The Rocket Blog
This is an older link, but it's important nonetheless and I've brought it up in a few meetings recently. Still one of the highest-viewed posts on the User Interface Engineering site, "The $300 Million Button" outlines how small user frustrations or complications in your site's flow can be a costly mistake or an amazing opportunity for improvement.
"We were wrong about the first-time shoppers. They did mind registering. They resented having to register when they encountered the page. As one shopper told us, "I'm not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something."
Some first-time shoppers couldn't remember if it was their first time, becoming frustrated as each common email and password combination failed. We were surprised how much they resisted registering.
Without even knowing what was involved in registration, all the users that clicked on the button did so with a sense of despair. Many vocalized how the retailer only wanted their information to pester them with marketing messages they didn't want. Some imagined other nefarious purposes of the obvious attempt to invade privacy. (In reality, the site asked nothing during registration that it didn't need to complete the purchase: name, shipping address, billing address, and payment information.)"
In streamlining the checkout process, the site saw an increase in customer purchases of 45% resulting in an annual revenue increase of $300 million.
Obviously results vary based on the type of site as well as traffic, but small changes can have great results in conversion rate.
Anything from changing a button color to modifying the tone of the site's content or even streamlining a users flow through the site can generate more calls to your business, more leads generated or even more revenue coming into your e-commerce store.
Thanks to our ongoing partnership with ArtsMemphis, we get to work on some really awesome projects.
The most recent project we had the pleasure of working on is Memphis HOP.
Memphis HOP showcases Memphis’ unique and vibrant culture, highlighting the best cultural attractions in the city. Run by Blues City Tours, it is the perfect way to take a tour of Memphis.
The Memphis HOP website, designed by DOXA and developed by RocketFuel, gives visitors all the information needed to enjoy the hop on and off bus tour. Tour information, venue information, interactive map, pricing, and the ability to buy tickets online make the website the first stop for Memphis HOP.
About Memphis HOP
Hop On. Tune In. Rock Out. Get on the bus and take in Memphis’ unique and vibrant culture. From the Jungle Room Graceland to jungle cats at the Zoo, soulful bass lines at STAX to base line drives at AutoZone Park, the Memphis HOP introduces you to the best in Memphis cultural attractions.
The Memphis HOP lets visitors and residents discover the arts and culture at your own pace, hopping on and off to see the sites that appeal to you. Explore great family entertainment, a look at our authentic history, and a celebration of the unique Memphis Sound.
You never know what you’ll find the next time you hop off. There’s no city like Memphis, and there’s no more convenient way to see it than on the Memphis HOP!
Learn more and buy tickets for the next tour at www.memphishop.com.
If you hang about the web design community long enough, you begin to hear folks talking about "intuitive design." You hear how Apple creates beautiful designs that are intuitive.
But what does that really mean? A quick search yields the following definition for intuitive: "Using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive."
Really past a few survivalist instincts, humans are possibly the least instinctual creatures on the Earth. We are guided less by our physiology and more by our mind.
Timoni West, a designer for FourSquare, put it into web design context very well in her recent blog post "Don't Be Afraid to Teach Interactions".
"There are things we think are intuitive now that we learned using tutorials decades ago. Andrei Herasimchuk pulled up a great old Apple tutorial on how to use a mouse. Do you remember those? Probably not, even if you’re above a certain age, and your kids or siblings (or maybe even you) have likely never seen them. They learned how to use a mouse by watching people instead. People don’t come out of the womb knowing how to use a mouse—they do learn it, at some point—but once the information is out there they can learn so seamlessly it doesn’t matter."
Once an interaction becomes a standard and more people LEARN how to use it, it becomes something intuitive. Digital interactions themselves are not intuitive, they are learned.
Our goal as designers is to use previously learned interactions as a stepping stone to make our sites as learnable and usable as possible. Worrying about "intuitiveness" is a concept that can draw us down dark and dangerous paths. Let web standards light the way and the future will look bright.
We launched the website for Side Street Steppers in 2011. Since then we've had the pleasure of watching the band's continued success.
If you've been to one of our office parties in the last year you've enjoyed music from the Side Street Steppers as well. They are fun to listen to and even more fun to see live.
Recently they held their second successful KickStarter campaign to release their second CD.
We are happy share their newly released CD: The Sweetest Peaches Don't Grow On Trees.
More from the band about the new record:
Following the pattern set by our first record, this CD features sixteen more tracks of fine vintage music from the Golden Age of American gramophone recording, as well as the Djanjo-influenced jazz guitar styings of the famed Christo Ruppenthal. You heard right, boys and girls - Madison, Wisconsin's notorious jazzer and band leader Chris Ruppenthal flew down for a furious week in the studio, and the result is going to knock your socks off! Vaudeville, jugband, blues, Dixieland jazz and Western swing, this record has it all, all for only ten American dollars!
