Social Media Campaign Strategy – Medispa

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For my Social Media Campaign Strategy, I choose to take a look at MediSpa located in Newtown CT. They have recently moved to a new location within a newly built complex and will be having a grand opening event. Along with the grand opening they will be having product launches, membership specials and presentation events for specific services.

With the new location they need to establish a strong presence on social media to bring in new clients and maintain continued support from existing clientele. They offer a wide range of services from beauty to weight loss in a beautiful serene location convenient to the area. The content strategy will help them build the confidence of potential clients along with sharing their passion for combining the science and beauty of aesthetics with extensive education for both staff and clients. Their providers have collectively performed 250,000+ treatments for over seven years and have received several awards for their success:

  • Ultimate 100 Global Aesthetic Leaders 2019
  • Top 1% Nationwide for Botox, Juvederm and CoolSculpting
  • Aesthetic Practice of the Year Northeast 2018

To create excitement for the upcoming grand opening, I have prepared a content calendar to help build anticipation. The content will share events leading up to the grand opening event as well as a look at some of the cost saving membership they offer at certain times of the year. The strategy will increase aware of services to existing clients and open new opportunities for potential new client.

The Campaign Strategy includes:

  • Campaign goal and objectives
  • Recommendations
  • Target audience
  • Content plan and brand personality
  • Content calendar
  • Measurement strategy
  • Recommendations

Social media is able to reach a large majority of the targeted audience. Through this channel, posts can create excitement of upcoming events, educate users about the services available to them and give them goals to work towards. It will also drive traffic to their site which will lead to appointments in the spa. The channels within this strategy will be Facebook and Instagram as both of these platforms work well with photography to reach the targeted audience.

The brand is elegant but lends to a natural beauty. The brand voice will be shown within the proposed content calendars to maintain the level of service clientele is accustomed to while bring in new clients. The strategy will be measured by followers, engagement, appointments to sales and analysis. The future strategy will be based on the success and failures of the current plan to continue growth in revenue. Although change can be scary, in content strategy, change is exciting and builds the brand.

View full Social Media Campaign Strategy PDF

Watch Social Media Campaign Strategy video

 

 

Crisis communications – Fashion profiting from tragedy

A little less than a month ago, my daughter who attends Newtown High School, sent me an image which was posted on Instagram of a torn-up sweatshirt with Sandy Hook printed on it. She said everyone is so upset – it took me a minute to realize exactly what I was looking at. Fashion brand Bstroy debuted the brand’s spring/summer 2020 collection, designed by Brick Owens and Duey Catorze. The line featured distressed hoodies reading “Stoneman Douglas,” “Sandy Hook,” “Virginia Tech” and “Columbine,” the sites of four of the deadliest school shootings in the US. The school shooting-themed hoodies were shown at a show during New York Fashion Week.

Social media

Photos from the show were posted on their Instagram account, and quickly drew outrage from around the world. But what was gut wrenching for me were the comments from survivors or relatives of victims. I saw my daughter’s post as well as several of her classmates begging them to remove the sweatshirts and asking if they had no feelings for those affected by gun violence. One person commented, “My dead classmates dying should not be a f***ing fashion statement.”

On Twitter, a spokesperson for the Vicky Soto Memorial Fund, established after teacher Victoria Soto was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, posted, “This is just absolutely horrific. A company is making light of our pain and other’s pain for fashion. Selling sweatshirts with our name and bullet holes. Unbelievable.”

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Designers response

Owens posted a handout from the show on Instagram, which reads, “Sometimes life can be painfully ironic. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered to be a safe, controlled environment, like school. We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential.”

They didn’t seem to be fazed by the hurt that they were causing all that have been touched by school shootings and rather felt that their own personal struggles were holding them back from being understood for their “art”.

“We wanted to make a comment on gun violence and the type of gun violence that needs preventative attention and what its origins are, while also empowering the survivors of tragedy through storytelling in the clothes,” Owens wrote in an email to Today. “Also built into the device is the fact that our image as young, black males have not been traditionally awarded credit for introducing avant-garde ideas. So many people have assumed our message to be lazy just because of what they’ve been taught about black men. These hoodies were made with all of these intentions in mind, and to explore all of these societal issues. Not just the surface layer of gun violence in schools but also the different ways that we relate to each other and the dated ideas that still shape the assumptions we make about each other.”

