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What it takes to be a sports photographer

Have you ever thought about being a photographer for a certain sport? Of course, it needs someone who is very good at the timing aspect. Attending sports events could be a fun thing to do but when you are the photographer you might only experience the fun by capturing the best moments. So below check out the tactics of doing sports photography and being good at it.

Venturing into sports photography is a good idea

If you want to venture into the world of sports photography make sure that you find fun in capturing the best moments. It is well known that sports journalism is challenging but exciting and also rewarding so it is definitely a good idea walking down that road. If you happen to choose photography as a career then you must commit yourself to practice, buying the right equipment and a dash of luck. The best moments cannot be taken always but the luck is needed for those special moments. It is not only at online gambling games casino where you need luck.

Sports photography needs practice

Ahead of a sportsbetting  event, one needs to have watched some videos of the sport beforehand this will definitely will help chase away the nervousness. This is will also help in directing you on how you are going to shoot some angles and show a player’s skill. It does not even need you to be working for a media company or someone, you can even do it as a freelance and earn extra by selling your pictures to a publishing company. With the era of social media, you can even make a photo journal of your work that will serve as an advertising tool.

If your intention is to create a story then moments of emotions and interactions are important. Sometimes it only takes a good picture followed by a good and relevant caption then the story becomes complete. It is captured the expression before, during and after a match and differentiates your style from the rest of the photographers present.

Featured image by Jonathan Chng

Beautiful Free Modern Fonts

The “form follows function” design principle applies to modern fonts as well. Modern fonts are based on geometric lines and forms that are clean, clear, and easy to read. When a creative twist or a touch of detail is added, these fonts can easily take on a cool, contemporary style, as you will observe in some of the free fonts pictured below.

Because of the sheer elegance embodied in many of them, modern font styles have become especially popular among web designers. You’ll see them used in logos, headers, and images where they often mimic letters and characters drawn with brushes, pencil, pen, and ink or markers. Modern fonts tend to share a common characteristic – they are artistic.

Modern fonts are not all that hard to locate. The problem is, given the vast amount of online font collections that are readily available, finding the right one for your brand can require an exhaustive search. You will, however, find it quite helpful if you can visualize or sketch out the look you want before initiating your search.

It’s important to bear in mind that fonts that are a bit more edgy and artsy are best reserved for use in logos and headers. Fonts that are a bit more subdued in appearance are more suitable for use in body text. There is not as great a need for the words to stand out, plus the fact that more reserved fonts tend to be more readable.

Here is a selection of free fonts that can help you visualize your brand, and make it more recognizable to others:

Headthinker1headthinkerA sans-serif font designed by Ian Currie.

Mentone SemiBold2mentone_semiboldDesigned by Paragraph, a sans-serif font with a subtle angular feature.

Material Sans Medium3material-sans-mediumSubtle rounding effects characterize this design by Davide Mottes.

Correspondent4correspondentA highly readable serif style by Ten by Twenty. Excellent for text body.

Delicious-Roman6delicious-romanJos Buivenga’s san serif creation. A choice for branding.

Days
5daysVery modern, very readable, highly rated.

MonaKo
7monakoBy Manfred Klein, a modern font with a hint of retro.

FolksDecoon8folksdecoonA light font creation, also by Manfred Klein.

Sansation
9sansationA straightforward design with a few hip nuances.

ParmaPetit-Normal10parmapetitAnother Manfred Klein contribution – best for logos, branding, or headers.

Tenby Five
11tenby_fiveA solid, futuristic look – designed by Futuristic.

Surface Medium12surfacemedium

Ambrosia
13ambrosia

Anivers
14anivers

Gentium
15gentium

Why Modern Style?

Modern style font types represent the end of the evolutionary period of pen-inspired characters. This style came into being as an attempt to create a contemporary written/printed communication format. As the use transitional fonts became more widespread and gained in acceptance, there came about an awareness for a unique type design that has since become prominent throughout Europe, and especially so in Italy and France.

The Baskerville type in particular, was largely responsible for enabling printers and designers to avoid Old Style fonts and follow the practice of continually refining and perfecting font types.

