Gone for Good makes giving items to charity as easy as using Uber


You know those old clothes, DVDs or books you’ve been meaning to give away to charity? I bet you haven’t done it, because it’s such a hassle when you’ve got other priorities in life. An app called Gone for Good means that if you’re in the UK, you no longer have an excuse – it’s basically ‘Uber for charity.’ The iOS and Android app allows you to take pictures of items you want to give away and select the charity you want to donate them to. That charity then comes and picks it up from you to sell it a local…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web http://thenextweb.com/apps/2016/04/30/gone-for-good/

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This Week in Social: The Latest News, Trends and 5 Eye-Opening Stats You May Have Missed

The social media world moves incredibly fast and to help you stay up to date, we thought we’d round up some of the latest news, trends, research, and statistics that caught our attention this week.

From Twitter redefining itself and some big news from Facebook to new features on Pinterest and Periscope, it’s been an exciting week.

Let’s get started!

pablo (51)

What’s new in social this week

Facebook reaches 1.65 billion monthly users

facebook-mau

In its Q1 2016 earnings report, Facebook announced it has now reached. 1.65 billion monthly users. That figure means Facebook grew 3.7%, from 1.59 billion monthly users last quarter (Q4, 2015).

The social network’s daily active user count has also grown significantly. It reached 1.09 billion daily active users in Q1, compared to 1.04 billion in Q4 2015, a 4.8% increase.

fb-dau

Twitter is no longer a social network

Highly alert Twitter users noticed it’s now categorizing itself very differently. In an update on April 28th, Twitter now sits in the News category rather than Social Networking.

This change moves Twitter away from apps like Snapchat, Facebook and Messenger in the App Store and the switch also boosted the app to the #1 spot in the News category (it was previously sat 6th in Social Networking).

twitter

Ranking #1 in a category could be a nice boost for Twitter, and could help attract new users who want to keep up with the latest news on mobile. Being ranked #1 will also help with App Store visibility and could lead to more organic downloads.

Could this be a sign of a significant shift for Twitter? Or maybe an experiment to see how App Store categories and rankings affect downloads? Keeping an eye on this over the coming weeks will be interesting.

Video consumption on Snachat has doubled

Daily video views on Snapchat have now hit 10 billion. TechCruch reports that the new numbers represent a 150% increase in video consumption on Snapchat in just under a year.

In February 2016, Snapchat reported 8 billion daily video views and in November 2015, 6 billion views. That’s incredible growth.

Pinterest Featured Collections

pinterest

Pinterest has released Featured Collections, a way to keep tabs on trending topics and content. Every day, the brands, celebrities, and influencers, and Pinterest’s own editor’s will curate popular pins, users, boards, and searches within Featured Collections.

The Featured Collections will be localized to the UK, France, Germany, Brazil, and Japan, further strengthening the network’s relationship with international users.

Periscope launches sketch feature and deeper analytics

Periscope have released a fun, new sketch feature for their iOS app.

The feature enables you to draw anything you’d like over your live stream video, and anything you sketch will vanish after a few seconds.

The sketch feature is accompanied by an update to Periscope’s analytics within their iOS app. Broadcasters can now see how many people have tuned in and when they were watching.

periscope

YouTube announces 6-second ad format

This week, YouTube announced a new ad format dubbed “bumper ads.”  Bumper ads are 6 seconds long and can not be skipped by users.

The ads will be sold through the AdWords auction on a CPM basis. According to Google and YouTube Bumper ads are ideal for driving incremental reach and frequency, especially on mobile, where “snackable videos” perform well.

“In early tests, Bumpers drove strong lift in upper funnel metrics like recall, awareness, and consideration,” they explain in a blog post.

Here’s an example Bumper Ad (h/t to TNW for this one):

5 Eye-opening trends and stats

1. 46% of Snapchat users are 18-24

Using Comscore’s latest report, FastCompany put together a fascinating interactive chart which highlights how Snapchat dominates social media for millennial users.

snapchat

2. 45% of Instagram’s top advertisers are startups

A new report from analytics company Sensor Tower discovered that roughly 45% of Instagram’s top app advertisers collected venture-capital funding in the past year.

The study also found that 65% of advertisers on Pinterest were e-commerce companies or shopping apps.

3. Only 2% of users opt out of Twitter’s algorithm based timeline

In February, Twitter made switched on their “Best Tweets first” timeline for all users. Since then, less than 2% of users have switched off the feature according to Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey.

Tweets, Retweets, replies, and likes have increased for users with the new timeline, though Twitter is yet to reveal the exact figures.

Here’s a full quote from Twitter’s Q1 shareholder letter:

The enhanced timeline we launched this quarter is a great step forward, improving both speed and relevance. For users with the new timeline, we’ve seen increases in Tweets, Retweets, replies, and likes, a sign that it improves people’s experience on Twitter. Although people can still opt out if they wish, the opt-out rate is extremely low (about 2%).

4. People spend 50 minutes per day on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram

Facebook’s aim of building a family of apps seems to be showing some success. In Facebook’s Q1 2016 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg said:

Today, people around the world spend on average more than 50 minutes a day using Facebook, Instagram and Messenger…and that doesn’t count WhatsApp.”

This figure is up from 2014 when Zuckerberg said American users spent 40 minutes per day on its service.

5. Four-fifths of Facebook ad revenue comes from mobile

The Facebook Q1 2016 earnings opened up a ton of interesting insights. But one that caught my eye is just how much revenue Facebook are driving from mobile ads.

Overall, Facebook’s ad revenue jumped 57% in the first quarter to $5.2 billion, up from $3.3 billion in Q1 2015. What’s more impressive is that four-fifths of that ad revenue comes from mobile advertising sales.

Over to you

I hope you found this roundup useful, and I’d love to know if there’s anything I missed. Have any social media stats caught your eye this week? Have you noticed any new features in your favorite social networks and apps?

I’d also love to know if you’d enjoy reading a weekly roundup like this every Friday? Let me know in the comments.

