Better Form Design: One Thing Per Page (Case Study)

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In 2008, I worked on They wanted a single-page checkout with the trendiest of techniques from that era, including accordions, AJAX and client-side validation.

Better Form Design: One Thing Per Page

Each step (delivery address, delivery options and credit-card details) had an accordion panel. Each panel was submitted via AJAX. Upon successful submission, the panel collapsed and the next one opened, with a sliding transition.

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Web Design | Search Engine Optimization | Mobile Application Development

92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

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Applications Of Machine Learning For Designers

Omaha Web Design



As a designer, you will be facing more demands and opportunities to work with digital systems that embody machine learning. To have your say about how best to use it, you need a good understanding about its applications and related design patterns.

Applications Of Machine Learning For Designers

This article illustrates the power of machine learning through the applications of detection, prediction and generation. It gives six reasons why machine learning makes products and services better and introduces four design patterns relevant to such applications. To help you get started, I have included two non-technical questions that will help with assessing whether your task is ready to be learned by a machine.

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Branding | Digital Marketing | Advertising Agency | Graphic Design
Web Design | Search Engine Optimization | Mobile Application Development

92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

branding + omaha advertising agency + digital marketing + graphic design
omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps

Improve Your Billing Form’s UX In One Day

Omaha Web Design



The checkout page is the last page a user visits before finally decide to complete a purchase on your website. It’s where window shoppers turn into paying customers. If you want to leave a good impression, you should provide optimal usability of the billing form and improve it wherever it is possible to.

Improve Your Billing Form’s UX In One Day

In less than one day, you can add some simple and useful features to your project to make your billing form user-friendly and easy to fill in. A demo with all the functions covered below is available. You can find its code in the GitHub repository.

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Omaha’s Local Web Design Agency

Branding | Digital Marketing | Advertising Agency | Graphic Design
Web Design | Search Engine Optimization | Mobile Application Development

92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

branding + omaha advertising agency + digital marketing + graphic design
omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps

Algorithm-Driven Design: How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Design

Omaha Web Design



I’ve been following the idea of algorithm-driven design for several years now and have collected some practical examples. The tools of the approach can help us to construct a UI, prepare assets and content, and personalize the user experience. The information, though, has always been scarce and hasn’t been systematic.

Algorithm-Driven Design: How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Design

However, in 2016, the technological foundations of these tools became easily accessible, and the design community got interested in algorithms, neural networks and artificial intelligence (AI). Now is the time to rethink the modern role of the designer.

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Branding | Digital Marketing | Advertising Agency | Graphic Design
Web Design | Search Engine Optimization | Mobile Application Development

92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

branding + omaha advertising agency + digital marketing + graphic design
omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps

Product Design Unification Case Study, Part 2: “Burger-Driven” Framework

Omaha Web Design


In the first part of the case study about Mail.Ru Group product design unification, I described our first approach — a mobile web framework. Aside from creating a unified visual style and interaction principles for a dozen services, we’ve also transformed our design process from the classic “prototype ? design mock-up ? HTML ? implementation” approach for every screen, to a modern and more efficient framework-based approach.

In this second part I’ll show how we have improved the same technology to embody larger versions of these products and made our “Bootstrap on steroids” more powerful. In the spring of 2012, our business unit acquired 11 content-based projects: Auto, Events Guide, Health, Horoscopes, Kids, Lady, Moto, News, Sports, TV, and Weather. Many of them are very successful in their market niche in Russia; however, they each have their own history, often with outsourced designs that led to inconsistencies.

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Product Design Unification Case Study, Part 2: “Burger-Driven” Framework

Omaha Web Design


In the first part of the case study about Mail.Ru Group product design unification, I described our first approach — a mobile web framework. Aside from creating a unified visual style and interaction principles for a dozen services, we’ve also transformed our design process from the classic “prototype ? design mock-up ? HTML ? implementation” approach for every screen, to a modern and more efficient framework-based approach.

In this second part I’ll show how we have improved the same technology to embody larger versions of these products and made our “Bootstrap on steroids” more powerful. In the spring of 2012, our business unit acquired 11 content-based projects: Auto, Events Guide, Health, Horoscopes, Kids, Lady, Moto, News, Sports, TV, and Weather. Many of them are very successful in their market niche in Russia; however, they each have their own history, often with outsourced designs that led to inconsistencies.

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Think Fast! Using Heuristics To Increase Use Of Your Product

Omaha Web Design

People have many tough decisions to make; whether they should use your application or website to accomplish a task shouldn’t be one of them. Your design team can take advantage of our knowledge of the human mind and human behavior by accounting for a number of heuristics, or mental shortcuts, that researchers have identified.

You might be familiar with the term “heuristic” from the UX research method of heuristic evaluation. A heuristic evaluation involves experts evaluating the interface and interactions of a system based on accepted usability best practices. Forget about that for now. In psychology, a heuristic is simply a fancy word meaning mental shortcut. We have so many decisions to make on a daily basis; there is no way we could think about all of the pros and cons of each option. Our minds would be overloaded and we would stop functioning. Some of our decisions become habitual and we make them without thinking. We use heuristics for many other decisions that are routine or that we need to make quickly.

Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two highly regarded academics in the field of economics are responsible for much of what we know about heuristics. In 1979, the researchers published an influential article in the journal Econometrica1 (PDF). The researchers’ thinking on heuristics and decision-making was well received, with Kahneman being honored with a Nobel Prize in economics based in part on this work.

People frequently use heuristics to make decisions; you should use them to your advantage in your design. Here, we’ll discuss four common heuristics that researchers have identified, with examples of how to address them in digital design.

Default Effect

The default effect is the tendency for people not to adjust the default settings of a product. For example, someone purchasing a new car insurance policy is most likely to default to the most popular policy that meets the minimum standards. Why would they spend time becoming an expert on insurance terminology when the insurance company has clearly labeled one policy as meeting the standard? Similarly, someone purchasing a new stereo might not adjust the factory settings. Most people don’t know much about the intricate details of how to tune a stereo; they would assume that the experts who built the stereo shipped it with the best settings as the default.

Not accounting for the default effect could lead to users experiencing frustration and inconvenience and selecting incorrect options, such as with a household item or a website.

Beyond this, researchers have tied the default effect to life or death consequences. Default settings are credited with affecting public health campaigns2 (PDF). Researchers studied differences in European countries that have organ donation defaulted to opt-in versus ones defaulted to opt-out. Countries that default to opt-in had statistically significantly higher donor rates, when controlling for other relevant variables. It seems that making people opt in to organ donation is as big of a barrier as making them opt out. In this situation, making opt-in the default can passively save lives; making opt-out the default can do the opposite.

How the Default Effect Applies to Design

Your product’s default settings are critical; users assume you have their best interests in mind. Jared Spool of UIE reports on a study3 he conducted that found fewer than 5% of users adjusted any of the default settings in Microsoft Word. At the time, auto-save was defaulted to inactive; people were not actively auto-saving their work because they assumed that functions like that were already defaulted to be active. Similarly, a 2011 study4 (PDF) found that Facebook users are confused about the privacy settings and usually assume they have more privacy by default than they really do. Account for the users’ best interest when setting defaults — even if it means more work in coding and design.

Each product will have unique needs and options for default settings. Your design team will need to conduct research with users or potential users. Interview or survey as many users as possible to get a feel for the following:

  • What default settings do users assume will exist?
  • Through which channel do users assume they will receive notifications of product updates (for example, via email or through push notifications)? Is auto-update the preferred default setting?
  • Do users assume that your product is pre-set to consume minimal power, or would they prefer the fastest, most-power-consuming experience out of the box?
  • Do users assume their posts or comments are shared with only certain groups, or are posts public?
  • Do users assume your product automatically backs up information on a regular basis?
  • What products will users expect or need yours to be compatible with out of the box? How are you communicating this to them?
  • How do users want information to be communicated — including, what default alerts will users receive?
  • What is the main context of use? For example, should your product default to invitation-only mode if it is something that enables users to share information or files with others?

Your team can use this information to inform the default settings of your product, as well as to communicate your product to new users. You will need to account for two issues in your communication to users: what the default settings are and how users can change them. You can do this through a comprehensive onboarding experience, one that takes new users through the settings and explains the default options and how to update them. You can also do this through effective messaging and guidance within your product.

Slack5, the team communication platform, provides a good example of how to make users aware of the default settings and how to update them. As you can see in the screenshot below, Slack provides clear notifications about settings both within the preferences section and when the product is being used.

Slack makes users aware of the default settings and how to change them. (View large version7)

Scarcity Heuristic

People are motivated to action when they perceive an item’s availability to be limited in quantity or time. People like to feel they are members of an exclusive group or have access to things that others would consider valuable. The more scarce something is perceived to be, the more it is assumed to be valuable, thus promoting action. We see this when an e-commerce website shows us that a product’s quantity is limited or that a limited number of users will have access to a product.

How the Scarcity Heuristic Applies to Design

Your design team should identify opportunities to enhance the user’s perception of scarcity of your product’s availability or exclusivity. Are you able to offer a pre-release to people who agree to purchase the final product? If so, consider doing that. Can you offer different levels of membership or access to your product? A certain number of users will want to enjoy the feeling that they have access to features or functionality that others don’t have. Can you show users how much of your product remains? Dick’s Sporting Goods (shown below) is an example of how many e-commerce websites apply the scarcity heuristic: putting certain items on sale for a limited time.

Scarcity is a powerful motivator to get users to commit to your product, but it can also backfire. I have unsubscribed from countless retailers that have bombarded me with daily emails promoting a “24-hour-only sale” or the like. I not only unsubscribe from these emails, but lose trust in that retailer. Your users don’t have the time or desire to delete your daily “24-hour-only sale” emails. Send them one email, occasionally, that offers a real limited deal — or else find a different strategy.

Dick’s Sporting Goods offers “flash” sales on its website.8
Dick’s Sporting Goods offers “flash” sales on its website. The flash sale is a regular feature, although the items on sale change. Users might check back regularly to see what new items are on sale. (View large version9)

Naïve Diversification

The naïve diversification heuristic states that people tend to make choices that are more diverse when multiple options are presented to them at once, rather than sequentially. For example, when asked to choose five candies from a selection of ten types, people will tend to choose a variety. On the other hand, when asked to choose one candy from among ten types once a week for five weeks in a row, people are more likely to select the same one. This heuristic has major implications for when and how we present our users with options. People choose what they really want when forced to make a single choice, but are more random when given the option.

How Naïve Diversification Applies to Design

Naïve diversification is relevant to digital design because people are easily distracted. Keep them on task by making your interactions as user-friendly and focused as possible. Consider the desired outcome of your users’ engagement with your product: Do you want them to make one particular choice or a variety of choices. If you want users to make one choice, present them with one choice at a time, over time. If you want them to select multiple or diverse options, allow them to select from all available options at once.

Woot10, a discount goods website, focuses on one screen of information when users are creating an account. Users are asked to provide only basic information on one screen to begin. The vendor can get more detailed information once users have signed up and have seen the value of the product.

Woot removes distractions and focuses on acquiring critical information from users11
Woot removes distractions and focuses on acquiring critical information from users. (View large version12)

Offer a personalized experience that focuses the user’s attention on the information or products they need, based on who they are. You can also combat naïve diversification by surfacing recommendations based on affinity analysis13 and the user’s past behavior. Amazon provides an excellent example of how to address naïve diversification; it attempts to do most of the thinking for the customer when it surfaces various data:

  • “buy it again” (previously purchased items);
  • previously viewed items;
  • recommendations based on current and past purchases;
  • what other users have purchased when they have purchased a product you are viewing.

