User Experience Design (UX): Promoting Usability by Making the Complex Feel Simple

Reader Takeaways:

User Experience Design, commonly referred to as UX, is the process of designing intuitive systems built around the user’s needs. By simplifying the user experience of the operator, the system will allow for more efficient sales to drive increases in revenue.

  • By implementing solid UX strategies, enterprises can empathize with their users to find and solve their frustrations, creating a system that allows for intuitive usability.
  • UX has the goal is to build a system so intuitive to the user that training for use would be unnecessary.
  • By collecting feedback data on the pain points from both users and management, UX can easily incorporate both the user’s needs and the company goals.
  • Using initial customer data, stakeholder interviews, and business goals, UX can grow a product in phases, giving enterprises greater accountability while promoting growth.


Understanding how customer needs converge with business goals can carry substantial weight in the process of designing effective retail client platforms. User experience design, commonly referred to as UX, is the process that works to build eCommerce platforms intuitive processes in mind by using data to create a user experience that makes the complex feel simple.


By solving for complexity, UX design utilizes intuitive task performance to drive increases in revenue. Replacing less efficient operations with UX design allows introspective simplicity, giving enterprises greater accountability while promoting businesses’ growth. An easy to use eCommerce platform will allow for more efficient sales to drive increases in revenue.


Leveraging Empathy to Solve for Inefficiency

In terms of design, user experience is based on empathy. By implementing solid UX design strategies, enterprises can effectively improve how they are engaging with customers, driving their behavior toward revenue growth. User experience research is essentially feeling customers’ pain through feedback. By listening to your customers and finding pain points, you can evaluate how the business goals can converge with the needs of the user. If the user is easily able to complete retail purchases, your revenue increases instantly.


When creating a user experience analysis for a national retail chain, it is helpful to begin by gathering data from users through surveys, forums, and competitive analysis. The goals include learning the whole process by going to stores, speaking to associates and managers, and finding how the associates use their tools rather than trusting the way they should be used. In researching for the UX best practices empathize with users to guide the design process.


Bridging the Gap Between Job and Tool

After reviewing the user’s needs, a UX team will incorporate the enterprise goals for the design into their analysis. By evaluating everything the enterprise needs in the platform and leveraging all of the data that had been collected, the goal is to build a system so intuitive to the associated user that training for use would be unnecessary.


By incorporating both the user’s need to have an intuitive experience and the company goals of creating a high-performance application, UX teams can work to bridge the gap between management and users. While blending complicated internal reporting with the efficiency of maximum intuition, the UX design team can create a prototype built around the user experience with the goals of the company in mind.


Building the Future With Phases of Feedback

Using initial customer data, stakeholder interviews, and business goals, the best practice in UX design requires building the product in phases. Once an initial prototype is built, the system can utilize further user experience testing to quickly modify. With user feedback, the user experience team creates the modifications, ensuring many versions of the final product with a focus on maximum user benefit.


In the case of the national retail chain, PeakActivity used this type of user experience design research to move an outdated paper-based system into a user-centered prototype for a national retail chain. The prototype has been a great success in pilot stores, promoting positive user experiences and driving sales with increased efficiency.


While elevating the user experience, UX design can convert inefficient processes into revenue-building task performance. The UX design mindset works to better connect customer intentions and business growth through forward-thinking progression. Investing in UX is the next step in balancing goals with design. Don’t make assumptions about what your customers want; invest in UX to deliver balanced usability with proven results.

Break Through: Implement a 3-Step Methodology to Accelerate Innovation

Reader Takeaways:

  • Real innovation is difficult and often painstakingly slow or nonexistent in many enterprises.
  • Processes that allow teams to incrementally achieve success with clear communication through documentation will help innovation establish a toehold in your organization.
  • Implement a methodology that enables teams to understand and adapt design thinking processes to encourage accelerated innovation with reduced investment.
  • Simplify your innovation methodology into three steps: research & document your current state, visualize your future and develop a clear roadmap for execution.

