Web style guides have gone mainstream

Below is a quick list of some well known digital companies who have launched online style guides over the past year. Most of these began purely as internal tools. As the resources proved more and more valuable, they’ve all become available for public use.

What are the benefits of an online style guide?

  • Gives viewers a quick and digestible overview of your brand
  • Faster integration with/of your products through reusable code and real-world branding samples
  • Less technical support required, which frees up valuable employee resources for other means
  • Proves your companies’ dedication to, and support of, your tech base
  • Shows off your creative and technological abilities
  • Builds a community around the company
  • Creates a potential conversion funnel for organizations who become power users

Most large organizations have already gone through a branding process and have a style guide for their marketing efforts.

What online guides allow, that traditional ones don’t, is much greater connectivity to your brand, in a modern format, quickly navigable from anywhere in the world.

In conclusion, by providing public access to your brand materials through either static content, code snippets, downloadable assets, or re-usable templates, you are doing a couple things:

  • Decreasing the burden on your employees, contractors, and partners who usually have to create new materials from scratch
  • Allowing your brand to be dispersed rapidly and broadly, while remaining true to your standards.

F is for Facebook in Google’s Alphabet (I bet!)

Yep…I am talking about this very specific relationship one that has been riddled with miscues and online battles of digital lines in the sand. It was last year our health care digital team launched a Google Hangout embedded inside Facebook, since that successful campaign..it has been a lot harder to pull off technologically speaking.

But I am not really thinking through the lens of how to make these digital properties talk to each other when deploying campaigns, but more of the relationship between these two audience giants when it comes to digital content marketing.

We have found a few things through evidence based testing:
1) Facebook is an awareness tool
2) Google is conversion tool

*Now…their is a caveat to this premise, we have successfully launched and deployed specific health risk assessment tools inside Facebook. This is where the user can take a risk assessment survey inside the Facebook platform allowing us to capture the user’s contact information into the healthcare organization’s CRM. Then we can attribute the user data to downstream revenue, calculating ROI for this patient acquisition initiative.

What I get really excited about…is real content marketing inside Facebook/Instagram to influence the user’s Google search, thus capturing them into the CRM. Yes…Facebook and Google work well together.

Facebook provides the audience reach and Google provides the search and pull capturing that very keyword search influenced by a campaigns keyword branding inside Facebook’s content engine. So let’s get specific.

Let’s take a video you may deploy inside Facebook for your audience to enjoy. Many people put a link in the status update hoping the person will either click the link in the copy or at the end of the video. This link many times is used to capture someone to make a purchase or sign-up for a service.

We are finding something different, the keywords used in the text of the video and the copy below will influence the Google search, so we are deploying Google Adwords to capture that search. People search to take action, so we use Facebook as the awareness tool to influence that search, branding keywords over and over again so the audience thinks of those keywords when search for that product or service.

Bottomline…we are finding Facebook has been a great way to not only make the community aware of a new product or service, but also educate and influence the audience which keywords to use when searching to make a purchasing decision.

I see this performing really well with customer testimonials where a third party shares their experience with a brand. As a part of the video and text, make the search terms available via Google Adwords very apparent in the content, creating top-of-mind awareness for those terms.

I can see the video playing with a customer sharing their experience and as they are talking, the text of those relatable terms appear in the video next to the person talking. This not only forces people to stop scrolling to engage visually, but reinforces the search terms purchased to drive the audience to specific digital property.

Bottomline, it is all about content! Yes…content is once again a key component. We can scale digital advertising buys up and down, but you have to create rich content that is engaging for the audience. Content is the equitable position here, and without any equity…you are borrowing from other tactics to influence an audience that is becoming more and more skeptical of digital advertising.

Shifting Your Digital Ad Budget —> Match Ad Dollar Spend With Content Curation Investment

The role of B2B digital communications has challenged me in so many ways, every day as a storyteller. I am attracted to the projects that brings audiences new places to explore, learn, feel, connect, and share. I have struggled to think through the marketing lens, actually…it is quite hard for me.

Over the last year, we have been working with groups ranging from large national clients to smaller business/organizations…and many things are ringing with the same tune. Digital marketing is a lot of damn work because people just do not like digital ads. We have to tell stories and put digital ad dollars being content for more effecting impact.

The Next Web just released a story reporting close to 200 million people are using adblockers, up 41 percent from 2014. It is estimated this will cost publishers roughly $21.8 billion in lost revenue.