The post This Week in Social: The Latest News, Trends and 5 Eye-Opening Stats You May Have Missed appeared first on Social.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/this-week-in-social

Do Video Backgrounds Hurt or Help Your Website’s UX?

websiteux111

Many top-ranked websites and brands unrolled video backgrounds in 2015, and as a modern website design trend, it might be one of the more popular options during that year. But while video backgrounds might look cool, there might be some very significant UX reasons to keep them off websites. So before you follow the herd and add background videos to some of your website’s pages, consider the following pros and cons.

websiteux111

Con: Video Slows Down a Website

Visitors are incredibly likely to click away from slow pages, and even just a few milliseconds of added load time can increase your website’s bounce rate. Sure, there are a few tricks which can help you mitigate how slow adding background videos make your website, but at the end of the day, it will likely still be slower.

Con: Video Can Be Distracting

If there’s a lot of text to read on a website to explain what it’s about, having a large video can be distracting, and take up so much space above the fold that readers need to scroll to see what your website is about, or what it’s offering. As more and more website visitors are coming from mobile devices, this can be another hassle which causes them to click away. To help a video be less distracting, ensure that it’s just a short loop, 30 seconds or less, and remove the appearance of the video controls!

Con: Poor Contrast With Callout Text

Especially if you’re using rich video, callout or headline text can become more difficult to read when it’s placed over video content. If you do decide to use a video, ensure that it’s one on which your callout text contrasts well and really “pops”. An easy way to accomplish this is to put a color overlay atop the video.

Con: Irritating Audio

Especially if someone comes to your website on a mobile device, surprise auto-starting audio can be embarrassing! Always make certain that a video’s audio function is muted when you embed it. And if a video absolutely needs sound, make certain that audio must be engaged by the visitor.

websiteux1111

Pro: Communicates Complex Topics

Videos can be used to communicate complex topics well, or to demonstrate a great experience. A great use of using video to accomplish this is to use a short video to show how one might use the service your website is advertising, or to show panning shots of what your website is about. This is particularly great for experiential marketing. Most website visitors far prefer watching an informative video to reading informative text.

Pro: SEO Value

Especially if the video is produced in-house and cross-posted on different video sharing sites, videos can have a significant SEO value. That value is magnified the more views that video has, so promoting your video on a page that many visitors can see can have an impressive positive effect. You can compound that by posting the video transcript using services like Speechpad and Verbalink.

Pro: Cutting Edge Design

Many visitors believe that video backgrounds are cutting-edge (no matter how easy they are to technically implement) so it can translate to a positive brand experience. Trust in a website and brand is one of the number one reasons which visitors do (or don’t) engage, and videos are a powerful way to establish your brand as forward-thinking and tech-savvy.

websiteux11

Always Test Your Implementation

Whether you’re thinking of adding new opt-in functions, background video, or a new style of landing page, at the end of the day you should always split-test the change before fully implementing it across your website. If you think that using background videos might do well by your website, design specific alternate pages to test and promote, and see how your own visitors respond.

 

 

 

 

Read More at Do Video Backgrounds Hurt or Help Your Website’s UX?

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/video-backgrounds-hurt-help-websites-ux/

Adobe Illustrator Tips for Beginners Based on a Newbie Experience

00_Panel

Learning a new tool or software could be quite an overwhelming experience for a beginner. It is not like old days were there were few known softwares with limited functionalities, and a newbie could easily get a step-by-step tutorial to master them.

With hundreds of apps and a wide range of client requirements, it is sometimes quite perplexing for a beginner to figure out where to start, what to learn and what they are allowed to skip.

In the case of Adobe Illustrator, there are so many things to learn and master, but I have some tips and tricks rolled up my sleeves that could take you through a quick road (a short-cut course) to understanding Adobe Illustrator.

Master the Pen ToolILLUSTRATORS_PEN_TOOL

The Pen Tool could be a little bit daunting if you are a newbie. But as they say, a pen is mightier than the sword, Adobe Illustrator proves it right! It will take you a little while to master it, but once you have, you can do anything in the Illustrator. You can come up with some pretty neat vector graphics without using this tool, but I would recommend pushing yourself and learning it. It would be worth it, I promise!

Go for Clipping Masks

Clipping masks have multiple uses, and in many instances they are a life saver. They save time and limit a group of shapes, paths, patterns, or whatever you need to limit, to a specific area.

Learn Pathfinder Panel00_Panel

If you are required to create shapes that are made out of other shapes, this panel has a lot of options that enable you to create the shape you need. It is highly useful in flat designs and basic shapes.

Once you become a pro at it, you could take one step more and try learning the Shape Builder Tool.

Make Customized Brushes

Adobe Illustrator helps you make your own brushes and use them like you want to.

Go for Layers Panel ZenLayers

Being organized is a big plus when it comes to managing work, and Layers Panel Zen lets you have a fuss-free design. You can name your layers and remove the colors and resources that are no longer used in the file. It may not directly benefit the user (unless you are delivering the vector file as an end-result), it is highly recommended to organize your vector files and have a cleaner look at layers.

Explore Swatch Libraries

Download Material Design Swatches For Photoshop and Illustrator

The Swatch Libraries come with all versions of Adobe Illustrator. It makes you fall in love with colors – you can select skin tone palettes to cool textures. Just go to the Swatches Panel, into the drill-down menu. From there select Open Swatch Library and voila!

Learn Pattern Options:add_pattern_options

Pattern options are fun, even if you don’t use them too often, it is good to know about them. There are a lot of cool things you can do with a pattern option. How about creating your own textures? There is a high probability that once you get the hang of it, you won’t feel like leaving it. Learning them will surely bump up your Adobe Illustrator skills.

Save your Vector:

As obvious as this may sound, saving your vector for the web is something that is often lightly taken. It is a simple two-step procedure that many of newbies often mess up with.

  1. The artboard needs to expose all the artwork you want to save. Use the Artboard Tool (Shift – O) to achieve this.
  2. Go to File and then Save for Web. Select the type of file (jpg, png, gif, etc) and done!

