Woman working at laptop

5 Animations To Add To Your UI To Improve Your Users Experience

Wondering what all the fuss about UI animation is? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of adding animation to your designs and 5 examples of the power of animation.

A little bit of animation can go a long way to improve the user experience on a product or site. These small interactions can help users understand where they are on a page and where the menus, modals and new pages are coming from.

Animations can be used to reward users for completing actions. For example, a ‘like’ button with a playful animation can release dopamine which will make users want to keep interacting with it. In the same way, we like to cross items off a to-do list, a visual representation of completing a task is a great way to let users know they have undertaken an action.

Animation can also add hierarchy to a design. An extreme example would be a shaking CTA button. This will grab peoples attention more than anything else on a page. This can have an appropriate use for example if a user keeps missing a field in a form a small nudge can steer them in the right direction. However, overuse can make a design lose all hierarchy, in the same way, making all text large and bold would. This type of animation should be used sparingly.

There can be drawbacks of animating your UI for example it can slow down the experience of an app of a site. It’s important to constantly question why you’re adding animation, is it improving the users’ ability to perform a task or is the animation getting in their way? There is a temptation to add animation for aesthetic purposes but functionality should always be the most important part of the design.

That being said here are 5 examples of animation you can add to your site to improve the UI:

 

1. Submit button

 


(https://dribbble.com/shots/1426764-Submit-Button)

 

Why it works

It gives users feedback that they have taken an action. This fun animation is satisfying and clear.

 

2. Expanding cards

 

Why it works

This is a great example of giving users context of where they are on an app/site because the animation expands it reinforces the idea that they are still on the original page but viewing more detail of the content. It also allows for more information to be displayed and only surfaced when a user is interested in it.

 

3. Loading screen

 

Why it works

A loading screen like this reassures users that content is loading and that the site is working as expected it’s just taking a little while to get the information. The animation can also be a distraction that keeps the user entertained while they wait.

 

4. Slide-out menu

 

Why it works

Similarly to the expanding cards slide-out menus show the user where the element comes from, where it’s going to and where it is housed.  It makes it clear to the user that there is a layering of content and indicates that they can get back to the previous page by closing the menu.

The animation does all of this in a matter of seconds.

 

5. Toggle Button

 

Why are works

This change of state in the toggle indicates that something has changed from one option to another. Having the animation of the button sliding much like a physical switch makes it clear that the relationship between the two states. Without this animation, it’s not as obvious that you have moved from one option to another.

 

Summary

Hopefully, this gave you some inspiration for ways to add meaningful animation into your next project. Remember your animations shouldn’t get in the way of or slow down the user from performing their task. If you’d like some help animating your next project get in touch and we’d be happy to assist.


Moon image

How User Personas Can Get You To The Moon

In this article, we’ll look at how creating a user personas can be beneficial when designing the UI for a rocket. We’ll take a dive into what this persona would look like. Then how we can apply this persona to inform the design of the UI onboard the rocket.

 

The User Persona

User personas are profiles that capture the most important data from a user base. This data is then used to outline the archetypes of your common users. These are usually one-page documents. They are used as a reference point to remind you who your users are and give you a way to communicate this to others. They help you to understand who you're designing for. Giving you an insight into what the behaviour and thought process of that user is.

User personas are beneficial because they are a way of empathising with the people who use the software. They put the user at the centre of the design process. If you are always looking through the eyes of the user you’re more likely to create a solution that works for them. In a previous article we've covered how to create a persona in more detail, but we've covered some of the important points here to.

 

Creating a User Persona

We started by segmenting and creating hypotheses about our different types of users. There are users with two different roles onboard the spaceship. One user is the pilot who will need the essential information to fly the rocket. The other user is the co-pilot who would need secondary monitoring information. These two roles need separating as they have big differences. Within these roles, we can begin to create more nuanced profiles. 

Take a look at the persona below to find out more about our user.

Applying the User Persona to Design

Now we have the persona we can start applying this to our designs. We can take into account the pain points of our user Tim Peake. We can see he has restricted movement and wears gloves. This could influence the design of the UI. We would want to make sure that the screen size isn’t too large so that Tim can reach it all. There shouldn't be any complex gestures in the UI that would be hard to execute with limited movement. This should be worked into the design by using larger touchpoints. 

 


Crew Demo-2 Mission | Official SpaceX Photos | Flickr

 

Tim is a family man and although no stranger to risk he would inevitably be thinking of his family when undertaking a dangerous mission. Images of his family could be made available to him on the software to give him comfort when there are no tasks that require his attention.

There are times when Tim will experience an expected communication outage and long periods flying through space with nothing to do. The UI could include an entertainment system with access to exploration documentaries and motorsports.

Tim assigns a lot of values to tech and is intelligent. The UI should reflect this by being feature-rich as he will be able to cope with an added level of complexity if it enhances the abilities of the rocket. 

He is living his life long dream flying the rocket to the moon. When Tim is performing some of the more complex tasks like launching and landing the rocket he will be feeling an intense pressure to get it right. Simple and easy to use UI will release some of this pressure. As Tim has a background in flying helicopters and aeroplanes, having UI that is already familiar to him will put him at ease and shorten the learning curve. Using skeuomorphism design which emulates familiar objects/control to increase familiarity and will provide comfort to Tim. This can be incorporated into the designs, for example, using an interface for the speedometer that is similar to an analogue version that Tim would be used to seeing in other vehicles.

