brands

User Experience – Getting back to Basics & Filling The Gaps

  • Administrator
  • |
  • 3 August , 2016
  • |
    • 4 min read

The principle of User Experience has not changed in the past few decades; our approach to UX, on the other hand, is constantly evolving. User experience is the means, not the end to a problem; the process is never ending. The art of balancing user needs and brand message is an important element. We already have many trends rolling out in pace with the technology, and it all boils down to knowing what to use when.

Truly understanding your user

In the race to catch up with the latest trends and continuing to do what exists, we forget the most important aspect – users. It sounds like UX 101, but this is where many designs lose vision. We forget to find out what the users need and instead assume what they want. As a result, most websites look alike and most experiences feel the same.  One may argue that it is efficient and gets the job done. I agree, but what you haven’t tried out may get greater results. Grab the better one, always.

Do you really need a compulsory registration, does your customer have to go through 5 pages before buying a product, and does that information about the company founders on the home page help in any way? Your average user probably does not. The definitive answers to these can be found with some user research, but it’s important to ask these questions. One such case in point was when we designed a simple, no-scroll landing page for a real-estate client. The users had only the most important information presented to them without the frills. The main CTA on the mobile version was a callback feature, which encouraged users to drop just their numbers, without giving out much personal information in an enquiry form.

Rather than add a feature because the competitors do it or because it helps with ROI, we need to achieve the same without turning off the user. Find creative ways to add new dimensions to the user journey, a perspective for every type of user.

Satisfying the outliers

With technology advancing each day and the number of devices multiplying, we have a greater challenge to cater to every member of the community. Crafting experiences that are inclusive to all can be a challenge, and the key to achieve that is by understanding that there is no single approach to every problem.

There are plenty of avenues to bring in more users, increase conversions and make more money for the clients. The need of the hour for many businesses is to take it further and this is where UX fits in nicely. Instead of concentrating on what the majority of the customer base is thinking; we need to start looking at what the minority wants. In many mobile versions of our websites, we come across devices that are used by less than 15% of the users but we have ensured that they have a similar experience of browsing as the rest. Customizing to each device size is a little work, but it yields good results in the long run. Begin by understanding how the bottom 20% of the users behave and find ways to enhance the experience for them. Tap into all of your demographics and include the lesser-used browsers; the aim is to have a consistent user experience for all.

Personalization is important; users want to feel that businesses are directly talking to them. A good design gives them that without compromising on brand message and end-goal.

Decluttering without handholding

The last few years saw design minimalism in websites and apps – hamburger menus, single color & typeface, flat icons and hidden sections (the footer especially). This approach clearly works because the style is simple without distracting the user. It is a linear thought process, taking the users from Point A to Point B without making them think about anything else.

While minimalism will be around for a long time, it needs to be handled without being overdone. In the name of de-cluttering many websites and apps have dumbed down their journey so much that users feel powerless. No one likes to be told what to do and it is something that we should avoid. It is crucial to let the users decide how they want to fulfill their needs; the job of user experience is to ensure that the process is coherent and seamless. Gently push, don’t shove.

It can be as simple as having more options during the checkout process – can the customer continue as a guest user, can the customer login through any of social media accounts instead of a compulsory registration or Gmail signup? Test different options to see what works for your business and implement them in the longer run.

We are surrounded by best practices and latest trends that come out every week. They are good to implement but don’t get too caught up in them, always ask if it’s the right one for your user base. We need interfaces that are efficient & data-driven, not just what is in. Create memorable experiences that would bring a user back and make them remember you for a long time.


How Design Can Help Tell A Brand Story

  • Panisa Shah
  • |
  • 22 July , 2016
  • |
    • 5 min read

“Once Upon A Time…”

Those four words, when combined, either embraces nostalgia or a magical moment about to be told… a story!

Story telling has been prevalent since the days of cave writings. However, as mankind progressed, new technologies emanated; and with superhighways of online interactions, brands are constantly swimming against a ferocious tide of customer attention. In a world where information is prevalent, visual design aids to strategize further by informing, engaging and delighting the audiences.

Good content & narrative makes a story alluring but a story viscerally explained and duly designed with the right tone, signals & aesthetics amplifies the content, etching an ordinary experience into an extraordinary experience. That’s the power of visual storytelling!

