Blog Post: Are You Better At Focusing On The Future Or The Immediate?

Agile coaches, project and product managers all have their strengths. While the specifics tend to differ wildly, I can usually divide them into two camps: the immediate and the future. The immediate specialists are awesome day-to-day negotiators of roadblocks and issues that arise on the team. They love spending time with the team, keeping meetings […]

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Blog Post: Does ‘Delight’ Change The Meaning of MVP?

After my first couple of months in the realm of QA, I noticed something rather interesting. Some of my colleagues, who did the same work I did for the same pay, started describing themselves with different verbiage. Specifically, they changed their titles on email signatures and LinkedIn. Before I knew it, we were all calling ourselves Quality Assurance Engineers, Test Engineers, Test Strategy Coordinators, and so on.

Didn’t change the fact that we were QA. Certainly didn’t change how we were viewed by PMO or development. 

That’s what I think of when I read articles like this very well written piece by Startup Blender on the difference between a Minimum Viable Product versus Minimum Delightful Product. Regardless of whatever differences you see, if the first iteration of a product does not delight stakeholders or the customer, then it’s not viable in the least.

I wholeheartedly understand and support the sentiment the writer aspires to. Viable is boring and utilitarian, which is not what a designer or big thinker wants to put in front of users. He wants to wow them from day one, and if that isn’t achieved you must start over.

Just be careful that you don’t walk down a rabbit’s hole of making sure the title of your idea is perfect. You might make your next pitch session a little peppier than normal, but those you really want to impress won’t be fooled.

You delight your users by finding what is described as the “product gestalt”. This description of the perfect union of design, UX, and ideas was the best part of this post. As that famous person said that time, “form and function are one.”

If you need to change one word of MVP to achieve that, go for it. Go on with your bad self delighting users. Just don’t try and convince me that’s not what viable is supposed to mean. We all know better.

Blog Post: Does ‘Delight’ Change The Meaning of MVP?

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Blog Post: Announce Your Refresh with Gusto

Releasing updates can be a pain sometimes. In the mobile space, it usually includes asking the user to download something again as well as refreshing their credentials in some way. Luke Wroblewski — who writes some tremendous material on mobile development — mentions in this post how you can announce your refresh with some panache and reward your users for continuing to use your product with some Easter eggs.

Don’t make the update a pain. It might mean some additional work will need to be done to include the artwork or new graphics. The UX team might need to rethink some of the work they thought was done. 

Regardless, it’s important to the process and allows users to enjoy and share in the hard work you are doing!

Blog Post: Announce Your Refresh with Gusto

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Blog Post: View Your Mobile Product Properly

I have no idea how old Jonathan Libov — one of the creators of the mobile app Snapix — is, or where he is from, but there is a lot of maturity from this young man’s post on Whoo.ps. It’s hard to see the forest from the trees with products you have had a hand in creating, even harder to understand when to make tough decisions.

The post talks about the genesis of his software, the reasons for creating it and how it rose in popularity very quickly. As with many apps in the mobile space, though, there reached a time when traffic slowed to a crawl. He argues it was because it was only a side project for the creators and as such it’s tough to keep the fires stoked part-time. 

As the community knows, mobile is tough to maintain momentum because of all the offerings and the rapid use cycle. If an app keeps a solid user base after only six months, it has accomplished something.

Re-read that last sentence and think about what that says for creators.

After much deliberation, they decided not to slowly watch their creation die in the wilderness and sunset the app. While it must have been tough to do, I think it shows maturity in the product development cycle. It also probably informed them for whatever they build next and can only make them better creators.

Many don’t even get the initial spike that Snapix enjoyed. Many fizzle before there was any shock and awe. Either way, if you are going to work in this space, you have to realistically know how your product is doing in the marketplace and prepare for the inevitable: your software will lose all it’s users eventually to something newer and shinier.

This also inspires someone like me to look at my own work and take an honest look at how it’s doing. Maybe there is something that needs a fresh coat of paint on it, or sent out to pasture. That idea in the back of my mind might need to be ushered to the front of the class for some attention. 

Don’t be afraid to look at the feedback on your product honestly. If there’s no feedback, that’s just the same (or worse) as bad feedback. You might need to ask for some more, or start asking yourself the tough questions. It can only lead to better offerings to the marketplace.

It will definitely lead to better creations.

Blog Post: View Your Mobile Product Properly

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Blog Post: We Are All #UX Designers

Whether that headline refers to your chosen profession or not, there is something about what we do that is affected by your product’s user experience. Whether the product refers to your job, your hobby, even your family, the interactions others have means everything.

The beauty of this piece from Smashing Magazine detailing 13 tenets of UX is the theme that we can’t work in a vacuum. We must involve others in the process.

Sometimes that means gathering large amounts of data. With the advent of big data, it brought along with it many means of collecting it. At my company, we can measure every click, hover and eye movement on a website. People measure steps, calories and heart rate with their mobile device. Data is everywhere.

Other times we must involve people. Every user will not experience your product the same. You may not be able to incorporate every opinion into your design, but enough feedback can be gathered to help most of them.

While gathering all of that can seem like a large task, it is part of a strategic plan. It does require bravery and a bold vision to execute. If you view any interaction with your product as all part of the same plan, you think about design differently.

That does require attention to detail, but that should not be a deterrent. Great UX is iterated upon cycle after cycle. Take each detail on one at a time, and before you know it a full experience is mastered.

Blog Post: We Are All #UX Designers

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