the-ultimate-guide-to-ux-design-internships

On a warm summer night in 2012, I received an email: “Congratulations! You’ve been chosen to be part of our Autumn internship program.” In a state of shock, I ran downstairs to break the news to my parents. My mom was already asleep, so I tried to wake her: “Mom, wake up! I did it! I’m going to San Francisco!” She replied in a muffled tone: “Okay, don’t forget your keys, take care,” and continued sleeping.

Interning in San Francisco, at a now IBM owned company, has been a longtime dream of mine. I was so happy to nail the application process. Now, eight years later, as a senior UX designer, I’ve already experienced the other side of the equation as well. I have been involved in hiring new members and interns to our design team. In this article, I will share all my personal learnings on how to score your dream UX design internship.

When to start applying for UX internships?

The application process for my internship took almost 4 months. I had several interview rounds and many example tasks during the selection process. Generally, scoring an internship in this field takes a good while, so you have to start preparing early. I recommend you to start searching and applying way before you are planning to begin a UX design internship.

How early is ‘early’ exactly? Start at least half a year or sooner before your desired starting date. So, if you are planning to land an internship position in the autumn of 2020, you should start looking for spots at the end of February at the latest.

Where to find UX internships?

There are many UX design internship positions posted online. You can search on niche job boards, like Cofolios, UX Jobs, or Indeed. Furthermore, you should scan social media like LinkedIn or Dribble. If you are looking for internships in a specific city or region, you can enter Facebook groups for local UX designers and ask around.

If you have a dream company in mind, you should try sending them a targeted email. Even better, you should connect with their HR professionals on LinkedIn and drop them a message. It is very flattering to a company when young professionals are planning their careers around them. If you want to make sure that you land your dream internship, a recommendation will be your golden ticket. Ask around your network to see whether you have a connection to your dream company.

Still, I would recommend you to focus more on places with dedicated internship programs. Not only because of chances but also because it means that they have already established a proper environment for interns (mentors, processes and specific tasks). When there is an established UX design internship program, you can learn and benefit more, in a way more structured fashion.

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How to find the best UX design internship for you?

Well, the answer depends mainly on you! Honestly, it is very difficult to choose the best from different companies while looking at them from the outside. But there are some aspects which you can certainly consider:

1. Company profile

Company profile is crucial when it comes to choosing your internship position. In most cases you can choose between product-based and service-based companies:

  • Product-based companies build products (duh), they usually own the complete product cycle and have an in house workforce. They usually have their own developers, design processes. Ideally, multidisciplinary teams work closely together and they are driven by their users.
  • Service-based companies build software for other companies (clients). They have their own design methods and processes, but they are mostly driven by their clients’ needs, expectations, and deadlines.

If you want to work in a fast-paced environment and try yourself out on different projects service-based companies are your best bet. If you aim to submerge in the details of one product or industry, a product team may be a better place for you.

2. Industry

If you have a strong focus and passion towards an industry or a domain, choose a company from that space (eg. medicine, fintech, NGOs). This way you will get an opportunity to follow your interest and you will be able to build up an industry-specific portfolio that will help you later on, to get even better positions in that specific area.

3. Design team

I recommend you to stalk some of the designers and the design team of your preferred company. Find their work and portfolios. If the company is filled with great designers and has a great design team you will be in good hands. On top of learning from the team, you should also build a strong professional network, that can help you throughout your UX career.

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Not only can you learn from the team, but you will also build a strong network, that can help you throughout your UX career.

4. Location

When I received the results of my internship applications I had to choose between two positions. One of them – a streaming company called Ustream – was located in San Francisco. While the other one was LogMein – providing secure cloud services for big companies – headquartered in Boston.

I seriously had no idea which one to choose. In the end I ended up choosing Ustream, mostly because of the location, San Francisco. I found it super interesting and attractive to be close to the bubbling startup scene of Silicon Valley. The decision felt a bit unprofessional back then, but now I realize that it is a-okay to consider the location when choosing an internship or job.

Questions you can ask yourself when thinking about the location of a UX design internship position:

  • What is the cost of living there? Am I going to be able to pay the rent in that specific area?
  • Do I speak the local language? Will I be able to communicate in a professional environment?
  • Am I interested in the culture, environment, and lifestyle of that area?
  • Do I have family, friends, or connections there?

5. Money

If you have urgent financial needs to be taken care of, there is no shame in choosing the highest paying company. Really, it’s only a matter of priorities. But if you have the privilege to not focus on money choose the place which is the best for your professional progress, the one that will look best in your resume.

Some companies think they can employ interns for no or very low payment, only in exchange for the “experience”. If you have to work for free, make sure that it is labeled voluntary work. Don’t be fooled: an internship is real work, and you shouldn’t work for free. Your work and time as an intern is just as important and as real as anyone else’s at a company.

Preparing for the application

What are the basic requirements?

In most cases, you have to actively study design at a college or university to be considered for internship programs. But there are always programs and companies that aren’t interested in your educational background. Furthermore, you need to show at least some UX related work experience, even if only nominal projects.

How to write a cover letter for a UX design internship?

You might be asked to submit 2 things with your application for a UX design internship: a cover letter and a portfolio. First of all, take the time to personalize your cover letter for each company you are applying for. A generic cover letter, without anything related to the company or position, makes for an awful first impression.

Even the tone of your letter might be different if you are applying at a startup or a legacy company. Take the time to review the copy of the posting and the copy on the company’s site to gather a general idea of the tone you should use.

Next, you should make sure that you mention the company and the exact position you are applying for. When you are writing about relevant experience, coursework, and skills, you should always think of keywords. Usually, you can find these keywords in the job posting itself. On top of detailing how awesome you are, explain what you want and could learn from the internship. Finally, ask your friends or family to review your cover letter before sending it.

How to build up your UX intern portfolio?

UX Folio - UX Portfolio Builder Tool“>

Put real projects in the front

I know, it’s always very hard to find projects and build up a decent first portfolio as a student who doesn’t have real working experience. It’s always easier to create or re-design some projects on your own. But if you can, try to show real-life projects too. If you had a school project, freelance, or sponsored studio project, put in first and emphasize the real-world challenges it presented and how it helped you to grow professionally.

Less is more

Recruiters don’t have time to scroll through all the projects you have ever done and search for the best. Do it for them! Curating your own work lets you keep control of your image. Create three or four great case studies, include one-two real-life projects and you’re good to go.

Show how you think

You have to highlight the process and methodology you used throughout your works. Point out how you tackled the professional problems of a project, what methodology did you use and why. This will create an aura of credibility and professionalism.

These are the very basic tips I can give you, but in case you want to read more about how to build up a great portfolio, you can find more UX designer portfolio tips here.

How to prepare for UX internship interviews?

Know your projects inside-out

Know all the little details of all of the projects you show in your portfolio! Think about why you made certain decisions in that project. If there are some decisions that weren’t based on real professional methods or research, do not make up a process! You can just admit that other, external issues (eg. time pressure, stakeholders, etc.) influenced them. It’s totally fine; that is life and no design work is done in a vacuum. Accepting these facts and sharing them honestly with your interviewer is what makes you appear professionally experienced.

Talk about how you think and work

Let your interviewers know about your thought processes, tools, and working methods. This is something you already have to show in your portfolio but in the interview, you have to be prepared to talk about how you think, how you approach a design problem or why you made certain design decisions in your projects.

Tell them how you collaborate

Collaboration is an integral part of the UX design process, and you will be expected to talk about how you work with others. Try to think through projects or situations where you faced a challenge in communication and tell how you solved the situation (eg. talking to stakeholders, working together with developers). You can also mention examples when you actually didn’t succeed at all and reflect on how you would approach the situation now.

People standing in front of a table that has post-its on it.“>

Be honest and show a bit of your personality

Above all, don’t be shy: let your interviewer know what makes you an asset to the company. Why are you different than everyone else? Leverage your unique insights and talents, but never show off, or look too egoistic. A good strategy to avoid looking self-consumed is to always give credit to those who have helped you and to also talk about the work that went into becoming the best in something.

Professional UX design challenge

Usually, the point of a professional design exercise is not whether someone can get the answer right. It’s to see how people think! That’s why some of the big companies’ design challenges don’t have a solution at all: the best way to keep people thinking is to invent a problem that’s impossible to solve. So don’t freak out if you feel that you can’t find a proper solution or don’t have enough time for the task. Do your best to show how you think and how you function under pressure.

If you have an online task, try to prioritize the steps or methods you are planning to use during the exercise. Don’t overdo it, or stick to one part of your process. Leave enough time for yourself to develop the final design at the end. 

Yay, you nailed it! Now, what to expect during an UX design internship?

Real work vs. school projects

Design institutes usually expect you to apply your theoretical learnings, methods, and processes. In case of educational mock projects, you usually don’t have to deal with clients, technical constraints or conflicts within your team. You don’t have to convince your boss about a usability problem, teach your client about design or push through an idea on a hierarchical decision maker system. 

