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Posts Tagged with “MVP”

Post 43: More UI

In response to positive feedback on similar interface ideas, I hacked this demo together using proto.io.

If you’re interested proto.io is more complex and time consuming that Flinto which I normally used for app prototypes, but there is 100x functionality options.

Some notes on the design.

There are 3 images in the prototype and all of the images have been taken from Google or Instagram. This is important because I think it can be a mistake to use ‘glossy’ or professional images in mock-ups that they a regular customer couldn’t get their hands on when using the live product.

Each profile is made up of the persons LinkedIn description with images placed in between.

Towards the end of the video, we show how you might be able to tap on text, e.g. Facebook, to see more information.

 

Post 41: One Screen Prototype

 

Previous designs have focused on a vertically scrolling interface where peoples experience and info is revealed below the higher level bio and photo info.

This mockup tried to keep all the info in one screen. Customers have a photo and 200 characters about themselves, but are able to make words in their bio tappable which revels more information about that part of their work life.

Post 41

 

In this example Erika signs up with Twitter, browses around and find our more information about Ryan’s work with IDEO and AIGASF.

 

Post 35: Build Video

 

Post 34: Build Update

For those following along at home, this is a short video of where Tony (@adeperio) is at with the build of the first version of our product.

We will be launching this before the end of may, but only allowing 200 people to register initially.

To start with the functionality will be very limited:

  • Create a profile & upload avatar
  • ‘Discover’ – alphabetical listing of people in network
  • View availability of people in the network
  • Unique URL to make sharing easier

That’s about it.

Post 32: Design Update

We’re exploring a product idea that helps you tell your professional story and/or communicating your professional value on mobile devices. For a designer, this might include links to your work on services like Behance, Dribbble & The Loop, your Instagram account and work history etc. Obviously everyones value and story differs greatly.

3 months ago, the idea was that everyone’s story would be like a deck of cards with a ‘face card’ showing an overview of your profile and then you’d have a card for each job, or service you used etc. Something like this mockup.

CD_Card_Perspective1

Over the weekend I sat down to take a closer look at how we might design the product to give people the best browsing experience when looking through a collection of peoples stories.

The solution I came up with is below.

You would swipe left or right on your phone to change profiles and up and down to go deeper into their story.

The ‘card’ UI element has been semi-replaced by a ’tile’ type element, similar to Pinterest.

So far the feedback has been strongly in favour of this design, although there is a lot more testing to do.

We like the idea that a customer can drag tiles around to create their own hierarchy. We also like the idea that we can partner with services like Youtube or Behance or GitHub to create custom tiles that people can add to their profile.

We are hoping to get some version of this design into the build we launch with (end of May , 2014).

 

CD_MVP_V4.3

 

Post 27: Build, Measure, Learn, Repeat

We are attempting to build a product that helps people tell their professional story on mobile devices. We’ve been working on it for a couple of months.

A few weeks back I wrote about what happens when you try and solve all the problems of a product at once – the business model, the mobile interface, the desktop interface, the company log in, the individual log in, etc. etc.

Basically I was trying to do too much.

The focus since then has been to design & build prototypes that mimic an experience that we think could be valuable for individuals and then showing them.

(You can watch the first prototype test here).

The video above is of the second prototype in use, and yesterday we shipped a third version (you can install it on your iPhone from this link

So far the feedback has been… meh.

No one has turned around and demanded we build this product. No one has bought a round of shots in celebration. There have been no high-fives.

“This is interesting, there is something in it…” is the best and most consistent feedback we’ve been getting. Oh and “This looks like Twitter.”

Untitled-1At the moment the whole app is based on exploring someone ‘cards’. Above are examples of the first card you might see from user. Surprisingly to me, while the first card looks horrible, the feedback has been that it is most interesting and potentially useful.

This is a tough point in the product development cycle. You have to keep making calls often based on gut instinct, whether you keep exploring or change tack and look at something else.

Right now, we think we need to keep pushing.

Tony & I really want a place to tell our stories online, so at least we know we will have two customers.

Oh – and this is actually live. You can sign up and create a card right now. It looks like crap, but we don’t mind. Go here —> http://c-deck.herokuapp.com/

Photo 16-04-2014 11 17 25 pm

 

 

Post 26: Prototype Customer Test

Have you ever looked through someones LinkedIn profile on a phone? We filmed the experience a month or so ago. It wasn’t great, mainly because there is a lot of text.

Last week I hacked together an interactive mobile prototype by uploading .png’s made in Illustrator to Flinto.com

You can get the prototype on your phone now by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/1mRzVx8

A friend (@LeishaMuraki) filmed herself using the prototype for the first time.

These kinds of videos are gold. Just watching where she tries to touch the screen and hearing what she things parts of the interface do are incredible valuable.

