Tag Archive: user experience

  1. The Big Picture: Are Your Uploaded Images Affecting Your User Experience?

    User Experience

    I admittedly fall for the mantra of “bigger is better” more often than I’d like to admit. Burgers? Stack em high! TVs? Take up my entire living room wall, please. But when it comes to finding imagery for blogs, I know better than to upload the highest quality file I can find. But wait…don’t our dear readers deserve the biggest and best?

    Well, yes–yes they do. But ginormous (scientific term) images come at a price and provide little benefit past a certain point.

    How Oversized Images Can Ruin User Experience

    Though larger images are of higher quality, that quality can be wasted on your website. Why? Oftentimes, the naked eye can’t tell the difference between an oversized image and one that’s been appropriately resized; however, you’ll be able to feel it. Oversized images take longer for users to load, and if your blog post has multiple massive files, your site can slow to a crawl. Knowing the average modern attention span is next to nil, this can be bad news for your content and website.

    According to a handy article from OM4:

    • Images should be about 80Kb-100Kb or 20Kb-30Kb if the image isn’t the full width of the page
    • 2Mb-3Mb images can be resized to 80Kb-120Kb without too noticeable a dip in quality in most situations
    • Image quality can often be dropped by 30-50% without much consequence to the naked eye
    • When in doubt, after lowering the size of your image, test it side-by-side with the original to ensure your resized image isn’t becoming too pixelated

    It’s great to understand that images can be lowered in quality for the web without much consequence to the naked eye, but how, exactly, can you accomplish that?

    As a Mac-based agency, it’s extremely simple for us and the rest of the Apple fanboys/girls (cult). Simply open your image in Preview, select Tools, Adjust Size and export/save as needed. PC (and Mac users, if so desired) can use third-party image editing tools or Photoshop if available.

    If your website is on the popular WordPress platform, resizing your images is just as simple. Once you upload an image to your desired page, it is automatically loaded with options for Full Size, Medium or Thumbnails–essentially, large, medium and small. This makes choosing a smaller version of your selected image as easy as selecting Medium and moving on. Again, just ensure that your medium-sized image isn’t suffering from blurriness before hitting publish.

    Uploading images to your blog post (and site in general) is all about balance. Finding the perfect size that looks good and “feels” good by avoiding massive photo files that slow down your site is paramount to user experience. So, if you want people to read your content, make sure supporting imagery isn’t making your site a slog.

  2. Microcopy: How Small Phrases Can Have a Big Impact on UX

    microcopy

    Buy Now! Confirm Purchase! Subscribe! At this point, anyone who’s joined an online newsletter, bought a book off of Amazon or secured airline tickets on Expedia has seen these short call-to-action phrases that plead for them to seal the deal. That is called microcopy and it may be short in length, but it is intrinsic to your site’s user experience (UX) and can highly influence whether potential customers buy your product or service.

    The purpose of microcopy is to inspire user action. Whether that action is to add a product to a digital cart, subscribe to a weekly comedy podcast or submit credit card information to begin a free trial of Netflix, there is always a button begging to be clicked.

    Where the strategy comes in is the endless variable that is human psychology. In around three words or less, how can I convince you that clicking this button is worth your time, that entering a search term in my marketplace will yield the results you need, or that tapping “buy” on a checkout page will secure your purchase? Well, there are quite a few important factors to consider.

    Following an extremely helpful guide by Udit Gupta for UX Design, we have compiled and simplified three primary thoughts you should have before carefully crafting your microcopy.

    • Anxiety is the Enemy: As someone with admittedly high levels of anxiety in his personal life, the last thing I want is a case of the nervous sweats before I hit “confirm purchase” at checkout. To battle that stress, effective microcopy will provide supplementary information that puts users’ minds at ease. For instance, maybe an “Add to Cart” button will be paired with microcopy underneath explaining “You will not be charged until checkout.” A little clarity and reassurance go a long way. 
    • Calm the Shock: Would you give your credit card info to a stranger? Of course not. This is the challenge many companies encounter when asking for sensitive information from potential new customers. Explaining exactly why this information is needed is vitally important. Why do I have to enter my phone number in checkout? Why do you need my credit card information when signing up for a free trial? If you can provide some answers, you can calm the shock and knee-jerk “no way” response many people will have to these questions. For example, being upfront about a subscription fee if the user doesn’t unsub before the end of the trial period is vital to not only being ethical but gaining trust.  
    • Ask it Nicely: Though the question itself is important, there’s a lot of power in how you ask it. Microcopy is brief by nature, but that is no excuse for it to be curt or cold. Instead of “Rate Us!”, why not try “How Was Your Experience?” Little touches like this are invaluable to improving user experience and creating lifelong fans (and return customers).

    Microcopy in Action

    What good is advice if we don’t practice what we preach, right? With that in mind, check out how we incorporated some key principles of effective microcopy into our own website to attract new clients and newsletter subscribers.

    microcopy

    1. We spell out our intentions: Findsome & Winmore wants to start a dialogue with you in order to see if we can be of service and potentially begin a partnership.
    2. We ask nicely: Instead of coldly saying “Contact us” or “Inquire for more information,” we ask visitors to “Tell us where you’d like to go…” (which plays off of our exploration-themed branding and is far more welcoming).
    3. We explain what you’re getting: Instead of just saying “Subscribe to our newsletter,” we go into just enough detail to entice and explain what people can expect from us, namely, marketing tips and advice.

    At its core, good microcopy delivers by putting users at ease, explaining what they’re getting into by clicking and making requests nicely. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to insert more personality into your messaging. Though it may be tempting to go with a less-is-more approach, I implore you to take a second to strategize before slapping “BUY NOW” on that digital button and calling it a day. You may not have much room to work with, but with a little creative thinking, you can really maximize your limited word count and make your user experience that much better.