What exactly WordPress is all about?

This mini post is for those who are new to WordPress. To say it in simple words, WordPress allows you to create wonderful websites and blogs without much technical knowledge at your end and maintain it too without hassle. Basically, WordPress is a Content Management System that has freely available plugins and themes for everyone to use as Open Source code under the GPLv2 license. WordPress is considered to be the biggest community available online for blogging, and shopping websites besides regular websites.

Moreover, there are 50K+ plugins available for every website and blog’s needs that you may find on WordPress website. These plugins can be easily downloaded and installed; once installed on your website, receives automatic updates so you can stay up-to-date with the design and features each plugin has to offer. WordPress is here to stay. Happy Blogging!

 

Creativity and the Box!

Most of us have heard many a times about ‘Think outside the Box” phrase. Did anyone wonder how that box looks like or who defines the shape and size of that box? Is the box rectangular or square?

I know…I know…  it’s after all just a phrase and the box is metaphoric. Creativity is what expected (let’s exclude innovation here) and it surely does not contain any shape or size. Not limited to, creativity taking form of an art, food, clothing, cinema, to a never ending list.

Creativity cannot be same for everyone. To say, one might think patches of colors on a canvas on a particular abstract art have creativity to it but to another it might be just patches of colors. It all depends how one portrays the elements of an object or a project that may define its creativeness. It is more or less similar to the ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder’ thing. The perception of the onlooker defines if the form is creative enough.

For sure, thinking outside the box can stimulate ones brain working on variant thoughts popping on left and right brain. During the thought process the ideas rotates around the box and each idea gets the lift with its analysis of pros and cons. There is every chance thinking outside the box have its consequences too resulting in shaking the existing functioning system. Having said that, thinking outside the box gives birth to an extraordinary creative idea which no one might have thought possible. It is OK to suggest creative ideas for a project old or new if there is room for improvisation.

Creativity has every chance to increase the goodwill, sales, or attracting investors for a project. Thoughts and creative ideas generated from outside the box shall have credibility and authenticity to it for approval of everyone involved. It may not be worth if idea does not fit the project or timing for implementation is not appropriate. Creative ideas have its own time and place to cherish by all. So keep thinking outside the box and that shape is rectangular or square does not really matter! – posted by altyodian.

 

How to Solve Application Design Problems using UXD elements? – Part II

Presenting Design Ideas Visually & An Interactive Design Solution

In the November month’s post on this blog, I tried to provide an insight on the solution to existing design problems using UXD elements. In this post, we shall look into an overview on ‘Presenting design Ideas visually’ and ‘Interactive design solution’. Let’s consider the same example provided on last month’s post in PART I – “An existing application’s Shipping/Payment page designed for web and mobile; issues have been noticed that impact the users in usage of application for design not being user friendly”.

Shipping-Billing & Payment details provided on one single page to access on a mobile device.

Based on this mobile screen the main concerns we discussed earlier were:

  • Before filling the shipping-billing/payment info, Checkout screen shall ask for Login information
  • Shipping/Payment screen shown above is too long a scrolling
  • Future shipping delivery date option is missing

Need to ensure that all below solutions for above related concerns are addressed while presenting design ideas:

A. To provide Checkout page before proceeding to shipping-billing/payment screen.
B. To structure the layout with a logo, page title, navigation links, well coordinated colors (shown in high-end mockups), and privacy/terms page links on the footer.
C. To provide options on Checkout page for Checkout As Guest, Create New Account, Existing Customer Sign In.
D. To provide Checkout navigation screens as applicable;
– Checkout As Guest, shall navigate to Shipping-Billing screen.
– Create New Account, shall navigate to ‘Create New Account’ screen.
– Existing Customer Sign In, shall be allowed to login on same
Checkout screen to lower the page forwarding.
E. To offer ‘Shipping delivery’ options on the shipping-billing screen instead future delivery date option. It is learnt that tracking inventory for a future date with accuracy is impossible in case customer orders and then cancels it.
F. To remove scrolling on the page and break the features shipping-billing/payment to a flow leading to next section with a click of a button.

Now, let’s see how design ideas can be presented visually for these solutions using various presentation forms to the stakeholders or groups involved in the project. Any one of these form types should be sufficient to present ideas depending on the presenter’s choice and audience. Not necessarily more than one or all form types are required to present design ideas.

