Understanding the Difference between User Experience (UX) and Usability

December 16, 2019 in Cultivate, Design, how to

In the recent past, you must have come across these two terms used interchangeably by designers across the world. For a layman, there is not much difference between these two terms, though they stand apart when looked and pondered upon carefully. In this post, we will try differentiating both these terms and understand their implications in a better way.

  1. User Experience (UX)

Use experience is pretty subjective, and it includes all the emotional and functional response of an end-user towards a particular product of a brand. It may include all the services and products and the company in general itself. Designers should focus on the user experience, adaptability, desirability, and the value of the product.

  1. Usability

Usability refers to more about the degree of ease with which a user can operate a product—it includes the degree of ease of learning. The degree of ease of learning to use the product, the degree of making fewer errors while using the product, and the degree of satisfaction a user gets while using the product. While designers focus on usability, they focus on functionality, learnability, flexibility, and the industry-design of the product.

Different goals of both the terms

It is essential to know what their goals regarding a product are. So, for example, in the case of a website, the only usability goal would be to be easy—so that the user could use the site quickly. However, regarding the user experience, the website’s overall experience and how it interacted with the user is crucial, how the user feels while using the site, and even after using it—both these scenarios would include the user experience.

Understanding and Using Guerrilla UX Testing for Better Results

December 14, 2019 in Cultivate, Design

More often than not, design teams avoid testing new products and apps because of the resources and the cost involved in testing. Guerrilla UX testing technique presents an economical way of doing just the right thing before you end up spending money and time on designing a product or a feature that nobody would want to use.

What is Guerrilla Testing?

Though it may sound a bit weird and trespassing, Guerrilla testing involves approaching people in cafes and public places to show them your prototype or even ask to use the product. It is a simple process like any basic questionnaire would have—introduction, taking permission, asking them to use the product, observing or recording their usage, thanking, and moving away. The only difference is that it is not done purely on a paper or a website form. It has to be done in person.

Benefits of Guerrilla Testing

  1. It gives you crucial information about the usability issues early.
  2. It provides sufficient insight and observational information about the user behavior related to particular features of your product.
  3. It helps in creating validation points and testing the hypothesis based on which you are building your product.
  4. It is easy, cheap, and can be conducted on a need-based scenario. There is no minimum or maximum user count that you need to fulfill.
  5. There is no need to hire an expert tester—anybody could handle interaction and note down what the user did and went through.
  6. If your product does require deeper testing, the Guerrilla testing can be used as a demonstration for the stakeholders or investors to make them believe that testing is an integral part of your product development.

A great way of testing

Without a doubt, any UX design or product can benefit from Guerrilla testing, and there is hardly fretting that is involved. The only need is to know its importance and crucial significance in the development cycle of a product.

Why is Usability Design Important for any Product?

December 11, 2019 in Cultivate, Design

The simple definition of ‘Usability’ of any product, as clear from the name itself, is the degree of ease and satisfaction a user gets when he/she uses the product in a particular scenario for a specific task or objective.

If the product has a higher degree of ‘usability,’ the users will like it, and there are higher chances of the product getting popular and being sold. That’s why it is one of the most beneficial and necessary aspects that any UI/UX designer needs to consider while designing a product.

Further, whether it is a product, a website or even a form that needs to be filled by the user, ‘usability’ of the design is one of the paramount metrics that designers and product managers need to focus on coupled with aesthetics and other similarly crucial elements of flawless design.

What constitutes a ‘Usability’ design?

Some of the points that a UI/UX designer has to keep in mind include:

  1. The design should assist the user in operating the product easily
  2. There should be complete visual clarity
  3. The design should be helpful in error prevention
  4. The user should feel a sense of freedom and control while using the product instead of feeling insecure about a new and align environment
  5. As much as possible, the design should have a match between the system and the real world

Usability Design Thrives on Usability testing

Usability testing helps in ascertaining that the users’ expectations are met, matching the product with the real-world, and removing flaws. The best ‘usability’ designing comes through iteration of design elements through usability testing, which is done involving real users of the product. The feedback provided by these real users will give any designer valuable inputs about the ease, efficiency, and satisfaction that they feel while using the product. Based on these inputs, the designer can quickly improve and achieve the maximum degree of usability.

What You Must Know About Sharing Share Point Files or Folders In Office 365

September 9, 2019 in Cultivate, how to

Files and folders shared on a SharePoint site are readily available for everyone who has permissions to the site. At times, you may need to share specific files and folders with people who are not given access to the site. While sharing the files and folders, you can decide whether they can just view them or edit them. Here are how you can share files and folders in SharePoint and some other useful information related to it.