Having said that, how do we strategize design in our brand’s narrative?

According to a study by Visual Teaching Alliance, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. A logically thought out visual design strategy with the right elements of photos, graphics, colors, type and videos swiftly connect the customers with the brand’s key values, garnering engagement to its true potential. However, a logical balance must be maintained in design as undue over telling the story may boomerang affecting the brand itself otherwise.

Here are some tips to help you jump-start your visual storytelling strategy.

Embrace visuals

The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. The magic is truly in the innovative use of images that reflect authenticity, cultural relevancy and real time human experiences; nurturing cascading effects amidst viewers by fermenting emotions and engagement to the story.

Most of the real estate and travel brands, for example, use visuals & images to their advantage, by taking their customers on a perspective tour of their products, amenities and the surrounding facilities. See how we leveraged the power of photography to take the consumer through a visual journey around the globe.

 

Akbar Travels #PictureYourself campaign

Use Infographics effectively

Infographics are a great way to compile information and present it in a visually and digestible format to tell a story about your brand’s journey. Infographics with compelling visuals and factual information ensues the content goes viral, enables analytical tracking and magnifies you as an expert.

View the full infographic: Housing.com/ Getinsights/ Akbar Travels

Set your color palette

Colors have the power to pitch different moods and brand values, as well as increase brand recognition by up to 80%. When used effectively, your brand’s color palette can evoke emotions nurturing your story. Are you a fun brand that wants to inspire creativity and youth? Then you may want to consider vibrant and fun colors. However, if you are a serious brand built on trust, you may want to use trustworthy colors. Playing with the same color over and again across all channels steamrolls to build a better brand connect.

  • Choose your colors in order of importance, primary color, the one which you want to be the primary voice of your brand, to the secondary palette (the ones you will use the least).
  • Choose colors that are functional and ensure good contrasting tones.
  • Use images that harmonize with your color palette.

For example, notice how google uses the primary color palette (red, blue, yellow and green) across all its imagery to reflect its playful and innovative culture.

Determine your Brand’s fonts

Further, the choice of fonts you choose also affects the way audiences perceive your brand & its personality. Consider using 2-3 fonts consistently in all channels; one for the title that should be expressive of the brand’s persona along with another easy-to-read font for the subtitle and the body copy.

Olympia #PursuitofLuxury series

In the #PursuitofLuxury series we did for a luxury real estate brand, Olympia, notice how we paired a sans serif font for the body copy with a script font for the title to add to the premium feel of the brand.

Elevate with the right filters and effects

Enhancing images with tints, vibrancy, saturation, hues or blurring will set the mood for the story giving it a unique look/feel that can reinforce the brand’s culture. Most importantly the filters must have the same synchrony to other elements as per your style guide.

Take a look at how we used the vintage time lapse effect to illustrate how luxury transcends time.

Olympia’s #LuxuryTranscendsTime series

Keep the Brand layout consistent

Ensure the position, size of logo, tagline and other brand visuals remain consistent. While using them over images, ensure that it can offset against its background.

Templatize to get recognized

Creating templates for campaigns will efficiently brand a story. Notice how weekly recipes posts on social media for On1y, a gourmet herbs and spices brand has the similar format which includes the brand colors, fonts, title, images and name. Such consistent elements ties each post together rousing the campaign’s cognizance.

Personalize your strategy

Embrace the special features, capabilities and audience demographics of videos, vine videos, gifs and memes to foster different types of engagement.

The vine video by Dunkin Donuts, where coffee and lattes represent football players is a fine example of how vine videos can be used to garner virality.

Give it a human touch

Adding a name and face in the form of characters or mascots to your brand story adds life to the narrative ensuring authenticity. A simple cartoon, illustration, hand sketches or animated short films can highlight the storyline while also sharing information about your brand.

In an innovative way to communicate the company’s heritage, Murugappa Group compiled a series of live sketched #SayingItSimply videos; followed by a social strategy designed to foster engagement.

Spice up your Brand’s online presence

The timeline cover photo provides for a good amount of real estate to capture due attention from social media followers like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc. The online social space provides for a good amount of real estate to visually pitch your brand story.

