to guide their employees through their internal processes without creating Word documents and videos themselves.

In our user database, we already sorted our customers by specific companies and user IDs. This enables us to make guides visible only  to specific customers. When we received the first request for specific content, we identified our options, tested it in our own environment, and then realized we could apply this to our customers at an extra cost. The demand is surprisingly high, and we not alone cover the software costs, we are now slowly beginning to generate revenue from this area. We are now making money from helping our customers guiding their users in the way they want. They get the high data quality they need, and we both have happy people using TimeLog in the easiest and most efficient way. Win-win!

WalkMe Has Changed Our Business in Many Ways

Improved technical documentation and unexpected revenue are not the only benefits we have seen. We have seen numerous, and I list five of them here:

1. Less How To? Support and Improved Implementation Processes

After introducing the guides, the number of support tickets starting with “how can I…” has decreased. The more and the faster the users are educated in using the system, the more time is saved, and the more they can get out of it.

Our implementation consultants now use WalkMe for basic learning in the system. Customers can focus on the deeper functionality and processes in the system much faster, and in this way gain more from their investment in an implementation. At the same time, our consultants get more time to cover the more complex parts of the system and the customers’ internal processes and strategy during the workshops.

2. Improved Customer Communication

If you look in your own inbox, you probably have a number of unread newsletters, right? What do you do with them? If you are like most other people, you delete them. We simply do not have the time to take in all the information.

WalkMe allows us to communicate directly with all our users, and we can quickly inform about, e.g., new functionalities and guide them through new processes and features. In this way, we ensure knowledge sharing across the company, which eases the job for the customers’ super users in the system.

With a wide range of variables/settings, WalkMe enables us to communicate to different users at different times. We can e.g. differentiate on user rights, browser selection and specific areas within the system.

3. A Dedicated Team Takes Care of Everything

We have a specialized team, which is responsible for creating both the free standard guides for about 1,000 customers and the customer specific requests we receive. Our team continuously works on optimizing the way we use all the features with great help from the business developers at WalkMe. The team moreover improves the quality of existing guides and tests new features to see if they are beneficial to us and our customers.

4. Increased Customer Satisfaction

After introducing WalkMe, we have seen a rise in our customer satisfaction measured through NPS. The free and easy help has improved the use of the system for many customers, which provides them with happier employees and more reliable data. High data quality equals happy customers. Happy customers equal longer relationships. Longer relationships secure monthly recurring revenue. What’s not to like?

5. A Differentiator in Our Sales Process

Our business consultants use the guides in the sales processes to show how easy our system is. They get really good feedback, as the potential customers see that it can be easily implemented into their system and that it teaches all their employees the new processes without them needing to put extra energy and money into it.

Curious to Know More?

Feel free to reach out to me to learn more about our use of WalkMe, our implementation process and how we use it on a daily basis. Connect with me on LinkedIn or feel free to reach out to me via e-mail.

Would You Like to Know More About TimeLog?

TimeLog is a medium-sized software company based in Copenhagen, Denmark. We offer a software for time tracking, project management and invoicing, which allows you to get the overall overview of your resources and financial progress on projects. In short, we offer a professional services automation software. We have been in the business since 2001, and today we have 40+ employees in three countries. Feel free to visit our website to learn more about us.

We talk a lot about UX best practices in web design and a lot about which software to use to improve UX in web design… But what about software design? It is clear, websites and software have different user interfaces for different target groups. Besides, the software is not online, though this doesn’t mean user experience is not an important thing here as well. That being said, it is time to see the best practices to implement UX in software design.

What exactly is UX and UI?

User Interface

UI (User Interface) is a place where interaction between human and machine occurs. It can be material like the buttons of a machine or graphical, like a website, an application, but also a computer screen. In this article, we are going to talk about software, meaning a graphical user interface that is downloaded (usually on a computer) and that allows a group of people to improve their productivity (save time, avoid errors, make work easier and more efficient…). For instance, SDL Trados is a software that helps translators, Adobe Photoshop is for graphic designers.

UX (User eXperience) considers all the practices that make a user interface (UI) easier and more pleasant to use, including the design but also the way the software or interface is organized.

Why is UX so Important in Software Design?