Looking back – what should have been done

I don’t think the company or designers handled this situation well. They continue to have the images posted on their Instagram with over 4,000 comments under each picture. They defended their vision rather than understanding what their designs have done to those affected by school shootings. If they were trying to make a point to politicians to make a change, they missed their mark. The only ones affected by their vision were the ones having to relive the tragedies day after day. They are trying to profit from tragedy; if they wanted to make a political statement, there are many other ways to do this.

Important steps to take in a social media crisis

Act immediately – A social media crisis needs to be dealt with immediately. It’s important to accept responsibility as soon as possible. Brick Owens and Duey Catorze as well as Bstroy did not take responsibility but rather fed on the wounds they had opened.

Rethink your schedule – Reschedule all content that was supposed to go live once the crisis has occurred. The worst thing to do in the middle of a social media crisis is to try to promote a product or service. Bstroy used the anger to continue to promote their brand. Within hours, the images of their distasteful product were on national news along with the angered posts beneath their images.

Post an official statement on your website – Once a major crisis has occurred, an official statement needs to be made and posted on the website. Explain what happened in full detail and telling the company’s side of the story in an empathetic tone. With Bstroy, at no point have the designers or company posted an apology to the victims and their images continue to be posted on all social media accounts.

Avoid controversial topics – Never assume customers share the views on a particular topic as the company or creator. Discussing controversial topics is almost never a good idea. Avoid religion, politics, foreign policy and most social issues.

Conclusion

I created a social media management plan workflow that shows what steps Bstroy should have taken immediately after the crisis occurred.

A lot of brands don’t know how to handle a social media crisis properly. Addressing the crisis as soon as possible and to being honest with the audience is the most important thing to do. It’s a good idea for brands to prepare for a social media crisis by creating a crisis management plan and training a group of employees on how to handle a crisis. Understanding the necessary skills for successfully dealing with a social media crisis is key to handling one the right way.

 

 

 

Content Management

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The holidays can be an extremely stressful time for everyone. When you put a lot of time and effort into a gift and things don’t go as expected, it can be perfect storm for a customer service disaster. How a company handles stressful moments for their customers says a lot about the company’s belief in the customer.

Last year I had designed a canvas for a family member that took me weeks to put together and had it printed through WHCC. I was excited and nervous about giving a very personalized gift which had their newly born baby girl’s information on it: birthdate, weight, height, full name and eye color done in the theme of their nursery. I wanted to have it sent to me once printed before I shipped it out to them to make sure it turned out perfect. When it arrived, the color was completely off. I was devastated because if I had another one printed it would be extremely expensive and even with expedited shipping it would not arrive in time for Christmas. I immediately went to check the files that I had uploaded to make sure the mistake wasn’t on my end. Just as I was about to have a Christmas meltdown, I reached out via email through their site, not expecting much in return while I tried to figure out what to do next.

Within 2 hours I received an email back saying that they were so sorry for the mishap and would be reprinting at no cost as well as shipping overnight. On top of that, they issued me a refund for the inconvenience with another apology for the stress they had caused. The tone was empathetic and they did everything they could to make their mistake right. The very next day I received the new canvas that was gorgeous and I was able to ship it out myself to get it to them before Christmas. Truly a Christmas miracle!

I followed up with an online review of WHCC about the amazing quality of their product as well as the stellar customer service I received. When my relative received their gift, they posted it on social media with a #WHCC to share their gift and joy while promoting WHCC’s product. WHCC was able to turn an unhappy customer around to be one that not only was happy with the product received but one that shared their experience online for others to see.

Best Practices for Social Media Customer Service

Excellent social media customer service builds better relationships with customers. In one JD Power survey, of more than 23,000 online consumers, 67% reported that they contacted a company via social media for support. How a company responds makes all the difference in the outcome.

