Author Archives: NCN Technology

Preventative Patient Care with Clinical Decision Support

Preventative Patient Care with Clinical Decision Support

Cardiovascular screenings alone save tens of thousands of lives each year.. Yet, millions of Americans aren’t getting regular care that could prevent them from dying of treatable causes. How can we fix this?

A valuable resource that can improve patient preventative care is Clinical Decision Support (CDS). CDS tools give targeted information to clinicians, administrators, caregivers, and even patients.

How can the implementation of CDS save lives through prevention? Read on to find out.

Streamlining Data

Elderly patients often see many specialists, doctors, surgeons, and caregivers. This results in an enormous amount of digital data, including test results, medication lists, and more. 

Medical professionals who use Clinical Decision Support (CDS) technology have access to a full spread of patient data. These intelligent tools can analyze data from across multiple providers to check for medication interactions, potential problems, or duplicate treatments.

Avoiding repeat tests and increasing awareness between providers creates a comprehensive picture of a patient’s health. This allows their team of doctors to be on the same page about preventative care. Together, they ensure more targeted treatments and effective patient strategies.

Better Communication

CDS tools offer a variety of features, such as reminders and notifications. Depending on the specific needs of the provider and patient, these alerts could be delivered to all individuals in the chain of care. 

Administrators receive notifications to schedule patient reminder calls or annual checkups. Patients receive automated services through smartphone apps, patient portals, emails, or calls. Electronic health records update in real time depending on the results of evaluations. 

CDS will only trigger these communications based on appropriate criteria. These predictions ensure follow-up measures get communicated to staff and patients at the right time, instead of creating notification fatigue.

Disease Prediction

Not only does CDS offer a comprehensive view of patient data, but it also uses AI to monitor changes and predict future complications. Machine learning can alert clinicians to underlying medical issues and help improve diagnosis time.

For example, CDS tools reduced the diagnosis time of sepsis in patients by 12 hours. Consistent evaluation of patient analytics can increase early and accurate diagnoses of complex issues with better accuracy. Real-time surveillance informs doctors signs of deterioration that might otherwise go unnoticed. 

Decrease Hospital Readmission

Especially in the elderly population, complications often result in trips to the hospital. Studies show that the use of CDS reduces hospital readmission and length of hospital stays. Medical professionals without CDS systems in place saw a 14% higher readmission rate and 6.2% increase in hospital stay time. 

These programs also decrease care cost per patient. The estimated savings per patient with CDS adherence was approximately $1000 each.

Clinical Decision Support: The Future of Medicine

As technology improves, so does the quality and value of patient care. Clinical Decision Support is not intended to replace a clinician’s professional medical expertise. However, using it can assist in significantly improving patient outcomes.

Deep machine learning can supplement preventative medicine by performing more accurate data tracking and predictions. Through the use of advanced analytics, providers have successfully reduced costs, hospital stays, dangerous medication interactions, and repeat testing.

NCN Technology is here to help you improve relationships with your patients and their health. Contact us today for more on developing a CDS solution that is tailored to your needs. 

 

Mobile Healthcare Applications: Improving Patient Experience

Mobile Healthcare Applications: Improving Patient Experience

Technology once carried an intimidating stigma for healthcare. A focus on digital solutions, mobile healthcare applications are transforming patient experience.

Healthcare made simple? There’s an app for that.

2019 is looking like the year of the patient-centric approach. And healthcare apps are assisting with the patient experience. It’s no wonder the market for medical-related phone applications is worth $2.4 billion.

Healthcare providers have been searching for new ways to improve patient satisfaction. And healthcare apps may be exactly what they need to do it.

Want to know how mobile healthcare applications are helping providers put patients first? Get to know what’s happening in the industry here.

Healthcare Mobile Apps and the Patient-Centered Approach

In the past decade, healthcare mobile app development has been focusing on how to improve the patient experience.

Physicians are required to take an oath to put patients first. But with so many patients and so little time, this requirement is sometimes easier said than done.

That’s why easy-to-use healthcare apps are so exciting for patients and providers alike. They offer physicians and nurses the ability to communicate with patients more easily. And they offer patients the opportunity to take control of personal health records.

From weight management to women’s health, there are applications to track every aspect of well-being. Smart bands to more easily measure heart rate and blood pressure have been around for a while. But people can now interface those results to inform doctors about their vitals.

Applications to remind both doctors and patients about appointments help reduce confusion. Some apps also help patients communicate with doctors in-app via a chatbox or over a video call.

All these capabilities are making it easier for patients to be heard. And there are statistics that show it’s working. More than 75% of people love using mobile healthcare apps to supplement their needs.

With an excellent mobile application, healthcare providers can improve patient satisfaction. And they can do it at no cost or inconvenience to doctors and nurses.

More Benefits of Mobile Healthcare Applications

Mobile apps for health care aren’t just helping providers improve patient satisfaction. They’re benefiting almost every aspect of the medical world.