UX is designed by software developers and is appreciated by users. Basically, the main goal of UX is to satisfy the user: developing functional software is no longer enough. Moreover, a UI can (and must) be continuously improved by its designers.

Nowadays, software developers, just as web developers, always have to think “user first”. In fact, UX is now part of common practices for the proper use of interfaces. It is not just a “bonus” anymore. Therefore, a whole strategy around the user must be implemented even before the start of the software development, because the way a project is planned, will define the designers’ and developers’ work.

What Are the Best UX Practices for Software Design?

The Basic Rules

In UX software design, it is always good to apply the basic UX practices. Setting up intuitive menus and organizing the interface in a logical way are part of it. This requires above all a good upstream work on the software architecture. Make sure that the software is a useful tool that helps to increase a company’s productivity and its employees to reduce errors, without having to spend time on troubleshooting make it understandable for all. Take that in mind while designing software. The keyword here is: intuitive. Nobody reads the documentation about how to use the product since it is way too much time consuming and boring.

To do so, think about the way the users will make use of it. For example, the users might have many screens and want to organize the panels in their own way. Therefore, they should be able to arrange their work surface as they wish by arranging the sizes of the different panels and being able to move them. Nowadays, many software programs allow users to set and save their own configurations. Furthermore, it should always be possible to easily reset these settings.

Ux designer working on UX design

Basic UX design practices also include the visual aspect such as readability, the contrast between background and font color, and the choice of character size and font. As for websites, prefer a non-serif, simple font and either a black font color on a white background or the other way round. Spending hours at the desk working with software can be very tiring for the eyes, therefore it is also part of the designers’ job to reduce the optical strain that screens require.

Functional Software

Of course, another fundamental thing is the proper functioning of the software. Well developed, thoughtfully coded software is the key to a fast, functional and bug-free final product. Of course, there will always be things to improve, new features to develop, bugs to fix. Released software is never a final version. That’s why you need to continuously interact with your users, which brings us to the next point.

Feedback in Both Ways

Another important thing in UX software design is to get feedback. In order to adapt the software to the needs of the majority, you need to know the issues and questions that have arisen when using the software. Surveys are a good way to get feedback from the users.

Also, you could be surprised by the way some of the users will interact with the interface. Indeed, they can cause errors, misunderstand, forget… This is why you should not forget to show clear error messages everywhere where there are input possibilities or where direct interaction between human and software takes place. The users should not only be aware of what they can do, what they should and should not do, but they should also get warning messages and explanations when they do something wrong.

Don’t Translate, Localize

If you decide to extend your software to different countries, it is not enough to just translate it into different languages: it has to be localized. Otherwise, it won’t meet UX criterias. This decision should be taken from the very beginning, well before the development phase. Localization is a whole process considering cultures, laws, ethnicities, technical constraints, and finally languages (locales). And there are some tips on how to improve UX and UI when making a product globally accessible.

The Right Words

Easy to use software is not always achieved through design. Words are just as important. As basic as it may sound, you have to be careful in choosing the terms for each feature, making sure that the term will be understood by everyone. For general terms, it’s not that complicated: just follow the same instructions as for most software: file, edit, view, help… But for the more specific functionalities, make sure you use the right terms in your software’s domain and that these terms are understandable for anyone using the software.

Sources :

https://uxplanet.org/how-user-experience-shapes-custom-software-development-78490943b0fc

https://uxdesign.cc/about-ux-in-software-design-aa2254287bac

https://techbeacon.com/app-dev-testing/9-ux-tips-strategies-developers

https://pixabay.com/fr/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=849804

As an English literature graduate who developed a rather unimaginable passion for technical writing many years ago, I was thrilled when I came across the Persona Method in Alan Cooper’s book “The Inmates Are Running The Asylum. Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy And How to Restore The Sanity” (1999).

The idea of combining fiction with product design instantly appealed to me. After all, technical communicators create information products, therefore applying this technique to that domain seemed like a good idea. However, I was really uncertain about the possibility to implement it in the business setting I found myself in. Would a small team of no-nonsense “technicians-assigned-to-act-as-tech-writers” be willing to adopt it?

Persona Method Yes or No

But before I delve into my own experiences, let me first answer the question you might have in mind now:

What Exactly Is the Persona Method?