 


Crew Dragon Interior | Official SpaceX Photos | Flickr

 

Conclusion

User personas are a great tool to guide your design decisions. They can be used whenever there is a need for a user to interact with software, even when that is intergalactic. There’s also no such thing as ‘done’ when it comes to the personas. You should revisit, review and update them regularly as economic and social climate changes users' online behaviours.

Hopefully, you’ve found this useful and feel inspired to create your own, but drop us a line if you’d like a little help – we’d love to talk to you.


Man on mobile phone

From Gimmick, To Practical

Over the years we’ve seen several attempts to utilise built-in sensors to hardware to improve the user experience, but this hasn’t often been particularly useful – more of a gimmick. In some instances, there are examples with Smart TVs where hand gestures were tried and occasionally it made sense – you’re sitting several feet away from the screen and you’ve lost your remote down the side of the sofa.

For example, you could take simple actions things like swiping across the screen to change channels one at a time, but realistically how many people do that? There are hundreds (thousands even) of channels and the ones you want to watch are rarely next to each other, so unless you want a 20-minute workout to find your channel, you’re best off just finding the remote!

We then come on to smaller devices such as phones and tablets. Companies have delved into this space before and there are apps available that make gesture controls available, but I still wonder how useful these are. The likes of contactless gestures for example feel somewhat limited in usefulness when the device is in your hand. As a result, I thought I’d look more closely at how you can better utilise built-in sensors and settings of modern hardware to provide a better, more practical user experience in a GUI.

 

Utilising the Proximity Sensors

Proximity sensors are commonly used in devices now for actions such as sleep/wake of the device, making the screen inactive when you put it to your ear. This is to avoid accidental input when on the phone when on a call. However, how could this technology be better used to enhance the user experience?

Well, let’s just start by clarifying I’m not going to talk about swipeable carousels or contactless scrolling. One of the challenges on these smaller devices is balancing the hierarchy of information, providing clear CTAs and ergonomics.

In the world of e-commerce, for example, one of the core things any business wants you to do is add to the basket and checkout easily. However, throw in your upsells/cross-sells and special offers and the list goes on, and it’s easy to dilute the visibility of your key CTA. As a result, if you could make use of the proximity sensor so that the closer your finger was to the screen, you could resize elements (such as the ‘buy’ CTA) to draw attention to them and make it easier for a user to checkout.

The other practical use was in reference to ergonomics. There are typically some hard-to-reach areas which also happen to be common positioning for functions such as the menu and search.

Companies have experimented before in this space by having the ability to pull the top of the browser down closer to the main touch area, based on a combination of taps. The alternative approach to this however is to sense the proximity to the top of the screen and bring the functions in the top corners closer to avoid the user having to adjust their grip to reach.

 

 

The same thing applies to exit intent. Many websites utilise exit intent capture forms based on the positioning of the cursor on a desktop computer but utilising a similar function with the proximity to the ‘back’ button, for example, could serve a similar purpose.

While I’m talking about this, I should stress I’m not saying you would put all of these into one UI. After all, it would be easy to over-complicate the experience and ultimately make your site more confusing, but all could be relevant considerations based on your user stories.

With all this talk of using proximity sensors, however, you start to wonder how you could utilise some of these actions on a desktop too. One simple example would be increasing GUI elements such as CTAs based on the proximity of the cursor. This would provide more fluid awareness of UI elements than that of rollover states.

 

Ambient light sensors

Another sensor built-in to devices is the ambient light sensor. The purpose of this is to adjust the brightness and tone of the screen based on environmental lighting. This reduces glare and eyestrain of the user for a smoother experience. But what if you could read that lighting sensor and actually adjust the UI itself? Some simple CSS work would allow you to optimise your GUI and actually highlight elements in a much clearer way based on the intensity of the ambient lighting.

 

Dark mode

Dark mode is popular with many people now for the same reasons highlighted above regarding eye strain and glare. The other reason, however, is that people just think it looks cool. So, if you could identify a device was in dark mode, it may be worth creating a dark mode for your website. This would provide a seamless transition between OS and website and provide a more consistent experience for those users, encouraging them to spend longer on your site.

 

Camera

Before I get into this last one, I should call out this one is just a bit of fun – there are all sorts of question marks around security and performance, but what if you could use the camera to understand the user’s emotion whilst on your site? You could adjust the UI and tone of voice based on a user’s expression. Maybe you pick up frustration or confusion and you can proactively offer help on-screen. We use facial expression analysis with our biometric lab, but being able to present information, help or UI changes based on a user’s expression would give another level of hyper-personalisation.

 

As technology gets better and expectations rise, we’re always looking for new ways to improve the user experience. Where constant innovation is important for all of us and sometimes it’s just about a bit of fun, we should also look to see how these innovations can be put to more practical use.


Woman on laptop

Emerging E-Commerce Growth Trends You Should Be Taking Advantage of.

At Eclipse we live and breathe digital commerce. It’s what gets us up in the morning and keeps us going, and as such, we keep up with the latest and greatest in the industry.

We have done some research and pulled together what we see as the emerging trends for the rest of 2020 and into 2021 that’ll help lead your business into growth.

Across the world, peoples buying habits are shifting and the continued variations on lockdown have even hit the boomers by forcing them to shop online – some for the very first time. This may not seem like a big deal to most, but it is a daunting task and the fears and potential risks seem insurmountable.

If you’ve had a chance to see any of the news around digital commerce, you’ll have seen that COVID has accelerated the e-commerce industry’s growth, putting it way ahead of any previous projections and forecasts to date. More and more businesses are starting to take advantage of this by joining the e-commerce business revolution than ever before. Companies that previously embraced the e-commerce trend have already experienced expansion, in the midst of ‘traditional’ retail shrinking.