The Influence of Bodoni

The modern style is not, as the name may imply, something brand new. It reached a pinnacle as the works of Bodoni became increasingly popular. Bodoni is still held in high esteem by today’s type designers in their attempts to create well-crafted renditions or make digital copies of his works. While many of these renditions are in one way or another imperfect, they nevertheless make a statement about Bodini’s influence in the world of typography.

During his illustrious career, Bodoni designed and created thousands of punches and hundreds of unique type styles. His Manual Tipografico, published in 1818, presents more than 100 Roman type styles, together with their Italic versions. Other versions include ornaments for types and types for Tibetan, Greek, Russian, and Arabic letters and characters.

Bodoni’s success as a type designer led to his being commissioned to create a royalty press by the Duke of Parma. Its purpose was to create refined published texts for the upper class, rather than for mass production. His refined eye and masterful methods, made Bodoni a perfect choice for the job. His work was deemed unsurpassed, and even legendary, by his contemporaries throughout his lifetime and beyond. Even today, it is considered by many to be unmatched.

Bodoni’s success may be due to the simple fact that his goal was to create art in typography, to pursue art for art’s sale alone, and to create beauty for the sake of beauty. He idolized the work of Baskerville, and he wanted to create a more logical form to that work. In doing so, Bodoni did not limit himself to the pen, nor to his imagination. He employed precise mathematical calculations to arrive at the finest strokes, which he would transfer to copperplate as a perfect form for printing.

It was Didot who carried the most influence with type makers and designers thirty years ago, but it was the precise work of Bodoni that still holds sway across Europe. Bodoni nevertheless respected Didot’s contributions. He even worked with some of his fonts to create the Roman Style which, compared to its predecessors, was considered to be rather radical. Bodoni’s work may have been placed on a higher pedestal by his contemporaries, but Didot’s creations are still looked upon as truly refined and creative masterpieces.

How to Stay Creative When You Write for a Living

Are you worried about losing your creative touch when you write? This problem affects a lot of writers and it can prevent you from working to your full potential and delivering high-quality content. However, there are ways to prevent this from happening. Below are some of the most effective ways you can stay creative when you write for a living.

Get Ideas from Other People

Many writers work alone and this is not always a good thing. Other people can help you in various ways. For instance, they may research a topic in a more effective way or know how to express themselves better using the written word.

If possible, make connections with fellow writers and share your ideas and approaches to writing. There are plenty of websites and social media sites where you can do this. You could take this one step further and make a hub where you can discuss ways to improve your writing skills with your blog readers. Even writing blogs on this hub has the potential to make you more creative and more effective as a writer. Check out Make A Website Hub to get started.

Research Resources

Some writers limit themselves by not exploring all of the research resources available to them. The internet, in particular, makes it much easier to find all the facts and figures you need to write high quality, interesting content. Blogs, forums, video sharing websites and other websites that share valuable content can be used in the research process. The internet is not the only place you can research a particular topic. A visit to your library or interviewing experts in a particular area will also help to enhance your writing.

Recharge Your Batteries

Sometimes writers are overworked and need to unwind. The more you try to pressurize yourself into becoming a better writer, the less creative you will become. To combat this problem, it’s often a good idea to take a break from your writing and do something else. When you return to your writing you will be able to face it with more energy and vitality.

Look at What Other Writers Are Publishing

Other writers can often give you the inspiration you need to improve your writing. This is why you should always look at how the leading writers approach their writing and express themselves. Reading content produced by a number of different leading writers will give you a greater insight into how the professionals do it and this can rub off on you.

Sign Up for a Writing Course

If all else fails and you feel your writing is not as good as it could be, it may be time to take a writing course and find out where you are going wrong. Make sure the course is provided by someone who knows what they are doing and is recommended by other leading writers.

A lack of creativity is a writer’s worst nightmare. However, there are many ways you can tackle this problem. The tips mentioned above will ensure that you never run out of ideas and that your writing will always grab the attention of your readers for all the right reasons.

Featured Image: Royalty Free Photos

The Retail Tech Revolution on Both Sides of the Counter

We have seen a retail revolution as consumers over the last decade. You don’t need to leave your house to try on a new outfit. Simply strap on a VR headset and enter a virtual boutique. Browse the virtual shelves until you find the perfect dress. Head to the virtual checkout and order it for next day delivery. There’s a problem. It’s out of stock – you’re going to have to visit the store. That’s one problem which a virtual shop can’t yet solve.