When you start your internship you can experience all the real constraints and challenges of design work. At first it can be intimidating, but you have to learn how to manage people and how to survive and thrive in different systems and work environments in order to become a successful designer.

You might not work on the most important thing in the world first

As an intern you might not be delegated the most important task in the company. At Ustream one of my biggest projects was to create a character illustration for one of the onboarding animations (I had to draw a Yeti). At first I felt a bit disappointed since I was expecting to work on the interface but I quickly accepted my task and jumped right into it.

During my project, I learned a lot about presenting your design in front of a group of people even if it’s “just an illustration of a Yeti.” So don’t worry if you aren’t changing the world as an intern at first. You will certainly learn something new during the process.

As an intern at IBM, design leader Paul Boag was handed down ‘the Web’ by senior designers who “turned their noses up at it in disgust because at the time it had no design.”

If you don’t kickstart your career, you can certainly kickstart your portfolio

Every intern secretly hopes to get a job offer after their internship. Do not worry! If you don’t get a job offer right away after you finish yours. It does not mean that you aren’t good enough. They just probably don’t need any additional, full-time UX designers at the moment. What you should focus on is to properly document your work and have a great case study in your portfolio after your internship is finished. This can help you to get the job of your dreams after you finish your studies.

Build your UX intern portfolio with UXfol.io

UXfol.io is a complete UX portfolio solution, built by designers for designers. With our platform, you can save time and energy building your portfolio home page and case studies. UXfol.io provides sleek templates, thumbnail generator, UX-specific case study sections, downloadable templates, and text ideas. Our review features will allow you to collect valuable feedback from fellow UXers before sending out your portfolio with UX design internship applications. Try UXfol.io for free or choose between our Standard and Premium plans!

the-definitive-guide-to-landing-pages

As a digital marketing professional, you understand that email marketing is only one part of a larger puzzle. For your email marketing efforts to pay off, your email subscribers need to be directed somewhere, so that certain actions can be taken.

That’s where your website’s landing pages come into play. Read on to discover the importance of landing pages, as well as how they work alongside email marketing to net you the desired results.

Guide to landing pages: what purpose do these pages serve?

A landing page is a specific web page on your website that your subscribers are directed to via various sales/marketing tactics. This can be through an email CTA or even a social media post. A landing page is different from a typical webpage because it serves a particular purpose.

For example, many of our emails and blog CTAs take leads to our request for a live demo landing page.

Example of a Campaign Monitor landing page

Source: Campaign Monitor

This page serves a single purpose: requesting a live demo of Campaign Monitor and the services available to marketing professionals. Those interested simply fill out the form and then click the “submit” CTA to get started.

So, while landing pages have a focused directive, they serve a critical role in your overall marketing strategy: to convert website visitors into new leads. If implemented correctly, a well-designed landing page is almost guaranteed to get you the conversions you’re looking for.

Your guide to different types of landing pages

Marketers understand that each offer or promotion requires its own landing page to get the attention it deserves. In fact, studies have shown that companies that increase their number of landing pages from 10 to 15 see an average increase in leads of 55%.

However, many individuals don’t understand that several different types of landing pages can and should be utilized, depending on the type of campaign being run. This has led to 48% of landing pages containing multiple offers, which can drastically decrease the overall conversion rate by up to 266%

That’s why it’s crucial to have the right landing page for each of your campaigns. Not every landing page will be a product detail page, and research shows that other landing pages typically perform better than a typical product detail page.

Product detail pages vs. all other landing pages

Source: Marketing Charts

It’s essential to consider adding a variety of different landing pages to your digital marketing strategy, and we’ve provided some information on the most popular landing pages used by marketing teams today.

Lead capture page

A lead capture page is a landing page designed to encourage website viewers to leave their personal information in exchange for a good or service. Typically, marketers begin by sending an email to new subscribers that outlines various perks of their subscription. From there, users are encouraged to click on a CTA that brings them to a landing page where they’ll fill out a form to gain access to something.

The MarketingProfs team does a good job of this. Their welcome email currently includes a link to an “exclusive look” at Nancy Harhut’s MarketingProfs B2b Forum presentation. If you click on that lead capture CTA in the email, you’re taken to the first landing page, which delivers the promised material. From there, you’re encouraged to sign up for the 2020 forum and are then asked for more information on landing page 2.

 Email marketing and landing page examples

Source: Gmail/MarketingProfs Landing Page 1/MarketingProfs Landing Page 2

Sales page

Sales pages, while some of the most relevant landing pages in your digital marketing arsenal, are the ones that are the most commonly misused.

Some of the most effective sales landing pages are longer in nature and can generate up to 220% more leads than landing pages with above-the-fold CTAs. However, what works for some may not work for all, so you should always be A/B testing your landing pages before making them live for all.

In this example, the sales page is broken up into different sections, providing viewers with options to review before making their final decision.

Example of a sales landing page

Source: Living Language via Instapage

Click-through page

Click-through landing pages are great when you’re working with a new prospect and want to warm them up to an offer. Remember the example above by MarketingProfs? That’s an excellent example of a click-through landing page because it moves the prospect from the welcome email to the initial landing page, and then to an exclusive offer landing page for the 2020 Forum.

Another great way to incorporate a click-through landing page is by using free trial offers or with a “get a quote” CTA. This encourages your consumers to click through and gives you some information to move forward with the process of learning more or getting access to the free trial.

Click-through landing page example

Source: Nationwide

Splash page

Splash pages are typically used to inform your visitor or something prior to giving them access to another landing page or blog post. This doesn’t usually ask your visitors for any information and acts more like a welcome page of sorts. Other types of splash pages could include short, quick forms to enable you to gather vital user data.

Example of a Splash landing page

Source: Forbes via Instapage

Squeeze page

Squeeze pages are designed to capture a prospect’s email address to grow a brand’s email list. These pages often pop up while you’re scrolling through a website or article, and they often ask you to sign up for the brand’s newsletter to stay in the loop without having to search the brand later.

For example, GQ includes a squeeze on its homepage. It appears as the visitor scrolls through the homepage material and encourages them to sign up to stay on top of the GQ trending stories.

Example of a squeeze landing page.

Source: GQ

Other examples of squeeze pages are those that pop up after you’ve visited a website so many times, and they require you to sign up before you can view any other content.

Example of a gated squeeze page that requires a subscription to view more content

Source: The Business Times

Guide to landing pages: design best practices

Just like any other marketing material, knowing design best practices for landing pages is an absolute must. There are many different design best practices out here; however, when it comes to landing pages, these are some of the most vital practices to keep in mind:

  • Put your audience first by designing with them in mind. That means designing for the skimmers, including images and videos, to help break up large blocks of text and making your CTAs easily identifiable and actionable.
  • Consider your own goals during the design phase. You can’t neglect your marketing goals, or else these landing pages won’t serve your brand in any way. What purpose does each page serve? What solutions will it help provide your audience members? What’s the best way to encourage action on each page?
  • Focus primarily on the benefit for your audience members. What pain points are you addressing? How’s this page/product/service going to make their lives easier/better? Don’t focus heavily on the specific features. Instead, outline how this is going to address the problem they’re seeking answers to.
  • Be as specific as you can, or else risk confusing your prospects. This is particularly important if you have multiple offers running at the same time. Remember, you want to have a landing page for each of your active campaigns. That way, there’s little chance of confusion for those clicking on links for a specific product, deal, or campaign.
  • Always run an A/B test before letting your page go live. What works for one campaign may not work for the next, so make sure you’re taking adequate time to test your landing pages for limited periods of time and track your results to see which one gets you the best results. Whichever variation wins is the one you should put up permanently.

Landing pages and email marketing work together when done correctly.

While some may believe that landing pages are strictly related to your online presence and digital marketing strategy, remember that your marketing strategy is made up of multiple puzzle pieces. Once you’ve got your landing page ready to go, you can start including them into your email marketing strategy.

For example, MacPaw does a wonderful job of creating a sales landing page that they incorporate into their holiday sales email campaign. Instead of laying out all the options for consumers, they include a 30% off CTA, and should the consumer be interested in the offer; they can click through to the sales landing page to see all the available offers.

 Example of email marketing and landing pages working together

Source: Really Good Emails/MacPaw

Wrap up

Landing pages play a vital role in your digital marketing strategy, and it’s essential to understand that not every landing page is created equally. That’s why this guide to landing pages focused heavily on the varying types of landing pages that should be incorporated into your marketing strategy:

  • Squeeze pages
  • Sales pages
  • Lead capture pages
  • Splash pages
  • Click-through pages

Ready to see what Campaign Monitor can do for you? Then request your live demo today.

mini-http-guide-for-developers

Frameworks often hide/abstract parts of HTTP away. I think this is often a bit of a shame: it hides what’s possible with HTTP, and so can lead to effects on engineering decisions.

