Tag Archives: online

Functional Simplicity: The Various Ways Minimalism Can Enhance Customer Experience

web design tips

Simplify, then add lightness. This one core philosophy is the foundation of Colin Chapman’s approach in building cars in the 50s all the way until his death in the early 80s. Even now, you can still see this philosophy mirrored in Lotus Cars, the British automotive company that Chapman founded that you might’ve recognized from classic James Bond films. Even before minimalism become fashionable, Chapman has always adhered to this philosophy, even when it sometimes jeopardized the safety of drivers driving his cars.

For Chapman, minimalism isn’t just an aesthetic choice. Another one of his famous quotes exemplify his line of thinking; “Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere”. As is the case with the automotive world, minimalism also carries actual functions aside from just being nice to look at when it comes to the world of Melbourne web designer. The word basic tends to have pejorative undertones in our current discourse but simplicity does have its values when it comes to designing a user interface.

Minimalism as a design language

There is no universal agreement on what would constitute minimalist design but the oft-cited consensus is that it represents a school of thought where every element in an interface is there for a specific purpose. In minimalism, there’s a deliberate reason behind the existence and placement of every element in a single web page and in the eyes of the users, everything works exactly the way they think it would. Ideally, there are no superfluous elements in minimalism and the experience is pared down to only focus on what’s essential.

This is not to say that there can be no intricate, complex or any kind of visual touch in a minimalist design; it’s more about how these elements shouldn’t be made more intricate, complex or distracting than they already are. Functionally and aesthetically, the goal in minimalism is to prioritize efficiency, how a designer can do and convey more with less. This less is more approach doesn’t just infuse your website with a tidy look, it would also enhance your customer experience in several tangible and noticeable ways.

Minimalism helps add clarity to your website and/or contents

It doesn’t matter if your website serves an educational or a marketing purpose; you would still want your message to be success fully delivered to your audience and one easy way of achieving that is by adopting minimalism as a design language. Minimalism means having less things to focus on for the users, enabling them to navigate their way around your website and digesting your contents easier. The challenge here lies in your ability to distill your message to its essentials while still being unambiguous.

Far too often, designers commit the sin of pulling too hard and too much to the other direction. They not only succeed on stripping down their elements of any superfluous elements, they also succeed in making them almost unrecognizable. Having to manage this delicate balance can be hard as there’s a very fine line between a minimalist design and a muddled, ambiguous design. If you’re just starting out, you might not be able to achieve this balance in your first try but dig your heels in and I can assure you that the result would be more than worth the trouble.

Minimalism helps with the performance of your website

Just at look at how much success Colin Chapman has had in Formula 1, the Holy Grail when it comes to motorsport. Under his leadership, Team Lotus won a total of seven Constructor’s Championship titles. That’s enough to place Lotus in fourth place in the all-time list, which is quite impressive given it’s been two decades since the last time Lotus entered a Formula 1 race. Obviously, motorsport and web design is far from an apple-to-apple comparison but lightness does carry several inherent performance advantages in the world of web design.

On the users’ part, adopting minimalism as a design language helps make your website load faster and perform better simply because there are fewer elements that have to be loaded. Having less complicated elements means that your website wouldn’t be such a resource hog either, making it easy for users that are using modest hardware in both desktop and mobile. On the designers’ part, minimalism would make maintenance and upkeep easier as again; there would simple be fewer elements you have to take care of.

Minimalism helps make organization and housekeeping easier

For business that runs an online service and have to resort to using highly sophisticated and complex web applications that have to either process or host a lot of data, adopting minimalism as a design language can help make all of that sophistication and complexity more digestible. Even if your target audience skews younger, it’s wrong to assume that all millenials and Generation Zs are all equally tech-savvy; some would still be just as clueless as your grandparents when faced with a highly technical application.

As has been mentioned before, minimalism helps add clarity to your user interface. White space, another essential element in minimalism, could also help make the complex nature of web application more manageable by injecting a visual breathing space on your interface. Given the sheer popularity of web applications, ranging from office productivity apps, music streaming apps and e-commerce platforms, web designers have to come up with a way so that they can be easily used by everyone and minimalist design is one way of achieving this.

Leveraging Your Contacts: 4 Tips in Upping your Social Selling Game

social media tips

As there’s more than one way to skin a cat, I’ve also come to understand that there’s more than one way for you to sell your products. Last week, completely on a whim, I decided to participate in a local walking tour that aims to educate both locals and tourists about some of the hidden attractions along the route. It was actually pretty fun and I’m somewhat ashamed to say that there are actually a number of places that I’m unfamiliar with even with two decades of living in this city.

