The Best of October 2021: Marketing & Technology Highlights, Tools, and More!

November 3, 2021

User Experience (UX)

From: uxdesign.cc | ARTICLE - 7 min read: The problem with “click here” and “learn more” links by Cynthia Marinakos

Button phrases like “Click Here” may actually discourage readers from heeding the call to action. Vague prompts like this can cause uncertainty, slow readers down, and assume that users are clicking (instead of tapping or using voice).

According to this article, here are three great ways to write helpful hyperlink text:

  1. Be descriptive
  2. Write unique text for each hyperlink
  3. Place keywords upfront
web developer designing a website in Minnesota
From: youtube.com | VIDEO - 2 min: The Aesthetic Usability Effect and Prioritizing Appearance vs. Functionality by NNgroup

People tend to believe things that look attractive will also be easy to use. In this video, you’ll hear about how UX designers can take advantage of aesthetic usability in addition to building a UI that works well for long-term success.

From: uxdesign.cc | ARTICLE - 6 min read: Daily UX/UI challenges: Finding a way to train my skills daily by Natalia Sander

This designer keeps their skills sharp by doing one small digital design project a day. You'll find lots of small UX/UI challenges, prompt generators, and daily exercise ideas to try in this article!

From: 99designs.com | ARTICLE - 10 min read: Everything you need to know about UX sketching and tips to do it well by Kimberley Chong

UX sketching is an essential part of the design thinking process. This article provides a comprehensive look at UX sketching, including different types of sketches, when to use them, and how they will impact the amount of time and money you spend on projects.

ux ui designer from minnesota listening to podcasts to stay up to date on design trends
From: careerfoundry.com | ARTICLE - 9 min read: 11 Outstanding Podcasts for UX/UI Designers by Camren Browne 

We’ve got another list of podcasts for you! If you have trouble finding time in your day to keep up with industry trends, podcasts can be a great way to learn on the go. Check out the original article to read a little about what each show offers.

Podcasts for UX/UI Designers:

  1. UX Podcast
  2. Google Design
  3. Writers in Tech
  4. UI Breakfast
  5. High Resolution
  6. Design Matters
  7. Design MBA
  8. 99% Invisible
  9. The Futur
  10. Ramblings of a Designer
  11. Revision Path

Design

From: youtube.com | VIDEO - 12 min: Motion Graphics Trends 2022 by Envato

While this video by Envato Elements encourages you to subscribe to their platform, it's also full of good information! Especially if you do a lot of video work, these trends are helpful to keep in mind. Plus, if you haven't tried Envato Elements out yet, it really is a great place to find templates and assets.

Their list of Motion graphics trends include:

  1. Mixed media - a collage of images, doodles, and other elements to create a story
  2. Kinetic Typography
  3. Glitch
  4. Isometric Shapes
  5. Retro/Vintage
  6. Grain Effects & Texture
  7. Morphing
  8. Liquid Motion
From: levelup.gitconnected.com | ARTICLE - 5 min read: 5 Programming Languages That Every Developer Should Learn by Shalitha Suranga

It’s rare to find programmers who have mastered multiple programming languages, but doing so has many benefits. This article covers five languages and the benefits that come with learning each of them.

Popular Programming Languages to Learn:

  1. C/C++
  2. Bash
  3. JavaScript
  4. Python
  5. Go

From Grant: These kinds of lists pop up a lot - take it with a grain of salt. They have some excellent points and sound reasoning, but I wouldn't use a single list like this as a roadmap for your career.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Highlights

From: searchenginejournal.com | ARTICLE - 3 min read: Google Offers a Definition of Quality Content by Roger Montti

WATCH THE VIDEO

In this Google SEO office-hours hangout, John Mueller goes into detail about what content quality really means. In short, Mueller emphasizes that you shouldn’t isolate one element of your content strategy (such as word count) to improve your website ranking. It’s important to take a holistic approach if you want your site to perform well.

content creator freelancer improving SEO in the Twin Cities
From: contentmarketinginstitute.com | ARTICLE - 5 min read: Use Internal Links to Get a Better Reception From Search Engines and Readers by Ann Smarty

Internal linking (or interlinking) means that your web pages include links that lead to other pages on your website. Doing this can help direct users to other content, keep users engaged with your site, and improve your site’s “crawlability.”

From: searchenginejournal.com | ARTICLE - 11 min read: How The LinkedIn Algorithm Works & Optimizing For It by Jessica Foster

Whether you own your own business or are looking for a job, this is a good article for anyone who wants to promote themselves on LinkedIn. Understanding how the LinkedIn algorithm works can help you build more connections and land more clients.

small business owner in minneapolis using influencer marketing to grow her business

Digital Marketing Strategy

From: youtube.com | VIDEO - 17 min: How to do Influencer Marketing to Grow Your Business (Complete Guide) by Ahrefs

Have you been thinking about dipping your toe into influencer marketing? In this video, Ahrefts provides a detailed explanation of how to find, vet, and partner with the right influencers for your business.

From Grant: This isn’t for every organization - Doing influencer marketing right takes a lot of effort, focus, and a clear strategy. Don’t go into it lightly or just because all the “cool kids” are doing it.

From: socialmediaexaminer.com | ARTICLE - 10 min read: How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Page for 2022 by Anna Sonnenberg

Are you seeing double? Nope! This article contains tips on how to optimize your LinkedIn Company Page instead of your personal account. 