Building a strategy for real innovation is a daunting task that leaves many companies stuck in the middle between saving cost and implementing technology solutions or process improvements. We at PeakActivity have been experimenting with different techniques that support the simplify and speed up the innovation process. Through our experimentation, we have established a methodology that governs the innovation we bring to our customers, and we’ve decided to share our learnings here. Our methodology has been applied in many different environments, industries, and company growth stages, with the intent of breaking the logjam that holds back real enterprise growth. We firmly believe that enterprises that intelligently accelerate such initiatives will be poised to win in the new business world.

Your methodology at its core should adapt and extend design thinking principles. Design thinking principles have successfully taught teams and individuals to think creatively, an important step in the process of innovation. Read more about design thinking from Google here.

We have distilled the myriad of design thinking “thinking” into a 3-step methodology for applied innovation. The three major steps of the process are:

  • Research & Document Your Current State
  • Map Your Future
  • Develop a Clear Strategy for Execution

Research & Document Your Current State

The first phase begins with an observation of the current environment of the business and its customers. Observing the competitive landscape with an innovation point of view allows for a deep review of the current processes, technology, and identifies any underlying issues. While conducting the current state research for a company, you find & identify key pain points for internal stakeholders & end customers. You may also find major challenges that are limiting your innovation delivery that is not easily remediated. Some areas that such great challenges exist are typically in areas such as data modeling, IT systems & security, or human resource processes. The current state research phase provides documentation of historical actions and pain points that have previously held innovation back. The deliverables at this phase allow for a wide review of how the company is operating from multiple points of views, giving innovation a strong foundation.

Visualize Your Future

Visualization of an innovative future is established through the process of reviewing, defining, and strategizing business choices. Bringing in external thought leaders to work with internal teams can significantly help accelerate this phase of the process. In this phase, it’s important to enable teams to focus on spending time reviewing the current state research, then coming up with ideas, prototypes, and ultimately hypotheses that will help the enterprise invent the future from their point of view. Once a future vision is created, teams must then take time to validate their thoughts to ensure stakeholders, customers, and business needs will be met. Visualizing your future eventually should engage multiple teams and stakeholders, all with the intent of creating transparent communication and common understanding.

Develop a Clear Roadmap for Execution

Armed with the knowledge of their current state and a visualization of their future, your team members can now create an innovation strategy roadmaps supported by budgets, resource allocation, and projected financial benefits. The process combines identifying stakeholders, their must-have features, and the key benefits to your business benefits. In addition, you will want to incorporate the resolution of any major operational issues that might prevent your initiatives from succeeding. Once you have established a clear roadmap, it’s time to lead your teams to deliver a small project establishing a framework for success.

This 3-step method focuses heavily on delivering strong business growth through managed digital service delivery. With deep expertise in strategic digital transformation, innovation, and technology delivery, it is easy to support enterprises in the innovation process. With the 3-step strategy at hand, your company can easily build a culture that fosters innovation, creating real enterprise growth

Social Commerce: Boosting eCommerce Revenue by Leveraging the Power of Social Media

With the gap between social media marketing and eCommerce rapidly narrowing, combining marketing and technology has become more important than ever to creating and maintaining visual brand awareness. Social Commerce allows targeted users and brand loyalists the opportunity to engage and purchase products as well as services within their existing social ecosystems. This creates an increase in brand loyalty while attracting new customers through targeted social media efforts. While social media used to be disconnected from direct sales, it is now a fully integrated sales attribution channel. eCommerce sites need to up their game in order to keep up with consumers on social platforms, integrating full omnichannel experiences to drive greater brand affinity and increases in sales.

Reaching New Customers

One great advantage of social commerce is it can reach a global audience, so the influence has no boundaries. Integrating a strategy of social commerce creates more than an opportunity for repeat sales, it drives customers’ trust in a brand or product. Finding new customers is simple when implementing the right strategy. Targeting potential customers who will be interested in a brand supported by real customer engagement builds great trust from new audiences. In the first few months of a targeted social media strategy, an apparel company saw an increase of more than 270% increase in Traffic Referrals. Targeting new customers on social media is one of the easiest ways to boost a marketing strategy.

