The Power of Augmented Reality:

Even though we’ve seen the potential of AR to make our lives easier (in tech-focused sci-fi shows like Netlix’s Black Mirror), in the real world, a lot of the big glob...

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Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been synonymous with the worlds of gaming and entertainment over the past decade. And, while using AR has become much more mainstream, it started out as far back as 1968 as this obscure concept that people couldn’t quite get their heads around. Although, the term AR was only invented in 1990.

It is defined as “an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (like a smartphone camera)”. VR, while the more popular cousin of AR, is a more immersive technology, as it completely blocks out the physical world.

Even though we’ve seen the potential of AR to make our lives easier (in tech-focused sci-fi shows like Netlix’s Black Mirror), in the real world, a lot of the big global brands have been rapidly adopting VR in their business models. For the tech-savvy entrepreneur, this is a very exciting opportunity that’s worth investing in and following through with.

AR in the real world

The two most common kinds of AR involve location-based realities and recognition features. You can easily access these from smartphones that have GPS, cameras and several other built-in sensors. 

An example of both location and recognition-based AR is the popular gaming app Pokémon GO. Since its hyped release in mid-2016, to masses of eager fans, it has continued to grow in user, from 84 million active users in the US (its main market) at launch to over 311 million in 2020, with billions of dollars spent by users on the app.

One of the contributing factors is the rapid worldwide adoption of smartphones over the past decade with over 3.8 billion users estimated in 2021—an all-time high. This number’s expected to keep growing over the next few years.

For entrepreneurs, this is the best time to harness the power of smartphones, by exploring ways to incorporate AR into their brand strategies. Think about how you’d like to see your brand from a user’s perspective, through their phone camera.

Global impact

AR can be applied to almost every sector, healthcare, automotive, industrial and entertainment. It has had a positive impact in multiple sectors, with usage continuing to grow each year in several major economies. The gaming sector continues to have the largest AR adoption share.

The economic impact of AR is undeniable, with its usage estimated to contribute over $450 billion to global GDP by 2030. When you combine this with VR, in what is known as mixed reality, the expected impact is even higher at over $1.5 trillion by 2030. 

The US holds the lion’s share of AR adoption and spending, with AR and VR expected to boost its GDP to the tune of $537 billion by 2030. Jobs will also be impacted, with an expected boost to over 2.3 million jobs by 2030.

Regions, such as the UAE, have seen rapid adoption of AR and VR, where its GDP is expected to be boosted by $4.1 billion by 2030 while enhancing almost 43,000 jobs. There’s no denying that shifting realities will play a major role in the future of our industry.

The world is changing, so take note

Technology keeps getting better each year, with devices becoming smaller, cheaper, faster and more powerful. At the same time, content is more engaging, with ultra-fast internet speeds making sharing easier.

In addition, consumer behaviour is changing, with one global study suggesting that 76% of consumers would rather spend their money on experiences than on material things. There are two major trends happening right now:

  • Experiences are better. Consumers want to say they did something rather than bought something. They should be able to remember your brand and the connections they made with other people through the experiences you helped create.

  • Mental health awareness is growing. Around the globe, brands and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to create AR experiences that lift the moods of their consumers, to help them deal with everyday stresses, depression and anxiety.

Consumers are also becoming more socially and environmentally aware.

Benefits of AR

Technology should always be expected to solve challenges rather than be a distraction from reality. Generally, using AR should transform the organisation by cutting costs and increasing efficiency,, making life easier. Let’s take a look at some examples of where AR can be applied in the real world to solve real problems.

  • Retail convenience: For salespeople, instead of moving around with printed brochures and catalogues, they can show potential customers a 3D version of their products using AR. This is especially good for products that are hard to move around.

With AR being a mainly informative technology, customers may also benefit through seeing prices and other details of products displayed on their screen, when they walk into a store with their smart device.

  • Customised user experience: With the growing emphasis on memories over things, providing personalised experiences becomes more important. People are using AR to watch ads in real-time, or watch shows of their favourite musician, right from their kitchen.