Still, the biggest surprise comes right at the end of the tour when I exchanged contact information with other participants and, thinking that we might get together again for another walking tour, was instead bombarded with no less than three business opportunities. Everything these days, it seems, are networking events. If you’re willing to go that far, everything can be turned into a sales channel as can be seen in social media platforms where opportunities to make new acquaintances have been turned into this giant marketplace by social media services and marketers through the practice of social selling.

We’re not here to make friends

I still remember that innocent time in 2008 where Facebook was a way for me to, if not make friends, at least get in touch with other people in that wide circle we call college. Even though I’ve lost touch with a number of people I met during that time, I’m still quite indebted to Facebook as the platform provided me with plenty of opportunities to connect further with people that I recognized from that one class we shared. Just as how Facebook was quite effective for the purpose of finding new people to hang out with, it should be of little surprise that Facebook (and social media platforms in general) can be quite effective as a platform to peddle your products and/or services.

In theory, the practice of social selling is a separate entity when compared to the practice of social media marketing with the key differentiator being the issue of revenue generation. In practice though, the lines between the two can get a little blurry as the practice of social selling can involve more long-term strategies that might not generate revenue immediately but more about raising awareness on the value proposition of the brand, which technically falls under the general umbrella of marketing. No matter what term you use however, social media can be a valuable platform in expanding your businesses’ reach.

The downside however is that social selling can be somewhat tricky to ace. The popularity of social media platforms is still a recent phenomenon and with the likes of Facebook and Instagram constantly updating and adding new features to their respective platforms, it can be quite hard to get a handle on nailing the practice of social selling. As customer trends change and technology progresses, what works today might not produce the same result so it’s important to take the following 4 tips in mind when considering your social selling efforts.

Carefully monitor activities around your brand and your industry

As social media platforms have grown astonishingly massive, with both Facebook and Instagram boasting more than 1 billion users, it’s getting harder to find prospective leads in that ocean of people. Luckily, most platforms come with monitoring tools that should make your job easier in trying to discover prospective leads. Find relevant keywords or hashtags and take a look at the activities around your competitors to scope for potential leads. As your business and the public awareness of your brand goes bigger, you might be able to simply wait for potential leads to come to you but for small businesses who are just starting out, engaging with potential leads is definitely the way to go.

Pay close attention whenever your brand is mentioned or tagged

Another way to scope out for potential leads is to drop by whenever your brand is mentioned or tagged in public. There’s a chance that these mentions aren’t going to be complimentary but instead of shying away from confrontation, these negative mentions could actually be used as an opportunity for you to set things right. If it turns out that the fault lies with you, this provides you with the opportunity to show that you care while if it’s not your fault, this could prevent your reputation from being damaged further. For complimentary mentions, you could simply drop by in the comments and scope out other commenters or those who liked the posts for potential leads.

Connect with influencers and other important figures

Around a decade ago, when small businesses aren’t as plentiful as they are now, my buying process was pretty simple. There were only a couple of boutique denim and leather shoe brands to pay attention to and finding the most ideal pair of jeans or shoes wouldn’t take too long. Fast forward ten years later however and the landscape is as crowded as Bondi Beach on a summer’s day and I have to rely on curators in the form of influencers for my decision making process.

I’m not talking about influencers in the style of the Hadids, Kardashians and the Jenners but more along the lines of microinfluencers with relatively small but loyal followings. These microinfluencers won’t make gossip headlines anytime soon and are usually only known to those with a keen interest in the industry but are highly regarded within their specific niche. If your business targets aficionados and those with an appreciation for the finer things in life, these microinfluencers should be of particular interest.

Try out targeted ads

If you’re looking to expand your reach beyond what you’re capable of doing on your own, you might want to try out paid/targeted ads. As these social media platforms try to further commercialize their platforms, these ads are going to be even more prominent (if they haven’t already) and you might reach a point where your organic marketing efforts simply aren’t working. Targeted ads can also be useful if you’re in the middle of a campaign as the extra incentives might prove to be enough to entice prospective leads.

