Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: May 2014

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one—desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd. This creativity mission has been going on for six years now, and we are very thankful to all designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: May 2014

Meet The Mobile Web Handbook

Argh! Weird browser bugs, inconsistent CSS/JavaScript support, performance issues, mobile fragmentation and complicated nuances such as device pixels, viewports, zooming, touch event cascade, pointer/click events and the 300ms delay. To make sense of it all, we created The Mobile Web Handbook, a new practical book by Peter-Paul Koch to help you understand technical issues on mobile and deal with them effectively.
We have all been there. With Responsive Web Design becoming a convenient strategy for device-agnostic design, we keep running into annoying technical issues that all those quirky (and not so quirky) mobile browsers are raising so very often.

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Meet The Mobile Web Handbook


Announcing Limited Early Access to the new VWO

We’re happy to announce that the new version of Visual Website Optimizer is now available for limited early access to our current customers and users. If you are an existing user, simply login to your VWO account and in your dashboard, you will get a link to request early access.


Question: When will the new version launch for everyone?

We’ve been working on the new version of Visual Website Optimizer for months, and we’re still not entirely finished! We were supposed to do a full launch today (29th April 2014) but there are some last bits that we need to take care of.

The new version is ready and we already have some partners using it, however we want to make sure we don’t leave any stone unturned to deliver you the best in website and mobile testing the world has ever seen.

Question: What does early access mean?

Early access is for our current customers and users who want to immediately use new features and functionalities that we’re about to launch (such as A/B testing for native apps, segmentation of test results, new charts etc.) and help us in refining those features.

Question: Any more previews of the new VWO?

You bet! We’re releasing a bunch of screenshots / videos on a dedicated landing page for users interested in early access. Check it out here:

Looking forward to have you as an early user to the new VWO. Stay tuned for the full launch!

The post Announcing Limited Early Access to the new VWO appeared first on Visual Website Optimizer Blog.

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Announcing Limited Early Access to the new VWO

Collaborating With Adobe Fireworks On Large Design Teams

Working with people can be hard. But get it right, and you’ll be able to produce stunning work more smartly and quickly than ever before.
With methodologies such as agile and lean influencing how design teams work, some interesting challenges lie ahead. Iterative and collaborative practices vary greatly across work environments and even projects, and they can, and most likely will, bring your time-honed workflow to its knees.
A shared understanding of the tools (and the way you use them) is crucial, then.

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Collaborating With Adobe Fireworks On Large Design Teams

Stop Wasting Users’ Time

Our users are precious about their time and we must stop wasting it. On each project ask two questions: “Am I saving myself time at the expense of the user?” and “How can I save the user time here?” What is the single most precious commodity in Western society? Money? Status? I would argue it is time.
We are protective of our time, and with good reason. There are so many demands on it.

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Stop Wasting Users’ Time

Rebuilding An HTML5 Game In Unity

When our HTML5 game Numolition was nearly done, we decided to throw it all away and rebuild it in Unity. That turned out to be an exciting and valuable experience, and one that I thought would be worth sharing with other Web developers. Come in, the water’s warm!
Last year, we released a mobile game named Quento. It was written entirely in HTML5, wrapped in our proprietary PhoneGap alternative and launched in many app stores with mild success.

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Rebuilding An HTML5 Game In Unity

Cache Invalidation Strategies With Varnish Cache

Phil Karlton once said, “There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.” This article is about the harder of these two: cache invalidation. It’s directed at readers who already work with Varnish Cache. To learn more about it, you’ll find background information in “Speed Up Your Mobile Website With Varnish.”
10 microseconds (or 250 milliseconds): That’s the difference between delivering a cache hit and delivering a cache miss.

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Cache Invalidation Strategies With Varnish Cache


How to use Urgency and Scarcity Principles to Increase eCommerce Sales

Imagine there’s a cupcake fair in your community. You have your heart set on Red Velvet and there are two counters selling the same. Counter A has a animated bunch of customers digging into the cake and has a banner saying “last 20 pieces left” while Counter B adorns a deathly, almost funereal look.

Which one would you go for? If you are thinking Counter A, you are not alone.

A study was conducted in 1975 where researchers wanted to know how people would value cookies in two identical glass jars. One jar had 10 cookies while the other contained just two. Though the cookies and jars were identical, participants valued the ones in the near-empty jar more highly.

And that’s the scarcity principle at play. It essentially means that people tend to place higher value on an object that is scarce and a lower value on one that is available in abundance. No wonder, marketing guru Robert Cialdini cites ‘Scarcity’ as one of the six golden persuasion principles in his book “Influence”. When combined with Urgency, which is essentially the other side of the same coin, the two make for a potent weapon for increasing eCommerce sales.

Here are some examples of how different eCommerce websites creatively use this persuasion principle to increase conversions.

1) Stock scarcity

Displaying your stock meter on the eCommerce product page is always a good conversion practice. Not only does it ensure there are no last-minute heartbreaks for the customer, it also speeds up the buying process. A user might be convinced to make a purchase, but he/she might not be always willing to buy right away. They might want to compare the prices on other websites, look for discount coupons or simply forget about the product — thanks to the myriad distractions of the web.

Look how ModMomFurniture flashes a message that ‘only 3 items left’ of a particular product.

Stock meter

Here, Boticca almost urges visitors to complete the purchase right away. The use of an active verb like ‘Act’ is used to drive immediate action. Here is a list of more words that drive urgency and sales.

Scarcity principle

2) Size scarcity

You head to a shop to buy a denim and figure out that the last piece in your size has just gone out of stock. Old story? Well, if it could happen in the real stores all the time, why couldn’t it happen online? Intimating the buyers when a particular size goes out of stock is killing two birds with one arrow. Not only is it a huge favor for the prospects, the information also works as a positive reinforcement of the product.

