Brian Speier Freeport on How to Use Machine Learning to Improve UX

Your customers, aka your users, matter most. They keep your company afloat. Your online offerings and their online experience provide major keys to your success. You can use machine learning, also known as artificial intelligence, to improve the user experience (UX). Here’s how.

Cookies
The ubiquitous cookie provides a powerful data gathering tool. You can set up your web site to place a cookie on every visitor’s computer, so long as they allow their browser to accept them. A cookie gathers information as they visit. A tracking cookie maps their Internet activity after they leave your site providing information into their visits to your competitors or shopping activity on unrelated retail sites. The cookie transmits data to you. Collectively, it provides you big data to crunch to build a better website for all. Separately, it lets you recognize the user when they return to your website and cater to their likes based upon their last visit.

Website Source Code
Your website can now contain much more than simple markup language to present information. What began with HTML expanded as computer scientists developed that code to integrate other languages. Languages like CSS provide the beautiful pages users want to navigate, while more powerful languages like JavaScript, PHP and the .ASP architecture enabled complex code and virtual applications to serve the user from a website. Your business can harness these algorithms to improve user experience and combine them with cookie data for more powerful knowledge acquisition.

Internal algorithms use two methods:

  • supervised learning,
  • unsupervised learning.

Supervised learning utilizes a limited data set to begin – a user’s initial visit. The algorithm trains itself on that data and uses it to react to future visits.

Future visits provide further opportunities to collect and integrate new data. Enter unsupervised learning. It lets you add to data. It uses algorithms to analyze user behavior patterns. It combines past choices with the current visit to predict future visit behavior.

Big Data
What was once the darling of data crunching at the NSF and NASA now helps businesses better cater to customers. What once required super computers can now be accomplished in the cloud. The collected data from all users, once analyzed, provides insight into user website preferences. Coupled with data from surveys which tells the web designer what they’re doing wrong in the design, this provides design information to improve the UX.

Machine learning helps your business improve its web design and any apps it develops. Using cookies, integrated algorithms and big data, you can improve the UX incrementally each time a user visits.

New PHP Features That You Should Embrace For Better Development

There are many programming languages in which to develop your applications and systems, but choosing which to use for what work has been a major dilemma among developers. Some of the languages that are common include Javascript, PHP, Ruby, Java, Python, and of course you have to use a scripting language like HTML, and for styling you need CSS. However, this script is not meant to highlight all the above languages, but will talk more about PHP and its usage and features. PHP has seen massive improvements and most of these changes are features that were added when PHP 7 was released. Here are few you should know about that will help you to program better.

Class constant visibility
Using class constants helps you to offer meaningful names for select values used in a class. The constants were public before the update to PHP 7, but you now have a chance to alter visibility, which points to a massive improvement in the object oriented form of syntax offered by PHP. If you are not looking to expose classes to the outside world, it’s advisable to apply this feature as it easily executes your needs.

Speed
Another addition to PHP 7 that you will love is the improvement in the speed of the language. This has come as a major boost to developers looking to create apps that are modern and matching with the needs of clients. The language was developed further to offer a good alternative to other scripting languages, which also have a great library and features that are developer-friendly. Its gradual improvement has helped to cement the position the language has held for years, and this might bring about an increase in usage although other technologies like Node have been on an upward trend.

Type declarations
This basically means you have to specify the type of variable that is set instead of letting PHP to set it automatically. Experts like David Lubbat point that PHP is a weak typed language, and for this reason it does not require that you have to declare data types. You will learn that variables come with data types and you are able to do radical things including adding an integer to a string without getting an error. The new changes in the language have made it possible to define what is supposed to occur to help you get the right outcome. It also makes code clean and easier to read.

Return type declarations
Another thing that makes PHP a good language is the fact that it supports return type declarations, which work with all same types of arguments. This feature allows you to write clean code that you can easily follow up, which makes debugging an easy task should there arise an issue. The feature forces things to happen the way they are intended so you will not have to always end up making syntactical mistakes.