Users know they will have a quick experience when they go to Amazon to purchase a product they have viewed or purchased in the past; this keeps them coming back. As it turns out, users don’t want to go somewhere else and start all over with a new browsing and purchasing history.

My wife’s Amazon recommendations, heavily influenced by a recent addition to our family14
My wife’s Amazon recommendations, heavily influenced by a recent addition to our family. (View large version15)

Fluency Heuristic

People tend to make decisions based on which option is easiest to process; speed is king. The fluency heuristic comes into play when someone has to choose from among multiple options that lead to similar outcomes. An example would be someone being asked what they would like to eat for lunch. Ten things might come to mind very quickly. The fluency heuristic suggests that the person will end up choosing the option that comes to mind most quickly; they would assign a higher value to that option because they can retrieve it from memory most quickly.

Another example would be to ask someone about the best way to bake a cake. The solution that comes to mind will most likely be based on the person’s experience and preference. They will likely value that option as the highest (or best), even if they subsequently think of other (potentially better) options, due to the speed at which they were able to process the original thought.

What would your first thought be if you suddenly felt a sharp pain in your chest as you are reading this article: Heart attack? Heartburn? Too much coffee? Pulled muscle? Your first reaction will likely be the one you consider the most valid. If you thought it was a heart attack and called an ambulance, only to find it is heartburn, you would feel embarrassed. If you thought it was heartburn and took an antacid but it turned out to be a heart attack, you would be dead. Your initial thought will likely dictate the action you take.

How the Fluency Heuristic Applies to Design

The fluency heuristic suggests that users will choose the option that they can process the fastest, because they will think that is the best option. This speaks to the need for your team to understand the user’s point of view when you present them with information and options. You need to understand the user’s current reference point for the functions you want to include in your design. You also need to communicate in language that is free of jargon and easily understood. Some areas to apply these principles include the following:

  • Search
    How are you presenting search results to users? They will assume that the results they easily understand have priority over others. Is that true? Do your results highlight key words and phrases that make the connection to the initial query clear to users?
  • Content
    How are your presenting content and topics? Users will assume that content that is easier to understand (quicker to process) is more important. Present content that is easy to understand first in order to coax users to a more in-depth exploration of the topic. Also, don’t, for example, use four fonts and four colors in the same paragraph; that would impede the reader’s ability to process the information.
  • Updates and alerts
    How are you ordering and titling alerts? Users will regard the first alerts they can process as the most critical. “Security warning!” is faster to process than “Potential unauthorized account usage detected!”
  • Navigation
    Is your navigation’s hierarchy inline with the user’s understanding of each major content area? If your website is about food and recipes, you wouldn’t include “Food” as a submenu of “Recipes”; you’d want them both to be immediately visible to users.
Like Google, people assume that results that are easy to process and related to their topic are most important16
Like Google, people assume that results that are easy to process and related to their topic are most important. (View large version17)

The fluency heuristic has implications for how you market your product. Will potential users receive and process the message that your product meets their need? Have you made sure your product is the first one that comes to mind as a solution to the problem you are designing for? Do users have an immediate positive reaction upon hearing of your product? Try to keep your product near the top of all review lists (with positive reviews) and any other websites that consolidate and list what is available for users in your field. Users associate the quickest and easiest option to process — most likely the one at the top of the list — as being the best option.

The fluency heuristic also applies to those of us on design teams. We, too, might assume that the first option that comes to mind is the best. Have we verified this with users? If the first solution that comes to mind is to make a product social or to make it mobile-focused, what are you basing that on? Do you tend to assume that users want the thing that comes up first in team meetings? If so, you need to step back and make better-informed decisions. Testing ideas through usability testing, contextual inquiry and other UX research methods of gathering direct feedback from potential users will help us avoid assuming that the idea most quickly processed is the best.

Case Study: Expedia

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for applying heuristics to a design. Work with your design team (including researchers and developers) to identify which heuristics most apply to your product. Let’s walk through a brief case study of how Expedia, the online travel company, hits and misses the marks covered in this article.

I frequently use Expedia to research and book trips for work and leisure. Expedia has accounted for a number of heuristics that make it easier for me to book a trip. As you see in the image below, Expedia defaults to my home airport (Philadelphia) when I land on its home page. It knows my home airport because it asked me to identify it during the onboarding process. Otherwise, I’d probably not have taken the time to update my settings.

Expedia also defaults to searching for roundtrip flights. I’m not sure if this is based on my behavior, but I am sure that I have never used Expedia to do anything other than book a roundtrip flight. I don’t mix my flight bookings with hotel bookings. Finally, Expedia provides a default alert at the top of the page informing me of credit I have to use as a result of points earned through its loyalty program. Although I wouldn’t normally book a hotel room through Expedia, I might do so if the room were free. I would not have any idea of my rewards balance if the default was to hide this message.

Expedia addresses naïve diversification in at least two ways in the image below. First, it defaults to booking a flight from my home city to the last city I searched for. This is great if I am picking up where I left off: My dates are set, my location is set, I don’t need any more options, and I am focused on this flight. However, I can easily diversify by clicking “Add a hotel” and/or “Add a car.” This will bring up additional search options, diversifying my experience if I want. If I don’t come back to book this trip to Columbus, I can navigate to the “My Scratchpad” area and see all of the flights I have searched for over a period of time. This also addresses naïve diversification, allowing me to easily stay focused on booking the flight I need, not getting lost daydreaming about a fantasy trip to some exotic location. If I am traveling for business and in a hurry, Expedia has met my needs by focusing on the naïve diversification heuristic.

Expedia addresses naïve diversification in at least two ways18
Expedia addresses naïve diversification in at least two ways. (View large version19)

Expedia addresses scarcity in a number of ways. The image below shows some of the sales Expedia highlights on its home page. Each deal is tied to a specific timeframe. The “Daily deal” description states that a new deal is offered daily (if so, I approve). The Father’s Day coupon is a promotion to encourage use of the Expedia app. Unfortunately, the Expedia app suffers many usability issues and is disconnected from the desktop experience. I would not recommend driving traffic to another channel until you have made that channel’s experience fully functional.

Expedia addresses scarcity in a number of ways.20
Expedia addresses scarcity in a number of ways. (View large version21)

Expedia’s product inherently addresses fluency. If it didn’t, Expedia wouldn’t stand a chance in its market. Expedia consolidates a number of airline and hotel websites. Users will recognize the ease with which they can compare a number of airlines, hotels and car rental providers on Expedia’s website alone, rather than navigating to multiple websites for each category of travel.

Take another look at the images above and see whether you can find other ways in which Expedia addresses the heuristics we’ve covered. Can you find any ways that Expedia could improve on how they address any of the heuristics? Again, you don’t need to address every heuristic in every experience, as long as the approach is seamless and makes for a better experience.


We strengthen a design when we reduce the user’s cognitive load. We can accomplish this by accounting for heuristics. Heuristics do not involve trickery or deceit; they take advantage of an understanding of users and human behavior. We have discussed four of the many heuristics you can account for in a design. Review your current design and any future designs to determine how you might account for one or more of them. Also, try to recognize where you or your colleagues might be using a heuristic (for example, the fluency heuristic) in your assumptions about users and the features in your design.

Additional Resources

  • “Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior,” Shlomo Benartzi and Richard H. Thaler, The Journal of Economic Perspectives (2007), pages 81–104
  • “Heuristic Decision Making,” Gerd Gigerenzer and Wolfgang Gaissmaier, Annual Review of Psychology (2011: 62), pages 451–482
  • “Why Heuristics Work,” Gerd Gigerenzer, Perspectives on Psychological Science (2008: 3/1), pages 20–29
  • “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk,” Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society, (1979), pages 263—291.

You can learn about the application of more heuristics and other psychological concepts to digital design in my upcoming book Design for the Mind. Order the early-access version of the book from Manning Publications.

Image credit (Excerpt): Markus Spiske22

(cc, ml, al)


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How To Create Effective App Screenshots For Your App Page

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Slowly but surely, the official app stores of iTunes, Google Play and Windows Phone Marketplace have transformed into a digital battlefield. App developers have to fight for recognition or otherwise be drowned in an ocean of competing mobile applications.

App store optimization (ASO), a strategy similar to SEO but specifically applied to the app pages in app stores, has become a handy addition to an app developer’s marketing plan, and promises to help increase visibility – and, as a consequence, downloads – of a mobile app.

ASO consists of many elements, and should be considered a key component of publishing an app in an app store of choice. It encompasses every detail of a mobile app’s page, and can be split into on-page and off-page elements.

On-page app store optimization elements include all components that appear directly on an app page on the relevant app store. On-page elements are:

  • app name and title
  • app description
  • app icon
  • app screenshots and videos
  • app category

Off-page app store optimization elements are external links that lead to the app page. They also encompass reviews by users, as they are not controlled by the publisher of the app. Off-page elements include:

  • app rating, reviews and comments
  • app recommendation pages
  • dedicated app landing page or website
  • press coverage
  • advertising
  • social paid and organic discovery options

While ASO requires some adjustments on all of the above elements, it is vitally important for an app to undergo all checks before being presented to the world. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at app screenshots, one of the two key decision-making helpers for anyone who downloads an app.

Why Care?

In today’s digital age, steady information flow and social media madness are making it almost impossible to get someone to stay focused on what you want to tell them – even if it’s just about a simple app page. We’re constantly distracted, and we (think we) don’t have the time to sit still and listen or read for a moment. Research suggests that our attention span has reduced to eight seconds1. The guys over at Slate wrote an interesting article about the same phenomenon, and why you won’t read to the end of an article2 any more.

We are going back to the principle that the first impression counts: you have a bare few seconds to command attention; use them wisely to arouse interest and get the viewer to click, scroll and download.

The importance of app screenshots is communicated in a clear message. Apple’s iTunes has undergone quite a revolution, where app screenshots have pushed app descriptions to the background and taken the front page on the app search, and the app page as well. This is the change from iOS 6 to iOS 73. Now, with iOS 8 in use, Apple continues to focus on imagery rather than text4. Same goes for Android.

Google Play6 has moved screenshots above the page fold. (View large version7)

The design of an app represents the key factor for almost 50% of people to say yay or nay to an app. This factor is surpassed only by app reviews and ratings. While app reviews belong to the off-page factors and cannot easily be influenced, app screenshots are on-page factors and can be entirely tailored to your needs. App design – and the corresponding screenshots of it – should take the #1 spot in an app developer’s marketing prep list.

Visual communication is certainly faster than verbal communication. Hence, putting sharp focus on your app’s design and creating visually appealing screenshots can only bring good to your mission.

Getting Started With The Basics

App screenshots should not be selected randomly. The best practice is to pick those screenshots that best explain your app’s purpose.

The major app stores allow you a total of five images to relay your message. Is your app a messenger app for teenagers? A fitness app for pregnant women? A mobile scanner? A jump-n-run adventure game? You need to make sure anyone can get the point by viewing your screenshots.

Another way to approach app screenshots is by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What problem does my app solve?
  • What is unique and special about it?

If you can answer these questions visually with your app screenshots, you’re on to a winner and half of the work is done. Should you struggle to find the answer to these questions at hand, let’s dig further.

About Uniqueness

No matter what task you’d like to accomplish, there is probably an app for that. It might even be that there are 10, 50 or 100 apps for that. Coming up with an app that is truly unique and a first-timer is very rare. Instead, the trend is going in two directions: either building huge interconnected app platforms like Salesforce, providing all-in-one solutions; or creating micro-apps – apps that tackle one little problem in the vast landscape of daily struggles. More often than not, you think you might have a first-timer, only to find a set of competitors when you have already advanced into the development phase of things.

