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Video UX Trends in 2020: Online Experience after COVID-19

Video UX Trends in 2020: Online Experience after COVID-19

By experience design, mobile, UX, video No Comments

Actively making use of online videos is a clear trend in 2020 as it better improves the user experience. Of course, using quality video content has always been one of the most effective ways to make a website stand out. But after the coronavirus outbreak, the role of online videos in delivering delightful user experience has become even more crucial.

Across the board, during the early peaks of COVID-19 in March in the US and Western Europe, media consumption sky-rocketed. Social distancing and an increase in largely stay-at-home lifestyles have also facilitated the popularity of video chats, video games, and video creation.

For business owners, it means that customers will expect to see more videos in the digital space in both the mid- and post-COVID era. There is a greater need to adjust to the new market demands. In this post, we will discuss how video content impacts the UX and give you some tips on creating engaging online videos.

How videos can improve the UX design

Incorporating videos into websites isn’t a passing design trend. By making the user experience more immersive, videos help businesses create a stronger connection with their target audience.

Videos also demonstrate more clearly how products and services meet customer needs and, as a result, help sell products and services more effectively. Let us look at the main benefits companies get when they decide to embed online videos on their websites.

Tone of voice & atmosphere

While background videos make landing pages look more compelling, there is more to it. Videos allow UX designers to create a particular atmosphere on a website and tap into specific emotions and intent in users. With the right UX design and video, it’s easier for a business to convey brand messages and convert leads into customers.

The Cadigal site below is a great example. The company offers property for lease, so the video on a homepage shows beautiful city views.

city view
Website address: www.cadigal.com.au

Higher SEO ranking

Using videos in web design enhances search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and help companies drive more visitors to their websites. Search engines ( most notably Google) rank sites that contain quality video content higher in the search results. Research shows that videos published on a web page can increase the site’s traffic by up to 157 percent.

Besides, online videos increase conversion rates by piquing people’s interest and encouraging them to stay longer on a website. It’s especially useful for businesses that undergo digital transformation and strive to build a solid online presence.

Storytelling video experience

Videos are a great content marketing tool that helps organizations tell the story of a product or brand. Our brains can process and interpret visual content faster than texts. It means that companies can convey more information via online videos in a shorter period of time.

Not to mention that people simply love videos. If video content is available on a web page, it will naturally grab users’ attention. Watch the ad below to get a better sense of how videos can tell a brand story.

Video as customer support

Sometimes people have questions about a product or service that a company offers, but contacting a support center seems like too much effort.

Using explainer videos on self-service portals is a UX design trend that allows businesses to optimize digital customer experience and make a website more user-friendly. It’s also beneficial for companies since they can save costs by hiring a smaller customer support team.

Top video trends for better UX

Online videos have been a dominant form of content for the last 5-7 years. We’ve seen changing video and UX trends during this time period.

As new tools for video recording and editing become increasingly available to a broader audience, new trends start to emerge. If you want to make your website more engaging, here are a few things that may help.

Vlog content

Creating a business vlog is an excellent idea for any company searching for a convenient way to deliver messages and ideas to customers. Informative and compelling online videos help capture the audience’s attention.

Videos are also more memorable than text and more effective in terms of building brand trust. Besides improving UX, a business vlog can be a working tool for implementing a video marketing strategy and increasing brand awareness.

Product videos

Ecommerce businesses use product videos to give potential buyers a close-up look of an item, explain its main features and benefits, or demonstrate a product in use. Statistics show that 72 percent of buyers prefer watching a video to reading a product description if both options are available.

The reasons are obvious. Videos provide more information about a product in an easier way. As a consequence, it speeds up and simplifies the decision-making process. Additionally, videos give more confidence that a product is real. Solo Stove serves as an example of quality product videos.

Live streams

Today, many social media platforms allow users to stream live videos. Instagram Stories, TikTok, Facebook Live, and Youtube Live are just the most popular platforms, but there are literally hundreds of them.

Advancements in technologies have also enabled adding live-streaming videos to corporate websites. So if you decide to start broadcasting business-related videos in real-time, you’ll easily find all the necessary tools.

Personalized videos

The personalized video is a very noticeable trend in video marketing these days. Such videos contain some personal elements, for example, a recipient name and give a feeling that a company speaks directly to each customer.

Of course, you don’t have to create a separate original video from scratch for all people on your email list. Modern video personalization platforms allow companies to customize videos automatically.

screenshot personalized video
Screenshot. Video source: vidyard.com

How to create a stunning online video

Most of today’s customers view videos all the time, and their expectations are rather high. In other words, if you want to create a positive user experience on your website you have to follow trends and apply best practices. Unfortunately, producing some video content now and again won’t be enough.

  • Don’t ignore a vertical video format. Videos in portrait mode are more mobile-oriented and are a perfect fit for social media. But you can also use them on your website and YouTube. See how Adidas did this.
  • Get inspiration from outside of your niche. Even if you need to create a simple ad or explainer, it shouldn’t be dull. In most cases, people enjoy videos when they are entertaining. Take inspiration from films or music videos — they’ll give you some new insights.
  • Make it simple. People choose videos instead of texts because they are simpler to perceive and process. So don’t try to tell everything in one video. Focus only on the important stuff and keep it short.
  • Invest in quality. Will you watch a video ad if the sound quality is so poor that you can barely hear the words? Good quality videos show that your company cares about your products and customers. In short, quality should never be underestimated.
  • Add in-person feel. Although the digital world offers limited opportunities for face-to-face interactions, users want to see more human beings when they are online. To make your video content more influential and engaging, create videos containing real people whenever it’s possible.