 

From The Next Web: “That’s just six percent of the global internet population, but it’s worth noting that their adblocking habits account for 14 percent of the global ad spend. The report adds that in 2016, it will cost publishers over $41 billion.”

Just last year, I was working on a project with an extremely large monthly Google budget. The trends were indicating that they had bought up too many adwords, over saturating the market loosing ground against the competition. Bottomline, their competition is getting smart, buying up more market share, shifting the tide showing diminishing returns on SEM and SEO investments. 

Imagine, taking those half of those millions and investing in people, stories, groups, and sharable content. Imagine leading the charge in content curation and less in just digital ad placement and reach. Reach is good, but imagine if that reach does not allow you to attract the right audience.

BHPhotoVideo.com Example
As I was browsing my favorite website, I found something interesting. BHPhotoVideo.com is one of my favorite sites and I know they like to use the same digital advertising tactics. But, when I search for a gadget, I do not go to Google first to search for that particular item…I just go to BHPhotoVideo.com.

As I scrolled down…I noticed some interesting, a trending section at the bottom. Lots of social updates from consumers, bloggers, trending products, consumer images…content showcasing products in their context. I expected when I click a trending item that I would go to read more about why it was trending, but actually I was taken to a product page. This allowed me to see the consumer conversations along side actual products, then allowed me to click to see the product.

Manfrotto Facebook Example
Another company I follow is Manfrotto’s Facebook page.  I am a huge fan of Manfrotto bags and tripods, especially after they bought my favorite bag company Kata.


 I started following their Facebook page where they share images from their consumers, specifically how they are using their bags and tripods in their everyday life.

Each day, you see these products as they are being used in real life, not just a product with a “For Sale” sign. The hardest thing about buying a bag or tripod is size, does it fit my situation, and is it affordable. These social media posts/updates allow me to see these products being used everyday by people like me.

Canon #BringIt Example
Finally, I love Canon’s #BringIt initiative on Instagram. People are sharing pictures taken with their Canon cameras and including the #BringIt hashtag. Canon selects images daily that they feel live up to the #BringIt mantra and post these images on their BringIt website: https://bringit.usa.canon.com/. If you go to the website, you might see lots of pictures of Rosebud!

This allows you to see others and how they are using the cameras and the types of images captured everyday using all types of Canon cameras, from people just like me.

 

Concerns of Auto-Pilot Mode of Scheduling, Digital Automation, and Digital Ad Buys

The time is now! Telling rich stories has become ever more important in the world of organic storytelling. It is providing a much needed balance to digital content marketing efforts inside agencies and inside organizations. With more and more access to digital marketing tools and automation, the temptation is to put more thrust behind reach rather than substance.

We are finding more and more groups and willing to jump the digital ad buys quickly and begin to ignore the far reaching sustainable efforts of organic storytelling they have built. It is easy now…to create budgets with digital advertising dollars and completely ignore the organic portion of the social/digital space. With the announcement of that Hootsuite has added Instagram into their distribution dashboard, they are claiming “Love”.

We know what is coming down the pipe, Instagram is about to open up the digital ad network so medium to small brands will have the same access as large brands like McDonalds, Taco Bell, and many others.

Hmm…this concerns me not only from a tactical position but also a longterm strategic position. Here are a few thoughts:

  1. This begins the process of moving Instagram from a community based platform where imagery is curated and shared upon inspiration…to a platform where content marketing broadens the strokes for brands and brand marketers to leverage content specifically for metric based engagement.
  2. There is a simple puristic value in exploring IG though the eyes of the curator, when inspiration matches delivery…so now will delivery happen when metrics say they happen or when rich content is being exchanged. If so….where will we as social media lovers find the balance as social media marketers…specifically where we enjoy the organic nature of connecting with content.
  3. This is further allowing content “marketers” to just focus on digital communication only through a marketing lens and forget the idea of being part of a larger digital/social community.

So here is my challenge to the larger digital/social media community. How can we challenge ourselves to grow our organic business strategies and services just as much as we grow our digital advertising business vertical(s)? Also…are we really prepared from a community management position when we are hitting people with our ads and marketing and they start talking back with the unwanted fussing?

We must tells stories of people and not brands!
It goes back to one simple concept, we must seek and tell stories from inside our organizations. We must tells stories of people and not brands. People want to know their story is so important that it will be told, which then ignites their communities to watch, read, and share.