To listen to clips, learn more about the band, and buy the CD, please visit the Side Street Steppers website at www.sidestreetsteppers.com!
First of all, let's establish our purpose for the design journey. The design of a website, or printed design for that matter, must keep in mind first and foremost our client's needs, and what the client needs to communicate to its audience. And now with our purpose in mind, off we go on our voyage.
In The Beginning
Our path begins very dimly lit and shadowy. We see nothing but indistinct forms, and we hear muted noises and sounds from the vast distance.
Let's stop and meet with the client at their nearby home for a while. Their home is right at the foot of our path, and after all, what better way to create a design suitable for their needs, but to meet in person and exchange ideas. With our dialogue, we gain direction and vision for their site, color preferences, examples of design styles, and we get a look and feel for their work environment and their personalities. We gather logo files, branding guides, photos, verbiage, and whatever resources that might help us on our journey. An important thought to keep in mind: if at all possible, the design should be anchored on the client's branding: a logo, from which springs forth concept, graphic elements, a color scheme, typographic styles, and hopefully a world of ideas.
Now the pathway becomes delightfully a bit less murky… oh but our course remains darkened.
We're back on our way, but suddenly we've come to a point where the trail branches off into different directions.
Which one would be the most gainful to venture down? Let's keep in mind that our client's best interest is at stake, so we must choose wisely. We find what appears to be a hollowed out log lying on the ground. With a flickering lantern near, we sit down with our UX Strategist for a while and proceed to sketch out a map — a "wireframe". This is simply a "skeletal framework of the website", a schematic that tells us where content should be displayed and its hierarchy (wikipedia.org). Beyond the design direction, the wireframe will afford a fluid experience for the site user, and give SEO consideration to the design.
Now our direction is layed before us. And off we go once more.
Now it's time to begin a bit of exploring our path.
We must research in order to solve the visual challenge set before us. We stumble around in darkness, entangled in overgrowth, bumping into unseen objects and into our team members. We feel about trying to find our way to a visual solution that is indeed certain, but unrevealed. The trek has become labored, and all the while enshrouded in darkness. We must explore a little deeper and venture off the main course onto a smaller side path.
We are on a search for stock photos (if the client is unable to provide them); textures and patterns; icons and all sorts of suitable graphic elements; different font styles; and our dear, dear friend named Inspiration, who we will probably meet just around the turn of the road on ahead.
During our investigation, we may come across a fruit-bearing tree, and from it we pick its succulent yield: a great banner photo, or maybe a nice texture. Another important thought: every element and section in the design must have purpose and be thoroughly considered — nothing in the design should be arbitrarily placed, but should work in harmony and flow with its graphic neighbors.
Once we've found our way back on the main road, we continue our pace. We toil over colors — those used in the branding and those complimentary to the branding colors. We struggle with size and scale of content, placement of content, spacing between elements of content, and if we see a need, we delve into the area of effects and transparencies. We investigate any side avenue, and overturn any stone that promises to visually help our client clearly articulate themselves, their vision, and their message.
No One Designs Alone
From time to time, we may run into a swiftly moving stream that makes our progress problematic. It's imperative that we stop and ask another member of our troupe, maybe our entire team, to rally around and help us find a bridge, so that we can cross that daunting stream, get back on track and find our way once more.
One additional note — and a critical one to keep in mind: the design path does not stand alone. It must run parallel to the UX, the development, and the internet marketing tracks, because we are ever so interdependent and intertwined with one another.
In order to get where the client needs to go, the design must consider SEO value, and we must remember that the development team will be building our design, which means that this design must agree with the guidelines of our custom-built CMS.
In The End
Once again, we're pushing forward with our exploration down the twisting and bending path. And then at last. After so much traversing, and much discussion, thinking, research, and simple trial and error, we have found a clearing through the brush, and the end of our path.
With the help of our team members and our good friend Inspiration, we have reached the end of a long expedition… and what an end it truly is. The warmth and brightness of the sunlight beams through all around us. Our design has taken a pleasing direction, and all of the elements work together in unity.
At last…at last…we have found a visual solution for our client that they will find befitting to represent themselves. A look that is constructed to add value to the client's purpose; and if it is their end goal: a look that helps them be stronger, more competitive, and outshine their competition. And above all else, a design that helps the client's end user to simply and easily learn, or inform, or contribute, or better their lives or someone else's life in some way.
The Design Journey
Our journey has been long, but along with our client, we've learned, and we've grown a little more.