 

Don’t lose hope

This may sound like a generic tip (and it really is), but for the newbies who want to learn Adobe Illustrator, this is something that needs to be constantly kept in mind. Getting into vector art is something that’s pretty cool and creative, but it requires determination and patience to learn any new skill.

There will be times when you would question your decision to get into Adobe Illustrator, and then there would be moments when you feel like banging your head on the keyboard. But then, there will also be those moments of glory when you finally achieve learning a panel or saving a basic vector, and it would give you nothing but motivation to move on.

Welcome help

This last tip is something that makes you learn and evolve. It is okay to ask for help when things don’t go your way. Check out online communities, blogs and social media to learn more about Adobe Illustrator. Vector art has grown in the past many years and is still growing.

With these above mentioned 10 tips for beginners using Adobe Illustrator, you can definitely learn a new tool without getting frustrated with the amount of random information you see online. A new skill is always good, and this one will definitely help you in the long run.

 

Olympia Powell is the freelance writer, artist and web promoter.  Started working as a freelance writer cause of huge  love for the  art of writing and literature. Works as a website promoter and a writer at Essay-writer.club  Having some free time paints paintings, works with ceramics and just tries to make some art.  Twitter ID: @olympia_powell

Read More at Adobe Illustrator Tips for Beginners Based on a Newbie Experience

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/adobe-illustrator-tips-for-beginners-based-on-a-newbie-experience/

How to Create the Perfect Facebook Page for Your Business: The Complete A to Z Guide

Facebook now has over 1.65 billion monthly active users. And as small business owners and brand managers, there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to reach and connect with your target audience through Facebook.

Great! So where should you start? And is there an easy blueprint to follow?

From creating our Facebook Business page to posting several hundred times over the past few years, we’ve experimented a lot with various Facebook marketing tips and have enjoyed figuring out the best way to create and manage our Facebook page here at Buffer. I’d love to share with you how the process has worked so far from start until now!

Since things continue to change regularly with Facebook and its algorithm, consider this A to Z guide as a great jumping off point for creating a Facebook business page and growing your audience. Start here, test what works for your individual business and brand, and make changes as you learn.

How to Create a Facebook Business Page in 5 Simple Steps

Creating a Facebook Business Page, Facebook, Facebook Business, Facebook Page

Step 1: Fill out your basic business info

Open the following URL to create a business page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

Once there, you’ll choose one of the following six categories for your page:

  1. Local business or place
  2. Company, organization, or institution
  3. Brand or product
  4. Artist, band, or public figure
  5. Entertainment
  6. Cause or community

facebook create a page

Keep in mind that you can change the category and name later on if needed.

Also, at this stage, it might be helpful to know that a physical address figures prominently in the setup of a local business or place, and the actual Facebook page will appear differently as well.

Here’s the look for a local business:

facebook page business example

Here’s the look for a company or brand:

facebook page company example

It’s something to think about when choosing a category.

Following the category selection, the next setup screen will ask for a descriptive sentence or two about your page, a URL, a Facebook page URL, and a profile picture. If you’ve selected a local business, you’ll also have the ability to select category tags to further define what your store sells.

About your page – You get 155 characters to describe your page. This description appears prominently near the top of your Facebook page on both desktop and mobile. Be as descriptive and helpful as possible.

URL – The web address for your store, company, or brand.

Facebook URL / username – You may have the option to choose a custom vanity URL for your page, i.e. facebook.com/yourbrandname.

(Facebook will ask that you reach 25 fans first before you can unlock a custom Facebook URL)

Profile picture – Upload a main profile picture/icon for your page. This photo will appear as your icon every time you comment on a post or publish in a news feed. Square dimensions are best. Facebook will force rectangular photos to be cropped to squares.

Profile pictures should be at least 180 pixels wide by 180 pixels tall. Here is a full list of the sizes that Facebook uses for your profile picture in various places around the site:

  • The main profile image on your page – 160 x 160
  • In a news feed – 100 x 100
  • In your timeline – 86 x 86
  • Next to comments – 43 x 43

The final two steps in the setup process include adding your page to your main Facebook menu (so you can access it quickly and easy each time you log in) and setting up a Facebook ad to promote your new page. These options can be skipped for now.

Step 2: Create an awesome cover image in a snap (no designer required!)

facebook cover image size

By this point, your page is live for all the world to visit. Let’s see if we can make it look even snazzier.

First thing, add a cover photo. The cover photo appears across the top of your page and is a great opportunity to deliver a visual element that supports your branding, draws attention, or elicits emotion from your visitors. 

A note on ideal Facebook cover photo size and dimensions: 

Facebook cover photos appear at 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall on desktop, however, Facebook crops out some of each cover photo on mobile devices. It specifically strips out 144 pixels off the right and left sides of the image.

Therefore, Facebook cover photo dimensions are 851 x 315px, but only the center 563 x 315px portion of the picture appears on mobile.

You can certainly hire a designer to make you something fabulous, or you can go the DIY route. Many photo editing apps like Pic Monkey or BeFunky can help with creating images of just the right dimensions. If you’re a Photoshop user, we’ve created a couple of Facebook cover photo templates that might be helpful. Canva is another super helpful tool for Facebook cover photos as it comes with several premade templates that look great right out of the box.

Here’s an example of a Canva template you could choose. You can upload your own image to use as the background, and you can edit the text to say whatever you’d like. If you’re looking for high-quality image options, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite sources for free social media images.

Canva template

Once you have created your cover image, upload it to your page by clicking on the “Add a Cover” button.

add a cover facebook page

If you happen to upload an image that isn’t quite the exact dimensions of the Facebook cover, you’ll have a chance to move and edit the image to fit the available window. When you’re happy with the final look, you can click “Save Changes,” and you’ll be set!

