Sunday, September 15, 2019

Week 4B: Website Effectiveness

  • Why are they effective?
  • What specific principles of good design do they include and why?
  • What makes you come back again?
  • What could be improved?

A website's design that typically appeals to me is something simplistic and user friendly.  I hate when I have to go on a scavenger hunt to find what I need on a home page.  Too many animations also make me not want to bother with reading the website content. If websites don't meet appeal to my standards, then most of the time they won't get multiple visits from me.  Two websites examples that I actually like are https://www.amazon.com/ and https://www.twitch.tv/.

Amazon's website is extremely user friendly.  On the homepage, the immediate needs for the average customer are there at the top.  You have the search bar and all the important menu items.  Below the "critical" needs are some picks that appeal to the users search pattern.  The website consolidates as much information as possible in the most practical way.  The home page does have a decent scroll amount but since everything important is at the top, there really isn't a need to go lower.  Besides the great deals, I come back just to see what's new.   A lot of the ads on the home page are fun to look at because every now and then you find something you weren't expecting to be interested in.  The only thing I don't necessarily care for that could be improved is the amount of suggestions that are given.  I wish there was a way to filter suggestions for similar items I search for.


Twitch's website is a little more chaotic for first time users but once you visit it enough, it becomes very easy to navigate.  On the home page you have the search bar which is the primary navigation of the website.  On the left side, you have the streams that you typically follow which allows for easy visiting of those streamers. I also like the suggestions for the similar streams.  The color scheme is easy on the eyes and the content is well balanced.  The only thing I could think of to improve the website is to disable the auto play of a suggest video when first getting to the home page.  I don't like trying to find the stream I want to watch and having to multi task trying to find the pause button on the video playing or turning down my volume if it's too loud.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Week 4A: Aesthetics and Design

  Website aesthetics and design are what capture and hold the attention of the viewer.  They can be the deal breaker between a sale or just another visitor hit. Take http://gatesnfences.com/ for example.  One look at the website and my head aches.  My eyes don't know where to hold their attention and the number of options along the left side makes me want to just close the window. The main section is very text heavy and the font size seems to be varying without any reasoning.  What the company should do is significantly reduce the text on the main page. The bottom section should be moved to a separate page rather than taking up valuable real estate on the home page. I think most of the links on the left side could be compiled to reduce the quantity as well.
  Another company that has a decent website but could use improvements is  https://www.pennyjuice.com/. The company's website has a lot of color which for the topic, works well.  I think that the main issue I have is spacing.  The amount I need to scroll to get all the information displayed on the home page is excessive. After scrolling several times, I come across three paragraphs that could have easily fit on one screen or broken down to just two scrolls. Aside from spacing, I'm confused as to what the purpose is.  I initially thought it was a juice manufacturer focusing on kid sales but I see something about childcare justice on the top right corner.  There should be a clear purpose for viewers.

  On the flip side, there are websites that also have some good things going for their website.  Take https://www.apple.com/ for example.  They're menu options are straight to the point and the color scheme is very simplistic.  The home page is a variable design due to the ads for their products cycling through.  Sometimes it'll be an ipad taking up the screen and other times it'll be an iphone.  Overall, they kept everything straight to the point.  I find it very easy to navigate and find what I'm looking for.

  Slightly more hectic on their first page but similar to Apple, https://www.toyota.com/ is well designed.  I have one issue which is that there is a lot going on but I think they have designed to be more of a controlled chaos.   Everything I need is easily accessible at the top and there are just enough options to get me where I need to go without going overboard.  I actually love that conveniently a bottom menu lines up when you're at the top of the screen to give you an upper and lower menu bar.  

  

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Week 3B: Communication Business & Consumer Response

1. Dominos
2. https://www.dominos.com/en/
3. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr
4. I would say their social media platforms are occasionally used. Most have been posted on within the last 48 hours.
5. Facebook: 9/2/19 | Twitter: 9/8/19 | Instagram: 9/8/19 | Tumblr: Unknown
6. I think the main point of Dominos' social media platforms is to get the image of pizza in the viewers minds.  Post a picture of a delicious pizza on their instagram will have their followers glance, get enticed, and possibly order a box. Facebook isn't used as much as Twitter and Instagram which is probably due to the quicker updates on those platforms.