The real world and the digital world today are overstimulated and oversaturated. There are hundreds of options for each thing you need – from tablecloths to entertainment systems – and we’re overloaded with a supply of millions of variations of the same thing.

In this day and age, the key is distinction and not uniqueness. We live in a competitive environment, and even if you were to build something that has glimpse of uniqueness to it, you’d soon be faced with competitors and find yourself again in this competitive situation.

Distinction can be found in a number of aspects that pertain to app design and their screenshots in particular. Here are a few possible examples:

  • Your app allows your user to conclude the action in just three steps, where competitor apps take five and more steps to accomplish the task (think of a photo app that allows you to apply filters on the go and upload it to your account instantly).
  • Your app builds on advanced touchscreen technology, embraces UX and UI principles, and replaces buttons with swipes (think of a dating app that lets you swipe left and right to like or dismiss a potential match).
  • Your app integrates with other services and makes it easier to transfer data from one app to another (think of a scanner app that allows you to upload a document directly to your cloud storage account).

I think you get the point. The objective is to do something better than someone else, and find a way to describe this advantage in a visual demonstration.

About the Technical Ins and Outs

App stores are adamant about the framework they provide. Find some general guidelines for your app screenshots here: sizes, dimensions, number of screenshots, DPI, file formats.

Google Play8 iTunes9 Windows Phone Marketplace10
Sizes According to supported device According to supported device According to supported device
Dimensions Minimum 320px
Maximum 3840px
According to supported device According to supported device
Number of screenshots Minimum of 2
Up to 8 total
Minimum of 1
Up to 5 total
Minimum of 1
Up to 8 total
DPI 72dpi
File formats JPG or PNG JPG or PNG JPG

About Order

One rule applies: put your most important screenshot first. There is no point in following a logical order – if you think your users need to understand the app’s steps, you’re wrong. You only have a few seconds: it’s in your best interest to put your best foot forward and get them hooked on your app as quickly as possible.

Things You Can Point Out With Your Screenshots

Without any further diversions, let’s take a look at some of the best use cases for app screenshots.

The Main Screen and What Your App Does

The most commonly used screenshot is the “what your app does” capture. Typically, it illustrates the main screen of the app, with an understandable amount of content so that the user can evaluate whether it is a good fit.

Spring11 provides a nice screenshot of the directory screen, perfect to display the clean design of the app. The Homework12 app lays out its most important screen and gives you an overview of what you get. Threes13 keeps it simple. A real screenshot of what the app really looks like. No added text, no distractions. It so happens to be that their app is really well designed, and won an award for that reason, too!

Spring, Homework and Threes show their main screens and what their apps do. (View large version15)
Important Notes
  • Keep it as clear and self-explanatory as possible.
  • Highlight the core purpose of your app.

Feature Overviews and What Your App Includes

Other interesting captures are how your app is set up and how it works. Including a screenshot of your menu overview or additional features can help someone decide to choose your app. You must ensure, however, that your screenshot remains easily understandable.

The menu overview of Apple’s Healthbook16 emphasizes options and design at the same time.

Apple’s Healthbook emphasizes options and design at the same time.

PressViewer17 approaches the overview question differently. Instead of packing all its features into one screenshot, it uses all five slots to showcase the app’s functions in an easy step-by-step overview (no longer available on the app store).

PressViewer approaches the overview question differently. (View large version19)
Important Notes
  • This is probably not the best app screenshot to place first.
  • You can score with your design skills here. Use them to add value to your app by differentiating from other apps.

Behavior of Your App and How Your App Is Used

If your app deviates from the traditional functionalities like tapping and scrolling, don’t be afraid to show it. There are some very interesting ways to showcase your app’s behavior.

Inbox by Google20 is a very agile app. By swiping left or right, you can mark messages as read or snoozed. Currency21 uses dragging functionality to spice up the app. Slide to the left to erase the number you previously inserted.

Inbox by Google and Currency demonstrate their behavior. (View large version23)

Swype24 tells the user how to compose words by swiping across the keyboard instead of tapping.

Swype also demonstrates its functionality. (View large version26)
Important Notes
  • Creativity is key. Find a way to intrigue the user so they want to try it out!
  • Add the intended movements as an overlay to the app screenshot as a means of demonstration.

Additional Text to Describe the App Screenshot

Over time, a clear trend has developed in the app screenshot niche: instead of using the available space to illustrate just the app screen, now developers shrink their screenshots to make space for some additional descriptive text.

Asana27 briefly describes what the app screenshot demonstrates. TeamStuff28 uses the extra text strategy, and gets creative with the placement of the text. Instead of the traditional overhead two-liner, the info is placed in the bottom right corner.

Asana and TeamStuff use additional text to describe their apps. (View large version30)
Important Notes
  • This is one of the very best practices, not to be left out!
  • Be careful not to overdo it. Two lines should absolutely suffice to state your case.
  • Ensure that your text remains readable.

Including Media Mentions and Awards

If you have received recognition for your awesome mobile app, don’t be shy to brag about it! Adding award icons to your screenshot can add that extra bit of credibility to the decision-making process.

Good.co31 emphasizes its app’s four main features, along with some important media mentions to create credibility and interest. SkyView Free32 includes its awards in the app screenshot.

08-skyview-goodco-opt-small33 and SkyView Free show media mentions and awards. (View large version34)
Important Notes
  • Be careful not to clutter up your screenshot space.
  • Only use true comments. You wouldn’t want to create a false image.

Understand How Design Works

The design of your app screenshots will greatly depend on the design of your app. While you should follow the same fonts, colors and style you used to create your mobile app, you do have some room to improve the looks of your app in your app screenshots.

Font, Color and Style

Should you decide to add a line or two of descriptive text in your app screenshots (as suggested above), pick a font that corresponds with those you used in your app. It creates a uniform impression. For your app screenshot outline, choose a color scheme that fits your app’s design. You are not restricted to the same colors across all your available screenshots, so feel free to pick custom colors for every screenshot. Stick to your theme and style. If your app is playful, make your app screenshots playful. If your app is minimalistic, apply the same approach to your app screenshots.

Pocket35 uses the same font throughout the app and the additional description. Aconex36 uses extra text (in a creative setting!) to share further details on what the app does and offers. It gives the developer extra room to communicate the app’s purpose. The font is not the same as in the app, but it looks like handwriting and fits the app theme.

Pocket and Aconex use fonts creatively to enhance their app screenshots. (View large version37)

Trim & Tone38 stands out because the developers opted to tilt the phone instead of making it stand straight. The color scheme and style of the app is seamlessly integrated into the screenshots as well. SnipSnap39 sticks to the green color scheme in the screenshots.

Trim & Tone and SnipSnap show effective use of color.

DiscoFingers40 is available in different countries, and therefore shows the user the app as it is available in that specific country store. All app stores allow you to create app pages for specific languages and countries – a very effective method to personalize a user’s experience.

Two different screenshots for DiscoFingers’ international markets. (View large version42)
Important Notes
  • Whether you use a solid color or blurred lines, ensure that they don’t interfere with your app screenshot and the message the screenshot sends.
  • Consult color palettes to discover interesting color matches you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
  • Less is more. Remember, you are trying to show the viewer what your app really looks like in use.
  • Don’t forget to consider customization: create screenshots that appeal to your user’s nationality, culture, language, and so on.

Show Motion

Another up and coming approach is to present an app in use. Applying this practice makes the appearance even more real.

Paper43 surprised the world with some great new motion features: when tilting the app, the image seems to move along, offering the viewer a wider angle; the app also works with the cards concept, where you can drag and drop topics in and out of your newsfeed. Peek Calendar44 emphasizes the motion options within the app, showing how conveniently each day can be expanded to display all appointments of the day, or collapsed to get an overview of the workload distributed across the week. Cycloramic45 shows how it enables the iPhone to rotate around its y-axis to capture a panoramic picture.

Important Notes
  • Keep it simple and easily understandable.
  • Make it fun! Use your creativity and good design skills to show the user what is so great about your app.

A successful app page depends on many factors – and always on the app itself. Technology is a highly dynamic field, and requires constant updates in order to keep up with the ever evolving environment. Redesigning your app is a necessary step along the way. Most developers choose to time their redesign ideas based on software update requirements given by Google and Apple.

When creating your app screenshots you should pick one or two of the guidelines mentioned in this article and stick with them throughout all your screenshots; you wouldn’t want to overcrowd your designs.

A List Of Tools To Create Screenshots

Now that you’ve been through all the possible tips, tricks and inspiration boards possible, it’s time to get going! Whether you’re a professional or beginner, one of the following tools can come in handy in designing your screenshots:

  • Adobe Photoshop46 and Illustrator47 are great tools for those who know how to use them! Photoshop Online is available for $19.99 a month as part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud package offering. A 30-day free trial is also available.
  • Visme48 is the best option for those with limited software skills and high ambitions. Visme allows you dive in and create your screenshots with all your desired additions and details. Visme is free for up to three projects, then plans start at $6 a month.
  • Screenshot App49 is probably the fastest option to create screenshots that look good. Pick your format, add the screenshot and put some extra text in it. Done! Screenshot App is free to use.
  • Placeit50 is especially useful if you are looking to use screenshots that represent real-life use. Placeit provides a catalogue of situational scenarios you can choose from to represent your app’s use. Low-res images can be downloaded free. Placeit also offers subscription packages and one-time downloads for as little as $8.

Test-Drive Your Designs

In order to check that your app screenshots really hit the spot, it is necessary to test and monitor their performance. Frequently visit your developer dashboard on iTunes, Google Play or Windows Phone Marketplace and closely monitor user feedback. If you have followers and fans who you can draw feedback from, do so by creating surveys to collect answers. You can create beautiful surveys and questionnaires using Typeform51 and find out what users think of your app design (don’t forget to reward them for their input!).


As mentioned above, two main elements account for most app downloads; app screenshots and app ratings. This article covered the importance of app screenshots in full.

You have learned why they matter; you have come to understand how to determine what screenshots matter the most. You’ve also gotten examples of apps that do it right, and have immense success because of their visual appeal – which they communicated very well in their app screenshots!

To summarize, the most important takeaway lessons of this article are:

  • Use all your available screenshot slots and put your most important screenshot first.
  • Follow clear design guidelines and help your user understand your app from the first second.

The success of your app definitely does not depend solely on its looks: it has to be functional and solve someone’s problem (for example, a mobile scanner app), or enhance a current experience (for example, a nice camera app). But, given the human attraction to looks and visual cues, giving app screenshots a good amount of focus cannot be wrong.

In the next article, we’ll examine app ratings, and how you can influence what your users will say about your app.

Do you want to discuss any points that were mentioned here? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

(ml, og)


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The post How To Create Effective App Screenshots For Your App Page appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Omaha’s Local Web Design Agency

Five Characteristics Of An Innovation

Omaha Web Design

The “diffusion of improvements” principle of communications skilled and rural sociologist Everett Rogers makes an attempt to determine and clarify the elements that result in individuals and teams adopting improvements (new concepts and applied sciences). Design groups that account for each usability and the way individuals undertake innovation stand a a lot higher probability of getting customers settle for and use their merchandise.

The diffusion of improvements is a posh course of; design groups can use their information of the idea to create a street map for a way they’ll tackle important elements within the design and advertising of their product.