What You Must Know About Sharing Share Point Files or Folders In Office 365

Sharing a file or folder

Use these steps to share files or folders in SharePoint.

  • Select the file or folder to share and click on Share.
  • If you wish to change the type of link, click on the drop-down list. This will open the Details pane and here you can change who will access the link and if people can edit the item you wish to share. You can decide for whom this link will work. The different options to do this depend on admin settings.

Anyone

This option lets you provide access to anyone receiving the link whether they get it directly from you or being forwarded by others. This can include people outside your organization too.

People in your organization

This kind of access provides access to every member of your organization irrespective of how they receive the link.

Specific people

This option can let only the specified people access the file or folder. If people forward the share invitation with others, only those who already have access to the given item can use the link.

  • Allow editing is turned on by default. If you want to give only viewing permission to people, you must uncheck the box. Click on Apply when you have finished.
  • Enter the names of people you wish to share with and include a message if you want.
  • When the link is ready to send, click on Send.

Get a link to a file or folder which can be copied

There is an alternative way of sharing files or folders. In this way, you can copy and paste in a text message or on a website. Those who share these links can also forward the links to others. Here are the steps to do this.

  • Click on Copy link on SharePoint. This copies the link directly to the clipboard.
  • Click on the drop-down list to alter the type of link. When the Details pane opens, you can choose who will access or change the link and if people can also edit the file or folder you are sharing with them.

Anyone

This option lets you provide access to anyone receiving the link whether they get it directly from you or being forwarded by others. This can include people outside your organization too.

People in your organization

This kind of access provides access to every member of your organization irrespective of how they receive the link.

Specific people

This option can let only the specified people access the file or folder. If people forward the share invitation with others, only those who already have access to the given item can use the link.

Allow editing is turned on by default. If you want to give only viewing permission to people, you must uncheck the box. Click on Apply when you have finished.

Useful Tips for a Great User Experience of Your Website

September 6, 2019 in Cultivate, Design

Though the long-standing adage still holds that ‘Content is the King.’ When it comes to making a website popular with the audience, yet user experience plays the most significant role in conversion rate and increases the time spent on your website, which is a great metrics for usability, accessibility and overall utility of your website. So, while you build your website or landing pages, consider these following tips:

  1. While creating the home page, link the logo to the homepage. Keep it simple and small and does not bombard the eyes of the users with too many details.
  2. Always have a decent loading speed. You will need a professional to make sure that the loading speed does not increase more than 5 seconds, though 3-4 seconds are considered ideal.
  3. When it comes to the ‘Call-to-Action’ buttons, make sure they are prominent, convincing and have a pleasing color and text combination.
  4. Try bringing a mixture of images and videos with the textual content on your web pages.
  5. It is always helpful if you could have a search field that could help users to quickly more content, features, etc. on your website.
  6. Never make them fill long forms etc. to contact you. Keep it short and simple. If possible, try to get a chat box.
  7. When it comes to the written content, try to make it more attractive through formatting and style. Use short sentences and bullet points. The color, size, and the background of text also play an important role in the readability of the content. If possible, use a white background and black color for the text.

Also, try using A/B testing with your users so that you could get more immediate data about the user behavior and how your users are using your website and what reactions they are having for particular pages, elements, and features. Based on that, you should also tweak your design.

Tips to Care About Your Microcopy

September 5, 2019 in Cultivate, Design

Whether you are a visual designer, producer, developer, product owner or tester, you must focus on the user experience. You must use the effective use of words that can compel the users to navigate, learn about and experience the product and hence the interface writing must be as effective as possible. A good micro-copy is half the product. Here are a few tips to perfect your micro-copy.

Usefulness

Every segment of the microcopy must educate, explain and simplify the process and let the user complete a task. The thumb rule for this is to see that you never give something that is not useful and you never forget to include something that is crucially needed to create a user-friendly experience.

Brevity

Most times your first copy will have too many words. Make thorough editing and Make use of apps like Hemingway to make your copy as concise and clear as possible. Use active voice only and know that brevity is the key to let the users feel they can complete the tasks quickly.

Transparency

It is natural for humans to be curious and want to know things. Interacting with your user on the UX must look like a conversation that engages them and clarifies most of their possible doubts. If your customers can feel you are more open and transparent, they will like to engage with you more in a productive way.

Address the design

Consider how the copy relates to the visual and technical elements. The words must go along with the processes and never before or after them. For instance, a help copy for a form field must sit within the field to reduce the scrolling. Put words at the sketch phase. Never use lengthy lines in place of words.

