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March 21, 2024
The ROI Of UX: How Better Designs Create More Revenue

The ROI of UX is often dismissed as executives trying to get the biggest bang for their buck. But it’s the driving force behind businesses creating more intuitive experiences year after year.

In the highly competitive landscape of digital products, everyone knows they need to make a heck of an impression to stand out. UX design is pivotal in the success of a product, as a whopping 88% of users won’t return to a product after one bad interaction. 

Beyond creating a good-looking interface that solves real-world problems, UX design is probably the most important investment a digital product creator makes! Understanding the Return on Investment (ROI) is imperative for both designers and stakeholders to justify design decisions, properly allocate resources, and secure the confidence of top executives.

What is ROI in UX Design?

The ROI of UX design refers to the measurable value that a well-crafted user experience can bring to a business. In the most basic terms, it’s how much money the business will make from their UX efforts compared to the amount they invested in the design project.

The overall return from UX isn't always set in stone and varies from project to project. For instance, if a small business hires a UX freelancer to redesign their website according to best practices, their return will probably be lower than a household-name app hiring an agency to fix their experience.

But an investment in UX isn’t just about the money. Instead, it manifests in improved user satisfaction, increased customer loyalty, and higher conversion rates (which, yes, leads to more revenue). 

Think of a UX investment as an insurance policy for your product. You never know how your target audience will respond to your product when it launches, but the testing and data-validated solutions give you that little extra reassurance to know you’re covered. 

To fully grasp the ROI of UX, we must first look beyond the surface and consider how user-centered design thinking impacts key performance indicators (KPIs).

Estimating ROI in UX Design

As we said earlier, the ROI of UX design is rarely a concrete number. From new accounts created to a drop in abandonment rates, several different factors influence the final total. A projected ROI is usually an estimate compared to how the current product (or a competitor) is performing.

How you measure your projected return from UX design directly correlates with how you measure your KPIs. Just like ROI, your KPIs may look different depending on the type of project. Here are some common KPIs to analyze when estimating the ROI of UX design:

User Engagement Metrics:


Conversion Rates: Measure the percentage of users who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter, before and after UX improvements.

Bounce Rates: Analyze the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. A decrease in bounce rates indicates improved engagement.

Customer Satisfaction:

Surveys and Feedback: Collect user feedback through surveys or direct communication. Positive feedback often correlates with increased customer satisfaction, leading to brand loyalty.

Task Success Rates:

Usability Testing: Evaluate how easily users can complete tasks on the platform. Higher task success rates indicate an improved user experience.

User Retention:

Churn Rates: Assess how many users stop using the product over time. A decrease in churn rates signifies improved user retention, which is crucial for sustained business growth.

Operational Efficiency:

Support Tickets: A reduction in support tickets can be indicative of improved usability and fewer user issues, leading to cost savings.

To establish your KPIs, choose the metrics that matter most to your business in the context of your UX design project. Then you can set a number or percentage of increased/decreased activity that indicates a successful project. That number will be the KPI the design team tracks after they launch the project.

To calculate the actual ROI of UX design, all you have to do is subtract the initial cost of the investment from its final value, then divide this new number by the cost of the investment, and finally, multiply it by 100.

So, yes…unfortunately you do need to do some math to estimate your projected and final ROI. But those numbers will act as a guiding light throughout the project, setting expectations for the design team, enhancing clarity, and securing buy-in from the appropriate stakeholders.

Why Stakeholders Need to Understand ROI in UX Design

Designers are normally more concerned with making innovative solutions that fit seamlessly into the end users’ lives. But if you ask stakeholders what the most important part of a digital product is, they’d say it’s their bottom line.

While creative types might not be too concerned about the bottom line, designers need to protect their jobs and keep improving on the digital products they create.

Securing the confidence of your stakeholders is paramount when kicking off a project — and one of the best ways to do that is to lean on your projected ROI. Demonstrating the ROI of UX design is essential for garnering support from decision-makers, ensuring that you can obtain the budget and resources needed to execute the product to your vision.

On top of your ROI estimate, these key benefits illustrate the impact of UX in digital products and paint a picture for investors:

Competitive Edge:

In today's competitive market, user experience can be a key differentiator. A well-designed product not only attracts new users but also keeps them loyal in the long run.

Cost Savings:

Investing in UX design upfront can lead to significant cost savings down the line. A user-friendly design reduces the need for extensive customer support, lowering operational costs.

Revenue Growth:

Improving user satisfaction and engagement directly impacts revenue. Higher conversion rates, increased customer loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth can drive substantial business growth.

Brand Reputation:

A positive user experience contributes to a positive brand image. Satisfied users are more likely to become brand advocates, influencing others to choose your product over competitors.

Adaptability to Change:

UX design isn't a one-time effort; it's an ongoing process that adapts to user needs and technological advancements. A design-focused approach allows businesses to stay agile in a rapidly changing landscape while still managing day-to-day workflows.

Communicating The ROI Of UX Design To Stakeholders

Now that we understand how important the ROI of UX design is in the grand scheme of things, all you have to do now is present the projected number to stakeholders, right? Well, yes and no.

The numbers are impactful and persuasive on their own. However, providing a rationale behind the ROI can help illustrate your action plan for the project. By showing key decision-makers your mindset for executing each task, they’ll feel more confident handing over the reins and letting the design team do what they do best.

Align with Business Goals:

Clearly demonstrate how UX improvements align with overarching business objectives. Whether it's increasing revenue, reducing costs, or expanding market share, tie UX metrics to strategic goals.

Use Tangible Metrics:

Translate design improvements into metrics that matter to stakeholders. Instead of focusing solely on design elements, emphasize how those elements contribute to increased conversion rates, customer retention, or other KPIs.

Create Before-and-After Scenarios:

Develop case studies or presentations that showcase the impact of UX design changes. Use visuals to illustrate the user journey before and after improvements, highlighting positive outcomes.

Quantify Financial Benefits:

Do your research and convert UX metrics into potential financial gains. For example, if a design change leads to a 10% increase in conversion rates, calculate the additional revenue generated and present it in a clear and concise manner.

User Stories and Testimonials:

Incorporate user stories and testimonials to add a human touch to the data. Real-life examples of how users benefited from improved UX can resonate more strongly with stakeholders.