I coated the varieties of adopters and the steps within the strategy of adoption within the first article of this collectionB. This second article presents the 5 traits of an innovation that decide its use. According to the diffusion of improvements principle, how nicely an innovation addresses these traits will decide individuals’s lengthy-time period adoption of an innovation. Design groups can handle many elements of those traits.

Characteristics Of An Innovation

Individuals don’t mechanically undertake new merchandise. They make a acutely aware choice of whether or not to make use of a specific one. That is, their choice to undertake an innovation is deliberate. This is the third step within the strategy of adopting an innovation, coated within the first article. Design groups should proactively handle this step if they need people to determine on lengthy-time period use of their product.

The diffusion of improvements principle identifies the next 5 traits that decide individuals’s use of an innovation.

Relative Advantage

Relative benefit measures how improved an innovation is over a competing choice or the earlier era of a product. Potential customers have to see how an innovation improves their present state of affairs. Improvements may be in a single or many of those areas:

  • higher service,
  • consolidation of a number of features into one software,
  • decreased want for provides and gear,
  • empowerment of customers,
  • improved interface,
  • elevated customizability,
  • elevated longevity,
  • elevated productiveness,
  • decreased consumer effort,
  • lowered environmental impression,
  • saving of cash,
  • saving of area or storage,
  • saving of time.

In the Nineteen Eighties and early ’90s, pc phrase-processing packages WordStar and WordPerfect demonstrated relative benefit over present merchandise. Most workplaces used typewriters, which took up a variety of area, carried out just one perform and required servicing, provides (sort ribbons, whiteout, and so on.) and elements regularly (they have been additionally fairly loud).

As computer systems turned extra prevalent, WordStar and WordPerfect freed customers from typewriters. The relative benefit was apparent. The phrase-processing packages didn’t require any further bodily area apart from the private pc, which already did quite a lot of different workplace duties; they lowered the necessity for ink and correction tape; paperwork could possibly be simply edited previous to printing; and information might be saved and transported for modifying on different computer systems utilizing floppy disks. Soon, typewriters have been being phased out of workplaces and changed with these pc phrase-processing packages.

Word-processing packages: Typewriters, you might have met your match. (View giant modelO)

Relevance to your design staff

Your design workforce might want to handle relative benefit in a number of methods. Let’s face it: If relative benefit isn’t inherent to your product, then it isn’t an innovation, and it won’t be a enterprise value pursuing in any respect. Your workforce ought to determine the potential relative benefit of your product within the planning levels of improvement. From that time on, your workforce ought to sharpen and improve any relative benefit that your product has over the merchandise of potential rivals.

Market analysis, UX analysis’s awkward cousinA, ought to inform the underlying logic that drives your innovation’s objective. Have you recognized the demand on your innovation? What competing merchandise at present exist? Highlighting the difficulty that your innovation addresses and the way it does so are good methods to start out investigating the place your innovation’s relative benefit ought to lie.

You will have to be specific concerning the relative benefit of your product in your advertising. How is your product an enchancment over an present product? How does it tackle an unmet want? Your design ought to clearly accomplish each of this stuff. Your advertising supplies ought to clearly present how your product provides customers an edge over competing merchandise.

Your design group might want to conduct consumer analysis to again up your claims. For instance, if you will say that your product is simpler or extra environment friendly than a competing product, then you’ll need knowledge to again up this assertion. Have you examined customers of your product towards customers of a competing product? Do customers of one other product discover it missing in a means that your product addresses? Does your product save individuals cash or scale back their reliance on a number of merchandise by consolidating quite a few features? Prove it, after which tout that reality in your promoting.


Compatibility refers back to the degree of compatibility that an innovation has with people as they assimilate it into their lives. Potential adopters have to know that your innovation can be suitable with their life and way of life. If an innovation requires an enormous way of life change or if the consumer should purchase further merchandise to make your innovation work, then it’s extra more likely to fail. Innovations meet with the best success when customers are capable of seamlessly undertake them — once they exchange an present product or concept, for the higher.

Apple’s iPad is an instance of an innovation that had a excessive degree of compatibility with potential customers’ lives when launched. Many customers have been capable of substitute merchandise they have been presently utilizing when the iPad was launched, resembling smartphones and laptop computer computer systems to verify their e mail, to learn books, magazines and blogs and to view movies on-line.

Relevance to your design group

Your design staff wants to know the infrastructure they’re designing for, in addition to what the deliberate enhancements to the infrastructure might be. You wouldn’t design an electrical-powered innovation for a group that doesn’t have entry to, or consider in, electrical energy. You want a deep understanding of the circumstances that your innovation will probably be met with upon launch. Answer the next questions when fascinated by your innovation’s compatibility:

  • How will your innovation match into customers’ lives?
  • What shifts in conduct might want to happen on your innovation to be adopted?
  • What further merchandise shall be required on your innovation to succeed (for instance, a excessive-velocity Internet connection, a cell phone plan with knowledge, gasoline)?
  • What present merchandise does your innovation substitute?
  • How does your innovation match with potential adopters’ psychological mannequin, beliefs and attitudes relating to the difficulty your innovation will tackle?

The questions above are usually not complete. They are supposed to spotlight a design staff’s want to concentrate on the traits of adopters as completely as they’re conscious of their very own innovation’s traits. To be clear, the success of your innovation will rely in your workforce making certain that the innovation aligns with potential customers’ beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors.

Ensuring compatibility doesn’t imply that your innovation can’t be chopping- or bleeding-edge, simply that you must know issues are shifting within the course your design is taking them. Let’s look at the iPad’s success as soon as once more, noting how key elements associated to compatibility have been in place to assist make sure the product’s success.

The iPad got here on the proper time within the evolution of individuals’s beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and know-how. Many people and companies had reached a stage the place they believed that new applied sciences to simplify every day actions have been continually rising (perception), and that this can be a good factor (angle). Individuals have been already utilizing laptop computer computer systems and smartphones to surf the Web and to make digital transactions whereas away from their desktops (conduct). Wi-Fi Internet entry was almost ubiquitous amongst companies and households in city and suburban areas, which allowed the iPad to perform as a useful gizmo in most areas (know-how); additionally, cell phone know-how introduced a extra superior choice for customers who have been prepared to pay for fixed entry to the Internet. Lastly, sufficient adopters have been prepared to spend cash on most of these applied sciences to point out that it was a viable choice to later adopters (conduct). These elements aligned to create the right timing for the iPad to be suitable with adopters’ lives.

Just add iPad: instantly compatible with users’ livesH
Just add iPad: immediately suitable with customers’ lives (View giant modelS)

Apple’s in depth information of their market led to the iPad’s success. The iPad would almost definitely not have had the identical success if it had been launched previous to ubiquitous Wi-Fi or the mass availability of digital films and music. Your design group ought to have as robust an understanding of your potential market and what circumstances have to be current to make sure the compatibility of your innovation with adopters’ lives. If the success of your innovation will depend on the supply of one other product, you then’ll have to know that this product is, or can be, widespread sufficient that it gained’t intrude with potential adopters’ potential to make use of the features of your product.

Complexity vs. Simplicity

Complexity or simplicity refers to how troublesome it’s for adopters to study to make use of an innovation. Complexity slows down the gears of progress. The extra complicated an innovation, the harder it is going to be for potential adopters to include it into their lives. Potential adopters don’t often price range a lot time for studying to make use of an innovation. The extra intuitive an innovation, the extra probably it is going to be adopted.

An Oreo cookie-separating contraption is an instance of creating one thing too complicated to be helpful. Even if individuals felt they wanted a machine to separate their Oreos, the extent of effort required to make use of such a tool can be prohibitive to adoption. Potential adopters would wish to learn and reread an instruction guide to make sure they’re setting it up appropriately. This machine is one other illustration of the attribute of compatibility. The machine’s measurement makes it incompatible for potential adopters who would not have a whole room to dedicate to an Oreo-separating machine. A handheld or pocket-sized model of this innovation can be more likely to satisfy with success.

Relevance to your design group

Your group ought to design with simplicity in thoughts. Scrutinize each element of your product to make sure alignment with the aim of your innovation. High tech shouldn’t mechanically imply a excessive studying curve. Conduct usability testing in your product as an ordinary apply. Usability check findings have a number of clear purposes on this regard:

  • Iterate on the design of your product. Usability check findings ought to inform these iterations. Address workflows that customers have struggled with, make clear terminology that customers have discovered unfamiliar, and current info in a method that aligns with customers’ psychological mannequin.
  • If your staff is unable to deal with the usability points that customers have recognized, then make clear these points by means of FAQs, software ideas, walkthrough movies and different studying materials.
  • If your innovation is complicated or has normal and superior settings, a cheerful medium is obtainable. “Quick begin” or automated set-up is an instance of what number of companies have simplified difficult improvements. If you buy a brand new tv or pc, it should most certainly include a single sheet of paper that describes tips on how to shortly arrange the product for primary use. Basic use is sweet sufficient for most individuals. A longer guide on how you can manipulate superior options can also be included or made out there as a downloadable PDF. This permits energy customers to benefit from the bells and whistles.
Amazon’s fireTV quick start guide. The full guide is 39 pages long.S
Amazon’s fireTV fast begin information. The full information is 39 pages lengthy. (View giant modelH)


Trialability describes how simply potential adopters can discover your innovation. Trialability is important to facilitating the adoption of an innovation. Potential customers need to see what your innovation can do and provides it a check run earlier than committing. This is the underlying idea of trial sizes for tangible items, and demo or beta releases for digital items. Potential adopters can see for themselves what life is perhaps like as soon as they undertake the product.

Relevance to your design staff

Your workforce might want to make your product out there to potential adopters to check drive. Digital designs have traits that inherently permit for trialability. There are many examples of methods to accomplish this with a digital product. Sirius XM gives a 30-day trial, hoping that customers understand throughout this era that paying the complete subscription worth is value with the ability to proceed listening to the audio channels.

You can supply a free model of your innovation with restricted performance, with the choice to improve for entry to further options. does this successfully by providing a much less function-wealthy free model of its display-sharing product. The free model of shows choices that turn into obtainable by means of a paid account (for instance, “Pass” presenter position and “Share” mouse management). Users of the free product see the profit they might derive by upgrading to a paid subscription. When customers of the free model discover themselves in a state of affairs the place they want to share management of their mouse, they’ll assume more durable about the advantages of upgrading to a paid account. Sure you can share mouse control, but it’ll cost you.N Sure you’ll be able to share mouse management, nevertheless it’ll value you. (View giant model10)

You may also supply a free advert-supported model of your product, permitting customers to determine whether or not to improve by paying for an advert-free choice. Pandora gives its advert-supported product freed from cost. Users can take heed to a set variety of songs, however then should take heed to promoting with a purpose to proceed. If a consumer needs to take heed to music with out business interruption, they will improve to the Pandora One expertise, which provides non-cease streaming music for a month-to-month payment.

Pandora offers users the option to pay for a commercial-free experience.eleven
Pandora presents customers the choice to pay for a business-free expertise. (View giant model12)

You might want to work out which of those strategies would work greatest with potential adopters of your product. Survey potential customers or assess what your competitors is doing to realize perception into which trial format is greatest on your innovation.

Most importantly for trialability, be sure that the trial product you present is top quality and represents the expertise that your group needs customers to have. Users might be basing their determination on it. Do not deal with the free trial interval as your first alternative for consumer testing or gathering consumer suggestions. You are doing extra hurt than good should you launch an unfinished or buggy innovation that frustrates potential adopters (totally free!). Releasing a hurried, unfinished trial product is the definition of self-sabotage.