By the end of 2020, global e-commerce sales are expected to reach £3.3 trillion, as reported by the e-commerce big player Shopify. However, creating a website and selling your products isn’t that easy. The money doesn’t always just start flowing in once you hit publish on that new site. The competition is getting steeper and online shopping behaviours and customer expectations are changing continuously and rapidly.

The changing market calls for keeping up with emerging trends to cut through the noise, get noticed, and attract and retain customers. This is where our research comes in. Read on to see what we think you should be looking into taking advantage of.

 

Product Visuals That Go Beyond Just A Picture

We can all absolutely relate to this – you find a product, you think it’s going to be exactly what you want and you’ve started to justify the purchase in your head but you’re not totally sure if what you’re seeing on the site, is what you will actually get when you make the purchase. So long story short, you hesitate from hitting the purchase button and the shop loses a chance to get a new customer.

As it stands today, simply having online reviews in isolation are not enough to convince a customer to buy your product. Today’s consumers need to trust your company, product and experience before stepping in and starting to purchase. High-resolution images matter hugely in the digital world but even those as static images are no longer enough, either. Customers are demanding more, and that more is 360-degree and AR experiences that let potential buyers view all angles of the product, bring them into their own space and experience what it is like to have it in their houses.

Our AR solution, Ares, allows you to offer exactly that to your existing and potential new customers. It brings 360-degree and full AR experiences to them, right in the browser which removes the need to have to download an app to use it. Keeping people on-site and offering them something that your competitors don’t is only a good thing, especially when that thing is super experiential and proven to drive engagement with customers.

 

Hyper Personalised Commerce

The most successful e-commerce companies are already leveraging personalisation technology to give their customers a customised experience.

These customised experiences are achieved by dynamically showing content, product recommendations, and specific offers based on browsing behaviour, previous actions, prior purchase history, customer demographics, and other enriched personal data.

E-commerce doesn’t include a retail salesperson to recommend products based on interest, preferences, or taste. Human touchpoints provide many opportunities to beat out the competition and some brands have built their entire experience based on this principle. This is what hyper-personalisation on eCommerce does – mimicking what a customer's in-store experience would be, through a unique online customer journey.

Data is what makes this operation work. Social media platforms and search engine tracking tools let you extract tons of personal data about your visitors and buyers, such as search queries, page visits, purchase history, and more. However, limitations are beginning to be placed on access to this data and there is a need to shift to independent data collection from those using your website already. Making it easy for customers to log into your site when visiting it allows you to gather data that will support your ability to personalise future shopping ‘trips’.

“Personalization is the missing ingredient to a successful online shopping experience and will be key to 2020 and the future of e-commerce,” says Juha Valvanne, Founder of Nosto.

To truly get this right, the help of experts is for the most part required to make sure that things are set up in the right way. That will allow you to fully maximise every opportunity that may be possible. Our Experience team do exactly that, and the research is telling us it is a smart investment.

Research has found that customers spend 48% more when their shopping experience is personalized. And, 57% of online shoppers are comfortable with sharing their personal information with a brand if it benefits their shopping experience.

When this is all done right, a customer will feel like you’re reading their mind. This emotional response generates a sense of loyalty, but you need to remember to not do too much too soon as it could feel like a breach of privacy. We’ve all thought our phones are listening to our conversations and felt like our personal lives have been somewhat invaded, this is not what you’re trying to achieve. It’s a fine line and our Experience team are experts at walking it.

 

Make it easier for customers to check out and pay

It’s one thing to build an incredible shopping journey with AR and 360-degree products, personalised recommendations and seamless transitions whilst browsing but it needs to be carried through to the cart and the checkout experience.

Customers want to get in, have an amazing experience and checkout. It needs to be easy and seamless and so many businesses fall down at this point. Ask too many questions, make it too hard to check out and don’t offer enough ways to pay.

For example, when shopping from an overseas business your customer may expect to be able to buy using their preferred local payment provider or in their local currency.

Additionally, customers are used to the ease of shopping on big online retailers like Amazon and ASOS. They save their customers’ billing and shipping information to make for a fast and easy checkout experience without a lot of data entry. Ecommerce websites are increasingly using payment options like Apple Pay, Paypal, and other financing options that enable a frictionless checkout.

Updating your payment provider with a company like Adyen makes doing this incredibly easy.  Being able to take payments from Apple Pay and Google Pay will help with those mobile shoppers and having repayment options like Klarna allow people the option to spread payments.

These are all things that help with conversion, could help increase the average cart value and keep customers coming back. To find out more about making this change, Eclipse can help too. We’re an authorised partner of Adyen and can help you make that checkout experience your customers want a reality.

 

Create Re-occurring Revenue Opportunities with Subscriptions

We’ve highlighted this before in an article we wrote recently. Recent research has shown that UK consumers now have on average seven subscriptions per household, spending around £46 a month or £552 a year.

During lockdown retail subscriptions jumped 50% with food boxes, wine and grooming leading the way.

In research conducted by Barclaycard, it was found that 8 in 10, that’s 82%, of retailers believe the popularity of subscription services increased during the lockdown as shoppers saw it as a way to take advantage of a safe and convenient way to receive everything from essential items such as groceries all the way through to entertainment.

By getting customers to sign up to a subscription service you’re allowing your product to become part of their routine. It becomes an expected part of the way they live their lives and for the most part, they stop looking at special offers or being distracted by competition for those products. As long as your product continues to shine through speedy delivery and always awesome quality, you’ve got a pretty good bet that you’re going to have a customer for life.