“Customers are your number one asset, not responding to them is not an option. A Gartner study found that companies that ignore support requests on social media see an average churn rate 15% higher than companies that respond to requests.” Creating Legendary Social Customer Care

7 Best Practices for Social Media Customer Service 

  1. Pick the Best Social Media Platforms for Your Business – Not only can WHCC be contacted through customer support phone line, email and online chat; they are also very involved with social media. They are on Facebook, twitter and Instagram. It is important to know where your customers are. For WHCC, photographers are on Instagram and this is where WHCC is most active. By going to where your customers actually are, they can deliver a support experience that’s native to their preferred network.
  2. Monitor Social Media Mentions – it is important for WHCC to be alerted when they are tagged in social media posts. They can quickly respond to the tag whether it is a happy customer or someone that is upset with their product or service. Using free search tools can help them stay on top of when and where WHCC gets mentioned so that they can respond quickly to customers.
  3. Look for Mentions That Might Not Be Obvious – Research shows that only 3% of brand mentions actually use a company’s Twitter handle. Instead they are using the company or product name. Because of this, they will often spell the name wrong. WHCC should be searching for their name spelled wrong or variations of the name by using search tools like HootSuite.
  4. Speed Matters in Social Support – According to The Social Habit, 32% of social media users expect to have a response within 30 minutes and 42% expect to have a response within 60 minutes. WHCC needs to keep in mind that with the fast-paced social media environment, a reasonable response time should be within a 24-hour time frame. Trying to respond as quickly as possible is important.
  5. Use the Right Tone of Voice – The company’s tone is extremely important in customer support. Social media may limit the character length of your message such as on Twitter which makes the need for the right tone important. The tone depends on the customer and needs to be adjusted for each response. If the customer is frustrated, the company needs to use empathy to engage. WHCC must  understand the needs of the customer. Are you frustrated with uploading or commenting on how to achieve something? Understanding is an important prerequisite.
  6. Take Things Offline When Necessary… The Right Way – not all customer issues can be solved on social media. Sometimes they require taking it offline and engaging with an email or phone call. This could be due to sensitive information or needing a larger platform for a resolution. The trick is to make sure the customer doesn’t feel like they are getting passed around causing additional frustrations. Make the customer feel cared for and that you have empathy for their situation and want to make it right. In order to do this, you may need to add an additional step such as a phone call.
  7. Use Your Knowledge Base to Make Things Easy – Having detailed FAQs or online links to supporting articles will help limit frustrations when a customer is looking for answers. This is especially helpful for commonly asked questions. WHCC has a robust FAQs page that addresses many different topics.

10 FAQs – WHCC

What do I do to get started?

Click on the “Become a Client” tab and fill out our New Client Questionnaire. You will then receive an email that contains a link to submit up to five 8”x10” test files. We will print your files, set up your account, and ship the test prints back to you — all at no charge. The test prints are a great way to test your monitor calibration as well as view our quality of printing.

Am I required to submit test prints?

Yes. We want to be sure that the color you are seeing on your monitor is what you are getting back in your prints before you submit a real order to us. The test prints process is quick and easy. You should have your test prints and account number within 24-48 hours of submitting your test print files.

I just couldn’t seem to get the files to 8×10 without distorting the picture

When your original file size is not the same aspect ratio as an 8”x10”, the image will distort if you are using the image size in Photoshop with your constrain proportions unchecked to size the file. You can crop your file one of two ways to be an 8”x10” size: (1) use the cropping tool in Photoshop to size the file to 8”x10” at 300 ppi. However, you will lose some of your image. Or (2), you can go to image size, check the constrain proportions box, and size your file to the closest it can be to 8”x10” but size under not over. Then take your 7.5”x10” file (for example) go under image, scroll down to canvas size, and canvas the file size up to 8”x10”. This way you will have a file size at 8”x10” without cropping or losing any of the image. The canvassing method can also be used for printing a custom sized print with us.
If you are cropping your files in Lightroom this should be done from the Develop screen by setting your file dimensions and then dragging the crop tool over your image.

I would like to automate the image resizing using Lightroom instead of Photoshop. However, the jpeg quality option is not 1 to 12 but rather 1 to 100%. Should I set it at 83% quality (based on 10 of 12)?