This short guide aims to rectify that. It details a few of the most common and useful parts of HTTP, and is aimed for developers with some experience making or receiving HTTP requests. [In this post, the term HTTP is used to refer to the bytes of the HTTP protocol, which is the same if those bytes are sent over plain TCP, or through a TLS tunnel. The term HTTPS is used only when necessary to distinguish HTTP over TLS.]

Initialising the connection

Say we ask our HTTP client to make a GET request to the URL https://example.com/the/path. Firstly, there isn’t no such a thing as a URL in HTTP: it’s just a shorthand that the client parses and uses the different components at various points in the process.

  • The client resolves example.com to an IP address, say to 1.2.3.4. Note that typically in many cases this would involve sending the string example.com unencrypted across the network.
  • Initiate a TCP connection to the IP address 1.2.3.4 on port 443: if no port is specified in an HTTPS URL, port 443 is assumed. For HTTP URLs, port 80 is assumed.
  • Initiate a TLS connection over the top of this TCP connection. This again would uses the domain example.com, in both SNI, and verification of the subsequently supplied certificate. In many cases, the domain name example.com would be transmitted unencrypted across the internet.
  • Then start the HTTP request/response process. This would use both the domain example.com, as well as /the/path. This process is detailed below.

The HTTP request

The client sends the bytes of the HTTP request message over the TLS connection. This is made of a request-line containing the method and the path, followed by a number of header key:value pair lines, a blank line, and then the body. In this case, the body is 0-bytes long, which is typical for GET requests.

GET /the/path HTTP/1.1rn
host: example.comrn
rn

A “line” ends with the two characters rn. The visual line breaks in the examples shown here are for ease of comprehension, and are not characters that are transmitted.

The HTTP response

The server would then respond with a status-line, some headers, a blank line, and the body of the response.

HTTP/1.1 200 OKrn
content-length: 21rn
rn
The bytes of the body

Notable headers

The important parts of HTTP are the headers: bits of metadata sent before the body of the message [usually].

Host header

Usually HTTP clients add a host header automatically from the supplied URL. It has two common uses.

  • CDNs or reverse proxies use the host header to determine how to route requests onwards.
  • Application server code uses the host header in a best-effort attempt to determine the domain the HTTP client used to make the request. Depending on the configuration of intermediate proxies, this can mean the application server may not be able to correctly determine what the original domain was.

Content-length header

HTTP is sent over TCP [or TCP TLS], which surfaces as a stream of bytes in client code. A “stream of bytes” means that the receiver could just receive a single byte at a time, perhaps even with seconds of delay between each. The receiver has no way to know if it has received all of the bytes, or the connection is just a bit slow. For this reason, requests and responses [that can have a body], can supply a header that tells the other end how many bytes are part of the body of the message. This is the content-length header.

Often HTTP clients add this automatically if they know at the time of starting sending the HTTP message how many bytes will be sent in the body.

Transfer-encoding header

A HTTP message sender may want to send a body, but it does not know at the start how many bytes make up that body. One option is that it can wait until it knows how many bytes, and set the content-length header appropriately. However, this may involve having to buffer all the bytes in memory, which may not be possible or desirable.

An alternative is to use transfer-encoding: chunked. With this header, the body of the message is sent in chunks, each prefixed by the number of bytes in that chunk [as it happens, in hexadecimal]. This means the body transfer can be started without knowing how many bytes in total will be sent. Common chunk sizes are between 8kb and 64kb. Often HTTP clients “do the chunking” themselves, adding the chunk header before each chunk as needed.

However, it is usually better to avoid transfer-encoding: chunked and instead set a content-length header. The receiver can use this in various ways, such as to or be able to allocate resources needed at the start of downloading the body, or estimate time remaining. If the receiver needs to know how many bytes are in the body, using transfer-encoding: chunked may be forcing it to buffer the entire body in memory before it can process it further.

Wonderfully, you can often still stream bodies with a correctly set content-length, but you may need to go to a bit of effort to find the right value. For example, to stream a file you may need to query the file system explicity to find the length of the file before starting to fetch its bytes.

Connection header

HTTP/1.1 by default keeps connections open after a HTTP request/response, so they can be used for subsequent request/response, and avoid the overhead of new TCP [or TCP TLS] connections. This referred to as persistant connections, and is often a good thing, but has downsides.

Usually servers would only keep the connections alive for a certain period of time, and then close them. This means there is a race condition: a server could have closed the connection from their point of view, but the client not be aware of this and attempt to re-use the connection, send its bytes [but the server wouldn’t process them], and only later some time would the client would be aware of an error condition. The client may not know if it’s safe to retry the request or not. For example, a client may have no way of determining if a POST errored before or after it was processed by the server. If designing an API, you may wish to implement some sort of unique idempotency-key for such requests. With this, the client can safely retry requests that have failed from its point of view, while the server knows not to reprocess any duplicates, and can still return the response corresponding to the original request.

Another downside is that if you don’t end up re-using the connection, resources would continue to be used needlessly on both the client and the server.

If you want a smaller chance of issues like this, you may explicitly set a connection: close header. If you can deal with such issues, you may wish to design the system to take better advantage of persistant connections. For example, instead of choosing to have multiple S3 buckets each on a different domain, you choose to have one, to take better advantage of per-domain HTTP persistent connections and speed up S3 requests/responses.

X-forwarded-proto

This is a modern header: it is often added to requests by HTTP-aware intermediate CDNs or reverse proxies. If the proxy has received an HTTPS connection, it can add x-forwarded-proto: https, and otherwise adds x-forwarded-proto: http.

Without this header, the application server behind a reverse proxy would have no mechanism to know if the client made its request via HTTP or HTTPS. This may be important if you would like to respond to HTTP requests with redirects to HTTPS URLs.

X-forwarded-for

Often an application server would like to know the IP address of the client. However, if the client connects to a reverse proxy, and then the reverse proxy connects to the application server, the application server only has details of that final TCP connection. From its point of view, its TCP client is the reverse proxy. This is often not helpful.

The solution to this is that each intermediate proxy adds (to) the x-forwarded-for header in the request, setting the IP address that its incoming TCP connection is from. If there is already an x-forwarded-for header on its incoming HTTP request, it appends the IP address to this in a comma separated list before forwarding the HTTP request onwards.

This means that the application server can receive an x-forwarded-for with a long list of IP addresses in it, for example x-forwarded-for: 1.2.3.4, 5.6.7.8, 9.10.11.12. Because each server adds to the value of the existing x-forwarded-for header supplied by a potentially untrustworthy client, care must be taken before trusting any particular value in this list.

For example, you may have an application accessible behind a CDN, which adds an x-forwarded-for, so in the application server you may be tempted to trust the first IP in x-forwarded-for. However, the CDN would append to any existing values in x-forwarded-for. This means that an evil client can send a request with an existing x-forwarded-for header, set with some IP, and trick the application into thinking the client is at that IP. Knowing this, you may choose to use the last IP address in the list, thinking that this can be trusted. However, this may also not be a good choice: often applications are accessible both from the CDN, but also directly, even if just via an IP address. An evil client could connect to this with a spoofed x-forwarded-for header, and again trick the application.

Solutions to this trust issue involve only using the last N values of x-forwarded-for, where you have a mechanism to ensure that those N hops a) definitely involved certain infrastructure and b) you trust that infrastruture to manipulate any existing x-forwarded-for in a certain way.

Summary: Reconstructing URLs

Reconstructing the URL that a client used involves multiple parts of the HTTP request: the path of the start-line, the host header, as well as the x-forwarded-proto header. For all this to work, intermediate proxies must be appropriately configured.

Summary: Streaming

HTTP is often enough for streaming: you may not need anything fancier. If you can determine the full length of the body, set the content-length header; otherwise, use transfer-encoding: chunked.

Summary: HTTP is leaky

All non-trivial abstractions, to some degree, are leaky.

Joel Spolsky

HTTP is a leaky abstraction, exposing information on the lower-level TCP [or TCP TLS] connection via the x-forwarded-* headers; giving the ability to control that connection via the connection header; and requiring one of content-length or transfer-encoding headers to make up for the fact that TCP doesn’t have any concept of message length.

If you want to take full advantage of HTTP, you should be aware of these; compensate for them; and even be able to leverage them when needed to avoid unnecessary time, memory, code, or infrastructure use.

guide-to-bootstrap-columns:-examples,-tutorials,-and-tricks

Bootstrap

Twelve Bootstrap columns, five breakpoints, and Flexbox are what underlies the iconic boilerplate’s bootstrap grid system. There are a dozen predefined classes, yet, these three stand behind the flexibility of the layout. They build a concrete foundation with responsive behavior for mobile-friendliness. As a result, developers can construct websites that look and function on different devices.

Read about Bootstrap buttons, Bootstrap grid, Bootstrap navbar, and Bootstrap modal.

Bootstrap columns do not come without a little help from rows and containers that hold everything together. The basic structure of every Bootstrap-powered website includes this quintessential trio. Columns break everything into digestible pieces creating order out of chaos.

Bootstrap Columns Fundamentals

First things first, understanding the fundamentals of Bootstrap columns is necessary to handle the framework properly. A dozen classes and utilities give you freedom of action. You can create any structure you want without drastic changes in the code.