And if you needed more reason to consider it as a new business opportunity the research went on to find that 75% of retailers believe subscription services offer a more reliable and predictable source of income than a one-time charge model. Around 9 in 10 or 87% think subscription services allow their business to keep up with competitors or other brands that launch similar products and 82% also said that subscription services allow them to build customer relationships through increased contact.

These are some of the biggest emerging trends that we’ve spotted, and we’ll always continue our research and bring you the latest emerging trends as we find them. And if you would like to talk to us about anything you’ve read in this article, we’re here to chat it through and offer advice and as much help as we can.


The Good And Bad of Microcopy

The Good And Bad of Microcopy

Microcopy is text on a website or interface that helps to guide the user in their journey. This is the text you see on buttons, forms, tooltips and labels. Microcopy must be clear and easy to understand, no industry jargon. It should provide context and let the user know what actions they are taking. It’s not about persuading and selling so differs from traditional copywriting. 

In this article, we’ll look at some good and bad examples of microcopy used across some familiar brands websites.

Let’s take a look at some examples of great microcopy:

Hello Fresh

On their homepage, Hello Fresh has multiple CTA’s that all go to the same page. By changing the copy on these they capture users who are at different stages of the purchasing process. They can be broadly split into two categories, one where users are still in the research stage so less committal CTAs like ‘see our menus’ and ‘learn more’ will appeal to them. The other CTA ‘get started’  captures those users who are ready to purchase.

Expedia

The microcopy in the search field speaks directly to the user with simple language. It also offers suggestions for the type of thing that they can search for. This will help to guide the user and get them to the information they want to find quickly.

 

Evans Cycles

Evans cycles have added reassurance messaging to their checkout CTA. It is concise and is a great addition considering the high-value purchase a user is about to make. Informing the users of the security at this stage will help to relieve any anxiety they may have over their online purchase.

 

 

invision

This handy tooltip from invision lets the user know what exactly will happen when they choose to get a public share link. The link is copied to the clipboard, the word ‘clipboard’ could be considered technical language but considering the users of this product, there is an assumed level of technical understanding. Users are then reminded of this with positive messaging once they have selected this option.

 

 

Typeform

Typeform has created clarity between the two actions, log in and sign up so there is less chance of users selecting the wrong option. This will get users to where they want to be for the first time creating a smooth journey.

 


When signing up and choosing a password microcopy aids the user by defining the password requirements. Explaining what they need from a user upfront avoids users becoming frustrated by not knowing what action they need to take.

 

 

Now we’ve covered what you should be doing let’s see what mistakes we should avoid making:

Amazon

The text in this search field is ambiguous so it’s not clear what the user should input into the field. This may lead to users not finding the information they are looking for.

 

 

Blackboard

In this registration form, the supporting text in the fields is cumbersome. It doesn’t give the user any more information it just adds to the cognitive load by adding to what the user has to read.

The field ‘Registering as’ is ambiguous and has no supporting information. Supporting microcopy would be useful here to let the user know exactly what is meant by this unfamiliar field.

 

Montblanc 

On Montblanc’s website, they use overly complex language. This may be a deliberate choice to support the brands’ image. While this is valid for marketing when considering the user experience clarity is more important than persuasion at this stage.

 



 

As with most things in life microcopy can be used for good and bad. Let’s take a look at a dark UX pattern that utilises microcopy.

 

Treatwell

In the booking process on Treatwell users are asked about marketing preferences. One of these options check the box if you don’t want to receive marketing updates and the other is check this box if you do want to receive updates. This deliberately confusing language is likely to confuse users into opting into at least one of the updates. While this may serve the business goal it may not be serving the users goal. Whether this is good or bad UX writing I will leave for you to decide.

 

 

In Conclusion

Good UX writing vastly improves the user experience, it builds trust and in many cases increases conversion and engagement. So there’s no better time to review the copy on your website or product to delight your users.


Screenshot of data dashboard

Three Things You Can Start Doing to Improve Conversion

So, you’ve got a website and people are visiting it, job done? The answer is a big no. Getting people to your website is one half of a task, getting them to do something once they’re there is the other.

Whether you’re selling a product, generating enquires or getting people to sign up for a newsletter, these actions are what are referred to as conversions and they’re a key component of your overall business strategy which will make or break your success.

The big question now is how do you get more people taking those actions which will result in your conversion rate increasing?

But before we get too far ahead, let’s all just get on the same page about what we’re talking about.

 

What Is A Conversion Rate?

A conversion rate is calculated by using the total number of visitors to your website against those who completed a specific goal, like those mentioned previously. Things that be described as a goal form an almost endless list; it really depends on the nature of the business you’re in.

 

How Is Your Conversion Rate Calculated?

The most common formula is one where you divide the total number of goals completed in a day, week, month or time frame you decide by the total number of visits to your website and then multiply it by 100%. So, if you have 100 visits to your page and three complete a goal, you have a 3% conversion rate.

There is a bit of a debate about whether unique visitors or total visits is the number you should be using against the number of goal completions for this formula, but the most important thing is to pick one and stick to it. Our suggestion is to use visits because:

1) Visits are more accurate than Unique Visitors.
2) Every Visit represents an opportunity to persuade or convert a visitor to a customer.
3) Measuring visits is based on fairly established industry standards

 

3 Ways To Improve Your Conversion Rate

There is a high probability that you’re paying to send visitors to your site through social ads, search ads or with a search engine optimisation company. A higher conversion rate means a better return on your investment. But beyond that, improving your conversion rate allows you to provide a better customer experience to visitors who are hoping to gain value from your site through a product, service or information.