Actually, although my introductory sentence may have implied it, the Personas that this technique refers to are not quite as fictional as The Great Gatsby or Oliver Twist.

For the most part, their personal details are based on hard facts: Marketing questionnaires, business survey, or similar means helped to establish demographic characteristics such as age, educational background, financial situation, and geographic location to identify the target group(s) for a product or service

The author mentioned above, Alan Cooper, generally credited with inventing the Persona Technique, first applied it to an IT setting.

His impetus was his increasing frustration with hard- and software that was not user-friendly at all, coupled with his observation that the software developers surrounding him did not consider users’ needs at all when coding and designing applications and interfaces.

As a consequence, he decided to confront these programmers with some characters that incorporated all the attributes of “average” users using the data collected in available customer surveys and marketing analyses. Cooper argued that if programmers were faced with individual “persons” rather than abstract data and were told to design for them, it would enable them to take user needs and user experience into account. Indeed, it is usually easier to relate to a human being (albeit a fictional one) than to statistics.

How to Create Personas?

In order to create a Persona, the statistical data described above has to be “personified” to define the target group(s) of a product or service.

Let me use an example to illustrate this: If the majority of users of a new hairdryer are female teenage high school students that live in Spain, a user persona might be 15-year-old Isabella from Barcelona. Fictional details are then added to this “average user” to make the Persona more complex and thus more credible as a “fellow human”: For instance, Isabella could be the member of a swimming team in her free time, and an avid watcher of YouTube videos and Netflix shows.

What Are the Benefits of Applying the Persona Method to Technical Writing?

At the moment, except for software development, where Alan Cooper first introduced it, the Persona Method is mainly used in marketing. However, the statistical data it is based on is also very valuable to technical communication (TC), as it reveals who we should be writing for. Furthermore, converting abstract information into concrete personas can also improve the quality of technical documents.

The field of technical writing is similar to software development and marketing in that the material – created by technical communicators (such as manuals and catalogs) – is also closely related to the user experience and mainly is to fulfill the needs and expectations of a certain target group.

Having a particular person(a) in mind makes it much easier to find the right tone and terminology. We can put ourselves in the readers’ shoes when instructing them how to use a product or service, addressing them in a way they understand.

For more information on Personas in UX design, visit https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/personas-why-and-how-you-should-use-them, for instance.

What Are the Challenges of Using the Persona Method in a Conventional TC Setting?

That said, motivating a team made up of innovative, open-minded “nerdy” programmers in charge of writing the code for a hip new application to attempt applying this technique should not be too difficult. Given the high percentage of “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” fans among them, it is safe to assume they are willing to relate to fictional characters anyway.

But What if the Business Setting and the Industry Are Not Quite as Hip & Cool and the Staff Not as Nerdy as Expected?

Back to my own situation at the time when I discovered the Persona Technique: My work environment was arguably as far removed from the (admittedly fairly stereotypical) image evoked above as one can imagine: A medium-sized company in the domain of mechanical engineering, with 99% of the staff made up of predominantly male, purely technically minded, down-to-earth employees.

My immediate enthusiasm in sharing the idea of applying the technique in this setting was severely curbed. But then I remembered what one of the two technicians (let us call him Simon) assigned to the technical documentation team had told me earlier during our lunch break when I had naively asked him what his favorite novel was:
“Are you kidding me??? What’s the point in dealing with stories that weirdos with too much time on their hands felt the urge to write down, about strange characters they made up in their twisted minds?!”
In the end, however, my curiosity won over.

First, I started looking for success stories of the use of the Persona Technique outside of agile work environments and marketing for encouragement. I actually came up with some results, such as a library that used the Persona Technique.

However, in this particular case, it depends on the willingness of the staff to account for a certain amount of fiction in their daily surroundings is still rather apparent…

Then, since the tech writing team was to be my target group now, I started to consider their needs.

