At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

 

We spoke to Lee Hill the Managing Director at Insightful UX about the definition of User Experience and getting into the industry.

 

 

 

RISE: What is your name and your role?

Lee: Lee Hill MD Founder of Insightful UX Ltd

 

 

RISE: What does user experience really mean?

Lee: For me user experience is about figuring out a way to help people utilise things better, when it comes to our clients this is websites and the products and services they offer.

 

 

RISE: What are the most common mistakes with websites and apps that people make?

Lee: The most common issue we see is that websites are built based on the assumptions that the business owners, marketing people, designers and developers know best, instead of finding out from the end users i.e. potential customers how best to develop a website for them. Its scary, we often see the slightest assumption made when building a website can have grave consequences to how it is then used by real customers. We see this all too frequently unfortunately. This means that a website that could be amazing for a business may be failing, due to a few small snags that nobody understands or is aware of. We love spotting and fixing these things as the commercial gains for our clients are often incredible.

 

 

RISE: Your business has expanded and developed dramatically since you started, could you tell us a little bit about this journey?

Lee: It’s been fun, emotional, scary, hard, enjoyable and immensely rewarding. Year one was me working full time whilst Chris my co-director worked behind the scenes, by year two Chris and I started to expand the team with George Beverley joining us as a director. Year three has been us really trying to find our place in the market. Its been really hard, but we are now setting the foundations that I feel will see us grow and more importantly be able to service our clients with a stronger way.

 

 

RISE: If I was a customer with you what would my journey with you look like?

Lee: Typically we will start by auditing your website, current marketing channels and channels you are not using, along with competitor activity. This allows us to produce a prioritised action plan. Phase two then involves feeding in insights from real customers to help improve websites, marketing and or products/ services. Its here that we can really help our clients stand out from the crowd and dramatically increase their profits which we have done and have had the pleasure of seeing client’s grow and develop using this process.

 

 

RISE: If you were to give advice to someone starting up a new business with a digital platform what would it be?

Lee: Before you invest, make sure there is a need for it. Often we see tech first and humans second. If you focus on people’s needs and can do this better than the competition, then you have a chance of success. Even then it’s not easy, it requires focus and often big pots of cash. This is where investment is often required and that’s why we are now helping clients by providing investment decks to help secure funding. Our investment decks are unique as we validate the customer need within this process. This gives everyone confidence that the idea/ business will work.

 

 

RISE: As a business owner what would you say to a young person looking to get into UX or digital marketing?

Lee: Digital/ tech is the unknown frontier, it is there to be explored and pushed. So don’t be fenced in by existing practises, push boundaries and challenge thinking. Also with UX don’t assume you know the answers, test, research and repeat this process again, again and again. Markets, people, competitors are always changing, so you need insights to be able to stay ahead of the game. You may have heard the saying that if a business is not growing its dying. Well I don’t think that is true. I would say if a business is not constantly evolving it will die. So focus on keeping your brand relevant and you will be rewarded. If anyone is ever looking to get into digital/ UX point them our way. Always happy to grab a coffee with people who need some guidance and to show them the realities of our day to day lives. Its not all cool tech and creative wizardry. The day to day can be formulaic, involve lots of number crunching (which I love but others don’t), managing clients and admin. But those moments when you uncover a real nugget of insight that you know could be a game changer. for a sector or for a client. The hard work is worth it.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

Clare Groombridge

Owner & Founder of South Coast Social 

 

 

We asked the fantastically knowledgeable Clare Groombridge a little bit about social media now, the freedom it’s given companies and what works best for who.

 

 

Rise: Social Media has grown exponentially over the past couple of years, what would you say have been the highlights and best things to come off the back of this?

 

Clare: I would say the opportunities for brands to engage and interact with their audience. As social media has evolved, so has the need for brands to become more clever with their social media marketing and ‘think outside the box’ to attract valuable followers.  Consumers are definitely increasingly social media savvy, so businesses need to follow suit or get left behind.

 

Rise: Being a part of social media has given companies more free reign on where, when and what they can post. Do you think this freedom has given smaller companies a chance that they wouldn’t have had if all marketing and advertising was still just in print?

 

Clare: Oh 100%!! We work with small businesses who exclusively market and sell through social media. It’s ALL about engagement and being part of a conversation – brands can’t just say ‘here we are! buy our stuff!’ in the same way they used to via print or TV – that just doesn’t cut it any more. It’s given incredible opportunities for those businesses who capitalised on the opportunities social media can offer.

 

Rise: In terms of job roles, there are lots of jobs that exist now because of social media that ten years ago did not exist. What do you think is next in terms of new jobs roles in the social media industry?

 

Clare: Definitely! (our business, for example!) We’ve seen a huge rise in Influencers (e.g. those who make their vlogging / blogging life their full time career – yes, it definitely is a thing!) However, with growing industry concern about authenticity, even this niche is constantly adapting. The huge rise of social media advertising, especially on Facebook has led to dedicated Social Media Advertising Specialist roles, often working hand in hand with a Content Creation Specialist and Data Analyst.