Creating Brand Awareness

Social Commerce is one of the most rapidly growing commercial markets and can be a great way to showcase more than just products and features. Creating a brand culture and brand lifestyle makes a company more personable to current and potential customers. Social networks open the doors for two way communication between brands and customers. With the right strategy, PeakActivity increased the brand perception of a leading retail furniture chain driving traffic and sales by more than 50%. These continuous efforts to drive engagement through social commerce attract new customers while increasing brand loyalty. This loyalty drives repeat customers and increases the lifetime value of the customer.

Streamlining Customer Experience

Some social networks allow customers to buy directly from the platform. This means businesses can enhance customer experience with a frictionless and streamlined checkout process. This ultimately eliminates the need to fill out long forms and visit the company website to make a purchase. This type of social commerce makes it easier for customers to make purchases on the go and to compare products or consult their trusted network. This new type of eCommerce customer experience requires a specific marketing strategy related to social commerce. Once PeakActivity took over an apparel brand’s Facebook page, the last click attributed sales increased over 112% over the previous year.

Increasing Revenue

Integrating social commerce with existing channels is a proven strategy to increase sales, increase order value, increase repeat customers, and reach new customers. By creating a social commerce strategy on platforms that are already free, you can directly influence the purchase decisions of customers. By integrating a full social commerce strategy an apparel company saw an increase of time on site of over 156% and an increase in conversions by over 75%.

Social commerce is the future of eCommerce, and without it, businesses are losing out on the conversions from targeted social media demographics. Along with creating a cohesive story across all channels, PeakActivity consistently has been able to reach customers through social media and increase engagement for a wide range of clients including apparel, furniture, healthcare, and industrial businesses.

In order to keep up with consumers, any company planning on investing in eCommerce and social media must also ensure Social Commerce is added to the strategic plan as soon as possible.

How to Find Your Audience on Social Media

So many businesses are on every social channel without understanding if their core audience is there. I see it all the time.

There are a ton of social platforms. They range from “everybody’s-on-it” to “bright, shiny and new.”

So I get why people might fail to pick the right social sites for their business.

But there’s actually big drawbacks to having an active presence on too many social media platforms. You can find yourself:

  1. Spreading the brand too thin, or doing too much poorly.
  2. Overcommitting resources to low-ROI channels.
  3. Missing opportunities in high-ROI channels.

To avoid this, it’s the marketer’s responsibility to analyze each channel for:

  • Demographics — does the audience makeup match your target audience?
  • Internal resource alignment — is your staff active on the channel?
  • Business goal alignment — do business objectives match the platform’s purpose?
  • Competitive presence — are competitors active on the channel?

Ultimately it comes down to determining your social media ROI on a channel-by-channel basis.

You can do this for the social media channels you’re currently using and new channels that you’re considering.

Great! … Now how do you evaluate if your audience is using a social media channel?

What Social Networks Are Most Popular?

A data point: a 2018 survey by Pew Research tells us this about how many adults in the U.S. are using different social sites:

  • 68% use Facebook
  • 35% use Instagram
  • 28% use Pinterest
  • 27% use Snapchat
  • 25% use LinkedIn
  • 24% use Twitter

Alexa’s website ranking data gives complementary insights that tell a story of how long people spend and how many pages they visit on the most popular websites.

Check out the daily time spent on these social sites from the U.S. top 10:

  • 8.5 minutes on YouTube
  • 15 minutes Reddit
  • 10.75 minutes on Facebook
  • 6 minutes on Twitter
  • 5.75 minutes on Instagram

Together, this info  narrows down the top social sites you’re probably looking at for your business:

  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

In this article, I’ll help you find where your audience is among the top social media sites.

Is My Audience on Facebook?

Facebook is about family and connecting with people.

We share our family photos to keep aunts and uncles in the loop.

We join private groups to cultivate communities around similar interests.

With 2.2 billion people worldwide, good chance is your audience is on Facebook. But there’s a caveat.

When you’re deciding if a social channel is right for you, consider the longevity and future of the channel.

Organic reach of Facebook Pages is dead.

There’s an opportunity for marketers to reach their audience with Facebook Ads and Facebook Messenger chat.

In fact, Facebook Analytics was launched at the f8 Developer’s conference this past May. The platform gives a lot of insight that helps businesses understand how users are interacting with a brand and its advertisements. More on Facebook Analytics below.