  • Containers are must-haves. Use traditional .containerclass to create a layout with a responsive width or .container-fluid class to create a full-width structure on all devices regardless of dimension.
  • Rows are must-haves. They are wrappers for all your experiments with column organization. The immediate children of rows are columns. Rows and columns are inseparable.
  • You can change the column width depending on the screen size.
  • Columns can be reordered. You can change their position depending on the device.
  • Columns wrap and stack automatically.
  • You can use less than 12 columns in a row. Conversely, you can have more than 12 columns in a row, and the Bootstrap will deal with that on its own.
  • Columns can be broken into rows and columns. Nesting is a common thing.
  • Bootstrap 4 introduces auto-layout columns. Therefore, columns can “grow” and “shrink” on their own.
  • Ems or rems define the sizes of columns, thereby making them flexible. Note, pxs define breakpoints.

Dig a little deeper to refresh your memory about basic classes that are used for columns to create structures without any modifications in CSS files.

  • The column’s declaration indicates the number of columns that you want to merge. Thus, .col-4 means creating an area that occupies four columns.
  • In the fourth version, you are not obliged to specify the width of the column, since Flexbox does all the heavy lifting. Use .col class to create auto-layout columns. Note, you can mix and match it with classes that define the exact number of columns to merge (for example, .col-6).
  • Use col-{breakpoint}-auto (for example, .col-lg-auto) to create columns whose width will be set by the content inside.
  • Use traditional .col-* class to set the column width on the specific screen size.

o .col- are for devices whose screen is less than 576px;o .col-sm- are for devices whose screen is between 576px and 767px;o   .col-md- are for devices whose screen is between 768px and 991px;o .col-lg- are for devices whose screen is between 992px and 1199px;o .col-xl- are for devices whose screen is greater than 1200px. Use .w-100 class to break columns to a new line, thereby creating a multirow structure. Note, these lines will not have spaces between them. Use flexbox to align columns. You can go for.align-items-start, .align-items-center, align-self-start, and others. The same goes to horizontal alignment: use flexbox to your advantage.

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  • Use .no-gutters class in a row to ditch all the gutters between the columns.
  • Use .offset-*-* classes to move the column to the left.
  • Use .mr-auto class to force sibling columns to move away from each other.

Reorder Bootstrap Columns

Bootstrap columns can be reordered depending on screen size. Moreover, with the fourth version, this process becomes elegant and hassle-free, thanks to Flexbox.

Several predefined classes allow changing the order of columns. First, you need to use .order class that is fully responsive. You can use breakpoints to set the order like this:

.order-sm-2.order-md-12

The line above means that the column will be the second one on small devices and the last one on the mid-sized devices. You can put any number from 0 to 12. Note, there are also two specific classes such as .order-first and .order-last. They do what they say.

Alternatively, for reordering, you can use baseline direction utilities inherent to Flexbox such as.flex-column-reverse.

Center Bootstrap Columns

Centering Bootstrap columns is easier in the fourth version, again thanks to Flexbox. All you need to do is to apply .justify-content-center class to the row.

As for centering the content inside the column, you can use a Flexbox class .align-self-center.

Different Layouts Made with Bootstrap Columns

We have compiled a collection of free themes and layouts that show the potential that is hidden inside this integral detail of the framework.

Bootstrap Template Builder

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Guide to Bootstrap Columns: Examples, Tutorials, and Tricks

Showcase by Startup

Showcase by Startup is an elegant HTML/CSS theme. It dishes up a bunch of content in a well-organized manner offering an eye-pleasing aesthetics. Here the layout has three equal columns and several rows. Each cell perfectly accommodates both visual and textual material serving as a perfect base for displaying portfolio pieces, blog posts, etc. If you want to modify the template, for example, change color or font, all you need to do is to use options panel on the left. There are standard settings that allow editing the appearance of the theme without modifying the code.

What’s more, the Bootstrap builder is packed with solutions where Bootstrap columns run the show. There is a businesslike “Our team” block and, compact yet informative, pricing table that are available for free.

Bootstrap Columns

Datta Able Bootstrap 4

Datta Able is a sterling admin panel that shows how to get the most out of Bootstrap columns. Here you can see a traditional left-sided layout where the right part accommodates the entire content. The latter features nesting with a varied positioning and width of the columns. Depending on screen size, the layout will shrink and change the order of blocks.

Unlike Showcase by Startup, Datta Able is a Bootstrap template that comes alone. If you want to customize it, you need to mess around with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Material Dashboard

Material Dashboard

Material Dashboard is another admin template that easily handles the complexity of the structure. Much like in the previous example, the theme has two regular columns where the first one holds the navigation, and second contains content. The latter is presented as a perfectly organized grid. The key feature of this solution is Material Design principles that can be seen in every pixel.

Bootstrap Columns Fundamentals

Let’s move from admin dashboards to regular websites. Take a look at Rapid.

Rapid is a sleek and modern one-page multipurpose business template. It covers all the primary areas, including a portfolio for exhibiting work. Here you can see various types of layouts based on one, two, and three-column skeletons.

The Evenet

The Event

The Event template has mastered Bootstrap columns as well. Almost every other section is based on a grid system. There are two-, three-, and four-column layouts that efficiently accommodate the content. You can break it into pieces and use them in your projects to solve trivial issues.

Last, But Not Least

Without a doubt, the most popular area of putting Bootstrap columns in action is a portfolio that could not survive without a well-thought-out grid. Nevertheless, there are some other types of websites where this baseline component plays first fiddle; and, one of them is e-commerce.

Bootstrap Columns

Consider the Bootstrap eCommerce Template. This clean and neat theme has a five-column structure that is necessary to display products to potential customers without overwhelming them. The idea is simple, yet it does the trick. 

Conclusion

Bootstrap columns set the stage for the entire content. They are invisible, but you can not survive without them. While container and row perform a shaping role, columns create the whole structure, skillfully organizing and ordering various pieces of content. With Bootstrap 4, you can play with columns by applying predefined classes and utilities that are sprinkled with Flexbox magic.

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the-ultimate-guide-for-mobile-developers-who-want-to-design


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・5 min read

As a startup founder, one of the most common questions I’m asked is:

How can you do both design and development, as well as business tasks?

I’m an iOS & macOS developer first, having been coding since I was 13 y.o. However, currently, I’m doing all the design tasks for my startup — Flawless App. It’s a tool for iOS developers to compare original designs with the real app in Xcode’s iOS simulator. So I do UX research, website mockups, onboarding screens, ads, emails, presentations, and many other design-related things. 😱

A long time ago, we did have two brilliant designers working with us but unfortunately, it didn’t work out for many reasons. Therefore, I decided to learn the basics of UX design back then. I didn’t expect to become a UX and UI magician or usability research expert overnight. Rather I wanted to develop the essential skill-set for creating designs fast and efficiently enough to make users happy.

So, can a developer learn UX and UI design?

Well yes, we can learn anything we want. To help you get started, I will share some resources that helped me at the beginning of my journey: books, case studies, and tutorials.



Get the taste of design thinking

Everything in the world around us is designed by somebody. You sit on a chair, that somebody designed. You work on the laptop, where every corner has a reason to be that specific shape. You read Medium, which has a UI that was crafted by a team of designers. Every element of the real or virtual world was designed to make you carry out a specific action.

My dive into design started with the following classical articles and books. They will teach you to focus on design as a method of solving problems:

📕 Dieter Rams: 10 principles for good design

I wasn’t even born when Dieter Rams, German iconic industrial designer, wrote this. It’s a manifesto of design mission for any product or service.

Read every line carefully. Does your design meet those principles? Dieter Rams is 85 now and he is the man, who designed Braun coffeemaker, shaver, stereo, calculator, speakers, alarm clock, Oral-B toothbrush and many more.

Design should not dominate things, should not dominate people. It should help people. That’s its role.

– Dieter Rams

📕 “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman.

It’s so popular, that you can even find Swift talk about clean code and API design articles based on ideas from this book!

The book covers design methodologies, basic psychological concepts, and usability. Norman deals mostly with the design of physical objects. He explores what makes the use of buildings, appliances, and technology easy or complicated. Norman shows the basic patterns, which are very well applied to the virtual touch screen of today’s UIs.

Originally the book was published in 1988. If you decide to read the first edition, you’ll find a lot of ancient tech stuff there (I loved it!). Back then, Norman predicted the success of iPads, tablet devices, and smartphones. You can also find updated versions, as Norman constantly adds to it. Alternatively, check out this brief Udacity course, “Intro to the Design of Everyday Things with Norman”.

Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.

― Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

📕 “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People” by Susan Weinschenk

This is a light overview read of neuroscience and behavioral psychology from a designer’s perspective. The book is divided into short chapters about how people see, read, remember, think, feel and form mental models. I found many new insights there! It’s relatively fresh (2011), well-written and contains practical advice on using these 100 principles in your designs. However, reserve the time for research after reading the book.