Test it with people

The real validation of your micro-copy comes when you test it with users and get to know how they find it. Address the concerns they raise during the post-production phase and perfect it for surpassing user experience.

Resources And Tutorials Online To Learn Adobe XD

September 5, 2019 in Cultivate, Design

A lot of designers find Adobe XD a smart toolkit for graphics designing. Landing in front of us as a stable version now, this is an incredible kind of go-to application for creating highly engaging prototypes for websites and mobile apps. After its launch in 2016, Adobe XD has continuously added several exciting and useful features to meet the robust expectations of designers effectively. Here are a few online resources and tutorials deemed as the best places to learn to work on Adobe XD.

Resources And Tutorials Online To Learn Adobe XD

# Adobe Experience Design Tutorials

You will find this on the Adobe Systems official website. The tutorials have some videos on teaching the Adobe XD fundamentals. If you wish to learn the basics of this platform and enhance your knowledge of working on it, this is a great resource. The main focus on the tutorials includes teaching you to create a website or app design and layout, interactive prototype designing and how to use the UI toolkits to design.

# Udemy

Udemy is, in fact, a set of tutorials that will expose the different facets of Adobe XD toolkit and teach you how to use them effectively to create a prototype, design the icons and an app screen. It needs onetime payment, and you can access the video tutorials on your mobile or TV. If you are keen to learn the essentials of prototyping and app design, this is a great place to consult.

# What’s New In Adobe XD

A highly exciting tutorial that shares beneficial information on using Adobe XD. Created by the lead designer of Adobe XD, the tutorials focus on some unique functions and applications of this platform. You will benefit from a virtual tour of the Adobe XD and discover how you can make the best use of the toolkit for achieving the desired results.

#Dansky

For beginners in designing, Dansky is one of the best resources to master Adobe tools. This website is an exhaustive place to learn everything you wish to learn about Adobe XD. The various tasks a designer can do on this platform like UI design, creating responsive layout grids and artboards and wireframing, you can get to know about everything you will need to learn to be able to work efficiently on Adobe XD.

#Lynda.Com

Digital artists will find this resource one of the best one online. This resource can teach you the different kinds of graphic design applications on Adobe XD. If you are a newbie to Adobe XD, you will find this tutorial a great avenue to gain a comfortable command over the platform. There are seven tutorials on this site that teach the viewers about the different functions of Adobe XD.

#How To Create Icons In Adobe XD

Icons creation is a critical task connected to website designing. This tutorial teaches the viewers how to make beautiful icons easily and naturally. You will learn how to create icons in a step by step way. You will be exposed to the different features of Adobe XD to create great icons.

Popular React Native Development Tools That Might Interest You

September 4, 2019 in Cultivate, Design

When it comes to mobile app development, the developers have access to a large number of tools and technologies to choose from. However, it is not possible to make a random pick. When you are into programming, you must be able to meet the exact needs of your clients in an effective way and at an affordable cost. It is also important to match the expected output timeline. If you wish to achieve these parameters, you must make the right selection of the technology you will use. These days, React Native has popularly grabbed the attention of the developers by helping them create powerful mobile apps. Here are some popular React Native development tools that might interest you.

Atom

This is an open-source text editor developed by GitHub. It can work equally well on different kinds of platforms including Linux, OS X, and Windows. The programming language used for writing is Electron. The services it offers include editing on the cross-platform, in-built package manager, smart auto-completion, ability to browse multiple files in a single window and customizable designs and themes.

Expo

This is a tool developed around React Native and is meant for creating iOS and Android apps with the help of React Native and JavaScript languages. This open-source technology is developed by Expo and some of the services it offers are documentation, community forms, slack community, and a range of very useful development tools.

ESLint

This is an open-source tool that works on JavaScript and JSX to analyze the source code and find out the programming errors if any. Running on Node.js, it is cross-platform compatible on Windows, Mac, and Linux. A lot of React Native developers look up to this tool as it facilitates clear documentation and communication, transparency, customizable plugins, in-built plugins, and many others.

Flow

This tool is highly recommended by React Native Programmers due to its static typing feature. This tool allows for faster and smarter coding that can also be highly relied upon. The services it offers include type inference, customizable JavaScript, easy integration, feedback in real-time and others.

Nuclide

Nuclide is yet another open-source React Native tool that assists the developers in software development. The aspects that make it highly preferred are it facilitates hackability and enables access to a community that can help in several ways. The services it offers include inbuilt debugging, remote development, hack development, JavaScript development, task runner, working sets, and mercurial support besides many others.

