Your site’s performance is all the matters

Websites live and die by their performance which, roughly translated, equals speed. There are some ways you can you can test your site’s performance. They include:

What you will find when you run your reports is that performance comes down to the following:

  • How fast are your server and it’s connection to the Internet?
  • Are you using image compression?
  • Are you using CSS, JavaScript and HTML minify techniques?
  • Does your JS come at the end of the HTML document?
  • Are you using BrowserCache techniques?

Web Content Tools such as WordPress often come with Plugin technology for easy site extensions. Use the Plugin Directory for WordPress to search for extensions. You will be surprised how many plugins already exist to speed up your site immediately. 

This evening, I used the site performance tools above, added a few plugins and changed the grade from a terrible “F” to an “A” for load time. Not bad for one hour of work. The result: the site loads in under 2 seconds and I can focus on sharing UX stories.

In many ways, the speed of your site is all that matters. If your site does not load, then you will lose your customers. I don’t care how nice your site looks. You have 3 seconds to win your customers. You will lose 50% of the people visiting your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. So, do yourself a favor and run the reports above, use the feedback as a checklist to fix your site and begin investing in a few plugins.  The goal is to keep your customers.

Guest Article: Why Tablets are a Must in the Classroom

Ask any teacher to describe the children or young adults in a classroom, and that teacher could likely give you a different trait of every child. Some may be self-motivated, while others are still learning to gain confidence in the classroom. Some may lag behind in reading skills, while others may need polishing in math. There is simply no one-size-fits-all student, which is why teachers know there is no one-size-fits-all way of learning.

To that end, educators have gotten remarkably creative at adapting learning goals to learning styles and types of kids. They individualize as much as they can within the structure of the classroom and the confines of the school day. And when they can’t fit it in, they have another tool at their disposal: smart devices, or tablets.

Tablets are inventive as classroom solutions in a variety of ways. For starters, they’re enabling teachers to do what’s called “flipping” a classroom.

Flipping a classroom changes the traditional dynamic—teacher at the front, lecturing, trying to keep everyone interested. Instead, they provide parts of a lesson or pieces of learning online, either through lessons they’ve created or those that they’ve chosen. Kids can then listen to and learn from those lessons outside of the classroom, and the teacher can use in-person time to answer questions. Many teachers say it increases engagement and helps them provide necessary resources, too. And for kids, they can watch—and re-watch—lessons until they get it fully.

In addition to flipping classrooms, tech such as tablets helps students focus on skills that may be particularly difficult for them. For example, if they’re playing catch-up in math, they can study lessons that help them stay even with the rest of the class.

Kaylee White
Ghergich & Co.

Want to learn more about how tablets are changing the nature of how students learn and teachers teach? This graphic is a good place to start.Tablets in the Classroom

The 5 Digital Engagements Models for Today’s UX

UX is exploding in digital. To this end, there is now five major engagement models you should target when developing any solution for today’s consumer experience. The models are:

  • Responsive Web
  • Mobile Apps
  • Voice
  • Social Engagement
  • API

These five models represent how you can engage with your customer today.

Responsive Web

Do you have a website? OK, everyone does. How does the site look on your mobile device? Run your site through, and you will get a report of how responsive your site is. A responsive site is critical for content consumption. Facebook says that 92% of their consumers view and create content on the phone. The average user uses their phone for 51% of their digital experience. According to Mary Meeker, from KPCB, the desktop is now only 42%. What is interesting is the growth of up to 7% of “other” devices such as smart watches, TVs, and cars to consume content (source:

The core of Meeker’s report is simple: consumers are now using a broad selection of digital devices to connect with Web content. To this end, ensure you have a Responsive Web solution that supports desktop, mobile device form factors and that you are testing for new equipment.