Wrapping-up

COVID-19 has changed our online habits and needs. People spend more time in the digital space and are exposed to a vast amount of information. It’s only natural that we want to get quality content but in a simple form, so understanding the ideas doesn't require much effort. Online videos suit this market demand just perfectly.

No matter what message your business aims to deliver, you have a higher chance of being heard if you use a video format. Are you unsure whether your online videos and user experience design is up to scruff? Then it’s high time to review the UX design of your website, app experience, and add more videos to it.

Want to improve the UX of your website or digital product?

We’re ready to help!

User Experience and Digital Transformation : The Why, What, and How

User Experience and Digital Transformation: The Why, What, and How

By digital transformation, innovation, UX No Comments

The current health crisis forced many brick and mortar businesses to move online and completely rethink the way they operate. However, successfully undergoing a digital transformation isn’t always easy. While most traditional companies are striving to remain relevant in the new reality, only some of them understand how to do digital transformation right and what changes it triggers. One of the main mistakes organizations often make is to pay too much attention to technologies while underestimating the role of user experience.

In this article, we’ll explain why focusing on the UX design is crucial for receiving positive results from digital transformation. We’ll also give you some tips on how to get on the right track with creating outstanding digital experiences for current and potential customers.

Why center digital transformation around UX

No business can remain afloat if it ignores customer needs. But that’s exactly what some companies inadvertently do while undergoing digital transition. They think the same strategies that have proven their efficiency in real life will work equally well for online interactions. However, people behave differently in the digital space. This means that most traditional methods of offline communication aren’t necessarily effective on the internet.

Purchasing decisions online are influenced to a greater extent by a number of factors; including greater competition with plenty of available alternatives, the availability of reviews, almost effortless comparison of prices, and other conditions (e.g. delivery time and cost) have significantly raised the level of customer expectations. It usually takes just a few clicks to find another online shop selling similar products. So even one episode of poor customer experience can become a deal-breaker for internet purchasers.

A good UX design can address a number of these factors. It can help a company increase audience engagement, simplify interactions with every buyer, and, ultimately, get more sales. Statistics show that a return from every dollar invested in creating a decent user experience amounts to $100. At the same time, about 88% of online shoppers say that they won’t use a website again if the UX was bad. In other words, achieving business goals while undertaking a digital transformation isn’t possible without making the entire process user-centric.

How to get started with the UX-oriented digital transformation

Creating great products isn’t necessarily enough to combat fierce competition in the overcrowded internet arena. To stand out, a company must truly delight its customers, or at the very least make the purchasing journey effortless. In order to achieve this, a deep understanding of customer needs and wants is a must. Here are a few tips on how to take a comprehensive approach to the creation of user experience within the online transition process.

Do UX research

The main goal of UX research is to help you understand how to make every interaction with a mobile application or website pleasant to users. It allows a design team to identify problems and opportunities related to the usability of functions and solutions that you have already implemented or plan to implement. All insights and valuable information gathered at this stage can be fed into the further digital transformation process.

To do the research, UX professionals use:

  • qualitative measures (e.g. interviews) to figure out why customers do certain things, and
  • quantitative measures (e.g. analytics and statistics) to discover patterns and test the assumptions made after qualitative research.
UX research
Image source: Ferpection

Companies should apply UX research methods throughout the entire digital transformation process, not just at the beginning. During the later phases, they help to make sure that implemented software is easy to use and doesn’t create bottlenecks in the key processes and workflows.

Create wireframes

whiteboard

Rushing into the development process with no wireframes and prototypes isn’t a good idea. Even if you have to execute a digital transformation strategy within strict deadlines, it’s better to review the timeline than waste resources on building custom software that won’t bring you desired outcomes.

Wireframes will help you connect information architecture with a user interface. Building wireframes is the cheapest and fastest way to see if a solution has convenient navigation. Besides, wireframes will allow a design team to experiment with different ways of displaying content on screens. This will give you a chance to choose the perfect UX for your solution.

At this point, it’s important to create a holistic design system. Following the rules of such a system will make the visual representation of your brand consistent throughout different platforms.

Work on experience optimization

Digital transformation is a continuous process. Getting the IT infrastructure designed and developed won’t bring a company long-term benefits if opportunities for experience optimization are ignored later. As with any optimization process, moving to the digital space means that you always have to seek improvements and keep track of the current trends.

experience optimization
Image source: decibel.com

In this context, optimizing a digital customer experience should be a priority. Modern customers are demanding — they won’t tolerate brands that don’t show that they care for people. But digital transformation initiatives also cover the implementation of internal enterprise solutions. It means that you should provide the company’s staff with user-friendly tools as well. Such tools will help them do the work faster, increasing the company’s productivity and profitability.

Top post-COVID-19 trends in UX design

Covid-19 shopping

The coronavirus pandemic brought a lot of changes to our daily lives. Naturally, it also transformed customer service and things we expect from companies that sell us products and services online. To help you catch up with the current state of UX, here are the main post-COVID-19 trends to consider in a product development process.

Online videos

The coronavirus outbreak boosted the popularity of video content. Today, businesses use all kinds of videos to deliver their messages to customers, from live streams to online courses. In short, if you want the online transition to be successful, investing in quality video content will be the right decision. It will help you reach and engage a broader audience in a relatively short period of time.

Smooth virtual interactions

Yes, a smooth virtual interaction is something that people expected before quarantine as well. However, a stay-at-home regime moved even more of our daily tasks online. Now, people use the internet to solve literally every issue: purchasing groceries, work, talking to doctors via video call if some health concerns occur. That’s why simple and informative user flow and adjusting to the needs of users with different tech skills play a critical role in UX today.