With Lightroom 84% is an equivalent to a level 10 jpeg.

I received my test files and they don’t match my monitor. What do I do now?

If you are calibrated properly with a calibration device; and your test prints still do not match your monitor in color and/or density: (1) make sure your files are embedded with your color space profile. If they are; then (2) download and apply our soft-proof profile to see if the shifting color/density may be due to the paper and/or the printer the files were printed on. If they still do not match after soft-proofing with our profiles then try to recalibrate with your calibration device reconfirming the settings are at our recommended settings. If the prints are still not matching your monitor please call customer service for further assistance before placing any orders.
If you’re unsure what color calibration is, or you haven’t calibrated yet, see Color Management for more details on achieving perfect color consistently.

How do I calibrate to your printer?

You don’t calibrate directly to our printers. You calibrate your monitor and generate a monitor profile that software like Photoshop uses to show you accurate color on your screen. We calibrate and balance our printers to create a printer profile. Using a standard working color space like Adobe RGB 1998 or sRGB and embedding this in your file allows our printer software to make sure what is printed is what you saw on your screen. We recommend all clients perform hardware monitor calibration. This is a relatively straightforward and simple procedure. We recommend the i1Display Pro and ColorMunki Display by Xrite.

Do you supply any profiles?

Yes. Once you have an account number, you can download ICC profiles for soft proofing purposes. The profiles are for all of our printers and we also have instructions on how to properly use them. Under no circumstances should you convert to our printing profile or embed it in your files.

Should I embed an ICC profile?

Embedding a valid ICC profile in your image is very important. Without embedding the profile our software has no idea what colorspace your file is in. This will result in unexpected color in the prints. All files not tagged with an embedded profile are assumed to be in sRGB.

What colorspace do you accept?

We recommend using a standard working space profile such as Adobe RGB 1998 or sRGB. However, we accept any colorspace as long as it is embedded in the file. Our software will read the colorspace embedded in the file and print appropriately.

What type of file do you require?

We require level 10 JPEG files to be sent to us. We use JPEG’s because the compression is a very efficient image compression algorithm designed specifically for saving photographic images. It takes advantage of how we see color versus brightness to only save information needed to reproduce the image for people to view. Image data is lost during compression but at high levels of quality you will not see a difference between a level 10 JPEG and a Tiff printed to paper. JPEG compression is perfect for transient files for sending to the lab for printing, but avoid using the compression as a working file type. Also avoid opening a JPEG, making changes, and resaving it again as a JPEG repeatedly. If your workflow calls for this to happen, save your files as Tiff or PSD files until they are complete and ready for output. Any JPEG artifacts you see in your prints come from the JPEG file coming out of your camera, not from saving them as a level 10 for output purposes.

Thank you’s and empathy 

WHCC was able to use customer service to make me happy after receiving a mistake that could have been a holiday disaster. Since my experience, I have continued to use WHCC and recommend them to others. My happy outcome urged me to share my experience with friends online and also led to my relative sharing the product with her online followers. WHCC was able to make several happy customers and got some marketing out of it.

Social Media Audit

Brand recognition on social media is very important to the success of a company. For this week’s assignment I was tasked with completing an analysis of a company’s use of social media channels; I chose my hair salon New Beginnings Salon and Spa. I enjoy going to this salon for their use of nature-based products for color and care. They are very active on Facebook and I wanted to see how deep their social media use goes.

About New Beginning Salon and Spa

New Beginning Salon and Spa is an Aveda Lifestyle Salon and Day Spa focused on healthier lifestyle, our environment and its future. Aveda products are created using advanced plant technology and formulated with pure plant essences without animal testing. Their Aveda-trained Lifestyle Salon and Spa Team provide hair, skin, cosmetic and body wellness services using Aveda products. They were the winner of the Salon200 award in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Analysis and competition

My analysis of New Beginning Salon and Spa included an audit review of their social media channels. My review was from July 2019 to September 2019 to evaluate how they were using social media to promote their brand identity. The channels that I analyzed were Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

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  • Facebook – The salon uses Facebook to highlight recent color and hair styles as well as promote in-house events using Aveda products. They also highlight their stylists’ awards, time with the salon and finished results showing customer styles.
  • Instagram – The salon uses Instagram to promote recent client’s hair color and style.
  • Twitter – The salon uses twitter to make announcements, highlight products and give environmental healthy lifestyle tips.
  • Pinterest – They have created boards for color, cuts, age and makeup inspiration.

