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Category “Design”

Tiller Onboarding Video Script: V1

We’re working on the design for the on-boarding of Tiller.

It’s difficult becasue Tiller is a new interface for time entry and our app works differently to how people understand apps to work.

We’re tried somewhat unsucseffuly to addresse this using a guided onboarding and we’re now going to try and make a short video to explain how to use Tiller and also how the app works and where it lives.

This is my first (messy) pass at a the script which we will film later today.

Update: The scribble above turned into the script below which we are going to turn into cards/video tomorrow morning for user interviews in the afternoon.


Friday Update: We didn’t end up filming and editing a video, but we did use the script above as the basis for a series of slides we made in Google Slides a few hours before we interviewed people today.

Below are those slides. They certinaly helped people understand ‘where’ Tiller  lives on your computer (the tray), but there are still issues understanding the interaction model we have created and confusion about using Tiller vesus using a mouse.

There are going to have to be more refinements over the next two weeks.

Thoughts Voice Interfaces in Hotels

Last week Amazon announced that they are going to launch a custom version of Alexa for hotels. It’s a really interesting use case because the location helps reduce or refine the number of possible/likely requests the Alexa may get.

The idea there being that for now, voice interfaces will work best in two variations. One being when it has to understand only a few words (volume up, play song, call Mum), the other being when it can understand all words. Anything in between is difficult because you have no physical interface showing you what you can and can’t select/say (a menu).

This is explained well in this article by Benedict Evans.

Benedict also included the Amazon announcement in his newsletter which I forwarded to my partner Ed and kicked off a discussion about why hotels would or wouldn’t be good for Alexa.

Below is my final email response to Ed and his comments in green. Debating this stuff is really helpful and I appreciated Ed’s pushback on my blanket claim that “this is good” because it forced me to explain in more detail why I thought that.

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Hey everyone,

Today is our last day working from our garage/studio that has been home to Joan and Tiller for the last three years.

The move marks a pretty important point in our journey as a company. We’re taking a big, scary, step into a world that has more questions than answers. There is a compass, but no map.

Over the next two weeks, we’re going to begin to attempt to turn Tiller into a legitimate business from something that has been a side project of Joan.

This is starting of course with actually shipping our product to customers. On Saturday, Ed and Nick.J are flying to China to oversee the production of our first 1000 units and once the software is complete, we will be shipping them all over the world.

Once the product is out there Ed and I are going to be doing various in-house contract gigs for clients a few days per week and then spending our remaining time working from home/cafes/friends studios as we try and learn more about the business and sales side of Tiller. Tony has moved back to Sydney and will be continuing to work on the software side of the business from there.

Sticking With It
You read a lot from various people about the value and importance of sticking with an idea long enough to see it work. Tiller is the fourth business I’ve been involved in so far and in all other cases, we’ve launched our product (website/conference or whatever) within six months of coming up with the idea.

In the case of Tiller though, it’s going to be closer to three years from idea to shipping the product. And a lot changes in three years. People fall in love, people get sick, people get job offers, people get tired. And in our case, the people around you also excel. Your friends earn more money, buy houses, get married, have kids and the rest. And when you work on something like Tiller you do miss out on a lot of those things.

Everyone in our company has made enormous sacrifices to get to where we are today. The name of the game now is to stick with it and try our hardest to see if we can, in fact, turn Tiller into something that is bigger than the four of us.

All the feels
I put some stuff on my IG story last night and my inbox was flooded with friends sending 😔sad face emojis. It was nice to see because I was reminded of how many good memories people have had in this studio.

But the emoji that I want to put against today is probably 😊or maybe 🙈or even 👊. Today is an exciting day for me and I think the whole team. It’s the start of a new adventure in the Joan and Tiller story and I’m more than ready for it.

I don’t know what the path in front of us looks like, but I’m not sure I want to either.

Thanks to everyone who has been to one of our parties or has spent time working with us in the space. We’ve loved all of it and are really happy to have shared it with you 🙏.

Ed and I need to start loading up my car with the stuff we’re going to keep and then do a run to the tip with all the things we’re throwing out. There is a painter coming at 2 pm to clean up the walls because large pieces of paint ripped off the walls when we took down all our work #bluetackissues.

Below are some photos from the studio which I like.


I use my phone too much. I look at it too often. I am amazed at what it does and I’m grateful for a lot of things it allows me to do. However, I find myself opening, refreshing, closing, opening, refreshing and closing it a lot. There are never-ending stories to check, memes to lol at and tags to review.

And the worrying thing is that it’s getting worse.

A few weeks ago in an attempt to grab even more of my attention, Facebook tried to encourage me to message my friend for a third day in a row “to keep my streak going”.

How about I message them the next time I need to speak to them?

How about I message them the next time I need to speak to them?

These kinds of attention-grabbing-features are appearing because:

  1. Our attention = Ca$h: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Snapchat etc. make their money from showing you ads. The more you look at their apps, the more money they can make. They want you to open their apps as often as possible so they are designing new ways (like the Facebook example above) to keep you coming back.
  2. Its technically possible: Apple, Google and other manufacturers have built phones (hardware) and operating systems (software) that allow app developers to push information to you, to interrupt you, know your location and know your activity.

The advertising-based business models of your favorite apps combined with your smartphone means an all-out war to steal your time and attention.

Taking a break

It feels like this is going to get worse before it gets better. A lot of apps are addicted to the advertising dollar and that won’t be changing in the short term.

The Facebook example above prompted a discussion with my friend Tim and together we’ve decided to take a break from our smartphones. It’s an experiment, partly for fun, partly a protest, and partly a serious inquiry into our own relationships with focus, productivity, mental health and the devices we use each day. It’s an opportunity for reflection and consideration.

Starting next Monday 22nd January, we’re going to spend a week (maybe longer) without our feature-full $1000 smartphones and switch back to the featureless phones we grew up with.

I shared this idea along with a list of things I think I’m going to miss on Twitter a month ago. Since then a few people have decided to join us as we say goodbye to our smartphones. You’re welcome to do the same.

If you’d like to come along for the ride, grab yourself an old phone and sim-card, give your new number to your most important friend and family and put your smartphone in your draw. We’ll be sharing our experiences (from our computers) with the hashtag #byephone.

For some reason, I’m kind of nervous about not having access to music, maps, weather and on-demand cars. But I also know that is stupid and that feeling nervous about losing that stuff is probably a sign that something needs to change.

Bloomberg: Taxi Medallion Prices Are Plummeting, Endangering Loans


Article: “Driverless cars to alter legal profession” (in Aus)

Sam Altman runs in front of driverless car

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Tractor Links Mon 13th April

  1. Milkshake Marketing Video
  2. Udemy – Mastering jobs to be done interviews
  3. Stop Making Users Explore
  4. What UI really is…
  5. Replacing User Story with Job Story
  6. Jobs to be done for my phone
  7. How to know what your customers really want
  8. Interview script
  9. $300m Button

Prototyping Tools

  1. Flinto
  3. Framer.js
  4. Balsamiq
  5. Invision

IDEO on Autonomous Cars

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 4.37.03 pm

IDEO have built a nice site called where they explore ideas and concepts about the future of, among other things, driverless cars.

There are some really interesting stats on the site and some nice mock-ups of how cars may look.

One stat that caught my eye was this: “Each autonomous shared vehicle could replace 11 conventional cars”.

That is the first time I’ve seen anyone put a figure on it and that’s a pretty significant figure.

If you’re interested in the topic, the site is well worth a look.