We have to remember what it means to use our listening ears, and tell stories that has layers. It is more than just sharing a picture of an important date or event, but what makes that important date so meaningful. We have to remember what it means to bring a tribe of followers together and provide them the tools to share these stories, thus igniting a more meaningful engaged audience.

We have to understand that CTR will increase as a richer, more targeted community is engaging content; content they choose to see versus content content marketers are speculating they want to see/read/watch.

We have to also understand that “reach” is only about the number of people that “will” see this content…with the hopes that the target audience will exceed a 2.5% CTR on social media and digital ad buys. Guess what, how about boosting well crafted content that is already seeing increase in organic traffic, thus allowing the curated content to meet the needs of the audience. This agile method of boosting content (already seeing engagement) allows the content marketer to spread content that is already providing already above average results.

We need to stop the auto-pilot mode of just stacking our social media distribution/aggregation tools like we are stacking the dying 6pm newscast. We need to act more like community managers and less like content marketers, ultimately staying in-tune with the community…providing rich stories and content that brings people to action.

Here is the caveat:
Potentially, I know I will be talking out the other-side of my mouth when we talk with our partners about potential ad buys for well curated content and digital marketing initiatives offers. I even get the fact that our clients are reading this right now. But it does not mean I will resist the notion of punching the clock…I firmly believe in well curated content that provides rich stories, and then putting money behind the initiative and potentially automating the distribution *ONLY* if the stories are powerful and ethical.

The truth behind the on-camera interview

It was just the other day as a storyteller and I sat through another amazing interview…an interview that not only brought me to tears, but the people around me. Laneika is a more than a domestic violence survivor and her story is one of purest of crystal balls…you have to carefully take care of her story or it will slip through your fragile fingers and crash all upon the floor.

Storytellers have a tremendous burden, one of not only crafting the story…but finding the right characters and helping them find the right words at the right time. It is a special dance and we carefully step around the ballroom. The largest part of that dance, those steps, is finding the path through the interview.

Typically, I never bring a list of questions to an interview. Why, because the interview for me is a conversation…and we humans do not have wonderful, honest conversations with the assistance of notes and pre-conceived questions. We are curious beings with the natural inclination to wonder, learn, understand, and engage in rich discussions…especially those discussions where we find our deepest passions.

I spend lots of time preparing for the on-camera interview. I spent lots of energy researching the storylines, the background of the interview subject, the potential narratives, the areas of the story that people do not want to wonder, and even critically challenge the stakeholders in this quest for the truths.

I take pride in my preparation, even meeting the person whom I will be interviewing on-camera before that special day. I will sit down, study their methods of engaging in conversation, watch how they react to uncomfortable conversations, see when they fidget or even get on the edge of their seat waiting to respond. I share with them my intentions, specifically I am purposefully avoiding all conversations related to the topic of the interview and divert the conversation to other topics, including personal topics. I am sizing them up, building trust, and allowing them to see me (the interviewer) as more than the person sitting next to the camera surrounded by lights.

We do hold a burden…because during the interview…we hold something very true, very real, very palatable…we are the gatekeepers of their story. It is our ethical dance we must step carefully through as we are shaping the reality of their story for the consumer to watch, judge, share, engage, and fully take part in that dance as they feel the words come across the speakers next to the screen.

Our goal as a storyteller is to create a theater, a place where the audience forgets they have peripheral vision and become fully invested in this story…so much they forget their is a world happening around them. Our mission, our truth…to make them (the audience) feel like they are actually inside the screen…the experience…the storyline…and that this is actually their storyline…their reality…their truth. We bear this burden and we must hold it carefully like that crystal ball…not too tight…not too loose.

When we sit in the interview and the camera is capturing every movement, every sound…we must help navigate the interviewee through a process of not only forgetting their are lights and cameras, but we are here to tell their story. The first five or so minutes are really throw away questions, allowing the production crew and myself to make sure all the audio is perfect and the lighting is consistent as the interviewee moves around in their seat. But as those walls begin to come down during those first five minutes, I being to dive into the heart of the subject.

I love the interview…I love it more than actually writing and editing the final product. The interview is truly the place where the story unfolds. It is the place where we guide the interviewee down a path of conversation…where we help them articulate those most important moments in complete thoughts, well articulated thoughts, thoughts that are honest, real, and undeniably truth, their truth!