Visual Studio Code

Developed by Microsoft, Visual Studio Code is a powerful and yet an open-source code editor. Working on cross platforms including Windows, Mac and Linux, this code has been developed in the programming language including TypeScript, JavaScript and Cascading Style sheets. It rich functionalities include debugging codes, customizable and extendable themes and languages, in-built Git command and smart coding with Intellisense besides some others.

Final note

Pick the right tools that can suit your purpose and scenario very well and make your app development process on React Native extremely easy and highly enjoyable besides meeting the best of your clients’ expectations.

What Distinguishes a Startup from a Traditional Business

September 3, 2019 in Cultivate, Uncategorized

What does it to take to make or call a startup a successful one? Is it only the financial goals, if met, will be instrumental in making a startup successful or are there any other measures or parameters that should be considered?

If finance is the only thing, then why it is anyway different from a traditional business? Why give it a fancy name and worry about analyzing it?

If finance is not the only thing, then what else could be considered worthy enough to be considered?

On a simple but a bit deeper analysis, we will find few things that distinguish a startup from a traditional business:

  1. One of the broader definitions of a ‘startup’ includes the impact that it should have on the world rather than simply making money. You check out any founder or co-founder of a successful startup across the world, they will aver that their first ambition was to do something that could change the world.
  2. The startup works on the motive and objective of keeping their customers happy—the customer always is the priority, while for a traditional business this may not be true.
  3. For a lot of the entrepreneurs, a successful startup means that they get to spend time with their family members and friends. The ability to have the ‘me-time’ or ‘we-time’ is all they count as currency.
  4. Freedom of time, freedom of location, financial freedom, and even creative freedom often counts as a success for a lot of entrepreneurs when they plan to build a startup.

Now, if you look at a traditional business unit, you will notice that all the above things may be lacking or ignored for the sake of making money alone. In a traditional business unit, money, profits, financial gains are everything and there hardly any room for innovation and creativity.

Permission Strategy Planning Made Simple

July 31, 2019 in Cultivate, how to

The objective of an effective permission strategy is to enhance the performance and manageability of the site. It must facilitate complying with the data governance policies of the organization and also bring down the cost of maintaining the site. Here we discuss why to strategize the permissions and how to approach this task. 

Permission Strategy Planning Made Simple

Why must you strategize permissions?

Most websites are created rather hurriedly in order to solve a specific problem or to supply a specific set of information to those who need it. Though this is good, the site structure you initially had eventually becomes the default structure when the site grows and it is needed to meet other kinds of needs. This growth can give way to chaos in setting permissions since every member of the organization can have the full control over the sub-sites. In other situations, every member might need a set of new permissions to be able to sue a new site.

Sound permission strategies can help identify these problems before they crop up. A good permission strategy can help control these following three crucial areas.

  1. Performance and manageability

Permission settings that you choose can impact the site over a long-term deciding how much effort you must spare to manage your sites and how fast your site can respond to user commands. 

  1. Data governance

Thoroughly planned permissions strategy helps ensure compliance with the organization’s unique data governance policies and also comply with the crucially important financial and accounting disclosures and retention legislation like Sarbanes-Oxley.

  1. Cost of maintenance

Strategies that takes advantage of built-in efficiency tools, such as security groups, permission levels, and permissions inheritance will enhance ease of use for your site users, and minimize the requests for individual access that permissions managers have to respond to during the life of the site.

The best rule for a great permission management strategy

Always follow the rule of least privilege that requires you to give the lowest permission level that a user will crucially need to perform the assigned tasks.

How to coordinate with security groups

  • While giving access to people, add them under categories like members, visitors, and owners which are part of the standard security groups.
  • It is important that the majority of the members must fall under the Members or Visitors groups.
  • Hose in Member group can add or remove documents or items. However, they cannot alter the site structure, appearance, and settings.
  • Those in the Visitors group will have only read-only access to the site. While they can view the pages and items, open documents and items, they cannot edit, add or remove items, documents, and pages.
  • Have only limited members in the Owners group
  • Ensure that only those who you trust are in the Owners group with permissions to change the settings, structure, and appearance of the site.

How to work with the permissions inheritance

  • Make the best use of permission inheritance to create a clean and easy to view hierarchy.
  • If some lists in the site feature fine-grained permissions, managing permissions can be very difficult. If there are sub-sites with unique permissions and others with inherited permissions, again the admin will have difficulty with managing the permissions.
  • If you choose to break the permission inheritance in order to facilitate fine-grained permissions elaborately, users can suffer slower performance while accessing the site content.
  • If the permissions and inherited permissions hierarchy are clear, it will be very easy to manage and explain permissions.

