The curious SEO and Google Analytics

Load speed

This is one of the most important things that you need to keep in mind.If your website is loading too slow google will penalize it. Google’s job is to give you the best result for each search and nobody likes a slow web page.

I tested my website in Google speed insights:

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In this two images, you can see how my page really need some improvements. The images are too big and they are slowing down the page a lot. I will make this images smaller with photoshop to avoid this problem. I will also add media queries so the images used in mobile devices are smaller This is very convenient because, as you will see in the following sections, my analytics show that 80% of the visitors of my page do it from a mobile device.

Because google is actually only analyzing your code to check the load speed I used GTmetrix to have an Idea of what is the loading speed for real life users.

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As you can see it is a different result but still not the ideal. This page is showing the same errors as in the one before so I will proceed as I explained earlier.

Keywords

I found some keywords using Google suggest:keywords

This is an easy and effortless way to find some keywords. It is also effective since google shows the most common searches and using the same keywords will make your page being reach by more people.

Another way to find keywords is using Uber Suggest

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Another important thing to keep in mind is your competitors. What keywords are they using? are they being successful? If so we should use some of those keywords as well.

With Semrush you can add a competitor’s website and see what keywords are they using already. I decided to take a look at Lovin Dublin website since they could be one of my strongest competitors.

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Here you can see the general data from the page and get an idea of how they create traffic. The image below is a list of the top keywords of the page.

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Meta tags

I added two meta tags in the head of my webpage:

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I focused on keywords like “cheap” or ”free” because is a very common search for someone before traveling to a city. At least that’s the first thing I google and I am sure more people do it as well, especially young travelers. It is also common that people look for “beautiful” places or “best” places in a city.There is also synonymous of my keywords in the content.

I gave all my images an appropriate name including keywords as well:

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I also try to add some keywords in my h1 tags:

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I tested my meta description, URL and title tag in  Seamofo to see how my search result would look like, especially what words will be bold and what is the general appearance of it.

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As you can see I’m the image above you can choose between a wide range of options depending on what kind of web page you have. I’ve chosen not to display a date or a snippet because my page won’t have ratings or blog posts.
In the image below you can see how the search would look like adding all the sponsored links and the organic search results.

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Adwords

I will use Adwords when the page is ready. The following image is a preview of how the ad would look like:

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Email marketing campaign

The web page will also have an option to sign up to my newsletter. I will be sending emails to the people who sign up for it. this emails will be created with Mailchimp.

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I created an email that will be sent to all those who sign up for the newsletter.

Google analytics

Thanks to Google Analytics I can gather a lot of data that is really useful for the development of the page.I can see who exactly are my users and what is their behaviors on the page. for example, I can see which sections of the page they don’t look at or in which par they spend more time. This will help me create better content, adapted to their preferences.

Another really important thing that I can find out is what kind of devices my users have. for example, if my page is mostly viewed on a desktop I will create content that is adapted for a bigger screen but still always responsive. In this case, the majority of my users are viewing the page from a mobile device and that means my page has to be completely responsive and with content adapted to the smallest screens. If this wouldn’t be the case the users would leave the page to find another one that can offer a better experience.

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The future of CURIOUS

Once the App has an impact in Dublin it will be time to move on and promote the same concept in different cities:

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Project management apps

Asana

Asana is one of the most popular task management apps available today. It was first created by former Facebook execs Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein in 2008 to manage the company’s internal coordination. It was then publicly released in 2011 and has become very popular since then.

Asana is completely project based. Teams are organized around projects and projects are essentially a list of tasks. Each task can then have sub-tasks of its own should you want to create nesting of tasks.

Asana is, in conclusion, very simple: you can freely add multiple tags to each item, a single item can have relations to multiple projects and tags and It’s free for smaller companies. All this makes the tool really attractive.

There is something that is not very convenient in Asana and that is the fact that you can only assign a story/task to one member and that might make teamwork more difficult.

 

Trello

You could say that Trello is the digital version of a sticky note board.

This visual approach  allows you to view the current state of tasks quickly and it is surely a great way to look at progress. Team members can collaborate on the various cards on each board, tag each other, comment on tasks and add images and descriptions.

In my personal experience with trello I found really useful to be able to have different sections depending on the stage of the project.This way I could move the tasks around depending on the project state

 

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In each card there is several options to record all the details of the project. In the image below you can see a checklist, something that I personally find really useful when working on a project. It allows you to divide into little sections a big project and mark the tasks that have already been done.