Mobile Apps

Depending on your service, Apps are either the Primary or Secondary model to engage with your consumer. Either way, Apps have long since moved from “novelty” to “must have.” Consumers have trust with services such as iTunes App Store from Apple to deliver high performing and secure solutions. The net-net experience is that an app can perform faster than a website with many more features. The to app success is to understand that a mobile Website and Mobile App serve two different purposes. A website is content driven whereas an app is action driven. As an example: is a massive site, and the UX is to browse for and eventually buy content. Cartwheel, Target’s app for in-store purchases, is a tool to scan the SKU of each item to discover discounts. 

Take the same approach for the apps you create. Understand that the consumer is looking for an action that can be completed quickly in an app. 


The next two UX engagement models are under the headline “emerging.” Consumers are becoming more comfortable talking to devices. The most successful are Amazon’s Echo where you can order product, play music and hear the weather through voice commands. Google, Microsoft, and Apple are investing in their AI-powered voice UX solutions. For instance, Apple is using Siri in their watches, phones and TV devices with a single goal: get the consumer to the experience as fast as possible.

There is no doubt that Voice, as a UX model, is going to be more important. Now is the time to start engaging with Voice so you can lead rather than follow.

Social Engagement

 Equal to Voice is the next, and in many ways, most challenging UX model: Social Engagement. There are two types of Social Engagement: Broadband (such as Twitter where you are talking about a particular person and the world at the same time) and Narrowband (such as Weibo/Facebook Messenger where you are talking to one person or a small group). Frankly put, the rule book for social engagement is not written. Unlike the previous models, Social Engagement is a purely digital service that does not require specific hardware. To this end, today’s social engagement UX strategy leverages a common language (yep, this is where you drop in your emoji) and images. 


Finally, the nuts and bolts that tie you UX models together are APIs. There is no way any one company can efficiently and affordably compete with the digital engagements models consumers are using. The only way is to effective is to leverage APIs that can be tailored to the different models. For instance, content can be delivered to a Web site, Apps for iOS and Android and Voice through the same APIs. The difference is understanding the engagement model and tailoring the experience. The bottom line is to get started with these five platforms. 

Fundamentals of Digital UX

User Experience, UX, has a simple goal: engage the consumer and guide them through to a goal. You can determine what the goal is – it could be a purchase, registering a form, downloading a document – but the intent is the same. There are many elements to the UX journey. Here you will focus on core fundamentals of UX.

Know who you are building the solution for using Personas

Who is your customer? This may seem like an obvious question but consider this: how many times have you started building a solution when you have been told about a problem. For instance, you might get a request such as we need a website to promote our products! The next move is to build a website. Work and effort are put into creating a complicated and expensive solution that is likely to fail on day one. Fortunately, getting to know your customer is comfortable. There is a lot of work that has gone into the concept of “Personas.” The following is an example of a persona, the characteristics, and motivations of that person:

With one page you now know who you are building a website or app for. Companies, such as GM, have been using Personas to help design their cars and marketing materials for many years. 

Using Mood Boards to drive emotions, colors, and textures of the experience

The next stage in your UX journey is to identify the key emotional drivers for the experience. Mood Boards are an excellent way to collect together colors, textures, and images that will be used in the final solution. Reviewing the following Mood Board immediately drives a set of emotions the persona can engage with:

Your client should be able to sense the feeling you want to use from the Mood Board.

Use Storytelling to drive an engagement

The final stage in the fundamentals of UX is Storytelling. UX is a strategy that can be applied beyond software to all products. The successful products tell you a story. For instance, there are thousands of smartphones, but Apple dominates with the iPhone. The iPhone (despite Apple’s claims) is not better than any other phone. However, Apple sells a story in all of their iPhone commercials. The iPhone is about friendship, family and captures the moments of your life. The story is used to sell a lifestyle that the product will let you live. Also, the Storyboard is a tool that can be shared with the client to illustrate what the final product will achieve. This is a good time to check and adjust with the customer.

