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This post is part of our ongoing blog series highlighting our CMS practice at AMPXD; learn more about how we select CMS solutions through our other stories. As a large worldwide enterprise software organization with multiple product teams, marketing teams, customer communities, and outreach programs; VMware knows the daily challenges of managing a robust blog ecosystem and its content.. With over 40 different corporate blogs, VMware tasked our CMS experts at AMPXD with creating and managing a centralized authoring environment. Before our engagement the VMware teams had disparate blog instances in multiple platforms which made both content and user administration difficult to coordinate and manage. The organic growth of the various blog platforms also created the situation where they lacked brand consistency with various blogs’ look-and-feel resembling different brands. This lack of cohesion resulted in end users browsing between properties having jarring experiences as brand assets and user interface elements were unique to each blog. The AMPXD team in coordination with VMware stakeholders audited their internal workflows and business needs and identified WordPress Multisite as the ideal platform to enable blog authoring for the entire organization. The extensibility and control features of creating a WordPress Multisite network allowed for consistent user interfaces via brand controlled themes, a centralized user repository integrated with SSO, and one true dashboard to manage content and sites across the organization. AMPXD completed the migration of the existing VMware corporate blogs to the WordPress platform and, as part of the work, unified all of the disparate user interface elements of the blogs into one true corporate blog theme. The VMware blog network now has consistent styling elements whether you are browsing content from VMware Latin America or reading about the latest tips for utilizing vSphere The flexibility of the WordPress platform and the ability to create multisite blog networks has enabled VMware to create a robust blog ecosystem with over 40 blogs specialized to VMware products and disciplines. Utilizing content syndication mechanisms, VMware now has one blog space that is an aggregate of all corporate content across the blog network, giving customers one portal to discover and consume corporate content from across the whole ecosystem. By centering on the authoring workflow and optimizing the WordPress platform, the VMware team’s ability to easily manage authors, themes, system integrations and plugins has allowed the enterprise to focus on creating rich content and communities. Over the course of our ongoing series of posts around technology, we will share stories of uniquely different CMS solutions in practical implementations. If you have an upcoming CMS project or need to discuss content management strategies, the team at AMPXD would love to assist you with your needs. Reach out to us via our Contact Us form. You can also read about our entire suite of Experience Design and Website Development capabilities on our Services Page.
Creating a Centralized Digital Platform for Businesses with Multiple Brands This post is part of our ongoing blog series highlighting our CMS practice at AMPXD; learn more about how we select CMS solutions through our other stories. When website content management becomes so cumbersome that an organization cannot make even the most basic changes without the assistance of a technologist, it’s a clear indicator that a new technology strategy is needed. This was one of the key issues that prompted PFU, an international information technology company, to seek our CMS website development expertise at AMPXD. When PFU approached AMPXD for help, they had multiple websites across separate platforms with little consistency across them. With the facade of a CMS, PFU product information was scattered across different sites, and customers had a difficult time finding guidance on which products best fit their needs. PFU content authors also had a difficult time with efficiently updating content and adding new website features. The authors found themselves unable to keep up with ever changing market trends, and they were losing customers. After careful consideration of PFU’s business requirements, AMPXD identified Sitecore XP as the right enterprise CMS platform to address the identified needs, namely; feature functionality, system extensibility, and the platform’s ability to solve content management problems in a multi-brand and multi-website marketing ecosystem. Our AMPXD Sitecore team worked with PFU to rebuild two product brand websites within Sitecore: one for their business scanners product line; and another for PFU’s Happy Hacking Keyboards (HHKB) brand. PFU tasked AMPXD with improving the digital customer experience by displaying products in a more appealing way and implementing consistent and updated brand guidelines. The collective project team leveraged the power of the Sitecore CMS platform to implement new features for customers to easily identify the best products for their needs; customers are now able to sort and filter product information by industry, functionality, and business size. With the content authoring features and custom content component features of Sitecore, PFU authors are now able to easily add case studies, news articles, blog posts, and guides across their multiple sites. The data extensibility of the Sitecore platform makes it easy to integrate third party tools and services, like HubSpot and PowerReviews, directly into the content authoring interface. With these system integrations, PFU can now create integrated dynamic forms and syndicate reviews from across different retailers’ websites like Amazon — critical functionality for PFU’s marketing goals. The flexibility of Sitecore to adapt to PFU’s business and marketing needs has proven to be an accelerating force to marketing strategy, allowing PFU to publish relevant content in-market and improve customer journeys. Over the course of our ongoing series of posts around technology, we will share stories of uniquely different CMS solutions in practical implementations. If you have an upcoming CMS project or need to discuss content management strategies, the team at AMPXD would love to assist you with your needs. Reach out to us via our Contact Us form. You can also read about our entire suite of Experience Design and Website Development capabilities on our Services Page.