Also included in my analysis was the review of two local competitors’ use of social media. I chose Adam Broderick and Whip Salon.

  • Facebook:
    • Adam Broderick uses Facebook to primarily promote products sold at the salon.
    • Whip Salon uses Facebook to promote before/after pictures, in-house events and contests to increase online sharing.
  • Instagram:
    • Adam Broderick mostly promotes the products sold in salon with a few images of clients’ styles.
    • Whip Salon showcases clients’ color and styles.
  • Twitter:
    • Adam Broderick uses the same content/images on twitter as they do on Facebook promoting products.
    • Whip Salon uses Twitter to highlight current promotions and give inspiration on the season’s hottest looks.
  • Pinterest
    • Adam Broderick uses Pinterest to promote salon products.
    • Whip Salon has boards for color and seasonal inspiration as well as hair tips.

View my full analysis. Social Media Channels Analysis

Summary

I found that New Beginnings has a large presence on social media and they use several different channels to stay present. I think the most successful posts they have are the client color and cuts. Reviewing their competitors, I recommend two things that New Beginnings could use to create more conversation and traffic.

  • Having contests on Facebook that require the user to tag a friend and share their page.
  • Sharing client’s before/after pictures. This will get the user excited about obtaining the same or similar look as well as sharing it with friends for their opinions.

 

 

Social Media Strategy for a Nonprofit Organization

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Every year, over 1.5 million unwanted animals are euthanized in the US. When someone adopts, they save the life of one of the many dogs who are waiting in rescues and shelters for someone to love them. Their choice also makes room for another animal to be saved. In rescues, you will find dogs of different ages, breeds, sizes, and temperaments waiting to be adopted.

For my assignment this week, I will be taking a look at the social strategy of a local non-profit organization. I chose to examine Companion Pet Rescue located in Southbury CT. This organization is very close to my heart. We have fostered a couple of dogs for CPR in the past and I have on several occasions donated my time as a designer for their promotional materials. I find the dedication of the volunteers inspiring. Although our dog is not from CPR, the importance of fostering and adopting means a lot to me and my family and we do all we can to promote and donate.

About CPR

CPR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, registered with the states of Tennessee and Connecticut. They have been in business since 2004 rescuing over 2,000 dogs each year. 75% of CPR’s dogs come from high kill shelters in Tennessee and Mississippi. The other 25% of the dogs come from the public who ask for assistance. The main goal of CPR is not adoption but to end the cycle of unwanted dogs through spay/neuter programs which will end overpopulation.

CPR has fundraising events, local get togethers and adoption events on a monthly basis. The amount of time and love that goes into saving all of the CPR dogs is heartwarming and contagious. We are no longer able to foster because our family dog gets very nervous. I remember feeling so guilty when we made this decision to end our fostering; then one of the volunteers told me we still need you. She continued to tell me how important it was to share the posts, donate to their Amazon wish list and continue the conversations among friends about adoption. Helping the animals goes beyond adoption, it encompasses using all the channels that make a rescue work.

CPR website and social media channels

According to the 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey pet owners have an incredible amount of love to give and rescue efforts need to be able to extend their reach to tap into this love.

Key personal statements:
• 85% of owners believe pets are a good source of affection
• 82% agree that interacting with a pet can help them relax
• 81% are aware that owning a pet can be beneficial to their own health
• 81% feel unconditional love for their pet

CPR uses a website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to communicate with potential adopters and donors. By using these channels they are able to raise awareness, promote current and future events as well as encourage people to volunteer their time.

CPR Website

CPR has a newly designed website which communicates their mission, adoption process and application, calendar of events, how to help and how the transport from down south works. The website shows available dogs for adoption and how to get started with volunteer opportunities. The blog has tips on how to introduce a pet to a new home as well as meet and greets with pets already residing in the home.