Outside of this standard paid activity and optimisation that drives people to your site there are things that you can do, potentially with the help of industry experts, that can drive that conversion rate up.

 

  1. Run A/B Tests

We previously covered this topic in our article, What is A/B testing and why do you need it? But in brief A/B or split testing is a technique of identifying elements within a website or on a landing page that have the greatest potential to increase your conversion rate, whether it’s for performance, usability, accessibility or numerous other issues.

As an example, if you have two different offers for your product or service or maybe two different kinds of promotion and can’t decide which to use, you can perform an A/B or multivariate test to see which one gets a better response. The decision between A/B or multivariate testing will depend on the amount of traffic coming to your site in order to achieve statistical significance. For example, a low traffic site will take a lot longer to achieve statistical significance than a high traffic site due to the slower collection of data. You create or have created two versions of your page (design A and design B and sometimes, design C) with different designs, calls to action or message. The important thing to remember here is that you don’t test too many things at once. This is especially important if the differences are subtle, to enable you to identify which change actually made the difference.

Then by using tools specifically created to optimise testing, they will send a portion of your traffic to page A and others to page B and C, if you're using three. You can then forecast future projected performance based on the data you’ve collected. The page with better performance is the one to consider making live to increase your conversion rate.

You can continue to optimise the winning page to see if it is possible to further drive an increase in conversion rate.

 

  1. Eliminate Anything Resembling A Distraction

Website visitors are ultimately just people and we are often easily distracted. You can’t afford to have unnecessary images or content on your website slowing down the speed of your page or delaying your customers' understanding of what you have to offer. You want to slim down and remove any elements that are not crucial to emphasising what you’re offering so that you’re more able to get visitors to accept or engage.

A few things you can start with are:

  • Minimise links on your menu so your most important call to action stands out. If you’re using a campaign landing page, remove the menu altogether.
  • Always remember your primary objective – there is a reason ‘primary’ is used in the term. It’s fine to have multiple objectives, but they should all have a priority order to avoid compromising your primary.
  • Avoid any suggestions that your website visitors check out your latest social media posts or head somewhere else to check out more information. The very last thing you want to do is send them off-page and down a rabbit hole, never to return.

 

  1. Highlight Social Proof and Do A Little Showing Off

Social proof might be a term you’ve not heard of before, but it is essentially a digital translation of word of mouth or advocacy.

The undeniable truth is that people buy from people. Potential customers are more likely to make a purchase, enquire or sign up if you've been recommended by a mutual contact, a previous customer, or a trusted third party, or if they've been exposed to your social media content and built up some brand trust based on what you share.

This is why the business of influencers has become such a big market. Brands look for public figures that appeal to their target market and brand ideals and use them to promote their products to their fan base.

Examples of social proof include:

  • Reviews and customer testimonials: These are shared in the hope they will provide a reassuringly direct answer to a visitors’ most important question: “Will I be satisfied with this purchase/information/service?” These can take the form of written statements or as highly effective videos.
  • Case Studies: Often confused with a review or testimonial, these are actually a very different beast and really come into play when you’re offering a service. They allow you to talk specifics and to achieved results, with the added support of advocacy from the client or customer the work was done with. They can in most cases do far more convincing than any description you can come up with about the service you offer. They can again take the form of written studies or videos.
  • Existing customer numbers or number of products sold: This is a very effective benchmark for potential customers. It shows how many people trust your products or services.
  • Endorsements: Coming from key personalities and thought leaders can be worth their weight in gold, but they are worth more if they’re not paid for. Society has become a little more sceptical as a result of fake news and paying someone to say something about your product and service that appears to conflict with previous statements or expressed beliefs will not do you any favours.
  • Accreditations: SSL secure site icons, industry accreditations from people like HubSpot, Google, Trip Advisor, Feefo or Trust Pilot all build credibility. These vary by industry and there will be some that you know about that are specific to the industry you work in. They’ll help for products and services where you require the submission of personal data. You want to communicate that visitors can trust you to manage their information with care.

Having social proof can make you and your company instantly more trustworthy because statements about how your product delivers a positive experience come from unbiased sources.

Conversion rate optimisation is an endless journey and these tips are just a starting point. You should be able to see an uptick in conversions but it’s all about finding out what works and continually working toward making improvements to maximise your results.

Our experience team here at Eclipse are experts in this field and if you’ve got a specific question, no need a little more information or need some help, we’re here for you.

Reach out and we can see what we can do together to get you converting more.


What is the Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Data?

When it comes to analysing the data, there are two types to look into – qualitative and quantitive data. When researching user habits on digital platforms, understanding the difference between the two can really help you get the most out of your data no matter how convoluted.

Quantitive

Quantitive data is the data that is statistical, well structured and defined making it great for data analysis. It is usually gathered from surveys and experiments that yield statistical data. Being so structured and close-ended, you can draw well backed up facts and patterns from the data. Quantitive data will tell you how many people viewed your site, how long they stayed on a page, your bounce rates, page clicks and anything that can be analysed with numbers.

Heatmaps and click maps provide a great visual on how your users are using your website. If you’re tracking eye-movements as we do at Eclipse, you can see how long users looked at a certain section of the site, and what parts of the sites got the most activity and attention. With this data, red indicating high attention areas, you can make decisions on how to structure webpages to make key points of interest more click-worthy.

What it does not tell you, is why the users may have paid more attention to a certain page, and this is where qualitative data comes in handy.