Clarity in UX writing

The situation with COVID-19 made it hard to deal with information overload. Most of us are exposed to an enormous amount of news and thousands of messages all the time when we’re online.

It’s vital for companies that sell products or services to be clear and concise with their written content. No unnecessary distractions, ambiguity, and confusion — just plain expressions and straightforward guidelines.

The role of user experience in digital transformation

Digital transformation isn’t just about using more software tools and upgrading a company’s IT infrastructure. When an organization decides to implement technologies in its business operations, the way it engages with customers changes as well.

What this means is that if user experience doesn’t get enough attention, chances are the entire process will fail. To ensure that the digital transformation of your company will be successful, make it user-centric and take a holistic approach to building UX design.

Need a tenacious team for the digital transformation process?

Drop us a line!

AI and Telehealth: The Next Frontier in UX

AI and Telehealth: The Next Frontier in UX

By healthcaretech, interaction design, mobile, UX No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic showed that artificial intelligence (AI) and telehealth technology aren’t just fancy trends in the medical industry. They are necessities that healthcare providers must adopt in order to remain efficient in current conditions. It’s true that discussions about the functionality of AI-driven telemedicine solutions are quite popular among developers and tech managers of medical organizations. Yet, the user experience (UX) aspect of AI in telehealth is rarely the main point and, as a result, gets far less attention.

We believe that experience optimization is invaluable regardless of industry and product type. Telehealth AI innovations can transform healthcare systems only when it both improves patient care and makes daily tasks easier for doctors.

This is why we want to take a look at how AI and telehealth are changing the way patients and clinicians interact and engage. We’ll also discuss how these technologies can potentially disrupt the UX of an entire health-tech discipline.

Accurate diagnoses

Many people still prefer traditional doctor’s visits to telemedicine appointments. They believe that long-distance communication via a video call doesn’t allow physicians to properly diagnose patients. While it may be true for some cases, the implementation of artificial intelligence in telehealth can radically change this situation. AI-powered software solutions open doors to almost infinite opportunities in health diagnostics, eliminating most concerns about the risk of incorrect diagnoses.

telehealth
Image source: bccourier.com

Machine learning algorithms embedded in telemedicine systems can analyze the patient’s health data from electronic medical records (EMR). By combining this information with other important characteristics like gender, age, and prior medical conditions, an AI-enabled telehealth application can help doctors quickly form accurate diagnoses and provide patients with relevant treatment recommendations despite the distance.

Automated collection of information

Artificial intelligence can enhance the patient journey by enabling the automated collection of information before a video call. Getting the complete and detailed data about the person’s symptoms will help doctors spend a telemedicine appointment more productively, speed up the care process, and improve medical decision-making.

health chatbot
Image source: devpost.com

In this context, designing a human-like conversational experience is critical to make patients feel cared for and forget that they are talking to a machine or chatbot. Otherwise, the solution may have the opposite effect. In particular, it’ll create an impression that a person’s health issues are not important enough to be examined by a real physician.

Enhanced personalization

When it comes to user experience trends in healthcare, we cannot ignore various personalization capabilities that can be greatly improved with the help of AI and telehealth. Different medical apps existing on the market today can provide users with some basic information about their symptoms or diseases. However, they aren’t powerful enough to augment the first line of primary care.

Image source: www.dribbble.com/dfarnold32

At the same time, AI software can focus on unique patient’s needs and offer users treatment options relevant to their specific cases. Additionally, predictive analytics can help doctors anticipate possible complications and take necessary preventive measures. This creates a solid foundation for taking the quality of care to the next level and enhancing both the patient experiences and outcomes.

Remote patient monitoring

AI telehealth solutions can reduce the need for face-to-face consultations with physicians through efficient remote health monitoring. Elderly people and people with chronic diseases have to visit doctors on a regular basis just to make sure that their health indicators remain in the normal range. While such visits are necessary, they take a lot of time and put patients at risk of catching viruses and infections in hospitals and clinics. In addition, they increase the workload for doctors, making the visits labor-intensive and exhaustive.

medical wearable
Image source: www.mime.asia

Telehealth apps can reduce the number of mandatory medical check-ups by allowing clinicians to monitor the patient’s heartbeat, blood pressure, temperature, and other vital signs at a distance. If combined with artificial intelligence, such solutions can detect dangerous health conditions early on and alert users and their doctors about possible risks. For instance,  AiCure, a New York-based company has developed a platform that enables physicians to track progress in the patient’s treatment based on their facial expressions.

telehealth app
Image source: cdn.nanalyze.com
Image credit: AiCure

Streamlined processes

Assessing symptoms and diagnosing patients via video calls are not the only tasks necessary for doctors to perform in order to provide quality telemedicine services. Along with other medical staff, they need to complete a lot of administrative tasks that have a great impact on the overall patient experience. Statistics show that physicians spend about 50 percent of their time on paperwork and processing documents.

Implementation of AI-driven solutions can help hospitals and clinics improve workflows and make administrative work less burdensome and time-consuming. For instance, voice-controlled tools that are based on natural language processing (NLP) technology can simplify the management of patients’ medical records (electronic medical records (EMR)/electronic health records (EHR)). Also, machine learning (ML) powered virtual assistance can give doctors recommendations about prescriptions they may want to consider when evaluating patients.

Matching a patient with a doctor

Many fears that people have about telemedicine are related to choosing the right medical professional. Unlike in-person visits, video calls provide limited opportunities to create an emotional connection with a doctor. As a result, the patient may have doubts about a clinician’s qualification even if everything went well during the appointment.