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Website:
• Link to blog
• Link to wish list on Amazon
• Calendar of events
• Getting started as a volunteer
• Link to partner organizations
• Adoptable dogs
• Adoption application

img_2827.pngFacebook

CPR’s Facebook page has the most traffic and updated information of all their social media channels. They are able to share adoptable dogs and their upcoming events which will in turn increase traffic to their website. Not everyone is able to take in a new pet but many online are eager to promote, share and donate. The more times a post is seen or shared, the more chances of a dog being adopted.

 

IMG_2825Instagram

The CPR Instagram page is a social way to promote adoptable dogs and current events as well as funny meme’s through images. The images help give a face to their organization and encourage adoption as well as donations to help their cause of saving lives. The event posters are posted on Instagram to provide dates and locations of the events.

Instagram:
• Current events posted
• Highlighted dog of the day
• Funny dog meme’s

 

Twitter

CPR’s twitter account is used for current events, adoptable dogs, events and successful transport from down south to the Southbury CT location. Twitter can easily be shared on Facebook for ongoing promotion of the organization.

Twitter:
• Current events
• Adoptable pets
• Events
• Transport success

Recommendations

I think overall CPR does an amazing job at creating awareness for their organization as well as helping elevate awareness about adoption. Locally I see their name in pet stores and hear their name among social groups. I think the biggest issue that I saw, when looking through all of their channels, was that the channels don’t link to one another. I had to do a google search to find all of their channels, where they could easily have links on their website to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Creating social link buttons would increase traffic which in turn would increase sharing of their events and adoptable dogs.

Being consistent across all channels will help create awareness. I noticed that an event might be posted on Facebook but not appear on Instagram for several days. Their blog hasn’t been touched since 2018; it contains helpful information and could be shared across social media. Creating increased visibility across all channels will keep CPR in the forefront of users’ awareness. This will lead to more shares and increased traffic.

Adding gamification to social channels will help increase traffic. This could be having a contest on Pet Halloween costumes, to a poll on best names for a new CPR adoptable pet. Prizes do not have to be costly, they can be a simple shout out or a window cling sent to the winner. Additionally, highlighting foster homes and volunteers would show their support matters and in turn encourage others to do the same. Creating a goal infographic and updating it daily as to where you are in achieving that goal can be shared on social media. This will encourage others to donate to meet the goal.

YouTube is a popular social media channel. Taking videos of adoptable dogs as well as showcasing successful events and transports will increase online activity. People love to see dogs in action especially around other dogs and kids to show the CPR temperament. This will help show prospective adopters how the dogs might fit into their home with kids or other dogs.

Final thoughts

I know how hard it is to get all the work done for a non-profit organization in a short window of time. I think CPR does an amazing job and the volunteers go above and beyond. It’s hard to find people with the required skills and available time to dedicate to the cause. Don’t be shy to ask for help on social media as well as the website. People want to help but aren’t sure how they can. College students are always looking for jobs to add to their resume and volunteering is the perfect way. Keeping active online is the best way to reach people for adoptions, donations and the hard part of encouraging and obtaining volunteers.

 

My World of Social Media

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The incredible growth of social media has made a huge impact on our daily lives. Nearly a quarter of the total time an adult spends online is spent using social media. It has become an influencing factor in our lives and the way we make decisions about topics or products we purchase. Social media sites have also changed the way we interact with each other. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn make it easy to stay connected with other people. Social media is not just important personally, it is also a wonderful resource for business to help build a professional network or look for a job.

The social interactions with teenagers has changed quite a bit since I was a teenager. Testing my freedom meant staying out past curfew or sneaking away to see my friends. Today, their freedom is at arm’s length wrapped in social media. They spend their time posting, snap chatting and creating videos on Tik Tok. Yet when they are together, you find a room full of kids with their phones in hand posting about being together.

Detoxing from Facebook

I consider myself a passive Facebook user. I click like on pictures, I post pictures of my family but I will rarely post my opinion on anything. Despite considering myself a passive user, I find myself constantly checking Facebook for alerts on pictures I have posted or a new item posted in one of the pages that I follow. As silly as I feel saying this, if I don’t check the feed I feel anxiety about what I might have missed.