Learn from the best

The techniques listed above are foundational to User Experience. The good news is that the best companies share the knowledge of how great UX should be accomplished. Here are some useful links to keep:

Let me know in the comments what fundamentals of UX you use to get a project started.

Web Performance Analysis with Google’s “Test My Site”

Does your website load in under 3 seconds on a phone, tablet or PC? If your site does not load in 3 seconds, then you have immediately lost 50% of your customers. Performance is critical to the success of your website, and Google is stepping up and providing you a great tool to test your site:

Using Google’s Test My Site

The world is going mobile first. Google has a tool you can use to help test your website. The device is called Test My Site and has the friendly URL of

The test is easy to do. Enter your web address and select “Test Now.” The test takes about 60 seconds to run. When the test is complete, you have a report that you can use to drive direction to improve your site’s performance. The goal, as always, is to stop people from leaving your site.

Analyzing the Test My Site report

The report you receive back from Google highlights three main sections:

  • Mobile Friendliness
  • Mobile Speed
  • Desktop Speed

What is interesting is that the focus of the report is not “how does your website respond on a mobile device” but “how does your app react in a Mobile First world” where Mobile is the primary device by there are many secondary devices, too.

As you might expect, the Mobile Friendliness section looks to see how your site behaves with responsive design. There should be no excuse for having a site that is not responsive. Everyone should get a 99/100.

The second two sections focus on performance. How fast does your site load? Google will provide you details on the areas you need to tighten up such as image compression, JavaScript compression, re-writing how you use CSS and leveraging modern Web Server tools such as an HTTP/2. The goal is simple: speed up your site.

As a frame of reference, the first time I ran the tool I was running my site with no compression tools and my result was a meager 24/100 for speed. I added an image compression tool and dramatically increased the performance of the site.

The goal is for you to speed up your website. Run the test and analyze the results. 

Is the timing right for Mobile Commerce?

Today, more than 2.2 billion people connect to the internet from a mobile phone. This number is expected to double by 2020. As a frame of reference, Android is now the most popular Operating System globally and in 2016 more installations of Apple’s iOS 10 were installed than Microsoft’s Windows. It is a mobile world. But there is one problem: do consumers buy from their phones?

A year ago, I would have said a resounding “no”. The facts bore out the statement: people browsed on their phones but did not buy. The perfect storm of technologies had to be put in place to ensure that Mobile Commerce can happen.

That perfect storm has happened. Black Friday for 2016 saw the largest number of online purchases: over $3 Billion. The staggering element to this story is that Mobile accounted for ⅓ of all Black Friday purchases. Yes, that is right, people are buying with their phones.

For Mobile Commerce to be effective and to happen three things needed to be in place:

  1. Everyone has to have a smartphone. Everyone. This is the foundation.
  2. Check out technologies need to be easier on the phone than on the PC. Check out Apple Pay, Amazon, and AliPay and you will see that they are all very easy to use. One swipe and you buy your products.
  3. Social is a key part of buying. Adding in effective social selling and you have a gold mine of opportunity waiting to happen

Expect 2017 to be a breakout year for Mobile Commerce. mCommerce is already a reality in many Asian countries. It will be in the USA, too.

Should I use Open Source tools for mobile development?

There is a love-hate relationship with many companies when it comes Open Source. There is a perception that Open Source is riddled with viruses and has not support. The reality is far from this perception.

Mobile development is almost all Open Source. Here are some Open Source tools you can use today:

  • Convertigo ( for Mobile Device Management
  • Bootstrap ( for Mobile Web
  • Ionic ( for hybrid mobile app development
  • QuincyKit ( for mobile app testing
  • Swift ( is an Open Source language that Apple is using the principle language to develop iOS solutions

As you can see from the list above, Open Source solutions can be used across all levels of work. If you are a small team or a new to mobile, I would strongly encourage using Open Source solutions to get started. The investment is free and the learning curve is no different to paid products. What will surprise you is that the Open Source community is very generous with their knowledge. In other words, there is plenty of support.