Our design journey may be arduous, but it's "a labor of love", and one thing is absolutely certain: each visual path is unique. Therein lies the beauty of a custom designed, custom built website. Every solution is planned, researched, and tailored specifically for that particular client's needs.
And the reward? Well… our reward is witnessing and participating in our clients' success. And our reward is the journey.
It's official: we've moved into our new space at 88 Union Ave!
Last week we packed, moved, unpacked, cleaned and settled in to our brand new office on the 7th floor of 88 Union Avenue.
Our toys found new homes, our developers created a new island, and we even stayed open for business as usual.
It has been a busy time but we hit the ground running in the new space and even launched several sites!
We love our new office space and hope you will too. Feel free to drop by any time during business hours to check it out. Just take the elevators to the 7th floor and walk off the elevator right into our lobby.
Come visit... we'd love to show you around!
It's April 1, which means the whole world is trying to fool you today.
This is most evident online where internet companies and bloggers go all out in order to fool people on this special day.
Some manage to do it, others fall flat. Either way, it's the one day of the year where you really can't believe anything you read online.
Here are some of the more interesting jokes we've seen so far this year:
- Google announced it has enough content, is ready to select a winner and will be shutting down.
- Google also announced Google Nose, because smelling is believing.
- Twitter announced Twttr, a two-tiered service that will charge you $5 a month to use vowels.
- Think Geek offered the Death Star Trench Toss, which many wished was a real product.
- Hulu's home page features the best made-up shows from your favorite real shows.
- Scope's announced Bacon mouthwash, a product that confused many, .
- Work for Pie announced a new direction, and their plan to pivot to the pie-selling Wok of Pie.
- And more from Google, with their treasure map mode:
Did any of these fool you? There are thousands of other April Fools' Day jokes out there. Good luck sorting through them all!
We promise we won't be pulling any April Fools' jokes on you this year. We've saved all those for Reuben. (Shhh!)
I started here at RocketFuel last October. It has been an amazing experience for me and I love what I am doing.
What exactly is it that I do? On a good day our clients will never see what I do and that is by design. I am the back end programmer guy. I write and edit the code that makes our client's website perform better on our CMS than any other platform.
Our application was built from the ground up for speed, reliability, and customization. We are constantly adding and tweaking things on the server side to make client sites run faster and smarter.
My job is to work directly with Andy to develop new features for our CMS as well as make existing features better.
On any given day in our office you may hear "opps, that's broken" from the developer area. That is just me breaking something in a spectacular display of failure on our development server.
I don't always break our development server, but when I do it's for a good reason. My favorite reason is the look on Andy's face when I break something and he just says "how did you even do that!?". Then we figure out what went wrong and keep adding new and cool stuff.
One API we have been using lately is the Google Maps API. It allows us to build cool maps like CCHF, Keep Tennessee Beautiful, and Literacy Midsouth. We have also done custom SalesForce integrations that allow clients to use that service on their website. We love playing with new APIs and making new things happen for our clients.
We're always looking for our next challenge. If you want your website to do great things for you, lets get started.
We recently launch the new website for The Mid-South Quality Productivity Center (MSQPC).
The Mid-South Quality Productivity Center (MSQPC) is a partnership of the Greater Memphis Chamber and Southwest Tennessee Community College with a mission to champion market excellence. They offer Baldrige-based assessments, consulting, quality/productivity enhancements, corporate development and employee development.
The Mid-South Quality Productivity Center is dedicated to improving corporations and employees in the Memphis area through their products and services.
We wanted the website we created for MSQPC to look modern and professional with a focus on those important programs. The clean design is a complement to the information, rather than a distraction.
Please visit the new site for The Mid-South Quality Productivity Center at www.msqpc.com.
Steve Jobs' unique presentation style inspired thousands of people to camp out over night to hear his announcements for Apple. His presentation style inspired millions and helped Apple grow to the company it is today.
It's no secret we love Steve Jobs here at RocketFuel (Reuben especially). There is a lot to learn from Jobs and his life's work. That's why we loved this slideshare presentation from Hubspot featuring Steve and other captivating presenters.
Becoming a better presenter can help you promote ideas, sell products, and captivate audiences. It's a skill worth improving, so why not learn from the world's best?
Lessons From The World's Most Captivating Presenters
A few presentation tips from the slideshare:
- Craft a story that capturesboth heart & mind.
- Create slides that leadyour audience to say “YES.”
- Start by telling us WHY WE SHOULD CARE.
- Show us how your product WILL MAKE OUR LIVES BETTER.
- Use simple language, free of jargon.
- Ditch the bullet points.
- Don't just tell us, show us.
- It's not a presentation, it's a performance.
- There is no shortcut to excellence.