There is always that one big question. This narrative emerges in the preparation. That one big moment that must be revealed in the interview. It is that one statement that pulls it all together. It is that one story inside the whole storyline we are waiting to hear, we just don’t know when it is the right time to help it emerge from down deep, below the surface. I love that part of the interview…getting the person ready to unveil that one truth that will set the story free. You know it when it comes out and you know…at that moment in time…you better not peep a word, sneeze, let your chair make a noise…because that moment is when you want to capture it without the slightest technological barrier.One of the best interviewers I know taught me to bite my lip during the interview. When the person is talking and sharing, do not make a sound.

And then…when it is time…when there is a moment of silence, let the interviewee fill the silent void, let them articulate, let them share…because at the end of the day…it is their story we are telling, not ours.

Why Use a Google AdWords Certified Expert?

How do you know if the SEO and PPC expert you’re looking to hire is a professional or someone looking to make a quick buck??

Working in the digital marketing industry, I’ve heard horror stories from clients about past PPC managers with virtually no experience who waste thousands of client dollars through paid campaigns. These individuals do not mean harm, but do not have the experience it takes to take on entire account management within AdWords. It can take years of experience to learn the systems, techniques, and overall strategy that goes into creating and maintaining AdWords campaigns. ?All the while your money is being spent inefficiently and ultimately ineffectively.?

Luckily, Google has created certification exams that are comprised of complex questions to test general and specific knowledge of AdWords best practices involved in account setup, maintenance, strategy, conversion optimization, etc. To become Google AdWords certified you must pass two of their certification exams, 120 questions each and timed.?

Passing these exams is no easy task. This takes a strong knowledge and understanding of all aspects of Google AdWords. These certifications make it easy to see who is staying on top of their industry best practices and who really knows what they’re doing.

Google also certifies Google Analytics users. With a Google AdWords and Google Analytics Certification an individual has the knowledge to:

• Create & maintain thoughtful, results-driven campaigns
• Analyze traffic on your website for optimization purposes
• Optimize campaigns based on specific ROI goals
• Determine overall digital marketing strategy specific to your goals and business needs

If you would like to speak to me about any AdWords, SEO or Analytics needs, feel free to email me here!

 

Revealed—The Secret to Getting the Website of Your Dreams

Building the website of your dreams involves a team of (hopefully) seasoned professionals. Marketers, content strategists, tech developers and designers – everyone has to be on task to create an end product that will transform marketing goals into measurable achievements. It’s a process, and one that requires collaboration from all project stakeholders.

But ‘collaborating’ isn’t always as easy as it sounds. If this is your first experience with a website build, it can be difficult to figure out just how your role fits into the big picture. Sure, as your organization’s insider you may have the final ‘yes’ or ‘no’ say-so on project deliverables, but actively embracing your role as gatekeeper will make the process more efficient and the final product more effective.

What does it mean to actively embrace your role?

Aside from staying on task, you must:

  1. Provide thorough feedback
  2. Trust your team

Feedback—The Only Way Forward

Giving your web team thorough feedback may seem like a no-brainer. You know what you like when you see it, and you know what you don’t when you don’t—right?

Unfortunately, this approach to feedback can leave information gaps—and a lot of them. Gaps leave room for error, and with error comes budget rework and delayed timelines. Each piece of feedback you provide to your team should take your long-term marketing goals, rich brand narrative, and evolving client base into account. For example:

 

Instead of saying…

Say…

“I don’t like the background color.”

“The background color is too similar to the one used by our competitor, Company A. Using blue, gray or etc. would differentiate us more.”

“This content does not say what I need it to.”

“Point A is a more powerful benefit than Point B. Focus the content on that instead.”

“This feature does not work how I thought it would.”

“I envision this feature taking the user through three steps. These steps are, in order:….”

 

The above are only examples, but when giving feedback, always remember to give detail, think ahead, and provide examples when possible. Otherwise, knowledge gaps can easily accumulate into a frustrating roadblock of constant revisions, busted budgets and failed deadlines.

Trust—The Scariest Secret to Success

Your quarterly to-do list probably includes more than just managing your website build project. That’s why you’ve sought out the help of experts.

Whether prospects research your company from their 8 to 5, air conditioned cubicles, or thumb through your links during weekend errand runs, they see your site first—and sometimes, that’s all they’ll ever see. Entrusting an asset of that magnitude to outsiders is scary. You know your brand best and want to ensure that your vision of it carries through online. However, remember to critically analyze when and where your web partner’s industry knowledge may supersede your own.