Facebook cover example

Here’s a pro tip: When you upload a cover photo to your page, the photo is added as an update to your timeline. If you edit the description of the photo, you can add a message to the update. Click on the photo to open up the photo viewer, and you’ll notice a link that says “Add a description.”

facebook image add description

You can add description, tags, location, and date to your photo. Once you’ve finished, the update to your timeline will be changed to reflect your edits.

facebook cover custom update

Step 3: Fill out your profile completely

Next, you can fill out your profile even more by adding information to your Page Info section. To access this section, click on Settings in the top menu bar on your page, then click Page Info.

page info facebook

Your name and category will be filled in already. Some of the most helpful bits of information to add next might be:

Start Info – You can choose when your company or product was founded, created, started, or launched. This information will appear on the history timeline to the right of your page’s feed and as an update at the very bottom of your main feed.

Address – Enter this if you want people to be able to check in via Facebook when they’re near your place.

Long description & Mission – Add additional details that explain your business or brand even further. This is a great way to go beyond the 155 character description that appears on the main page.

Phone number / Email address – Add additional contact information.

All of these details will appear on the About tab of your Facebook page.

example about section facebook

Step 4: Add collaborators to your page

If you plan on sharing your Facebook marketing duties with a team, you’ll want to grant access for various folks and various roles.

Here are the roles that you can choose from:

Admin – Complete and total access to everything (you are an admin by default)

Editor – Can edit the Page, send messages and post as the Page, create Facebook ads, see which admin created a post or comment, and view insights.

Moderator – Can respond to and delete comments on the Page, send messages as the Page, see which admin created a post or comment, create ads, and view insights.

Advertiser – Can see which admin created a post or comment, create ads and view insights.

Analyst – Can see which admin created a post or comment and view insights.

To add collaborators, go to your page settings and the “Page Roles” section. You can type in the name of any Facebook friend or person who has liked your page. Alternately, you can type in an email address associated with a Facebook account.

Step 5: Publish your first post

Add content to your page by publishing a post—a status update, a link, a photo, a video, an event, or a milestone. New, fresh content on your page will make it look all the more enticing once new visitors come over to check it out.

Keep in mind that visual content does exceedingly well and that Facebook is now ranking Live Video higher in people’s news feeds.

Here’s a telling graphic from a BuzzSumo study showing how Facebook posts with images receive 2.3x more engagement than those without photos.

Facebook, Facebook Engagement, Facebook Marketing, Facebook Pages

And there you have it!

Your Facebook Business page is up and ready to deliver awesome content to your fans and grow into something wonderful.

Read on to learn more about growing your Facebook page and posting best-practices!

How to gain your first 100 fans to your Facebook page

The temptation might be to share your Facebook page right away with all your Facebook friends. Not so fast. Take a moment to think strategically about your plan and to seed your page with content so that it looks inviting and engaging when visitors do stop by.

Publish three to five posts before you invite anyone. 

Then try out one of these strategies to get to your first 100 fans.

Invite your Facebook friends

Facebook has a built-in feature to tell your Facebook friends about your page. Click on the Build Audience link in the top right corner of your page, and choose Invite Friends from the dropdown.

Facebook page setup

You can then pick and choose which friends you’d like to invite, and you can drill down into specific sections of friends, filtered by location, school, lists, and recent interactions.

Once invited, your friends will receive a direct message with an invitation to your page. You won’t have a chance to edit the message they receive.

Invite your coworkers

One of the best sources of social media promotion for your company could very well be your coworkers. Ask everyone who works with you to like the page and—if willing—to recommend the page to any friends who might be interested.

Promote your Facebook page on your website

Facebook offers a full complement of widgets and buttons that you can add to your website to make it easy for website visitors to like your page.

One of the most ubiquitous plugins is the Facebook Page Plugin. With Page Plugin, you can easily embed and promote any Facebook page without visitors ever having to leave your website.

Facebook Page Plugin, Page Plugin, Facebook

Promote your Facebook page in your email signature

One of the most visible places you might find to promote your page is in your inbox. Edit your email signature to include a call-to-action and link to your Facebook page.

signature

Hold a contest

Facebook contests can be huge for gaining likes on your page. Two of the best apps for creating contests are ShortStack & Gleam which help you create custom campaigns to drive Likes to your page (or email capture or fan engagement or any number of different ideas you might have).

What to post and when to post it

In general, there are three main types of posts you’re likely to publish on your Facebook feed:

  • Photo/video
  • Text update
  • Links

As mentioned above, posts with photos garner 2.3x more engagement than posts without photos. 

Definitely make visual content a huge part of your Facebook strategy as well as your larger social media marketing plan.

As far as the frequency with which to post, Facebook’s algorithm changes have made research into the topic rather difficult. The consensus seems to be to experiment as much as possible. As often as you have fresh, compelling content to share on Facebook, give it a try. Try testing post frequency in week-long intervals so that you can measure the results quickly.

With that, we recommend being consistent with your content. When your content is good, your audience will start to expect it on a regular basis. Even if you’re only producing enough content to post to Facebook once per day, try to stick to that schedule.

Social media scheduling apps like Buffer help make this easy by letting you schedule posts ahead of time. You can add to a queue so that your page always has fresh content being posted automatically on schedule.

Ideal length and timing of Facebook posts are another area you might want to experiment with.

HubSpot collected a ton of research from the folks at CoSchedule and from a variety of sources, including QuickSprout, SurePayroll, The Huffington Post, Buffer, TrackMavenFast Company, and KISSmetrics.

Their takeaway:

Facebook Posting, Facebook, Managing Facebook 

As far as ideal length, we partnered with our friends at SumAll to place the data and insights into a fun infographic. What we found was that Facebook posts with 40 characters receive 86% more engagement than those with a higher character count. 

Facebook posting strategy, facebook, managing facebook

How to tell what’s worked and what hasn’t

After sharing posts, you’re likely to want to know how they did. Your social media management tool would figure to have some built-in analytics that can help you better understand how your posts performed. Here’s a peek at what the Buffer for Business analytics look like:

Buffer for Business, social media analytics, Buffer Analytics

You can also gain a huge number of stats and numbers from Facebook Insights.