Image source: www.dribbble.com/sauvignon

ML algorithms can use a person’s health data to better find a doctor who has the most suitable expertise. Such AI-assisted telehealth software will help patients feel more comfortable about the fact that they’re treated remotely. In addition, it will simplify the work for hospital administrators, freeing up their time for other important tasks.

Wrapping-up

UX is invaluable for all types of digital products and telehealth isn’t an exception. Artificial intelligence can allow medical organizations to create telemedicine solutions with intentional user experience design. It will enhance the patient journey and make remote clinical services more efficient. In particular, AI-enabled software can help hospitals and clinics automate the collection of information, improve diagnostics, monitor patients’ health conditions remotely, streamline administrative processes, and pick the right medical professional based on patient’s health data.

Looking for a skillful team to create a perfect UX design for your telemedicine solution? Contact us!

How Animations and Interactive Web Design Make Better Digital Products

How Animations and Interactive Web Design Make Better Digital Products

By Animation, UX No Comments

Motion design and interactive web design has become extremely popular in the last twelve months. More and more websites use different types of animations, videos, and 3D objects to create a truly unique user experience. Browser performance has also increased and web technologies have evolved significantly. This, coupled with the much-anticipated arrival of 5G internet, allows website owners to keep up with the current trends with no harm to the load speed. In this blog post, we’ll explain how you can make your website stand out with the help of interactive and animated elements. We’ll also share some examples of digital products that already use such elements in quite impressive fashion.

Hover states

Hover states, also known as hover effects, are among the most common CSS animations on the web today. You’ve probably seen them, too. Remember the time when you placed your pointer over something and it changed or moved even though you didn’t click or drag anything? That’s a hover interaction animation you see in interactive web design. It’s used for many purposes. For instance, e-commerce stores often implement hover effects to show what an item looks like in different colors or from different angles.

hover states
Image source: econsultancy.com

There are other reasons why companies build digital products with this type of web design animation too. Sometimes, it can help users figure out what actions take them from A to B.

hover states
Image source: wpepitome.com

Alternatively, you can use hover states just to entertain your users and keep them engaged.

hover states
Image source: designshack.net

Parallax scrolling effect

The parallax effect, or parallax scrolling, is another interactive web design trend that can help you deliver an outstanding user experience. Simply put, it’s an effect that makes the background image or content and forefront content of web pages move at different speeds while scrolling. Combined with a full-screen interface effect, parallax scrolling creates a feeling of space and depth. Besides making a website more memorable, it helps to draw users’ attention to specific sections or content.

Parallax scrolling effect
Image source: invisionapp.com

Loader screen

Internet speeds continue to increase, which is why website visitors can hardly tolerate bad loading times. But in some cases, delays are just unavoidable (like heavy traffic or a large amount of data that needs to be processed). Fortunately, interactive web design can help you with this task. When you use loading animations for experience optimization, you’ll be able to keep more people on a page. You’re also more likely to see users being more patient as content loads.

By Sulf: https://dribbble.com/shots/10173093-Loading-screen-animation

Animated and video backgrounds

Your interactive web design may also benefit from the dynamic layouts. Usually, when you animate elements, you create a much more immersive experience than traditional static backgrounds. Visually, it captivates users in a similar way to watching a movie or playing a video game. Additionally, dynamic backgrounds may help you instantly show what your business is about as well as convey its key messages. Basically, you can use animations or videos to add some motion to the website background.

video background
Image source: optimizepress.com

Animated 3D elements

The use of three-dimensional, real-life objects in web design is a growing trend that is unlikely to change any time soon. Whether to add 3D web design elements to your UX design system or not is no longer a question. New technologies such as webGL allow website owners not only to include 3D objects in their web interface, but also effectively combine them with animations. The results can be breathtaking. View the video below to see the true power of animated 3D in interactive web design.

Image galleries

If you want to show several images on one screen, you may use an interactive image gallery. Selected photos will change automatically or after a user clicks on a button. At the same time, animating effects will make the user experience more pleasant. Another benefit of interactive image galleries is that they allow you to save space and avoid “cluttering” the page with photos. If you’re not sure whether you can incorporate this type of animation into your website, you can conduct a design audit first.

Image galleries
Image source: dribbble.com Image credit: Yurij Prokopchenko

Kinetic typography

Different experiments with typography have become one of the most vivid UI/UX design trends in the last 2-3 years. Not only do designers play with fonts, text directions, and proportions but they also make the letters move. Since moving type provides almost endless possibilities for creativity, it can be harmoniously introduced into most styles. No matter whether you need to develop interactive web design for a FinTech company or digital agency, it’ll probably benefit from kinetic typography.

Kinetic typography
Image credit: Animography

Particle animations

A few years ago, the digital industry became obsessed with minimalism. So on the one side, website owners wanted to add motion to their products. But on the other side, they didn’t want to make landing pages overwhelmed with distracting moving elements. Particle animations appeared as designers’ solution to this request. Elegant yet impressive, they do make a difference, setting the website apart from the competition and greatly enriching the user experience.

Particle animations
Image source: dataveyes

This type of web animations is often used on homepages. Depending on your needs and goals, you may choose either interactive (i.e. movements triggered by users’ actions) or non-interactive (i.e. movements are not connected to users’ actions) particle animations for your website.