Post 24: F is for Focus

Last week I started to feel overwhelmed by this project. I’d been building parts and pieces of it in no particular order, but started to find it difficult to see how they might all fit together.

My dev partner (@adeperio) started asking me questions about the product structure that I couldn’t answer easily enough.

To tackle this problem, I decided to spend two days sketching out and then eventually building (in Balsamiq) the majority of the product as well as I could.

It was a useful process that gave me a much clearer idea of how the different parts could fit together.

Yep

After my first pass at this, it looks like there could be 4 key features to the product.

  1. Newsfeed & content consumption
  2. Search & discovery
  3. Notification & network activity
  4. Cards, lists, settings & profile

(A couple of days ago I posted a video showing how search might work.)

User Tests: Start doing them now!

The horrible admission I have to make is that I’ve only recently done my first real user test of the product, using the Balsamiq mock-up above. #idiot

On Saturday night I showed a friend (and potential customer) the mock-up and asked him to complete a few key tasks.

It was a disaster.

He knew about the idea prior and was very underwhelmed at what I had built – from a UI point of view that is. Because I’d spoken to him about how important the UI would be for this product, to see some crappy colourless Balsamiq screens was a bit of a let down.

We spent too much time critiquing the mock-up UI rather than the product architecture. My fault again.

I realise now that the mock-up above was really just for my personal benefit and probably wasn’t designed to run tests on as it doesn’t envision what’s in my head.

That being said, as with every user test, I did get some very useful insights and a jolt back on course about what should be built next.

There was one of those, “This is great, but how and why are people going to use it to start with?” conversations. And you sit there and try your best to sound like you have a plan.

Fortunately this time I was semi-prepared for the question and had a reasonable answer.

Yep2

Following, buckets, lists, cards, blah, blah, blah, features, iOS, HTML5… are all things that get talked about, but what is the one most important thing that you are building first? And why?

For this product, its reasonable to assume that if we can build something that helps customers tell their professional story in a beautiful, unique, engaging way, they are going to want to share that with other people.

This is where we start. (The pink high-lighted area in the image above).

All other discussions about following and friending etc. are off the table.

The focus is on building something that helps people tell their story in 5 cards or less.

Mobile first.

Beautifully.

We will add the other shit later.

Taking two days to map out the whole product was good – its helped us get to a point where we know what to do. And most importantly, why.

Post 20: Standardise & Compare

Have you ever tried to hire a designer? I’ve mentioned this problem a few times in the past few weeks, and it keeps coming up mainly I think because it’s such a painful problem for a lot of people.

A typical application can include a LARGE .pdf folio, a .pdf resume, links to personal website and links to 3rd party sites like Facebook, Dribbble & Behance. Some companies can get 500+ of these for a single job.

follio

Comparing

Last week I published this video on YouTube showing a prototype of the product I’m working on. A couple of people (thanks Zac & Theo) suggested that it could be useful and/or interesting to compare people’s cards.

Zac even pointed me to the Apple website as an example of a place that allows you to compare products well.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.45.05 am

A comparative analysis of anything is best suited and really only available to you when the things you are comparing are close to equal.

Comparison1

It is possible to compare things that are structured differently, but the time taken to evaluate them increase as the differences increase.

Comparison

As Theo and Zac correctly pointed out, building a system that requires customers to complete a similar set of outcomes (e.g. fill out 5 cards) opens up the possibility for quick and useful comparisons.

 

Standardising

What you ask customers to create then becomes an art and science problem. Leaving, the cards in this case, completely blank with no required structure is no good, but likewise holding their hand too much means you end up risking looking like LinkedIn.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 12.03.55 pm

To try and determine what requirements should and shouldn’t be included, I’m asking people I know that are looking for work or who are just interested in the product, to fill out 5 cards from this .ai template to see if there are any consistencies that are worth formalising.

In some circumstances I’m actually sharing these with the people they are looking to gain employment from to see if they find reviewing 5 cards any more valuable than reviewing a resume or portfolio.

This is helping me validate assumptions like:

  1. Viewing summaries of peoples careers on cards on mobile devices is a value adding experience;
  2. Individuals are able to adequately ‘tell their professional story’ or communicate the key points of their career in 5 iPhone sized cards;
  3. Giving individuals semi-blank canvas’ will allow for more personal information to be communicated – increasing the amount of context about the person that is communicated

There has been a bit of work happening around what information would people want to see outside of these 5 initial cards?

That’s the next blog post.

 

Post 12: LinkedIn, who, when, why, where?

Today I took an in-depth look at LinkedIn; who uses it, when, why and where. The point of this is to try and see where there might be some holes in the product or opportunities to build new products and add value.

I was interested to see if I could validate some of my own ideas about the product, and also discover some new insights about who uses it, when, why and where.