The power of design in storytelling is no fairy tale. The race to get customer attention is on, and your brand’s visual voice is what will get your brand noticed. So put a strong visual story for your brand, if you want your business to have a happy ending.


Top Websites for Buying Royalty Free Images in India

  • Nandita Raman
  • |
  • 6 May , 2016
  • |
    • 3 min read

Have you written a blog post or a great story but have no idea where to look for pictures to accompany the same? Or are you looking for some high quality images for your design project?  Well, worry not! We have put together a list of best websites for buying royalty free images in India.

Images Bazaar

Owned by Mash Audio Visuals Private Limited, Images Bazaar provides creative professional images under different categories. Founded by Sandeep Maheshwari, Images Bazaar has the world's largest collection of Indian images, with over 10 lakh photographs, videos, illustrations and 3D imagery shot by over 10,400 photographers.

Photoconcierge

Bangalore based Photoconcierge is a collaborative digital marketplace for photographs, illustrations and videos. The company provides a stock repository of photos, vectors and videos to marketers and individuals. With a wide range of photographs and network, the company is a perfect resource-pool to help you find photographs that match your every need.

Photosindia

Photosindia.com is a premier stock image agency that combines the entire processes of stock photography to bring you high quality and wide variety of pictures. With a team of highly enthusiastic and creative visualizers, photographers, software professionals, photosindia is a one stop solution for all your image requirements.

Thinkstock

Thinkstock offers user generated premium royalty-free images, vectors and illustrations selected from Getty Images, iStock and other worldwide image partners. The unique thing about Thinkstock images is that you can download and use any image at any file size without affecting your price. It is also the only subscription that offers images from over 40 collections.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock is the largest and most exciting platform for creative professionals to license content - including images, videos and music - as well as innovative tools that power the creative process. Founded in 2003 by Jon Oringer, they have millions of royalty free tock photos, illustrations, and vectors for all your needs.

Imagedb

Imagedb has a collection of high quality, diverse range of over 80,000 Indian stock images. Apart from this, Imagedb also has footage and other services including image key wording, retouching, masking or clipping path, Image filterization etc. The company also arranges for commercial shoots for clients, depending on their needs.

FreeDidgitalPhotos.net

FreeDigitalPhotos.net offers pictures and illustrations for free of charge, for business, personal, charitable or educational use. The pictures that are available for free are small in size however, the website also lets you download larger size images but it comes with a cost. Once you have chosen the image you want, the portal lets you download them without even registering.

ImagesKart

 ImagesKart was founded to provide advertising and communication agencies visual content key to researching, purchasing, and downloading of Indian Images. The company has more than 5000 contributors spread across India and aboard.

Unsplash.com

Unsplash provides free and high-resolution photos that have been submitted, free of any usage restrictions, by established and up and coming photographers. Every 10 days, 10 new images are added to the website. All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero so you can copy and modify them at your will.

IndiaPhotoStock

IndianPhotoStock has a unique mix of stock images and fine art photography by Sanjay Marathe. The website hosts more than 20,000 images of India and USA and has pictures of travel, monuments, people, culture, festivals, infrastructure, agriculture, cities, villages, rural life and many more subjects.

Getty Images

An American stock image company, Getty Images has an archive of over 80 million images and illustration and more than 50,000 hours of stock film footage. They have a large central repository online where you can browse for images and buy the rights. Cost of the images varies from the size and resolution of the image. Apart from this they also offer custom photo services for their corporate clients.

Dreamstime

 Dreamstime is one of India’s leading stock image companies that provide high quality digital images and illustrations at an affordable price. Currently the website has around 15,000,000 registered members, more than 300,000 contributing photographers and over 44,000,000 photos, illustrations, cliparts and vectors.

StockImagebank

If you are looking for Indian contemporary stock images, then Stockimagebank is the place to go.  The company provides high quality images to agencies such as JWT, O&M, Leo Burnette, Lowe Lintas and clients such as Sony, Microsoft, Nestle, P&G in India & across the globe.

Dinodia

Dinodia has all pictures relating to India including historic pictures from 1980 onwards. They also house, paintings, illustrations, black and white images and contemporary color images. With a total archive of over 50 million images online, Dinodia, paintings, illustrations, black and white images and contemporary color images. They also have over 100 contributors who take pictures for clients in case they don’t have images a particular client is looking for.