  1. Presenting design ideas thru a rough sketch:
    A free-hand sketch(s) or glued small piece of papers showcasing each component put together or using free-hand and paper pieces both in combination can be presented to a small group for a quick review and feedback.
  2. Presenting design ideas thru a story board:
    A graphical representation thru a storyboard can be presented to a group for easy understanding.
  3. Presenting design ideas thru a workflow diagram:
    Workflow diagram can be presented to any size group for review and quick understanding of the functional flow.
  4. Presenting design ideas thru wireframes (low-end mockups):
    Wireframes can be presented at a review meeting or can send link to any number of people for feedback in the form of html page with placeholders provided for each component of the screen. This can be created using any available wireframe creation software.
  5. Presenting Prototypes (high-end mockups) – an interactive design solution:
    It is basically the output design created based on the ideas presented to the group in the form of sketch / storyboard / workflow / wireframes; and the feedback received from group helps the UX Designer to turn those ideas into an interaction design. Interaction design is also known as high-end mockups or design prototypes; is usually presented in the form of front-end design using HTML with basic interactions provided to links and/or buttons without any backend connectivity. Presenting high-end mockups to the group is always an advantage to get the quick feedback on usage of colors, labels, logo, components placing, links, buttons, and screen’s interaction.
    On the other hand, ‘Annotations’ if provided to each component on the mockups help the developers and testers to understand design and navigation flow as an useful guide which is not covered in the Business Requirements document.Hoping this post would be of help to understand the concept of presenting ideas visually and interactive design solution using various forms of UXD. – posted by altyodian.

How to Solve Application Design Problems using UXD elements? – Part I

If you are familiar with User Experience (UX) or a UX Designer yourself or have a User Experience Designer in your project team this article would make sense to you. For starters, not to get confused; the term is used in various ways UX/XD/UXD/UED they are all same.

User Xperience Design (UXD) elements can be applied to new as well to an existing application. Applications that maybe web or mobile or desktop; sometimes users find it challenging to use an application on provided front-end User Interface (UI). That means the application designed is not user friendly and issues faced by users are design related. If the project is big, chances are high that there might be few design complexities that was ignored or overlooked at initial stages of the design discussions.

No matter if the existing application is big or small, there is a need for considering the project budget and other limitations involved. User Experience designer with his team shall understand the design problems and constraints first and come to solution accordingly instead thinking or suggesting creating entirely a new design. Every UX Designer shall put these questions to selves before trying to solve existing design problem:

  • What design problem currently application have?
  • How similar problem is solved by others?
  • Which solution best suit for our users?

Solution can be presented in the form of an idea and/or an interactive design for the user(s) needs and that design is more likely accepted if based on the feedback collected from user research and user testing.

To elaborate the above statement, shown below is the UXD process elements with an example.

Example: An existing eCommerce application’s Shipping/Payment page designed for web and mobile; issues have been noticed that impact the users in usage of the application for design not being user friendly.

1. What Design Problems currently this application page have?

Page is too long a scrolling.
Not a user friendly interface for a first time user or to an existing user. 

Solution:

– Need to remove scrolling as much as possible and break the features shipping / billing / payment to a flow leading to next section once previous section is completed and with a click of a button.

– Need to structure the layout with a logo, page title, navigation links/menu, well coordinated colors, and privacy statement-terms of use on the footer.

2. How similar problem is solved by others?

Future delivery date option is required that is missing currently:
User Research data results in requesting for this feature on Shipping Address section so user can choose the desired future date for getting delivery of the order.

 Solution:

– As it is impossible to track the inventory for a future date in case customer orders and cancels it, top retail eCommerce sites like Amazon.com, and Walmart.com does not offer future delivery date option instead have shipping delivery options before the checkout on their website. This eases the confusion in managing inventory and assures the user for current availability of stock to choose from.

3. Which solution best suit for our users?

Before filling the shipping/billing/payment info, Checkout screen shall ask for Login information. Assuming, user is purchasing first time on the site is less likely to register in the very beginning.

Solution:

– Checkout as guest: Shall navigate to Shipping address screen. Not all eCommerce sites allow Checkout as guest. Walmart.com does have this option.
Image courtesy: walmart.com

 

– Create new account: Shall navigate to new user registration page.
– Existing customer Sign In: Shall be allowed to login in same Checkout page to lower the page forwarding.