What are the demographics of Facebook?

Use Facebook IQ tool to see audience, advertising, and industry insights.

You can slice and dice the audience and people data by region, behaviors, conversations … go crazy.

Here are the U.S. demographics of Facebook as viewed in aggregate.

Age and gender:

  • 54% women
  • 46% men
  • Majority are 18-44 years old

Job industries:

  • 33% admin services
  • 22% production
  • 11% arts and entertainment
  • 7% veterans
  • 5% education and libraries
  • 4% cleaning and maintenance
  • 2% IT and technical services
  • 2% installation and repair services
  • >1% farm, fishing and forestry

Relationship status:

  • 48% married
  • 30% single
  • 17% in a relationship
  • 4% engaged


  • 62% college
  • 30% high school
  • 8% grad school

How do I find my audience on Facebook?

Facebook Ads has a big reputation in the digital marketing industry for its fine-grained audience targeting.

You can find your audience on Facebook by running ads targeted by job title, region, behavior and interests.

As if to combat any hesitations by businesses in the wake of the latest personal user data harvesting scandal, Facebook launched the business-friendly Facebook Analytics at the f8 developer conference this past May.

Check out the Facebook Analytics demo preview to get a feel for the platform:

What marketers get within Facebook Analytics includes:

  • Daily users
  • Growth metrics
  • Channel breakdown
  • Activity by hour
  • Automated insights
  • Machine learning identified conversion funnels
  • And demographics data by segment:

Is My Audience on Reddit?

Reddit is about connecting with like-minded individuals.

People share, vote, view and comment on content posted to interest-based, public community groups.

The most popular content in any community floats to the top.

A business can get ROI on Reddit from traffic and from user feedback and beta users.

A link that becomes popular on Reddit can send massive traffic spikes that are great for sales businesses.

And visibility in groups that are big on conversation can be a renewable resource for early and late-phase product feedback and getting testers.

What are the demographics of Reddit?

When I spoke to Reddit this past February, they were kind enough to share these key user statistics:

A Reddit-collected survey in 2016 gives us some interesting insights into the employment, age and gender break-down of redditors.

Age and gender:

  • 33% women
  • 63% men
  • Majority are 18-25 years old


  • 58% student
  • 29% employed full-time
  • 18% employed part-time
  • 11% not employed
  • 3.5% self-employed


From we see the household income of Reddit users skews high:

  • $100k+: 35% of Reddit users
  • $80-100k: 29% of Reddit users
  • $70-80k: 32%
  • $60-70k: 23%
  • $30-60k: 24%
  • Under $30k: 18%

How do I find my audience on Reddit?

There are a bunch of tools that help you find subreddits, Reddit’s communities.

Try out:

Is My Audience on Instagram?

Instagram is about the visual experience of life and being inspired.

And Instagram users (800 million monthly) are pretty open to inspiration.

What this means for businesses — 80% of Instagram users are following a brand on the image-and-video-centric platform.

Instagram isn’t likely to drive much traffic to your website. It’s predominantly a branding channel, with some exceptions for products and shopping.

What are the demographics of Instagram?

This 2016 data from Pew Internet Research Center evaluates to the percent of online American adults using Instagram.

Age and gender:

  • 68% of women
  • 32% of men
  • 59% of 18–29 year olds
  • 33% of 30–49 year olds
  • 18% of 50–64 year olds
  • 8% of 65+ year olds


  • 37% with some college experience use Instagram
  • 33% who graduated college use Instagram
  • 27% with a high school diploma or less use Instagram


  • 38% of Americans that make less than $30,000 use Instagram
  • 37% of Americans that make more than $75,000 use Instagram
  • 32% of Americans that make $30,000–$49,999 use Instagram
  • 32% of Americans that make $49,999–$74,999 use Instagram

Here’s an infographic of Instagram user demographics from

How do I find my audience on Instagram?

If you want to get your content in front of Instagram’s 500 million users, Instagram has the same ad targeting system as its sister company, Facebook.

You can select your audience from the same demographic and psychographic options in Facebook’s ad system. Just include Instagram as your placement.