Here are 3 more ways they’re improving the patient experience.

  • Telemedicine improvements
  • The democratization of access to health records
  • Faster and more convenient payment

Mobile medical apps provide transparency to patients who want to be more involved in their health and wellness. This will lead patients to feel more empowered, connected, and in control of their own health.

The Future of Healthcare Application Development

As the mobile health application market continues to grow, the focus will turn from the development of products. Instead, efforts will focus on marketing and training.

Training is especially important for Senior citizens. This demographic isn’t as familiar with mobile apps. But developers recognize this problem and are making healthcare apps simpler to use.

Mobile healthcare applications aren’t the only technology affecting senior citizens. Visit our blog for more updates on the technology affecting you and your health.

Why Images Are Crucial to Websites and Marketing

Why Images Are Crucial to Websites and Marketing

There is an old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, which seems to hold true even in today’s fast-paced world. Infographics, images, and digital graphics are important to your marketing strategy. Let’s look at the impact images will have on your business.

Images and the Human Brain

Humans are particularly responsive to visual cues such as pictures. The power of images lies in the general makeup of our brains. We’re wired to notice, remember, learn from, and respond emotionally to visuals. Nearly two-thirds of people have identified themselves as visual learners.

Research has shown that people have an attention span of fewer than nine seconds, that’s less  than a goldfish! On average, when asked to recall something three days hearing it, people remember only 10% of the information/details. However, adding a picture can improve recall to 65%, thus making images far more important than ever, especially on social media.

                                                                                      Figure 1 MDG Advertising

Effects of Images on Business

Why is it of interest to you, from a business perspective? Because consumers are significantly more likely to think favorably of advertisements that emphasize photography, over those that are predominately text. Images can incite feelings of happiness, excitement, sadness or curiosity among other things. We can remember a famous brand just by looking at their image/logo, and can even reminisce decades into the past, simply by viewing an old picture. This is because a large part of the brain is focused on visual processing, allowing us to process images at an incredible speed. The human brain can recognize a familiar object in milliseconds, making images the perfect way to communicate in today’s crowded digital environment.

6 Reasons Why Images Are Important

There is quite a bit discussion about the value of images and why they should be a part of your marketing strategy. Here are some reasons why images are important:

  • Articles with images get 94% more total views.
  • Press releases are more likely to be viewed when a photo and a video are included (increases views by over 45%).
  • Consumers are 60% more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.
  • In an eCommerce site, 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product.
  • Photos receive a 37% higher level of engagement over text on Facebook.

Visual Indicators

Images can also warn us or give us clues about what’s to come. Magazines understand our inability to ignore powerful images. Along with powerfully emotional headlines, pictures that capture stunning moments in time can have an arresting impact and even change our mood instantly.

Images On Your Website

Images are powerful on their own, but when mixed with text they become even more impactful. Audiences consistently respond well to the combination of words and visuals. As noted above, articles with relevant images get 94% more views, on average, compared to articles without images.

Adding a picture to an article or a post can add several advantages to your website.

  • Images convey emotion about what you are talking about, in a powerful sensory-based way, and give additional depth to your content.
  • Good images make people want to read the article.
  • If your visitors can relate to and connect with your images, they are likely to return.
  • Images can create a personality for your website and help your brand stand out from competitors.
  • Images give your visitors and readers a break from all the text content.

To further maximize the effect of images in articles, optimize all accompanying captions, metadata and alt text.

Images In Your Social Media

Social media is a crowded space and using images is a great way to grab attention. A social media post accompanied by a photo is ten times more likely to get engagement. This is because our brains respond so quickly to images and color, in comparison to other types of information. For example, images on Facebook receive 20% more engagement than videos and 352% more engagement than links.

The images selected need to be of interest to your target audience. Find out what visuals affect responsiveness through research.  Although there are several sources for royalty-free stock images but it is advised to check that competitors aren’t using the same ones. You can add some purchased images or hire a photographer to provide professional pictures that are unique to your business.

Consistency Builds Identity

Consistent branding is important to building your business. When you post on a variety of platforms(website, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook), follow branding guidelines so your audience will identify those images with your business. Remember to be consistent with images, colors, and patterns across platforms, for brand recognition.

Images Effect Online Searches

A key benefit of images often overlooked is their online search impact. Visuals are highly valued by both search audiences and search engines themselves. Consumers respond strongly to images in search results. Thus, search engines understand this preference and increasingly prioritize visual-heavy content. Optimize your website using high-quality images to give your business a competitive edge.

Images the Right Way

Pictures are powerful and when used in the right way they can influence your readers and customers. The images must flow cohesively with the content, enhancing the branding. Otherwise, they may end up leaving a bad impression.

If you’d like expert advice on adding visuals to your website, contact NCN Technology by email consulting@ncntechnology.com or phone 703-757-2209.