ROI Matters, Now And Forever

The more digital products that are launched onto the market, the higher user expectations will be. So investing in UX design is more than a creative choice — it’s a strategic one.

Understanding and communicating the ROI of UX design is the bridge between creative teams and executives. Ultimately, we all have the best intentions for the product at heart. But by establishing KPIs and using them to project ROI, each department can get on the same page and support UX efforts long-term.

By aligning design improvements with tangible metrics and demonstrating the long-term impact on the business, designers can secure the support and investment needed to create exceptional user experiences, impactful brands, and company longevity.

Need a real-world example of ROI to gain stakeholder confidence? Read all about our SchoolMessenger redesign in TechBehemoths and start a low-risk, high-return project with us today!

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October 24, 2022
What To Expect When Hiring a UX Consultant

There are a few significant differences between a UX designer and a UX consultant.

The UX designer is much more interested in solving your design problems. The UX designer is your new best friend if you’re looking to redesign your webpage for a fresh and bold new look to maximize traffic.

On the flip side, a UX consulting company will be much more invested in the business issues your brand might have. They’ll use their industry experience to advise a redesign of a page to maximize your profit.

Think of it like the difference between a nutritionist and a personal trainer.

The nutritionist will give you a diet plan catered around you with the specific goal of general health, and the personal trainer will aim to swap around your diet to maximize gains.

Both practices are goal-oriented. It just comes down to what your company needs.

Knowing the Need for UX Consultants

No business is perfect. There are just too many variables for any one company to consider. 5.03 billion variables, to be more accurate. Every person online has the potential to visit your business – what can you do to stand out?

Broaden your perspective.

Take a look at your product from a top-down view, and note the strengths and weaknesses of your business to fix them. The problem with this is that the more time you spend immersed in something, the more you lose perspective on it.

For Example, Common UX Strengths Could Be:

  • A well-functioning website
  • Easy-to-read CTAs
  • A reliable user base.

And Common UX Weaknesses Could Be:

  • Poorly researched UX strategy
  • Hard-to-see CTAs
  • Inconsistent presentation
It might be hard to spot these issues.

In this case, it might be hard to spot these issues. Being in the thick of things takes perspective away from you.

Imagine if you were to spend several hours writing an article about UX consultancy. At the moment, it could look completely normal until someone else takes a look. Then all of the glaring issues come to light, just like a typo that subtly skips by.

Everyone can be susceptible to this phenomenon. It’s especially difficult to resist if you have the “curse of knowledge,” a phenomenon that complicates simplifying ideas because you have knowledge of a subject and can’t remember what it’s like to not have that information.

This idea is further cemented by the fact that, as a business, you know how you operate from start to finish. You’ve already connected Point A to Point B, whereas your visitors have no choice but to start at the beginning.

The way forward might not be readily apparent, and confirmation bias might get in your way, which is where a UX consultant comes in. They will give you a fresh outlook on your business by sorting through errors with a fine-tooth comb and telling you exactly what to change to maximize your profit.

What You Can Expect From a UX Consultation

If you decide to hire a UX consultant to buff up your business, their process is specifically tailored to pumping up your numbers.

Up first, they’ll address the low-hanging fruit in the way of creating larger designs.


With your team working alongside the consultant, they’ll aim to find every nook and cranny that needs touching up before any big ticket items get fixed.

Picture a CTA (or call-to-action) button that has the specific purpose of persuading your visitors to check out their carts. For some reason or another, it’s no longer bringing in sales.

The consultant will partner up to determine why that button has such a low conversion rate and how to change it to match the customer’s expectation.

Audience Identification

To complete the audit stage, the UX consultant will become more familiar with your brand and the target audience. Surveys, user interviews, and varying analytics are reviewed to get an idea of who visits your website and why.

From this stage, the team might find that the CTA from before matches the color scheme of the background, resulting in a significant number of users scrolling past it.

The UX consultant uses this information to create a broader understanding of your visitors and recommend changes toward a chosen demographic.


Looking at the data, the CTA is the most significant contributor to a loss of sales.

Here is a decision point. What has to happen to fix the problems like this?

After some time, the UX consultant will bring up a prototype of varying designs, color schemes, and implementation strategies to maximize visibility.

It’s up to you as the owner to make the call if it fits your brand identity. For example, perhaps the proposed button is bright pink, and you’d prefer your site to be entirely blue. 

This is perfectly alright! Prototyping might take one try, or it might take four. Ultimately, every iteration will be that much closer to the perfect look.


Once you have the result, the UX consultant will help you use the new designs effectively and integrate them into your business strategies.

The consultant will drum up a long-term plan to reach the end goal alongside the updated designs.

You can expect to find a few things in this long-term plan like:

  • How to complement and effectively use the new design to increase conversion rates
  • Where to best improve the site to build off the newly created design.
  • What to look for in analyzing the success rate of the new elements on your site.

Returning to the reduction in sales example, they’ll create a plan on how to use the new CTA, where to place it on the site, and a few guidelines on how to build elements around it to reach the goal of increasing your conversion rates.

The Price of Change

The term “spend money to make money” is reasonably literal in terms of UX, especially since Uxcam estimates that every $1 spent will generally result in a return of $100.

You can expect a 9,990% return on investment in UX.

A 9,990% return on investment is nearly unheard of in the market industry. To put it into perspective, the ROI of a refurbished used car is around 13%.

To put that into perspective, 13 miles from Los Angeles will get you to the beach. 9,990 miles will get you to Russia.

As an example, our partners at Digital Position reported a 133% increase in performance for the year, despite the updates being rolled out near the end of Q4.

UX can be a significant turning point in a business. Get the most mileage out of your site by checking out if your site needs a UX design overhaul.

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June 29, 2022
What are the Steps to Creating a Digital Product?

We’ve talked a lot about the UX strategy behind digital products, but let’s go back to basics and touch on the steps to creating a digital product.

It’s no secret…digital products are SUPER lucrative. If you manage to create a good one, you can solve a lot of problems, go on to innovate new technologies, and take over the world (metaphorically speaking, of course).

But, as you should know by now (especially if you’re a regular in our jungle), a product is only as good as its intentions. And if you want to rush out a digital product to meet the moment and make some money, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

There are endless possibilities with what you can create and sell online. If you have an idea for a game-changing digital product in mind, then follow these steps to help you create the right product for the right people.