Animated navigation menu

Animated navigation is one of the simplest ways to create an interactive web design. It serves two purposes: 1) it helps designers liven up a page, and 2) assists visitors navigate a website. Additionally, it makes web solutions more “compact.” In some cases, users can access a menu without even scrolling. Although animated navigation isn’t something that necessarily amazes people, you can still be creative. For instance, you can use a slider instead of a hamburger icon that is considered a traditional navigational element.

Animated navigation menu
Image source: dribbble Image credit: Tran Mau Tri Tam

Creative combinations

If you want to take a holistic approach rather than simply adding motion to a website, you can combine several types of animations. For instance, you can make every user’s action followed by some animated effect like a hover state or micro-movements of illustrations. This will make a website interface more intuitive and aesthetically pleasant.

Interactive Web Design
Image source: tubikstudio.com

Animations can also help you tell your brand’s story or assist your messaging, especially when paired with other audio-visual effects/text. The Beyond Beauty project is a great example. When users enter the website, a song starts playing. Scrolling through the page makes the images and text move and change. If an image is clicked, users can listen to a story and read the transcript by the side.

Interactive Web Design
Image credit: wazile.com

Keep your business relevant with interactive web design

No matter if your company is just a local business or an established enterprise, most customers will likely judge it by your digital presence. Creating a delightful user experience isn’t something you do once and forever. Website owners must always keep up with design trends to demonstrate to customers that their businesses are modern, reliable, and relevant. Implementing motion design and interactive web design is a perfect way to improve the usability of digital products, make them more memorable, and increase engagement.

Want to power up your website with interactive elements? Reach out!

How 5G Will Revolutionize IoT and Innovation, at Home and at Work

How 5G Will Revolutionize IoT and Innovation, at Home and at Work

By ai, digital transformation, IoT, omnichannel, user experience, voice No Comments

A full-fledged launch of 5G will drive revolutionary changes in most modern industries, cities, and homes. Although the technology is still not active in many countries, a lot of tech experts believe that 2020 will be the year we will truly see 5G innovations for new business opportunities boom.

In particular, the mobile industry and large telecommunication carriers continue rolling out 5G networks all over the world and major phone manufacturers compete in releasing devices equipped with 5G capabilities. The pieces of the 5G evolution puzzle are coming together. It is high time to start preparing for the new 5G service reality.

In this article, we’ll explain why the advent of 5G is an important milestone for any company that strives to grow and remain competitive. We’ll also make some predictions about how the combination of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) will innovate the way we live and do business.

What is 5G how does it work?

Simply put, 5G is the new generation of mobile networks that will augment and eventually replace its predecessor 4G LTE. Unlike previous network generations, 5G technology is forecast to have a much bigger impact on the world around us.

Besides increasing the speed of the internet, it’ll enable ultra-low latencies and ubiquitous coverage. These changes will eliminate the last barriers to the wide IoT adoption, opening the door to large-scale automation and other almost futuristic transformations.

5G mobile network
Image source: rfsafe.com

However, the main challenge is that 5G operates on three spectrum bands simultaneously. Each of them offers different data transmission speeds, has different coverage areas, and requires a separate infrastructure.

5g frequency ranges
Image source: digitaltrends.com

Low-band spectrum

The low-band spectrum consists of low-frequency waves below 1GHz. It offers relatively slow data transmission speed, i.e. 100Mbps at its peak, that practically feels like a 4G network. But the coverage area is quite broad.

This means that a telecommunication carrier needs fewer towers to ensure the internet connection over a long distance. In addition, the low-band spectrum can penetrate walls and other obstructions.

Mid-band spectrum

The mid-band spectrum operates in the 1-10GHz frequency range. It provides decent speed (the peak is around 1Gbps) as well as low latency. However, the mid-band spectrum may fail to go through physical objects in some instances.

It also covers a lower amount of space compared to the low-band spectrum. So telecommunication carriers need to install a lot of stations, i.e. macrocells, to create the proper infrastructure for it.

High-band spectrum

The high-band spectrum or a millimeter wave operates above the 24 GHz band and can deliver the internet at super-high speeds, i.e. up to 10Gbps. But since these waves are very short range, their coverage area is extremely low. They also struggle with smaller physical obstacles, for example, the roof of the car. That’s why a great number of small cells are required to fully roll out the high-band spectrum.

The ultimate goal is to create an infrastructure in which a 5G smartphone will remain connected to a high-band spectrum all the time. But the implementation of this scenario requires millions, if not billions, of small cells installed literally everywhere. For this reason, telecommunication carriers strive to ensure adaptive beam switching. It means that the phone will be connected to a different beam if the previous beam can no longer track the user.

What 5G means for IoT?

Image source: dribbble.com

The 5G wireless networks will create perfect telecommunications conditions to make IoT devices function at their fullest potential and bring the most benefits. In particular, they will enable more real-time connections thanks to high 5G speeds and omnipresence.

Low latency is another reason why 5G is good for IoT. Machines will respond faster to requests. As a result, they will be able to “communicate” more effectively with each other and the number of delays will be close to zero.

But let’s take a look at what the benefits of 5g are and the specific changes the 5G rollout may cause at different levels.

Business automation 

With 5G, IoT devices can be effectively monitored and controlled remotely with no compromises on their performance. Seamless connectivity along with the enhanced capacity of the networks will allow companies to automate a vast majority of operations that now require human intervention. This will streamline workflows, improve overall business productivity, and cut operational costs.

5G environment
Image source: KPMG

Another considerable benefit of autonomous processes is that they eliminate the risk of human error. This will enable companies to largely avoid the most common accident type.

Industrial 5G-powered solutions

With the widespread deployment of IoT platforms and 5G devices, we may expect that drones and augmented reality headsets will be among the most popular innovative solutions in manufacturing. In addition, real-time collection and analysis of big data will allow for predictive maintenance that will reduce machine downtime and repair costs.

