5 Brand Microsites with Excellent UX

Brand microsites deliver niche and sometimes topical content to target audiences. Unlike websites that people visit primarily to consume general information, microsites are built for more specific and current needs. They are also a wonderful medium for building a sense of urgency and driving online engagement.

Thus, while staying light in terms of content, microsites have to be ‘macro’ in terms of user experience (UX).

The most effective brand microsites abide by 3 golden rules –

  1. Stick to a defined and singular purpose
  2. Build everything around the user
  3. Deliver a memorable experience

Today, we have 5 brand microsites that embody these virtues in their design, development, navigation and overall UX. So let’s jump right in!

The Movekars

The Movekars by Aditya Birla Health, is a responsive microsite and home of a friendly next-door ‘virtual family’ who teach visitors how to stay active through easy workout routines. The navigation lets visitors choose a particular member of the family to workout with, each having a different set of six 30-second ‘moves’.

MovekarsHamari Pari

Hero MotoCorp’s Hamari Pari uses thoughtful storytelling and adorable illustrations to sensitize visitors about the importance of education for the girl child. Though sophisticated and immersive in its storytelling, the microsite enables the entire user journey in just a few scrolls.

Hamari PariEcopia

Bridgestone Ecopia tyres has a Google Maps enabled mileage calculator – an innovative UX for car owners who are unaware of the economical and environmental benefits that come with choosing the right tyre. Besides its sporty aesthetics, the microsite lets visitors enter vehicle and fuel type, destination, and current mileage to know exactly how much they could save with Ecopia tyres.

Ecopia#LightUpLoC

Launched around Diwali 2016, #LightUpLoC is an interactive microsite by ASUS for sending Diwali greetings to our brave jawaans, through virtual sky lanterns. The microsite delivers a surreal virtual environment; as the user launches a sky lantern, watching it float up with hundreds of others like it, headed to different points between Rajouri and Siachen on the virtually created LoC.

LightUpLoCCamlin Experience App

Camlin’s Experience app is a digital canvas that helps visitors experience Camlin products first-hand while creating their own art. The interface features drawing tools based on Camlin’s various art products such as sketch pens, crayons, pastels, water colours and others. It’s quite addictive and gives art lovers an opportunity to showcase their work on social media.

Experience CamlinPsst.. If you have an idea that could someday make it to this list, we are always looking for people with your set of skills.

Which is better – .Net or PHP? A review of .Net’s untapped potential

Sr. Programmer BC Web Wise

Aamod Joshi

I have been working @bcwebwise for three years now, and during my tenure I have come across many requirements such as social networking, gaming, brand campaigns, etc. When I say let’s do it in .NET, there is often a client response – “Why not PHP? It’s quicker, cost effective!” or “It quickly integrates with social media. So, why .Net?”

This really got me worried, I assume this might be the case with other programmers too, and there might be an assumption at client end that PHP is the safer bet. Worrisome more given that PHP programmers are fewer in number and as a result, also more expensive. Let me quickly add that I am not a champion for Microsoft. The views expressed here are unbiased and simply to provide the benefits of .Net that should not be ignored.

Free Resources Are Available For .Net Too

PHP is not the only platform with free resources.Microsoft provides Visual Studio Express framework which is free and easy to use. It gives powerful inbuilt controls, some of which are just drag and drop and it’s done. Developers don’t need to write a single piece of code saving ample programming time.

Enhanced Interactive Web Experience With ASP.NET AJAX

Visual studio provides inbuilt AJAX toolkit which provides a powerful infrastructure to write reusable, customizable and extensible ASP.NET AJAX extenders and controls, as well as a rich array of controls that can be used out of the box to create amazing interactive web experience. Don’t believe it? Check these one page websites created using Ajax and get blown over! Don’t miss the soul link in the Tria website example shown here.

Anyone Can Build Their Own Mobile App!

Visual Studio 2013 can power mobile applications with responsive design frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap. Using CSS framework or open grid system, or even jQuery Mobile or Sencha and create apps with PhoneGap. More recently, and on Beta at the time of writing, Microsoft’s launch of Windows Phone App Studio. This is a web based application that allows anyone to build an application without writing a piece of code.

Free Database Software – Scalable, Reliable, User-Friendly Servers

Databases are used in a variety of different applications, from simple data entry lists to complex databases used to track millions of records. Microsoft has given SQL Express as a free database software. This is a very popular and powerful database software. SQL servers provide scalability, stability, reliability, and are user-friendly. It comes with graphical interface and step by step instructions so even beginners can create databases with minimum efforts. Further, SQL servers provides stored procedures which is very useful from preventing attack of sql injection.

Security for Coding

AntiXSS – Cross site scripting known as (XSS) is a frequent way that hackers attack sites. They used various types of methods to hack websites such as sql injection, inserting malicious script through URLs. To prevent from this attacks Microsoft has introduced antixss library in visual studio which is free of cost. Anti-XSS is a powerful tool and free of cost that uses to prevent from malicious script attack.

Reports

RDLC reports Report definition language client side in short RDLC reports is very good choice for creating reports. Visual studio provides inbuilt feature to create reports. Using RDLC we can create various types of reports with user friendly GUI (graphic user interface). Reports are specially used for printing. Also these reports can be exported in pdf, word document and in word excel format.

Third party integration

Visual Studio provides inbuilt functionality to create web services. Web services are very useful when SQL data is required by a third party and we don’t want to give them access to our private sql data. So we can provide them web services which they can use and fetch the data. But they can’t see the logic coding or logic that how they are getting this data.

These are more components and frameworks such as WPF, WCF, and LINQ which are also very useful.

