You know those pivotal, eye opening moments that you experience and suddenly question your tolerance to the existing norms that all of a sudden seem inefficient and outdated. As humans, we can easily be stuck to one mundane and very complicated way of doing things because no one has taken their time to think of a new way of solving a problem. But every so often, someone comes along and gives you a new lease of life, well I’m probably exaggerating but you get it. I had one such moment when I was introduced to a new way of getting business cards
Business cards, those pesky little documents that make you cringe when someone asks for yours and you don’t have one. I am also pretty certain that you have a number of them tacked away in your wallet or purse, or if you are all fancy, a dedicated business card holder. Unless you took someone’s card specifically with the intention of contacting them, you will probably not look at a card twice and just put it in your pocket. However, there are moments we give a card second glance. If a card is beautifully designed, captivating, and generally out of the ordinary compared to the ones you have already seen, you’ll give it more attention. In fact, you will get this feeling that this person is very serious about their business, especially because they took so much time to get a well thought out and executed business card, something that is seen more like an accessory other than an important business document.
Getting a business card for yourself isn’t a new or even innovative thing. It is an everyday occurrence. You go to a printer and ask if they do business cards. They give you a book with sample cards they have done, you chose one and that’s the end of the creative process. You leave the destiny of your card to them and sure enough, some other person will come and pick the same design as you do. Imagine the awkward meet up!
Anyway, let us imagine you are tech savvy and are sure that you can get better quality cards online, especially from international sites. You log on, browse through their designs, pick one filled with dummy data and take your precious time to replace that with your data. Once you are done, you save that and you spot another design that would be relevant too. So you go through the process again and again until you settle on one. So much of your time, my friend, has gone by and maybe you keep second guessing your decision. Or, you know if you can afford it, you hire a guy to handle all your design needs. Well that has been the process and we have grown to accept it because it’s just a business card, however The Card Guys are here to show us a better way.
The Card Guys; this is a team of 3 guys headed by Chris Mwangi who is the brains and entrepreneur behind it. The team is comprised of 2 developers and a designer (Chris) who have claimed to be the simplest and quickest way to get business cards online, not only just in Kenya but globally. That’s a big conclusion to make right, but as far as I am concerned it is pretty accurate and by the time you finish reading this, I hope that you see it too.
So how do you start?
Once on their site, you will be greeted by the an array of different business cards designs, which is expected of course and similar to other sites, however, there is something there that you do not normally see, and you probably won’t elsewhere. This is a tool called Live Edit. Now this I believe is the most innovative part of this whole process and solution. This is the product. While filling out your details on Live Edit, you are simultaneously and instantaneously editing every single card in their repository. I mean all 500 of them and you can see it happen. This alone cuts down the online process by half by allowing one to already compare and contrast between cards right there and then, instead of creating a new one each time.
It is also important to note that each card is unique. They are not duplicating font style, font weight, and color or positioning. They have designed cards in the way the card was meant to be in order to look good. They have made the solution flexible from the start so that information is dynamically replaceable without having to go and edit one individual card. They call this technology Design free Design and I love it.
However, you can easily miss this Live Edit section and go straight to picking a card and filing your details yourself, which beats the whole point of this site. That is because it looks like a pop–up and our minds are trained to close all pop-ups. Secondly, you might not expect a live edit feature because of what we are traditionally used to. In most similar sites, you browse a design and then add your details, if you don’t know any other way, the Live Edit feature will be lost on you. Therefore, they need to work on that user experience aspect, without also seeming pushy.
Once your data is captured and replaced on every card in their system, you can now browse through and have a feel of how your data will look on different cards. Once you like one, you can add to your favorites and you can see this on the ‘My Cards’ section. Now one important thing to note is that they try and do locally relevant business cards, in such a way that you can get a card customized to the relevant Kenyan businesses. For example, MPESA services are a big thing here, so if you have an MPESA service business, you cannot get a relevant card from foreign sites, but you can do so on this site. They intend on having 1500 different designs in the next 6 months.
After choosing a card you like, there is an edit tool that allows you to customize the card according to your needs. You can add images, logos or extra fields that are not necessarily available on business cards. In short everything is editable, even the font of the text of cards. They have provided you with way more font options as compared to any other existing card site out there, giving you more design freedom.
If you are designing a card for a lot of people in your company, you can change the mode to corporate mode, allowing you to similar different cards for different users.