7 Steps to Creating a Digital Product:

  1. Consider the “Why?”
  2. Feasibility Testing
  3. Conceptualization
  4. Digital Product Design
  5. User Testing
  6. Iteration
  7. Launch

So, What Exactly IS a Digital Product?

You probably think that “digital product” is just a fancy, industry term we use interchangeably to describe websites and mobile apps, right? WRONG! 

Websites and apps are digital products, and so are: ebooks, podcasts, videos, photos, games, and software systems. A digital product is an intangible thing that can be bought, sold, or downloaded online without having to physically restock.

Everything from a royalty-free photo you downloaded from Shutterstock to your favorite podcast falls under the digital product umbrella. So, you can see why both businesses and independent content creators are jumping over each other to get a piece of that pie.

Let's Take a Look at Some Popular Digital Products:

  • Nelio Software: Nelio Software, a SaaS company, developed exclusive WordPress plugins that are currently used in over 80 countries.
  • “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens: This novel became one of the top-selling ebooks of all time with 1.42 million units sold in 2019.
  • Baby Shark (We wish we were kidding…): Pinkfong, a South Korean educational entertainment company, released the music video for Baby Shark in 2016 and hit 10 billion views in January of 2022.
  • The Joe Rogan Experience: Joe Rogan was already well-known among UFC fans, but his Spotify deal earned him $30 million for exclusive rights to his podcast.
  • TikTok: TikTok became so much more than Gen Z viral dance videos after it gained an influx of new users in 2021 — 656 million downloads globally, to be exact!
  • Minecraft: Yep, Minecraft began as an indie game in 2009. But, after being bought by Microsoft, it has sold over 200 million copies as of 2021.
Examples of popular digital products

What do all of these have in common? They are digital creations with humble beginnings that became huge sensations through product quality and word of mouth.

Whether the user wanted to A/B test their website, socialize with other content creators, or just be entertained, these products met their needs through the convenience of digital spaces.

Why are Digital Products a Good Investment?

You saw those numbers above, right? A good digital product is a surefire way for businesses and content creators, big or small, to gain notoriety in their competitive market. 

Plus, success with a digital product doesn’t always require the backing of a megacorporation. If your product successfully helps users fulfill a need, they won't care if you’re backed by a big-time investor or a small-but-scrappy start-up team. The quality of your product tells the user everything they need to know.

We weren’t exaggerating earlier when we said the possibilities are endless with digital products. Tech is ever-evolving, and in CreateApe’s 20 years of digital product design experience, we’ve helped businesses and independent creators build all kinds of products and reach a bigger audience than they ever thought possible.

4 Benefits of Digital Products:

  • Low Start-Up Costs: In many ways, a digital product is a much smarter investment for a company than mass-producing tangible products. All you need is a good designer, developer, some software systems, and maybe a good UX consultant (hint hint).
  • High Earning Potential: You can turn a higher profit with certain digital products since you don’t have to worry about replenishing your inventory. The right products can also help you build passive income (translation: more “treat yo’self” money). 
  • Scalability: With the right product and the right marketing strategy, there’s no telling how many people you could reach. After all, how many nobodies became somebodies through a few YouTube videos or a podcast?
  • Creative Problem Solving: The best thing about digital products is how creative you can get with them. We encounter new problems to solve every day, so you’re constantly presented with new opportunities to think outside the box and help people make their everyday tasks a little more enjoyable.

At the end of the day, it should all come down to that last point. The money and notoriety that comes from a good digital product are always nice, but never lose sight of the end-user.

The user’s experience with a digital product drives everything we do here at CreateApe. It helps us achieve the results our clients are looking for while using our creativity to build solutions that make people’s lives a little easier.

Let’s put it like this: Say you’re a server at a restaurant. The money you make in tips depends on how good your service is (and how much your guests enjoy their time in the restaurant).

It’s the same concept with digital products and user experience. If you’re just there to make money and leave, your tips and reviews will probably reflect that. But, if you’re there because you like helping people and fostering memorable experiences, your regulars will keep coming back for more!

7 Steps to Creating a Digital Product

Let’s say you notice a common, everyday problem that can be solved with a digital product. Let’s take it a step further and say you already have a great idea, and maybe a little start-up money. All that’s left to figure out is: What are the steps to creating a digital product?

There’s plenty of overlap between user experience strategy and the steps to creating a digital product, and it’s easy to see why. Nobody wants to invest the time and funds into creating a product that nobody wanted in the first place. Or worse, a great product that’s poorly executed.

The process isn’t always linear, and not everyone starts at the same point (the guys who created Uber probably have a lot more resources than an independent creator). But these are the most common steps to creating a digital product.

  1. Consider the “Why?”

The “Why?” behind the digital product should be the thing that carries you throughout the project. For example, why do you want to publish this ebook? Why are you creating this app? Why are you composing this particular piece of audio?

Let’s say you’re publishing a recipe book. Maybe you want to create a cookbook for college kids working with four ingredients or less. Maybe you noticed a lack of authentic cuisine from your culture and you want to share the real deal with everyone. Or maybe you have some ideas for healthy recipes that ACTUALLY taste good.

The same thing goes for websites, apps, or anything else in the digital space. The purpose behind the product matters as much as the actual product. If you can’t find a purpose, other than making some quick cash, then your users won’t see the point either.

  1. Feasibility Testing

Once you have the idea, it’s time to test it! User testing is important both before and after the product is created. But while testing your MVP with users helps you iron out any kinks before the project launches, feasibility testing shows you if your product stands a chance in your competitive market.

Start by narrowing down your target audience. Let’s use the ebook of recipes for college students as an example. We know the majority of our audience is in their late teens or early twenties (with a few outliers here and there) and probably evenly split in gender.

Put together a list of questions to discover their wants and needs — and maybe some frustrations they have with your competition. Your product should not only be usable, but better than your competitors' products if you really want to make an impression.

Some questions to ask in this ebook scenario would be: How much do you usually spend on groceries? What kind of kitchen equipment do you have? What kind of cuisine do you like? Have you tried any meal prep kits? What did you like/not like about them?

CreateApe-branded Google Forms survey for feasibility testing

  1. Conceptualization

So, you surveyed your future users and they think your product sounds like a great idea…Awesome! Now it’s time to start thinking about the real thing.