Sources

 http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/

http://www.fromdreamstolifestyle.com/why-a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words/

https://medium.com/@onlinelogomaker/why-images-are-so-important-to-social-media-b9411dd678a8

https://www.jeffbullas.com/6-powerful-reasons-why-you-should-include-images-in-your-marketing-infographic/

Is A Smartphone App Important For Your Business?

Is A Smartphone App Important For Your Business?

How many times do you look at your phone each day? Whether it’s checking your bank balance, reading Facebook updates or playing a game of solitaire that number is adds up pretty quickly.

According to a study by Deloitte, Americans view their smartphone over 50 times per day. So it’s not surprising that businesses are leveraging this user behavior in their marketing strategies and customer loyalty programs. Customized smartphone apps are becoming more common for even Subject  Matter Experts (SMEs) to deploy. With development costs of apps becoming more affordable, it’s not just for “the big guys”. Let’s look at some of the statistics that support this shift in marketing and business.

Work vs. Play
According to the Deloitte study, there is an increasingly “blurred line” between mobile phone usage during work and non-work hours. For example, 35% of participants reported that they used their phone “very/fairly often” for work during non-work hours. On the other side of that coin, a whopping 59% said they use their personal smartphone “very/fairly often” during normal work hours.

A Handy Tool
How are people justifying the use of their mobile phones during work hours? We all know there are a multitude of things one can do with a smartphone, so what are the top work uses?

  • Email (56% of respondents)
  • Making standard calls (52%)
  • Calendar management (37%)
  • Navigation (34%)
  • Communication with colleagues/clients via instant messaging (24%)

Keeping on Task and in Touch
Along with our work use of mobile phones, we also have smartphone apps that help us manage our schedules, remind us of important events and appointments, and send reminders to those we’re set to catch up with. We’re also using them for our communications as we keep in touch with our friends and family via the internet rather than traditional land-line options. As a matter of fact, all of the ways mobile phones are used for communication have been on the increase.

  • Texting was the most popular at 91%
  • Voice calls, up to 86% after a four-year decline
  • Emails at 81%
  • Social networks at 72%
  • Video calls at 30%

Big Business
So what does all of this mean for you, as a business owner? How do these statistics stack up when it comes to influencing your bottom line? While people are looking at their phones, their eyes are taking in all of the icons that have been downloaded. If your smartphone app is one that has been added to their phone, you now have the opportunity to engage with them, gain more top-of-mind-awareness, build on your relationship with them and secure them as loyal customers.

When you consider that 77% of Americans owned a smartphone in 2018, there are a lot of opportunities or “eyes” you could be reaching several times a day, simply by having an effective application for your business. Additionally, there is a growing share of Americans now using smartphones as their primary means of online access at home. The use of traditional broadband services has slowed. This fact is validated by a study by the Pew Research Center showing that one-in-five adults are “smartphone-only” internet users with no traditional home broadband service.

Leveraging Smartphone Dependency
As people become more dependent on their smartphones, businesses will need to be proactive in harnessing the available “real estate” on those device screens. Apps are where it’s at!

But not just “any” app will do. The market is saturated with apps. There are  approximately 2 million on each of the leading app stores (Google Play and Apple App stores). (source: statista.com). So before getting started on developing an app for your business, spend time researching what works, what hasn’t and what your consumers may want or expect.

Should your business take advantage of the growing smartphone dependent market? It’s a big task to tackle, but as you can see, the potential benefits are worth exploring. Growth will continue as smartphones and other mobile devices become our all-in-one tool for life.

Should Your Business Develop An APP?
NCN Technology can provide information on how to get your business app developed and launched into this growing market. Even if you’re not sure how an app could be applied to your business, we’ll talk through ideas and determine the best features to offer your consumers. This can be your year to “tap” into one of the biggest marketing tools available to you. Contact NCN Technology today by email consulting@ncntechnology.com or by phone 703-757-2209.

Choosing the Best Enterprise Storage Solution

Choosing the Best Enterprise Storage Solution

Your people are the heart of your business, but data is the lifeblood that keeps it operating. That means finding the right data storage solution for your business requires a lot of consideration. To find the best solution for your business, we’ve put together some important factors to use in your evaluation.

Selecting your storage options boils down to two main things to consider: how and where you will store your data. Your business has individual and specific data requirements which will drive what choice you make. Let’s look at six questions to help guide your decisions.

What is your budget?

When establishing your budget you need to understand what is essential for your business in selecting a storage solution. A couple of questions to consider include:

  • Are you looking to improve performance or more interested in building resilience?
  • How will you manage the infrastructure- in house or a managed service provider?

Once you have those elements decided, you can then begin to build your budget.

What requirements does your new storage solution need to meet?

Again, this involves factors like resilience, performance and capacity. You should consider the following questions as you build your requirements:

  • What is it you are aiming to improve?
  • Do you need encryption services?
  • Is a single storage solution enough or will you require multi-site storage?
  • What about cloud-based storage, or does your business need to contain full security control through an on-premise infrastructure?