You call also add images or links, which helps clarify some ideas and makes easier the visual communication of the project between the team members.

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If you have trouble deciding what to use, or you already use both of them you can use unito and connect your Trello and Asana teams. Problem solved!

CURIOUS: Marketing

POSTCARDS

I designed postcards with photos of the hidden places, the logo and social media links.

Since those will be given away for free and they depicture places in Dublin it is very likely that they will be actually posted, and since they have the logo and a little explanation in the back it will be a very easy way for people to get to know my app.

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STICKERS

Nowadays you can see stickers everywhere, sometimes you don’t know what they are for, they are simply nice, and some other times it is very clear what product they want to promote. anyway, people love this kind of things, and if they like them enough they might even put them in visual places like their computers or folders. They could also stick them in random places, but in any case, it would be a good way of people to wonder “what is Curious?” and check it out.

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BANNERS

Part of this campaign would be to create banners that would be placed in specific places around the city. Ideally, the best locations would be tourist places or big streets like Henry St. because the people who are in those places are more likely to be interested in the app. They would be mostly tourists who might want to discover new spots in Dublin.

To create this banner I will follow the guidelines of Dublin City Council

BILLBOARD

I designed an interactive billboard to promote the app in the streets. My inspiration was the Burt’s Bees Ad.

To promote their Intense Hydration range, Burt’s Bees used their own consumers to reveal a before and after demonstration with an interactive billboard in Minneapolis, created with the company’s go-to ad agency, Baldwin&.

This clever use of design and construction meant that the before image literally “flaked” away as viewers peeled off the skin of coupons attached to the board, redeemable at local stockists. Eventually, all the coupons were removed and all that was left was a shiny, flat surface and a happy, smiling ‘hydrated’ after image.

We see advertisements in the street every day so I believe creating something interactive will stand out and will be easier to remember for the users.

The base is a photo of a secret spot in Dublin that will include a little logo and a slogan. This photo will be covered by black post-its that combined will show the logo in big size.In the back of this post it’s you will find the web page and the social media for the app. In a future version, you could also find a discount code (for future features)The idea is that the people walking around take a post it (out of curiosity) and little by little reveal the image behind it.

VIDEO

I made a video to introduce the app. in the video you can see a few images of Dublin moving towards you quite fast. the idea behind it is that you can’t see them properly, just get a general idea. following this images you can read CURIOUS? and see the social media links

The idea is to make people curious about it( as usual!)

EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGN

The web page will also have an option to sign up to my newsletter. I will be sending emails to the people who sign up for it. this emails will be created with Mailchimp.
I created an email that will be sent to all those who sign up for the newsletter.

 

Events

I attended to related events to network with people and to find secret spots in Dublin myself.

Graffiti Photowalk

A tour with a graffiti artist that will show you some graffitis around the city and tell the story behind them. Definitely, the kind of thing that I could include in my app. This tour was full of photographers as well as instagramers (since it was organized by “instagramers Dublin”) so it was a great opportunity to meet people and ask them if I could use their pictures to feature in my Curious Dublin Instagram account.Of course, they were happy about it and I got to share really nice pictures of the graffitis in Dublin.

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Gallery night

Again another event from Instagramers Dublin. In this event I meet some of the featured Instagrammers in Dublin. The quality of their photos was impressive and they were happy to share them with me.

After attending these events I realised that they are really important for new companies or for the launch of new products. Once the app is ready I will partner up with a couple of other companies (Jameson, Instagram Dublin…) and prepare a launching event. this way people will get to know the app in a nice, fun way.

Another kind of events that will help spread the word are the tours. I will organise “the CURIOUS tour”. this will be a tour around Dublin to show some of the secret spots that you can find in the app.

CURIOUS: The social media campaing

Instagram

First of all, I decided to create an Instagram account for the curious app. I wrote a small introduction and I used the logo as my profile picture. As my first posts I used photos which I took myself around Dublin. In some of them, I wrote exactly what they were and a bit of information about them. In some others, I asked the users to guess where the place was. My intention with this is leading the user to engage with the project.

Eventually, I realized that I didn’t have enough good pictures and I was running out of places to show, so it was time to ask people to start sharing their pictures. I took a look to other Instagram profiles in Dublin that are already doing this( igersdublin, lovindublin, visitdublin among others)

I wrote a small text with the instructions that from now on I would include in all my photos:

“For the chance to be featured use

@curious_dublin and #thecuriousapp”

Since I didn’t have a lot of followers yet and usually people focus more on the photo than on the text this didn’t work out so well. Since I still needed the users to share their photos I decided to look for the kind of photo I would like to have on my page and write a private message to the owner to ask for permission to feature it. The response to this was impressive. 90% of the users I asked said yes happily, which allowed me to share amazing photos from really good photographers who are also getting more attention their work in exchange.