Still, none of it would be possible without the leaps in technology on the other side of the counter which are so easy to take for granted.

Keeping up with the need for speed

As VR experts REWIND explains, marketing can now be as exciting and immersive as gaming thanks to huge advancements in virtual reality production. Shoppers can make use of virtual reality car showrooms, virtual reality house viewings, one-click buying and click-and-collect ordering as part of a normal shopping trip.

But flashy tech innovations like VR and even the imminent arrival of drone delivery all have one overriding theme: convenience. With same-day delivery, rapidly-replenished stock, and quick-fire responses to customer queries, speed is a central part of the new shopping experience.

But how did shops manage to meet the buying public’s insatiable demand for a curtailed customer experience? Advances in consumer-facing technology have certainly helped: mobile points of service (POS), have sped up the payment process in some stores by forgoing the traditional checkout, and giving shop assistants their own mini pay terminal.

JC Penney made a commitment to bringing mobile POS to every one of their locations in 2012, and many other retailers have followed suit. But the biggest developments that have increased shopping speeds have happened behind the scenes.

Radar keeps high street shelves stocked

Though news stories about online shopping eclipsing its brick-and-mortar cousin are ubiquitous, the overall forecast for retailers in the UK is still good. This means that, though it may be difficult for real-world stores to compete with e-commerce, they could still be hugely rewarded.

With the increased demand for speed and convenience, ‘out of stock’ signs could be seeing a lot of use. Yet they aren’t. Most stores are handling the push for faster sales with ease, thanks to a tagging technology called RFID.

RFID tags are placed on products and emit radar signals to indicate their location. This allows store managers to keep on top of the quantity of items which are in stock. Though online stores might still have an edge, this technology definitely keeps the high street in the competition.

Robots work in warehouses

We’ve taken the increase in online shopping for granted, but it relies on some of the most elaborate behind the scenes retail technology of all. As online retailers chipped away at the high street’s shopping share, they needed to find a way to physically deliver all of their orders. Amazon found the solution in automated warehouses and, as experts OCS Retail Solutions explain, the evolution of warehouse tech transformed shopping completely.

A small startup called Kiva pioneered a technology that replaced human warehouse workers with automated machines. These robot pickers maneuver around warehouses, bringing stock to delivery vans much quicker than any human could. Kiva’s inventions were so impressive that the company was bought out and is now known as Amazon Robotics.

Complex databases make same-day delivery possible

Even with the increased speed of the warehouse-to-truck process, receiving an order, compiling it, and getting it to a customer’s house within 24 hours is still a huge feat. That’s where SAP comes in. In simple terms, SAP is a database, updated and read in real time by several departments within one company.

It is particularly important in retail, as is allows warehouses, supplies, sales floors and websites to communicate and collaborate without the need for phone calls or emails. In the lightspeed world of modern retail, this is crucial. As experts Eursap explain, SAP can be configured for same-day delivery, granting customers their number one wish.

Though VR shopping and mobile POS may be the most obvious and impressive retail tech developments from a customer’s perspective, the technological innovation going on behind the counter is what really gives us the shopping experience we crave.

Three Reasons to Invest in HR software

From sales and marketing to the fleet of truck drivers you employ, the most difficult area of any business seems to be HR. In a nutshell, the Human Resources department is the most widely known area that is open to human error. Why? Mainly because its administration tasks can become time-consuming and open to risk.

However, companies are starting to discover the benefits that can come from investing in one of the many HR software programmes available on the market, such as the dynamic offering from Cascade. But why exactly have they become so popular? Here are just three reasons why it will be the best investment you make in 2016.

1. It makes life easier for your employees

HR covers everything from the accurate and timely payment of your staff to the development of quality control procedures and disciplines, right through to training. Plus, each company is different; one may focus on extensive training, while another may have far more employees and find that absence management is their weak point.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see where the problems lie, and of course, all of this makes things incredibly frustrating for your staff. You might find that you have regular incorrect payslips coming back to you, or holidays are not being logged because of an outdated system and so on. HR software takes care of all of these issues for you by streamlining these areas, meaning that your staff is far happier and able to concentrate on their roles.

