4 Great Online Tools for Reducing Cost and Improving User Experience

By Thorren Koopmans on Feb. 25, 2015

When it comes to building websites and applications, there are a lot of supporting pieces that need to work well: contact forms for people who want to get in touch, systems for newsletters and email, online payment processing, and more. Many of these pieces are basically the same from one site to another. So, rather than build tools from scratch every time we create a new site, we often use third-party online tools.

There are several reasons we like to find and support these third-party products and services:

  • The cost of using one of these tools is usually less than the cost of building a custom module.
  • They often help to enhance the user experience without increasing the cost of a project.
  • They’re often made by companies that are focused entirely on doing one thing. And because they’re focused on one thing, they usually do that thing very well.
  • Supporting another company and their product usually means that product will get better and better as time goes on.

This post highlights four of our favourite third-party online tools that are great at improving user experience. If you’d like help using any of these tools, please get in touch.

1. Typeform: Contact forms, surveys and more

Contact forms are a great way to collect leads from your website. A well-constructed form can be very effective in streamlining your online sales funnel. But when was the last time you filled out a form and thought, “That was fun”?

Filling out a form powered by Typeform can actually be pretty fun! Typeform is a fabulous (and depending on what you need, free) online forms service. Setting up new forms is simple for most seasoned web users, and no coding experience is necessary. The forms themselves are beautiful along with being fun to fill out.

Check out Typeform: http://www.typeform.com

2. MailChimp: Newsletter creation and list management

Newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with clients, customers, or anyone else interested in what you’re doing. Managing a list of newsletter subscribers can be a lot of work though, especially with the newer regulations in Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).

Let MailChimp do the heavy lifting. You can start with an existing list, or use a sign-up form on your site to get your mailing list going. Once you’re up and running, the list management tools are great for keeping your newsletter contacts organized. And MailChimp provides some of the best templates around for creating email newsletters.

Get started with MailChimp: http://mailchimp.com

3. Mandrill: For transactional email

If your web application involves registered users, there’s a good chance you’ll need to send them emails. Sending email to those users directly can be problematic.

Mandrill lets you focus on the content of your messages without worrying about whether they’re getting to the user. From the makers of MailChimp, Mandrill has a lot of the same great features, including analytics and reporting, but is designed for non-campaign emails. Split testing and spam filter testing are also great for improving the quality of user experience over time.

Learn more about Mandrill: http://mandrill.com

4. Stripe: Simpler online payment processing

Taking payments online isn’t a small task, and it all starts with having a payment processor. While there are many options when it comes to online payment processors, most aren’t focused on web-based electronic transactions.

Stripe is a payments platform built specifically for online transactions. By taking care of the complicated details like PCI compliance, Stripe allows web developers to focus on creating a great user experience.

Learn more about Stripe: https://stripe.com/ca

Have questions about online tools and user experience? Ask us!

There are countless other services that can integrate with your web project, and we’ve used a lot of them. Sometimes it’s better to build something to meet your needs. Whatever your situation, we’d love to help you solve your user experience challenges. To find out how we can help, call or visit us any time.

Thorren Koopmans

Director of Strategy

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