  • Training: This can be expensive, particularly where there’s a lot of equipment involved. AR helps by cutting down the need to travel or move around medical equipment, for example. Difficult medical procedures can be practiced by trainee physicians simultaneously, with limited restrictions.

Future of AR

While AR has been incorporated in the vehicle sector (through heads-up displays in some premium cars), this trend is expected to continue in the near future with adoption becoming more mainstream. New and improved smart glasses, such as rumoured Apple AR Glasses, are expected to enter the market at more affordable prices and stand a good chance of capturing the commercial market if this comes to pass.

Smartphones are expected to continue to lead the adoption of AR as they are found in almost every pocket. Holographic AR is expected to increase, particularly in areas like education. This is useful during a global pandemic, for example, with students viewing their instructor through a compatible device. 

As we can see, the opportunities for entrepreneurs are endless through AR. If you can find a mode of application that fits your business model - the sky's the limit.

Get in touch

Want to know more about how Digital Grind can help you up your AR game and create something your consumers will love? Contact us. 


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Brandon Busuttil
10 years immersion in the marketing, events and digital sectors, accompanied by an honours degree in Marketing Management. An unmistakable passion for connecting brands and people, fuelled by an entrepreneurial ‘make–it–happen’ approach to life.

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Generally speaking, continuous process improvement (CPI) seeks to determine if an organisation’s business processes are meeting company goals. There are various tools ...

Your secret weapon in the battle for better business

No matter the size of your organisation, achieving and maintaining a high level of operational efficiency is part of the success journey. Usually, striving for efficiency means that the organisation becomes more profitable.

The most successful organisations are always trying to improve the way they operate and finding new and innovative solutions that improve performance. They know the importance of making sure they stay ahead of the competition - at every step of the way.

Generally speaking, continuous process improvement (CPI) seeks to determine if an organisation’s business processes are meeting company goals. There are various tools that are used to achieve this fast - but getting the improvement part right is a little trickier. We’ll get into this in a minute, but first, let’s look at CPI’s application in software development.

CPI in software development - The Dark Horse

For developers, CPI is an ongoing effort to improve products, services or processes through continuous testing and optimisation. This means that attention is put on making sure a business’ products are up-to-date, bug-free and secure. This process is done on a continuous basis as part of a developer’s maintenance protocols.

Changes are implemented either incrementally or in one fell swoop (also known as breakthrough improvement). The advantage of making incremental changes is that improvements are made almost as soon as they have been discovered. 

Once these have been processed, the next step is to ensure that you constantly go back to reanalyse all processes throughout the lifecycle of the project and make additional changes. This is one of the pillars of an agile environment.

Getting it right

One of the most popular CPI models used is PDCA, which stands for Plan, Do, Check, and Act. By carefully going through these steps, the ongoing cycle of continuous improvement can be achieved as the model controls and regulates the processes. 

One can also start by using business process mapping to visualise all the business processes that require monitoring and assigning responsible individuals. Below is a breakdown of the PDCA model.

  • Plan: The planning phase is the initial element in the model that sets out to identify objectives and challenges within the particular project. The problem identified would need to be solved in alignment with expected outcomes. A number of possible solutions are identified, with the most favourable solution touted first.
  • Do: The selected solution or solutions are then implemented, initially starting off on a micro scale. Data is collected for analysis purposes to measure the progress of the implemented changes. The main purpose of the Do stage is to ensure that the proposed solution is fully tested before it can be rolled out fully to the entire system. 
  • Check: The checking stage involves taking the data collected during the Do stage to compare if it matches expected outcomes. The purpose of this is to assess whether the solution was successful and if additional improvements are necessary. Any useful information that can be gathered is recorded and the Do and Check processes are repeated.
  • Act: This phase involves actual implementation after all the pros and cons of potential solutions are laid out, based on the information gathered in Do and Check stages. Any feedback received is also considered. If the solution is not as successful as initially expected, an alternative is then considered. 