Qualitative

Qualitative data is the ‘why’ behind user behaviours and their motivations. It is not based on the numbers or statistics and is the data usually investigated for creating open-ended conversations. Qualitative data is great for putting yourself in the user’s shoes and finding out information like why they decided to abandon checkout or what made them give a lot of attention to one part of the site. These insights can make sense of the quantitative data we have, for example, we may know that users were not interacting with a CTA and now we know that is because it wasn’t obvious to see that the CTA was something on the page that could have been interacted with. With this data, we can now make decisions to make the CTA more actionable.

Qualitative data can be gathered by asking questions and conversing with the users as they are going through the experiment – something that is made really easy for Eclipse with our completely mobile biometric UX lab 😉 ;). This yields more honest and authentic responses from the users as they are having a human to human conversation and you can query them as they are using the site. With our UX lab, we are also able to track emotional responses and see body language from users going through a website journey, allowing us to get really in-depth data.

When collecting data, understanding qualitative and quantitive data is key. Understanding the psychological motivations of user journeys and being able to back up that data with statistics is a huge benefit to doing any kind of data analysis.


More Good News for Online Retail

It almost goes without saying but Covid-19 has really changed almost all aspects of our lives and one of the things that changed the most is how we shop.

When surveyed as part of the Big Ask Report, almost half of UK shoppers said that they believed the Pandemic would leave behind a lasting impact on their buying habits.

Research conducted by O2 Business in partnership with Retail Economics for the Report revealed that 44% of participants think they will see permanent changes to the way they shop, with many saying they expect to buy online more regularly.

The survey also showed that 47% of people think the number of times they shop online will definitely increase.

 

The Numbers Speak Volumes.

At the peak of the pandemic, around a third of consumers, 34%, said they bought essential and non-essential goods online but that is just the start.

The research also showed that 45% of customers have now purchased a product online that they had only ever purchased in-store before the pandemic.

Jo Bertram, managing director at O2 Business, said: "As a technology partner to the industry, we wanted to find out what the tectonic shifts have been in how people have engaged with each other over the last decade.”

He added, “The effect the lockdown has had to the way we buy has been significant, but they've accentuated these shifts more than redirected them."

49% of consumers now spend more time researching products online even as lockdown eases and when they make a purchase, 83% of consumers will opt for home delivery over click and collect.

Richard Lim, chief executive officer of Retail Economics, said: "The impact of Covid-19 has re-wired the customer journey, leaving many retailers scrambling to assess the impact as they attempt to realign their proposition to meet a new normal.

 

What Does This Mean For Retailers?

For years we've seen a significant shift towards online and some of these behaviours will inevitably become permanent, with digital playing an incredibly important role.

"Many of these consumers are shopping for goods online for the first time, overcoming the barriers of setting up online accounts, entering payment details and gaining trust.” Added Lim.

It is the job of the retailer to enhance these processes and make them as easy and pain-free as possible. The customer is out there wanting to participate but if they’re faced with barriers, they’ll head elsewhere.

"The new normal will involve a step-change in the integration of digital technologies and retailers are assessing what this means for the number of stores, where they should invest and the potential partnerships that could be formed."

Looking for ways to be more easily found, offering truly exceptional shopping experiences and using technology that allows you to stand out from the crowd are all things that retailers should be looking at.

Having a CRO (conversion rate optimisation) plan for your digital store that can continually work on the customer experience is a great place to start. It will give you insights into how customers are currently shopping with you and find opportunities to improve and fine-tune to deliver an uplift in conversion.

And looking into technology like Augmented Reality can help you stand out from the crowd. It offers customers the opportunity to bring your products into their homes and experience it in an ‘as close to the real thing’ as possible without the need to head into a store.

These things will help you prepare and take advantage of this shift change.

 

How Can Eclipse Help

We’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple.

We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations.

Our clients enjoy seamless access to the best analysts, experts and technical resources in the sector. We’re proud of what we do and we’re incredibly good at it (and it’s not just us saying that).

Our Experience team works with clients every day to test their sites and work to create a better conversion rate for them.

We’ve got specialist teams that advise and then action Design, UX & UI for your digital storefront. We’ve also got geniuses to work with you on how to drive brand engagement, solicit positive sentiment, strengthen your content marketing, SEO & PPC.

And when it comes to Augmented Reality, Our Augmented Reality E-commerce Solution, Ares, changes the game and is all about enhancing the online shopping experience for the end-user. It is about lifting product images from standard 2D into something experiential and visually impactful, that truly brings product shopping online to life.

Ares is dedicated to leveraging the power of AR and 3D for so much more than entertainment – it exists as your next step for achieving peak eCommerce performance.

And the reason it is changing the game is that it works straight from the web browser or mobile device, no apps or downloads required. It can be plugged into any website or e-commerce platform and Ares works on the latest Android and iOS devices.

Ares is a full end-to-end AR service for retailers. You don’t need to be an AR expert to get the best out of Ares.

Reach out to us and we can discuss how we can help you move with the shift change, maximise the opportunity and support you and help make sure that your business lives long into the future. No matter your size or specific industry vertical, our mission is to see you succeed.


What is a user journey map?

The size of the map can vary greatly depending on the number of steps, the subject (e-commerce, SaaS, service etc) and the complexity of the interaction. However, the outcome pays huge dividends in producing better informed solutions and avoiding retrospective design and engineering.

Mapping out a customer’s experience encourages you to consider every aspect of a persona in terms of emotions, thought process and intentions and is just one of the many tools to inform User-Centred-Design. Analysing the map will provide a deeper understanding of pain points and allow you to better understand the reasons for declining performance or other KPIs.

A carefully considered user journey map helps you identify and understand reasons for declining satisfaction scores or business objectives. Focus is put directly on the users actual experience and provides a comparable view vs the intended experience.