📕 Last but not least is “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug


It is an easy read with a focus on a common-sense approach to web usability. Some of the stuff may be obvious or also found published around different UX blogs (the book was republished & updated in 2013). But if you are a total newbie, you will enjoy it. You can read it in over a weekend or two, as Krug’s writing style is really enjoyable!

Don’t make me think. Make things obvious and self-evident, or at least self-explanatory. People scan; they don’t read. People choose the first reasonable option. People muddle through things rather than figure them out.

― Steve Krug’s Laws of Usability

Do you wish to learn more on how to hack a user’s brain with a product design? Then I strongly recommend you read these articles too:

The design process starts with a good understanding of people and their needs. Overall, this was just a small collection of excellent resources, which you can use to understand the design before drawing your first UI. I will come back to you in a few weeks with the next part of this guide. Thanks for reading and happy learning!

There’s no learning without trying lots of ideas and failing lots of times.

– Jonathan Ive

Special thanks to our friends & great designers, Alex Kukharenko and Anton Diatlov, for giving useful advice on our guide.


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Ahmed Sulaiman

iOS & macOS engineer, a functional UI designer and founder of https://flawlessapp.io

business-plan-guide-for-mobile-app-business

Thinking of developing a mobile app? Done properly, app development requires a significant investment of time, money and resources. And therefore some careful consideration before you proceed. 

Writing a business plan for a mobile app business in advance of any development can really help to clarify your vision as well as identify the steps you need to take to maximise the return on your investment.

What to consider when writing a mobile app business plan

Mobile apps are continuing to grow in popularity year on year – in fact, mobile apps are projected to hit $188.9 billion in revenue by 2020 – up from just $88billion in 2016 (Statista).

It doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable to wonder what the future holds for mobile apps – and whether the market is already saturated.

And yet technology is constantly changing (think about the rise of voice-based apps such as Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri for instance) along with consumer habits and expectations. 

So there is no doubt that the demand is still there for apps that can genuinely be shown to be more innovative and more engaging than their competitors.

Whatever your business, writing a business plan takes time. But it’s an iterative process can and one that can be hugely helpful in clarifying exactly what you want to achieve in the development of your own app.

So what are some of the key points you might want to consider when putting together a business plan for your mobile app?

Be clear about what kind of app do you want to develop

It is tempting to rush into the development of an app simply because other businesses similar to yours already have one.

But it’s worth giving some genuine thought to the ‘problem’ that you aim to solve with the creation of an app.

Businesses build apps for all sorts of reasons, such as branding, improving customer engagement, direct marketing etc. 

But as online publishing platform Medium says “Ultimately an effective mobile strategy involves more than just a mobile friendly website.”

Research your market

Once you have identified why the marketplace needs you to develop the app, it is vital to understand what your competitors are already doing – and how your app will improve on this.

When conducting market research, you should look at both primary and secondary data and consider key information such as include the size of your market as well as a thorough understanding of pricing. 

SWOT analysis can be useful for understanding your business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. 

LivePlan explains “Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your company—things that you have some control over and can change. Examples include who is on your team, your patents and intellectual property, and your location.

“Opportunities and threats are external—things that are going on outside your company, in the larger market. You can take advantage of opportunities and protect against threats, but you can’t change them. Examples include competitors, prices of raw materials, and customer shopping trends.”

Building on this, there is also a value in conducting a PEST analysis to look at macro economic factors that may influence your business.  These are opportunities and threats due to Political, Economic, Social, and Technological forces. 

Pestle Analysis explains these four areas in more detail: 

  1. Political 

    Here government regulations and legal factors are assessed in terms of their ability to affect the business environment and trade markets. The main issues addressed in this section include political stability, tax guidelines, trade regulations, safety regulations, and employment laws.
  2. Economic 

    Through this factor, businesses examine the economic issues that are bound to have an impact on the company. This would include factors like inflation, interest rates, economic growth, the unemployment rate and policies, and the business cycle followed in the country.
  3. Social 

    With the social factor, a business can analyze the socio-economic environment of its market via elements like customer demographics, cultural limitations, lifestyle attitude, and education. With these, a business can understand how consumer needs are shaped and what brings them to the market for a purchase.
  4. Technological 

    How technology can either positively or negatively impact the introduction of a product or service into a marketplace is assessed here. These factors include technological advancements, lifecycle of technologies, the role of the Internet, and the spending on technology research by the government.

What is your app’s unique selling point?

So what problem does your app actually solve? What makes it different from all the other apps out there? Any why will someone download your app rather than another, similar one?

Identifying your app’s unique selling point (USP) is a useful exercise in really understanding what you plan to do that’s different to everyone else. 

It can also help you develop an ‘elevator pitch’ – a 20 second, one or two line summary that comprehensively explains your product. And which could, as the phrase suggests, be articulated to a potential investor between the floors of a buildings – should you be lucky enough to find yourself in a lift with someone on the lookout for your product! 

Understand your budget and how your app will make money

No matter how good your mobile app business idea, good financial management will ultimately be key to its success.

How, for instance, are you going to make money from your app? You might decide on a freemium model, where basic features are free but full functionality is hidden behind a paywall. You might prefer in-app advertising. Or your app might be for solely for in-app purchases. 

It is reassuring to know that it is possible to develop a mobile app on a tiny budget – but that budget still needs careful management.

Alongside all the usual business plan financial headings, you should also consider costs that are specific to app development. 

These can include customer acquisition cost, which Appster elaborates as cost per app install or CPI, suggesting “If you want to go one level deeper and be more exact, find out the cost per activation, keeping in mind that there will be a percentage of users who might install the app, and then uninstall it without engaging with the app.”

How do you plan to market your app? 

Developing an app is one thing but getting it to arguably saturated marketplace, with good take up is quite another.  

You will therefore need to give some considerable thought to how you plan to market your app once it is built (and possibly even before you have launched it). 

And so taking the time to put together a marketing plan for your mobile app business can pay dividends after launch.

Looking for a hand with writing a business plan for your mobile app business?  

If you would like a steer developing a business plan for your mobile app business, then the team at Creative.onl would love to help.

We are a friendly bunch with expertise across all of the following areas: 

  • Digital strategy 
  • UX design 
  • App development
  • Web development 
  • Responsive web design
  • Content
  • Graphic design
  • Video animation 
  • Marketing support 

And we would love to help you with any aspect of your digital marketing strategy.

Whatever you are looking for, get in touch with Creative.onl to talk through the creative processes of any of our services and products.    

a-geek’s-guide-to-managing-your-email-list-in-2020

As we come to the close of a decade of unprecedented, rapid technological innovation for modern businesses — and everyday life — email continues to thrive as an essential method of communication.

We wanted to know what email marketers are really thinking about as we step into the next decade, so I put out a call to #EmailGeeks on Twitter.

You can check out the full thread [and add your two cents] here.

Here’s their advice to today’s email marketers.

Protect the integrity of your lists. Without security protocols in place to validate email addresses submitted through web forms. Ensure that you only have real people signing up for your emails by implementing security tactics like CAPTCHA codes to protect your list from being overrun by bots.

Verification emails requiring users to click a link within the email are another effective — and engaging — method to ensure real subscribers are being added to your lists.

These steps are also necessary to protect the integrity of your email lists, your deliverability reputation among ISPs, and to help manage costs with email service providers (ESPs) that charge brands per contact; an unexpected influx of bots could quickly drive up costs and could require pricey remediation.

Don’t overlook the importance of nurturing subscribers. As “The Email Marketing Heroes” point out, trying to move subscribers through your funnel too quickly before they are ready could end up an above-average unsubscribe rate.

Email marketers should remain cautious to not overwhelm new subscribers with onboarding campaigns. A 2019 survey from GetResponse that analyzed global email users indicates that high send frequency results in low engagement — but could be offset by optimized subject lines. Make engagement a KPI for these types of emails.

Brand email communications should be a two-way street. Many brands still use ‘donotreply’ email addresses when sending emails through an email service provider. Why wouldn’t you want to hear direct feedback from your subscribers?

Using ‘donotreply’ as your brand’s “Sent From” address can bring on negative repercussions that are difficult to remedy. Inbox providers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are perpetually updating their algorithms to identify common and emerging email spam tactics used by bad actors.

The clearer your brand is in identifying themselves to their subscribers, the more likely consumers are to recognize — additionally beneficial for deliverability elements. Request that the IT department creates branded aliases for customers to reply, and incorporate regular monitoring of alias inboxes into your email KPIs.

Additionally, the upcoming BIMI initiative — set to start rolling out next year — will drive changes to how brands name their aliases and should be taken into consideration during conversations around branding in the inbox.

If you love [your subscribers], let them go. It might seem counter-intuitive, but providing subscribers with a clear and simple opt-out process will result in long-term success in terms of deliverability.

“Email newsletters and marketing campaigns are considered to be a low-cost, effective way to reach your audience, making it a no-brainer for many brands,” wrote Marketing Land’s George Nguyen. “However, as inboxes fill up, email fatigue can set in and members of your audience may wish to unsubscribe.