Tips to Maximize your LinkedIn Company Page:

  1. Optimize Your Company Page for Dark Mode
  2. Update Your LinkedIn Banner Image
  3. Align Your Tagline and CTA Button
  4. Develop LinkedIn Product Pages
  5. Engage as Your LinkedIn Page
  6. Update Your LinkedIn Content Strategy
  7. Use the Notify Employees Link
  8. Level-Up Your LinkedIn Analytics
From: uxpamagazine.org | ARTICLE - 11 min read: Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots—Creating Positive Experiences by Dabby Phipps, Jason Telner, Jon Temple

This article has a list of things you should consider if you're setting up automated chatbox responses for your website (or social media accounts).

A few of the considerations include:

  • understand the domain the chatbot is expected to cover,
  • determine the purpose of the chatbot, including why users will be interacting with it, and
  • create the actual chatbot dialogue so that it is accurate and consistent with the tone and voice of the chatbot.

From Grant: If you were thinking, "Let's have an AI chatbot solve this issue!" It would help if you read through this article. This kind of thing ends up being a lot more complicated than it sounds. Nothing beats an actual live person responding, though we do not all have those kinds of resources.

Thinking Strategically

From: hbr.org | ARTICLE - 4 min read: Creating Flex Work Policies … When Everyone Has Different Needs by Liz Kislik

Whether your employees want to return to the office, keep working from home, or adopt a hybrid schedule, you'll probably have difficulty establishing rules that satisfy everyone. Liz Kislik lays out a few strategies you can use to avoid creating a chaotic mess during this transition period.

Six Strategies for Creating Work Policies:

  1. Start one-on-one to understand real employee needs.
  2. Avoid overemphasizing self-care in your messaging.
  3. Ensure alignment with your own employer branding.
  4. Learn what your people have missed about being together.
  5. Be willing to suspend your pre-pandemic rules and precedents.
  6. Don’t mistake physical presence for loyalty.
woman working at the office in saint paul minnesota wearing a mask
From: uxmag.com | ARTICLE - 6 min read: The Liminal Space Between Meaning and Emotion by Jimmy Elias

This article assesses how design can be kind to users' emotions and still satisfy business priorities. It emphasizes the need to explore what consumers want and need emotionally.

From: searchenginejournal.com | ARTICLE - 9 min read: 10 Effective Tactics to Defeat Internet Trolls by Julia McCoy

This article may be helpful for you if you have a troll leave nasty comments on your Google reviews, yelp profile, or social media accounts. Learn how to identify a troll and what to do once you know you’re dealing with one. 

Six Tactics to Defeat Internet Trolls:

  1. Don’t Feed the Trolls
  2. Be the Boss! No Trolls Allowed
  3. Add Moderators to Your Roster
  4. If You Can’t Ignore the Trolls, Call Their B.S.
  5. Kill Them with Kindness
  6. Disarm Them with Humor
  7. Have Friends-Only Social Profiles
  8. Block, Ban, or Report Trolls
  9. Decompress Before You Reply
  10. Stay Professional
From: logodesignlove.com | ARTICLE - 3 min read: The art of interviewing your client by Tim Lapetino

When you’re taking on a new client, you want your work to really capture the heart of their business. This article has a few ideas for how to listen, ask the right questions, and put yourself in your client’s shoes.

Woman on a video interview in minnesota
From: hbr.org | ARTICLE - 5 min read: 8 Tips for Conducting an Excellent Remote Interview by Rae Ringel

Even though some companies are pushing to return to the office, remote interviewing is likely here to stay. In the face of the Great Resignation, discussing flexibility, well-being, and a workplace culture within the interview can help both parties determine if they are a good fit. 

Tips for Identifying Top Talent From a Distance:

  1. Focus on emotional intelligence.
  2. Lean into the intimacy of the screen.
  3. Get real about the challenges of the pandemic.
  4. Notice reactions to distractions.
  5. Banish back-to-backs.
  6. Broaden your pool (and add some outliers to the mix).
  7. Set your candidates up for success.
  8. Don’t forget that you’re interviewing, too.

Fun Finds

From: creativeboom.com | ARTICLE - 17 min read: The Creative Boom 2021 Christmas gift guide for creatives by Katy Cowan

Looking for some super cute and unique gifts to give the creative people in your life? This is the article for you! The best part is, these gifts can appeal to anyone, not just creatives.

From: behance.net | DESIGN: Argyle by Jekaterina Budryte

These illustrations of some historical moments have the look and feel of a vintage poster. The visual style feels simultaneously contemporary and nostalgic.

From: behance.net | DESIGN: Cedarfield Farms Website and Branding by Lesia Artymovych

This playful chicken farm brand has a uniquely colorful website!

From: behance.net | DESIGN: Microsoft | Emojis by Tendril, Jonathan Lindgren, Microsoft Design

Tendril and Microsoft teamed up to completely refresh their existing library of Emojis.

From: behance.net | DESIGN: VIVID CHARACTERS by Samy Halim

Geometric portrait designs that have an 80’s feel with a modern twist.

From: behance.net | DESIGN: The Ancient World in 100 Words by Gosia Herba

"The Ancient World in 100 Words" contains over 100 illustrations and took half a year to complete.

From: behance.net | DESIGN: Halloween Dish by Christophe Starace

This series of illustrations for Jonas & Co. features hidden references to some of our favorite horror movies!

From: behance.net | DESIGN: Magical Mermaids (2022 Art Calendar) by VLAD stankovic

This 2022 calendar is full of whimsical mermaids. 

From: behance.net | DESIGN: PUMPY HALLOWEEN (2021) by C I

These illustrated pumpkin characters are both charming and a little scary.

From: behance.net | DESIGN: The wild hunt of King Stach Vladimir Korotkevich by Katya Mailychka

Last but not least, we’re rounding out this month’s finds with some spooky watercolors!

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