Perhaps you can use a hybrid system that incorporates a partial cloud-based solution.

Technology is another key factor for any organization to consider. For one business, backup storage will be the main priority. Another may see encryption as the essential performance need. Create a checklist that your business can build on, including things such as features, functionality, servers and site solutions.

How will you protect your data?

Cyber attacks and ransomware are evolving daily. However, so are the demands for data storage and its retrieval. There are questions you will need to answer when thinking about protecting your data:

  • What happens in the event of an attack?
  • What plans are in place regarding Backup and Disaster Recovery?
  • How will you protect your business’s continuity and reputation?

What does your current environment look like?

By evaluating the applications you use, your operating systems and software packages, you can outline the exact needs of your Enterprise IT Solutions. You also should consider the following:

  • Have you identified the specific challenges your business faces?
  • How do they affect your business?

How will you migrate to your new system?

There is a lot to consider when migrating your business data. You will need to evaluate the following:

  • How much data needs to be migrated
  • What type of data it is. What time frame does the project need to be completed
  • What tools will use for the migration.
  • Who will be in charge of migration?

And finally, consider whether you will need to migrate all of your data or if there are things that can be eliminated.

How long will you need support?

Changing such a critical and complex system as data storage is not something that will be accomplished quickly. A long-term plan should be developed to include the objectives over a three to five year period. Also identify:

  • How is your new system expected to grow and scale over time?
  • What changes may be needed and how might your data solution need to adapt?

New Technologies Bring New Solutions

In addition to considering the individual challenges and needs of your business, you’ll want to look at what new technologies to keep your system current with today’s market. Plus, new technologies will help to future-proof your system for business growth as well as potentially save costs. Let’s look at a couple of technologies:

Software Defined Storage (SDS) allows businesses to become more agile in how they utilize virtualization, without requiring the purchase of new hardware. It enables the use of multiple types of storage hardware to provide an easy-to-use platform that can readily be upgraded. Software Defined Storage presents greater flexibility to suit individual data storage needs and can be an ideal solution for organizations looking to integrate existing IT equipment with new storage capacity.

Tiered Storage Solutions is a technology that is changing the way we manage data. With this option, different categories of data can be assigned to various types of storage media, allowing businesses to adopt the most appropriate technology to suit the data being stored. Ultimately, this reduces total storage costs.

Planning Ahead = Planning Well

With the ever-changing data landscape, it can be difficult to plan what your business is going to need over the next three to five years. You must carefully evaluate your business’s needs, plan accordingly and seek expert advice and assistance when needed.

NCN Technology can help you in selecting the proper storage solution for your business. We bring you the necessary tools to plan and execute your migration seamlessly with agile components that allow your storage to grow with your needs. Our professional team is here to implement a system that is best for your business now, and in the future.

Contact NCN Technology for more information, either by phone – 703-757-2209 or email- consulting@ncntechnology.com.

Responsive Web Design: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

Responsive Web Design: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

Whether you’re updating your current website or considering building a brand new one, you will be hit with the topic of Responsive Web Design (RWD). With the increased use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, more people are using their smaller screen devices to view your web pages. The user experience should always be kept in mind so implementing RWD is important in website development or redevelopment. The purpose of RWD is to allow you to have one site that has the flexibility to function when viewed on all devices, regardless of their screen size.

Websites Before Responsive Web Design

Before RWD, the transition from a website on a computer to a mobile device was not optimal. A traditional “fixed” website on a desktop computer may have three columns of information. However, this layout on a smaller device might force you to scroll horizontally which is inconvenient and not displayed properly. Also, there’s a good chance some elements of your website might be distorted or even hidden from view completely. Another challenging aspect is that hand-held devices usually have the option of being viewed in portrait or landscape mode. A poor user experience can also occur if images are too large to load on smartphones or would “break” the layout.

What is Responsive Web Design?

The use of Responsive Design technology has improved the user experience.  When RWD is implemented, your website automatically adjusts to the device the viewer is using. A tablet version of your website may display just two columns making content readable and easy to navigate. The same material might appear as a single column on a smartphone screen, perhaps stacked vertically.  Alternatively, the user might have the ability to swipe over to view other columns. When it comes to viewing images on a site implementing RWD, they will automatically resize instead of distorting the layout or getting cut off.

How Does Responsive Web Design Work?

Responsive sites use fluid grids. This allows all page elements to be sized by proportion, rather than pixels. So if you have three columns, you wouldn’t say exactly how wide each should be, but rather how wide they should be in relation to the other columns. For example, you could set Column 1 to take up half the page, column 2 to take up 20%, and column 3 to take up 30%.

This also applies to media, such as images and infographics, which can also resize relatively. That way an image can stay within its column or relative design element, regardless of the device or orientation of viewing.