COMPONENTS OF A JOURNEY MAP?


PERSONA GOALS

This is a profile that represents a part of your user base which informs the data within the user journey. Each persona will have different considerations, thoughts and interactions and will steer the user journey and is written as a user story. A user story is deliberately succinct and is provided as a single sentence along the lines of “As a [persona], I want to [goal], so that [benefit].

A carefully considered user journey map helps you identify and understand reasons for declining satisfaction scores or business objectives. 

METRICS

This is a profile that represents a part of your user base which informs the data within the user journey. Each persona will have different considerations, thoughts and interactions and will steer the user journey.

EXPERIENCE

The experience section highlights each stage of the journey, along with the positive and negative feelings that persona has throughout each stage. This provides a high level indication of pain points where there may be opportunity. This can help better inform what the user wants or expects to see at that moment in time, as well as the tonality on how things should be communicated.

MORE DATA

We also apply another level of data from analytics, screen recordings and any other tools that may be in place, that you often don’t find in many other user journey maps. This data may could be anything from conversion rates to time on the screen. Where data such as percentages can provide an idea of aggregated behaviour, duration indicates a level of interest, distraction or confusion at that stage.

Cross referencing this with the other data in the user journey map provides another level of clarity of the issues and (this is an important one), the opportunities in their experience. It’s one thing to identify an issue, it’s another to solve it (we’re pretty good at that too).

Aggregated data of persona using all available data sources.

MOTIVATIONS

Motivations are based around the drivers for that persona. A personas motivations can differ quite dramatically and may be based around their character traits. For example (in its most simplistic form), a persona who is particularly busy and impatient and who may be travelling whilst going through the journey, will be motivated by speed and spending as little time as possible. Whereas, a persona who is casually browsing in their free time is more likely open to spending more time and learning more in the process.

There are multiple scenarios and personas for every product or service, which is what makes these journeys so important. In almost all cases, one size most certainly does not fit all. The fluctuation of these motivations as they go through the process will often rise and fall at each stage of the journey.

Motivation fluctuations at each stage.

USER CONSIDERATIONS

This highlights the considerations a user makes, also based on their persona. This will include aspects such as their character traits, marital status or financial circumstances.

For example, making a major purchase will vary from someone on low income vs someone on high income, therefore this persona would be spending far more time thinking about the financial element. This helps inform your design strategy to design an experience that helps the decision making process of that persona.

Potential blockers to conversion.

OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunities are insights gained from mapping. They will help inform your design decisions to optimise the user experience. When you take all this information at each stage, you are able to understand the best way to deliver the right information, at the right time, to the right people. There may be upsell or cross-sell opportunities depending on where they are in the buying process, or maybe at this particular stage of the journey they have no interest in cross-sell and you can identify ways of helping them through the process.

Wherever the user is in the journey, this provides focus on the opportunities at each stage and make design decisions to capitalise on them.

Potential to change in favour of KPI.

WHY USE A JOURNEY MAP?


Mapping out a customer’s experience encourages you to consider every aspect of a persona in terms of emotions, thought process and intentions and is just one of the many tools to inform User-Centred-Design. Analysing the map will provide a deeper understanding of pain points and allow you to better understand the reasons for declining performance or other KPIs.

A carefully considered user journey map helps you identify and understand reasons for declining satisfaction scores or business objectives. Focus is put directly on the users actual experience and provides a comparable view vs the intended experience.

CONCLUSION


Utilising user journey maps in this way allows focus on each stage of the journey and is just one of the many tools in the UX toolkit, but one that is very important. User journey mapping can be a complex process. As highlighted above, adding any additional data and research, you can access to each persona and journey will more provide a platform for more concise decisions and design better solutions.

There’s also no such thing as ‘done’ when it comes to the personas and journey maps either. These should be revisited, reviewed and updated regularly as economic and social climate changes users online behaviours.

The map above is just one simple example a quick overview of what they contain. Hopefully you’ve found this useful and feel inspired to create your own, but drop us a line if you’d like a little help – we’d love to talk to you.


What will it take to survive in the future of retail?

In an article written by Doug Stephens, the founder of Retail Prophet and the author of three books on the future of retail, for businessoffashion.com, he describes a future that any retailer will look at and in almost all cases, result in a shudder and deep pit forming in their stomach.

First, let me paint a picture that we’ll all be familiar with. Anyone who has seen the Disney Pixar masterpiece that is Wall•E may think back to it, and recall the story of overconsumption and disregard for the environment. This leads to the abandonment of the Earth, for life aboard a series of floating ‘paradises’ that further drove those aboard toward unquestioning consumption.

But the somewhat overlooked or underplayed element of that story is that it was driven by a single entity. Scattered across the opening scenes are references to a megacorporation, Buy-N-Large (BnL) that play themselves to be the hero’s having evacuated humanity leaving behind the solution that would clean the mess and make it safe to return.

In his article, he references other examples from the likes of Robocop, Aliens and Blade Runner but the underlying causation and resulting symptoms are the same.

You might be thinking ‘That was just fiction’, but life has a funny way of imitating art and what Doug so clearly points out in the article is that we’re on the verge of megacorporation’s taking over.

As he puts it “In a post-pandemic retail landscape, such corporations will no longer reside solely in novels or films. They will become a reality.”

Described as Apex Predators, the likes of Amazon, Walmart and Alibaba will emerge as “an entirely novel, genetically mutated species of retailer that faces few threats.” These businesses have been marching toward this for years, growing at rates that have bucked any and all trends, and Covid-19 has been the ultimate steroid for these businesses, pushing them toward domination whilst others seem to be falling in their wake.