2. It improves your finances

If you start off on the right foot with your HR software and team, you’ll be able to see the effects almost instantly in terms of your bottom line. On the one hand, it’s saving you all of the time and resources that were wasted sorting through old payslips and paperwork. In those instances, you were losing money while your staff was diverted to correcting old errors, but with that out of the way, they’re being used to manage and grow your business.

On the other hand, investing in a good HR programme earlier and employing a strong team to take care of it, means that you’ll be saving on all the outsourcing fees to other HR companies. Many businesses think that by delegating this area out, it’s a shortcut to being more efficient much faster, but in the long-term, it’s far costlier.

3. It has a domino effect

You forget that streamlining all of these areas has a knock-on effect on many other areas of your company. By alleviating all that stress, your staff is happier, they trust you more, and they operate far more efficiently. They’re also trained better because they can manage that aspect of their careers online through the system, and in turn, they provide better customer service.

I hope you found this post useful – have you recently invested in HR software? If so I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below about your experience.

How to Stay Productive When You’re Traveling in Another Country

In the day of remote working and freelancing, lots of us are learning to work on the road. Some of us even work in different time zones, using a versatile career as a method of making international travel plans possible. Travel is pretty great. It’s a way of expanding the mind, having new experiences you’d never have back home, and making your dreams come true.

But the harsh reality for many of us is that to make international travel affordable, we’ve got to work on the road. You may be used to this, especially if you are a freelance or independent worker of any kind. For these folks, it doesn’t matter when or where you do your work, so long as it is good and it arrives on time. The income from a job like this may be the perfect way to create affordable travel opportunities, almost anywhere in the world you could hope to go. Here are some methods to staying productive so that this dream can become a reality.

  1. Use Deadlines to Your Advantage. Most of us (especially if you have achieved a certain amount of success in your freelance work) are somewhat deadline driven, at the very least. This can be helpful when deadlines are hard and soon, forcing us to new feats of productivity. Overseas, these deadlines can take on a different kind of flavor. If you’re traveling, you no doubt want to see the sights and do the things, during the best parts of the day and night. You can’t be spending 8 hours during daylight to get your work done. The combined pressure of the stuff you want to enjoy and the deadlines you owe your clients can be used to motivate you to do your most efficient work. Work fast, work well, and you’ll be able to have a job and travel extravagantly, all at the same time.
  2. Be an Amazing Communicator. Communication is necessary for people who work with other people. But it’s especially important for people like you, who work in a way or place that is unconventional. Some people who travel neglect this part. Their clients can’t get in touch with them, and…eventually, they stop being their clients. NobelCom makes it easy to communicate with the people back home, no matter where in the world you find yourself. NobelCom calling cards are essential for your international travel preparations. Also, find a good source of WIFI at your destination spot, before your plane takes off.
  3. Work From a Place in Town. If you are staying in a rented house, hotel, or another temporary residence, don’t work from there. Find a place in the nearby area where you can go to work. You’ll get more work done, you’ll develop a habit of productivity associated with it, and you won’t get depressed sitting in your hotel room for hours.

There are lots of ways to stay productive on the job, but they have to be adjusted when it comes time to work overseas. There are ways to be productive. It takes some practice but you can do it.

Time Management: How to Get the Most Out of Your Day

We live in an era where it’s fashionable to overwork: employees are praised for staying late at the office, and not getting enough ‘downtime’ in aid of trawling through an ever-growing workload is met with high-fives and rewards.

But, there’s no need to scurry from task to task or stretch yourself beyond a healthy routine. There are enough hours in the day to achieve everything you want to achieve – after all, “…you have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein”, as H Jackson Brown Junior says!

Little by little, the idea of working smarter, not harder, is beginning to creep into our consciousness. Here’s how you can manage your time to get the most out of your day…

First, list your tasks and complete the most important ones first

You won’t achieve anything unless you know exactly what’s on the agenda, so at the start of every day, take stock of what you want to accomplish. Each task should take no longer than an hour or so.

Then, pick the three that are most crucial to complete (you can get software plugins like Upraise if you need help objective-setting like this). Do these tasks first and know that your day has been a success if you’ve been able to meet the ‘essentials’!

Then, pick a handful of the rest to complete with the remaining time you have as an added bonus.