The feedback you got from your audience is super helpful while putting together the digital product design and narrowing down features. It will help you figure out what makes the easiest, most accessible experience for them and get rid of the things they won’t find useful.

This is also a good time to start thinking about your brand. What will the finished product look and feel like? What is the overall vibe you’re going for? How are you incorporating your brand colors and messaging into the final product?

Having a clear picture in your head of the finished product will make the design process run smoothly. It may not look 100% accurate to your vision, but some ideas and stylescapes will get your design team creatively aligned.

Othena UI design stylescapes by CreateApe

  1. Digital Product Design

Now, for the fun part 😉

First, start by mapping out everything. This helps keep you organized and makes it easier to shift content placement than the high-fidelity design.

Keep the audience feedback in the back of your mind every step of the way. Going back to the example of the ebook, if most of the people you surveyed only had an air fryer in their dorm, you probably wouldn’t put recipes that require an oven or a stovetop front and center, right?

Or, what if they said they don’t have a huge budget for groceries? You’d probably have to cut out recipes that need fancy ingredients from Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.

Once all your content is organized and looking good, bring in those branding elements and stylescapes we talked about earlier. Plug logos, color palettes, photos, videos, and typography into the digital product design until the look is as unique as the content inside.

Wireframe vs. hi-fi design by CreateApe

  1. User Testing

Now that you have a prototype ready, the next steps to creating a digital product are to test it with your users and iterate until you reach your MVP (minimum viable product).

Try to get the most open and honest feedback you can. It’s better to hear negative feedback and criticism during this stage than to lose your user’s interest because the product was confusing or frustrating to use.

The key is to take criticism constructively. Any feedback you get, good or bad, will help you improve the product in the long run and get a deeper understanding of user psychology. After all, only 55% of companies test their products with their users. This is your opportunity to make a good first impression and get a leg up on your competition.

The testing stage is extremely valuable if you want to turn out a quality product, so test with as many people as possible. Have them search every nook and cranny for flaws and nip them in the bud before they cause any real problems.

Feedback from CreateApe's user testing sessions.

  1. Iteration

There’s a 99.99% chance that your product will need some changes, but that’s the beauty of user experience design. Your users will help you discover any kinks affecting the product so you can fix them before putting the real thing on the market.

Maybe your users couldn’t find what they were looking for easily enough. Or maybe you wanted to try something conceptual with your design that distracts the user. That doesn’t always mean it was a bad idea, it just doesn’t work for this product or these kinds of users.

No harm, no foul. Take any negative feedback and use it to improve the overall experience. You can also test and iterate as many times as you need to until you are confident the product has reached its full potential.

Digital product design has several moving parts, so it’s only natural that some things get lost in the shuffle. Don’t be afraid to double, triple, or quadruple-check your work. Then have the rest of your team and your users do it again for good measure.

  1. Launch!

Launch time! Are you ready to see all your creativity and hard work pay off? Of course, you are. However, the project isn’t always over after launch.

Depending on the product you release, you might need to go back to the drawing board once or twice. A website or mobile application, for example, usually goes through several rounds of quality control before launch. Sometimes links break, the code needs cleanup, or the software needs updating.

Have a maintenance plan in place to detect and fix problems before they negatively affect the user experience. You should also make sure everything is optimized for speed and efficiency because slow speeds turn users away.

Once your product is out there, it’s also time to think about next steps. Say your ebook was a huge hit and those college kids are clamoring for more recipes — where else will you take this idea? Will you release a series of ebooks focusing on different types of cuisine? Will you create a video series to share more recipes? Maybe start a cooking podcast?

Again…your options are limitless with digital products.

Who Can Help Me Create My Digital Product?

*Sigh* If only there were a multi-skilled, super-talented full-service UX/UI design agency that could help you with that…Wouldn’t that be amazing?

If you have the tech know-how or even an in-house design team, you’re off to a good start. There are also plenty of free resources to help you plan and put a prototype together. The CreateApe team is pretty partial towards Figma, but you can read more about our other favorites in our How to Become a UX Designer blog.

But, why venture into the jungle alone when you don’t have to? Especially if you have an idea for a digital product but don’t know where to start.

A UX consultant can lay the groundwork for your product by helping you with market and user research. They can also help you conceptualize the look and feel and strategize to create the best possible experience for the user. However, that only covers a few steps to creating a digital product.

A full-service UX/UI design team (*cough* like us *cough*) can take you from beginning to end, and then some! Our team has over 20 years of experience in digital product design, and we’ve seen a thing or two along the way. 

We base our digital product design choices on industry experience and data-driven solutions to create AMAZING products. We know exactly what questions to ask your users so you can get the usable feedback you need.

We’re not only here to be your creative UX consultant. We want to be true partners every step of the way. Each member of our full-service team brings something special to the table so you get a fully-realized digital product. Let us take you from ideas to reality!

CreateApe's Services at Your Fingertips:

  • UX/UI Design
  • Web Development
  • Branding
  • Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Video
  • Research and Discovery

Some Things to Remember...

We know this makes it soooo tempting to create a digital product yourself. Who could resist the idea of passive income and millions of adoring users?

But creating a worthwhile product is no piece of cake. It’s hours upon hours of brainstorming, conceptualizing, and testing until you reach the MVP. And the hard work doesn’t end after launch, especially if users gravitate to your product and want more.

If you want to create a digital product, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Make sure there’s an actual problem to be solved and a solution before contributing to the clutter of unusable or poorly thought out products on the market.

Key Takeaways:

  • The user’s opinion will make or break the product.
  • Your market is COMPETITIVE. Your users WILL go elsewhere if they find a better product.
  • The steps to creating a digital product aren’t always linear, but completing the process in full is imperative to the overall quality of your product.
  • Digital product design is ongoing. Iterations, improvements, and new products/features follow a successful launch.
  • Earning passive income from your product is never a bad thing! But that money will disappear if you aren’t continuously making improvements or new products.
  • Your audience will notice if you care about the user experience or not. Listen to their feedback and show them you care.

Need someone to walk you through the steps to creating a digital product? Start a project with CreateApe today!

Read more about how CreateApe handles UX strategy for digital products.

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April 3, 2023
What Is Behavioral Design?

“Don’t make me think.” You’ve undoubtedly heard this phrase before. It’s practically the basis for all things UX — specifically behavioral design.