Once a workable solution is implemented, it’s time to focus on the next identified urgent areas to improve and the same cycle repeats.

Why should you use CPI?

There are a host of benefits when it comes to using CPI for your brand. These ensure that the quality and integrity of the software is kept at a high level. Here are five key benefits:

  • Quicker feedback: With continuous testing, the development team is able to receive feedback on any issues that require their attention within a short timeframe. By monitoring all stages, early feedback means fewer defects are found in deployed products.
  • Cost reduction: The cost of development can skyrocket unexpectedly if errors are not monitored and resolved timeously. As fewer defects are found within products, there will be a reduction in the back-and-forth between the client and their developers, leading to the costs of development being significantly reduced.
  • Improved quality: Using CPI is one way of ensuring that the quality of the product is improved. The quality assurance process via the back-and-forth of process improvement results in better products with fewer errors. Ultimately, user experience is more pleasant leading to greater customer satisfaction.
  • Faster deployment: One major benefit of CPI is that any updates or upgrades to products can be deployed quickly, while being able to respond to industry changes more efficiently. Automated testing helps to make sure testing is constant and meticulously done. 
  • Better compliance: With continuous testing comes increased employee engagement and collaboration. As the development team becomes aligned to the software improvement process and overall organisational goals, it creates a culture of success and improved morale leading to better compliance.

CPI is a critical element of any software developer team, creating high quality products that stand the test of time while optimising business processes and achieving its goals. Standardisation is thus necessary in terms of implementation best practices.

Each improvement process needs to be thorough to maximise output and returns on investment. At Digital Grind, it's a part of who we are, as CPI and maintenance are implemented in our development projects. 

We strive to ensure that your brand receives quality outputs that are adaptable and enhanced on an ongoing basis according to evolving needs. Start a development project with us. Our team is always ready to listen.


Unleash the power of UX/UI design to create captivating software applications. Join us as we explore the principles and best practices for success.

Introduction

In this digital era, creating applications that provide exceptional user experiences is vital for business success. As businesses shift their focus towards user-centric approaches, understanding the significance of UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) becomes paramount. Join us as we embark on a journey to explore the world of UX/UI and unveil how it can take your software applications to the next level.

In this blog, we will delve into the core principles of UX/UI design, shedding light on its impact on user satisfaction, efficiency, engagement, and brand perception. By adopting best practices and learning from real-world examples, you will gain insights on how to create intuitive and visually appealing interfaces that captivate and delight your users. So, let's dive in and discover the power of UX/UI design in shaping successful software applications. Get ready to unlock the potential of user-centered design and drive your business towards a competitive advantage.

What is UX/UI?

Let's start by unraveling the world of UX/UI in software development. UX, or User Experience, encompasses the holistic experience that users have while interacting with a software application. It goes beyond aesthetics and delves into the realm of usability, accessibility, and overall satisfaction. On the other hand, UI, or User Interface, refers to the visual and interactive elements that users engage with on the software's interface.

Together, UX and UI form a dynamic duo, working hand in hand to create delightful and seamless experiences for users. UX focuses on understanding user needs, conducting research, and designing intuitive workflows that enable users to achieve their goals effortlessly. UI, on the other hand, adds the visual layer to the experience, incorporating visually appealing designs, clear navigation, and interactive elements that captivate and guide users through the application.

The significance of UX/UI in software development cannot be overstated. By prioritizing user-centered design principles, businesses can create applications that are not only visually appealing but also intuitive, efficient, and enjoyable to use. A well-crafted UX/UI design enhances user engagement, increases customer satisfaction, and ultimately drives business success.

In the following sections of this blog, we will explore the specific benefits of UX/UI in software development. From improved usability and increased conversions to enhanced brand loyalty and positive user perceptions, we will uncover how UX/UI design can elevate your software applications to new heights. So, let's dive deeper into the world of UX/UI and discover the transformative power it holds in shaping exceptional user experiences.