Observability is the extent to which the outcomes or advantage of utilizing an innovation are seen to potential adopters. We coated within the first article that not everybody adopts an innovation instantly. The adopter varieties who come after early adopters depend on seeing members of this group utilizing an innovation. Observability extends past having earlier adopters use an innovation in view of later adopters. Potential adopters of every type should clearly see the good thing about adopting an innovation and utilizing it.

Relevance to your design group

Be conscious of how potential adopters will be capable of observe the advantages of utilizing your innovation. Here are some methods you possibly can spotlight the advantages:

  • Side-by-aspect comparability
    Potential adopters are capable of observe the advantages of some improvements greater than others. A aspect-by-aspect comparability is sweet when your innovation has simply noticeable enhancements over what individuals are presently utilizing. For instance, potential adopters on a gross sales flooring can simply view a TV with a bigger and clearer show than a smaller, much less crisp TV. A artful gross sales store may show an older smaller TV instantly subsequent to newer bigger ones to make the distinction extra apparent.
  • Before and after
    What will an adopter’s life seem like as soon as they begin utilizing your innovation? Showing potential adopters the constructive distinction your innovation will make of their lives may have a huge effect. Will there be a noticeable improve or lower in some facet that may end result from use of your product? If your app is designed to show somebody a overseas language, you may spotlight that customers will study a mean of x variety of phrases over a sure interval.
  • Testimonials
    People actually like listening to what others whom they understand to be like them have skilled with a product. Running an advert marketing campaign that extends throughout the normal channels of promoting is essential, however extra necessary is phrase of mouth and on-line critiques by precise customers. Users who’re prepared to write down testimonials and on-line critiques could make a huge impact by influencing potential adopters. Encourage them to price and assessment your innovation on related web sites (for instance, Apple’s app retailer for an iOS app, Amazon if it carries your product, Angie’s List when you present a service.).

The examples above usually are not complete. Be artistic in getting potential adopters to watch the advantages of utilizing your innovation. Consider an strategy that encompasses a number of types of media, to extend the probability that potential adopters will observe the advantages of utilizing your product.

Blockbuster And Netflix: A Fairytale Of Innovation (Sort Of)

Let’s stroll by means of the traits of an innovation utilizing streaming and mail-order video service supplier Netflix for instance.

Once upon a time, let’s say 2001, there was an enormous, cumbersome video rental chain named Blockbuster. With hundreds of shops and tens of hundreds of staff, issues have been good for Blockbuster. It owned nearly all of the US video rental market. Blockbuster sat again and surveyed the land; life was good. What Blockbuster didn’t understand was that Netflix, a smaller, extra progressive competitor, was about to tug the rug out from beneath it.

Blockbuster: a lot of stores, a lot of employees, very little innovationthirteen
Blockbuster: A lot of shops, lots of staff, little or no innovation (Image: Wikipedia14 ) (View giant model15)

Netflix began up in 1997. In a interval of fewer than 15 years, Netflix (with the assistance of Redbox) modified the video rental recreation to the purpose that Blockbuster would file for chapter, and, in 2011, would stop to exist. This occurred partially because of the progressive traits of Netflix and its merchandise.

Relative Advantage

In 2001, Netflix customers paid a month-to-month payment to obtain mail-order DVD leases.

Reduced effort was an apparent space the place Netflix had relative benefit over Blockbuster and different brick-and-mortar video shops

Receiving and returning the product by way of publish was extra handy for most individuals, who have been used to receiving common mail supply at their house or workplace. Users have been capable of keep away from late charges, which have been starting to tarnish Blockbuster’s picture.

Netflix advanced in parallel with know-how. Since 2001, US households having more and more had entry to excessive-velocity Internet. In 2007, Netflix started to stream digital films and TV exhibits to individuals’s computer systems. Users not needed to look forward to a rental to return via the mail. Returning the film was not vital. If you had a laptop computer or PC, you may entry a whole lot of packages immediately.

Today, Netflix provides apps that run on online game consoles, cell phones and tablets. Users are just a few clicks away from viewing their favourite packages in any setting, on any measurement display. Netflix has reworked from providing most of its merchandise by way of publish, which was pricey and relied on a really unreliable mail service, to delivering content material to customers on demand. Netflix has maintained relative benefit by innovating according to the expansion of obtainable know-how.


Netflix has had compatibility locked down from the start. First, the idea of renting and watching films and TV exhibits was extremely suitable with the life-style of US residents. People have been already having fun with these behaviors en masse (attitudes and behaviors). Initially, Netflix took benefit of present infrastructure. Once excessive-velocity Internet reached crucial mass (know-how), it took benefit of the medium to ship content material to customers. This highlights the necessity for the suitable infrastructure to help adoption of an innovation. Users can be far much less considering streaming movies over a sluggish and unreliable dial-up connection.

Complexity vs. Simplicity

Netflix took a quite simple idea and made it even easier. This is a standard attribute of a profitable innovation: Take one thing that others already do and do it even higher. The idea of renting video was not new. Netflix simplified the method: Users would create a queue of movies on-line, which might ship to them of their most popular order, after which they might return the movies as soon as that they had watched them.

Later, Netflix took simplicity a step additional by making conduct-based mostly suggestions to customers. The system would advocate content material based mostly on a consumer’s scores of titles that they had watched. This positioned Netflix as an skilled within the eyes of customers. Netflix not solely offered content material, however curated and beneficial consumer-particular content material, with out the consumer having to go away their house or pay a further value.


Netflix’s mannequin explicitly addresses trialability; Netflix is intently related to the time period “free trial” for anybody who spends time browsing the Internet. In the start, potential adopters might expertise the comfort of receiving and returning DVDs via the mail. Once digital streaming turned the norm, trial customers might expertise the magic of on-demand viewing for a whole month.

Netflix’s content material is consistently rising, so it’s unlikely that a consumer would take pleasure in a free month and exhaust all the content material they might need to view. The advantage of providing a free month far outweighs the prices. Trial customers have all the performance of paid account holders: They might discover all the content material, create a profile, and save films and exhibits to observe. If a consumer decides to not proceed with a paid account, they not have entry to the content material after the trial interval.

Netflix free trial: one month and you’re hooked for lifesixteen
Netflix free trial: one month and also you’re hooked for all times (View giant model17)


Netflix additionally had an inherent benefit in observability. Remember that we’re speaking not nearly noticing others utilizing the product, however concerning the observable advantages of utilizing the product.

Given the prevalence of Blockbuster, customers have been nicely conscious of the disadvantages of its system in 1999. Blockbuster charged late charges if customers didn’t return movies inside the rental interval; newly launched movies have been often out of inventory; and each choosing up and returning a rental required a visit to the shop (or no less than a drop field situated close to the shop).

Blockbuster’s disadvantages made the observability of Netflix’s benefits very excessive. Netflix charged a month-to-month subscription: zero additional charges. Netflix was a service delivered and returned by way of the mail: zero additional work. Netflix allowed customers to view and alter the order by which they might obtain movies from their queue: zero concern that customers would obtain one thing they didn’t need to watch. When potential customers came upon about Netflix, they didn’t need to spend time on the lookout for the potential profit within the service. Blockbuster’s later try to supply mail-order rental after which streaming video validated Netflix’s mannequin.

Netflix was additionally capable of improve observability of its product by means of packaging. The brilliant-pink envelope that Netflix shipped DVDs in was apparent. This helped to make observable the good thing about their innovation: sending and receiving by mail. If a possible adopter noticed their coworker tossing a Netflix-branded envelope into the outgoing mail, they might be capable of see simply how easy it’s to lease and return movies. Benefit noticed!

Hey Bob, where did you rent that DVD from? Netflix’s packaging increased the visibility of the product.18
“Hey Bob, the place did you lease that DVD from?” Netflix’s packaging elevated the visibility of the product. (Image: Wikipedia19) (View giant model20)

This overview simplifies Netflix’s evolution with a view to spotlight the important thing traits of the innovation that Netflix addressed. By no means was Netflix an in a single day sensation. It wanted luck, timing and licensing agreements to hold content material from quite a few different events, corresponding to TV networks and film studios. Netflix’s capability to deal with the 5 traits of innovation ensured that it was capable of capitalize on the alternatives that the luck, timing and licensing offers caused.

Netflix has spent 15 years as an innovator within the business. It has survived robust occasions in an financial system that led to the demise of Blockbuster, its largest competitor on the time it launched. It has at occasions encountered bumps and questions on its future; nevertheless, it has maintained a give attention to incorporating consumer suggestions and innovation into its product. Given its market, Netflix might want to proceed innovating and conducting analysis with customers to remain aggressive.

The Takeaway: Go Forth And Innovate!

Your design staff must be proactive in addressing the ideas associated to the diffusion of improvements concept. I would advocate that your design workforce lists the traits of innovation and the way your product addresses every one. I would additionally advocate making a doc that visualizes the ecosystem during which your innovation will exist.

Include the next on this doc:

  • What circumstances have to exist to ensure that your innovation to thrive (for instance, widespread entry to excessive-velocity Internet)?
  • What applied sciences must be suitable together with your innovation (for instance, does a online game console or cell phone have to run an app)?
  • What analysis must be accomplished available on the market and on potential customers?
  • What parts are in your management to control (for instance, making offers with content material distributors)?
  • What merchandise compete with yours (each brick-and-mortar and digital)?
  • What shortcomings do these merchandise have (the place does your aggressive benefit lie)?
  • How do rivals market their product? What advertising has been proven to achieve success?
  • Is there a primary time of the yr to launch your product (for instance, is there a time when individuals expertise a problem that your product solves)?
  • What type of trialability will you supply?
  • Very importantly, what does “after” appear to be? What will the world be like in case your innovation turns into widespread?

Add to the record above the next gadgets, which deliver within the ideas coated within the first article:

  • Have you recognized those that fall within the totally different classes of adopters?
  • Who are the early and early majority adopters of your product?
  • How will you make potential adopters conscious of your innovation?
  • How will potential adopters entry extra info in your innovation?

Answering these questions is tough work, however doing it brings a a lot greater probability of success on your innovation. Use the visualization you’ve created and your solutions to those questions as a roadmap to maneuver ahead, in addition to a crystal ball to foretell and account for as a lot of the longer term as potential. Of course, it gained’t be good, however by being conscious of all the issues that would have an effect on your success, your workforce is stacking the deck in favor of your innovation. Design groups which are conscious of and account for the diffusion of improvements may have a bonus over rivals that don’t have or use this data.

(cc, ml, al)


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The submit Five Characteristics Of An Innovation appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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How To Have Users Spread Your Innovation Like Wildfire

As members of design groups, we would like as many individuals as potential to make use of what we create. This is true whether or not we’re designing a specialised medical gadget for a selected sort of surgical procedure or one thing extra mainstream, like a smartphone or online game console.

We typically concentrate on the significance of making certain our product is usable. Less typically, we talk about different elements associated to individuals accepting and utilizing our merchandise. Users don’t routinely or concurrently settle for even the perfect concepts and most helpful applied sciences. Acceptance and adoption occurs in levels, and to be able to stick, it has to occur the fitting approach. Therefore, our design groups have to account for each usability and the way using a product spreads throughout customers to ensure that our work to have most impression.

Everett Rogers (1931–2004) was a professor of communication and rural sociology at universities within the US. He spent his profession researching how concepts and know-how unfold amongst people and communities. Rogers’ “diffusion of improvements” concept makes an attempt to outline and tackle elements influencing the unfold of innovation. Design groups that perceive and account for these elements stand a greater probability of getting their product adopted by the eagerly awaiting plenty!