Error handling
Another improvement to PHP 7 that you might want to embrace is the error handling capabilities added to the language. In the past, this was impossible in PHP and it made it difficult to identify where errors are coming from, but with the new changes you will easily spot parts of your code that need changes or have errors. Whenever a fatal error occurs, an exception is shown. You can change the behavior of the system by tinkering with the php.ini file, which instructs the system which type of errors to expose. Overall, the language is made to allow developers to have easy time when going about their work using the language.

5 Top Tips To Improve Your Online Reputation

Building a successful brand requires years of hard work. It involves adopting a focused strategy to develop an impressive online reputation. The online scene presents a more dynamic space. It is easier to share information. This includes both positive and negative opinions about your brands. Experts argue that it is easier to resolve issues with customers before they reach an open public forum such as the internet.

The cost of a bad online reputation

Most people result to public forums when they feel their grievances are not addressed and they wish to warn consumers about your brands. A deterioration of your online reputation can have a devastating impact on the business’ bottom line. A proactive strategy ensures you build on the goodwill you have created online to grow your brands. It helps you avoid costly processes to repair your reputation and mitigate against revenue loss.

Business executives who adopt a neutral strategy without an online presence also run the risk of destroying their reputation quickly. When there are no digital assets to counter bad press, it spreads faster as there is no information to counter it. In like manner, an ineffective social media strategy can have disturbing effects on your brands.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure your online reputation stays impressive. Let us look at how to leverage online reputation for growth.

1. Establish an extensive online presence

A business should have a website, a blog and a presence on the mainstream social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram among others. Numerous online forums cater to niche markets in particular industries. Sites such as LinkedIn empower business executives to publish and share their brand portfolios as well as management experience.

2. Adopt a proactive strategy towards social media

Merely having an online presence is not sufficient. Develop an audience and strive to keep them engaged on an ongoing basis. Build a plan to increase awareness about your brands, resolve arising customer issues and influence your followers. Create and populate the accounts before negative reviews hit. Monitor the posts of people close to the business. This includes management executives, employees, business associates and related brand ambassadors.

3. Protect your brands and business associates

Create separate online profiles for your brands, its ambassadors, and business associates. Reserve each brand name at every level of online real estate. Develop captivating and engaging content that aligns them with the overall business strategy. Flesh out the online profiles of key brand representatives including executive management. Build as much positive content as possible and mobilize positive reviews from your customers.

4. Leverage digital marketing

Refine your digital marketing strategies to complement your reputation management efforts. This includes tactics such as video and email marketing, SEO and blogging among others. Correctly implement authorship of your online content especially if you are the founder-owner. It aligns you as an online authority on your company. Regularly update your blogs and social media channels with new content.

5. Quickly respond to customer feedback

Consumers are increasingly adopting the justice delayed is justice denied attitude. Respond to queries, opinions and online reviews as soon as possible. Listen to online complaints to understand the concerns being raised. Review your internal processes to increase customer satisfaction. Make authentic apologies for honest mistakes and reconcile with the affected. Adopt a professional response strategy that keeps emotions out of your online interactions. Respond to negative as well as positive online reviews.

Conclusion

Over two-thirds of global consumers trust online reviews. Make online reputation management an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. It empowers you to deal with bad press around your brands before it destroys them. Professional reputation management experts such as Aaron Minc can help you recover from online defamation and rebuild your good standing. He is a highly experienced internet defamation attorney based in Ohio. He suggests embracing a proactive reputation management strategy to grow your brands online.

Why The Future Of Software Development Is Agile

The development scene has evolved to keep up with dynamic customer requirements. Agile methodologies allow software development houses to prioritize the client. It enables quicker delivery of high-quality software products and services. The strategy enables customers to realize value quickly without waiting for the completion of the entire project. Agile development strategies have revolutionized the way software houses operate.