Consider this: you’ve thoroughly vetted your web partner. You’ve reviewed their portfolio; you’ve queried their business plan; and you’ve tested their marketing knowledge, all before signing on the dotted line. The web of five years ago is not the web of two years ago; the web of two years ago is not the web of today. While you may not think your site needs to be responsive, the truth is, that not only will your web partner, but so will Google. You may prefer to detail every achievement in your organization’s history, but content experts may recommend a more current approach to highlighting value.

You possess a deep knowledge of your organization. Your web partner should have the same depth of insight about web development, innovation and strategy. Collaborate actively and equally, and leverage both your and your web team’s strengths to create the website of your dreams.

Photoshop CC 2015 Artboard Tips and Tricks

The latest iteration of Photoshop’s Creative Cloud product has a few promising features that have been widely discussed. Most notably, the addition of artboards. With the addition of artboards, you can now create large canvases that are comprised of independent working areas. Some ?of the time-saving features of art boards I’ve noticed so far are as follows:

  • Ability to quickly export artboards as a single PDF
  • Ability to?quickly export each artboard as a PNG
  • When duplicating ?layers from one artboard to another, the ?layers are automatically re-positioned?in to the new artboard, with ?proportional x, y coordinates from source the art board

How to save multiple artboards as a PDF

The first step is ?organizing?your work. Your top-most artboard layer will appear first on the PDF, so make sure your artboard ordering is appropriate before saving.

Once your work is ordered appropriately, click on the File menu, and locate the Export option. You’ll want to click the ?option to export Artboards to PDF.

Once you’ve exported, the PDF will appear in your working folder. See below for an example of a final PDF.

How to Save Multiple Artboards as separate PNGs

While saving artboards to a single PDF is great for presentation purposes, you will usually?need to save each artboard as an independent file to send off to a vendor or client. Should you need to do this, it’s very simple. Just highlight all of your artboards, right click in the layers area, and select the Export to PNG option. The files will be saved individually to the source folder, and named according to their layer name. See example below.

Is Your Brand Having An Identity Crisis?

You’re in business because there’s something you do, and you do it well. Whether it’s healthcare, helping the homeless, or inspiring community action, your organization serves a purpose and piques people’s interests. But what if your business isn’t attracting the crowd you think it is, for the reasons you think it should? You know your brand from the inside out – but do you know it from the outside in?

Take this quick seven-question quiz to see whether you could be in the midst of a brand identity crisis:

 

  • What do you know about your typical customer?

 

      a. Their general age
      b. Their general area
      c. Which of their needs or wants your organization addresses
      d. How they prioritize that need or want compared to other needs and wants
      e. All of the above
      f. None of the above

 

  • How do you know?

 

      a. My organization was created to serve this type of customer.
      b. My customers are me or someone I know.
      c. Someone told me
      d. Current sale/lead/traffic/donation data verifies my customer’s identity.

 

  • How do customers learn about your organization?

 

      a. They visit our website.
      b. They follow us on social media.
      c. They know us by reputation.
      d. The know us from our ads.
      e. All of the above
      f. None of the above

 

  • How do you know?

 

      a. It mirrors how we spend our marketing budget.
      b. It mirrors how we learn about competitors.
      c. We have current data to support this.
      d. Several customers have told me personally.

 

  • Why do your customers choose you over competitors?

 

      a. Price
      b. Quality
      c. Accessibility
      d. What we stand for
      e. Habit
      f. We are too different to have direct competitors.

 

  • How do you know?

 

      a. Several customers have told me personally.
      b. We have current data to support this.
      c. It mirrors how we spend our marketing budget.
      d. It is one of the principles upon which our organization operates.

 

  • What information does your website tell your customers?

 

      a. Your name, address and phone number
      b. What you do
      c. Why you are different
      d. What to expect from a relationship with you
      e. All of the above
      f. None of the above

Are you experiencing a brand identity crisis? Check your answers, and find out now:

(Best) Answer Key: 1. (e), 2. (d), 3. any, 4. (c), 5. any, 6. (b), 7. (e)

How to Avoid Crisis Mode:

Marketing your brand effectively involves more than just an awareness of your organization’s culture and goals. It involves familiarizing yourself and your stakeholders with who your customers are and who they think you are. It involves smart, current data, and it involves consistent effort and an open mind. One of the best—and most low cost—ways of gathering this data is through your website and social media analytics. Analytics tell you more than just who visits what webpage and when—campaign-targeted landing pages reveal customer interests; forwarded e-referrals indicate loyalty and satisfaction; growing or declining social followings reveal whether you’re speaking your customers’ language or frustrating them with gibberish.