I came up with the following guidelines for my hands-on experiment:

  1. Do not overwhelm the staff
  2. Give them something they can relate to
  3. Suggest, but do not impose

…and this is how I approached the challenge:

  1. Although Alan Cooper suggests using more than one persona to cover a range of user needs, I decided to use only one. One reason for this was that the data I had unearthed about the users of the said machines revealed that the target group was pretty uniform. It was mostly made up of middle-aged men without higher education – and by “mostly”, I mean that there was almost no exception. Besides, I wanted to keep the introduction of this new method as low key as possible, so as not to upset the team members by putting several exotic characters on display which would soon get on their nerves.
  2. It was clear that the “prototypical user” had to be someone the team could relate to, that is, preferably a local person with a plausible background. So, I came up with “Matze” (a common nickname for the German first name “Matthias”), a 43-year-old married man, father of two children who grew up and still lived about 60 miles from the company headquarters. Aside from his job as machine operator, he also loved soccer. A life-size photograph of a guy who matched this description had easily been found and a mini bio had been added to it, along with some of his quotes and his expectations regarding user manuals for the machines he worked with.
  3. I turned this information into a huge poster that I put up on one of the office walls I shared with Simon and the other two tech writers. I did this in late December when my coworkers had already left for their holiday. On their return after New-Year’s day, they were slightly surprised and amused but studied the poster with interest – even if only as an excuse for a coffee break at first. There were no discussions about taking “Matze” off the wall again, and after a while, whenever one of them was handed product information by the product developers, comments such as “Hey, Matze would not understand this!” – “Matze wouldn’t be able to use this info, let’s leave it out” became commonplace in the office. Even though it was more of a tongue-in-cheek attitude at the beginning, we (above all Simon) kept referring to “Matze” in similar cases.

I leave it to you to decide whether my story is a “success story” or not, but I would like to encourage you to share your own experiences with me, either with the Persona Technique or with other approaches that, for some of us, might be just as exciting as the Persona Technique was to me.

As for myself, I was satisfied with the outcome, and I would be even more satisfied if I knew that one or two of the product developers read “Matze’s” comments as well, maybe getting a better idea of what technical documentation really aims at.

And what about you? Feel free to share your experience below with the Persona Method.

Machine learning (ML) is a subset of artificial intelligence that uses computer algorithms to improve automatically through experience. What if a program could adapt a graphical interface to your liking by using machine-learning technology? Well, this is what some companies are already doing. If a machine-learning program can learn from user behaviors, that is precisely why combining UX and machine learning makes sense. But it’s not as simple as it might sound. In this article, we will try to understand the challenges of machine-learning product design and how to overcome them.

The Challenge of Pairing UX with Machine Learning

One of the main challenges is that cooperation between UX designers (UXers) and engineers, such as data scientists and developers, should always be a part of any web project’s workflow. Therefore, while a significant part of a UXer’s job is to make an interface ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing, they should also be required to understand the technical basics of development as well. This will enable them to collaborate better with developers in order to understand the role machine learning can play. 

Designers know broadly what machine learning is but often can’t identify where it is needed and what it is capable of doing in a specific context. If UXers design an interface without any knowledge of how it can be developed later on and what tools are available, they won’t take advantage of the full potential of the product team. Sharing skills and understanding the basics of what our colleagues do is a necessity, especially in tech companies where many digital projects are conducted. It is essential to continuously improve as a team.

In the case of designing machine-learning-driven products, UXers should spend enough time with ML engineers in order to fully understand what ML models can do. This may seem like a waste of time but think of it as an investment. If enough time is taken during the early stages of a project, it is more likely to run smoothly and misunderstandings are less likely to occur. In the end, UXers will be able to work more efficiently and design interfaces that fully embrace ML-enhanced interactions. Continuous communication throughout the project is key.

Machine Learning as a Design Material

Let’s look more closely at the designing phase. Adding machine learning to the design process does not automatically mean that the resulting product will be better or that users will start using it more. UX designers need to look at machine learning as a design material in order to take advantage of its capabilities and apply them effectively to the project. However, Machine Learning should not be considered as just any other traditional design material. A good method to explore would be the research-through-design approach

In general, research is conducted early on to understand what needs to be improved or implemented through UX design. It’s a separate step from the actual design process, which, when designing ML-enhanced products, often leaves UXers with a unclear idea of what needs to be done and how to achieve it. With the research-through-design approach however, research and design become an inseparable cycle: design, research, repeat. This approach allows UX experts to better understand the issues and how the technology might help, and maybe reinvent the technology’s purposes.