Agile development has quickly gained traction as companies look to increase efficiency and ultimately their bottom line. It removes bureaucracy, rigid guidelines, and inconsistent processes.

The case for agile development

Let us examine some of the core values that make the case for agile methodologies.

  • It leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customers get access to high-value products and services earlier than expected.
  • Agile development natively embraces change at every step of the process. This guarantees a competitive advantage to the customer. It also assures them that all their current and future requirements captured in the product.
  • It accelerates time-to-market and delivers working software products on a continuous basis. This has become critical as service users are looking for offers with short project timelines.
  • Agile methodologies employ an inclusive approach. It encourages face-to-face meetings between the various stakeholders. This includes the business side of owners, marketers, and customers as well as the production teams such as developers, quality assurance, and testing. Closer collaboration adds a level of integrity to the process and improves the quality of service delivery.
  • It puts more focus on quality as opposed to completion. This increases value for the customer and enables developers to leverage lower costs of production. Success is measured in functionality and milestones in lieu of timelines.
  • Agile teams are collaborative and self-organizing. They are continuously adjusting their strategies to achieve greater efficiency. The aim is to make the processes simplistic and minimalistic. This results in high-quality discovery and requirements. It empowers them to build first-class designs and architecture.

Adopting an agile methodology drives productivity. It mobilizes multiple layers of teams to accelerate an explicitly defined process. This requires elaborate planning to reduce resistance and smoothen the transition. It has a direct impact on your productivity and bottom line. The shift involves evaluating products against requirements, processes, development, and test management tools.

Advantages of agile over traditional strategies

It enables greater transparency in the whole development lifecycle. Each team member is aware of his or her roles, those of his or her colleagues and stakeholders, as well as the progress they have made.

Agile development demands frequent and fast-tracked deployment and implementation. This creates a cycle of continuous delivery as part of the overall product lifecycle. Software houses can accurately predict features and releases.

It has a strong focus on the user requirements and business value. Every deployment cycle creates incremental value to the users. Stakeholders can prioritize the features they need first setting the pace for the development teams.

Agile ensures more attention is paid to quality code, quality assurance, testing, as well as fixing identified defects. The modular development provides manageable units and builds. Additionally, there is more focus on the testing and review processes.

Extreme programming advocates for leaner code and processes, test automation, building features on demand as well as clear and logical code. As an integral part of agile development, it promotes closer collaboration between all the stakeholders.

Conclusion

Agile is here to stay. It has become the definitive strategy for new software developers. It is important to get your whole team on board and not just the developers. This will enable you to realign your workflows and build the requisite momentum to drive innovation and flexibility. Agile is built to leverage teamwork and collaboration. This focus on people is evident throughout the process. Take time to understand it and evaluate how to transition into it.

 
Nationwide Debt Direct

5 Tips For Reducing Small Business Debt

Nationwide Debt Direct

According to the United States Small Business Administration, some of the reasons small businesses struggle with debt include lack of money, poor credit management, and use of business funds for personal needs. Most of these are problems that could be dealt with easily if one gets to learn more about the things that guarantee stability for a small business. However, many entrepreneurs don’t have the time and skills to conduct thorough audits that could help to reveal things they are doing wrong that lead to the accumulation of debt. If you are among those struggling to do away with small business debt, here are few tips you could rely on to free your business.

Rework your budget

The first thing you need to look into before you even proceed to review your debt is the current financial position of the business. Start by reviewing the budget to see if you have been pumping more than is required into some sections of the business, and this is easy to notice if you are spending a lot on a process whose yields when analyzed amount to a loss.

Identify your sources of income, the costs the business has to cover, and variable expenses so you can weigh between choices while optimizing the budget to make it friendlier. With the additional amount that is raised through savings after optimization, the business can get rid of the need to borrow and you could also easily use the surplus amount to pay off what you already owe suppliers.