While it’s true that not every individual owns a computer or is a web savant, you’d be hard pressed to find someone living life completely offline. Web access still awaits many in the offices and on the touchscreens of their everyday lives.

Your customers and potential customers are online, and they have an opinion about your brand. If you don’t know what that opinion is, how can you reinforce or correct it? Use your digital assets to read the pulse of your prospects, and stay on message.

User Experience Design in the Age of Automation

What is User Experience (UX)?

UX is defined by the User Experience Professionals Association as follows:

Every aspect of the user’s interaction with a product, service, or company that make up the user’s perceptions of the whole.

User Experience (UX) has been around for decades, deeply ingrained in the processes of large, design-oriented organizations like Apple, Toyota, Jet Blue, IKEA, Intuit, and even the U.S. government. Meanwhile, small and medium sized business have sat helpless on the sidelines, due to short timelines and limited research budgets.

However, in recent years, a myriad of automated technologies have emerged that allow UX designers to perform research tasks quickly and economically. Companies now have the potential to gather robust quantitative user data quickly, and use it to improve their products.

Why do you need it?

A user-centered design process reduces the risk of failure by learning early in a development process what users need, and prototyping right away to test ideas, instead of waiting until late in the development cycle to get user feedback. Every product or website will inevitably have problems, so finding out what those are before you launch can save big money in the long run.

Following a usability redesign, websites increase desired metrics by 135% on average; intranets improve slightly less. — Nielsen Norman Group

UX Case Studies

Healthcare

Recently, we developed a new physician finder tool for a client. We offered a few direct search types (name, zip code, specialty), and a large amount of data that users could view once a selection was made. However, when we tested the tool with our key demographic, we found out they were struggling so much to understand the medical terminology that they weren’t even making it to the valuable physician information. Furthermore, they didn’t want multiple direct search types, they wanted to be able to filter by multiple types (e.g., specialty and zip code). Finding this out before launch allowed us to improve the tool before launching it to the thousands of daily users.

Education

We recently facilitated some usability tests for a local college. I observed many prospective students completely missing conversion opportunities due to the amount of competing navigation options in the header. Furthermore, the surplus of options forced students to create a reliance on the navigation, instead of spending time on pages, reading about the school’s offerings.


If you’d like further affirmation about the return on investment of UX, you can?watch this video by Dr. Susan Weinschenk.

How does UX design work?

A seasoned UX designer should have many tools in their arsenal to help you identify user needs and come up with solutions tailored to them.

The first step in good UX is having an insightful design process. We employ an approach called Design Thinking. The goal of Design Thinking is to uncover innovative solutions that exist at the intersection of user needs, technology capabilities, and business goals.

Our version of Design Thinking has four key phases:

  • Discovery: We meet with stakeholders and inquire about project requirements and audiences. We gather qualitative and quantitative research data specific to your target audiences. These insights are used to develop personas and project requirements.
  • Ideation: We begin brainstorming many potential solutions in order to uncover new areas of growth and innovation.
  • Prototyping: We craft low fidelity wireframes, create designs, test interactive features, and start implementing the content management system.
  • Evaluation: Results are evaluated after each phase in order to continuously improve the product.

Methods of discovery

User Interviews
We meet with your target users and talk to them about their lives. What pain points exist in their day, what technological tendencies do they have, what’s their average technical ability, and so forth.

User Testing
We sit users at a computer or mobile phone, either in person or remotely, and observe their interactions with your product. Often, we give them specific tasks to attempt and record their verbal and physical responses.

Card Sorting

This method allows us to examine how users associate content cognitively. We give them thirty index cards and ask them to sort them in groups that make sense. Looking at quantitative results from many users, we can develop a user-centered content architecture.

There are a handful of other methods that can be used depending on various project types, but these should give a glimpse in to the research methods of a UX professional.

How will stakeholders be involved?

This process ensures ongoing feedback from all stakeholders during each design iteration. Company decision-makers will find themselves more frequently involved and contributing ideas with a Design Thinking approach as opposed to traditional waterfall methods of development where stakeholders only see a final product.