Think we have missed out something? Let us know by leaving a comment!


E-Commerce Product Photographers in Bengaluru

  • Varun
  • |
  • 24 April , 2015
  • |
    • 3 min read

The way products are displayed online creates a great brunt on the buying choice of a customer. Amateur looking photographs can destroy a consumer’s expectations and trust on the website or the brand.  E-commerce websites need to display visually appealing products that will influence the customer to buy it from them, rather than making them prefer a brick and mortar store.

Business owners have spent a lot of money on building websites, hiring secured payment channels and other facilities. As a part of this checklist, it is time for them to look for people who would start taking photographs of their products and display on the website, in the most appealing way.

Here is a list of some top eCommerce Product Photographers and Studios in Bangalore.

G16 Studios
G16 Studios is one of the leading e-commerce product photography studios in Bangalore. They work with top Indian E-Commerce websites like Zara.com, HM.com & Mango.com. They have an exclusive approach to product photography and organize models from across the world for photo shoots. In addition to their photography services, the studio also helps large volume businesses to set up their own photography studio. This move is said to bring down the production cost by 60%. Contact: Abhijeet Sojwal +91-9886652280

Aroun Kesavaraj
Aroun Kesavaraj is one of the most acclaimed professional photographers in India. With over a decade of photography experience, he has worked with Prasad studios (Prasad SFX) under various projects. He is also an Auto-desk Combustion certified professional. Widely known for his commercial and professional portrait photography skills, Aroun has a keen eye for detail and exquisite visual language. This makes him a natural choice for product photography. Contact: Aroun at +91-9900001943

Kiran Nama
An architect turned photographer, Kiran Nama is first in the city to start the digital photographic trend. He is a renowned product photographer who has closure with various high profile clients. He is much interested in trying out new things and hence does not practice single photography style, but most of his works are as a product photographer. Contact Kiran: +91-9845255406

Jaggi
Experimenting with still life and lifestyle photography, Jaggi has been stinking awe and wowing clients as an advertising photographer since 2000. He brings a unique combination of skills to photography and is one of the most technically savvy and aesthetically inclined photographers in the industry .He also has the penchant being a virtual one-stop show when it comes to recreating, fabricating, or improvising with products, props or background, including pre and post production. His skills are admired and are proved to be very effective in product photography. Contact Jagadeesh +91-9845054400

Purnendu Bala
With over 6 years of experience as a photographer, Purnendu Bala owns an eminent fashion photography studio. While his expertise lies on his specialized skills required to groom a model's personality, Purnendu also excels in product photography dedicated to provide professional level of quality of work which not only reach your business to your audience but give you Return on Investment. Contact Purnendu: +91 8147872032

Full House Labs
Established in the year 2012, Full House Labs is a media content production house started its operations to provide quality media ingredients for business promotion. The production house is a pool of innovative freelancers working on advertisements and social media branding. They also have a team of expert photographers and editors who work on product photography for Ecommerce websites, in which they are a prodigy at. Contact them at +91-7411167810

Have we missed any other Product Photographers in our list?
Do write to us or share their details in the ‘Comments’ section below.


The Madras Song

  • Vikas Chawla
  • |
  • 18 August , 2014
  • |
    • 1 min read

In 1639, a Nayak ruler handed over a small strip of land to the East India Company to build its trading warehouse. Little was known that it would lay the foundation for one of the historic cities of India in years to come.

22nd August, 2014 would mark the 375th anniversary of Chennai, earlier known as Madras. As part of the 375th anniversary celebrations, the Murugappa group has launched the #TheMadrasSong to celebrate the occasion & give a fitting tribute to the history, tradition, and culture of this city.

Check out the song that captures the soul of Madras:

In fact, the Murugappa group has planned a notable month-long campaign to celebrate the 375th year with already underway contests such as #FavMadrasMemory Map & photo contest, daily Madras trivia and the upcoming Murugappa Madras Quotient Quiz 4th edition on 6th September.

#FavMadrasMemory Map app that asks people to mark the spots that has given them their fondest Madras memory, has turned out to be very popular among the citizens here. It gives them a chance to reflect back to the memorable times spent in the city.