The Benefits of Good UX/UI in Software Development

Let's explore the transformative benefits that good UX/UI design brings to software development. When businesses invest in creating exceptional user experiences, they unlock a myriad of advantages:

First and foremost, good UX/UI design enhances user satisfaction. By crafting interfaces that are intuitive, visually appealing, and easy to navigate, businesses create an environment where users feel at ease. When users can seamlessly accomplish their tasks without encountering roadblocks or confusion, they are more likely to develop a positive perception of the brand and remain loyal customers.

Furthermore, effective UX/UI design improves usability and efficiency. By carefully organizing information, implementing clear navigation, and optimizing workflows, businesses streamline the user experience. Users can effortlessly find what they need, complete tasks efficiently, and avoid unnecessary frustrations. This not only saves their time and effort but also contributes to a more enjoyable and productive experience.

Engaging users is another key benefit of good UX/UI design. Interfaces that incorporate visually appealing designs, interactive elements, and thoughtful animations capture users' attention and entice them to explore further. These engaging experiences create memorable moments and foster a sense of connection with the application, leading to increased user engagement and prolonged usage.

Moreover, good UX/UI design reduces the learning curve for new users. When interfaces are designed with user needs in mind, they guide users through complex functionalities and features, making the onboarding process smoother and more intuitive. By providing clear instructions, visual cues, and interactive elements, businesses empower users to quickly grasp the application's capabilities and become proficient users.

Beyond the immediate impact on user experience, good UX/UI design contributes to a positive brand perception. When users have a seamless and enjoyable experience with an application, they associate that positive experience with the brand behind it. A well-crafted user interface reflects the brand's commitment to innovation, user-centeredness, and attention to detail. It reinforces trust, enhances credibility, and contributes to a strong brand image.

Good UX/UI design in software development yields significant benefits. It enhances user satisfaction, improves usability and efficiency, increases user engagement, reduces the learning curve, and shapes a positive brand perception. By investing in creating exceptional user experiences, businesses not only delight their users but also gain a competitive edge in the market. So, let's embrace the power of UX/UI design and create software applications that captivate, engage, and leave a lasting impression on users.

In the next section, we will explore some practical strategies and best practices for incorporating effective UX/UI design into the software development process. By following these guidelines, businesses can ensure that their applications not only meet user expectations but exceed them. Let's dive into the world of UX/UI design and discover how to create software experiences that truly resonate with users.

Best Practices for UX/UI in Software Development

To achieve effective UX/UI design, consider the following best practices:

  1. Conducting User Research and Gathering User Feedback: Understanding user needs and preferences is crucial for creating a successful user experience. Conduct user research, gather feedback, and perform usability testing to gain insights that inform design decisions. By involving users early in the design process, you can ensure that your application meets their expectations and addresses their pain points.
  2. Creating Intuitive and Consistent Interfaces: Consistency in visual elements, layout, and navigation across the application enhances usability. Use familiar design patterns and conventions to ensure users can quickly understand and interact with the interface. Intuitive interfaces minimize the learning curve and enable users to navigate the application with ease.
  3. Prioritizing Accessibility and Inclusivity: Consider accessibility requirements for users with disabilities, ensuring that the application is usable by a diverse range of individuals. Design interfaces that are inclusive and cater to diverse user needs. This includes providing alternative text for images, using appropriate color contrast, and supporting screen reader compatibility.
  4. Iterative Design and Continuous Improvement: Embrace an iterative design process, gathering user feedback and incorporating insights into future updates. Continuously strive for improvement to meet evolving user expectations. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your design choices and make iterative refinements to enhance the user experience.
  5. Incorporating User-Centered Design: Place users at the center of the design process. Understand their goals, behaviors, and pain points to create solutions that address their needs effectively. Involve users in design workshops, usability testing, and feedback sessions to ensure their voices are heard throughout the development process. By incorporating user feedback, you can make informed design decisions that resonate with your target audience.
  6. Streamlining Workflows and Reducing Friction: Optimize user workflows by eliminating unnecessary steps and simplifying complex tasks. Minimize cognitive load by providing clear instructions, visual cues, and error prevention mechanisms. Strive for a seamless and frictionless experience that guides users towards their desired outcomes. By reducing friction and streamlining workflows, you can enhance user satisfaction and improve overall efficiency.
  7. Adopting Responsive and Mobile-Friendly Design: With the increasing use of mobile devices, it's crucial to design interfaces that are responsive and provide a consistent experience across different screen sizes. Mobile-friendly design ensures that users can access and interact with the application seamlessly on any device. Consider the unique characteristics of mobile devices and prioritize touch-friendly elements and responsive layouts.
  8. Usability Testing and Iterative Refinement: Conduct usability testing throughout the development process to identify usability issues and areas for improvement. Gather feedback from users and iterate on the design based on their insights. Continuously refine and optimize the interface to ensure a user-centric experience. Usability testing provides valuable insights into how users interact with your application, allowing you to make data-driven design decisions.
  9. Collaboration between Designers and Developers: Foster close collaboration between UX/UI designers and developers to ensure the seamless implementation of the design. Regular communication, prototyping, and iterative feedback cycles promote a cohesive and harmonious integration of design and development efforts. By working together closely, designers and developers can create a polished and cohesive user experience that aligns with the design vision.