1. Regal
2. https://www.regmovies.com/
3. Facebook and Twitter
4. Facebook is hardly used at all while Twitter was updated just a few hours ago.
5. Facebook: 8/30/19 | Twitter: 9/8/19
6. Facebook was used significantly less which is probably due to the low follower count compared to Twitter.  Plus updates are given rapidly on Twitter which gives the platform the advantage over "update posts" like news from Regal.

1. Costco
2. https://www.costco.com/
3. Facebook and Pinterest
4. Facebook was heavily used to advertise products.  Pinterest had tons of product pins but the platform is hard to navigate to identify when things were posted.
5. Facebook: 9/8/19 | Pinterest: Unknown
6. I don't agree with using Pinterest as one of two platforms for this retail giant.  Even Facebook seems a bit weird to use but they do keep it updated.  This type of business probably could benefit from using instagram where they can post images of hot products that are on sale.

1. Dewalt
2. https://www.dewalt.com
3. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
4. LinkedIn was non existent and should be removed from their webpage.  Facebook hosted an occasional post of their products and Instagram was updated a few times today alone.
5. Facebook: 9/8/19 | Instagram: 9/8/19 | LinkedIn: 9/5/19
6. As mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is not an appropriate social platform to promote their products.  It should be used as an internal platform for employees primarily.  The product lines should continue to be posted via Instagram for a mass following with facebook used on occasional (as the company currently is doing).

1. Braun
2. https://us.braun.com/en-us
3. Facebook and Twitter
4. Both social media platforms have not been used in years!
5. Facebook: 3/26/17 | Twitter: 5/15/17
6. It appears that Braun, a leader in hair grooming has completely given up on social media.  Both their Twitter and Facebook have not been updated since 2017.  Awkwardly, they're both still listed on their website as social media connections.

Conclusion
I chose a few different companies to analyze for their social media usage.  I tried to gather different business types rather than only focus on retail stores.  Overall, it seems Facebook is the popular choice for most of the businesses which is probably due to it being one of the original social media platforms of this decade.  Many businesses that specialize in products such as Dominos and Dewalt utilize Instagram which is a great platform to post pictures to a large viewer group.  Simplistic organization and constant updates makes Instagram ideal for putting a product out there for the followers to get attention. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

The biggest losers for social media platforms would be Pinterest, LinkedIn and even Twitter. Twitter was the most useful out of the three but with the platform being primarily text posts, its hard to get attention from customers quickly.  It's a similar platform to instagram but text just can't get enough attention like a picture can.  LinkedIn was a lost cause for promoting the business and I don't understand why it was even posted.  Pinterest is the DIY social media platform of the world next to Youtube.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be the best social media platform for a retail store.  I think Costco would have more success focusing on Instagram as their social media platform of choice.


I commented on the following:
https://dburkscsit155fa19.blogspot.com/
https://margmansd.blogspot.com/
https://csit155-fa19-isabelf.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Week 3A: Communication - Business & Consumer


  I currently work for a large bio-tech company as an asset manager for the laboratory equipment on site.  One of my main responsibilities is coordinating with different internal (sub companies) and external companies to perform equipment maintenance.  Most of the companies I work with understand the service level I require and are more than happy to make my job easier.  We had one company who was the complete opposite and although we gave them plenty of work, their mindset was very closed in terms of cooperating with our needs.  The things I needed from them weren't anything extravagant, mainly a constant communication (I need to provide updates to the equipment owners) and to receive service reports for their work completed. I reached out to the technician multiple times to try to resolve the issue at his level but he never replied to phone calls or emails.  After a few weeks of trying, I finally escalated the issue to his supervisors who made it seem like they were going to remedy the issue.  In reality, the issue was resolved for about a month before the communication died out again. At this point, I still have not received a service report from them.  I reached out to the supervisors again but no one responded after multiple attempts.  Finally, I had had enough and decided to stop using the company all together. Within a few months, they noticed their profits take a huge dip.  Each repair they perform is usually 4-8 labor hours at about $200 per hour.  They were getting about 10+ work orders a week.  Months later, out of the blue, I get an email from a new supervisor who had revamped the entire process and has adapted to my needs.  Seeing the turn around, I've been sending them work orders again and so far, I've received my service reports and had communication well maintained with weekly phone calls and almost daily emails from the supervisor asking for improvement points.