Robotics of different types will also be used quite frequently, especially in factories. For instance, Audi already tests its 5G-powered robots in its production lab in Germany.

Smart cities 

The combination of 5G, IoT, and artificial intelligence creates a solid foundation for building smart cities. Advanced 5G capabilities will allow local authorities to detect and respond instantly to different emergency situations, making cities much safer.

Increased internet speed will help to immediately process the data gathered from traffic sensors on the roads. This will lead to solving the transportation problem and most likely result in reduced roadway congestion.

Image source: bibliotecapleyades.net

Besides, 5G also brings us one step closer to autonomous vehicles. Fast internet connection throughout large areas will allow self-driving cars to travel long distances without any limitations. In addition, the possibility to assess information in real time will ensure adherence to traffic rules. This will lower the chances of accidents and make autonomous vehicles safer for passengers and pedestrians.

Although smart cities are extremely complex networks of connected devices and we’ll unlikely see them in 2020, many communities already work towards this goal. So the future may be just around the corner.

Personal devices 

To take advantage of the 5G network service, users must have a 5G compatible smartphone. The news is bad for phone owners but great for device manufacturers. The latter ones see it as an opportunity to earn a fortune once 5G will get broader coverage. But even today, you can order a smartphone supporting 5G.

The key market players such as Samsung, Huawei, LG, and Motorola released their phones last year and more expected to follow in 2020.

On top of that, Lenovo showed the first 5G laptop for consumers at CES 2020. It supports 5G connection so you can access super-fast mobile internet from this device and download files at the speed of 4Gb/s. Chances are we’ll see other types of 5G compatible gadgets and IoT applications quite soon.

Smart homes

With 5G, more devices can be supported on one network and is likely to become a game-changer for smart homes. Today, keeping everything connected can be frustrating, as different pieces of the smart home infrastructure operate in different ways. For instance, a smart doorbell may use wi-fi while a toaster may connect only via Bluetooth. At the same time, 4G doesn’t have enough channels to ensure proper connection for a high number of devices at once.

By offering reliable coverage, low latency, and unprecedented network performance, 5G can solve this problem. As a result, it’ll be possible to create a truly interoperable system, not just have several smart devices placed in one home.

Internet of Everything (IoE)

Once 5G establishes itself, the Internet of Things will have every chance of becoming the Internet of Everything. This means that not only devices will be connected but also people, data, and processes. These connections will also become more intelligent, meaning that the right data will be transmitted to a person or machine at the right time automatically. So the IoE is more about creating a hyper-connected independent environment than just making several physical objects communicate.

Internet of everything
Image source: researchgate.net

Since telecom carriers still need some time to fully roll out 5G, we don’t see the IoE coming in 2020. However, businesses should start preparing for this change anyway because such global transformations will likely require several years to happen. This leaves plenty of room for innovation as 5G IoT applications will be in great demand.

What are the benefits of 5G?

Once 5G becomes widespread, our connectivity will reach a new level that will have a significant impact on nearly every aspect of our lives. Combined with the IoT technology, 5G will create a perfect platform for building complex smart environments in offices, factories, cities, and even at our homes. Industrial robots, autonomous vehicles, and PCs capable of connecting to super-fast mobile internet already exist. Now, everything depends on telecom carriers and they demonstrate promising advancements in 5G’s speed and reliability.

Want to innovate your business and need professional help? Contact us!

Hottest IoT-based Solutions Transforming the World

By customer experience, design, IoT, omnichannel No Comments

With the emergence of smart home devices like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and more, everybody is going nuts about connectivity. Wearables such as smartwatches and fitness bands are no longer something rare or unique – a lot of us have and use them on a daily basis. This is also the case with remote-controlled home appliances that are connected to the internet, industrial assets and transportation systems. It’s no wonder that the IoT market size is expected to grow to $457.29 billion by 2020.

The concept of connected devices, more commonly called the Internet of Things (IoT), is not brand new – it was introduced in the early 80s. However, tech experts and ordinary people alike are still excited to see where this is all going.

As professional designers and developers, we also keep track of the current IoT trends. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the new IoT services and solutions which have the potential to become an integral part of our everyday lives in the near future.

Even more smart stores

It’s only been a year since Amazon opened its first no-checkout Amazon Go store to the public in Seattle. This automation solution has been made possible by the leaps in machine learning and IoT data processing. However, rumor has it that the company already plans its international expansion. As of today, the chain consists of nine smart stores located in the US but we can expect to have the first cashier-less store in the U.K in the nearest future. And, according to Bloomberg, Amazon will open about 3,000 other smart supermarkets by 2021.

Shopping in Amazon Go gif
Image source: giphy.com

The idea of doing shopping by just entering the store, grabbing the groceries and leaving without being checked out still sounds futuristic to a lot of people. Yet, Amazon is not the only company trying to take advantage of advanced shopping technology. Microsoft is already treading on its heels.

Recently, the company announced its partnership with Kroger, a large chain of US supermarkets. And many of the innovative solutions they created are based on IoT technology. Digital shelves, personalized ads and automatic alerts notifying store staff of low inventories are already redefining the way we think about supermarkets.

Reportedly, other retailers around the world will also have an opportunity to buy this solution. In other words, it’s just a matter of time before the smart store like Amazon Go will become an industry standard.

Smart fridges and the smart way of shopping for groceries

Smart grocery management is another category of IoT solutions which are going to take customer shopping experience to the next level. The main idea behind it is simple, yet genius. It is to make smart home products help us do grocery shopping in an easy and time-effective way.