Once you’ve shared several pieces of content to your Facebook page, you’ll see an Insights tab at the top of your Facebook menu, between Activity and Settings.

Buffer

At the top of the Insights page, you’ll see your Page Likes, Post Reach, and Engagement stats for the week, along with a comparison to the same stats from last week.

facebook insights

Another neat area to check is the demographic information on the people who visit and engage with your page.

Click on People from the Insights menu, and you can drill down into demographic information of your fans, the people reached by your posts, the people who engage with your post, and the check-ins you receive at your physical location.

Here’s an example from Buffer’s page insights about the people reached by our posts.

facebook insights demographics

One of the newest features of Insights is the “Pages to Watch” section at the bottom of the page. You can add other pages that you want to monitor—a great way to grab some competitor research and take inspiration from the way that other pages market themselves.

To add a page, simply click on the Add Pages button at the top of the section.

add pages facebook

Search for the name of the page you want to watch, then click to add it to your watch list. Once a page has been added, you can click on the name of the page from your Insights dashboard, and you’ll see an overview of their best posts from the week.

Facebook Insights

Now I’d love to turn it over to you!

What Facebook page tips and advice do you have? What have you learned along the way? Is there any part of the Facebook page creation and management process you’d like to know more about?

Excited to hear from you in the comments!

Oh, and by the way: Buffer can help you drive more Facebook traffic and engagement in less time. Sign up for free and see how it works for you!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2014, but we’ve updated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness for your reading pleasure. – Brian

The post How to Create the Perfect Facebook Page for Your Business: The Complete A to Z Guide appeared first on Social.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/how-to-create-manage-facebook-business-page

Excellent UX/UI Apps And Tools for Designers

1-2

As you go down this list, you’ll find multipurpose tools that can handle your most important tasks; tools with useful but somewhat unique features; and tools dedicated to specific activities. Whatever you need, you should find it here.

Once you’ve made your selection, you’ll be the owner of one of the best UX/UI tools on the market. Seeking the best is always a wise investment, since it tends to lead to greater productivity and higher quality products. Several of these tools feature capabilities in an oft-neglected area, an area where some web designers fear to tread – usability testing.

Take a quick look at this checklist first; to make certain you get what you need.

  • Get the right tool for the job; whether that job is website or app design, information storage, or flowcharting.
  • Look for a tool with strong collaboration and feedback capabilities.
  • Don’t forget usability testing. Select a tool that makes this crucial activity easy to perform.
  • Look for a tool that is just right for the size of your team or project.

 

InVision

1

If the best product design and collaboration platform available is at the top of your wish list, your search ends here.

InVision features all of the design, collaboration, and testing capabilities a web designer or small team needs. Large teams and complex projects haven’t been neglected, though. InVision Enterprise has everything large, interdepartmental teams need to create, iterate, and gather feedback on clickable, high-fidelity prototypes—including unlimited projects and unlimited team members.
InVision’s usability testing features go far beyond enabling you to display your prototype on a real device in the hopes users will provide you with some feedback. If you select this tool, you will inherit some truly powerful qualitative usability testing capabilities. You’ll see and hear what users are saying, which is what truly valuable usability testing is all about. With feedback like this, you will be in a far better position to make smart changes.
As a bonus, the first prototype you create is free. As an added, long term bonus, all of your design and testing efforts can be accomplished without a single line of code.

 

Proto.io

2

UI/UX design can be a rewarding career, but things can become a bit frustrating when you or your team is being called upon to turn out high-fidelity mobile prototypes in rapid-fire succession, while keeping interested stakeholders in the loop at all times.

Proto.io is a great investment for those who seem to be juggling too many priorities at once.

This UX/UI tool makes it easy to quickly create feature-rich, interactive, animated prototypes, and bridge any potential communication gaps while doing so. You don’t need to go to programming school either. Proto.io does what you want done without any requirement for coding.

Use this tool’s native UI elements for iOS, Windows mobile, or Android, import your own design elements, or use some of both. Big boys like ESPN and Disney are Proto.io fans, and you will become one as well once you’ve tried it.

 

Appsee Mobile App UX Analytics

3

Given a choice between quantitative and qualitative usability test results, knowledgeable web designers generally pick the latter.

Qualitative measurements are what Appsee Mobile App Analytics does best, and this UX/UI tool does them very well indeed.

While we humans can interpret tabulated information and usability test results presented in neat, color-coded graphs, we are primarily visually-oriented creatures. We rely heavily on what we see and hear. Quantitative usability data may have its place, but qualitative data is much easier to work with and provides more useful results.

Appsee data is based on visual user journeys, results of touch heatmap testing, and user session recordings; a rather personal kind of testing.

As you start using this tool, you will find it’s like having an experienced tour guide taking you around and showing you useful and important information you need to achieve a perfect UX.

 

PowerMockup

4

If you are a big fan of PowerPoint, and you would like to improve on its prototyping capabilities, all you need to do is add PowerMockup to your design toolkit.

It’s a simple matter to select design elements from PowerMockup’s huge library, and drag and drop them onto PowerPoint slides.

You can then apply PowerPoint’s slideshow and animation features to showcase your interactive prototypes to others. You are always welcome to add your own shapes to PowerMockup’s ever-expanding library; for your own use and to share with others.

 

Pidoco

5

Pidoco is a web-based, drag and drop UX/UI tool that you’ll find to be incredibly useful for your web and mobile app design work.

The fact that professional web designers located throughout 50 different countries have made Picodo a UX/UI tool of choice, tells you its creators must be doing a lot of things right.

Pidoco’s features include a 400+ icon/design element library, live browser and mobile app preview capability, click and touch interactions, and a great deal more. It is by far one of the most advanced prototyping tools on the market.

 

Lucidchart

6

With Lucidchart, you can create interactive mockups of websites in minutes if not sooner, but this cloud-based tool has much more to offer the UX/UI designer.