Increase customer sales

Apart from slashing costs, you need to also look at your sources of revenue particularly customer sales. The option you have in this case is to find ways through which you can raise customer sales in a bid to boost revenue. There are several tricks you could apply including offering mark-downs and discounts on various products. Most importantly, you can ramp up on accounts receivables by ensuring you keenly follow up on late payments. Through this effort, you will raise additional revenue that will be useful when you want to settle debt quickly.

Negotiate with lenders and creditors

Another way you could deal with debt is by negotiating with creditors and lenders for better repayment terms. This might look tough to deal with considering you have to present valid and believable reasons as to why you need the agreement revised. If you think it is difficult to bear with the idea, you could work with debt settlement experts like Nationwide Debt Direct.

Settlement experts negotiate on your behalf for better terms and they are more likely to help you get a good deal than when you choose to pursue the process. A hardship plan also comes with benefits where you are allowed to submit a lower amount every repayment period, which means you will not face penalties as a result of failing to pay on time. On this you need to draft a hardship letter enumerating why you qualify for the arrangement. You may be asked to provide previous and current tax returns, income statement, and bank account statements.

Consolidate loans

Debt consolidation is also a way you could lower your interest rates while paying down your debts faster. Instead of dealing with different loans that have varying interest rates, you could bring all of them together into a pool. This means your interest rate will be lower and you can repay all the loans together faster. To come up with a viable plan for consolidation, you are advised to consult with experts so you can choose a strategy that will make things to work out well.

Best Portland UX Companies

UX design, also referred to user experience, is the process of implementing ideas that help to improve the feel and experience of a user while taking advantage of the features of a digital product. Very few companies consider the need to have professionals who understand UX design and implementation, and this is a big loss on their part because they are not able to give users the experience that can keep them using the product longer. If you are looking to implement UX in Portland and you don’t know which companies to work with, here are suggestions you could try out.

Decoder Digital

Decoder Digital is a Portland data-driven agency that implements marketing campaigns for clients in various specialties. The company is ranked highly as among the best in helping businesses to achieve their goals and sustainable growth. If you are looking for UX design and implementation that will trigger a radical growth of your business, then you should try out the services offered by Decoder Digital. They crawl through your ideas and business to spot things that prevent growth and expansion then come up with a comprehensive plan to improve your UX and marketing campaigns.

Copious

With copious, you can get a comprehensive overview of your business and the things you can achieve with the proposed changes. The company offers expert support that allows you to recreate your apps and ecommerce platforms to suit the needs of the market better. Their goal is to offer their clients services that help can them to target their audience more accurately. As a brand, Copious will take part in the design process and help you to come up with strategies that can drive growth. You are assured your users will enjoy every moment with your digital products.

Adpearance

Based in Portland, OR, Adpearance is an established digital marketing agency with specialization in PPC, SEO, web design and development. The company gives a complete UX redesign and plans that can help your business to stand out in the market. You need to appear different and elegant and this is exactly what Adpearance will help you to achieve. They have all the tools you need to push your business to a higher level. If you are looking for a flexible digital implementation that allows you to reach different segments of audiences at different times, then working with Adpearance is the ultimate pleasure to let your business thrive.

Ansira

Ansira leads when it comes to modeling and activating data. They will help you come up with visualization programs that capture your data accurately and in a fashionable manner. Forget about the boring designs many people will often propose because you can get a better solution with Ansira. The company believes in offering solutions that lead to unprecedented results and profitability.

Brown Box Branding

An award winning marketing agency, Brown Box Branding offers extraordinary results while maintaining low costs in the design process. The company will give you a perfect UX job yet your budget will fit correctly to cater for your needs.

How To Choose The Right Logo For Your Business

 

The most successful business in the world are typically known better by their logos, rather than their official names. Everyone knows the big blue “f” for Facebook, the golden arches of McDonald’s, and the Nike “swoosh.” The growth of logo recognition is intimately tied to the growth of the business.

So, how does a business owner go about choosing the right logo? It’s possible that as a great logo aids a business’s growth, a bad logo can sabotage it. This isn’t a certainty, but choosing a logo is one of the most important decisions an entrepreneur can make.