Everyone has different thinking patterns and problem-solving skills, but we can spot some common behaviors across demographics and tailor products around them. This helps us include design elements or trim the fat in the product’s flow.

UX design is all about catering to a unique audience’s capabilities. But every human has instinctive actions that our brains trigger when presented with options. Behavioral design taps into those basic instincts to create digital products that are intuitive and practical in everyday situations.

So, what is behavioral design? And how does it influence users while they interact with your product? We’ll touch on all that, plus our favorite design elements that inspire action every time!

What Is Behavioral Design?

Behavioral design is a combination of user psychology and product strategy. When assembling the product, its designer seeks to understand why users do certain things and determine how to activate those behaviors throughout flows. 

We’ve touched on behavioral design briefly in our “Designing Addictive Apps” blog, but it’s based on Fogg’s Behavior Model (which was heavily influenced by Aristotle’s philosophy of pattern-seeking.

BJ Fogg, a psychologist, designed his model to motivate users through wants and (by extension) needs. In short, his methods revolved around “putting hot triggers in the paths of motivated people.”

To put it in a simple formula: Motivations + Abilities + Triggers = User Behavior

We can see several examples of behavioral design supporting user experience in real life, from power buttons to door handles (although someone might still “push” a “pull” door even with signs. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.)

Pretend you’re about to make yourself some delicious frozen taquitos for lunch. You take the bag out of the box and see an easy peel tab to open the bag and toss it in the air fryer. The peel tab saves you from ripping the bag open and making a mess or finding the nearest scissors. 

You are motivated by your need to eat and your craving for taquitos, you can open the plastic bag, and the easy peel tab (AKA the trigger) gets you to your goal quickly. All that’s left to do is cook them and pour the hot sauce!

The same idea applies to digital products. Users come to your product motivated by a goal, your navigation shows them everything they can accomplish, and it’s on the designer to define the right triggers that drive the behaviors.

Behavioral Design Examples

As you can see, behavioral design influences usability in real-life and digital products. With this approach, companies can dive deeper than the basic principles of UX by designing for user psychology (along with preferences).

Think about how satisfied or relieved you feel when you accomplish a goal. We can deliver that feeling instantly by building a product design around instinctive behaviors. It’s a shortcut to positive reinforcement, rewarding the user through quick actions.

With all this in mind, let’s look at some design patterns that give users that feeling of satisfaction in just a few clicks!

Safe Searching

Safety is a huge deal when it comes to digital experiences. Not just in the sense of security and privacy, but navigating the product as a whole. Users need reassurance that they won’t be led to actions without their command. They also don’t want to lose their progress if they make a mistake or navigate away for a moment.

The trick to safe searching is presenting multiple options in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the user. This gives the user more control over their input and editing. Back buttons (or an “undo” feature) are an easy way to fix mistakes, but you should also make sure they can find editing options and save their work for later.

Instant Gratification

We want everything and we want it now — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Digital products exploded in popularity because they helped us accomplish everyday tasks in a few simple steps. Nowadays, we’re conditioned to want instant gratification and the most popular products are built around it.

Think about ways to make users feel rewarded when they use your product. This can happen through interactions with other users (likes, comments, badges, etc.) or with simple gamification. Anything that releases that feeling of contentment when we finally finish our daily to-dos.

Image Source: TechJunkie

Social Proof

Have you ever bought something or used a product because of a good endorsement (from a friend, family member, celebrity, etc)? None of us are immune to influence and many users require some validation instead of taking marketing claims at face value. 

Actual, qualified social proof is essential to show new customers that your product has the seal of approval from its target audience. It gives the user extra reassurance that your product is the right fit for them by showing success stories from people with similar backgrounds and interests. So, give them that extra push to make a purchase or profile!


If it aint broke, don’t fix it. We accept certain practices and methods because they’re so deeply ingrained in us from the beginning (brushing our teeth back and forth, reading left to right, scrolling up and down, and so on). When presented with another way to do something, we sometimes reject it because of the habits we’ve built.

Focus your product interactions around standard digital product practices to ensure frictionless adoptions. Swipe left to right, CTAs in contrasting colors, underlined embedded links, and red error messages automatically clue the user into the purpose of the design element. As we said earlier, don’t make them think.

Down-Time Design

Users don’t have to sit down in front of their computers to experience everything your product offers. In fact, many digital products are designed for quick two-minute interactions. Scrolling through Instagram, swiping through a dating app, making a one-touch payment, ordering a rideshare, you name it.

These streamlined designs answer a need in a few seconds or less. This ensures maximum usability on the go. If the user can navigate the app while they’re resting, on the bus, waiting in line, or even walking down the street. Make any time their downtime!

Image Source: Protocol

The Ostrich Effect

In psychology, the ostrich effect is our tendency to ignore information with negative implications. Hence sticking our heads in a hole in the ground and not resurfacing until the bad news disappears. 

Users abandoning an app isn’t the worst thing for them, but it’s a major blow for the company behind it. Through push notifications, we can hopefully entice the user back with a gentle (keyword: GENTLE) reminder about their progress and tasks that still need to be completed.

Image Source: Normcore Tech


We get it, your content creator probably wrote some killer copy for your website. But as great as it may be, your users probably won’t read past the headline. It’s up to you to grab their attention quickly and hold it long enough to get them where they need to go.

User interfaces should always be attractive and scannable. Present each option obviously with headings, subheadings, CTAs, and bulleted lists to visually break up the possible actions. Your content hierarchy should also be structured to present the users’ primary goals the second they land on the page.

Image Source: YourChicGeek

Design For People, Not For Bots

While we all enjoy looking at an entertaining or visually appealing design, we tend to gravitate to digital products that are adaptable and easy to use. When you can balance graphic design with human-focused interactions, your product will inspire quick adoption and loyal, repeat usage.

It’s easier said than done — especially when considering the branding, UX best practices, and stakeholder and user feedback. However, these behavioral design elements will help you adjust your design to your audience’s mindset and instincts, creating a much smoother experience.

Want to know more about your audience's behaviors to simplify your product? We know a thing or two about that. Start your project with us today!

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January 30, 2023
What Is Lean UX?

UX design newbies and business owners alike may be wondering: “What is lean UX? How is it different from regular UX?”