All of my research in this post comes from the Melbourne based Beers, Blokes & Business podcast (@BeersBlokesBiz) from last week where they discussed LinkedIn for 56mins. (Listen here)

The opinions varied greatly, but I found some really interesting insights that I think are worth sharing and help shed some light on my work.

To give you some context, the guys in the podcast (I think) are all business owners, in their 30’s – 40’s, with an interest in technology and business.

As a way of structuring the info, I’ve divided the key quotes into Pro-LinkedIn and Anti-LinkedIn with a summary at the end.

 

Pro-LinkedIn

“I use it as a live rolodex that updates itself.”

 

“You’ve got to realise what LinkedIn is. It is changing to more of a content sharing, less noisy platform.”

 

“…It has replaced the CV.”

 

“When I was a Deloitte Digital we would give a client a list of the consultants who would be working on their project and their areas of speciality. The first thing they would do is Google their name and if LinkedIn didn’t come up first and match what we had said we had a problem. It was a great way of validating to clients what a team could do.”

 

“We got over 250 applicants for a design job in one week. I used Google to find them on LinkedIn so I could research them and cull. I’ll only interview 5.”

“I don’t have a problem with LinkedIn, I find it a great way of managing contacts.”

“The major advantage is for business development.”

“They do SlideShare better than anyone else.”

“The thing I really like is when someone changes gigs (jobs)  in my network and you get a notification.”

“Birthday notifications are good in LinkedIn. I normally email them directly.”

“It’s a great research tool and a place to find out things you want to know and need to know.”

“I had a customer write a review and I had a call from that recommendation on LinkedIn.”

 

Anti-LinkedIn

“I don’t use it a great deal, because people are trying to sell to me.”

“It’s a giant spam machine I can do without.”

“…I’m not saying it isn’t useful for business, I am saying that the majority of spam I get these days…I can trace back to LinkedIn.”

“I say ‘No’ to 80% of the people who want to connect with me.”

“There are faults with LinkedIn in the way it asks you to connect with people.”

“It is a bit of a numbers game, ‘The Race to 500’, 501 because then everyone things I’m popular.”

“That’s the thing that’s the problem! I don’t actually look at who they are and what job they’re in because that doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is the humanity of them and they way they connect. I want to judge people on a human level. Shouldn’t that be what we’re aiming for?”

“LinkedIn makes it super hard to disconnect from someone.”

“The other problem I have with LinkedIn is the interface, it’s just horrible and counterintuitive and hard to use.”

“(the interface)…is a mashup. It’s had things added to it.”

“I don’t think it’s a deep enough snapshot. Its a static view of where you are in that point of time, ‘heres a rear vision mirror of where I used to work.'”

“That’s why it’s broken! Who want’s to be judged by a linear process of what you’ve done.”

“(when I was in advertising)…when someone applied for a job, the first think I would do was Google the, and if the first thing that came up wasn’t a platform or blog they owned, I wouldn’t interview them. It couldn’t be LinkedIn.”

“I don’t want to see what someone’s done, I want to see what they think. I want to get into their mind.”

“It’s a business networking tool, not a social platform.”

I found the guys thoughts really interesting (thanks boys!), and if you’re interested I’d encourage you to listen to the podcast. Some clear themes emerged that I had wondered about.

1. LinkedIn is great for contact management and business development.
I think LinkedIn does a great job of managing my professional contacts, but I can’t say I use it much for biz dev. However I know some people do so it’s encouraging to see support for that train of thought here.

2. ‘Connecting’ feels cheap or something.
There is something here around ‘connecting’ with people within the network… Too much emphasis on how many connections (and now) endorsements you have. It all feels a bit shallow.

3. If you don’t take the time to manage your connections/groups, you will get spammed.
I didn’t capture all of the discussion around spam, but while some of the blokes claimed to be spammed regularly by LinkedIn, there were equally others who didn’t have this problem, they felt because the carefully curated their connections.

4. The interface and user-experience sucks.
Not something I wasn’t already almost certain of, but they are a huge company that will hire some good design talent, or use what they’ve got already correctly in time.

5. Your industry will likely determine how you view LinkedIn.
I thought two of the most interesting insights from the podcast were around HR. Our ex-Deloitte Digital guy said that LinkedIn was really important to prove to clients that their consultants had the skills required. Whereas the guy who came from advertising said that he viewed having a LinkedIn profile was a negative thing for applicants.

And this is where this whole project starts to become really interesting. LinkedIn, whether it does a quality job or not, is the default, benchmark and go-to platform for white collared, well paid, university educated graduates. But there seems to be lots of other professional and even entire industries that struggle to see the value in the product as it currently is.

If there is an opportunity anywhere, I think it lies somewhere around here.

 

(This is the 12th post in a series as I explore some digital product ideas for 30 days. All my work is being published here on my blog. Click here to read the other posts, scroll down.)