Elements of Great Logo Design

In general, the better a logo can embody the entire scope of a business’s services and products in a simple design, the more recognizable it will be. Think about the Nike “swoosh.” It is inspired by the stories of a mythological god known for great feats of speed, strength, and resolve. Nike’s logo has become synonymous with athleticism, competition, and products that promote an active lifestyle. There is no region of the world where people do not recognize the “swoosh” as the universal symbol of athletic gear.

The simpler a logo, the more universal it will be for consumers. It can hint at the shape of a flagship product for sale, or be an innovative uncommon symbol that can be adopted by a new business. The creation of a logo is left purely to the business owner’s imagination, but it should have an endearing character, an easily reproduced shape, and a memorable color scheme.

Getting Logo Design and Creation Help

When a rough idea for a logo configuration is chosen, always show it to a professional who has a background in making a logo available to the consumer public. This means partnering with an experienced industrial, commercial, or graphic artist. Modern graphic artists use traditional and modern techniques and tools to make a rough logo sketch come to life.

Expert graphic design specialists will have backgrounds in many disciplines. Designers like Charles Lubbat located in Houston, TX are known for exquisite designs, but consider themselves multidisciplinary. Lubbat has degrees in both law, and graphic design. This allows him to inform business clients about the efficacy and legal applications regarding a logo. Of course, he can also produce a final logo model that is pleasing to the eye, and works well with what an entrepreneur had in mind.

Another wonderful aspect of working with an experienced graphic designer to choose the right logo, is media saturation. Many business only feature a logo on a building, or its letterhead. Modern graphic design tools however, can place a logo anywhere from webpage animations and television commercials, to clothing items, giveaway trinkets, car decals, and all manner of 3-D imagery.

In short, it is not as difficult to chose a company logo as one might think. Sketch several simple designs that relate to a core service and product, settle on key colors, then enlist the expertise of a professional graphic designer. The final step is to sit back and watch the brand grow.

5 Tips on Building a Better Business Marketing Strategy for Your Company in 2017

The times are changing. It is no longer 1980 or 1995. We are now in 2017. Your business needs to reflect the changing times in your marketing. You cannot rely on the old methods anymore, as unfortunate and sad as that may be. Below, business marketing consultant Lewis Syring shares five ways to ensure your company succeeds in 2017.

1) You have to focus on the mobile applications. 90% of your business will be done via some sort of mobile device. Your strategy needs to cater to this. You cannot stay stuck in the brick and mortar way of life forever. It is not going to help.

There are lots of mobile apps to chose from. You should have no problem finding something that fits your business plan.

2) Using email is still a productive marketing tool. Many think it is too old school. It is not. More people are starting to discard their email tools. Their loss is your gain.

3) You need to increase your visuals. You need to increase your visibility. You will need more video content for this. More people are using videos to get their stuff out. Why do you think youtube is popular? It is a brilliant way to market yourself. Years ago, the Youtube thing was just starting out. Now it seems very commonplace. Use it. Video content is one tool that will never go out of style.

4) Blogging still counts in 2017. You may need to upgrade yours at some point unless you have already done it. Say you have already done this. Say your efforts have been met with mediocre attention at best. You will need to put more effort into this. You get what you put into it. Take your game to the next level. Do you not have the skills? Learn them. Bloggers tend to get more visibility. Take a page from those who are already doing it. There is a great deal of competition in the blogging world. Once you do rise above the rest of the crowd, then you will be a force to be reckoned with.

5) You need to get better with social media. Sorry. Do you want to get seen? You need to be on social media platforms more. Do you want to take your brand to the next level? You need to put yourself out there. Part of this includes being on social media pages.

Find something that fits your lifestyle. Some of you may not be into Facebook. Try something else. Try a platform that not a lot of people are utilizing. You can try Twitter. You can do Snapchat. There is Instagram. Get yourself out there. It is the only way to get your brand the attention it wants and deserves.