  As a customer, I've also had bad experiences at businesses and with no real form of direct communication with the owner, I had to take to social media.  Yelp has been my go to tool when I have an issue with a business and I tend to get responses back from the owners.  I think the reason it works so well is that yelp directly effects the profitability of a business.  If the Yelp reviews are low, then there will be less people willing to visit the establishment and vice versa. My wife love boba and we go to Sharetea a lot in Orange County and Mira Mesa.  Recently an Escondido location has opened up and we've become regulars.  We have noticed that the boba amount per drink is significantly less than the other locations by almost half.  After weeks of getting drinks there, my wife said she was going to just order extra boba to make it like the normal amount at other locations.  Funny thing is, when she got her drink, they gave her even less than their normal amount!  She was dumbfounded.  She asked the cashier if it was extra boba (which she knew it wasn't) and he checked with the kitchen worker who said it was. Usually I'm the yelper but she got on the app immediately and uploaded her picture of her drink with a 1 star review.  The next day, the owner reached out saying they will be providing training to their servers.  Who knows if it actually happened, but at least the business owner reached out to attempt to resolve the issue.  I've had several positive experiences based off my yelp review which has resulted in better service. 

  If I had a business, I would do my best to acknowledge every review on yelp.  I would thank all the positive reviews and probe for points of improvement.  For the negative reviews, I would acknowledge the issue and create a plan to remedy (if plausible).  I would ask politely for the reviewer to try my business again and to provide an update on their current review whether positive or negative.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Week 2B: Social Media Utility Comments

I commented on:

https://csit155-fa19-lindsayw.blogspot.com/
https://dburkscsit155fa19.blogspot.com/
https://csit155-fa19-chantellg.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Week 2A: Social Media Utility

I remember when texting wasn't around and our only way to "hit up" our girlfriend or boyfriend at the time was to use instant messengers such as MSN, AIM, and Skype.  Surprisingly, only Skype seems to have made it through all the changes in society to become a common business tool. Over the years, there have been tons of different social media platforms that seem to come and go with the fads.  Many are primarily geared toward personal use while others are geared toward professional communication.

There is always a grey area where a social media platform could be considered a personal and business purpose, however, typically they are usually trying to fill a specific niche and just happen to have a secondary purpose.  Take Instagram for example. It's basically the social media platform inspired by selfies and self conscious teenagers yet there is an entire world of business related utility within in.  Many people use their accounts to promote brands and products due to their high followers.  You typically see a lot of that with fire arms, clothing, and gym gear.  Facebook is another example of a dual purpose social media platform since it's primary niche is personal networking and yet there is a built in craigslist like feature now. 

There are still many platforms geared to personal use only.  These tend to be blogs which tend to have less followers and are more about expression.  These have stayed consistent over the years as a place to write your thoughts without really caring if anyone reads them.  I remember by first social media website platform was Xanga and I would write about anything without caring if someone would "like" my post or even comment on it.  Today, there is blogger and word press which are places where people can just write.  These I feel are some of the main social media platforms geared toward personal use.

From a business perspective, there are several social media platforms that my company uses simply because it adheres to our needs.  We use Webex which is similar to Zoom or Skype and is used for virtual meetings.  We use this to share presentations and even just to connect remote employees to our in person meeting.  We also use Microsoft teams which reminds me of my old gaming IRC.  In a way it's customizable to an employee based on their "teams" and it also acts as a file sharing and instant messaging platform.  I find it useful if I need to send someone an informal message quickly opposed to sending an email.  Linkedin is another platform that is geared to business. It's one of the best ways to maintain professional networks due to the limited personal touches someone can do.  It's also a given that if someone is using Linkedin, it's for some sort of employment opportunity and so everything is professional.  I always have my Linkedin link on resumes and I utilize Linkedin for job searching and even interview preparation. 

Social media is an ever changing environment. I think there can be those focussed on personal use and business use together but there is also opportunity to have completely isolated platforms for each.  

Week 4B: Website Effectiveness

Why are they effective? What specific principles of good design do they include and why? What makes you come back again? What could be i...