How to use chatbots to transform your digital marketing strategy

Back in the day, the idea of artificial intelligence was reserved for science fiction movies. (Remember the creepy computer, HAL, from 2001: A Space Odyssey?! Still gives me nightmares). But today, artificial intelligence is a fairly common piece of technology—think Siri on your iPhone or Amazon Echo in your living room. And as the technology continues to advance, AI is going to become a go-to for just about every industry under the sun—including digital marketing. Robot mascot design by Cross The Lime, illustration by OrangeCrushThere are plenty of implications for AI in the digital marketing world and chatbots are definitely one of the most exciting. Chatbots offer the best of both worlds; you can automate a huge part of your customer communication process without sacrificing customer service and support. These AI-powered chat machines are about to be everywhere—and if you want to stay competitive, it’s important to wrap your head around how they work and incorporate them into your strategy. But what, exactly, are chatbots? How are they changing the digital marketing game? And how can you incorporate bots into your digital marketing strategy to take advantage of this science fiction-inspired technology—and skyrocket your business’ success in the process? Here we cover everything you need to know about chatbots in marketing: What are chatbots? How are chatbots transforming digital marketing? How can you incorporate chatbots into your digital marketing strategy? Chatbot best practices Conclusion What are chatbots?
— Logo design by ludibesFirst things first. What the heck are chatbots? Chatbots are an AI-powered software you program to facilitate conversations with your customers. You can program your chatbots with specific answers to frequently asked questions (like “what’s your return policy?” or “how much do your services cost?”)—so, instead of spending the time and energy to answer every individual question from your customers, your chatbots can step in and do the work for you. And the best part? Chatbots leverage machine learning—so the more questions your customers ask, and the more involved those questions are, the better the software gets at answering them. You can have chatbots on your website, on Facebook or on your customer service portal. Wherever you interact with your customers you’ll find an opportunity to leverage chatbot technology....

Dogma Kills Design

It’s all in the title, really. I am no stranger to dogmatic thinking. I was once a very religious missionary, and currently am an open source enthusiast, a web designer, and a gamer. Of all the dogmatic thinkers I’ve encountered in each of those fields, I’m not actually sure which scare me the most. Some are easily identified from a distance, but you never know who compiles their own UNIX-based OS from scratch until it’s too late. We want to make amazing things, and/or a lot of money, and we often end up fixating rather rigidly on whatever we believe will achieve those goals No, it’s not a one-to-one comparison, but bear with me here. I’m not saying anyone is likely to be purged in the name of free software, or because they’re on the wrong side of the Warframe vs. Anthem debate. But… it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility. Human beings in general can get a bit intense on occasion. That’s what (I believe) dogma is, in our modern context: intense and very rigid thinking. Creative people are people of passion and drive. We want to make amazing things, and/or a lot of money, and we often end up fixating rather rigidly on whatever we believe will achieve those goals. Creative though we may be, we are not immune to the universal laws of irony. The wonderful world of web design is thus a world of goals. We want people to engage, to interact, to stay, to buy, to tell their friends, and to be our friends if it comes to that. And then we want it to be accessible, and usable, but also based on up-to-date frameworks and it just gets confusing sometimes. To stave off confusion, we fall back on what we are pretty sure actually works. We stand our ground on a foundation of facts, and ideas that look a lot like facts, but are actually opinions. We stand our ground on a foundation of facts, and ideas that look a lot like facts, but are actually opinions That would be great if this weren’t an industry where the facts change on a daily basis, and everyone seems to have different facts in any case. Hold on too long to any fact or fact-like idea, and you’ll end up just being wrong. That’s the irony of dogma. We cling to it to protect ourselves from uncertainty and the unknown. Often people cling to dogma in an attempt to shelter their communities from change. The result, of course, is stagnation. Communities, ideas, and industries that don’t evolve will always...