Cloudy with Little Chance of Downtime: 4 Key Benefits of Using Cloud Hosting

web hosting tips

Back when the cloud was still a relatively new concept in technology, I used to roll my eyes a little whenever some random company talks about harnessing the power of the cloud to power their products and/or services. I am very happy to say however than in 2019, the cloud has long transformed from a buzzword into a dominant force in technology, with products like Google’s upcoming cloud video game streaming service Stadia representing another important step in cloud architecture.

Of all the forms of cloud technology available to the public, we’re most intimately familiar with the concept of cloud storage provided by services such as Google Drive and Dropbox but there are a lot of other ways the cloud can be utilized. One of them is through the practice of cloud hosting which has proven to be quite a useful alternative to the typical practice of shared and dedicated hosting. If you’re still on the lookout for web hosting services to use, this might be a good time to read on why cloud hosting is deserving of at least some consideration.

The revolutionary capabilities of cloud technology

The simplest thing we can say about the cloud is that it’s not tethered to any physical object. There is actually a definitive technical explanation of the cloud but that would require a time and space we don’t have at the moment. In cloud storage for example, your data isn’t actually stored in a single physical server but a collection of servers working in tandem operated by the service provider which in the case of Google Drive is Google. As your data is stored on this ‘cloud’, you can access them through a variety of different devices and/or through anywhere in the world as long as you have a working internet connection.

As someone who writes a lot, cloud storage is incredibly useful as it allows to me to continue writing wherever I am at the moment and to jot down whatever inspirations I found while out and about into the same document. Cloud storage saves me from having to keep multiples copies of my work as that can be incredibly impractical. Cloud hosting doesn’t necessarily confer you with the same benefits but they are still incredibly useful in all sorts of different ways and the following 4 example should help convince you.

Cloud hosting has inherent redundancy

When it comes to plastics waste, redundancy may be the last thing we’re looking for but when it comes to your website, redundancy is an absolute must. When your website is hosted on a physical server, the minute said server is hit by a problem; your website will be out for as long as it takes for to get the server up and running again. You can of course, keep a backup of your website on another server but that would cost you money and this requires you to maintain two separate versions of your website and that requires more work.

On the other hand, as cloud hosting relies on a cluster of servers, a failure in one of the servers would be far from enough to take your website down. Cloud hosting saves you from having to keep a backup of your website as they’re is designed with built-in redundancy. While it is possible for all servers inside a cloud platform got knocked out at the same time, that is incredibly unlikely and right off the bat, cloud hosting gives your website a level of reliability that the typical web hosting aren’t capable of.

Cloud hosting has better security by default

Because problems affecting a single server will have a minimal impact on the cloud platform as a whole, cloud hosting is inherently more secure than shared or dedicated hosting. Data is a very important commodity in the modern world and cloud hosting ensures the security of your data by ensuring that even if a physical malfunction were to occur in one of the servers, your data will be safe. Even if one of the servers were breached, the cloud platform could simply isolates the server in question while ensuring no downtime to the platform as a whole which provides your website with better security and reliability.

Cloud hosting is highly scalable

When choosing a web hosting plan, you’re always given a choice. Do you want to play it safe by going for the highest possible bandwidth? Or do you go for the economical choice by going with a plan that has limited bandwidth? Both options have their own shortcomings as in the former, you’re going to be wasting a lot of resource (and money) when it turns out that your website is only operating at 25% capacity. In the latter, you run the risk of losing business if it turns out that the traffic you’re getting is bigger than your initial estimates.

Cloud hosting solves this by giving you a level of flexibility unseen with typical web hosting. As cloud hosting operates using a cluster of servers grouped together, the total amount of resource available is far larger than even dedicated hosting. If you’re seeing that you’re running out of resources or you’re about to run a promotion that’s likely to bring in more traffic than usual, you could simply pull in more resources from the cloud at a cost. Most cloud hosting platforms allow you to adjust this in real-time without having to wait for approval from the hosting provider which can be incredibly useful in a pinch.

Cloud hosting has a flexible pricing scheme

This is still related to the point above, cloud hosting can also be financially efficient as you’re only going to be billed based on your usage. Typically, you’ll be given a choice of several plans with an increasing level of threshold but you won’t be charged a flat price. Instead, you’ll be charged based on how much resource you’re using with the rate varying from one plan to another. It’s like being given a choice of a diner or a Michelin star restaurant (the different plans) where you’ll be charged only on foods you’ve ordered (your usage). By contrast, the typical hosting plan is like a buffet where you’ll be charged the same no matter how much you eat.