It is an excellent tool to have at your disposal if, in addition to wireframe and mockup design, you have a need for flowcharting and diagramming.

In addition, its clever keyboard shortcuts and master page features help you avoid reinventing the wheel time and again because of their reusable design-saving capabilities.

 

Loop11

7

If usability testing has never been your strong suit, or if it is an area where you have tended to be a reluctant participant, Loop11 will change all of that.

Loop11 is dedicated to usability testing. This incredibly useful tool can manage a large number of test participants (up to 999 per test), and it will provide you with invaluable path analysis data and clickstream and heatmap test results.

Loop11 is an invaluable tool to have for use during prototyping or when refining a final design.

 

Form Analytics by UseItBetter

8

If you have ever been unsuccessful at filling out an online form because of a system glitch, you know how irritated it can be.

Forms Analytics by UseItBetter helps users avoid these situations with its ability to quickly drill down to the source of a form or form field problem. With Forms Analytics at your side, you won’t have to worry about users abandoning one of your forms, and perhaps abandoning the website as well. This is a handy tool to have if many of your designs include forms, and a real time saver as well.

 

Patternry

9

You don’t build prototypes with Patternry. So why would you want to include it in your design toolkit?

The answer is simple. Patternry is used to build online toolkits, and as such, it is an incredible time saver.

What this tool will do for you is enable you to avoid doing time-consuming, repetitive tasks, and allow you to apply reusable design elements and blocks rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel. This is one of the more useful tools you are apt to come across. It is highly recommended that you give it a second look.

 

Notism Collaboration

10

Notism Collaboration combines the best in web and mobile prototyping with an effective, powerful, and reliable collaboration capability. The result is an ideal tool for use by large teams or organizations where effective sharing, reviewing, and discussing design and video work among project members is crucial.

On videos you can even leave feedback on the timeline.

Notism provides more than a communications channel. Notism’s prototyping features are not to be overlooked either. They are extremely efficient, effective, and easy to use.

 

Final thoughts

It will be difficult if not impossible, to make a poor choice, or a wrong choice, from this list of the 10 UX/UI tools. There is something here for everyone, whether it is a multipurpose tool with strong prototyping and collaboration features, a tool dedicated to qualitative usability testing, one specifically created for PowerPoint users, or one of the other specialty tools.

You may even find one or two you haven’t thought of, but will soon begin to wonder how you every got along without it.

Read More at Excellent UX/UI Apps And Tools for Designers

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/excellent-uxui-apps-tools-designers/

How to Get Your Ideas to Spread with Influencer Marketing

When 50 fashion influencers on Instagram posted a picture of themselves in the same Lord & Taylor dress, it sent out signals that this dress was a must have fashion piece. The following weekend the dress was completely sold out.
lord-taylor

This Lord & Taylor campaign is a perfect example of the power of influencer marketing.

65% of brands now run influencer campaigns and according to an infographic by The Shelf, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people—even if they don’t know them personally—over promotional content that comes directly from brands.

We’re more likely to buy a product if it’s recommended by a friend than pushed at us by an advert and an eMarketer study found that advertisers who implemented an influencer marketing campaign earned $6.85 in media value on average for every $1 they spent on paid media for influencer programs.

Influencer marketing opens up endless opportunities for brands to amplify their content, connect with consumers and build relationships more organically, and more directly.

But how do you get started with influencer marketing? What makes an influencer? And how can you build relationships with influencers?

In this post, I’d love to give you the lowdown on influencer marketing and some actionable tips to help you find the best influencers for your business.

Let’s dig in.

pablo (50)

How to get ideas to spread

Success in marketing often comes down to one simple concept: getting your ideas to spread.

Traditionally, mass-media adverting is the go-to way to spread ideas. Here’s how it works (in theory)you buy some ads, put those ads in front of your audience, and that’s how your idea spreads. In turn, these ads drive sales and then you can buy some more ads, to reach some more people. And so on…

The problem with this approach is that we live in a time where choice is abundant and time is sparse.

Consumers are spoiled for choice when it comes to what to spend their money on and have too little time to consume content and engage with adverts. What this means is that most advertising is just ignored.

Time Choice 3

As technology advances, traditional marketing techniques have become less and less effective. This is where influencer marketing can help.

What is influencer marketing?

Consumers have always looked to fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions, and with the rise of social media, it’s becoming easier for brands to discover and partner with influencers to get people talking about their company and products.

To help us give you the best tips and advice on influencer marketing we spoke with social media agency, SocialChain:

“Influencer marketing is a marketing style that focuses on using influential people to share a brand’s message with their chosen audience,” explained SocialChain’s Anna-Marie Odubote.

“Influencer marketing is beneficial to businesses because it arguably creates more meaningful engagement than traditional advertising.”

“Influencers have very trusted voices. They are real people that appear to be unbiased; a traditional advert or a post directly from a brand will often be ignored. But an endorsement from an influencer is like your friend, brother, sister or parent ‘having your back’ and telling you about something you need to check out. And regular social media ads are a little bit like strangers shouting random things at you – after a while you just tune them out.”

Primarily, influencers act as a mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers. An endorsement from an influencer has the power to drive traffic to your site, amplify your message across social media platforms, and even directly sell your product through their recommendation.

Marketing and The Diffusion of Innovation

The Diffusion of Innovation is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures.

What the Diffusion of Innovation shows is that adoption of new technologies doesn’t happen simultaneously for everyone. Facebook, for example, was first adopted by college students and only now has it started to be used by the late majority and mass market.

The Diffusion of Innovation is broken down into five adopter categories:

  • Innovators: These are people who want to be the first to try the innovation. These people are very interested in new ideas, very willing to take risks, and are often the first to develop new products and technologies.
  • Early Adopters: These are people like to adopt new ideas and enjoy being amongst some of the first people to try new technologies and spread the word about them. Often these people are leaders and share their experiences with the people around them.
  • Early Majority: These people are rarely leaders, but they do adopt new ideas before the average person. Typically they like to see that an innovation will work before they’re willing to use it.
  • Late Majority: These people are skeptical of change, and will only adopt an innovation after it has been tried by the majority.
  • Laggards: These people are bound by tradition and very conservative. They are very skeptical of change and are the hardest group to bring on board.