No email marketer wants to see their email list decrease, but complicating the unsubscribe process for users will have dire consequences for your brand’s reputation among inbox providers. Establish a straightforward unsubscribe process with as few steps as possible to maintain a healthy relationship with subscribers — and their inboxes.

More about the Managed Inbox



About The Author

Jennifer Videtta Cannon serves as Third Door Media’s Senior Editor, covering topics from email marketing and analytics to CRM and project management. With over a decade of organizational digital marketing experience, she has overseen digital marketing operations for NHL franchises and held roles at tech companies including Salesforce, advising enterprise marketers on maximizing their martech capabilities. Jennifer formerly organized the Inbound Marketing Summit and holds a certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics from MIT Sloan School of Management.



guide-to-email-automation-management

managing automated email

Email automation management refers to the process of how you setup, manage, and update your automated email campaigns.

From idea to first iteration, we’re showing you how to get a handle on a task that still alludes so many marketers, business owners, and product teams.

It’s important that you manage your email automation effectively:

  • Triggered emails get 70% higher open rates and 152% higher CTRs than drip emails
  • Relevant emails drive 18X more revenue than broadcast emails
  • Only 51% of companies are currently implementing marketing automation of any kind (meaning there’s a good chance you can do better than your competition)

Best process for email automation management

processes for managing email automation

Email automation management should be as agile as possible. You shouldn’t strategise a big campaign and set up a complicated behemoth of email automation before first testing your results.

Instead, think like a SaaS developer, who would build one small feature at a time, frontend then backend (while working as agile as possible).

By the same token, you should strategise how to solve for one problem at a time, or a few related problems. This is in contrast to strategising a complex, robust email campaign that covers every possible use case.

You’ll have better results if you take one problem, figure out how to fix it, trigger that message, and then measure response than if you setup dozens and dozens of emails for different purposes all at once.

Here’s the email automation management process we recommend you follow:

  1. Strategy: Start with a problem and discover what you can do to solve it, such as a high rate of new subscribers not logging in after they start their free trial.
  2. Setup: Next, choose the correct Smart Group (or apply customer filters) to target the right people to receive this message, based on a specific action or even a lack of engagement.
  3. Write the copy: Then it’s time to craft a message that appeals to this group of customers or prospects, based on the targeting criteria and where they’re at in the customer journey.
  4. Updates & optimisations: Email automation management also includes the process of reviewing, updating, and optimising your emails to ensure that they’re effective and up-to-date.

Let’s take a look at all of these steps and stages in more detail.

1. Start with strategy

strategy for managing email automation

Clichés exist for a reason right? Right.

Starting with strategy might be a cliché, but you have to start with strategy if you want to you want to manage email automation in a way that’s truly effective and engages with the right customers at the right time.

We recommend that you start with a common problem or known problem. You can work together with your marketing, product, and/or digital teams to brainstorm some issues that email automation might be able to solve.

You can also take a look at these common issues and see if any apply to your business:

  • Not trying to save abandoned carts: If you’re an ecommerce company with no systems setup for saving abandoned carts, such as emails that remind shoppers over the course of three days, then that would be a great place to get started with email automation.
  • Not getting feedback on cart abandonment: Why do customers abandon your checkout? You could send an email asking for their feedback to find out if its something wrong with the product, or with your checkout experience.
  • Free trial churn for SaaS: You don’t want to bombard active free trial users with the wrong kinds of messages, however for users who haven’t logged in in the last couple of days, sending them helpful messages is a must.
  • Churn for digital publishers and content subscriptions: As a digital publisher offering a paid content subscription, if readers haven’t visited your site in 7 days, that could be a sign of churn. Catch them before it’s too late with an email sharing your best recent headlines.
  • Not engaging leads that are close to purchasing (B2B): With higher priced B2B offers, it’s essential to engage leads that are showing interest in your product or service. Maybe they’re downloading a white paper or viewing your pricing page. You can send a timely email to ask if they have questions or offer to schedule a time for a demo.

If you’re not quite sure where to start with email automation, and you’re not aware of any problems that could be solved with email, then you can start by taking a look at different customer filters and see if that sparks any ideas.

Here are just a few of the top customer/prospect filters:

  1. Downloaded a white paper
  2. Downloaded a white paper X times
  3. Last seen on site X days ago
  4. Recently purchased
  5. Viewed pricing page
  6. Viewed blog
  7. Abandoned cart

There are dozens and dozens of different customer and website user filters to choose from. GoSquared includes a Customer Data Hub alongside web analytics so you can understand who are your most loyal customers and users, who’s about to buy, and who’s at risk of churning.

email automation set up

It’s the combination of the Customer Data Hub and our email automation management that makes GoSquared so powerful.

You can check out those customer filters inside of the Customer Data Hub to view the people that match that criteria.

You can also setup email automation for these different customer filters as well. You can combine customer filters to create your own Smart Group or choose from some pre-existing Smart Group criteria.

When you create a new automated message, you can choose from these different filters:

setting up email automation

Here are some additional filters you can choose from when triggering an automated email:

email automation management

While it’s best to start with some known issues you’re experiencing with website visitors and customers, you can also use the above drop down lists for inspiration.

2. Email automation management setup

set up automated emails

Once you know what group of customers you want to target in your email, setting up the messages is fairly simple.

There are a few things you need to be aware of:

  • Give your automated email message a descriptive title. Make sure it’s clear, so when you get to the ongoing review stage, you’ll remember what this email is for.
  • Select the relevant Smart Group (customer filter criteria). For most messages, you’ll select entering the Smart Group as the trigger, but leaving a Smart Group could also be a trigger. For example, let’s say you have a Smart Group of people who have visited your website in the last 10 days. When someone leaves that Smart Group, they might be at risk of churning, and need to receive a re-engagement email.
  • manage automated email

    Selecting the Smart Group is the most important thing when setting up your messages.

    But there are other options to be aware of too.

    You can choose to send the message during your business’s office hours, so that if you use the email to invite someone to chat with your team on your website, you make sure someone is actually there! You can also utilise this setting to make the email timing a bit more natural. This is great for B2B companies, but probably not needed for ecommerce sites.

    If you have Live Chat representatives who are active, you can select to not send a message that would interrupt an ongoing conversation.

    manage email automation

    You can also make sure that messages are not repeated too often. You can set messages to not repeat in intervals of hours, days, or months. This is important if customers or website visitors could possibly enter and exit a Smart Group frequently.

    For example, you might count viewing your blog as a form of engagement and want to send a prospect follow up content when they view your blog. But you wouldn’t want to do this daily, or possibly even weekly, depending on your business.

    managing email automation

    3. Email automation copywriting

    copywriting for automated emails

    The next step in email automation management is writing the copy.

    Often times, the software and setup is the simplest part, but knowing what to say is hard. The very best thing you can do is to look at examples to spark your creativity. Even professional copywriters do this. They can them “swipe files” and they save different emails so that they can later templatise them and follow a similar structure or style.

    We’ve put together a few different posts with email examples that you might want to check out:

    Each of those posts has plenty of real life examples.

    Inside of GoSquared, you can craft your automated emails super easily.

    Here’s what you’ll need to include:

    • The sender
    • The style (CTA button to any webpage or an invitation to chat)
    • Email subject
    • Message
    • Button text and link (for CTA-button emails)

    managing email automation

    What you write in the email comes down to what action you want the reader to take. Email management automation is all about efficiency. What do you want users to take action on, and how can you automate that request?

    For invitation-to-chat emails, you can keep the content pretty simple. Here’s an example:

    Hi there! I noticed that you didn’t complete your order. Do you have any questions for us? We’re available right now to answer your questions via chat.

    For CTA-button emails though, what you say depends on where the button link is sending traffic. You might use that button to send users to:

    • Your homepage
    • The page on your site that they viewed recently which triggered you to send the email (such as viewing your pricing page or contact form)
    • The shopping cart
    • A recent blog post
    • Another piece of content that relates to a whitepaper they just downloaded

    When you know what you want readers to click on, then the entire point of that email becomes getting as many people as possible to click on that button.

    Use teaser bullet points to show what they might learn in a new blog post, include testimonials that will make them want to dive back into your pricing page, or remind them of the benefits of the product that they had added to their cart.

    4. Updates & optimisations: ongoing email automation management:

    optimising email automation

    Email automation management is an ongoing task.

    Review your emails at the end of every month. (Do it sooner if you’re launching a lot of different email campaigns based on previous performance).

    Look for number of sends: if the number seems lower than you expected, consider changing the Smart Group to be just a little more broad, or removing one criteria. For example, you might switch from downloading 2 white papers to downloading just 1 for the email criteria.

    email automation management

    You might also want to add different emails for different criteria every month as well.

    Too many companies fail at email automation management because they turn it into one big project. When you break it down into individual emails that solve problems and target different customer groups, it becomes simpler.