The above example is a partial post. In continuation to this post next month, will provide insights on ‘Presenting Design Ideas Visually’. – posted by altyodian.

 

Answer Is Within: Am I Passionate About My Work?

Most of us might have noticed that many a time’s quality of work at hand is compromised just to reach the quantity of deliverable to the deadline. What if, we just pause for sometime before delivering the work and put these below questions to self.

Am I passionate about the work I do?

Am I detail-oriented?

Do I present work/ideas creatively?

Am I organized person at work?

Am I service-oriented instead eager to finish the task?

Do I work smart instead work hard?

If answer is ‘Yes’ to any of the above 4 questions or more, then I believe one is on their way to success or already stood out in the crowd and in the process gained confidence of the customers. They are ‘The Achievers’. These achievers already start thinking – What’s Next?

For rest who answered ‘Yes’ for 3 or less to above questions, I can say not to worry but hmmmmmm… I won’t. Reality check is needed here; if anyone thinks that they are not enjoying the work they do It’s time to analyse what’s not right or if there’s something need to be re-worked on or re-think their entire area of work.

For others keep doing what work you are passionate about. You may not necessarily need other people to validate your work. Social media is a kind of awesome lot for those who hardly gets distracted from receiving or not receiving the Likes and positive Comments.  The work accomplished is the ‘Work Accomplished’!  What matter most is how passionate you are towards your work, how smart you stood out in the crowd with your accomplishments, and how proud your achievements make your close ones and loved ones.

Having said that, a little appreciation from others for the work you did does boost confidence and encourage better performance continuously. On the other hand, social media is a kind of awful lot for those who seriously depend on the validation from others in the form of ‘Likes and Comments’. Not receiving likes and positive comments does not make one’s work or accomplishments of any less value.  To be precise, keep doing what you are passionate about! – posted by altyodian.

 

Launched New Website – Altyod.in

#solutionsthatkeepusconnected

AltYod™ has launched a webdesign esolution portal ‘AltYod.in’ for start-up Entrepreneurs to start a website and have online presence of their micro-to-small business for global reach that helps business growth and profitability.

AltYod.in offers multiple website plans, website add-ons, and graphic design packs for various business needs.

Website Plans:
1. The business owners are offered eCommerce Website Plan – a WooCommerce theme-based professional ecommerce webdesign esolution.
2. Corporate Website Plan.
3. Other plan includes Portfolio Website Plan for freelancers to showcase their profile, and for artists and amateurs to share their works.
4. Blog Page Plan is to share an individuals personal experiences and thoughts in the digital world.

Website Add-Ons: Existing website customers are offered to buy additional email accounts, annual website maintenance, ecommerce products maintenance, advanced search engine optimization – SEO, and can buy additional plugins.

Graphic Design Packs
:
 An esolution for enterprise/individual business graphic design needs. It has various design packs; Branding Pack, Marketing Pack, Give-Aways Pack, Presentation Pack, and Promotion Pack.

 

Setting Your Goals to Success!

The other day I borrowed a book from one of my friends, and the book named “SEE YOU AT THE TOP” by Zig Zagler. The title pushed me hunting inside.

Who do not want to succeed? One may lie when they say they do not. Especially, for professionals or students who juggle between work/study and personal life, need to set goals to reach them and succeed.

Though half way thru the book, I learned that Setting goals and reaching them is SUCCESS. Many a times do we not wonder ‘How to set goals’ or ‘How do I reach my goals? It is easier to reach goals than to set them. A goal set is many a time reached as subconsciously we work towards it and eventually reach them.

Reaching towards success looks easy once we start believing in it. For setting goals or reaching goals, we need some records. Same as we need a route map to reach the destination. We need the starting place. And one need to be honest in keeping the records as it is for our sake. Records would help us know day-to-day basis of our productivity, work capacity, and usage of time.

Try separating your records for time spent on professional/study, personal work, and leisure time. This might look a bit tough in the beginning but it becomes a habit and you find it easier and productivity improves. And compare your best past records with the present to assess yourself.

Accept a ‘Challenge’. Do not worry about losing. You need not necessarily have to win every-time, but challenges in front of you will make you stronger. There’s a saying, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. If you win, your confidence boosts and will be making a lot of progress. – posted by altyodian.