This is the time to be in Madras and enjoy the city at its best. Umpteen other events have been planned across the city such as quizzes, heritage walks, photo exhibitions, lectures, etc. Social Beat is proud to be associated with the #Madras375 Celebrations.


Amazon Prime Air : A Revolution in Online Shopping

  • Rohit Uttamchandani
  • |
  • 4 December , 2013
  • |
    • 3 min read

It’s one of those lazy Sundays. You’re surfing e-commerce sites for those lovely pair of shoes you’ve always wanted. You find them! You can’t resist placing the order. Less than thirty minutes later, you hear that familiar buzzing noise outside your door. You’re overjoyed – you’re shoes have already arrived, drone-delivered. Sounds like a scene from a Science fiction movie? Not really. And, you can go ahead and pinch yourself too, because is this is no dream either. Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos has revealed yesterday that they are developing a drone-based delivery system called Amazon Prime Air, the goal of which is to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones.

As soon as your order is placed, it is packed in record time in one of Amazon’s 96 massive warehouses worldwide, also known as fulfillment centers - each about 1.2 million square feet in area – the size of 20 football fields! These will then be put on a delivery carousel from where they will be picked up by the drones – eight rotor helicopters which Bezos calls an “octocopter."  These will then be instructed to deliver at designated GPS co-ordinates. They will be able to deliver within a 10 km radius and safely carry about 5 pounds in weight, which as per Bezos, accounts for about 86 percent of the items Amazon delivers.

This delivery system could account for massive reductions in Carbon emissions by reducing the number of delivery trucks doing the rounds. Further, they use electric motors which make them even greener.

However, for those of you expecting to be drone-delivered your orders tomorrow, Bezos says it will take a few, maybe four or five, years. The project is still on the anvil in Amazon’s next-generation R&D lab and has just about entered the experimental stage. In an interview to CBS’s 60 minutes, Bezos said the company is still working on redundancies and reliabilities and  the systems required to ensure that mishaps like the drone landing on somebody’s head while they’re walking around the neighborhood don’t happen. Get a sneak peek of Amazon Prime Air in the video below.

Apart from this, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations currently prohibit use of drones for commercial purposes. However, these are expected to change when a new set of rules for unmanned aircraft come into place by 2015. Security implications will have to be considered too. But Bezos is optimistic, telling 60 minutes, “Could it be, you know, four, five years? I think so. It will work, and it will happen, and it's going to be a lot of fun.”

Amazon is a pioneer in the field of e-commerce and has been the poster boy of e-commerce success ever since its inception almost two decades ago. Known for its innovative ways and attempts to streamline their processes and ensure the best service, this new innovation from the Amazon stable comes as no surprise. Also, coming within just a few days of Operation Blue Virus exposing the misuse of Social Media for nefarious reasons; drones, earlier synonymous with attacks causing death and destruction, now being used to make life easier and more convenient just goes to reiterate the fact that any technological advancement, used correctly, responsibly and ethically can be used to work wonders.


Brands make the best use of IPL cricket connect

  • Vikas Chawla
  • |
  • 9 April , 2013
  • |
    • 1 min read

This IPL dozens of brands are making the best IPL and the connect with cricket on social media. Rajasthan Royals recently teamed up with Operation Smile India, which provides free surgery to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities in children.

The company decided to use the power of social media to drive social change. Through a campaign developed by Ogilvy India, consumers are exhorted to express support for the cause by tweeting. The goal is to reach one million tweets by April 30. Though the company is in talks to bring corporates on board to help with funds, and is engaging with telecom majors to monetise the tweets, its first priority is the mass awareness of cleft deformity and available medical solutions. Besides Twitter and Facebook, YouTube and other platforms are in use.

Corporates are adding cricketers to the social media mix. Virender Sehwag wearing corrective prescription glasses attracted immense attention late February in Bangalore, during the Australia tour of India. Godrej Consumer Products used social media for its Cinthol brand.

The best case study is probably that of hashtag (#InViratsHead) which invited Indian cricket fans to answer what was going on in Virat’s head. Within three hours and without any media spends, the hashtag was trending worldwide. In just one day, the campaign generated 7,000 tweets and had 400+ followers in a five-hour time frame. The current reach: over 730,000. The campaign has reinstated the power of social media.

You can read the full article by Business Line here.


WE MEAN GOOD BUSINESS