If you’re itching for answers about lean UX, we’ve got ‘em 😎

In a UX/UI designer’s perfect world, they would have full creative control of a digital product design. No outside influence from users and stakeholders, just their vision, their way.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Dogs don’t live forever, salads never taste as good as McDonald's, and we need to consider the user and stakeholder goals to create a successful digital product (or it wouldn’t be UX design).

But, what if we told you there was a way to make user-friendly products without sacrificing your creative vision? 

Allow us to introduce you to lean UX!

What is Lean UX?

Lean UX is an agile approach that gives designers more freedom when creating digital products without completely disregarding what the users and stakeholders want.

Let’s take it back to grade school for a minute. When you did a science fair project, you had to follow the Scientific Method: Define, hypothesize, test, analyze, and draw a conclusion. 

The lean UX process is pretty similar to the scientific method. It lets the designer do their research and form a hypothesis that guides their design choices. Then, they gather user feedback after the MVP is finished to prove or disprove their hypothesis.

UX design team leader Jeff Gothelf (which is an awesome last name) literally wrote the book on lean UX after listening to designers voice their frustrations with traditional processes. He developed the lean UX approach as a way to help designers realize their vision and iterate quickly by:

  • Eliminating time-consuming stages like frequent documentation and lengthy user interviews.
  • Ensuring constant, collaborative communication between design teams and stakeholders.
  • Promoting experimentation and creative problem-solving instead of solely relying on user feedback.

Through this agile, adaptable design process, Gothelf found a way for designers to think critically about user behavior, brainstorm solutions, and create better-looking products.

How is Lean UX Different From Traditional UX?

Lean UX is essentially a scaled-down and rearranged version of the UX design process. Let’s take a look at both side by side:

What is lean UX: Design process vs traditional UX

As you can see, lean UX cuts out a few steps. Instead of prioritizing the user and the business at the beginning, the designer can lean on UX best practices and their experience from previous projects to offer potential solutions to a problem.

That’s not to say there’s no input from the user or stakeholders, it just happens at different stages. Lean UX design requires frequent and open collaboration to ensure the client’s goals and brand identity are supported.

User testing is one of the most crucial stages in lean and traditional UX. Except in lean UX, you’re experimenting to see if your proposed solution works. It kicks off several iteration stages, requiring further collaboration with design teams and stakeholders to guarantee the product ticks all the boxes.

Traditional UX also focuses more on deliverables than lean UX does. This makes traditional UX a better fit for new products, letting you define values and craft brand identities in tandem with the design. Lean UX is much better suited for improving a product long-term.

Breaking Down the Lean UX Process

Now that we answered the great “What is lean UX?” question, let’s talk about what the process looks like (with examples, of course).

Pretend you’re on a design team for a scheduling app and they want to add a feature that increases meeting attendance. Spend time thinking about why users miss meetings and how you can increase their awareness.

Outcomes, Assumptions, and Hypotheses

Lean UX still requires research, but you don’t have to validate your decisions right away. Instead, you can use your findings to make assumptions about user behavior.

So, why are users missing meetings? Your research shows that most people miss meetings because email invites get buried under other messages. You also noticed that users preferred using the calendar feature on their phones instead of the app. 

How do you remedy this problem and get the user to attend more meetings?

You’ve heard this phrase: “Never makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.” Well, that doesn’t apply here. In lean UX, we have room to make assumptions, test theories, and adjust as needed (or scrap things altogether).

From your findings, you can assume that users are missing their meetings because they rely on their phone calendars to coordinate their schedules instead of email invites. Once you make that assumption, it’s time to form a hypothesis and state the desired outcome.

Hypothesis: If we create a feature that allows the user to sync their scheduling app with their iPhone calendar, it will increase awareness of meeting times and lead to better attendance.


We know what you’re thinking…“Whaaaat? We’re skipping straight to design?” 

Heck yes, we are!

Lean UX is about drawing conclusions around basic data and testing a proposed solution. We’ll worry about user interviews and testing a little later.

This is where everyone needs to be on the same page. Your team members will help you consider possible outcomes and stakeholder requirements that might make your plan a no-go. It’s up to you to convince your stakeholders that you’re making the right choices to help them and the user reach their end goal.

For this scheduling app example, the stakeholder might be concerned about users abandoning the app if everything automatically syncs to their iPhone calendar. How do we get around that?

As we said earlier, frequent communication is a must in lean UX. Work with your stakeholders and team members to address their concerns and brainstorm solutions that meet in the middle.


Just like the Scientific Method, what is lean UX if not a basis for learning?

The MVP in lean UX does NOT have to be a fully realized design. Instead, it’s a tool that helps you gauge the user’s reaction to your product and features.

Your MVP can come in a few forms: wireframes, high-fidelity mockups, and a working prototype. They don’t have to be 100% perfect, but they should be close enough to the finished product so the user can see how it’s supposed to function. 

What’s the best way to encourage the scheduling app’s users to sync their meeting invites with their phone calendars? It could be as simple as a toggle feature in their settings, or they may need a full onboarding process to update their permissions. Either way, your MVP must demonstrate its value and entice the user.

This primitive version of your product or feature will help you see your assumptions in action. Then, once your hypothesis is proven or disproven, you can start working your magic on the design.

Research & Learning

Ready to see if your hypothesis was correct? Exciting, isn’t it?

Test your MVP and get the sign-off from your future users. They will validate your assumptions, showing you what works and what doesn’t.

User testing and feedback are a pivotal part of traditional and lean UX. Successful products are designed around the user’s behavior — and this is your opportunity to see if your design supports or goes against it.

The goal isn’t to get glowing reviews or build up excitement. It’s all about validating your choices. Some users may be completely elated to have their meetings automatically dropped into their phone calendar, while others might not see much use for it or be turned off by the lengthy onboarding process.

Criticism, while sometimes hard to swallow, doesn’t negate all the hard work you’ve put in so far. It shows you where you need to make adjustments so the product or feature can live up to its full potential.

The user’s feedback is invaluable in any UX process, but the good thing about lean UX is that you can adjust and iterate much faster. Think, make, check, and repeat until the product is the best it can be.

Think, make, check, repeat!

When Is It Best To Use a Lean Approach?

You may be thinking: “Why do designers follow a more lengthy UX process when this scaled-down version exists?”