The most famous smart device of this kind that already exists is Samsung Family Hub. Simply put, it’s a smart fridge that, among other things, can take photos of products stored in it. Users then can view such photos via their smartphones as they shop. On top of that, the fridge can mirror a TV, synchronize with calendars, share notes and messages. It can even help its owners control smart lighting, oven, front door video doorbells or security cameras etc. remotely.

Samsung Family Hub gif
Image source: Samsung.com

The smart home hub

Speaking about front door cameras, they’ll become smart too. At CES 2019, an IoT product called Door View Cam was announced by Ring company. The camera can be used as a regular glass peephole. But besides that, it can stream video to your smartphone and let you talk to anyone standing at your front door.

doors with Door View Cam
Image source: USA TODAY

As a side note, the smart home niche is expected to grow significantly in the near future (see the chart below). In short, the smart home niche can potentially become a gold mine for businesses that are ready to invest in IoT and new technologies. Among the many new products, you’ll find: the smart thermostat, smart speaker, smart plug, smart locks, and more.

Smart Home technology expected growth

Fairytales can come true with smart mirrors

Remember that episode from the fairytale about Snow White when she asks the magic mirror:  ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?’ ? Well, it no longer sounds like a fairytale because a ‘magic’ mirror can actually answer that question. A smart mirror by Capstone Connected Home was introduced at CES 2019 and it’s expected to be released later this year.

a girl in front of a smart mirror
Image source: Capstone Connected Home

At first glance, this smart mirror looks like a regular mirror and can be used as such. But that is far from all it can do. Besides working as a mirror, this gadget also has Google Assistant built-in, so it can practically do all the things the latter does. For instance, you can check the emails while brushing your teeth, access social media, stream YouTube videos or even play games.

Another cool thing about Capstone Smart Mirror is that you’ll still be able to see yourself through the content shown on the mirror ‘screen’, so it’s not just a huge tablet. We believe that the idea behind this device is very promising and that smart mirrors will make our mornings more pleasant and productive very soon.

IoT provides the future of healthcare

Unlike the previous two types of IoT solutions which aim to make our lives easier, the Internet of Healthcare Things (or IoHT) also helps people feel better and be healthier. It even has the potential to save lives.

The list of ways you can implement this technology in practice is virtually endless. For instance, there are solutions that gather information about the patient’s health and send a notification to a doctor if something is wrong. Other apps help monitor user’s medication schedules, activities and sleep cycles. Some IoT devices can also automatically identify any glitches in medical hardware so they can be fixed in a timely manner.

E-Alert by Philips is a great example of the latter type of IoHT solution. This tool measures key parameters of magnetic resonance imaging and alerts if something in the system doesn’t work properly.

e-Alert by Philips chart
Image source: philips.com.au

Moreover, there are also IoT devices that help doctors train without the risk of doing any harm to bodies or patients. For instance, Osso VR is a training gadget for surgeons that combines IoT and VR technologies and allows doctors to perform realistic operations in a risk-free virtual reality space. The product was released a few years ago but is still actively discussed on different professional platforms, such as this year’s CES conference.

a surgeon using OSSO VR
Image source: Osso VR

Although some smart medical devices already exist, we expect even more are in development already. And the IoT technology is versatile and flexible enough to satisfy the needs of any medical organization or hospital.

Pets will live better too

Human beings are not the only creatures who can benefit from the innovative solutions you can create with IoT. With the help of IoT technology, the life of our four-legged friends can be more pleasant and safer as well.

Different pet trackers that utilize GPS technology appeared a few years ago and have already won the hearts of animal owners. You can attach a small sensor to a pets’ collars or embed the sensor into them. This makes it possible to easily find the location of your cat or dog via a smartphone.

People often treat their cats, dogs, hamsters, parrots etc. as family members. That’s why they seek out pet care products that will make their pets happier. One of the most innovative solutions in this regard is a smart bed such as Petrics Smart Pet Bed introduced at CES 2018. Besides controlling the key health parameters (weight, sleep time etc.), it allows for the remote thermostatic control to maintain the temperature that is optimal for a specific breed.

Dog on Petrics Smart Pet Bed

Another popular IoT product that has the potential to become a must-have for any pet parent is a smart feeder. This type of device remotely controls food supply for cats and dogs (portion sizes, feeding schedule etc.). Some also have a camera, allowing the pet owner to check in on the pet remotely.

Cat eating from smart feeder
Image source: HomeCrux

It’s worth mentioning that quite a few smart feeders have already been created. Yet, the niche is ever-growing so there’s plenty of room for new pet-caring products with more advanced features.

Hyperconnected businesses and IoT manufacturing

One can hardly find a business that will not benefit from IoT-fueled solutions. No matter what your company produces and sells there are always processes that can be automated and done faster and more efficiently.

As of today, a lot of businesses, especially in the manufacturing industry, are successfully harnessing the power of IoT technology. For instance, at the Siemens plants in Germany, 75 percent of the production process is automated. The figure is quite significant, however, Siemens is planning on taking it further by creating a smart plant that is entirely automated.

And Siemens is not alone with its intentions. According to Juniper Research, the number of industrial IoT connections is going to grow to 46 billion in the next four years. This means that all businesses must consider investing in IoT solutions to stay competitive.

IoT is revolutionizing our personal and professional lives

Many IoT solutions may seem revolutionary or even unbelievable to us. However, we have to come to terms with the thought that most aspects of our lives will include IoT devices in the very near future. At the same time, the Internet of Things provides fantastic potential for innovation for businesses. So if you have a brilliant idea for an IoT-based product that will either allow people to handle their routine tasks more easily or help you optimize your business activity, it’s the perfect time to turn it into reality.