 

Rise: How as an individual can you prepare yourself for the future of the social media revolution, is there any training or platforms for useful information moving forwards?

 

Clare: I think if you’re using social media in your role, try and stay up to date with the latest developments by reading good social media blogs such as Hootsuite, Social Media Today (or, you know, our company blog!). Facebook offers free training for Business users including their advertising platform which could be invaluable if you haven’t had much experience.

 

Rise: What is the best social media platforms to use or does this depend on the sector you work in? For example if you run a creative agency what would be the best platform? Or as an insurance company where would be best to post?

 

Clare: We have a mantra we always roll out to our clients – ‘pick your networks wisely and do them well’! Rather than specifically your sector, it depends where your audience is, and what you want to achieve from your social media networks – is it website traffic, brand awareness, follower growth…

We work with niche, luxury brands that simply have an Instagram profile and we ensure this is beautifully crafted with stunning, impactful imagery and carefully constructed captions. However, if you’re a B2B business, LinkedIn might be the perfect place to be to engage with supplier and potential clients. Whatever you choose, if you’re going to manage your social media profiles in-house, ensure you have the time to post frequent, relevant content.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This is part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

Marcus Wincott – Media Lounge

 

We asked Marcus Wincott from Media Lounge a little bit about e-commerce, technology and upcoming trends as well as some advice for those interested in getting into industry.

 

 

 

Rise: Thank you so much for being a part of this Marcus. I want to kick off with a bit of an open ended question and ask how has the world of e-commerce changed over the past few years?

Marcus: The biggest challenge for online retailers over the last few years has been offering a service that the typical online shopper has now come to expect. As shoppers, our expectations in terms of delivery, returns, personalisation, payment methods and communication have been set by the giants of eCommerce like Amazon and offering a comparable service or a unique differentiator can be difficult. Advancements in payment methods and personalisation of content and product recommendations have been key in the last few years and will continue to play a very important role in the success of online retail stores.

 

Rise: Have recent additions to apps like Instagram shopping made a huge difference in the way that people consume?

Marcus: Although the addition of buyable pins on Pinterest, Facebook marketplace and Instagram shopping functionality are interesting and will undoubtably work for some merchants, I’m not sure how big the direct impact on sales will be. As an industry we design for ‘mobile first’ as a rule but the fact is that the majority of online purchases still take place on a desktop device so mobile-heavy platforms like Instagram will have less of an impact on buying habits than we perhaps think.

Having said that, it’s well known that over 80% of smartphone users turn to their device to help them make a product decision, either in store on online so the impact on the entire journey to purchase is undeniable, it’s just whether that impact is easily measurable.

 

Rise: As an experience shopping and buying has become much more personalised and easy. How do you see the future of e-commerce panning out, how can we go further than paying for something with our fingerprint/facial recognition?

Marcus: Until new technology is developed that allows us to pay in other ways, I don’t think this will be the biggest area of change in the coming years although widespread merchant adoption of things like Apple, Android and Amazon payment methods is still to come. I think payment options rather than methods are still changing at quite a rate and ‘pay later’  and ‘split payment’  options will become more widespread with solutions like Klarna facilitating an Amazon-style, one click payment method across thousands of websites.

Personalisation of site content as well as product recommendations will continue to improve and eventually each user visiting an eCommerce store will get a completely different experience based on their personal circumstances, browsing history and buying habits.

 

Rise: There are many different types of e-commerce platforms, could you please give me a few examples and why it is that so many types have been developed?

Marcus: There are many different eCommerce platforms out there and put simply, this is to serve the needs of the merchant. An online retail startup would typically use a platform like Shopify or WooCommerce (WordPress) because of their ease of use and lower cost of entry. As a merchant grows, their requirements will change in order to service their customers and these platforms may no longer be fit for purpose. A larger retailer may turn to an enterprise solution such as Magento (Adobe), Hybris (SAP) or Demandware (Salesforce) as they offer scalability in terms of both order volume and site functionality. For example, a business retailing across multiple countries in multiple languages and currencies would not be suitable for a platform like Shopify.

 

Rise: If you were to give advice to someone that was looking to get into the eCommerce industry, what first steps should they take?

Marcus: Working in eCommerce from an agency perspective is as fast moving as it is interesting so the best piece of advice I can give to someone interested in taking their first steps not this industry is to constantly research and monitor the marketplace for new design trends, developing technology and best practices. It’s the only way to stay ahead of the competition and more importantly, add value and remain relevant to you clients.

One word of caution though, the noise about new technology can sometimes be distracting so always do your own evaluation and ideally, real-world testing before recommending a course of action for your clients. We’re lucky at Media Lounge to run our own successful eCommerce store so we have a ready made testing bed and it has proven invaluable over the years.

 

A huge thank you Marcus for giving us his time and knowledge about the world of eCommerce. We also delved into the topic of the importance of being unique, have a read here.