Lean UX is a great process that helps us churn out user-friendly designs fast! But the truth is, it’s not suited for all projects.

Some projects, especially the new products we mentioned earlier, need that deep level of exploration to understand what users and stakeholders respond to. Or else you’re just designing for the sake of design.

Let’s pretend that instead of creating a new feature for a scheduling app, we’re creating that scheduling app from the ground up. When we’re starting from scratch like this, we don’t know much besides the stakeholder’s goal of creating a new, innovative product.

The question is: “What makes a product (like a scheduling app) innovative?

A long discovery phase is almost mandatory here. We need to understand why users gravitate to scheduling apps and the structures and flows that make them so easy to use (all while developing a unique brand, style, and messaging to make it stand out in a sea of competitors).

But, if the product already exists, lean UX is a safe bet. When you already have a solid product, user base, and brand identity to work with, a lot of that exploration has already happened. You can skip straight to applying your knowledge from past projects and adapting your design choices to fit the brand.

Notes From Our Designers About Lean UX:

“It’s a good approach - to use carefully. Not all projects and clients can be done Lean. It doesn’t mean that we can run a project while walking in the dark. Basic data about the target audience and a solid set of requirements are always needed. The most frequent downside of Lean UX is that clients get hyper-excited about the fast results that they forget about testing. Also, if the client comes with a medium/long-term vision of the product, it helps designers collect ideas and start prioritizing them.” -Virginia, UX Designer at CreateApe

“If there’s enough trust and user data, then lean UX is great. On the other hand, it might not survive a close encounter with a client. A product can’t be fully stakeholder-oriented with no room for user input.” Serj, UX Designer at CreateApe

“If it’s done correctly, we should have the right approach from the start of the project. That includes not skipping research, applying workshops between the team and client, testing, and validating. Throughout the process, it should gain the trust of the client, especially when we have a decent amount of research to provide validated solutions.” -Sheryl, UX Designer at CreateApe

Key Takeaways

  • Lean UX isn’t suited for every project
  • Always base your assumptions on data and research
  • Define goals and requirements early on
  • MVPs can be basic, but they must be functional
  • Communication is KING
  • Never, ever, EVER skip user testing

Think, Make, Check!

So, what is lean UX for designers?

For us, it's a simple, scaled-down method giving us more creative control over the project. But it's also a way for both designers and stakeholders to experiment, learn, and iterate to create more innovative products.

Stop and review your data at the beginning if you're thinking about taking a lean approach with your next project. What can you infer about your audience based on it?

If you can make a logical assumption based on your data, form a hypothesis, consider multiple scenarios with your team, and design a bare-bones version to improve piece-by-piece, lean UX is right up your alley!

Need a team to turn your digital product into a lean, mean UX machine? Start a project with us today!

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April 27, 2022
UX Design Strategy: How Does it Help My Business?

A good UX Design Strategy is essential to a successful digital product. How many businesses actually strategize with their users in mind, though?

At some point in the last 10 years, you’ve probably heard someone say “There’s an app for that”—and it’s true! Companies big and small identify gaps in the market and create innovative digital products to satisfy a need of their consumer. But, how many of these products live up to their promises?

There’s no shortage of digital products on the market today. If you want yours to stand out, the user experience needs to be as good as the idea. That’s where UX design strategy comes in!

UX design is fundamental in creating user-friendly websites and apps, but the perfect digital product doesn’t spring up from the ground overnight. The most effective products usually have a solid groundwork of research, evaluation, and ideation before designing even begins.

So, what is UX design strategy? And what’s in the secret sauce that makes this process so effective? CreateApe is here to show you how to lay the groundwork for the perfect product.

CreateApe’s UX Design Strategy

  • Define business strategy
  • Identify/interview stakeholders
  • Competitive research and analysis
  • Ideation
  • Design goals
  • User research and iteration
  • MVP

What is UX Design Strategy

UX Design strategy is a detailed plan for building a digital product that keeps the user experience aligned with the business goals of the company. This strategy is shaped by both qualitative and quantitative research about the users, stakeholders, and competitive market.

In the book UX Strategy, author Jamie Levy came up with a formula for the four tenets of UX strategy:

Business strategy + value innovation + validated user research + killer UX design = UX strategy.

The Four Tenets of UX Strategy

  • Business Strategy - These are the company’s guiding principles for how it will position itself in the competitive market and still achieve its objectives. For long-term success, the company must continuously identify competitive advantages and find ways to leverage that against competitors.
  • Value Innovation - This happens when companies align newness with utility and price. The combination of these three creates a lasting impression on the user and assigns value to the business. 
  • Validated User Research - Verify the solutions and confirm that the user will find value in the product. Go beyond observing and empathizing with the user and focus on getting direct, honest feedback from interacting with the product.
  • Killer UX Design - A UX designer, strategist, or agency creates the design of the product based on the first three tenets and weaves UX into all online and offline touchpoints—creating a truly frictionless experience. (P.S. This is where CreateApe comes in. Wink wink nudge nudge.)
The Four Tenets of UX Design Strategy

To get the best results, there should be a robust research and planning phase for every new product, service, or feature released by the company. This gives the UX designer critical insight into solutions that work for the user and the business.

Why is UX Design Strategy Important?

Obviously, it’s best to have a plan in place before starting a project. But why is a UX strategy so important for businesses creating digital products? Besides the potential to create game-changing services and features, a solid UX design strategy gets everyone in the organization on the same page and helps prepare for potential curveballs along the way.

Benefits for the Business

Creating a product that’s validated by the user is the best way to stay ahead of the competition. About 74% of businesses agree that UX is critical for driving sales, but only 55% of companies conduct usability tests with their users. 

Testing with the intended user shows that your company cares about creating solutions that people feel good about using. An easy and engaging experience also inspires loyalty in the consumer. If they know they can accomplish a task in 10 seconds with your product, then they’ll keep coming back for more.

User Personas for UX Design Strategy

Ex: When a business knows exactly who its users are and what they need, it’s easier to empathize with them and build successful products that people feel good about using.

Aside from making the user feel good, a thoroughly planned UX strategy can also come in handy to impress investors. It goes deeper than outlining business goals and instead illustrates how you’re going to satisfy users with measurable goals.