    Plan on reviewing, editing, and adding emails monthly.

    Email automation management is still an underutilized digital strategy. It can help win back customers, close deals, and increase LTV. When you’re setting up your emails, Tweet us and let us know how it goes!

    an-ultimate-guide-to-movie-poster-design

    Posters are an excellent tool for advertising and marketing your product. From clothing brands to jewelry products and even local businesses have started using posters for marketing their products. Previously, poster design used to be perceived as limited to just movies. For movies, though there are many platforms available today for marketing and promoting their movie, movie posters stand out to be the best option.

    This is because movie posters have the power of delivering essential messages in the most creative and fun manner possible. There’s much creative freedom for designers to experiment with so that the movie is promoted in the best way.  Though there is no one particular method to poster design, there are specific guidelines or tricks that almost all movie posters tend to follow.

    Some of the important guidelines for designing a movie poster are as follows:

    1. Preparing for the process:

    Preparing for the process- Movie Poster Design

    For getting started designing a movie poster, you need first to identify and be clear about what you’re creating. Here you need to communicate well with the movie’s team as to what the movie is all about. You probably should get a brief idea about the story, the crux, and the unique elements.

    Talking to different teams like direction, action, v.f.x. would help you gain a holistic perspective on the movie and give you more tools to play around with. The foremost thing you should identify is the target audience for the movie.  There are many instances of movies where the story might feel like it is targeted to children; however, it would be more specific towards adults and children would even not be allowed to watch that movie. For this, you need to understand the plot clearly and design the movie poster as per the target audience for effective communication.

    2. Decide on the budget:

    Deciding the Budget- Movie Poster Design

    Movie posters can be expensive to design. You also need to ensure that the poster is spread across multiple locations for more visibility and awareness. Depending on the budget given to you for movie posters, you should consider a few elements and economic decisions.

    Depending on the number of prints, you should be able to decide what material and what ink should be used for printing the poster. An excellent way to set a budget is to consider the overall budget and divide it by the required number of prints. This gives an estimate of the cost for each print.  This helps save much time and back and forth with the client. It also ensures you don’t waste your resources.

    3.  Identifiable from a distance:

    This is something designers often have a problem with. They usually don’t visualize the fact that their poster is going to go up a much larger canvas than their computer screens.  Hence the size and proportions they see on their screen don’t help them visualize it on a larger canvas.

    Now you can have fine text on the poster, for most content like legal information and casting if you wish to include those would come in the fine text. However, the main headline should always be written in a way that it is easily visible and legible from a considerable distance as well.  Using the visual flow, you can set the hierarchy of the content available.

    Movie posters are generally used for print and are on hoardings. As a result, the average time people get to see and absorb information from it hardly seconds. It becomes essential to engage them for that short span of time by giving away the central message of the poster most attractively and appealingly.  You could either do this by placing large text or using graphics or any other element that is distinct to the product and yet relevant enough to create a direct relationship.  For instance, the image above shows a poster by Apple where there is a large silhouette of a character holding an iPod.

    4. Context-based designing:

    Context Based Designing- Movie Poster Design

    This is very crucial when designing a movie poster. You need to keep in mind where the movie poster is going to be displayed. There are various factors that role in for designing as per the context of place. If the movie poster is going to be against a white wall, designers know they need to use contrasting colours for the movie poster to stand out.  The idea is to keep the poster distinct from the background.

    5. Figure out your Target Audience:

    Identify target audience- Movie Poster Design

    Designing is a subjective practice. Each designer has their perceptions of excellent designs and bad designs. However, a designer must keep personal bias away when designing a movie poster, and keep it as close to the target audience’s characteristics and likings as possible.

    An excellent example of this is how when you think of a Disney movie, you are reminded of Lions, from Lion King. The designers of that movie poster use two lions to recreate the nostalgia attached with this movie, instead of substantial text. This would cater to the nostalgia in anyone familiar with the movie and would encourage them to see it.

    6. Smartly playing with typography and colors:

    Design Elements- Color and Typography

    As a designer, you get the creative freedom to experiment with different design elements. However, it should be done strategically. Colors have an extreme visual power to speak volumes about design in a first glance. Hence color selection should be well thought of. Each color signifies or reflects certain emotion, like yellow, represents warmth, comfort, whereas green shows trust, credibility and more.

    When we talk about typography, it also plays an essential role in forming a positive or negative opinion about the movie poster. Typography acts as a method of putting across the true story and relevance of the font used to the audience. A bad typography selection would not only look aesthetically bad, but it could also mislead people away from the movie’s actual story.  Any typography material needs to direct the audience’s attention to the important parts of the poster and move their eyes in a visual and contextual hierarchy.

    7. Brand Memory Retention:

    Star Wars Poster- Brand Memory Retention

    Any movie is a brand in itself, especially movies with sequels. There is always one important scene, prop, character or any other element in the movie that holds the potential to single-handedly summarize the entire movie. You can be creative with your design practices for movie posters; however, if you don’t include a memory retention element, people would quickly forget about your movie.

    An excellent example of this is Star Wars. Notice how each of their posters has repeated use of lightsabers that are essential weapons that are used throughout the franchise. The design element is different for each poster; however since they have the same design element along with the branding typeface of star wars, it looks like in synergy and calls for immediate retention.

    8. Use space wisely:

    Use space wisely

    Generally, when designers design any poster, they scale and space them as per how it looks to them on their screen. Since movie posters are huge, they are often viewed from a distance. For this, it’s best to keep the space between different elements like icons, text and also illustrations or images a little exaggerated.

    This might look wrong when you’re designing the poster on your screen, for which you should always step back to get a better idea of the overall design from a further perspective. If you optimize the elements for space, your movie poster would be easier to read, and also more visually appealing.

    9. Short and Simple Design Style:

    short and simple design- movie poster design

    For any design requirement,  short and straightforward design is generally appreciated. Any movie poster that is all over the place would throw people off. It would be too disruptive and difficult to follow to understand the message, mainly since people generally glance at a movie poster in a moving vehicle most of the times.

    This would lead to inefficient delivery of the message and would fail the purpose of the activity. Generally, designers tend to use a lot of elaborate elements, which could lead to the audience getting overwhelmed by design, and lose focus on the key message. Generally, minimal, clean and limited design element using movie posters stands out and gets the message delivered better.

    10. Importance of supportive text:

    Get Out- Supportive Text- Movie Poster Design

    Many movie posters can be designed with a minimal approach and using iconic images or illustrations to depict what the movie is all about. However, not every movie has a unique plot. Some movies need something extra to put a sense of mystery or add support to the movie’s plotline for it to make more sense to the potential audience.

    An excellent example of this can be the movie “Get Out”. The name itself does give a rough idea as to how what the movie is about; however, it isn’t substantial enough to draw people’s attention into finding out what’s going on.  Hence the poster uses excellent collage of essential characters, and a supportive text above the name of the movie that reads ‘Just because you’re invited doesn’t mean you’re welcome. This adds more context to the possibility of the storyline.

    11. Using the best Design Tool that is best for you:

    Requirement of the movie poster design and your level of expertise should be the factors you should consider. Hand-pick the right software for your designing needs.  Some online tools could help you create movie posters in no time; however, they often have limited flexibility. They are also repetitive as many designers could be using the same templates. As a result it would not give your poster any personality. If the movie you’re making the poster for is all right with all these setbacks, you could go ahead and use such tools as it would save you time, and them considerable money as well.

    However, if you have a big project in hand, you should stick to professional software. Such software generally requires intense technical skills. However, it is worth investing in learning them. They provide unlimited creative freedom and options. As we all know, Photoshop works great for images and graphics or vectors; you can rely on Illustrations.

    12. Creative freedom under set conventions:

    Creative Freedom- Designing

    Though there is no right and wrong to design, there is adequate and ineffective. While you should always push for new elements and new techniques of making a movie poster, there are certain set conventions as to how a movie poster should look like.

    Deviating from this convention could result in misinterpretation of your movie poster design. It could either be considered as a novel or some other poster design. Hence it is essential to either stick to the set conventions or at least knows them. As a result, even if you deviate, it would be intentional, and you’d be aware of the possible repercussions.

    13. Be genre-committed:

    True to genre- movie poster design

    One of the most critical factors of the movie your movie poster needs to convey to the audience is; it’s genre. You need to establish the movie into the specific genre it belongs to.  Not doing this could lead to two consequences. It could either lead to confusion amongst the audience as to what the genre is. Moreover, it could mislead them into believing it to be one, where it’s the other.

    This can be detrimental to the movie’s health as a business.  Many people might not see the movie as they’d perceive a comedy movie to be a horror film because of the poster. Or worse, they might see a movie poster that looks funny and watch the movie. Only later to realize it’s a horror film. This would lead to disappointment and distrust by the audience, and the movie would be poorly reviewed. Horror and comedy cater to two different moods which should be enough explanation of why this would be bad for the film.