This two-half collection of articles will discover the appliance of the diffusion of improvements to digital design and can present examples of how design groups can account for these rules. In this half, I will give a primary overview of the idea after which talk about two major elements of the idea: the several types of adopters, and the important thing steps within the means of adoption.

Adopter Types And The Process Of Adoption

The approach new concepts and know-how unfold all through a inhabitants is complicated. Sometimes it isn’t even good concepts or protected merchandise that find yourself catching on in nice numbers (for instance, prohibition1 within the US or using asbestos2 in constructing supplies for homes).

Bad Ideas Gone Wild: Prohibition in America. (Image supply: Wikipedia4) (View large version5)

Rural sociologist Everett Rogers initially revealed a ebook in 1962 trying to explain what he referred to as the diffusion of improvements: the method by which individuals talk new concepts and know-how. The diffusion of improvements concept offers a option to look at how we’d deliver a product to market that our customers will settle for and unfold to different customers. Key ideas of the idea embrace the next:

  • Innovations
    These are concepts, processes or applied sciences that customers understand as being new. An innovation could possibly be model new (as within the case of Willis Carrier inventing trendy air con), a brand new tackle an present concept (akin to Sony’s Playstation online game system when it was initially launched) or an enlargement of a product into a brand new market (corresponding to A-A digital films being performed on residence tv methods).
  • Adopters
    These are individuals who undertake using an innovation. Rogers defines 5 forms of adopters, which we’ll talk about extra within the part under.
  • Critical mass
    This is the purpose at which sufficient members of a inhabitants have adopted an innovation for it to grow to be self-sustaining.
  • Process of adoption
    Rogers suggests a 5-step course of that results in the adoption (or not) of an concept or product. We will cowl these steps on this article.
  • Characteristics of an innovation
    The diffusion of improvements principle identifies six traits of an innovation that decide whether or not a person or group will undertake it. The second article on this collection will cowl these traits in depth.

Additional key elements that affect diffusion are communication, time and social methods. We will cowl these within the second article of this collection.

Rogers himself was initially concerned with how improvements in farming unfold throughout rural societies. He famous that whereas some people and communities immediately accepted and utilized specifically engineered seeds or modernized farming gear, others have been far more immune to changing older, much less environment friendly strategies. While we might not consider a metal plow as trendy know-how in want of adoption, we will take a look at yesterday’s plow as immediately’s smartphone and tomorrow’s smartwatch for proof of the continued relevance of the idea. In reality, the newest version of Rogers’ seminal work discusses how the Internet has modified the sport when it comes to speaking and facilitating the adoption of improvements. The diffusion of improvements principle is related to design whether or not the product is tangible or digital. Let’s study extra.

Innovation yesterday and tomorrow: John Deere’s steel plow and the Apple Watch6
Innovation yesterday and tomorrow: John Deere’s metal plow and the Apple Watch. (View large version7)

Adopters: Innovators, Laggards And Everyone In Between

Rogers’ analysis identifies 5 classes of adopters. Ultimately, the class that an adopter is in determines when they may undertake an innovation. Some labels for adopter varieties are comparatively widespread when design groups speak about who will undertake their merchandise and when. Let’s undergo the classes and the actual attributes hooked up to every class in chronological order of adoption:


Most of us have heard of or used this time period. Innovators are those that are ready in line for the discharge of the most recent know-how. They need to be the primary to check out the newest product or concept. This might be an unproven and ultimately unsuccessful know-how (assume Laserdisc residence online game methods). These adopters sometimes have greater disposable revenue, are present on the science behind an innovation, and have larger standing of their social teams. In different phrases, they’re cool sufficient to bounce again in the event that they undertake one thing that doesn’t pan out. Plus, they don’t plan to stay round very lengthy to make use of the product anyway; one thing new and glossy is certain to distract them within the close to future.

Researchers estimate that about P.H% of a given inhabitants consists of innovators. Although innovators are typically trendsetters, they don’t seem to be whom different adopter classes look to for steerage on what improvements they need to think about using. It is widespread information that innovators will purchase issues which have little lengthy-time period worth or use, shortly discarding them for one thing else. Richard Branson is an innovator. It can be arduous for most individuals to maintain up with the buying behaviors of Richard Branson, nor would most individuals need to.

Richard Branson, poster child of innovators and filthy rich — keep up with him if you can.
Richard Branson, poster youngster of innovators and filthy wealthy — sustain with him when you can. (Image supply: Wikipedia8)

Relevance to your design

Innovators will not be the class of adopters to give attention to designing for or advertising to for those who intend mainstream acceptance of your product. If your product is boutique, groundbreaking or vastly totally different from the norm, then your design will naturally attraction to those adopters.

If you select to design with innovators in thoughts, you’ll need to clearly distinguish why your product is leading edge. How will it set customers aside from those that aren’t as within the know? Your design might want to mirror the social standing loved by innovators: flashy and containing the newest know-how.

Your product won’t even have to be very helpful or usable to attraction to innovators; simply one thing new will draw them in. However, in case your product shouldn’t be helpful or usable, it’ll possible not penetrate past this set of customers; and your innovators will shortly transfer on to one thing new.

Early Adopters

Early adopters see the necessity for an innovation or change. That is, they know a specific problem wants an answer. Researchers recommend that thirteen.H% of adopters fall into this class, forming a bell-formed curve. Similar to innovators, they’ve larger disposable revenue, are sometimes nicely educated and have excessive social standing of their teams.

Early adopters are extra considered than innovators in what they determine to undertake. They have to see the usefulness of a product with a view to attempt it. Additionally, they’re thought and opinion leaders of their teams. Later teams of adopters look to them to set developments. When later adopters determine to attempt one thing out, it is actually because early adopters have confirmed its success.

Relevance to your design workforce

I advocate focusing the lion’s share of your effort on advertising to and designing for early adopters. You need to give attention to this group if you would like your innovation to develop into mainstream amongst potential customers. Innovations which are new options to previous issues, which are top quality and which have lengthy-time period usefulness will attraction to one of these adopter.

First, determine who the early adopters of your innovation are more likely to be. You can do that by taking a look at the marketplace for which you’re designing. Who are the individuals actively in search of an answer to the difficulty at hand? Who are the thought and opinion leaders? Who makes the buying selections and already makes use of merchandise just like yours?

Next, actively contain these customers within the creation of your product. You can do that in a number of methods:

  • Conduct interviews to uncover the attitudes, opinions and behaviors of those customers in the direction of to the difficulty you’re designing an answer for and to see how your product may handle these attitudes, opinions and behaviors.
  • Invite these customers to take part in design periods in your product, the place they would offer concepts on what your product ought to do to deal with the difficulty and the way it ought to do it.
  • Ask them to turn out to be beta testers or trial customers and to offer suggestions on usefulness and usefulness.

All of the actions above have the 2-pronged advantage of informing the creation of your innovation and exposing your product each to potential early adopters and to the early majority adopters who look to them for steerage.

Early Majority

These adopters take cues from early adopters. It takes for much longer for this group to need to undertake an innovation. They will settle for an innovation solely as soon as their early adopter friends have vetted it. The early majority has much less disposable revenue and fewer social affect than early adopters and are, subsequently, much less prepared to take a danger on an innovation. They need proof that an innovation is beneficial and right here to remain. This doesn’t imply it is best to overlook the early majority. Researchers put 34% of adopters on this class — you will want their purchase in in case your product is to succeed in important mass out there.

Relevance to your design group

Don’t focus your preliminary advertising efforts on the early majority in case your innovation is actually distinctive. I would strongly advocate together with this sort in your usability testing. These potential customers might want to discover your innovation intuitive and worthy of the funding of money and time that they may spend to adapt their behaviors to make use of your innovation. Having these potential customers give you suggestions on the usability of the product will allow you to you incorporate their wants into the ultimate design.

Quite a little bit of time may cross earlier than your innovation hits early majority adopters. Users from the sooner teams may have had time to discover your innovation and decide its usefulness. Users won’t contemplate your product very progressive by the point it reaches the early majority.

Focus on getting early adopters to offer testimonials and demonstrations of your innovation as a method of selling to the early majority. The early majority must see that the early adopters are saving time or cash through the use of your innovation, or these adopters have to affiliate your product with the social standing they’re aspiring to. For instance, initially individuals noticed that solely docs and essential individuals used pagers. This triggered them to need to personal pagers in order that others would understand them as being necessary (in fact, now nobody needs a pager).

Late Majority

These adopters are skeptical of innovation and won’t contemplate adopting it till they’ve seen each early and early majority adopters expertise success with it. The 34% of adopters who make up the late majority are likely to have under-common social standing, no affect on their friends and little to no disposable revenue. These adopters are danger averse and won’t voluntarily undertake an innovation till the sooner classes of adopters have confirmed its use. Years will most probably have handed because the launch of the innovation.

Relevance to your design group

By the time your innovation positive factors traction with the late majority, your group could have carried out suggestions from earlier adoption teams, and probably even iterated on it with an up to date design. Your focus ought to be to offer earlier adopter teams with updates or new makes use of on your innovation. The applied sciences or concepts that your innovation initially contained will not be leading edge. It is time to start out innovating once more. Late majority adopters will play a key position in supporting your backside line as you progress on to future concepts.

If your preliminary innovation got here with a variety of bells and whistles, you may need to contemplate a scaled-down model for late majority adopters, who won’t want the extras. Apple was trying to attraction to the late majority with the iPhone 5C. This scaled-down model of a brand new-era iPhone lowered the worth barrier that Apple believed prevented some potential late majority adopters from taking the plunge.


Laggards are the final individuals to undertake an innovation. They often don’t till they’re pressured to vary. In basic, laggards are danger averse, have low or no disposable revenue and are usually not in shut contact with innovators or early adopters. Laggards have little to no affect on others of their social teams. Your nice-aunt Helen, who refuses to make use of a cell phone as a result of individuals aren’t meant to be all the time reachable by telephone, is a laggard. Laggards are these individuals who refused to make use of e mail till their work mandated that each one staff have an account.

Relevance to your design group

You don’t design an innovation for laggards; laggards don’t voluntarily undertake improvements. If your product has an incredible influence in your meant customers, then it is going to be as much as them to chip away on the resistance of the laggards. This may be completed by way of coverage, resembling with the e-mail instance above, by taxing or someway punishing those that refuse to innovate (for instance, a better tax on gasoline-inefficient automobiles) or by not providing updates or compatibility on your product (for instance, not supporting or updating software program older than three releases in the past).

Identifying who belongs to the totally different teams of adopters is necessary. It could have implications for a way and the place you market your product, in addition to who you conduct several types of analysis with. There is nobody-measurement-matches-all strategy to figuring out who will undertake what. For instance, somebody who’s a laggard with handheld know-how may all the time personal the most recent stitching machine available on the market. They have determined that that’s how they may use their restricted assets. Your design workforce should determine the customers within the numerous classes as they relate to your product.

Rotary dial pay phones: the laggard's mobile phone of choice9
Rotary dial pay telephones: the laggard’s cell phone of selection. (View large version10)

Following The Steps: The Process Of Adoption

We’ve seemed on the totally different traits of the adopter teams and the way your design workforce can account for them. Now, let’s look extra intently at how adoption of an innovation takes place. Diffusion of improvements researchers have recognized 5 distinct levels of adoption. Understanding and accounting for these levels will be sure that you present the proper info in the appropriate option to potential customers. Below, we’ll look at the levels by means of the lens of particular person adopters; nevertheless, they apply to teams of adopters as nicely.