By following these best practices, businesses can create software applications that not only meet user expectations but also exceed them. Prioritising user research, intuitive interfaces, accessibility, iterative design, and collaboration between designers and developers leads to applications that are user-friendly, engaging, and successful in the market.

Now let’s explore real-world examples of companies that have embraced UX/UI design principles in their software development process and reaped the benefits. These case studies will provide insights into how effective UX/UI design can drive business success and deliver exceptional user experiences.

Real-world examples illustrate the impact of effective UX/UI design:

Spotify: The music streaming giant has gained popularity not only for its vast music library but also for its user-friendly interface. Its personalised recommendations and easy navigation contribute to an enjoyable and personalised user experience.

Uber: Uber revolutionised the transportation industry with its user-centric approach. Its simple and intuitive interface allows users to request rides with just a few taps, ensuring a convenient and hassle-free experience.

Apple: Known for its sleek and intuitive products, Apple has consistently prioritised UX/UI design. From the seamless interactions on their iPhones to the user-friendly interfaces of their software applications, Apple has set the standard for exceptional user experiences.

These real-world examples demonstrate the power of effective UX/UI design in driving user engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty. By prioritising user needs, creating intuitive interfaces, and delivering delightful experiences, these companies have successfully captured the hearts of their users and gained a competitive edge in their respective industries.

Incorporating best practices in UX/UI design, businesses can create software applications that not only meet user expectations but also exceed them. By investing in user research, iterative design, accessibility, and collaboration between designers and developers, companies can develop applications that resonate with their target audience, drive user engagement, and ultimately contribute to their business success.

Conclusion

In today's digital landscape, prioritising UX/UI design in software development is essential for creating applications that resonate with users. By focusing on user satisfaction, efficiency, engagement, and brand perception, businesses can differentiate themselves from the competition. Embracing best practices and learning from successful case studies, such as those of Airbnb and Slack, can inspire and guide the creation of exceptional user experiences. Digital Grind understands the value of UX/UI design and can be your trusted partner in delivering software solutions that prioritise user-centric design principles. By investing in UX/UI expertise and adopting iterative design processes, businesses can create applications that meet user expectations and drive business success. Don't underestimate the power of UX/UI in software development; prioritise it to unlock the full potential of your applications and connect with your audience on a deeper level.

When it comes to brand visibility, you can’t go wrong with a solid search strategy in place. After all, it involves small tweaks that will help users find you if and w...

When it comes to brand visibility, you can’t go wrong with a solid search strategy in place. After all, it involves small tweaks that will help users find you if and when they need to. Of course, there are other elements at play, like your marketing strategy and specific business objectives, but a universal goal is growth and awareness, and that you’ll find on the search engine results pages - if you know-how. 