A Successful UX and ML Collaboration

Google’s PAIR Bungee program was created to see how UXers could effectively work alongside ML experts in order to improve the resulting product: a generative machine-learning interface to assist music composition. For this experiment, three UX designers were put into an ML research host team for three months. 

The program started with a course about machine learning basics and practices at Google. That way, the designers could begin the project with a better idea of what they would be working with. From there, the UXers implemented a user-centric approach throughout the project, which is always more likely to result in a product that resonates with the target audience. During the preparation phase, the participants defined a target audience and organized a design sprint session with the help of user interviews. Then, they picked key concepts to pursue and further explored them with users.

This experiment confirmed how relevant and efficient it is to integrate UX earlier and more fully in the ML development processes.  In the end, UXers learned more about algorithms and their capabilities while data scientists gained more insight into user-centered practices and what is worth pursuing in the first place. Organizing workshops inspired by this program could help many tech companies working with AI to take their products to the next level.

What do you think about UXers and ML engineers cooperating to develop better user-centric products? Do you think artificial intelligence algorithms will end up replacing UX designers? Let us know in the comments!

If you want to read more about UX, check out these articles.

Search experience optimization (SXO) is a popular topic that has emerged as a necessary consequence of our surfing habits. It merges two disciplines that we don’t necessarily associate, user experience (UX) and search engine optimization (SEO). Although SEO is as old as the first website, search engines are constantly evolving, and SXO is the next step in that evolution. However, people may still have a hard time figuring out what SXO is really about. Let’s discover more about this practice.

What is SXO? 

Search experience optimization, as the name suggests, optimizes the search experience by making it easy for a search engine to understand the content of a web page so that it will be well and appropriately ranked. Unlike this “classic” definition of SEO, the priority now is no longer the search engine but the user. This is where UX comes in. All users want is to find quick and relevant answers to their queries. And all businesses want is to create a conversion. SXO is where these two goals coincide.

Reminder: what are SEO and UX? 

So, what does SEO have to do with the user experience? As a reminder, search engine optimization includes all the practices that aim to improve a website’s ranking  on search engines. It gives visibility to a website and its activity. 

UX refers to the user experience and the goal to make the user’s journey across an interface as pleasant and efficient as possible. This way, it’s easier to build customer loyalty and users are more likely to make a purchase, subscribe, share, etc.—with help from the famous Call to Action button.  UX is often associated with design

How to combine SEO and UX?

By combining these two disciplines, the basic principles of SEO are used to improve the user’s experience, making navigation across the website as intuitive as possible and leading to the desired conversion. That way, your site is both well ranked and effective. So, how do we do it?

It all starts with keyword optimization. Standard SEO principles apply, so specific, relevant words are used in strategic places (such as the meta description), which facilitates the search. In terms of UX, however, keywords should also flow seamlessly with the rest of the content and not sound robotic when you read the content out loud. Furthermore, keywords must reflect the target audience, not just in relevance but in relatability, using language that is familiar to them and that corresponds to the intent behind their search.

Next, let’s think about the link building strategy, which aims to acquire more  backlinks. Links are one of the pillars of effective SEO. But their logic and quality also play a role in creating a good user experience. We have to think about their placement and appearance as well. If a link is strategically placed so that it’s visible and attractive, users are more likely to click on it. 

While there are many other ways to achieve efficient SXO, such as a website’s responsive aspect, as a general rule, websites should always be designed from the perspective of the user. Google is constantly refining its algorithms and tends to privilege user-oriented websites. “User-oriented websites” means quality content with quality SEO that is also mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and fast (as explained in an article on the CAWEB master’s blog). 

Well-known sites, such as Rankwatch, agree with the importance of UX for effective SEO. However, the idea of SXO sometimes incites criticism.

Why is SXO debated?

Since its arrival, SXO has been criticized for several reasons, but one of the main debates is about the relationship between search engine optimization and search experience optimization: is SXO the new SEO or just a component of it? Opinions differ. Some people believe that search experience optimization is already a part of basic SEO principles and has been for a long time. In that case, SXO is nothing more than a specificity of SEO and not a revolutionary idea some claim it to be. 

Whether it’s SEO’s successor or just a colleague, search experience optimization is a very valuable practice for a business’ digital strategy. Satisfying users will encourage them to come back as well as share, thus generating more traffic and improving your website’s ranking.  So, whether you’ve already adopted it or not, search experience optimization should definitely be a priority! 