In the ever-evolving field of user experience (UX) design, it is crucial for designers to continuously improve their skills and deliver high-quality work. By adopting healthy habits, UX designers can cultivate an environment of growth and consistently enhance their expertise. In this article, we explore key habits that promote continual improvement and excellence in UX design. 5 Healthy Habits 1. Embrace Lifelong Learning: A cornerstone habit for UX designers is the commitment to lifelong learning. The field of UX is dynamic, with new technologies, methodologies, and user expectations emerging constantly. Designers should dedicate time to stay updated on industry trends, attend conferences, read books, and engage in online communities. By seeking out new knowledge and perspectives, designers expand their skill set, stay relevant, and bring fresh ideas to their work. 2. Seek User-Centric Insights: UX designers should prioritize understanding their users deeply. This involves conducting user research, usability testing, and gathering feedback. By actively engaging with users, designers gain valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and pain points. Regular user feedback allows for iterative design improvements and the creation of more intuitive and effective experiences. Cultivating empathy for users fosters the development of user-centric designs that resonate with the intended audience. 3. Practice Iterative Design: Iterative design is a habit that enables designers to refine and enhance their work continuously. By creating prototypes, soliciting feedback, and iterating based on insights, designers can refine their designs incrementally. This approach encourages experimentation and reduces the risk of major flaws in the final product. Through iterative design, designers embrace the mindset of constant improvement, ensuring that their work evolves in line with user needs and business goals. 4. Foster Collaboration and Communication: Collaboration and effective communication are essential habits for UX designers. Engaging with stakeholders, developers, and fellow designers fosters a holistic understanding of project objectives and constraints. By actively seeking diverse perspectives, designers can uncover new ideas and approaches. Clear and concise communication helps bridge gaps, align expectations, and build consensus among team members. Collaborative work environments stimulate creativity, drive innovation, and result in well-rounded design solutions. 5. Embrace Feedback and Self-Reflection: To grow as designers, it is vital to embrace feedback and engage in self-reflection. Welcoming constructive criticism from colleagues and users provides valuable opportunities for growth. By analyzing past projects and evaluating strengths and weaknesses, designers can identify areas for improvement and set development goals. Regularly reviewing one's work and seeking feedback ensures a continuous learning process, allowing designers to refine their skills, enhance their work output, and provide exceptional user experiences. Cultivating healthy habits is key to the growth and continual improvement of UX designers. By embracing lifelong learning, seeking user-centric insights, practicing iterative design, fostering collaboration, and embracing feedback and self-reflection, designers can elevate their skills and consistently deliver outstanding UX solutions. By adopting these habits, designers empower themselves to navigate the evolving landscape of UX design successfully and contribute meaningfully to the creation of exceptional user experiences. To learn more about Amp Agency’s UX Consulting & Design services, and optimize your brand’s equity, please reach out to us via our Contact Us form. Additionally, you can read about our entire suite of Experience Design and Website Development capabilities on our Services page.