Other Factors to Consider

Mouse vs. touch:
Designing for mobile devices also brings up the issue of mouse versus touch. On desktop computers, the user normally uses a mouse to navigate and select items. On a smartphone or tablet however, the user mostly uses fingers when touching the screen. A Web Designer must take into account that what may seem easy to select with a mouse, may be hard to select with a finger on a tiny screen.

Graphics and download speed:
Users have come to expect websites to load quickly. Therefore, download speed and graphics are big considerations when developing your website. On mobile devices, it may be wise to display fewer graphics than the desktop version so that a site doesn’t take too long to load on a smartphone.  

Apps and “mobile versions”:
Responsive Web Design accommodates all users of various devices that visit your site. In the past, you might have thought about creating an app for your website–one that accommodated iOS or Android users. However, there are so many different devices and operating systems, it’s getting harder to create apps. Designing your website using RWD is the most desirable option for the user experience.

Why Even Small Businesses Need to Switch to Responsive Web Design

A recent report by Pew Research Center shows that in 2018, 77% of Americans now own smartphones. That is a large group of the population who are carrying the internet around in their pockets, purses, backpacks and hands. People are searching for information while they’re “on the go”. Businesses that have websites that are difficult to view on all platforms will lose customers.

To make it easy for customers to view your website, be sure you’re taking advantage of the benefits Responsive Web Design has to offer. At NCN Technology, we always keep this at the forefront of our Web design process and we are happy to assist you with your website if you feel it is needing improvements.

Call us today for a free consultation at 703-757-2209, or email us at consulting@ncntechnology.com.

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) sound similar, but what are they and why are they different? Surely our users are our customers and therefore they are the same thing – except, of course, they’re not.

In previous articles, we have talked about the importance of this aspect of your website; whether you are rejuvenating an existing one or preparing a completely new website. Visitors want to use sites that are easy to navigate. So, what is the difference between CX and UX?

What is User Experience?

The UX is how people interact with your product and the experience they receive from that interaction and generally refers to the digital interface, i.e. your website’s usability, information architecture, navigation, comprehension, visual hierarchy, etc.. All of these elements combine to create the UX, whether positive or negative. UX is measured with metrics like success rate, error rate, abandonment rate, time to complete tasks, and clicks to completion. The ultimate goal of your website’s UX should be to provide efficient and enjoyable solutions.

What is Customer Experience?

CX has a greater scope. It encompasses all the interactions a person has with your brand; an umbrella concept encompassing all channels and all products within the same brand, and how the user feels about them. It might be measured in overall experience, the likelihood of continued use, and possibility of recommending to others. In essence, UX is part of a broader CX, but CX contains some aspects outside of a product that UX does not.

Good UX

A good digital user experience gives a user/customer the ability to:

  • Find information on a website quickly and easily
  • Complete a desired task with ease
  • Search web pages with ease

Good CX

A comprehensive customer experience might include:

  • A professional, helpful, satisfying interaction with the organization/company representatives
  • An overall positive experience with that organization/company and everything associated with it

Why they are both important

You might have the best advertising, brand recognition, sales team, customer service representatives, and organizational structure (all CX-related items), but if customers’ interactions with your website, mobile app, software or other product (all UX-related items) create barriers in completion of the desired tasks, overall CX fails.

You can see how UX is really a component of CX, and each play an important role in the overall success of a program, the reputation of your brand, and customers’ loyalty to your brand. Failures in either area leads to a bad customer experience overall. Think about this as you develop products and services, and make sure to have the customer in mind.

Website

Remember, always consider WHO you’ve created your website for, and WHY it exists; it’s aimed at meeting a client’s needs in order to grow your business.

Here’s a quick set of bullet points to check from our article on building a new website:

  • Review who your target audience is, and make sure your message is crafted for that market segment.  
  • Know what’s topical in your industry.  Educate yourself on the latest (useful) trends, technological advances and tools in your area of expertise.
  • Begin and end with UX.  If something doesn’t have a reason for being there, drop it.  If it isn’t useful, drop it.

Also consider the overall branding of your company and ensure there is seamless identification from website, store, and products to staff and stationery. In order to have a positive, subtle influence on CX, it all needs to have the same look and feel–unified parts of your company.

4 Ways UX Improves CX

Have no doubt about the importance of UX, it is one of the strongest overall influences on the CX. Here are four UX techniques that can have a direct impact and improvement in CX:

  1. Easy customer feedback

Make sure your communication with your users is as easy and open as possible; don’t bury the customer helpline in a hard-to-find place. Create clear and readily visible calls-to-action, or even ask for feedback. Customers enjoy being heard, but it’s up to you to open that line of communication. From a UX position, the aggregate feedback will also reveal insights for product improvement.  

  1. Provide responses to feedback

As much as we have suggested that customers appreciate being heard; the complementary part of that is giving them feedback that their comments are being implemented, or at least were read. And remember to keep the tone consistent from product and website through to your customer support responses.