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I also decided to write in plural so it looks like a company or a group of people, more than a sole individual. I believe this will make people feel more confident about sharing their pictures with me.

To repost the images of other users I used a complementary app, Buffer. With this app, I can not only repost the pictures but also schedule the posts. This allows me to post even at times where I don’t have access to my phone. Buffer also have a great web page and blog with really good tips for social media campaigns.

I changed the Instagram account to a business account and this allowed me to see the stats and that way control the traffic on the page.

Thanks to this stats I can fins out when is the best time to post to reach more followers, where are my followers from, if they are male or female, etc.

Here you can see that on Thursday the best time to post is between 3 and 9 pm so I will keep this in mind. Also, the majority of my users are between 18 and 34 years old. This is only half reliable because being an Instagram account most of Instagram users are between this ages.

The use of appropriate hashtag was also key in the gaining followers process. I tried to use hashtags that were relevant. First of all, I used the one specifically created for the app #thecuriousapp and #curiousdublin. I also tried to use some that would attract travelers like #freedublin, #visitdublin #visitireland #secretdublin or #cheapdublin. I also used the most popular ones to reach random users that might find it interesting but wouldn’t find it otherwise.An example would be #picoftheday. Finally, I used some related to the image itself like #graffiti, #art, #architecture, etc.

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Facebook

I created a facebook page and I linked it to the Instagram account so all the photos get posted on the page. In addition to this, I also posted announcements and other kinds of information related to the app.

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By taking a look at the insight I can decide when s more convenient to post or what kind of post are more popular.For example, I can see that the graffiti pictures are more popular that the architecture ones. A good strategy would be to post a popular picture on a no popular day, so the number of visitors increases in weak periods.

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Pinterest

I decided to create a Pinterest board because the imagery is very important in my app and Pinterest is all about images. I decided to only upload the images with the logo and the social media links so everybody who sees it realizes that there is a place where they can see more and they decide to take a look.

 

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UX/UI,The good experience of flying

I love traveling so I am always looking for the best deals. Usually the app I use is “skyscanner” but sometimes the deals are not as cheap as I wish, that’s why I am always on the hunt of new flight websites. Sometimes I have that very unique feeling that travelers have. the one that makes you run to the first device you find to check some flights with hope and expectation. You look for weekend flights or crazy vacations .It doesn’t matter. what it matters is that the idea of this makes you happy.

That’s how one day reading a travelling blog I found Wow air. It was very recommendable and there was only good words for it so I decided to give it a try. I download it on my phone and my first impression was good. the homepage is clear so I thought I had finally found a good App. Unfortunately when I tried to check the flight prices everything went down.

I couldn’t find the flights or offers as quick as I would if I used some other app and this discouraged me,still,I continued  the booking process but everything was quite confusing so eventually I gave up. I believe half of the people who use this app are just checking the flight prices without really planning to buy them just yet. It’s just a first contact with the idea that might success eventually if you find an offer that you can’t resist. But at first you just wanna know how much and when.

That’s why I believe that the most important features on the page should be those ones: how much and when.

THE COMPETITORS

First of all I took a look to some of my competitors to see what kind of lay outs the have, what icons they use and what´s the general feeling of their Apps

Skyscanner

Their design is the more minimalistic of all, using icons instead of words for search and to choose the number of people.This still works because this icons are very well known so there is no confusion (here we see a good example of signifiers!).The travel class is a dropdown menu which saves space on the page.The option for one way or round trip is situated at the top with a tab style.It also places the origin and the destination one on top of each other accompanied by the flight icons.This makes it easy for the user to know what the space is for with only one glance.

CheapFlights

This app places the origin and destination one besides each other followed by a two buttons for the round trip or one way features. There is no confusion on the functionality.

Something I notice is that the app sends a few notifications every day.This could be useful for some users but it could also backfire and make the user uninstall the app.

Kayak

Kayak´s from page is also very minimalistic. They use lines instead of boxes for all the input fields. Even though it works I personally don’t find it as clear as other designs since I believe it’s important to understand the page with one glance and this doesn’t happen so quickly here.