Looking for a development team for your next IoT project? Just contact us!



The State of UX for 2019

The State of UX for 2019

By design, interaction design, omnichannel, user experience, user interface, voice No Comments

Keeping up with the current trends is important for any area, not to mention the UX design which directly influences the way your digital product is positioned and perceived by the users. In this article, we’ll take a brief look at what happened with 2018 UX trends and try to anticipate the emerging tendencies that have potential to become real big things in the coming year.

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How to Conduct a Design Audit to Strengthen your Brand

By design, user experience, user interface No Comments

A design audit might sound a little intimidating, after all, the word audit doesn’t exactly scream fun. But, it’s actually a very beneficial exercise. A design audit is merely an analysis of the design elements and branding guidelines in use by a company. Its main purpose is to make sure that the branding is consistent across all channels and outlets. When we say branding we do mostly mean visual design elements, however, branding is also the written and verbal communication as well as the user experience.

A good design audit will also take those into consideration, to make sure that’s consistent as well. The truth is that the need for a design audit is a sign of good things. It means a company has grown a lot and now simply needs to re-align its design efforts. Briefly, let’s discuss the benefits of design audit for companies and then let’s get right into how to conduct one.

Benefits of a design audit

No matter if you run a smaller company or a large corporation, a design audit might be in order if your company is growing and evolving. It’s a great idea because it will help you manage your visual design material and written message. In turn, this will lead to a well-defined identity and brand.

 

 

When inconsistencies in either visual style or messaging start shining through, a brand is weakened. It no longer has a solid foundation, and it starts diverging into different directions. Consistency is key, and by conducting an audit you are creating a chance to once again strengthen your brand. Think of a design audit as an opportunity to check the quality of the designs, the products, the user experience, and the overall strength of your company’s brand.

The visual branding audit

First thing first, it’s time to gather all the design assets. And we’re serious when we say all of it. Gather all the ads, the social media posts, the website and its desktop and mobile versions, the mobile apps, the letterheads, and the business cards. Include lead magnets, content upgrades, master classes or webinar slides. Include any pitch decks too. Anything that is a touchpoint for a customer. Yes, we do mean everything.

What you want to do here is to study the different collaterals to the notice patterns and their deviations. For example, you may notice that the social media ads are using the wrong logo file, or the quality of the graphics is just not what it needs to be. You may notice that you have many functionally similar sections throughout your website, but they are all designed differently.

As a result, you’re now aware of the issues. Meaning that you can now provide the people who run your Twitter and Facebook ads with the correct logo file and render final ad images in higher quality. You also now know that you will need to sit down and make sure that the footer is the same on every page, or that the custom made graphics for Leadpages use the correct brand colors.

 

 

Additionally, this might give you ideas on how you and the design team might want to update the branding going forward. Maybe you have too many or too few colors to perfectly depict the vibe your company is going for.

Tone, voice, and message branding elements

While you’re taking a look at all the visual elements, you should also consider the content itself. In the previous example, the only thing we didn’t mention was audio/radio ads because it’s the only thing that inherently doesn’t automatically come with a visual aspect too, as opposed to video.

Once again, it’s important to evaluate the actual content when performing your design audit. Read everything, listen to everything. Again notice what patterns you see, or should see but don’t. Just like with the visuals, you’re looking out to make sure that the tone, voice, and message is correct and consistent. As with all your marketing materials, it’s important to keep meticulous notes.

 

 

Pay attention to what no longer sounds like the company or any evolving patterns that just don’t seem right fit anymore. You might find that your company needs to have a more authoritative voice, be more playful, or use a softer vocabulary. Maybe you and your team realize that you can improve the overall tone, voice, and message of the company to be even stronger, better and relevant to the target audience.

The heuristics for usability and accessibility

Another thing a good design audit will include is a heuristic evaluation. This one focuses on the design process, examining usability and accessibility of a website or app. Usability and accessibility are crucial for a good user experience as these are the touch points between yourself and your customers. Those also help make your company and brand shine. Usability problems will affect people’s perception of your company too. They can be something simple, like a broken link, or complicated, like a confusing online order form. Accessibility problems, like missing alt tags, or low contrast between text and background, also mater.

Nielsen created a thorough heuristic evaluation guide – a standards manual if you like – back in 1994 that is still popular and reliable today. We recommend that you check out Nielsen’s heuristic evaluation guide here.

Next, you go through your website, web app, or mobile app, and little by little make a note of where the experience falls shorts of these heuristics.

For the best possible results of a heuristic evaluation, it’s best to have at least 10 people (ideally some of them should be web designers) who objectively evaluate your designs.

Utilize a design system

You can tie all of this together into a design audit system. Once you’re done with the audit it’s important to regroup. From there you can figure out what needs to go, what stays and what needs to be updated. When it comes to the visual design and brand messaging, consider implementing a design system. We’ve written a couple great pieces on how to build a design system to scale and what best to include in one. Keeping your styles in a design system will ensure ongoing consistency so that you don’t have to do a design audit every few months.

The value of a well-performed design audit

As you can see, a design audit can be extremely helpful. It will boost consistency for your company’s branding and improve the user experience. Don’t forget, the truth is that a design audit is a branding recalibration, which means that your company and brand are growing. With a professional design audit, you now know what you must do in order to tighten up your brand’s visuals and message.

Have you done a design audit before? Did you find it helpful for your company? Share any tips you might have for us in the comments!