Search engine optimization is split up into two main categories in terms of the logistics. The first is on the backend, where the structure of your site and aspects of your code help determine visibility and give Google the lay of the land. Typically SEO specialists need to interact with this backend to ensure that pages are structured and categorized correctly, that duplicate content is marked as “invisible” to crawlers and that the site loads quickly enough for it to be convenient to users.

These are just a few basic and oversimplified examples for context. However, you don’t need to be a fully-fledged tech expert to make a significant difference to a site’s ranking - as there’s a whole nother element to gaining search cred. 


What is on-page SEO?

On-page SEO relates to activities you can do on the front-end to improve your site’s ranking, support link-building strategies and make content more inclusive and easily indexable. It’s also a good place to create mechanisms for users to engage with what you’re publishing and be able to process it all quickly and easily.

Why is this so important? Because it helps search engines like Google and Firefox determine how relevant your content is to a specific search query, which means the people who are looking for your products and services are more likely to find you. In fact, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. (BrightEdge)

In order to start improving your presence online and making the necessary changes to become more visible, it’s important to master the basics. Here’s how: 

  • Use keywords thoughtfully: Conducting basic keyword research using a keyword planner, can give you a good indication of what users in your segment are searching for, in relation to your brand. You can use the search volumes to determine a list of keywords by priority - primary, secondary and tertiary or thematic keywords.

    These keywords go into the metadata but also have special placements in the copy, on-page. You can show topic hierarchy by using the primary keyword in the title, and first and last 100 words of the page, the secondary keyword in the first subheading, and thematic keywords sprinkled throughout.

  • Get meta: Creating metadata for your pages and posts is a good way to optimise what users see when they search for your brand pages or related keywords. In the CRM you can write custom titles and descriptions for your page, using your primary keyword which is the keyword most searched for by your audience. Descriptions are usually truncated at 155 characters, so keep them short and engaging.

    This way users are more likely to read the whole thing and click through to your site. Plus, it has the added benefit of showing Google and other search engines what the page is about, as their technology indexes keywords. If you don’t create a custom one, it will automatically showcase the first few lines of text on the page. Pro tip: keep your primary and most important keyword close to the beginning of your title and description.

  • Create scannable content for users: Search engines allocate a  readability score to content that determines how easy it is for users to consume. This is based on factors like scannability of content, sentence length, and language use.

    Optimising your pages for better readability
    means formatting your pages with subheadings and bullet points, for example, considering language use and ensuring clean, well-written copy that takes punctuation, grammar and spelling into account.

  • Be inclusive: When uploading images onto your site, you can include alt tags and captions that describe images and give them context. This serves two functions. First, it makes the images more inclusive for the visually impaired interacting with the site, as these tags and captions are read via audio channels. Secondly, it allows search engines to index the images more thoroughly and gives them a thematic context in the same ways as keywords do. From here, they can determine relevance to search queries.

  • Make it meaningful: The quality of your content is what’s going to ultimately keep readers on your page, which means fluff won’t cut it. Similarly, by linking to reputable sources you can up the credibility of your work. The key to great SEO is simply creating genuinely good content that serves a purpose and fits a theme. So allocate the necessary resources to create something that meets needs and offers the reader more than what they expected.

  • Share it: The more traffic that goes to your site, the more likely it is to rank higher in the SERPs (MTU Edu). A good way to drive traffic is through sharing your content on social channels. By adding social icons, you can also encourage users to share with their audiences, helping you generate a larger readership on your site.

All told, basic on-page search knowledge is a must-have for any marketer or creative working particularly in the digital copywriting space - but it’s also an important part of your content strategy.

Without at least some consideration for search queries, you won’t get the most value from your site, which means wasted resources, missed leads and simply taking up space online. We can help you formulate better on-page strategies and drive new business to your digital doors. Speak to us for more information.