Next, use equipment that makes you more efficient

If your processes are slowing you down, you’re wasting time. So, make sure you’re using the right technology. Is your computer running quickly enough? Is your internet connection reliable? Is your software up to handling the tasks you need to perform? Upgrade whatever is letting you down so that you’re making the most of every minute of your day.

Sleep more

Yes, really! Busy people will tell you that you can get more done by cutting back on sleep – working later, or rising earlier to cram things in before the kids are up or the working day officially begins. But, the fact is, not getting enough sleep is bad for you.

Sleep deprivation, even by just a few hours over a period of days, is going to make it harder to concentrate, your responses are going to be slower and you’ll probably take longer to perform even simple tasks. So, invest the hours overnight: your work will be of much higher quantity and quality the next day.

Don’t procrastinate

This is a very obvious tip, but you’ll get the most out of your day by setting aside time for play and time for leisure. While you’re working, remove every possibility of distraction: close those extra internet tabs, put your phone out of sight and immerse yourself in the task in front of you. Reward yourself with 15-minute breaks between tasks – it will help you to feel like you’re still getting some ‘me’ time without it ruining your productivity.

In fact, regular breaks are a good idea full stop: you’ll refresh yourself between periods of high-intensity work so that you’re ready to tackle the next thing on your do list with maximum energy.

Set yourself a time limit

Finally, give yourself a time frame to complete a piece of work in. Rather than insisting that you keep persevering until something is complete, afford yourself a time window so that you’re forced to focus and be more efficient with your time. You can come back to it the next day if you don’t manage to complete it within your allocated window.

Changing Service Providers – What You Need to Know

Switching your websites over to a new hosting provider doesn’t have to be a painful process. It will take a bit of work, and you should take it seriously, but there is no reason to put it off forever. Sometimes you just have to pull the plug and move on, for one reason or another, and this guide will help you do that.

Avoiding Downtime

One of the biggest concerns that most people have about changing their web hosting provider is being able to avoid downtime. The goal is to make this transition period as smooth as possible, with little or no disruption to your websites and your users.

It can be difficult to avoid downtime altogether during a move, but if you follow the steps below then you stand a better chance at minimizing it. You may also want to inform your viewers and regular clients before the move, just so they know ahead of time to expect a small amount of disruption.

Keep your current hosting account active, and sign up for an account at your new host.

Backup your website’s files and databases. Make copies of the backup on your hard disk, a USB drive, and upload one to an online storage service or mail it to yourself on a webmail account.

Upload all of your backed up files and databases, with the same file paths as before, to your new hosting account.
If you were using an email address at your old host, such as admin@yourdomain.com, then you will need to recreate this at your new host.

Find out what the appropriate nameservers are for your new host – it should be something like ns1.company.com and ns2.company.com (where ‘company’ will be different from host to host).
Login to your domain registrar. This will be whichever service you originally purchased your domain name from, such as GoDaddy for example.

Update the DNS records for all domain names you are switching to the new host, with the nameservers for your new host that you found in the previous steps.

It will take up to 48 hours for the DNS changes to come in to full effect, so leave your old hosting account open and active for at least two to three days to be sure. After this period of time, and after checking to be sure the transition worked properly, you may now cancel your old hosting account.

SEO Issues

The act of switching web hosting providers should have no negative effect at all on your search engine optimization strategies. As long as you take care and follow the steps above to avoid downtime, the search engine robots should have no problem finding your new home.

However, if you are changing to a new domain name at the same time as changing host – or you are making changes to file paths and linking structure – then you have some more work to do. Google wants you to build and maintain your website with visitors in mind, not robots, so if you keep everything running smoothly for your visitors after the move then you will be fine.

So, if you are changing domain name, upgrading from HTTP to HTTPS, or making changes to file names and/or links then you should use a 301 redirect to facilitate this. 301 is a code that basically tells robots and browsers “this link has moved permanently to a new location, and this is where to find it”. Search engine robots will now follow your website to its new home, and your users will be redirected there also.

Google recommends that you keep control of your old domain name for at least six months after switching and employing a 301 redirect. This will allow their robots more than enough time to figure out where your new website is. You can then either sell the old domain name, make a completely new website on it, or whatever else you like.

Tips for WordPress Users

The following list of things to do is specific to the WordPress content management system.