  1. Combine channels in the right context

A multi-device experience is always a solid strategy, considering that 90%* of users complete a single task on more than one device. Apply this to CX by linking customer service or other relevant services/products at the correct touchpoint. For example, Citibank, like many other sites (like Amazon), allows instant messaging with customer service reps as part of the existing user flow, a huge time-saver for anyone that’s taken advantage of it. 

  1. Provide context across teams

Customer service or supply chain teams certainly shouldn’t dictate the product design, but they must be involved in the product design process. You could seek their input on feasibility and explain how their roles help fulfill the product promise (and how they can salvage it should issues arise). Customer journey maps then help everyone visualize the entire experience. 

Overview

User experience must always be seen in the bigger context of customer experience or it’s entirely possible that your effort will be wasted even when the work is brilliant.

A positive UX is an integral part of a good CX; both are important and complement each other. Whilst UX has its focus on the product itself, CX focusses more broadly on the (overall) multi-channel experience that a user or customer has with a company, both online and offline. For an organization to create a good and long-lasting relationship with their customers, an appropriate strategy both for UX and CX is important for success.

NCN Technology has experts in both web design AND development. We understand the many platforms that are available and can help you choose what is best for your business. If developing the right UX is part of your strategy, let us support you with your website developments.

If you’d like expert advice, get in touch. We’d like to help you make your user experience the most efficient and user-friendly.

Using Digital Marketing to Help Your Assisted Living Facility Increase Occupancy

Using Digital Marketing to Help Your Assisted Living Facility Increase Occupancy

When it comes to digital marketing, assisted living facilities have a rather broad market to consider. Most healthcare facilities are able to primarily target their actual patients, knowing what to include in their content based on the services they provide and the feedback they receive from those patients. However, an assisted living facility should be mindful of the adult children of senior citizens who often play a significant role in helping their parents find a suitable facility. Because of this, assisted living facilities face a unique challenge with their marketing strategy. So how should a facility tackle these issues when it comes to increasing occupancy?

One of the biggest factors lies in identifying and describing that target market of adult children. These are generally people 35-50 years old on the lookout for high-quality, comfortable, close-to-home facilities that will provide their parents a relaxing and safe community to live in. Remember, they are all internet users. Therefore, assisted living facilities who need to fill beds and rooms need to market to this online audience.

Making it Work for You

Customized Website

Most people are on the internet these days. So it goes without saying that the most prominent exercise is for an assisted living facility to have a meaningful online presence, particularly with a website and social media.

What should be included on your website? Think about the adult children you’re most likely to be “talking to” with your content. Both the children and potential residents will be looking for information that assures them of cleanliness, friendliness, activities, security and the general appearance or “feel” of your facility. Share something particularly unique about your community and incorporate that unique point of difference into your images and copy.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

Just like anyone else using a search engine, those interested in assisted living facilities—including the children of seniors and seniors themselves—are searching online to find a facility that meets their needs. Generally speaking, this means they’re searching for a set of keywords and phrases that can be anticipated.

Understanding which keywords and phrases are being used the most and how to implement them into your marketing, particularly your website, is the best way to ensure your facility is seen early in the organic search results. SEO experts specialize in this service and can save you a lot of time, hassle and most importantly improve search results for your facility.

PPC: Pay-Per-Click

PPC (pay-per-click) ads are an effective and affordable way to provide immediate marketing online. Google Adwords shows your ads in their search engine results when someone searches for specific keywords or key phrases related to your industry.

The best thing about PPC is that you only have to pay for the ad when a user clicks on it to go to your site. It’s a proven way to attract visitors and hopefully convert them to future residents.

Content Marketing

Content marketing includes any type of online content and media you publish: web page copy, content on your social media platforms, images, e-guides, marketing emails, videos, blog posts, and more. Profitable senior living communities who implement content marketing well see an impact in attracting new residents.

There are people who specialize in developing content for businesses and organizations who outsource this task find it a relief to not be spending hours creating engaging material and uploading images, videos, and other information. Individuals who specialize in content marketing know how to present important material to your target market so that it’s both informative and integrated with your other strategic marketing approaches. It’s all about making your content work for you, enhancing your online presence and boosting your conversion rate.

Reputation Management

Whether it’s referral sources, senior adults themselves, or their adult children, you want anyone looking up your facility online to be met with content that emphasizes your credibility and viability. Your reputation depends on it. Your online presence can have a huge impact in contributing to or detracting from your facility’s success.

This includes use of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. Make sure that all of your content is cohesive and builds on your reputation positively rather than negatively.

Get Results

NCN Technology offers services to help build an effective online presence for your assisted living facility. We will customize a professional website that checks all the boxes for representing your community in a way that will draw people in. NCN can automate systems within your website to help with administration, scheduling, security and more.  Our SEO experts are ready to ensure your facility ranks high in search results. NCN’s content writers provide relevant articles written specifically to meet your marketing goals. Call us for a free consultation.