Note that the period of time spent in any step might final from seconds to years or extra, relying on the person adopter. An innovator who encounters one thing model new may immediately need it and transfer by way of steps one to 3 in the identical day. An early majority adopter may concentrate on your product however want years to see it being utilized by sufficient early adopters whose opinions they belief as a way to justify shifting on to the subsequent step of adoption.


The first step includes a possible adopter turning into conscious of the existence of an innovation. Something occurs to make them conscious of the innovation, though they haven’t but had a chance to hunt out extra info.

Relevance to your design group

This step has main implications for a way you market your innovation. If a tree falls within the forest… you understand the remaining. How will you make your meant customers conscious of your innovation? Do they even know there’s a drawback in want of fixing and that your innovation does so? Consider which technique(s) of selling would work greatest.

If your innovation is an replace to an present product, you’ve the benefit of selling to present customers (lots of whom may belong to totally different adopter classes however at the moment are all utilizing your product). You might do any of the next:

  • Email present customers a few pending replace or new launch.
  • Highlight new options of your innovation in articles in your firm’s weblog and web site.
  • Make the replace freely obtainable to customers.

Be positive to inform customers why this replace is best than the unique or how the innovation addresses essential points.

Don’t cease at advertising to present customers both. An replace or new launch supplies the chance to attract new customers to your product. Consider conducting analysis to determine these potential customers and decide how greatest to introduce them to your product.

If your innovation is first era, then your problem is totally different. You should discover avenues of elevating consciousness amongst a inhabitants that isn’t already accessible. You can do that quite a few methods:

  • Advertise in related types of media.
  • Offer free trials to customers of comparable merchandise.
  • Provide samples to reviewers, asking them to evaluate your innovation on well-liked web sites.
  • Do public demonstrations of your product.

You might want to domesticate curiosity in your innovation, present how your innovation solves an present drawback, and empower potential customers to simply discover out extra details about your innovation.

For instance, in case your group has created an revolutionary online game or system, think about a sales space at E3, the annual online game expo, to announce its upcoming launch.

E3 is known as the go-to event for the latest in video games and systems.11
E3 is called the go-to occasion for the newest in video video games and methods. (View large version12)


Potential customers at the moment are conscious of the innovation and are actively looking for extra info.

Relevance to your design group

Information is essential at this step within the course of. Your group ought to be prepared to satisfy the knowledge-in search of wants of potential customers. Conduct analysis to determine what questions potential adopters could have about your innovation earlier than advertising it to them. Your analysis ought to inform your advertising and academic efforts.

Provide info that’s correct and straightforward to find. There are quite a few methods to present fast and correct info to potential adopters:

  • on-line movies and walkthroughs highlighting the use(s) of your innovation,
  • articles in commerce journals or in style publications,
  • hyperlinks in social media,
  • a brand new web site or enlargement of an present web site,
  • presentions at conferences and commerce exhibits related to your subject,
  • samples or trial durations.

The factors above will allow you to attain a very good portion of innovators and early adopters. You will want these adopters to offer testimonials and to mannequin using your innovation so as to pique the curiosity of early majority and subsequent teams of adopters.

Ensure that all the info you present is correct. Creating false expectations is detrimental and will result in fast disappointment amongst customers.

Continuing the instance above, after saying your progressive recreation or system at E3, your workforce will need to arrange a sales space with literature about your product. Provide hyperlinks to locations the place potential adopters can go to see movies or walkthroughs, to obtain codes for entry to a free trial, and to view promoting materials that may assist them unfold the phrase.


This is an enormous second! Potential adopters will determine whether or not they may attempt the innovation. Researchers have discovered that that is the most private step within the course of; so, sadly, there isn’t a assured components to efficiently persuade somebody to undertake an innovation. Individuals base their selections partly on the knowledge obtainable, on their time and monetary assets, on competing improvements and on their values and beliefs.

Relevance to your design workforce

The success of your innovation depends upon the choices of potential adopters. Your staff must have made a transparent case through the persuasion step. You are usually not powerless. You can do a lot to assist potential adopters attempt your innovation:

  • Provide clear messages about why your innovation is value making an attempt.
  • Make your innovation straightforward to seek out and purchase. Consider how adopters will entry your innovation:
    • If it’s a tangible product, will it’s carried in bodily shops, bought on-line or constructed by particular order?
    • If it’s a digital product, will customers obtain it, buy it in a pc retailer or purchase it by another means?
    • If your innovation is an concept, the place will potential adopters study the small print of implementation: a ebook, a webinar, an in-individual class or lecture?
    • Have you priced the innovation at some extent that potential adopters can afford? Remember that every group of adopters has a unique threshold for what they’re prepared to spend on an innovation.

The reply to those questions will inform you the tactic and time by which potential adopters ought to entry the innovation.


This step includes adopters truly utilizing your innovation. Individuals have now came upon about it, discovered about it, gained entry to it, determined to make use of it and put it to make use of. Adopters will check and use the product to various levels in response to its objective (for instance, every day within the case of workplace gear, or a couple of days of the yr within the case of a swivel-base Christmas tree stand13).

Relevance to your design group

Congratulations! People at the moment are utilizing your product. This isn’t the time to loosen up. Adopters will check every part you’ve gotten carried out. All of the analysis and testing you’ve carried out will come into play on this step. If your innovation is beneficial and usable, then it stands an honest probability of being accepted by those that have reached this step of the method.


Users will finalize their choice of whether or not to make use of the product.

Relevance to your design group

The variety of adopters who select to proceed utilizing your product will decide the diffusion of your innovation. Your innovation stands a greater probability of being adopted for good if in case you have addressed the fundamentals coated within the part on adopter varieties and within the steps outlined within the strategy of adoption. One very advantage of quite a lot of adopters reaching this step is that they will now begin to evangelize your product to others — just by utilizing your product in public and recommending it to family and friends.

Actively gather knowledge from adopters who proceed utilizing your product, in addition to from those that select to not proceed. Tease aside what has labored and what has not. Even an innovation that reaches a excessive degree of adoption may have areas that want enchancment. Addressing these areas in future iterations will please present and future adopters.

If your innovation has not reached a important mass, not all is misplaced. Your design group has a tremendous alternative to study extra about what hasn’t labored and how one can tackle this sooner or later — that’s, in case your staff hasn’t turn out to be disillusioned. Administer surveys or conduct interviews with those that have tried your product and chosen to not proceed. This will make it easier to study for the subsequent innovation. Perhaps the difficulty was one thing easy, just like the pricing or poorly functioning know-how, however maybe a competitor’s product does what yours does, solely higher. Whatever your staff finds is certain to assist with future tasks.

iPhone: A Love Story

Let’s stroll by means of the ideas we have now coated on this article utilizing the historical past of one thing that was as soon as inconceivable within the US however is now part of our widespread vernacular and on a regular basis life: the iPhone.

Steve Jobs introduced the June 2007 launch of the iPhone on the annual MacWorld conference on January ninth. Both the situation and timing of this announcement have been strategic:

  • The viewers at MacWorld and people who comply with the bulletins made through the conference include innovators and early adopters of Apple merchandise.
  • Potential adopters had six months to hunt out the knowledge they wanted to find out whether or not to undertake the iPhone. This further time was much more important provided that AT&T can be the one service within the US. Adopters with different carriers would wish to plan to modify to AT&T previous to the launch.

Additionally, commercials14 and articles from commerce publications and Apple-targeted blogs served to influence adopters in the course of the time between Jobs’ announcement and the iPhone’s launch.

N January 2007: Steve Jobs broadcasts the iPhone. (Image supply: AppleInsider15)

Once the product launched, many customers went by means of the choice, implementation and affirmation levels virtually instantly. This was due partially to the convenience of use and practical apps instantly out there to customers.

The preliminary iPhone was expensive sufficient that solely deeper-pocketed adopters would have been capable of justify the expense. Adopters might offset this value by signing up for a brand new two-yr contract with AT&T. Apple didn’t provide you with this technique accidentally: The two-yr obligation would reinforce the adopter’s determination, and the monetary penalty discouraged them from discontinuing their use of it through the affirmation stage.

As time handed, the early majority realized that the iPhone was right here to remain and well worth the funding. This is the stage when the late majority was beginning to undertake the iPhone and comparable merchandise.

Apple’s technique of ceaselessly updating the iPhone is efficient in no less than 3 ways:

  • Constant updates maintain innovators joyful and eager to improve their units regularly.
  • Early and early majority adopters can leap into the discharge cycle once they can get the most recent mannequin, probably saving cash if it coincides with the time to resume their contract with their cellular service.
  • Late majority adopters can get monetary savings by buying a earlier-era mannequin.

Additionally, Apple’s technique promotes frequent upgrading of units. Releasing new fashions and working techniques requires builders to ceaselessly replace their code and optimize their apps to run on the most recent software program and hardware. Adopters on older fashions expertise fewer advantage of the extra revolutionary apps. This entices customers to improve extra incessantly and earlier than they could usually need to to be able to maintain their hardware operating according to their software program.

However, we additionally see that Apple has begun to succeed in market saturation. Other comparable improvements, similar to Samsung’s Galaxy R collection of telephones, have seized on the markets opened by the iPhone. Increasing competitors in a market that was as soon as progressive is a trademark of widespread diffusion. Apple has tried to mitigate this by specializing in being revolutionary in different areas, comparable to smartwatches and tablets.

One factor that’s clear from briefly reviewing Apple and the historical past of the iPhone is that, whether or not consciously or not, Apple understands the diffusion of improvements and easy methods to attraction to totally different adopter varieties.


In this primary article on the diffusion of improvements, we’ve examined the traits of adopters, in addition to the method of adoption. Addressing these elements by way of advertising and analysis will go far to extend the probability of an innovation being adopted. Not each innovation is worthy of the success of the iPhone, however any firm can incorporate a few of Apple’s practices to deal with the diffusion of improvements.

Our subsequent article will give attention to elements which are rather more inside your staff’s management: the traits of profitable innovation and the communication surrounding your innovation.

(cc, ml, al)


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The submit How To Have Users Spread Your Innovation Like Wildfire appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Branding | Digital Marketing | Advertising Agency | Graphic Design
Web Design | Search Engine Optimization | Mobile Application Development

92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

Have a project or new idea? Let's Talk.

branding + omaha advertising agency + digital marketing + graphic design
omaha web design + search engine optimization + mobile apps

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Hold A Kickoff Meeting Before Diving Into The Design

Omaha Web Design

The kickoff part units the stage for the success of your product. Without correctly conducting this part, your staff may as nicely be working in the dead of night. The worst enemy in product improvement, in any case, is ambiguity.

During the preliminary design course of in your product, solutions will come from brainstorming on the product and from execution on the highest degree, with all needed stakeholders (together with their egos).

This article explains why defining your product issues and tips on how to put together and conduct artistic workouts for kickoff conferences in the course of the preliminary part of product improvement.

The kickoff assembly ensures that everybody has a shared understanding, in order that the ideation achieved in step P doesn’t occur in a vacuum. (Image credit score: Fast CompanyP) (View giant modelA)

We’ll talk about a framework by means of which you’ll be able to filter your understanding of the UX design course of and put together totally different actions so that everybody begins in the appropriate path. While a product supervisor (or perhaps a design lead) may personal these conferences, everybody concerned ought to comply with sure tips — in any other case, you’ll simply have a bunch of costly individuals speaking about apparent issues.

Why Defining The Product Matters

Wikipedia defines a productA as:

“Anything that may be provided to a market to fulfill a need or want.”