In today's digital landscape, user experience (UX) plays a pivotal role in the success of any online venture. Users have increasingly high expectations for seamless interactions and intuitive designs. To ensure your digital product meets these demands, it's essential to perform a UX audit. In this article, we will explore what a UX audit is, its benefits, and why organizations should invest time and effort into conducting one. Understanding the UX Audit A UX audit is a meticulous evaluation of the user experience of a website, application, or digital product. It involves analyzing elements such as user interface design, interaction patterns, navigation, content organization, and overall usability. By scrutinizing these aspects, UX professionals can identify areas of improvement and provide actionable recommendations to enhance the user experience. Benefits of a UX Audit Performing a UX audit offers several valuable benefits to organizations. Firstly, it helps identify usability issues that hinder user satisfaction and engagement. By uncovering these pain points, businesses can make informed decisions on how to enhance the product and improve customer retention. Secondly, a UX audit provides insights into user behavior and preferences. By analyzing user flows and interactions, organizations gain a deeper understanding of their audience's needs and expectations. This knowledge can drive targeted improvements that align with user desires, ultimately increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Thirdly, a UX audit can identify potential conversion barriers within a digital product. By analyzing the user journey and conversion funnels, businesses can optimize critical touchpoints to improve conversion rates and drive revenue growth. Why Organizations Should Prioritize UX Audits In today's competitive market, providing a superior user experience is no longer an option—it's a necessity. Organizations that neglect UX audits risk losing customers to competitors who prioritize seamless interactions and intuitive designs. At Amp agency, we firmly believe that performing UX audits is an integral part of our creative engagements with clients. By conducting thorough evaluations of their digital products, we uncover valuable insights and opportunities for improvement. Our UX experts meticulously analyze user behavior, conduct user testing, and employ industry best practices to deliver recommendations that align with our clients' business goals. Conclusion Investing time and resources into conducting a UX audit is crucial for organizations seeking to enhance their digital presence. By evaluating the user experience, identifying pain points, and implementing improvements, businesses can increase user satisfaction, engagement, and ultimately, their bottom line. At Amp agency, we understand the power of UX audits and their transformative impact on the success of our clients' digital ventures. Contact us today to unlock the full potential of your digital products through our comprehensive UX audit services.
The 6 components of a scalable style guide that you need for communicating your brand’s unique identity and business goals. A style guide is often seen as little more than a reference tool designers or design teams use when creating assets. As a document, or set of documents, the guidelines and standards of visual design elements, such as typography, color, iconography, buttons, forms, and grid systems provide countless design efficiencies. That being said, people often overlook the key elements of a style guide that ensure scalability. Over the years, we have found that our clients typically take one of two approaches to their style guides – the “document-as-you-go” method, and the “built-it-before-it-comes” method. Needless to say, one of those methods creates more problems than they solve. Here at Amp Agency, our approach is the latter of the two. This is because the challenge with creating style guidelines only when you are in need of elements is that it often overlooks other existing visual elements. This leaves designers and consumers of your brand unsure of the essence and consistency of your visual language. By taking the time to develop these guides, you decouple design decisions from real-time/urgent needs and obligations that often result in “good enough for now” solutions that cannot scale. Another reason we feel that a well developed style guide is an invaluable tool to have in your marketing toolkit is that it provides a foundation for business growth. Modern rapid business growth strategy is completed through acquisitions, mergers, and partner affiliations. When integrating with other established entities, it is important to know the details of your organization's brand and brand values, in order to clearly identify the similarities and differences with your new partners. This provides the integrating groups common guidelines to communicate around and through, and they allow consumers to feel grounded when interacting with you afterwards. The 6 Components of a Scalable Style Guide Typography: The typography section of a style guide should include font families, font weights, and font sizes. It should also provide guidance on when and how to use each