During my first term as a graduate student, we were tasked with taking a look at our social media usage. I thought this was a good way to reassess my Facebook usage. I used this time to do a 5-day detox from Facebook and I learned that I don’t really need it. I found that I am much more attached to the idea of Facebook than I should be. Once I broke the pattern, I truly didn’t miss it. Although I enjoy seeing what people I know and/or love are up to, I certainly don’t need to be checking throughout the day. I also found that I wanted more interaction with others and disconnecting was good for my soul.

Social media campaign

Over half of social networkers follow a brand or person that influences how they interact daily.  In 2019, there are currently over 2.4 billion monthly Facebook users in the world. Twitter is 330 million monthly active users and Instagram has 1 billion users every month. Everyday you see #tags for all different topics from politics, products to world events.

Most recently I realized that, I hadn’t heard anything more about the fires in the rain forest until I started seeing the shared photos on Instagram and Facebook. This was important to me to know and understand. I soon realized that many of the photos being shared were not recent but the facts were true and needed to be talked about.

Mass shootings which have become political and unfortunately all too common are often linked in social media to organizations that support safe gun sense. I live in Sandy Hook, CT with children, so the idea of a mass shooting happening close to home is very real and raw. I follow several groups including Sandy Hook Promise which keeps me up to date on the local, state and federal advancements as well as news in the media. Topics that are important to me show up in my feed throughout social media, so I know what is happening throughout the day.

Globally social campaign

The #MeToo movement took on a life of its own. So many women have been sexually assaulted and kept it to themselves out of fear. This movement gave the women of abuse a voice and the courage to stand up. The movement made people realize they weren’t alone, that they needed to speak up in order to heal. And while the stories come from all different walks of life and severities of the assaults, the message is still the same. No more, together we are not alone and we will fight.

Tarana Burke, a social activist and community organizer, began using the phrase “Me Too” in 2006, to promote “empowerment through empathy” among women of color who have been sexually abused.  It wasn’t until 2017 following the accusations of sexual assault against Harvey Wienstein, that Alyssa Milano encouraged the use of hashtag #MeToo. They wanted to draw attention to sexual assault and harassment. The movement took off and people started adding to their stories #MeToo. Some would retell their story while others, myself included, just simply put #MeToo which was more than enough to show empowerment and empathy.

The Future of Social Media

Social media has a tie with mental health issues that arise from the need to always be connected. People risk becoming addicted to the instant gratification that social media provides and it gives dark outlets to sexual predators, cyber bullies and violence.  Privacy has also become a topic of concern and has led to an increase of private messaging such as snap chat and other small group apps for online communication.

We have been taught and teach our children that what goes online stays online. This makes us think about what we are posting knowing that once information, images, video, etc. make their way onto the internet they will remain there indefinitely.  You essentially give away your right to privacy when posting online.  It is because of this and the shift of social media users demanding that their privacy be protected that social media is going through an evolution.  Apps like Snapchat allow users to send secure content to their private connections; the content disappears after being viewed, even their use of public stories get deleted once viewed.  And if another user does save an image or video, it alerts the content creator immediately. The new social media giants will be companies that put their users’ privacy first.

I am afraid for the younger generations. They have become isolated and wanting to be like the fantasy worlds they see posted online. I don’t know what the future is but I hope that new technology and apps help lead the future generations to happier fulfilled lives that are not always Instagram worthy.

The why in user testing

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To design the best UX, you need to understand what the users do within your site or app. Usability testing lets you see users in real time and how they interact with your product. You can observe the behavior of the user to see what works and what doesn’t work with specifics tasks they are given. The users are encouraged to vocalize their thought processes in order to further identify issues they encounter.