If you’re ready to take your facility to the next level, let’s talk today. We’ll demonstrate our knowledge, earn your trust and explore ways you can achieve your goals of increasing residency. Grow your facility with NCN Technology.

 

New Year, New Website Makeover

New Year, New Website Makeover

Your business website is akin to your professional appearance as a person. You wouldn’t attend a business meeting in your pajamas, or in moth-eaten and musty clothes.  You may choose to identify with vintage wear, but it would be neat, clean and smell nice! Your super-trendy threads are worn by design. They are a considered and conscious style choice, not just whatever you dove into in the laundry basket, or dug up from the basement.

So, new year, new makeover – let’s give your digital presence a face-lift!  You may choose to initiate a complete overhaul, or just attend to all the clutter that has accumulated, like hidden folders or old price lists.  Start your business year off with a bright and shiny new website. It’s good for your stress levels (less jumbled to do lists), and GREAT for your business!  

Initial considerations

Our previous article suggests considering your audience, technology and experience before you update your website.  Here’s a quick set of bullet points to check:

  • Review who your preferred target audience is, and that your message is crafted for that market segment.  
  • Know what’s hot in your industry.  Educate yourself on the latest (useful) trends, technological advances and tools in your area of expertise.
  • Begin and end with user experience.  If something doesn’t have a reason for being there, drop it.  If it isn’t useful, drop it.

Always consider WHO you’ve created your website for, and WHY it exists.  It’s not for a secret Easter bunny hunt, it’s aimed at meeting a client needs in order to grow your business.

Do-over

Your original website is ancient and decrepit, out of date, and not bringing in any new celebrities.  So, you’ve decided that a “do-over” is best. In that case, do your homework before you build your site structures.  Select the web designer, web developer and web platform that works best for you and your business.

A web designer is responsible for how your website looks and how it is used by visitors to the site.  A web developer makes the designed vision a reality, they make it work!  The web platform is the fundamental bedrock your new site is crafted on.  If you sell products online, you will need a store application.  If you provide services, you may require an integrated booking system function.  The selected web platform should contain the critical functionality you require.

If you’re a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kind of person, have a look at these reviews of website builders:

If building websites is not your core business, concentrate on your expertise and let us support you with your website updates.  NCN Technology has experts in both web design AND development. We’ll help you craft a visually appealing website that provides a great experience for your clients.  What’s more, we understand the many web platforms that are available, and can help you choose what is best for your business.

Declutter

Clean out the old storage folders and articles stacked in the cobweb-covered attics of your website.  If you have hidden web pages that are empty and not being used, delete them! You can create a new and relevant folder or page when you need to.  Hoarding unused folders and pages ruins your carefully structured web hierarchy, and confuses the purpose of where you store your content.

Give your website back-end a thorough dusting at least every three months.  Clean up any unused and out-of-date content. You’ll be grateful you did when you next update!

Be present

Ensure you have up-to-date and relevant content on your website.  It’s not very reassuring to clients to find only ghostly articles from five years ago.  It would feel similar to entering an abandoned building. Let potential clients know you are at home! Switch on the lights, decorate a little.  Update your website with recent photos, articles, promotions, the latest news, or even a constant feed from your social platforms.

At the very least, add or update recognizable and dated content every month.  If you’re too busy, hire someone to do it for you. There is a burgeoning trend of online specialists who keep your social profile and online presence alive and kicking.   

Get the basics right

Text formatting, spelling errors and font choice to are the basics of user experience.  If casual website browsers can’t read your site, or notice an error, they are likely to cringe and leave.   A potential client is relying on your professional expertise. If you didn’t bother to have your content spelling checked, or ensure its neatly aligned, why should they hang around?  There is a google directory full of alternatives.

Get the basics right, build rapport, make your web guest’s experience a pleasant one.  If you don’t happen to be a grammar detective, copy editor or website designer, hire one.  Or at least ask a few friends or family members to review your site for you.

If a link is broken, and leads to an internet waste-land, your client may also continue into the wild blue yonder.  With the sheer volume of content available online, nobody has time for broken links. If a browser isn’t instantly gratified, they may move on, along with your sale.

Consistent branding.  Ensure your current logo is the ONLY logo.  You may have been through a few logo iterations that weren’t updated.  Check every little nook and cranny of your website settings. Logos can be added to the main webpage, footer, online invoicing, automated message responses and even error pages.  Ensure every instance is congruent with your current branding. If you have specific business colors, ensure the exact Hex, RGB or CMYK values are used in every, single, instance.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Yes, it is a real thing.  It’s a very important thing! SEO is how your website is found on Google or other search engines.  If you rely on garnering new traffic to your site, it’s best to hire a professional who can setup the necessary settings in a jiffy.  If you have the time and motivation, there is extensive information available on the internet on how to go about SEO. Be sure your reference sources are knowledgeable, effective and efficient.  You don’t want to waste time working on anything that doesn’t measurably increase your website traffic.