9 Common UX Problems and Solutions

People are hard-wired to recognize patterns. From the shapes in clouds to predictable stock market fluctuations, people see things that sometimes don’t exist. UX designers can use this to their advantage. By studying users behavioral patterns, designers are able to see how users navigate pages, use a menu option and how they use your site.  If you use the internet on a regular basis, you are bound to notice a lot of UX patterns and problems associated with it. Some solutions to these patterns worked well and those are the ones we see repeatedly. In this article, we will discuss the various design patterns that are prevalent today and how users use them. Using various examples, we will cover how these design patterns are used by some of the best websites and web applications to solve some existing user problems. 1. Flagging/Reporting This UI pattern is commonly used when the user wants to play the part of content police. This helps the user gain more control over their site, especially when using online networks and sites that rely heavily on user-generated content. For example, popular sites like Facebook, Airbnb, and pinterest let users flag content when it violates site policies or is deemed inappropriate. They usually implement this by walking the user through a questionnaire. This can help add credibility to the content that is visible and lets the communities moderate itself. 2. Tagging To help users organize their content better and to help them find similar content, popular sites like Behance and Flickr makes it easy for users to tag their content with specific keywords. For example, Twitter and Instagram categorizes your hashtags according to a topic or an idea and lets you share it on sites like Facebook or Google+ 3. Conversational forms User-centric conversational forms tend to work better than data collection centric ones. Users often find plugging in information as a tedious task. By designing forms that have a conversational tone, designers are able to get more from a user.  Sometimes fill in the blanks forms turn out to be more engaging and interactive than drop down tabs and radio buttons. Although it may not work really well with lengthy and complex forms. 4. Input hints It is helpful to provide users with hints to help them figure out what kind of data to enter in an input field. They are many ways to provide these hints –...

Start Your Project Off Right with 7 Free Adobe XD UI Kits

UI/UX design is tough work. Designing all the little pieces and screens from scratch can end up being extremely time-consuming. Luckily, plenty of amazing designers out there have released UI kits, a helpful resource that can seriously cut down on time as well as providing inspiration. Premade assets, screens and pages will allow you to get right to the site or app design. Skip all the tedious setting up and start working on the actual product. Here are seven of the best free UI kits, made just for Adobe XD users. Your Designer Toolbox
Unlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Web Templates, Icon Sets, Themes & Design Assets
DOWNLOAD NOW Social Meet Up UI Kit An iOS kit made for social media apps, Social Meet Up comes with an absolute ton of content. 80+ screens provide everything needed to create a social network, a perfect launching pad for your app’s UI. The strong, feminine design is just perfect for a project like this. And the kit is built to be easily customized, so keep the parts you like and mix it up with your own brand. Non-Profit UI Kit Designed for non-profits, this kit offers everything you need to build a website that looks beautiful and reaches further. Two colors and three fonts create a simple but memorable palette. The responsive website prototype comes with home, about, donation and various other pages relevant for a non-profit. 30+ components and 20+ screens will give you plenty to work with here. Smartwatch UI Kit There are plenty of resources for website and app designers, but what about for a smartwatch? With 60 screens, 20 customizable components and 30 icons, this UI kit leaves little to be desired. Whatever kind of smartwatch app you’re making, there’s something to build on here, and plenty of room to add your own unique style. Pawtastic UI Kit If you’re creating a website for pet services, look no further. Pawtastic comes with various super helpful components, including a well-crafted sign-up process and various customizable UI elements. The colors and typography look amazing here. And by downloading the free pack, you get 15 wireframes too! This is one that just can’t be passed up. Fashion Influencer UI Kit Fashion designer? You’ll adore this elegant UI kit. With 10+ pages to work off of and over 50 components, you won’t be running out of material any time soon. These designs are made with a careful, sophisticated...