Demographic targeting categories for Instagram and Facebook:

  • Education
  • Financial
  • Home
  • Life events
  • Parents
  • Politics
  • Relationship
  • Work

Interest targeting categories for Instagram and Facebook:

  • Business and industry
  • Entertainment
  • Family and relationships
  • Fitness and wellness
  • Food and drink
  • Hobbies and activities
  • Shopping and fashion
  • Sports and outdoors
  • Technology

Behavior targeting categories for Instagram and Facebook:

  • Anniversary
  • Automotive
  • B2B
  • Charitable donations
  • Consumer classifications
  • Digital activities
  • Expats
  • Financial
  • Job role
  • Media
  • Mobile device rser
  • Multicultural affinity
  • Purchase behavior
  • Residential profiles
  • Soccer
  • Travel

Community-based curation is coming to Instagram. The Explore area will surface popular content by topic in interest-based channels.

Influence your inclusion in channels with hashtags.

Remember that branding is the biggest ROI driver in Instagram thing. Instagram gives people the opportunity to see into the everyday life of a person or company.

Use Instagram to give your brand a voice and show the people behind the business. Instagram is  helpful for making that a reality.

Is My Audience on Pinterest?

Pinterest is about learning with visuals. Pinterest’s business inspiration page puts it this way:

“They’re actively seeking helpful, inspiring ideas. People use Pinterest to plan for what’s important in their lives, whether that’s easy dinner recipes, home renovation tips or the perfect pair of shoes.”

What are the demographics of Pinterest?

Age and gender:

  • 70% women
  • 30% men

Data from Pew Internet Research Center from 2016 says this about the age of online American adults using Instagram:

  • 36% of 18–29 year olds
  • 34% of 30–49 year olds
  • 28% of 50–64 year olds
  • 16% of 65+ year olds


And of America’s digitally savvy adults:

  • 34% of adult college graduates use Pinterest
  • 34% of adults with some college experience use Pinterest
  • 22% of adults with a high school diploma or less use Pinterest


According to Pinterest for Business, 40% of Pinterest users have an income over $100k a year.

How do I find my audience on Pinterest?

With a business account on Pinterest, you have access to insights and targeting tools like Pinterest Analytics.

Pinterest Analytics offers access to information on your most popular pins and metrics about the people who engage with your business and the other things they like.

More on profile metrics, audience metrics and website metrics in Pinterest Analytics here:

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You can use Promoted Pins to reach who you want to through targeting based on:

Is My Audience on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is about networking for business and career.

Businesses can use LinkedIn for branding along with talent acquisition.

If being connected to the businesses community is important to your business — whether it’s for prospects, partnerships or hiring — join the ranks of 270 million LinkedIn users and 18 million company pages.

What is the demographic of LinkedIn?

We turn to Pew Research Center’s 2016 report of American adults using the internet for LinkedIn demographics.

The following stats report how many online adults in each category use LinkedIn.Age and gender:

  • 31% of men
  • 27% of women
  • 34% of 18–29 year olds
  • 33% of 30–49 year olds
  • 24% of 50–64 year olds
  • 20% of 65+ year olds


  • 50% of adult college graduates
  • 27% of adults with some college experience
  • 12% of adults with a high school diploma or less

Industries most represented on LinkedIn:

  1. Finance
  2. Medical
  3. Education
  4. High Tech
  5. Manufacturing


  • 45% of adults making over $75,000
  • 32% of adults making $50,000–$74,999
  • 21% of adults making less than $30,000
  • 13% of adults making $30,000–$49,999

How do I find my audience on LinkedIn?

Say you want to increase your visibility to the right LinkedIn audience. Consider joining any of the 200 million LinkedIn groups.

LinkedIn groups might be organized around interest on a topic, sharing a credential, or belonging to the same company or industry.

Here are some tools for helping you find communities on LInkedIn you’ll love:

Is My Audience on Twitter?

Twitter is about being involved in a conversation as it happens, in real-time.

Since Twitter is about behind-the-scenes or everyday conversations, sports players and celebrities have big followings on Twitter.

And since Twitter is a high-interaction channel, it’s becoming a top option for customer service online.

What is the demographic of Twitter?