Innovators

Editor’s note: for more on the Diffusion of Innovation and marketing, check out this great talk by Simon Sinek

Most marketing is traditionally aimed at the mass market (Early Majority and Late Majority in the above graphic). The problem with this approach is that it’s much harder to get these people to care about your product.

Innovators and early adopters, however, care deeply about new products and technologies. For example, a tech product reviewer on YouTube will be extremely interested in using the latest smartphone technology, whereas someone in the early majority will likely only care when their old phone is outdated.

If you’d like to get your ideas to spread, reaching the innovators and early adopters within your niche can be a great way to go. This is something Apple has mastered over the years…

Influencer marketing on the grandest stage

When Apple have new products to launch, the first people they talk to are those who want to listen. The people who actively opt-in to hear Apple’s message.

When Tim Cook gets up on stage at the WWDC conference, he’s not talking to the mass market; he’s talking to innovators and early adopters in the hope that what he says will inspire them enough to pass the information on to their audience.

WWDC

These innovators and early adopters care deeply enough about Apple to give up their time and watch a whole keynote presentation purely focused on Apple products. For Apple, it makes much more sense to talk directly to influencers who care, rather than push a message out to the mass market directly.

After the WWDC conference has finished, Apple knows their message and news about their new products will reach the masses through content produced by journalists and social influencers.

When you think about marketing your business, try to think about the innovators and early adopters within your target audience: Who sincerely cares about the problem your product or services solves? Who can you speak to that will really listen?

What makes an influencer?

SocialChain describes an influencer as, “an individual that has a significant audience, who listens and makes decisions based on his/her opinions.” And influencers come in various shapes and sizes:

  • Journalists
  • Industry experts
  • Celebrities
  • Academics

Editors of highly read blogs can be influencers as can highly viewed YouTuber’s like MKBHD, and influence isn’t just based on follower counts and audience size.

A celebrity may have a large following purely because they’re famous, or someone may have acquired hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter because they’re great a curating content. But a large following doesn’t necessarily dictate influence.

Measuring influence

SocialChain has developed a simple method for measuring influence across the main platforms; T-Score (Twitter) F-Score (Facebook) Y-Score (Youtube) I-Score (Instagram).

The scoring system is aimed to decipher exactly how much of the meaningful engagement you’re actually paying for and how cost-effective an influencer is, as Steve Bartlett, SocialChain’s founder explains on his blog.

Here’s an example of the T-Score in action:

– Tom is a real YouTube influencer who we’ve worked with [SocialChain] on a number of influencer marketing campaigns 

– Influencer Tom’s last 50 tweets have 17,600 engagements combined (replies, likes, retweets). 

– He has 210,409 followers on Twitter

– He charges £100 per tweet

17,600 (combined engagements from last 50 tweets) / 50 = 352 (Average engagement per tweet)

352 (Average engagements per tweet) / £100 (total following) = 3.52

Tom’s T-score = 3.52 and you’re effectively paying £1 per 3.52 engagements that Tom is generating for himself.

(This doesn’t mean you’ll get 3.52 engagements per £1 on your sponsored content, but it gives you a good idea of how much engagement you will hope to see per £1 spent.)

How to find influencers

The type of influencer you’re looking for will depend on the goals of your campaign.

“To find influencers that fit your business, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your own brand and how you want to be perceived,” Anna-Marie Odubote explained.

“There are many influencer discovery tools online that you can use to search for influencers in certain categories and countries. If you want to find more bespoke influencers, the best way would be to manually search social media.”

Here are a couple of tools to help you discover influencers in your niche:

Followerwonk

followerwonk

Followerwonk is a brilliant tool from Moz. It allows you to search for keywords in Twitter user bios to find those with the most authority and largest reach.

Klear

klear

Klear allows you to search for keywords and discover relevant influencers on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also filter users by skills and location as well as add all your selected influencers to a list.

Content + Distribution: The perfect mix

When you’re looking for an influencer to partner with, the ideal influencer tends to have two key abilities:

  1. The ability to create content
  2. The ability to distribute content

Reach and content

Content

Great content is the heart and soul of any influencer marketing campaign.

Most influencers have managed to build their audience through creating their own, unique brand of content, and if you’re simply asking them to share a piece of content you’ve created, it can feel a little inauthentic and stand out as an advert or sponsored posts.

Ideally, you’re looking to partner with influencers who can create content alongside your business. Rather than only sharing content, you’ve already created.

Distribution

I like to look at distribution as a combination or reach (audience size) and engagement. Sometimes it can be easy to feel that someone with say 100,000 followers on Twitter or 10,000 subscribers on their email list is an influencer. But really, it doesn’t matter how many people follow someone. What’s important is how many people engagement with them. And how many people click the links they share.

The SocialChain scoring system mentioned above can be a great way to measure engagement various influencers receive on their content.

How to build relationships with influencers

Once you’ve identified your influencers, the next step is to start building relationships with them.

“If an influencer manages themselves and all of their enquires, you always need to be personable and make the influencer feel valued and unique. Although influencers are their own business, the majority aren’t businesspeople. Too much corporate talk can scare them away, and it’s best to arrange a face to face meeting/ Skype call as soon as you can,” said Odubote.

“Depending on the influencer’s reach, [some larger influencers have management teams] you’ll often speak to their management (the influencer will see the initial enquiry and forward it to their management if it’s something they’re interested in).”

Over to you

Thanks for reading! I’d love to continue the conversation about influencer marketing in the comments below. Have you tried any influencer marketing campaigns? Any tips on building relationships with influencers?