Top 10 Google Web Fonts For Bold Header Text

Since webfont support is basically universal there’s no good reason to stick to the defaults. Google Webfonts is the largest source of free fonts with hundreds of typefaces to pick from. Since page headers are the strongest elements they usually work best with custom fonts. However it can be tough whittling down the best choices, and that’s exactly why I wrote this post. All the Fonts You Could Ask For
DOWNLOAD NOW 1. Montserrat The first in my collection is Montserrat. This font can work for pretty much anything but I think it works incredibly well as header text. I’ve used this for navigation text with all caps, customized letter spacing, along with many different font styles from thin to super thick. Montserrat fits the bill perfectly across the board and it’s one of the more universal fonts blending into anything from a tech blog to a funeral parlor website. The font only weighs about 500 bytes using the default style so it’s incredibly light. And with so many different styles you can get a lot of different looks from this one family. If you’re looking for a unique heading font try Montserrat. It probably won’t work for everyone but it’s a safe starting font that many designers love. 2. Merriweather A much thicker serif alternative is Merriweather which I also like as a body font. This versatile typeface really looks great anywhere on your site and it’ll bring plenty of attention to your headers. If you try Merriweather for a larger page heading I suggest using the bold or bold italic style. They are surprisingly clean but they probably need some letter spacing adjustments. Either way the style and darkness of the letters are super easy to follow. When pairing this font I usually do a sans-serif body typeface. The contrasting styles create a natural divide between headers & body copy. Plus most people find sans-serif easier to read on average for body content. But I see a lot of sites with serif headers and they all look great. Merriweather is a nice starting point for serif, but if you don’t like it you’ll find tons of alternatives in this post. 3. Josefin Sans Modern and classy best describes Josefin Sans. It feels like a font straight from a 1950s jazz lounge, or maybe something you’d see on the front page of The New Yorker. It does have a distinct curvy style and the thin letters save a lot of horizontal space. You can toy with all-...

3 Essential Design Trends, March 2019

Typography, color and distinct layouts are all elements that contribute to any design project. They are also elements of design that can trend over time. That’s exactly what we are seeing this month as bold design elements are just the things that are making certain website designs come to the forefront. Here’s what’s trending in design in this month. Bold Sans-Serifs Big, thick lettering can draw attention and tell a story. And that’s just what designers are doing with the use of more bold, thick sans-serifs in projects. Thicker letterforms are a good choice for reverse typography or in situations where there is a lot going on to compete with the words. The challenge is that bold typography can be a little overwhelming when there’s a lot of it to read. So, you have to balance viewability with readability. When picking a bold sans-serif, look for something that’s a mid-range weight and not overly thick. Look for letters with a more round shape; not too tall or condensed either, to encourage reading. While many the examples below are focused on bold sans-serifs only, the best advice is to pair them with a less heavy option as well. (Maybe mix and match the bold and regular weights of a typeface.) Some users will equate bold type in the same manner as all caps, assuming that it is screaming at them. You can avoid this by using bold sans-serifs with purpose for just a few key words or phrases and balance other screen elements so that it’s not a weighty aesthetic. While this can be a somewhat tricky trend to use, you can see from the examples below that it can work rather nicely. There’s nothing wrong with going bold when it contributes to the overall meaning and content in the rest of the design. Red Text and Accents It’s like I blinked and red text and accents were suddenly everywhere. This is an accent color choice that was wildly popular at one time and quickly faded out of fashion about the time flat and material colors emerged. (Brighter reds clashed with all the other bright color options.) But red is back. This color choice is interesting because it is so attention-grabbing. It can also create quite an emotional bond with users. Just be aware that people can really like red or really hate it; there’s not a lot of middle ground when it comes to a color that’s connected to passion, love, anger and fear. In each of the examples below, red is the thing...