Black Background Design For A Website: When And How To Do It

July 24, 2019 in Cultivate, Design

Designers have been approaching black color with a passion for so long. Black is a mysterious color that has helped achieve stylish, energetic and elegant designs. Here we discuss when it makes sense to go for black background and how to go about the idea of implementing a black background for a website.

Black Background Color

The background 

The ultimate objective of a website design is a positive user engagement. Hence it is necessary to emphasize the important elements. Designers achieve this by creating a hierarchy meaning highlighting the most important things prominently than the others in an order.

The real challenge while deploying black color for the background is this. Black is perhaps the heaviest color and hence it will become difficult to highlight the other elements. Nevertheless, black can be used to emphasize the other content.

Guidelines to deploy black background 

  • Never go for black background when you have too much content.
  • Deploy text on a black background carefully.
  • You can use the black background for images and graphic elements.
  • It will work out well when you use a black background for smaller elements in order to point them out to a different color.

Important points to note

Usually, people feel familiar, comfortable and secure with white color. Hence the experts on user experience always stress on using white the most. Black is associated with depressive, sad, serious and negative tendencies. Though we cannot change this perception overnight, you can deploy black color thoughtfully to get the most out of it when you have compelling reasons to go for black background. Black color background can be an option for portfolio websites, studio websites, elite product presentations, and to provide unconventional content.

Tips to deploy the black background

  • Create a lot of white backgrounds.
  • Use bigger fonts on the black background
  • Use black background for sections you wish to emphasize, header, footer and navigations, comments and pop-ups.
  • Go for black background only when the situation is right for it.

Ten Things You Can Do with SharePoint, Right Now

July 18, 2019 in Cultivate, how to

Many businesses depend on SharePoint to develop websites. For instance, it is possible to create a site from SharePoint Homepage in Office 365. Also, you can benefit from a SharePoint team site when you develop an Office 365 group in Outlook Online or Office 365. While being on SharePoint server, you can either create a team or many other kinds of sites.

Ten Things You Can Do with SharePoint, Right Now

While used on any one of the common web browsers, these sites can as well be used as a secure place to store, organize, distribute and access information from multiple devices. Here are ten things you can do with SharePoint right now that makes this platform all the more interesting.

  1. You can upload your files directly on to your SharePoint document library in order to access them anytime from anywhere. Doing this is as simple as dragging files from a location in your computer into your document library. While using Microsoft edge, you can upload files or folders. In SharePoint online, you can use the ‘upload’ command.
  2. You can open a document in the document library. When you click to open the document, you wish to work on, it will open in Office Online.
  3. You can choose to work with others on the same document at the same time. You need to go to the document library and click to open the document you wish to work on. On the top right of the document, you will find the number of people working on it.
  4. Sharing documents is easier on SharePoint. To do this, you just have to select the documents you wish to share and click the ellipses. It will open the menu on which you must click on ‘Share’.
  5. You can also share sites on SharePoint. This is possible only when you have sharing permissions from the site owner. To share sites, click SharePoint or sites, choose the sites you wish to share and then click on ‘Share’.
  6. Creating a team site. While using Office 365, it is easy to create a team site from the SharePoint Homepage. This feature will help create an Office 365 group. When you create an Office 365 group in Outlook People, you will get a team in SharePoint Online automatically. Once you have site owner permissions on SharePoint server 2016 or 2013, you just have to click on ‘Sites’ and then click ‘+ new site’ or just ‘+ new’.
  7. You can add a list or library to your team site in SharePoint Online. To do this, you need to click on ‘+ New’ from within a site and then choose ‘List’ or ‘Library’ from the list.
  8. Retaining the previous version of the document while editing and making changes in it is now possible with SharePoint. Just right-click on the document link in a library and then click on ‘Version History’. Sometimes, you will have to scroll the menu to choose the version you want. For SharePoint server versions, just click on the ellipses found next to the file and then on the ellipses in the dialog for landing on the menu. Alternatively, you can also select the document and click on ‘Version History’ on the ‘Files’ tab.
  9. Searching for something is easier with SharePoint. You just have to type a search keyword into the ‘Search’ box and click on the ‘Search’ icon.
  10. It is easy to share information with your entire office group. In Office 365, SharePoint Online, or SharePoint Server 2016, you just have to click on the app launcher and then click on the Yammer or Newsfeed tile. After that, you can just type in your message and click ‘Post’.

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