If you’ve labored on merchandise, then you definitely’ve in all probability heard this earlier than. But regardless of how easy that goal might sound, merchandise are all fairly complicated. They are, in any case, created for individuals — and lots of merchandise don’t even get this fairly proper.

The golden triangle of product design and development.
The golden triangle of product design and improvement. (Image credit score: Cooper DesignH)

As mentioned in The Guide to Minimum Viable ProductsS, your product must be concurrently viable, possible and fascinating. Mark Curphey, former Principal Group Manager at Microsoft, believes that the idea of the “entire product”S is a method to consider these wants. For instance, canned soup in a grocery store is extra than simply liquid in a tin can — the “entire product” consists of the soup, the can’s label, the shop’s show and the shop’s cleanliness. To higher clarify the tangible and intangible elements of a product, we’ve damaged down merchandise into three ranges:

  • Core product
    This is the profit(s) that a shopper receives from buying a product. For instance, the core product of a mattress is relaxation or sleep, not the mattress.
  • Actual product
    This is what we usually contemplate to be the bodily product. Its function is to ship on the advantages embodied by the core product. Actual merchandise might have as many as 5 traits, resembling high quality degree, options, styling, model and packaging.
  • Augmented product
    This represents further providers and advantages related to the precise product, for which shoppers might pay a premium. The augmented product lets you tailor the core or precise product to particular person shoppers. For instance, IBM’s success was largely as a consequence of its refined software program and after-sale providers (not the precise product of computer systems).

Because merchandise are so multidimensional, a structured course of for outlining a product is required so that you can contemplate its emotional, bodily and supplemental elements.

The Kickoff Meeting

The kickoff assembly covers a excessive-degree define of the product’s objective, who’s concerned in designing and creating the product, how they’ll work collectively and keep updated on progress, and what the meant outcomes or success metrics are.

The organized chaos of a kickoff meeting.H
The organized chaos of a kickoff assembly. (Image credit score: Atomic ObjectN) (View giant model10)

The course of is turning into shorter and shorter as groups turn out to be nimbler and tasks leaner, and the documentation could be introduced in a slidedeck, textual content doc, wiki or venture administration software. We’ll cowl how you can put together and conduct a kickoff assembly, in addition to some general guiding rules.

Preparing for the Kickoff

The kickoff assembly is the equal of a grand opening, bringing all key gamers collectively in a single room to share info and align to a standard function. Take benefit of this one-time alternative to energize the group, set expectations and set tips to finish the venture on time and on finances.

Mike Sisco, CEO of MDE Enterprises, supplies a complete plan for kickoff successeleven. By taking the suitable steps to organize, he ran a profitable kickoff assembly that included 12 group members from 4 firm departments in seven separate bodily places. He recommends getting ready with the next steps.

When talking with stakeholders previous to the kickoff, break the ice after which dive proper into the onerous questions. What is the one factor that have to be finished proper to make the product worthwhile? How would your wildest goals be exceeded? Assure them that sure questions are “off the document” so as to higher draw out their hopes and fears for the product. These stakeholder interviews additionally assist to build up an inventory of excessive-degree useful necessities.

  • Identify the undertaking’s objectives and deliverables.
    Defining these parts will enable you to determine on assets and a plan for the product. Why do stakeholders care, and why are you constructing this product at this specific time?
  • Identify staff members and their obligations.
    Resources will differ in response to the product’s measurement and complexity. Make positive to think about what’s wanted from the design, advertising, improvement, help and operations groups.
  • Develop a tough product plan.
    Clarify the dangers and alternatives. This will assist validate whether or not you’ve the suitable assets and assist you decide timelines for duties and milestones.
  • Define the important thing success elements.
    Why is the product invaluable to the corporate, and the way will you realize you’ve succeeded? Define your specific success standards, and validate these with stakeholders.

For an in depth kickoff plan that covers every little thing from technical assumptions to desired emotional states, you should use a pre-kickoff template12 (PDF).

Kicking Off

Once you’ve accomplished all of the preparation, it’s time to collect the gang. In principle, the kickoff assembly ought to have loads of power and pleasure, and workforce members ought to depart filled with concepts and with a want to discover options. In apply, nevertheless, kickoff conferences might be sleep-inducing and even completely awkward.

To make the most of everyone’s time, dispense with formalities and get cracking on the hard questions.thirteen
To take advantage of everybody’s time, dispense with formalities and get cracking on the exhausting questions. (Image credit score: 1stwebdesigner14) (View giant model15)

Whether you’re a startup or an enterprise, the important thing to a terrific kickoff assembly is involving individuals, relatively than merely reviewing your pre-kickoff paperwork. Kevin Hoffman, a design marketing consultant at Rosenfeld Media, believes in taking a “design studio” strategysixteen to fostering creativity. A basic strategy to ideation in industrial design and structure, this system is all about constructing relationships with coworkers, and it may be executed with teams of between 10 to 60 individuals in beneath a couple of hours. Here are some helpful actions for the group to get began:

  • Priority and feasibility plot17
    Plot the options you’ve mentioned on a chart in accordance with feasibility versus enterprise worth.
  • Card-sorting18
    Write the mentioned options and performance on index playing cards (ideally, fewer than 20), after which have every individual type the deck so as of precedence, with the very best on prime and the bottom on backside.
  • 20-second intestine check19
    Collect screenshots of net pages or product photographs, and present them in a presentation to the group. Each member ought to give every picture a rating between M and H. This will inform you everybody’s aesthetic preferences.
  • Fishbowl conversations20
    When discussing the pre-kickoff paperwork or doing group actions, organize the seats in a circle (like a fishbowl) to provide everybody within the group face-to-face contact and a chance to contribute.

Of course, there’s no denying that an agenda and/or kickoff doc are essential to hold the actions on monitor. You can both use’s query-pushed kickoff doc21 or a extra light-weight choice, like Mozilla’s kickoff wiki22 or Pivotal Labs’ “Product Definition Exercise23” (PDF).

Guiding Principles

Adhering to a set of rules will hold you from going off monitor. Kevin Hoffman once more offers a framework that may assist whether or not your kickoff is in-individual or distant:

  • Base the agenda on the analysis.
    Ideas and challenges that floor throughout analysis or stakeholder interviews ought to be entrance and middle on the agenda.
  • Be as inclusive as attainable.
    Including too many individuals up entrance is best than forgetting a stakeholder till you’re near launch.
  • Build actions round danger-free exploration.
    The kickoff course of ought to discover the complete potential of what’s attainable. So, depart egos on the door.
  • Incorporate enjoyable and creativity.
    Don’t be afraid to make it bizarre. Besides, staff members is perhaps thrilled to interrupt from a standard format.

At UXPin24, we contain everybody within the firm in new function kickoffs. Once 1 / 4, we conduct a two-hour firm-vast technique assembly by which staff and buyers are invited to recommend product and design concepts. These duties are recorded in Asana and visited weekly by our product workforce to prioritize the perfect concepts (in addition to add new ones). We keep away from “design by committee25” as a result of, whereas anybody might contribute, the product lead has remaining say.

Concept Maps

Concept maps are one other useful method to outline the tangible and intangible elements of your product. Concept maps start with a fundamental concept (or idea) after which department out to point out how that important concept may be damaged down into particular subjects.

Concept map for the Polaroid camera as part of a design exercise.26
Concept map for the Polaroid digital camera as a part of a design train. (Image credit score: Lena Yan27) (View giant model28)

Concept mapping is a structured course of that focuses on a specific matter and that may contain the enter of a number of individuals. As defined within the The Guide to UX Design Process and Documentation29, the aim is to supply a visible that exhibits how concepts and ideas are interrelated. When creating an idea map, maintain the following pointers in thoughts:

  • Use particular language.
    The much less the anomaly, the larger the shared understanding.
  • Iterate incessantly.
    Start drawing the map early within the product definition part, and redraw incessantly. With every iteration, you’ll uncover new relationships between ideas.
  • Implement a hierarchy.
    Make a small set of key ideas and propositions extra outstanding, giving readers a way of the overall construction and enabling them to dive into element as wanted.
  • Involve stakeholders.
    The energy of idea mapping lies in collaboration. So, validate it with stakeholders to make sure that your visions are aligned.

Hugh Dubberly, CEO of Dubberly Design Office, believes that idea maps foster understanding by displaying each the forest and the timber in a single view30. When overhauling Sun Microsystems’ Java web site, he discovered this technique to be instrumental in understanding the aim and construction of its one hundred ten,000+ pages. He shortly skilled advantages corresponding to a deeper understanding of technical infrastructure, extra excessive-high quality suggestions and larger belief from stakeholders.

At UXPin, our idea maps are casual however nonetheless recorded for later use. Once we’ve kicked off a brand new function concept, our product staff often meets to start out whiteboarding associated ideas. For giant releases, our CEO, Marcin Treder, will typically be a part of within the whiteboarding. After about P to O hours, we’re often capable of wrap up and snap a few pictures to function fast references for wireframes and mockups. From about 10 to fifteen sketches, often P to A will make it to the subsequent digital spherical.

Concept Mockups

As a parallel course of, it’s also possible to create idea mockups, that are fast sketches that present a product’s general construction. As described in The Guide to Wireframing31, these differ of their degree of constancy, however they’re often low-constancy sketches with notes and annotations from others.

Loose and ugly is the perfect level of detail to encourage collaboration.32
Loose and ugly is the right degree of element to encourage collaboration. (Image credit score: A List Apart33) (View giant model34)

According to former AOL UX designers Richard Fulcher, Bryce Glass and Matt Leacock, idea mockups are a nice basis for later product documentation35 (PDF). Concept mockups can function early explorations for detailed mockups, early sketches for wireframes, and visuals for storyboards. Similar to idea maps, idea mockups present a singular area to assume in a different way, to generate quite a lot of concepts shortly, and to discover options with stakeholders with low danger.

Sean Hodge, editor at Tuts+, goes into nice element on the advantages of sketching for product design36. For him, sketching an idea map or mockup is the quickest strategy to experiment with totally different product concepts — and the bigger the challenge, the extra that concepts will have to be defined and the extra helpful sketching can be. To see how this may be completed for a posh product available on the market, take a look at Jivaldi’s conceptual sketch of Apple’s lately launched watch37.

Defining Your Vision

In in the present day’s world, merchandise aren’t simply the gadgets you maintain in your hand at an electronics retailer. Health insurance coverage, courting apps and even the Internet itself can all be thought-about merchandise as a result of all of them make individuals’s lives simpler.

When it comes to product design, don’t underestimate the power of the process of elimination.38
When it involves product design, don’t underestimate the facility of the method of elimination. (Image credit score: Design You Trust39) (View giant modelforty)

Creating a tangible or intangible product out of skinny air requires a structured course of. As you progress by way of the product definition part, you may even discover that the facility of defining your product comes not solely from what you embrace however from what you exclude as properly. When you consider all the concepts which might be bounced round, you may understand that you simply get extra worth from understanding what your product shouldn’t be.

Do your concepts line up with the path of the corporate? Have you thought-about “second-greatest” choices which may obtain ninety% of the impression however with much less money and time? Kickoff assembly paperwork and actions assist to reply these questions by making a “product assume tank.” This strategy of elimination will hold you from being blindsided afterward because of over-ambition or poor judgment early on, particularly as a result of it entails gauging how the market and clients may reply to your product concept.

For extra methods to include documentation into the design course of, take a look at The Guide to UX Design and Process Documentationforty one. Visual examples are proven from corporations reminiscent of Vurb, MailChimp, Apple, Google and extra.

(cc, ml, al)


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