At this point you are done customizing your card, the next step will prompt you to either Log In or Sign Up. If you are a first time user, they have made the Sign Up process as easy and fast as possible. Since you already inputted your information on the Live Edit section, it is pre-populated appropriately on the Sign Up form, requiring you to just add a password and you are done! If you do not want to change any information that it picked up from before, then this is a very fast and efficient Sign Up method, because nothing bores me more than filling in my details multiple times.
They added that they did not want to ask you to Sign Up in the beginning before you know what the site is which I think is a brilliant move. When most of us encounter a Sign Up page, especially on a site you are not too sure about, you are more likely to just close it. This I think provides some pretty good user experience.
When you proceed to make your order, you can either chose to have it delivered to you or to be able to download it. If you choose to download your card, for example in an instance where you are not in Kenya, you will have it as a print-ready PDF. All you need to do is send it to your printer and they will produce high resolution vector, professional business cards. You won’t have to change anything on your end.
They will deliver the cards all across Kenya in the shortest time possible. On their site, they even say that you can enjoy same day delivery within Nairobi for orders placed before noon, which is pretty quick. It is important to note that they do not do any of the printing themselves. When an order has been placed they send it to one of the printers that they have partnerships with. Once they allocate a print job to a printer, a clock starts ticking and they also immediately inform a courier service to pick up as the printer has 12 hours to finish. Once the courier picks up, they know about it in their system and a clock starts ticking on when they should complete their delivery. The Card Guys want this process to be quick and predictable in such a way that when they say your cards will be delivered to you in Mandera in 48 hours, that is what will happen. Delivery is free in Nairobi but a fee of Kshs 500 is charged for deliveries elsewhere in the country.
Now this is the part of shopping online that really bores me. The whole process up to this minute may be quick, easy and efficient but when it comes to payment, all hell breaks loose. With so many payment options out there, you can end up playing Russian roulette until you find one that is less of a headache. The Card Guys promise you a fantastically simple and quick process through out, even when it comes to payment. Once you specify the quantity of cards you would like, you can either choose payment options like PesaPal, Visa and all those other ones, but it is definitely faster if you pay directly with MPESA.
They went independently to Safaricom to integrate MPESA payments into their app in a way that I am yet to see in other site in regards to payment (if there are others please enlighten me!). They have already integrated Mpesa G2 API which makes the Lipa na Mpesa fresh and faster than you’ve experienced before. When you chose the MPESA option, you are presented with a page that has your details (again remember the ones you inputted earlier) and payment details.
Unless you want to change your mobile number, there is literally nothing for you to do or add on this page. Just click the ‘Process Payment’ button and ensure your phone is on and unlocked. In no time at all, you will receive a push SMS showing that you are doing an online transaction, telling you how much to pay and who the merchant is. All you have to do is input your Bonga PIN, because using the MPESA PIN might be too sensitive.
If you do not know or have your Bonga PIN, you can cancel the SMS and dial *126*5# to set one. Once you are done with that you can then resend the SMS and proceed with the payment. This is a very important aspect to the whole User Experience of this service. The Card Guys’ philosophy is to make it as simple and quick as possible, and this is true on all aspects of the process.
According to them, they went through a lot of trouble getting this payment process to work, all for the satisfaction of the user. There is no way for you to make a mistake on the amount of cash to pay and to whom you are paying to. You do not need to enter any confirmation whatsoever as their services communicate directly to MPESA so no input from you is needed. I mean guys if this isn’t an efficient and very necessary process, then I don’t know what is.
There you have it. That is what The Card Guys have to offer you. These are the kind of people who show you a new kind of thinking and doing things. They have showed us that what we thought was working before is not something that we should just sit down and accept. To build such a thing required them to build everything dynamically from the start, whose logic, I can already guess isn’t a piece of cake.
They haven’t optimized the site on mobile yet, so that can be a frustration experience, but they are working on a mobile application which will hopefully be out soon and I can’t wait to use it.
Granted the site isn’t perfect but the product is pretty spot on. I think that they should work a bit more on making the whole experience as a whole much more seamless and self-explanatory for a first time user. This can be done by little changes here and there, which is something that they can definitely do without much of a problem.
Whether you are looking for a business card or not, log on to their site and try the process for yourself and experience what they have innovated. Once you have done that, please send us feedback on what you think they can do better or what they are doing right, or even just say hi! This will really help them make it better and better. Looking forward to hear from you.