font family and weight. For example, a style guide might specify that headings should use a bold sans-serif font while body text should use a lighter serif font. The typography section should also include information on line height, letter spacing, and other typographic details. Color: The color section of a style guide should include a color palette and guidance on when and how to use each color. It should also provide guidance on color combinations and contrast. The color palette should be selected to reflect the client's brand identity and should be consistent across all design elements. Iconography: The iconography section of a style guide should include guidelines on when and how to use icons. It should also provide guidance on the visual style of the icons, such as their size, shape, and color. The icons should be consistent with the client's brand identity and should be used sparingly to avoid visual clutter. Buttons: The buttons section of a style guide should include guidance on the visual style of buttons, such as their size, shape, and color. It should also provide guidance on when and how to use buttons in the design. For example, a style guide might specify that buttons should be used for primary calls to action, while links should be used for secondary calls to action. Forms: The forms section of a style guide should include guidance on the visual style of forms, such as their size, shape, and color. It should also provide guidance on how to style form elements, such as input fields, checkboxes, and radio buttons. The forms should be consistent with the client's brand identity and should be designed to be easy to use and understand. Grid Systems: The grid systems section of a style guide should include guidance on how to create layouts using a grid system. It should provide guidance on the number of columns, the width of each column, and the spacing between columns. The grid system should be designed to be flexible enough to accommodate a range of design elements while still maintaining consistency across all layouts. Here at Amp Agency, we know your brand identity is unique and deserves a custom style guide that reflects your individuality. Comprehensive style guides provide your designers and design teams clear guidelines and standards for each design element to ensure consistency, and they preserve your brand's equity as you grow your business. To learn more about Amp Agency’s UX Consulting & Design services, and optimize your brand’s equity, please reach out to us via our Contact Us form. Additionally, you can read about our entire suite of Experience Design and Website Development capabilities on our Services page.
We’ve all had those moments when we are presented with an “obvious to everyone other than ourselves” event where we realize something about ourselves. Ours happened a few weeks ago when someone said to us, “Thank you for really listening to our problem and not just pushing another platform.” It was at this moment that we realized that what is second nature to us isn’t all that common. Our technology team at AMPXD has decades of collective experience implementing content management systems (CMS) and solutions for a wide variety of clients and industry verticals. What we didn’t realize until that moment is that part of our collective success has been that we, as technologists, are natural listeners. When our clients are describing their business challenges, we don’t take the position of listening for the pauses to push a preset solution but, instead, we take in their words as our own and use them to find the right solution. Actively listening is just one of the many reasons that we do not approach our projects with a preconceived solution or a packaged offering, but it is a critical one. Through the years, we found that every unique business problem statement has an equally unique approach. When it comes to CMS, this uniqueness could be how the CMS will interact with other established software platforms, or it could be a very specific set of business requirements that require more creative thinking. Without listening, we would become biased in our opinions and unable to truly consider a CMS platform (or any software). By listening to our clients, we came committed to the belief that technology should enable people and be complementary to different processes as opposed to dictating. At AMPXD, we take the appropriate time to understand the use case criteria of the problem, balance the many variables of platform selection such as: evaluating functional requirements, level of effort to implement, total cost of ownership, and both internal and external resource availability before committing to a solution. Our experiences of implementing many different CMS platforms such as WordPress, Optimizely, Sitecore, Contentful, and Drupal honed our ability to use the right-sized tool for each project we encounter. Over the course of our upcoming series of posts around technology, we will share stories of uniquely different CMS solutions in practical implementations. If you have an upcoming CMS project or need to discuss content management strategies, the team at AMPXD would love to assist you with your needs. Reach out to us via our Contact Us form.