The numbers. Review what is working and what isn’t on your site.  Track your site statistics to evaluate whether your business is getting the most traction through blog posts, a particular social media platform, or perhaps through special email promotions.  Analyze and assess where your strategy is inspirational, and where it isn’t. Enhance and nurture your areas of strength, and re-evaluate where the effort is exceeding the results. Spend your time wisely, and ensure it is building your business, and not just unnecessarily sapping your time and resources.

The human factor

Go undercover.  Use new eyes. Put yourself in the sport sneakers, or comfortable hospital crocs, or beach thongs of your target client.  Imagine your perfect client, name them and create a person. Once you’ve pictured Roxy, Antonio, Joe or Agatha, click through your entire site as that person.  Do the graphics appeal to who you are? Is the content relevant? Does the message speak to you? Is it a chore to read the website or useful and engaging? Are the stated facts verified? If not, make a plan, get it updated.

Connect.  Your clients are PEOPLE.  Build valuable relationships with them through newsletters, onsite interactions, or on social media platforms.  Create places for your clients to comment, add their voice, or get new insight into your business or industry. If you don’t like writing, hire a blogger.  If you don’t like tracking social media posts, hire a social media expert. It’s extremely common nowadays, and is good business! The online connections will do wonders for helping your clients feel worthwhile and included.  

Reward yourself

Once you’ve successfully planned out your magnificent new web strategy, and achieved your beautiful new web page, reward yourself!  A new website makeover is exciting and inspiring! If you make it a pleasant experience for you and your team, you are more likely to keep up the good business practice of maintaining your website.  Your website wardrobe will be red carpet worthy, regal and timeless – by conscious design.

If you’d like some expert advice, get in touch.  We’d like nothing more than to help you herald in a new year with a fabulous new website!

What is the Best CMS for Your Needs in 2019?

What is the Best CMS for Your Needs in 2019?

If you want to build your website, a CMS (Content Management System) is an essential tool that gives you the possibility to design, change and manage the content of your website. There are quite a number of different types of CMS out there.

It’s important to understand exactly what it is you want from a CMS before you decide which one to use. Questions like “Who will be using the CMS?” and “Do visitors need to be able to make purchases on the site?” will help you determine which systems to further evaluate or rule out. Then it comes down to the ease of use, functionality, and look. These are key elements for consideration when developing or updating your website.

Let’s look at 4 popular CMS and find out how each one might suit your needs.

WordPress

With a market share of over 50%, WordPress is the top dog of all CMS options. It is easy to use and allows you to personalize your website by offering thousands of themes across different industries that help create the look of your website. You can further customize your website by choosing from over 50,000 plugins that enhance the functionality and features of your website.

The great news is that the software can be downloaded and installed for free. There is also a monthly paid option that gives you unlimited storage, access to the full spectrum of the theme store and a custom domain.

Joomla

Like WordPress, Joomla is a free CMS with thousands of web templates to choose from. In terms of market share it ranks at number 2. It provides support for all types of content (custom post types), is available in multiple languages and offers bilingual support.

Although the usage of Joomla is not quite as intuitive and user-friendly as WordPress, it still offers you a great amount of versatility and flexibility. Joomla lets you manage the access users have to your webpage, which means it is great if you are looking to build a membership-based online community.

Drupal

This is another CMS that is free to download and install, however, there are costs that can be associated with the use of it due to the need for developer help in some cases. It is designed to be customized for your business and thus has more coding involved to the designing process.

Drupal is ideal for complex sites that require a large amount of customization and scalability. It handles a higher volume of content better, as well as multiple users. Since Drupal is mobile-friendly, it is a good choice for staying on top of current expectations and needs of consumers. You’ll also find it has solid security features for protecting your content.

SharePoint

When it comes to internal content management, SharePoint is the most commonly used system, especially within Fortune 500 businesses. Its functions allow organizations to store multiple types of files, including documents, calendars, tasks, contacts, video/audio files and much more.

The key feature of SharePoint is the ability to easily share data with multiple people within an organization. This makes collaboration between departments/teams easier and more efficient. The system is built to be handed over to the end user upon completion of its design. This means it is not too difficult to make minor changes as needed. However, if you require any major overhauls, you’ll probably need to enlist a programmer.

Overview

Depending on the products and services you are offering, the size of your company as well as the level of customization you want/need, it is best to research all the different CMS that are available to you before you make a decision on which one to choose.

The “most popular” isn’t necessarily the best one for your business needs. Some systems offer more customization than others, some offer an easier-to-use platform. It’s important to find the right balance for your needs and skills. Hopefully we’ve shed some light on what is available and gave you an idea of what to look for in choosing a CMS.

If you would like help with building your business website or tailoring one to best-suit your needs, please get in touch. Our team is ready to answer questions and help you make an informed decision about the options that are available.