What do you think about SXO? Is it a new revolutionary idea or just SEO with a different name? Let us know in the comments! Looking for more information about SEO or the web in general? You can check out the other articles on our blog. Also, if you liked this article, don’t forget to share it! 

According to the Web Accessibility Initiative’s website, “Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them.” Through this article, you will find some tips and tricks in order to make your interface more accessible! 

Why is Web accessibility important?  

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” We owe these words to Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and Inventor of the World Wide Web itself. 

Indeed, the Web is an incredible tool which was initially designed to bring people together, regardless of location or language. It allows us to communicate and access a tremendous amount of data and information, and modern societies highly rely on its numerous benefits. With universality at its core, it’s only natural for the Web to become more inclusive of people with disabilities, the elderly, people living in rural areas or in developing countries, and people using small devices (smart watches or smartphones). 

Of course, creating a website implies an understanding of its objectives and goals as well as an analysis of the targeted and expected audience. So it may not be necessary for you to adapt your website for people with every kind of disability. However, you should be aware that 15% of the world’s population suffers from various disabilities, which is why it’s important to make your website more inclusive. You can conduct usability testing in order to determine how people navigate your website and where the navigation difficulties are so that you can correct them later on.

There are still many websites which are not fully accessible, hence why the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) provides comprehensive explanations, standards and guidelines to help developers and organizations produce high-quality interfaces. 

Tips and tricks to make your website more accessible 

Now that you have understood what Web accessibility means, let’s have a look at how to make your website more accessible. In order to have a fully optimized and accessible interface, Web accessibility should be taken into account at the earliest stages of your project. However, these simple steps can be easily put in place at any point in the process.

Make sure your images have alt text tags 

You might have heard of alt text tags, but do you really know what they are for? Since search engines cannot interpret images the same way they interpret text, you can add alternative text to an image to describe what it represents in order to help search engines understand your content better. Therefore, alt tags are a great way to improve a website’s ranking, especially e-commerce websites which present pictures of various products. 

Furthermore, these tags are extremely useful for people with visual impairments using screen readers because the device reads the tags, thus allowing the user to understand what the image is about. Images play an important role in how people interpret the content of a web page, which is why this step shouldn’t be neglected. 

In short, adding good-quality alt text to images is a very simple step which can impact both people and businesses positively. 

Structure your content 

Well-structured content not only makes navigation easier, it’s also a key SEO element that helps users find your content and navigate through it more effectively. To achieve this, here is a short list of the things you should consider: 

  • Include clear titles and section headings in your pages
  • Include breadcrumb trails to inform users about their current location within a set of related pages
  • Have more than one way to find content on a website (for instance, through menu bars or search functions)
  • Ask yourself whether people with hearing or visual impairments can easily navigate through your content

Increase the size of clickable elements 

For people with mobility impairments, it can sometimes be difficult to click on an item if it is too small. To prevent that, the WAI recommends increasing the size of the clickable elements of a website to make them more accessible.

In 2018, there were 4 billion internet users around the world. As of October 2019, that number increased by almostbout half a billion. As more and more people gain access to the internet every year, make sure you are updating your website to make it more accessible and navigable. There are many more ways to allow users easier access to your sites; these are just a few, basic ideas to help get you started. For more information, check out the WAI website!

What are your thoughts on Web accessibility? How and for whom can websites become more accessible? Let us know in the comments! 

Regardless of the level at which you work in your company, you can take certain steps to improve your company’s ergonomic awareness. Whether you are a developer, a designer, or an executive, your actions and behaviour can turn the tides in favour of user experience (UX).

Jakob Nielsen, a human-computer interaction expert, defines five goals when creating content with a UX-centered approach. These goals are learnability, efficiency, memorability, low-error rate, and satisfaction. According to Mr. Nielsen, it’s first necessary to find out how the company views ergonomics. This view is defined on an 8-level scale.

Mr. Nielsen says that it takes about 2 years to move from one level to the next and that it’s impossible to skip levels. Once you have found where your company is situated on his scale, you can begin working towards the next level by applying these good practices:

1. Leading by example

Participate in a project while keeping UX and ergonomics at the center of it. Stress this rigour to  yourself and try to convince others to work in this way. If the project is a success, it will serve as a reference for the future.