    These were the 13 important points to keep in mind for designing a movie poster. Next time you have a client who wants to design a movie poster, keep these points in mind as they can act as an ultimate guide to movie poster design.


    100 HD Blurred Backgrounds

    the-guide-to-retargeting-someone-else?s-website

    Traditional retargeting has been around for quite some time. It’s no secret that if someone was recently on your website, there’s a good chance that they’re in the market for whatever it is that you’re selling, and it’s therefore a good best practice to tag your site visitors and serve ads to them. But in recent years, savvy marketers have been realizing more and more that there’s actually a number of ways to leverage the visitors of someone else’s website to expand a retargeting program, opening up a whole new opportunity for scale. In this article, we’ll go through the different options out there, some best practices on how to operate an expanded retargeting program, and some things to look out for while getting set up.

    The Options

    From Facebook launching a “share pixel” feature to old-school pixel swapping to partnership marketing platforms, there are a number of ways to tag the visitors of someone else’s website and serve ads to them, particularly on Facebook & Instagram. Depending on your specific needs, you’re likely to find one or more of the below five approaches most helpful.

    Repixel (recommended): Repixel is a Facebook approved app and it’s free to access the marketplace. There’s no minimum to get started and it’s pay as you go. Direct retargeting is the backbone of the product, but once the partner’s pixel has been shared from their Business Manager to yours, you can also create a lookalike from directly within Audience Manager.

    Email your pixel: It’s old-school, but it works. On almost all ad networks, if you copy/paste your tracking pixel and have a partner place it on their website, the pixel will start tracking their visitors. From there, you can easily spin up a custom audience using “URL Contain PartnerSite.com”, and you’ll have a functioning audience to serve ads against. Even though this technically works, there are two major drawbacks. For one, you have to manage the entire process manually. This includes cold emailing potential partners, drafting up contracts, sending payments, the works. But even more importantly, this approach is explicitly disallowed by several major ad networks, most notably Facebook. Within Facebook’s walled garden, if you want to use someone else’s pixel data to retarget their site, you have to use Facebook’s built-in “share pixel” functionality and keep everything within their ecosystem.

    If you operate on smaller networks such as Quora & Twitter, emailing your pixel is a viable option, albeit a manual one.

    Perfect Audience (owned Marin Software; MRIN (NASDAQ)): Perfect Audience has a “Connect” program that will let you retarget someone else’s website. However, no marketplace is currently available, so while their tech will get the job done, you really need to have partners in mind in order to get value. In addition, it’s a “trading” model, so you have to let a partner retarget your site if you want to retarget theirs.

    Wove (formerly TapFwd): Unlike Perfect Audience, Wove does have a marketplace, but instead of being pay as you go, you pay an all-access fee to get an account. Pricing depends on your negotiation skills but can be in the thousands. In addition, Wove does not offer website visitor retargeting — instead, it’s a lookalike exchange. Lastly, similar to Perfect Audience, Wove has a “swapping” model, so if you want to leverage someone else’s pixel data for lookalikes, you have to let them access yours.

    DojoMojo: A bit different than web retargeting, but with DojoMojo you can partner with other brands to reach their audience by paying to be mentioned in their newsletter.

    What are some best practices?

    Create lookalikes. Once you’ve found a partner website that has a high performing audience, expand your reach by creating a lookalike. As the shared pixel accumulates visitors over time, the seed lists you’ve created for your lookalikes will continue to refresh which will keep your lookalikes up to date.

    Think outside the box. Sometimes the best audiences aren’t in your industry. For example, if you sell a joint pain supplement, a blog about joint pain relief and a review website ranking the best joint pain remedies would obviously be excellent partners, but so might a blog about golfing or hiking.

    Customize your ad creative for different partners. Expanding on the joint pain example, when retargeting the visitors of a golf blog, you know the people in this audience are golfers AND have joint pain, so don’t forget to use both pieces of information when crafting your ads.

    Save searches. By saving a search you’ll be able to 1) access that search query again without needing to set up all of your filters over and over, and 2) get notified if a new website is added to the marketplace that falls within your parameters, although you can turn this off.

    Request site owners that aren’t currently in the marketplace. If you have a website in mind that you’d like to retarget but it doesn’t exist in the marketplace, that doesn’t necessarily mean the owner of the website wouldn’t be willing to work with you if you ask. Let Repixel take care of the legwork by navigating to the bottom left of the marketplace and clicking “request a company”.

    Leverage exclusions. Retargeting other sites is a great way to find the right people to serve ads to, but it’s also a great way to find people that you shouldn’t send ads to. For example, let’s say you own a health food brand. Retargeting Whole Foods, Dr. Mercola, and Nutrisystem would be great picks as partners, but you might want to team up with companies that sell cigars and Twinkies as well. It’s probably fair to assume that people shopping for these products aren’t in the market for dried kale, so if you exclude them (and even a lookalike of them) from your campaigns, you’re likely to see a boost in performance.

    Above all, as with everything digital advertising, test and learn. Instead of sending out just one repixel request, start out by sending 4-7. Break the audiences out into separate ad sets (with customized creative!), monitor performance granularly, and optimize.

    The Economics

    Cost will vary by platform, but within Repixel, each site has its own CPM, determined by the person who owns the website. In this context, CPM refers to “Cost per Thousand Pageviews Tagged”.

    In other words, if you sell whiskey and the CPM of www.Top-10-Whiskeys.com is $1.00, to tag the visitors of their next 100,000 pageviews, the price tag would be $100. Similar to ad networks, Repixel is pay as you go, so this could be in the form of $1/day, $100/day, or anywhere in between.

    When the campaign is wrapped up and it’s time to analyze the results, including the fee that you pay for the audience is, of course, an extra line item when calculating your cost pers, but if all goes to plan, the bump you see in CVR and CTR will more than compensate for that $100 you spent on the audience. After all, there’s no reason someone would possibly be on www.Top-10-Whiskeys.com unless they were actively in the market for whiskey.

    Is retargeting other sites a good fit for my business?

    It depends. If your business sells a very general product or service where the purchasing behavior isn’t timing specific, you’re probably okay to rely on ad network’s built-in targeting functionality. For example, if the audience you’d like to target is all women, ages 18-35, who live in the United States, Facebook has you covered. But if your audience is a specific type of person who is looking for a specific product at a specific time, retargeting other sites is definitely going to be worth a test. Here are a few of the specific benefits:

    • Timing. Targeting people who have “expressed interest” in accounting software via an ad network’s UI, for example, is very different than targeting people who just days ago were on a review website ranking the best accounting platforms available.
    • Scale: Traditional retargeting of your own website is great, but it’s limited in scale to the number of people who have visited your website. Assuming you want to grow your business faster than recycling through your existing visitors, at some point, you’ll have to branch out.
    • Getting niche: Lookalikes and interest-based audiences work to an extent, but these are built on black-box algorithms that tend to be in the millions, and it can be very difficult to find a good-fit audience within ad networks for a niche product that’s large enough to drive meaningful traffic.
    • More customized ad creative: As mentioned with the join pain example above, if you know a bit about your prospect’s browsing activity, you’re able to create much more customized ad creative.

    How it works, step by step

    Retargeting someone else’s website through Repixel starts with visiting the marketplace.

    To start, apply some filters on the left-hand side of the page based on your business model. As mentioned earlier, make sure to save your search so you’re notified of new sites that are listed that meet your criteria in the future.

    When you find a site you like, click into the listing page. There are only two things you need to do here: 1) set your bid, and 2) set your daily budget.

    When setting your bid, one thing to keep in mind is that site owners have the ability to change their price. It would be very uncommon to see any large sweeping changes, but site owners do tweak their price from time to time. With that in mind, it’s recommended that, whenever possible, you set your bid to at least 20% greater than their price tag to prevent your campaign from stalling due to a tiny adjustment. The site owner can’t see your max bid, so there’s no reason to not set your bid as high as you’re truly willing to pay to tag each 1,000 pageviews.

    Sending out your request

    Once you’ve sent out your repixel request, the owner of the website will get an email letting them know that you’d like to retarget their visitors. If they deem you non-competitive, they’ll click “accept”, and proceed to spin up a brand new pixel within their Facebook Business Manager account and share it with yours. From there, you’ll be able to attach that pixel to your ad account(s) and start building custom audiences just as you would with your own pixel, but instead of selecting your pixel, simply toggle theirs.

    Listing your own website

    To participate as an advertiser in the Repixel marketplace, it’s not required to list your website, but doing so is quick & free, and any money you earn as a site owner can easily be transferred to your advertiser balance.

    If your core business model is selling a product, there’s no shame in focusing on that and leveraging the marketplace exclusively as an advertiser. But if monetizing your site through other means (i.e. display ads or affiliate links) is part of your business, posting your site to Repixel can be a healthy new revenue stream that won’t cannibalize your existing business or cause you to litter your website with more banners. After all, if your advertisers are having success reaching your audience via display ads, there’s a very good chance that they’ll have the same success (if not more?) reaching your audience via large-scale ad networks such as Facebook & Instagram as well.