11 Instagram Accounts For UI & UX Design Inspiration

Instagram is one of the best sites to find quality UX inspiration. But you need to know who to follow and which hashtags are worth browsing. I’m hoping this article will set you on the right path with a collection of the 12 best UX accounts on Instagram. These are all very active and perfect for anyone breaking into the field, or looking to expand their reach with more Instagram inspiration. The UX Designer Toolbox
Unlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Wireframe & UX Templates, UI Kits & Design Assets
DOWNLOAD NOW 1. @ux_ui_wireframes My absolute favorite account is @ux_ui_wireframes and it’s been around for years now. New posts are frequently added, and many of them are sourced from designer accounts through hashtags. So this works like a curation resource where the account owner connects with other designers and asks if they can republish the photo on their account. Naturally this draws more attention to the designer’s work and gives you a bunch of diverse UX inspiration. Cool stuff! 2. @uxdesignmastery Here’s another one I really like that’s pushing just about 100k followers. The @uxdesignmastery account comes from the main website offering tutorials and courses on this topic. So their photos are meant to guide you towards the site and increase users while offering some cool inspiration. New UX designers will find this incredibly valuable since the website is chock full of knowledge. But even if you just follow the Instagram account you can still learn a lot from their uploads. 3. @wireflow The team at @wireflow have their own Instagram account for publishing custom wireframes, prototypes, and storyboards for user flows. Again this is managed by the main site which promotes their tool for simple flowchart management. It’s actually a great tool because you can use it freely on the web and the results are instantaneous in your browser. But their Instagram account goes beyond digital work to include a lot of hand-drawn wireframes and user flows. Excellent for people who prefer classic methods of brainstorming. 4. @uxpiration With a following of 12k designers and growing fast, one of my favorite newer accounts is @uxpiration. It’s built solely to promote designers and help get work out there for ideas. This account almost takes on a communal feel giving back to the overall design community. Well worth following if you want UX, UI, or general...

Popular Design News of the Week: February 18, 2019 – February 24, 2019

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers.  The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week. Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news. Visualize a Website   How I Got Banned for Life from AirBnB   Why Parallax Scrolling Needs to Die   I Redesigned the Website – The Conversion Rate Went up by 1.400%   What Defines Good UI Design?   5 Alternatives to Material Design   Spoofing Google Search Results   To Grid or to Flex?   Amino: Live CSS Editor for Chrome   First .dev Domains Go Live   Site Design: Peak   A Few Tips for Crafting your URLs for Improved SEO and UX   I Built a Physical Sketch Panel   I Made a Tool to Customise & Generate Common SVG Icons   Actiondesk: Workflow Automation   Web Usability: Importance of Fold in Web Design   Don’t Burn my Eyes. Mysterious Experiences. Dark Mode UI   The 5 Principles of Good Experience Design   A Designer’s Little Helpers   Browser-specific Hacks for Frontend Developers   The First Five Years: How to Stop Feeling like a Failure   Building the Wrong Product — 9 Antipatterns You Should Avoid   An Illustrated Avatar Collection for Developers and Designers   Museum of Failure   Frontiers of Design   Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News. Add Realistic Chalk and Sketch Lettering Effects with Sketch’it – only $5!

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How to create a video for social media

People on social media are spending more and more of their time watching videos. And social media networks are happier than ever to prolong this trend by favouring video content, as it helps keep users engaged on their platforms for longer than any other type of media. It’s therefore easy to see why businesses want to get in on the act, seeing the demand for video, and the algorithmic favouring of it as a great chance to get their brands in front of a sizable audience. But creating a video can be daunting, and for good reason—it can be a lot of work. And while producing video in general can be difficult, producing video for social media is a particularly tricky beast to tame. But it needn’t be, as there are some simple tips and tricks that can help you crack the code of creating the best videos for social media. Illustration by OrangeCrush1. Think about your options — First things first, you need to consider your options for getting a high-quality social media video that does what you need it to do. Having a professional produce your video for you will save you time and ensure your video looks great, but it’ll cost you more than shooting it yourself. You can either find a local production company to work with or hire a filmmaker through a platform like 99designs and get a high-quality video for under a thousand dollars. They can expertly script, shoot and edit your social media video for you from start to finish. However, if cost is an issue, you might want to try producing your own social media video. But remember, you want it to look professional. So, here’s how you can create your own social media video that looks good and achieves the results you’re looking for. 2. Validate your content
— Before you even start creating a video, think about the content it’s made of and whether it’s right for your audience.The first thing to decide on is what you’ll be making your video about. To help you do this, have a think about why you would be releasing this video on social media, rather than simply embedding the video into an article on your website. This video needs to make sense for your social audience and prompt them to watch and engage. To best decipher this it’s handy to take a look at what’s worked before. Assuming your brand already produces some written content on your blog or website and shares that content on social media, take a dive into the...

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20 Apr 2019