This is coming straight from my mentor extraordinaire, who’s always spot on with his advice. So pay attention.
When it comes to designing and building apps, remember that no one is smarter than you.
Because you know your product, your company, your department, and your service better than anyone else. You can explain it better than anyone else, from every conceivable angle. You can recite every line of copy, on every web view, in your sleep. You know every nook and cranny. You know so much about what you do, and how you do it, that your spidey senses tingle when things are off by so much as a nano hair.
You’re so smart, that if I were to strip away your front-end, leaving you with nothing more than whitespace on your screen, you would still know where to click, and when to click it.
Unfortunately, no one else knows what you know. Or understands things they way you do. Their spidey senses aren’t nearly as heightened as yours. And they certainly won’t know what to do next. Which kinda sucks, especially when you’re trying to get a credit card number from them :)
So great user experience is more than just being clear and smooth (though both count for a lot), it’s also about taking a step back and asking yourself: “What will my best users expect to see when they get here? How do they want the content to be organized? What do they want to happen next? And if they don’t know, how will they know what needs to happen next?”
The downside is that you have to put your smart ego aside while you’re doing this exercise, but you’re strong. You can handle it.
Until next time,
Photo: Brains! by Joe Stump (used with permission under a Creative Commons License).
I heard the best definition for an MVP (minimum viable product) this past Saturday: “The minimum, minimum, minimum, minimum, minimum, minimum thing you need to do to make a buck.” An MVP isn’t about the smallest number of features. It’s not about designing, building and shipping quickly. Sure, those things matter, but the true purpose of an MVP is to get feedback from customers. And finding out whether or not they’re willing pay is probably the best feedback of all, right?
Because there’s no sense in giving up your day job, and certainly no sense in cashing out your 401K, if no one’s going to give a damn.
Our instructors elaborated with some examples:
1. A company that wanted to help consumers discover and choose wine at the point-of-choice. Their MVP was nothing more than an interactive Keynote.
2. Another group wanted to create daily workout routines for people. Originally, they were going to invest their time and energy into inventing an algorithm that would determine the best exercise regimen based on user input. Instead, they were advised to collect fitness preferences via a Google form, create the exercise plans manually, and email them back. In the beginning, for the time being. Which they did.
3. And the best example of all: when Dropbox first went into private beta, all they had was a working presentation. Nothing more. Everything looked like it worked on their YouTube demo vid, but that was it. They put the word out on Hacker News and Reddit, and received approximately 117,000 sign ups. They knew they had a good thing on their hands, began building, and shipped 18 months later.
How’s that for lean?
Until next time,
Photo: Paper Cut Machine (minimum viable product) by Benjamin Chun (used with permission under a Creative Commons License).