If done at an early stage when the product is at paper prototyping stage, you will find the problems when they are easy to fix. Doing usability testing reduces the risk of building the wrong product; thereby saving time and money. This will help to understand user’s success rate and time spent to complete a task. You will be able to:

  • check if product meets user’s expectations
  • match business decisions to real-world use
  • remove flaws in the design
  • see what works well and is successfull
  • receive user’s initial reaction and user feedback

Usability tests are done at different times in the design process. First this is done with low-fidelity tests to gain quick insights. During the initial development phase, paper prototypes are used for user testing. It can be done anywhere and little design is needed. The results from a formative test should include users’ reactions and comments while thinking aloud. This will show any confusion and the reason for their actions.

Next will be high fidelity tests to capture metrics. This is done at the end of the development stage to show how usable a product is from the user’s perspective. The testing is conducted in a controlled setting or remotely using their computers and mobile phones.

Doing usability testing, will enable you to find solutions to existing problems as well as find problems you didn’t know existed. Testing will increase user satisfaction and a positive outcome to the final product.

 

User flowchart

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A user flowchart helps the designer visualize the experience a user will take to complete a task or meet a goal on a site or app. Understanding how a user will navigate a site will help you identify their needs. Flowcharts are made up of a set of basic symbols that show the decision process to the users final destination.

To begin designing a flowchart, you must first identify who the user is. This can be done though user research or designing personas. This will help define the target audience and what the needs are. Next you will need to identify the entry point by understanding how the user will access the site or app. The entry point is where the user is when they first arrive on the site/app.

There are several people that are involved in UX that will bring a product to a successful completion. These can include UI designers, information architects, programmers and developers. They all have a large part in a successful UX experience.  But getting everyone on the same page can be a battle, as each one will need different types of information in order to reach different goals within the product development. For example, a UI designers main concern is user and how they can create something that fits the user. They will focus on the user’s needs, wants and preferences. While a developer will have a different view of the product in order to understand the inner workings of the system.

Using your UX flowchart as a communication tool can be successful in helping to illustrate the product in a way everyone on the team can understand. To keep everyone on the team involved in the user flowchart, you want to stay away from the visual design and focus on how the system will react with the user’s experience within the site.

 

 

Information Architecture

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Information architecture (IA) is found in websites, apps and software we download. It is the structural design of information in a shared environment as well as the organization and labeling of a website. The IA supports usability and a connection of design principles for the digital space. It takes information that is being used and applies it to activities which require complex detail.

Information architecture creates a structure for a website, app, or other project, that allows you to understand the user’s actions and where the information we want to be used lives. Information architecture involves the creation of site maps, categories, navigations, and metadata. For example when a designer puts together a top navigation to help users understand where they are on a site, they are exercising IA architecture. IA helps people to understand what they are looking at and where to find it in the real world as well as online. Practicing information architecture helps others understand the importance of site structure and content.

For some information architects, wireframes are the best way to start the process to make connections and identify how the site will work from a user’s perspective. After researching, an IA will be designed around certain screens in order to show how a user will interact with the information before them. Designers tend to think visually and will often use this visual technique to show the structure of information. Wireframes are also a valuable deliverable to share with clients, developers and visual designers as they build mockups, prototypes, and final products.

Ideation Sessions in UX design

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Ideation sessions challenge you to think outside the box. These sessions encourage you to explore as many ideas as possible to find solutions. The focus is on quantity of ideas rather than quality. In a judgement free zone,  you are free to uncover, sometimes unconventional, ideas to build upon. This ideation phase transitions you from learning about the users to finding a solution to the problem. This is where innovation grows and you find what the users has been missing.

The ideation session should be focused on the users to get their perspective.
The more user views you have, the more diverse the ideas will be.

The ideation process can be done several different ways depending on the needs of the user and the problem you need to find a solution for. The session can be done alone or in a group and short or over several hours. It could be a one-time session or over several sessions, as well as being formal or informal as needed. Use the research you have gathered to define the ideation problem that you want to solve. Be clear about the needs of the users. Ensure that the focus in the ideation session is on improving the user experience. Set aside any technical constraints or business viability. At this stage, no idea is too farfetched. It is much easier to scale back a crazy idea that addresses a true user need, than to try to make a very simply idea desirable.

Ideation is the process of generating a broad set of ideas on a given topic,
with no attempt to judge or evaluate them.

 

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