Consent and Advanced PII in the Context of Conversations with an AI Over 100 million users have signed up to use ChatGPT since OpenAI’s generative AI product launched in November 2022.1 ChatGPT users have prompted the advanced LLM (large language model) with fun and innocuous inquiries, like coming up with the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Or using its generative capabilities to create playable table-top role-playing game scenarios. The possibilities seem endless. Many in the digital world recognize generative AI’s potential and contemplate how they can integrate it into their business; however, there’s a catch. The personal data inputted into AI chatbots can be compromised, creating privacy and consent risks. These engines introduce an added layer of complexity to your technology stack, which can impact your business and your user’s experiences. The first concern is managing consent. When you input a chat prompt and receive an output, you’re feeding information into a collective algorithm.2 According to the makers of ChatGPT, they do not recommend divulging personal, confidential information or secrets.3 Not everyone will read the full terms of service and data privacy statements when interacting with AI chat, potentially forfeiting their confidential information to the collective model. The current implementation also does not overly warn users of the potential risks or provide clear instructions to avoid these risks. As people push the limits of the tech, there may be output prompts that deviate from the topic of focus, are factually untrue, or inappropriate for minors. There’s also the question of consent to communication preferences—as there seems to be few in current iterations of AI chatbots, especially when it comes to topics and subject matter. In traditional marketing channels, users can typically choose which channels they receive communications (SMS, email, etc.), the topics, and the frequency. GDPR, the regulation which protects data and privacy in the EU, dictates several stipulations to define marketing consent, to which current generative AI does not readily adhere. The framework states that marketing consent includes, but is not limited to: Consent must be clear and easily understood Consent must be given freely with no deception or coercion Consent is a one-time, non-editable event for a specific item or action Consent cannot be posed in an overarching manner (i.e, “I consent to everything”) Consent must be a positive/affirmative action executed by the user Microsoft Bing released an AI chatbot that turned conversations into odd, alarming territories. A New York Times reporter released a transcript of his conversation with the chatbot wherein it claimed that he was not happy in his marriage and that the chatbot loved him.4 Snapchat introduced “My AI” in late February, which uses a modified version of OpenAI’s GPT technology for its Snapchat+ subscribers. The chatbot for Snapchat does possess some limitations—it won’t engage with topics concerning politics, violence, swearing, and academic essay writing (given the typical Snapchat demographic).5 Another issue that will come from implementing these new technologies is the question of monetization and topic promotion. If a user feeds personal identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI) into its algorithm, AI chatbots can absorb that information. Some may argue it will be the user’s responsibility, but it isn’t as cut-and-dry. For example, a lawyer might input some information to generate contract language, unwittingly adding that personal information into the collective.6 As AI technology advances, there will be discussions on how PII is handled or monetized by third-party groups. For instance, would it be ethical for a generalized chatbot to promote a skincare product if prompted to describe an ideal nighttime skincare routine? Understanding new technologies and their implementation, like the ChatGPT large language model, is how AMPXD stays at the top of our field. We analyze new technology and determine how you can integrate it into your existing platforms. As experts in data privacy regulations (GDPR, HIPPA, CAN-SPAM, COPPA, CCPA), you can feel confident about implementing generative AI into your technology stack in ways that don’t unknowingly compromise customer PII or PHI. GDS brings together the sharpest minds in the industry to solve tomorrow’s marketing technology challenges. AMP XD has over 25 years of experience and a culture of accountability. We’re excited to be part of the conversation and find a solution to transform your business through generative AI capabilities. 1Engadget, “How AI will change the way we search, for better or worse.” https://www.engadget.com/how-ai-will-change-the-way-we-search-for-better-or-worse-200021092.html 2Forbes, “Generative AI ChatGPT Can Disturbingly Gobble Up Your Private And Confidential Data, Forewarns AI Ethics And AI Law.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/lanceeliot/2023/01/27/generative-ai-chatgpt-can-disturbingly-gobble-up-your-private-and-confidential-data-forewarns-ai-ethics-and-ai-law/?sh=71790ff97fdb 3OpenAI, ChatGPT FAQ. https://help.openai.com/en/articles/6783457-chatgpt-general-faq 4Engadget, “Microsoft limits Bing conversations to prevent disturbing chatbot responses.” https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-limits-bing-conversations-to-prevent-disturbing-chatbot-responses-154142211.html 5ZDNet, “ChatGPT is coming to Snapchat. Just don't tell it your secrets.” https://www.zdnet.com/article/chatgpt-is-coming-to-snapchat-just-dont-tell-it-your-secrets/ 6Forbes, “Generative AI ChatGPT Can Disturbingly Gobble Up Your Private And Confidential Data, Forewarns AI Ethics And AI Law.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/lanceeliot/2023/01/27/generative-ai-chatgpt-can-disturbingly-gobble-up-your-private-and-confidential-data-forewarns-ai-ethics-and-ai-law/?sh=71790ff97fdb