Benefits for the Internal Team

Think of the UX design strategy as a plan of attack for an entire project. Each team member will have their own tasks to achieve each measurable goal, but the overall strategy is designed to keep the team organized and on track.

When the entire team understands users’ needs, more time can be spent on the actual design of the product. Designers will be able to align project goals with technological capabilities, leaving them more time to create a streamlined experience and iterate it to perfection.

Benefits for the User

The popularity of UX only means one thing for the users…better products all around! There are plenty of statistics to show businesses the value of a good user experience. At the end of the day, a better product for you=more money for them.

With the abundance of digital products to choose from, you’d think businesses would rush to get their idea to market. Many do just that, but it only leads to short-term gratification until a competitor inevitably releases a newer, better product.

UX design strategy forces companies to think user-first instead of profit-first if they want long-term success. If a business wants to stay ahead of its competitors and keep consumers coming back for more, they need to invest the time and funds into quality products.

UX Design Strategy User Interviews

The Dangers of No UX Strategy

It’s safe to say that without a UX strategy, an entire project will crash and burn, right? Well, not RIGHT away, but the difference will be noticeable. 

Without a strong understanding of your users and competitive market, digital product design becomes one big guessing game. There’s no data to show that the solutions will actually work for the end-user, making it harder to reach an MVP or driving the user away entirely.

Many businesses think that gathering data post-launch is the way to go. However, statistics show that 79% of users will immediately leave a product if they don’t like what they see. 30% of users will even abandon a brand they like over one bad user experience.

It’s always possible to win back customers down the line, but a lack of UX strategy can be a major blow to a company’s productivity. After all, what’s a house without a solid foundation? And what good is an awesome idea executed poorly?

Creating and Executing a UX Strategy

So, you want to build an awesome product that your users will go bananas over, but don’t know where to start? Unfortunately, there’s no one foolproof UX strategy that will work for every product. Different products have different users, meaning different goals and KPIs.

Fortunately, your friendly neighborhood apes at CreateApe put together this UX evaluation checklist to help shape your UX design strategy!

  • Define Business Strategy

What is your company? What is your product? How does it help users achieve their goals? What is your brand’s positioning in your market? What is the overall goal of this project? How are you measuring the success of the product? 

These questions will help you determine the feasibility of your product. Iron out everything from a business standpoint and fill in any logical gaps before turning your attention to the users.

  • Identify/Interview Stakeholders

Every project has stakeholders, either internal or external, that will be affected by the success or failure of the product. They could either be a creative director from your organization or a salesperson that’s dependent on your product for their job. 

Identify who these people are and conduct user interviews to find out exactly what they need out of the finished product. Getting their open and honest feedback will help you figure out how to meet their needs and uncover pain points in current products (or find an advantage over competitors).

  • Competitive Research/Analysis

Who are your biggest competitors? What features do they offer? Where are they succeeding or failing? How could you improve upon their ideas? What do you like/dislike about them? What draws their users to them?

Take plenty of time to examine your competitive market and figure out where you can carve out a space for your product. What are they doing that your company can do better?

  • Ideation

This is just a fancy word for brainstorming sessions. Once you’ve gathered all that research, get together with your creative team and start bouncing ideas off one another.

Remember that there’s no such thing as a bad idea during the ideation phase. Encourage your team to put all their ideas out in the open and think logically about how they’ll shape the final product.

  • Design Goals

When your team is done conceptualizing this awesome, game-changing product, it’s time to come up with some measurable design goals.

How long will each phase of the product design take? How are you going to test with users? What low-hanging fruit can be designed or fixed quickly? What KPIs will you use to evaluate the success of the product? Set these goals before designing to keep your team on the right track.

  • User Testing/Iteration

Now for the most important part of the UX process. Once you have the initial design complete, it’s time to validate your solutions with the intended user. Rinse and repeat until your users are happy across the board.

Be as hands-off as possible when testing and don’t be afraid of negative feedback. Negative feedback saves you from a problem that could drive away users post-launch.

  • MVP

When you have a finished product that your users are happy with, then you’ve reached your MVP (minimum viable product). It’s ready to hit the market!

This doesn’t mean that you’re completely finished with the product, though. You can always go back and make design tweaks or incorporate the feedback you get from users post-launch. Also, think about features or even a new product you can incorporate later down the line.

UX Design Strategy Evaluation Checklist

Read More UX Strategy Tips Here

Who Can Help With UX Design Strategy?

If putting together a UX design strategy seems intimidating, don’t fret! Your market is a jungle, and you don’t have to go it alone. There are plenty of UX-perts that can help you navigate unfamiliar terrain and plot out a perfect strategy.

Consider Hiring a…

  • UX Designer - UX designers are usually well-versed in UX strategy. They’ll know how to identify your target audience, conduct market research, put together a UX evaluation, and carry out the design according to their findings.
  • UX Strategist - There are plenty of specialists that fall under the UX design umbrella. A UX strategist handles the research and evaluation stage from end to end, then hands off their findings to the UX designer. They’re also super knowledgeable about the business side of things (business strategy, negotiation, communication, etc.)
  • UX Design Agency - If you have an idea but don’t know where to begin, consider enlisting the help of a full-service UX/UI agency! They’ll likely have an expert in every field of UX (design, development, research, and strategy) to give you a complete product. Start a project with us!

Introducing The Jungle Guide

Still not sure if you want to commit to a large-scale digital product design? No worries! CreateApe’s got you covered.

Our Jungle Guide is the UX evaluation to end all other UX evaluations. It’s easier than dropping your kid off at school! Leave your idea or product with us and we’ll take care of market research, user interviews, design strategy, and full project estimates. 

The Jungle Guide gives you crucial insight into your users and the features that will make your product a success. Once we finish the evaluation, you can either choose to have us do the design or take it in-house and give your creative team a strong jumping-off point.

But don’t just take our word for it…hear directly from our clients!

UX Design Strategy Review of CreateApe by andros

Read andros' full Clutch review!  

Ready to Strategize?

Now that you know what a UX strategy is, are you thinking about how you can use one to create or improve your products?

UX design strategy is incredibly valuable to both your business and your users. It takes a lot of the guessing out of product design and allows you to get reassurance directly from your users before hitting the market. Remember that when it comes to digital products, happy users=happy business.

Need some help getting your project off the ground? Check out our web design and development services to see how CreateApe can help you.

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