Log in to cPanel on your current host, and export your WordPress database in SQL format to be saved on your hard drive. If your host does not use cPanel, you may need to ask your host what to do, or do it straight from the OS on an unmanaged server.

Create a new (empty) database on your new host, with all privileges, and make note of the username and password.
Open the wp-config.php file of WordPress in a text editor. Change the database name, and the username and password, if they are different on the new host. Upload this file along with the rest of the WordPress installation to your new host.

Import your database to your new host.

Upload all of the files from your old host through FTP in the same paths as they were previously.

Now that you have a bit more of an idea on the process involved in changing your website hosting, it’s time to get your plan in action. Don’t rush in to it though – make careful and deliberate steps, and make sure you have a little free time set aside before you start making any major moves.

Personalizing the Customer Experience: Getting in Touch through Context-Based Information

A funny thing happened on the way to 2016. After decades of asking us to speak to it in its own language, our computers began making great strides in their ability to converse with us in our own language. Advances in natural language processing are making both text and voice interactions more and more like a conversation with a friend.

And that transition is revolutionizing not only the way each of us uses our various devices but – importantly for digitally active businesses – customer experience management as well. Almost without noticing it themselves, consumers have come to expect – or rather demand – consistent, streamlined, and personalized interactions at every touch point, across devices and channels.

One result of that has been that carefully crafted and engineered context-based information has become an increasingly critical aspect of the customer experience in digital commerce. No longer can various channels – be it websites, social media, or mobile apps, for example – exist independently of one another, effectively fragmenting both content, messaging, and communication, and undermining the continuity of the customer experience. Such disruptions and frustrations are nobody’s recipe for business success.

Not every customer interaction is a sale, but every one of them is a customer experience

It was Will Oremus, senior technology writer at Slate, who traced the evolution of natural language processing (NLP) from the earliest days of computing through keyword searches to the emerging conversational technologies that play an increasingly central role in personalizing the customer experience.

Marketers have long noted that, sale or not, every time a customer brushes up against a business touchpoint, that customer has had some kind an experience – good, bad, or indifferent. NLP has become a powerful tool for tipping the scales of customer satisfaction heavily in the “good” column because it takes the burden of effective communication off of the customer. Instead of having to adapt to, say, the stilted language of keyword searching, the customer only has to seek and receive information in his or her “natural language.”

It’s not perfect yet, perhaps, but NLP has already achieved remarkable results and has become an essential element of personalized customer experience management in the digital marketplace. As might be expected, Google has been the industry leader in advancing natural language search functionality, but AI assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Now have become a part of daily life, and chatbots are routinely used for a wide range of e-commerce interactions.

In fact, it would be difficult to imagine a future for e-commerce in which NLP does not play a central role in shaping the customer experience. At nanorep, an industry leader managing the digital experience, natural language search is seen as the key to delivering satisfying and personalized customer experiences by making it easier to understand the customer’s intent when asking a question. Context is critical because language differs from person to person, of course. Not everyone will phrase a query in the same way, but we do have one thing in common: we all want to be understood.

Given the variations in the way people use human language, nanorep emphasizes the need for a system to have the capacity to sense, think, learn, and act upon not only the specific words used. In order to properly interpret the customer’s intentions and meaning, nanorep software uses artificial intelligence to discern what the words mean within the context of a particular query or interaction.

Customers approach businesses through multiple messaging interfaces such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Kik, and others, and nanorep’s NLP solution integrates with these through its Service Bot solution that further breaks down potential language barriers to provide a consistent self-service experience.

The right answer at the right time

One measure of how adept NLP has become at discerning context and understanding a query can be found in enhancements to the search engine Bing, which is capable of “continuing the conversation.” That is, you can ask follow-up questions to your original query and they won’t be treated as separate interactions. For its part, Google touts improvements in search technology that make it possible for search engines to understand complex, inter-related multi-faceted inquiries. As one example, Google points to the ability to answer a simple question such as “Who was the U.S. President when the Angels won the World Series?”

Similarly, nanorep’s NLP is extremely sensitive to context that the same question, phrased in exactly the same terms, will elicit different answers depending on the product the questioner is viewing.

Consider what that means for the customer in terms of simplicity, efficiency, and overall experience.