See how Jabong represents the unavailable size in grey.

Size scarcity

Zappos goes a step further and even shows how many items are left for a particular size and color combination.


3) Time-bound purchase for next day shipping

If you are already offering next-day delivery, then ‘time-bound purchase’ won’t cost you any additional resource. You just need to inform the users how many hours/minutes do they have to complete the purchase so that their order qualifies for next day delivery.

When you ask the visitors to make the purchase in a specific amount of time, you not only make them more proactive towards the purchase, it also eliminates any kind of confusion at their end as to when they will receive the order.

Zappos has a permanent banner on its homepage saying that you need to order before 1pm to qualify for next-day shipping.

Next day shipping incentive

Amazon shows the exact number of hours/minutes within which the purchase needs to be completed to qualify for next-day shipping.


4) Make them see other buyers

Two women fighting over the same item of clothing in a fashion store is not just a devilish mind’s fictitious construct. While popular Hollywood movies might have taken these fights too far, the fact remains that people are much more inclined to buy something when other people desire them too.

So while they are considering whether or not to buy those shiny leather shoes and they suddenly realize that another person is mulling the same purchase, it replicates the physical store scenario where two people grab the same item at the same time.

When you look at a property in, it shows you exactly how many people are checking out the same property at that exact moment. even gives you information about how many people are viewing properties in a particular city. A modal box pops opens and shows you your virtual competition/companions.

Last booked

5) Limited-period discounts

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a legitimate one. It is the anticipated regret of not being able to seize an opportunity. A limited-time discount works exactly at that level. It makes the offer look so tempting and fleeting that one is compelled to seize the opportunity.

OverStock dramatically uses a running countdown to accurately show how long the sale will last.

Countdown shows an alert when the last few discounted airline tickets are left in stock. See how they use color psychology here to instill urgency. The use of the color ‘Red’ is not a mere coincidence. The color is associated with energy, increased heart rate and is often used in clearance sales.

Last few tickets

5) Limited-time discount on abandoned cart items

The average online cart abandonment rate is 67%. While a majority of these carts are not redeemable, re-marketing efforts can salvage some of these lost sales. Offering limited-time discounts on abandoned cart items is a great way to use the urgency principle to re-market products. However, the risk here is of overdoing it. You do this too often and you will see your ‘e-mail open rate’ nosedive.

See how Miracas offers a 5% discount for just the next two days.

Remarketing mail

6) Shopping cart item sold out

Seeing some items disappearing from the cart might just be the reality check users need to wake up and salvage the rest of the cart items. See how Snapdeal shows a ‘Sold Out’ message next to one of the books in the following example.


7) Limited-time free delivery

Well, this works the same way as limited-time discounts. The desire to avail free delivery could possibly offset the visitors’ tendency to procrastinate the purchase.


8) Special discount hours

A two-day or a weekend sale has its own charm but a special discount hour can be used to galvanize excitement around that specific hour. Zivame sent out this mailer to subscribers to build up craze for its hour-long sale.


9) Last chance emails

E-mails letting subscribers know about last day of sale is another great way to get their attention. See how Myntra makes use of Orange color to drive action here. According to color psychology, just like Red, Orange also has an aggressive feel and creates a sense of urgency to do something.


Before you set out to use any of these tactic mentioned above, there are three golden rules you should keep in mind.

1) Don’t expect ‘scarcity’ to create demand

‘Scarcity’ or ‘Urgency’ work best as motivators to quicken the buying process but the customer will have to be already convinced to make the purchase decision. While they are great procrastination killers, don’t expect them to generate demand. If you go back to the initial example, it’s only once you have decided to buy a cupcake that you will value the cupcakes in Counter A more. You will have to truly convince the user before you flash the scarcity card.

2) False urgency can backfire

Urgency is a subtle art. Yes, I know that sounded slightly oxymoronic but don’t go about faking urgency or your customers will get a whiff of it. Be honest. Don’t try to get rid of the stock that won’t move by flashing messages like ‘hurry, only last two pieces left’. First they will catch your bluff, then you will become a laughing stock and then they will leave you. Here’s a real life example of how that happened.

3) Don’t overdo it

Even if you are using the scarcity principle in all earnestness, don’t go about overdoing it. You don’t need to employ all the practices with multiple countdowns breathing down customer’s neck. You will come across as pushy and shady and untrustworthy and manipulative. Moderation is the key, though testing will give you better insights as to what will work for you.

The post How to use Urgency and Scarcity Principles to Increase eCommerce Sales appeared first on Visual Website Optimizer Blog.

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How to use Urgency and Scarcity Principles to Increase eCommerce Sales

Rethinking Mobile Tutorials: Which Patterns Really Work?

Pattern libraries are a great source of inspiration and education for designers. But common practice doesn’t always equal best practice. In this post, we’ll look at why many common tutorial patterns are ineffective and how you can leverage game design principles to increase user engagement.
After the release of the first edition of Mobile Design Pattern Gallery, Intuit asked me to speak with its mobile team. I spoke at a high level about the value of patterns across industries (fashion, architecture, software and others) and how they are a useful teaching tool.

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Rethinking Mobile Tutorials: Which Patterns Really Work?

Understanding The CSS3 transition-timing-function Property

People of the world, strap yourself in and hold on tight, for you are about to experience truly hair-raising excitement as you get to grips with the intricacies of the hugely interesting CSS timing function!
OK, so the subject matter of this article probably hasn’t sent your blood racing, but all jokes aside, the timing function is a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to CSS animation, and you could well be surprised by just how much you can do with it.

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Understanding The CSS3 transition-timing-function Property