I am not saying .Net language is best in the market and better than PHP, Java, Pearl, etc because every language has its own advantages and drawbacks. No language is 100% perfect. But I believe there is still lot of untapped potential in .Net which remains unexploited.

What Do You Need To Start An E-commerce Business: A Checklist

bcwebwise ecommerceIt is time to get online and create a cost effective sales channel, after all consumers are researching your products online and reading peer recommendations. It just makes sense to get online and enable the target customers to buy your product with a click of the mouse. So just what do you need to start an Ecommerce business. We have tried to simplify it for you here:

1. Choose a Ecommerce System/ Shopping Cart Platform:

Foremost, you need to select a technology platform for the Ecommerce to run on. You may not understand the nitty gritties of this, but an online research on the subject, reviews and recommendations will help. If you can speak to a successful Ecommerce business and get their recommendation, even better.

We highly reccomend using the Magento e-commerce system. . Magento is extremely scalable, open source, easy to use and quickly becoming the most popular shopping cart system around.

You may also want to explore being available on other popular online stores and weigh the options of your exclusive store plus being present on other online shopping networks such as: India Times Shop, Rediff Shopping, Ebay, Flipkart, etc.

2. Domain Name Registration and Web Hosting

You need to plan and book a domain name for your ecommerce site and get this registered. If you are starting a serious e-commerce business, start with the right web host to ensure that your website will be fast and reliable. The data centre that will provide you with the servers for hosting your website should be able to provide you with 24/7 support. The data centre should also have the necessary firewalls and security in place.

3. Product List/Catalogue

Identify list of products that you want to sell online. Research on products or information related to your products that are currently searched by the target customers will help in finalizing the product list. Check if competing products are currently sold online and if yes, look for information on how they are currently being sold, and how has the online sales of these products been, how are they being promoted, what is right and not about the ecommerce for these products.

4. Product Images

Having your products shown clearly on your website is extremely important to the overall look of the site as well as the conversion rate of the site. It might cost a bit more than you expect to have professional photos of your products taken it can really separate the websites that get sales from those that do not. Whether it is a fashion garment or an OTC drug, seeing the product image gives consumer’s confidence to click the buy button.

5. Product Titles & Descriptions

Appropriate titles and descriptions for your products is necessary. Copy should inform plus do the selling. Attention to doing this for each product in your catalogue is a must, as this can make or break your sale. Also from a search engine view point, this descriptive information will help in optimization of the pages for search engines helping in the product being found when someone is searching for it.

Do a competitive search of other successful ecommerce sites to study how they do it.

6. Shipping Account

When someone buys something, you have to send it to them. Make sure that you sign up for a reliable delivery service such as Fedex or DHL.

7. Packing/ Shipping Products

How you will pack the products for delivery, labeling, etc. also need to be looked into and should be the starting point. Work out the logistics and if that is not in place no matter what you do with your e-shop, it is bound to fail.

8. Security (SSL)

Your website is going to need an SSL certificate to encrypt credit card transactions. All modern web browsers will warn users that they are about to enter a site that does not follow necessary security protocols, in other words it is unlikely the customer is going to proceed visiting your page.

9. Helpline Number – Preferably Toll Free and 24/7

A toll free phone number for your customers to call if they have a problem. A 24/7 online chat system will also help.

10. Newsletter Management System

Your customer list will need to be sent regular emails relating to their transaction plus to promote other related products, seasonal/festive offers etc.

11. Establish Ecommerce Policies

Your ecommerce store should include a policies section that covers all of your policies for shipping costs, returns, exchanges and customer service inquiries. A frequently asked questions section can be implemented based on the email questions you receive most often through your toll-free number or through your customer service email. In the end, this can save time and money and also help in closing a sale online.

12. Ecommerce Team

Managing your online presence is an important task that should have dedicated staff, just as you would have for your brick and mortar store. In addition to processing orders, the website needs to be continually updated with new product offerings and inventory status of available stock. Customer service inquiries should be handled promptly and customers should be kept in the loop about the status of their order. This staff can also handle the marketing of your ecommerce site.

13. Payment Options

When the planning of ecommerce is done, simultaneously one needs to select the payment gateway that will be used. How are you geographically targeting your audience can help to address this. Ideally prefer the gateway that supports most of currency.

14. Getting Verisign

Vulnerability and Malware scan is a must on the website. Ideally go with a Verisign trusted seal, it also gives consumer confidence to see this seal on your e-commerce pages and the final transaction pages.

15. Integration with third-party software

Normally all ecommerce product section is integrated with POS or some ERP system that is used to also manage the offline sales. While designing ecommerce sections it is important to be clear about the modules from the ERP system that need to be integrated with the online database. Further how this database (particularly for product stocks) will be updated and in what frequency needs to be defined.

16. Explore Enabling Shopping On Mobile Phones

Where and when is your customer likely to look for you? If your target audience is on the go, and in India we all know that just about everyone carries a phone today, it may be wise to build a mobile friendly shopping site. Today’s digital consumer expects a seamless, personalized, online shopping experience via whatever device they choose.

17. Increasing Your Site’s accessibility

You may want to explore the option of building separate sites, or building just one site that Is device friendly by opting for a responsive design. Read more about it in our previous post. http://blog.bcwebwise.com/2012/04/19/responsive-design/

18. Market Your Site & Driving Sales

Finally, it would take investment in online marketing to create awareness about your e-store and drive the footfalls. Explore SEO, plus PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, network advertising, etc.

To finally convert the visitors to buyers, ensure that the online shopping experience is visually appealing, is seamless and smooth, friendly and usability driven at every step. So do dry runs of the page designs and flows with User-testing before you finalize the wireframe, design and the flow of the pages.

So get ready to do some real business online!