Fly Delta

This app offers two options that aren’t that common. First of all it allows you to choose a multicity trip. Even Though is not an essential feature some users will find it useful and will choose this App only because of it.

The other feature that I also didn’t see very often is the option of showing the price in money or miles. Business travelers will find this feature really useful.

As for the rest it shows the passengers as a drop down menu and the search button is big and has a different color, which is consistent with the other fight apps that I’ve been looking at.

Flights

This app focus its attention in the origin and destination, placing them at the top of the screen, while the number of passengers and the travel class is placed at the bottom.The number of passengers is represented only by an icon. This app also places the options of single way, round trip and multycity as a tab on the top. It also uses the plane icons for the arrival and destination section.

MY CONCLUSIONS

It seems that using certain icons to represent some of the features works well and doesn’t cause any problems due to the general knowledge of them at this point. This is why I think the new Wow air app should also use icons for the number of passenger as well as accompany the arrival and destination areas with the plane symbol.

I also believe that this two sections should be the center of attention.  In the current App there is not enough space designated for it and this causes that you can’t read the full name of the cities. It only shows the short name of the airport and the beginning of the full name. I think this isn’t clear enough so I would like to place this two sections one on top of the other, taking the full width of the page.

Another thing that I’ve notice my competitors do very often is display the travel class (economy, business or first class) as a drop down menu. I believe this would be a good option for wow air as well. the majority of the flights booked will be economy class so it will be shown by default and if the users prefer another option they will be able to chose it easily( this is only based on my assumptions, for more accurate information we would need information from wow air )

I also think you should be able to read everything clearly and this is why the input fields should have a white background and black text. I will keep the brand colors, purple(#90387b) and yellow(#ffed00) everywhere else except here.

THE USERS

To understand the needs of our users I’ve created three personas that represents them. each of them has a specific needs and the Wow air app should be able to satisfy them all.

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THE NEW DESIGN

I decided to give more space to the origin and destination since it is the first thing the users want. I also decided to add the icons to make it more visual.

To choose the destination I’ve decided to use a drop down menu and to give the option to write the name of the place as well as choosing it scrolling through the list. I also decided to place the current location on the top. On the destination drop down menu the last search will be placed at the top of the list.

The screen to see the calendar has now a white background color which allows you to see the numbers clearly. “Depart” is marked in yellow so the user knows exactly where he/she is.

I decided to show the flights in a different way as well, with a little space between them and keeping the price always at the to throughout the whole process, so the users always know how much they will have to pay.

I also decided to change a bit the look of the passenger details, showing the price and the origin and destination at the top (as I said, this will be here throughout the whole process) I will also keep this lay out for all the other screens in which the user has to introduce some details to make it consistent.

The plane icons are from https://www.iconfinder.com

The round trip icon is from :http://www.flaticon.com/

THE USER TEST

To see if my design was good I conducted a user test and  I recorded the test using the google chrome tool “Screencastify”.I asked some introductory questions as well as closing up questions.

Introductory questions

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Do you currently use a flight company webpage or app?
  • Why did you choose them?

Closing up questions

  • Is there something that you found confusing or that didn’t make sense to you?
  • How easy was the booking process?
  • Is there something else you would like to suggest?

This is the task the user was asked to do:

“Book a flight from Dublin to Milan from the 7th to the 11th of february. Choose the cheapest option and take sits 6A and 10F.”

You can see the Marvel App prototype here

As a result of the test I concluded that the new prototype for the Wow air app is good and clear for the users. I will change the screen “Additional services” make the options look like a button, since it seems that it isn’t clear enough.
This is the screen Ive changed after conducting the user test:

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Understanding Signifiers and affordances

Today I want to talk about affordances and signifiers and I believe the best way to understand something is with a good example.

AFFORDANCES

Imagine you have a screwdriver. Originally it is used for tightening and loosening up screws but that isn’t the only thing you can use it for. If you use your imagination you can discover lots of new uses for it.You can use it to open a jar or to reach something that is too high.

You can see other interesting screwdriver uses here :

(yes there is a page for that!)

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So an affordance is a possibility. Is the relation between an object and its possible actions through an agent

SIGNIFIERS

Suppose you are rushing to catch a train. You know the train was scheduled to depart soon. You run across the city, run up the stairs in the train station and rush on to the platform. There is no train: did you miss it, or perhaps has it simply not arrived yet? How can you tell? The state of the platform serves as an signifier. People milling about the platform? The train has not arrived. An empty platform: oops, you missed it. This is an example of an incidental, accidental signifier. It isn’t completely reliable, working better in small towns with only occasional trains than in crowded cities where many trains use the same platforms, but that is the nature of signifiers: often useful, but of mixed reliability.