SproutSocial has made an infographic out of the 2016 Pew Research Center data about Americans online using Twitter:

Age and gender:

  • 25% of women
  • 24% of  men
  • 36% of 18–29 year olds
  • 23% of 30–49 year olds
  • 21% of 50–64 year olds
  • 10% of 65+ year olds


  • 29% of adults who graduated college
  • 25% of adults with some college experience
  • 20% adults with a high school diploma or less


  • 30% of adults who make over $75,000
  • 28% of adults who make $50,000–$74,999
  • 23% of adults who make less than $30,000
  • 18% of adults who make $30,000–$49,999

How do I find my audience on Twitter?

Twitter is always working to surface popular hashtags and content. Use the tool to uncover hashtags that bring your content greater visibility.

Plug in hashtag ideas for related suggestions:

Another Twitter tool for user research is Followerwonk. Search the bios of Twitter users so you can find people with like interests to converse with.

Next Steps Once You’ve Found Your Audience on Social Media

To figure out where is your audience on social, look at where your competitors are and what their interaction is like there.

Then find active communities for your topic. Each social media site and each community within it has fundamental principles for how its users should interact with the site.

While you should probably own your business profile on every account, you can be selective about where you put energy.

Wherever your business has a presence on social media today, it might be time to evaluate which platform is worth you investment.

You’re better off having a low-maintenance social strategy than a confused one.

Fast & Simple: Creating a Great Checkout Experience

Think about the things that drive you crazy about online shopping: being forced to sign up for a new account with yet another new password; long forms to fill out; extra fees that make a good deal seem like less of a bargain.

Now think about the checkout process on your own eCommerce site.  If it drives you nuts, chances are, it’s frustrating your customers too.  That means fewer sales and more wasted opportunities for you.
Shopping online is supposed to make the process simpler for the customer, but an increasing number of prospective buyers are filling up their shopping carts, only to abandon them at the point of checkout.  A recent study by Baymard Institute put the number around 68%, which is staggering.
So why do 68 out of every 100 online shoppers fail to complete their purchases?  Some of the main reasons include complicated checkout processes, forced registration, unexpected shipping costs and lack of faith in security.
Crate&Barrel gets high praise for its user-friendly website checkout.  It lets you checkout as a guest with the option of creating an account after the sale.  Crate&Barrel also has a progress bar that shows you exactly where you are in the process and offers shipping options that are clearly spelled out for you.

On the other end of the spectrum is the British site Boots, which forces you to register before you can buy.  It also has way too many pages in its process and makes the user type separate addresses for shipping and billing, even if they’re the same.

Bottom line: put yourself in your customers’ shoes.  Make it easier and more pleasant for folks to buy things from your website… and they’ll keep coming back for more.

3 Trends In Modern B2B Marketing

PeakActivity spent some time yesterday with some of South Florida’s preeminent marketers at the Modern Marketing Mashup (#MMMashup). The event was sponsored by Oracle Marketing Cloud (@OracleMktgCloud) and consisted of 4 panelists along with a moderator. A big thanks to @triblio and @DefintvResults for participating in the event.

There was great representation from companies of all sizes throughout the greater Miami area. Several topics were discussed, heavily focused on marketing technology, data analytics, and content generation — all with a B2B angle to them.

Here are our top 3 trend observations:


Companies are still in their infancy in purchasing & using marketing automation software. As growth continues, expect a large number of companies to shift from traditional outbound sales to more complex multi-dimensional demand generation strategies.


The importance of data analytics is very well understood, but rich tools are still not quite there. There is still a large amount of Excel-based data export and analysis being done. Unfortunately this can be a very expensive proposition, both from a resource and opportunity cost standpoint. A trend for more progressive and modern B2B companies will be to move quickly to adopt web and mobile-based tools that eliminate the need to pass around Excel files. The cost savings in resources and gains in efficiency are certainly there to be had, and the more progressive companies will exploit these to their advantage.


With the personalization capabilities of many marketing automation platforms improving rapidly, relevancy analysis on your content will be key. Being able to segment and tag the right audience for the content that you’re creating will be an art that will separate the better marketers from the rest of the pack.