2. Developing a common basis

Whether you choose to write an ergonomic charter, guidelines, or a website template, the aim is to create your own knowledge base around ergonomics and to share it. The short-term goal is to make it operational so you can homogenize the production and spare yourself the pain of redeveloping the same process over and over.

3. Relying on a strictly rigorous and valid method

Making changes and shaking up habits often raise misgivings among the target group, which is why you need to be extremely precise regarding everything concerning ergonomics. From user interface design to practical tests, your method must be thorough and well documented.

4. Raising team awareness

Ergonomics and UX are everyone’s business. You need to communicate on these topics in internal publications. You need to get people to think about their needs or their potential contributions to UX.

5. Educating managers

This could be the biggest challenge as they may not have the time or desire to work on this topic. To reach them you’ll need to be concise, factual and in sync with their information needs.

6. Studying customers

Observe and analyze the activity, study their feedback, archive test results, and build a knowledge base composed of these items. Always try to increase your knowledge of end users.

7. Making your own test lab

No need for fancy and sophisticated installations here. The requirements are a calm room, a good camera, a computer, and the features you want to test. (You might also consider adding a chair… You know, for ergonomic purposes).

8. Building a dedicated team

Get people who are involved in the user experience to work together and in the same place. This will greatly improve communication and synergy. It will also make it easier to manage and allocate resources for different tasks, according to the progress and requirements of the project. 

9. Making the community grow

It’s interesting to develop a community that does not involve only team members. This may bring fresh perspectives and help resolve some challenges.

10. Developing a training plan

There is nothing better than acting directly at the source. To sustain your efforts in the long run, it’s necessary to bring ergonomics to the heart of the design process by training the staff.

Changing things for the better takes time. We may not agree with Jakob Nielsen when he says it takes about 2 years between each step of the process, but it is obviously a long-term mission. It’s an endurance run that begins with small steps. 

Thank you for reading, we hope you found this article insightful.

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The launch of a business in today’s global economy requires the ability to adapt a company’s strategy to be locale and culture aware. This strategy has to focus on the GILT (Globalization, Internationalization, Localization and Translation) process in order to successfully reach a global audience. A global vision and strategy is therefore essential to succeed in modern markets shaped by the technological progress brought about by the digital revolution, and to be successful in present-day increasingly challenging economical and political frameworks.

UI & UX design strategy

When globalizing a business such as an e-commerce, it is important to first approach the issue of internationalization (i18n) creating a product or service that can potentially be marketed worldwide with the goal to provide a unified user experience, then it is also crucial to proceed with content localization (l10n) making all the necessary adaptations according to the local market and adopting a marketing strategy to raise brand awareness.

Functionality, design and navigation are the key points of each UX strategy. However, user experience cannot only rely on aesthetics, as it is about making sure that systems make sense to people, by appealing to empathy and emotions, so that the user can clearly understand the purpose of the UI and benefit from it to satisfy a certain need. In the context of globalization (g11n), one of the main goals to keep in mind is to provide a unified and coherent global experience by means of a strategy that ensures consistency and compliance with guidelines.

Information processing theory and mental models

Users always approach a new product and its features based on their mental models that are generally formed by education, experience, age, and culture. So, people have expectations and mental models that are based on previous experiences with specific products. Since unexpected surprises popping up as part of the UX or UI can lead to confusion and frustration, the goal of high-quality UX design is to create a process that allows users to accomplish their goals quickly and easily. For this reason, designers should consider users’ expectations to align the design process with users’ existing mental models in order to improve existing products and design new ones – e.g. adopting skeuomorphism, which implies that the UI both looks and functions like its real-world counterpart.

To understand users’ behaviours, habits, and needs, UX designers need to analyse the process of human cognition including the different functions and types of visual attention.

As illustrated by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “some of the most influential theories treat the selectivity of attention as resulting from limitations in the brain’s capacity to process the complex properties of multiple perceptual stimuli. Other theories take the selectivity of attention to be the result of limitations in the thinking subject’s capacity to consciously entertain multiple trains of thought. A third group of theories account for attention’s selectivity in ways that need not make any reference to limitations in capacity”.