The post How to Get Your Ideas to Spread with Influencer Marketing appeared first on Social.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/influencer-marketing

Depression and anxiety are real threats to startups. This accelerator is tackling them


Startup accelerators are traditionally tough places where long hours are worked and everyone is keen to show that they’re ‘killing it.’ With demo days looming, few people stop to consider the mental health implications of operating in the high-pressure tech world. Ignite, a UK-based accelerator, wanted teams under its wing to open up about the stresses and strains of startup life. So, it took its current Manchester cohort out to a remote countryside spot last week and got them to talk about how they were being affected as individuals. Program director George Bettany says the idea came from a session…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web http://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/04/27/ignite-startup-accelerator-mental-health-retreat/

Volvo is putting ‘everyday users’ behind the wheel of its driverless cars in London


Volvo has announced that it’ll be putting regular folk like you and me behind the wheel of its autonomous cars when they hit London’s streets next year. The company says that it’s going all-in on autonomous cars as they “represent a leap forward in car safety” and that its ‘Drive Me London’ trial will take place on real roads, with real traffic and real, err, normal people along for the ride. Professional test drivers will, of course, be provided where required. Volvo says that the test next year will involve “a limited number” of semi-autonomous cars on the roads, with…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web http://thenextweb.com/uk/2016/04/27/volvo-putting-regular-families-behind-wheel-driverless-car-tests/

Basic Animation for Web Design

03-easings-net-webpage

The world of animation for web design is vast and somewhat complex. Professional animators undergo quite a bit of training and work for years to master their craft. But animation can be found in much more than cartoons. Print work and other static mediums don’t have the luxury but web design is the perfect outlet for digital animated effects.

animation drawing desk

This post will cover a series of useful animation principles as they relate to web design. The methods used by Disney to animate a character would be far too complex for use on the web. As a digital designer you really don’t need to spend your life studying animation. The basic principles should suffice and provide enough of a starting point to learn how to design your own animated effects for buttons, icons, slideshows, and other web widgets.

Squash & Stretch

Traditional animation is the cornerstone of all other forms from 3D to UI design. One of the 12 main principles of animation is squash & stretch. These behaviors give items a sense of weight based on how they interact with other items. Take a look at this stretchy cube demo built entirely in CSS.

squash stretch animation css3

The stretching effect doesn’t always need to be overdone like the example above. When you take realism into account even a minor squash/stretch motion can be noticeable.

This type of animation gives life to the page because it’s meant to be a replication of physics. When using exaggerated features the animation feels more cartoony, but still relies on a foundation of gravity and mass.

Consider using this effect for elements that need some elasticity. Buttons, menus, or even slideshows with image thumbnails can be squashed & stretched. These animations are created through the use of easing functions which are primarily built into JavaScript libraries.

Velocity.js and Snabbt.js are two choices worthy of consideration. If you’re looking for pure CSS3 animation then check out Animate.css instead.

Objects in Motion

All forms of animation require some type of motion. This may seem obvious but the subject of motion is vast and requires careful attention to detail. When focusing on web elements you’ll want to create motion in a manner best suited to each individual item.

For example, a larger block element could be seen as heavier and thus move slower along the page. On the contrary little tiny buttons might quickly pop onto the page like pieces of candy. Timing is very important because it distinguishes how the object is moving.

sozo desig homepage layout

SOZO Design uses a clean animated header for some dynamic typographic elements. Text will fade out and move into view rather quickly. Their layout also uses a hamburger navigation which relies on animated links sliding into view from offscreen.

Most of these features are naturally smooth. I actually like their style because it’s noticeable yet not too overbearing. Good animation shouldn’t steal thunder from the design itself, but rather compliment the design as an extra feature.

Easing for Natural Motion

Easing effects are used to distinguish custom animation from a linear style. These can be displayed as data points graphing time and motion to create a custom effect. Linear easing moves in a straight, even-tempered line all the way through.

But many other pre-built styles exist and it’s even possible to create your own from scratch. Take a peek at the Easings.net webpage to see a handful of easing styles live in action.

easings website testing demo page

Motion feels natural when it blends into the design and fits with the object being animated. If an element behaves like it’s made of gummy material then it should be somewhat bouncy and flamboyant. Easing styles range from delicately slow to frenetically quick.

As you practice web animation you’ll start to get the hang of how certain objects behave. Weight, friction, and an object’s “material” play a role in animated effects. Sometimes these can change for different items but other times they’ll stay the same across the board. The Google Material Design animation page covers the basics for their own design language.

twitter bell icon animation

The above screenshot is from a simple animated GIF of the Twitter bell icon. It’s designed in the Google material design language which is defined by flat icons and simple animated effects. Easing is slightly different for the bell and the notification popup, yet they both seem to work together harmoniously.

Intuition plays a large role in animation. Trust your gut, and more importantly your eye, to let you know when something looks right or wrong.

Consistent Effects

Taking a look at the overall composition you’ll want to stay true to the design. Website animation only feels right if it can blend into the design style. For example it’s a good idea to avoid large bouncy buttons on a funeral home layout.

Aside from matching the website’s theme you’ll also want to match similar effects. Consider all the different styles of animation from sliding, swinging, bouncing, fading… the list goes on. It’s your job to determine which effects go well together in a single layout.

ingen io data homepage layout

Take for example the heavily-animated landing page found on i.ngen.io. Their homepage is one of the most dynamic features on the entire website. Each menu link uses a distinct hover effect which is simply beautiful. Although each one is invariably different, they all feel like one group of links animated in a similar fashion.

There is no surefire way to master consistency other than practice. The same can be said about learning how to view composition in web design – you’ll pick up ideas the more you practice. Start by replicating animated effects from other websites and eventually you learn how to incorporate relevant ideas into your own work.

Further Reading

If you want to learn more about animation on the web try skimming through a few of these links. Modern design techniques have made animation much easier than ever before, and there’s plenty of free information to go around. If you have a passion for digital animation then you’ll enjoy finding ways to created motion in your web projects.

Read More at Basic Animation for Web Design

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/basic-animation-for-web-design/