“While many retailers swooned under revenue declines of up to 80%, these giants posted results deserving of a double-take.”

His article is worthy of a deep dive read and I would encourage you all to venture over and take a look at it, but the key takeaway for me was that this isn’t something that retailers should just lay down and let happen. What is required is evolution and adaption to the world we now have in front of us.

 

Embrace The Digital Age

Long before the pandemic took hold the world was on a steady trajectory toward living digitally. Shopping online has been increasing year on year for as long as it has been around, and the adoption of remoting working isn’t new. What Covid-19 did was push these forward at a rate not many were ready for.

Now, this is not to say that retail should shut up all physical shop fronts and put all their ‘eggs into one basket’ by thinking of their digital shopfront as the saviour but rather that the purpose they once served is over and that their place in the buyer's journey is transforming.

“The value of physical stores [are] as community gathering places, brand culture hubs and experiential playgrounds. It is, however, time to stop considering them an effective means of product distribution. Stores must become more about distributing experiences and less about distributing goods.”

What you consider your ‘store’ and what consumers consider your ‘store’ are two very different things. The consumers buying experience starts with the moment they engage with your content. Be that via Instagram, YouTube or TikTok.

And as Doug illustrates in the article “The apex predators have already accepted this reality by building commerce, finance, entertainment and streamlined logistics into every media experience hosted on their platforms.”

And he is very clear about what this means for businesses that underestimate the importance of this change.

“The moral of the story is that if you can’t serve your customers through every media touchpoint, you’re going to go out of business. If your brick and mortar stores are not creating vastly positive and memorable physical media experiences and brand impressions you’re going to go out of business. And if you can’t effectively weave these two, media and store, together in a way that removes buying friction and adds radical experiential value for customers, you’re going to go out of business.”

 

The Way Forward

To define a path to success and survival, you need to remember this. Your products need to be shoppable, purchasable and shippable every minute of every day. Plus, to stand out from these Apex Predators, you need to establish a vastly more distinct value proposition so that customers have something to buy into.

The type of experience you offer and how you offer it is more important now than ever.

 

The Retail Archetypes

In the article, Doug lays out what he sees as the 10 distinct retail archetypes that offer “a valuable and ownable market position”.

He explains each of them in detail, offering the risk and reward associated with their unique position and their points of difference. They are all worthy of consideration and I encourage time being taken to read and fully understand each of them. The one you pick will ultimately drive the strategy your business takes moving forward. I have listed them below with a very brief outline to give you a taster of each.

 

  1. The Renegade

Renegade retailers challenge incumbents in a market by identifying creative product or operations-related unlocks that radically alter the price-value equation.

 

  1. The Activist

Activist retailers use their businesses to support social, economic or environmental causes.

 

  1. The Storyteller

Storyteller retailers are those that grow so large, ubiquitous and iconic they supersede their own product category and spend the majority of their time creating compelling content.

 

  1. The Artist

Artist retailers very often sell products that are similar or even identical to those of other retailers, but through their sheer creativity and capacity for stagecraft they design experiences around those products that are highly unique

 

  1. The Tastemaker

Tastemaker retailers are those whose products or brands are not necessarily unique but may indeed be more difficult to find.

 

  1. The Oracle

The oracle retailer is one who delivers unparalleled expertise within a specific category.

 

  1. The Concierge

Concierge retailers are those that deliver highly personalised and engaging experiences to their shoppers.

 

  1. The Clairvoyant

The clairvoyant retailer is one that uses both technology and human intuition to actually predict needs, preferences and desires on the part of its customers and proactively present products on that basis.

 

  1. The Engineer

Engineer retailers figure stuff out. They use technology to solve product or service design problems that elude other brands.

 

  1. The Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper retailers are those that maintain a position through regulatory or financial barriers to entry.

 

Whichever you think might be right for your business, the underlying principle will be the experience that is being offered to them and as previously stated your products need to be shoppable, purchasable and shippable every minute of every day.

Creating a truly seamless, utterly unique online shopping experience for your business that your customers can engage with is a really good starting point. Because when push comes to shove, you still need to be able to sell your product to a customer and making that an easy and enjoyable experience will be what helps you succeed.

It is one thing to have engaging content that drives emotional engagement getting people on board with the idea of your brand and your products, but then offering them a purchase journey that throws them into digital experiences that create roadblocks or barriers, is counterintuitive.

Optimising your existing journey through Conversion Rate Optimisation or designing an entirely new one with User Experience Design are investments that can’t be ignored. And the use of the latest advancements in technology like Augmented Reality all cement your place in the market and offer experiences that allow you to stand out from the crowd.

In the same what that you might spend time and money investing in store fit-outs or training of staff to offer a better in-store experience for customers, the same thinking needs to be applied to your digital store. Just sticking a website up with all your stuff on it isn’t going to cut it. And trying to fix it by spending huge money on well-crafted marketing campaigns is a road to nowhere.

Although it isn’t an example of a digital store, the Fyre Festival is the prime example of what happens when you talk an excellent game with marketing and then fail to deliver on the other side.

 

We’re Here To Help You

At Eclipse, this is what we do. We’ve been building digital experiences for a long time and we pride ourselves on making them beautifully simple.

We unlock your trading potential, creating and supporting beautifully simple sites that are functionally rich and continually perform way above expectations.

Our clients enjoy seamless access to the best analysts, experts and technical resources in the sector. We’re proud of what we do and we’re incredibly good at it (and it’s not just us saying that).

We’re here to support you and help make sure that your business lives long into the future. No matter your size or specific industry vertical, our mission is to see you succeed.