Based on the cognitive psychology of attention, which deals with mechanisms of perception forming behaviours, it is possible to identify two ways of visual attention within the context of the human information processing theory: spatial attention (directed to a region) and feature-based attention (directed to a feature). Besides this, there are different types of attention, which are determined by the situation and the intensity of the stimuli: divided (simultaneity of processes), focused (concentration on a target stimulus), sustained (activities requiring attention over a long time) and selective attention (choice of more relevant stimuli).

As a result, the cognitive load needs to be lowered by reducing the options available and consequently the decision time, trying to appeal to the five senses for grabbing attention (e.g.  cocktail-party effect) and to improve GUI design in order to avoid the change blindness effect.

The customer journey through cognitive psychology & neuroscience

Starting with the assumption that human brain is lazy and prone to shortcuts, while cognition is a complex process, it is evident that much of what drives human behaviour is subconscious. According to Kahneman, human thought can be split into reactive (responsible for instinctive cognition) and analytical (applied to more complex scenarios) systems. Most of human decision-making processes belong to the first system of “fast thinking”: even if we don’t perceive it, we tend to make decisions quickly relying upon predefined schemas or mental models. Certain neuroscience techniques (such as eye-tracking cameras, skin sensors and electroencephalograms) have recently been adopted to help UX research to identify what stimulates “fast thinking.”

Based on recent studies of neuroscience, there are some useful tips for designers to create great user experiences:

  • Design should be kept simple so that information is easy retrievable.
  • Priming someone to expect things like elements of the UI, certain interactions, or timing in a process improves the ability to react to new information.
  • Information should be organized for lazy readers: according to the F-pattern commonly used by the brain to scan for information, it is better to organize the text structure so that it is easy scannable, but also using colour theory, weights, and contrast to direct user attention.

Colour is a form of non-verbal communication because choosing a colour means communicating a message that is rooted deep within our subconscious. Colours have a big effect on the user’s experience because they affect users’ mood. Don’t forget: the importance of colour psychology in UI design is pivotal because it can boost conversions and increase profit.

Post-it reminder to run a usability test as part of the UX design process

Usability and accessibility for a successful globalization of your business

To sum up, UX design is the method to meet the users’ needs, while UI design originates from the combination of visual and interaction design. User Interface design ranges from GUIs of computers, mobiles, and tablets to many other devices. Despite the differences between user experience and user interface design, these two aspects are strongly interrelated.

To conclude, when taking a business global, best practice is first of all to focus on usability and accessibility. Especially for small businesses this is a complex and dynamic process requiring a deep understanding of the targeted markets. In particular, there are some key points to bear in mind when dealing with accessibility:

  • Accessibility does not necessarily exclude aesthetics and visual attractiveness, quite the contrary they should be merged into a unique need.
  • Investing in accessibility definitely improves ROI (debunking the myth) as a direct consequence of the following key factor: an enhanced usability, an increased customers’ engagement towards the brand, a wider reach of the target audience, a simplified development and maintenance stages, as well as a compliance with local regulations and guidelines.
  • Understanding the user’s needs implies having empathy in your sights and learning how to address different types of disabilities (ranging from visual to auditory, as well as physical and cognitive up to learning disabilities);
  • Refer to standards to implement a web content, design and development strategy, such as WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) is very important;
  • The User Experience Design (UXD or UED) process can be improved adopting usability tests to create audit reports and identify room for improvements.

Once more, at the heart of UX (just like the globalization, internationalization, localization and translation stages) there is the goal to ensure that users find value in what you are offering them. For this purpose, your priority should be gaining a deep understanding of users’ needs, values, abilities, and limitations. The freedom typical of the current digital world, offers UX designers many opportunities for creativity and innovation. Nevertheless, UI and UX design always has to target accessibility and usability for the end-user as priorities. Indeed, UX best practices strive to encourage a constant enhancement of the user’s interaction with products and services.

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Reference:

The Localization Industry Primer, second edition was revised by Arle Lommel

Publications Manager LISA https://www.immagic.com/eLibrary/ARCHIVES/GENERAL/LISA/L030625P.pdf

Thinking, Fast and Slow (by Daniel Kahneman) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304581886_Thinking_Fast_and_Slow_by_Daniel_Kahneman