A signifier is a sign. Some sort of indicator in the physical or social world that can be meaningfully interpreted.
Think about your shower handle.The affordance is clear, you turn it and something happens (water comes out) but how do you know when the water is warm or cold? there is a signifier, a little mark that is red or blue. this little marks are the signifiers. They help you understand how the shower works.

 

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Tower Records

A year ago my sister bought a “Scorpions” vinyl.  It was her favourite group and she was very happy. There was only one problem; she didn’t have a vinyl player, so of course it looked great in her room but it was only decoration.  This was a bit sad so my parents and I got her a vinyl player for Christmas. She was the happiest person in the world again. A few months later I asked her if she was enjoying the present and she said Yes, but I´m getting a bit tired of the Scorpions vinyl. After all this time she still only had that one vinyl. So of course I thought that was really sad and I decided to get her some more for Christmas. Over the next months I went in every vinyl shop I saw and try to get the best deals. I also checked online and found a few more shops.

That’s why I was so surprise when Mary, our Design teacher, asked us to go to Tower Records to do some questionnaires.

How didn’t I know this shop before? It is certainly a good shop. The variety of  the product is impressive and the way the shop is design, with little rooms and different spaces, makes your visit a good experience.

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We arrived at the shop around 6pm for our surveys. This shop is located just behind Trinity College so we assume that lots of their customers during the day are students. At 6pm though, the custumers were between 45 and 60 years old so our answers are mostly for this range of ages.

To the question “where do you buy records online?” the people who did buy online answered “Amazon”

We also asked the customers if they knew about the shop´s page and the general answer was ”no”. So this brings us the question : Would they use the shop´s page if they knew about it? Or would this page be their first option over Amazon (since they already know the physical shop and that makes them feel secure) if they knew about it?

THE PROBLEM

One of the biggest problems on the website was the lack of information.  It made it almost impossible to buy the products since the images and descriptions where missing. This makes the page unreliable and the user doesn’t feel secure using it. It also gives a bad image to the company.

The way the information is displayed is also an issue because it isn’t clear. The user will give up before investing time and effort trying to figure it out.

We Brainstorm what issues needed to be fixed:

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After a brainstorm we decided to divide the problems in four categories: General problems (the ones affecting the majority of the page)Layout problems, product related problems and features that we consider are missing.

 

The following images show some of the issues on the page:

 

 

The first step to solve all this problems is to ask ourselves who are our users. What are they feelings and worries? What drives them?

For this we created 3 personas taking into account what we learn by doing the surveys plus the information we have about the shop (location, products they sell, opening hours, etc.) and our own assumptions.

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After understanding what kind of users do we have and being aware who will be our target audience we can state the problem:

“The Tower Records webpage was designed to sell products online and promote the shop. We have observed that the product isn’t meeting the goals since the webpage doesn’t have enough traffic. This is causing low revenue from the online sales and the lost of costumers by other shops .We will make the web page more appealing to the user as well as user friendly . Success will be based on the website traffic and feedback”

 

THE SOLUTION

We came up with ideas that would help promote the page and the shop. we organised them depending on the risk they present and on how innovative they were:

prioritise the asumptionstower

From all this ideas we decided to prioritise the following:

Workshops: even though it is a big risk we believe that introducing them we will attract a new kind of costumer, one that likes crafts.This way we will diversify our users. The page will not only be used by music lovers but also by artist, and people who are looking for something new to do.And who doesn’t like a new vinyl bowl?

Live podcast: This is something none of our competitors have and we believe that it could attract new customers for both the page and the physical shop. Being a live event people that like music might visit the shop for the first time. In the other hand, an user that is looking for new music podcast could find our through a google search or some other channel and decide to visit the shop or buy something online.

Contests: we also decided to create contest so the users get involved. This could be a music posters contest or music contests among others. This will diversify the users of the page.

Concerts: Organizing live concerts or “the battle of the bands” will attract new customers in a fun way.

 

THE FINAL WIREFRAME

We sketched individually and then we shared our ideas with the group. We choose the features that we thought were more adequate for the page.

 

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It will be a scroll down page. The first screen will have the logo in the center and a quick podcast player just under it. Up and down there will be 6 links that are the most important features of the page.The user can either click on this links or scroll down to find the sections they are looking for.