How I “make time” and you can too
There is nothing more precious than time. I take it very seriously and have been taking measures to save and make time.
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There is nothing more precious than time. I take it very seriously and have been taking measures to save and make time.
Usually designers go by gut or intiution. However, in product design there are ways to measure both, and we must do it.
In these tough times, when everyone is working remotely, it’s more important to be humane than professional, especially for leaders.
“What works for our remote team are things that work for all humans — trust, transparency, clear communication, clear expectations, mutual respect, accountability and camaraderie,” Leung says. “When it comes to remote work, there’s no huge secret or magic potion. To make our large remote team work, we do a lot of small things consistently and we know that every element matters. It’s like going to the gym every day — everyone knows it’s healthy, but not everyone does it consistently. We also know we’re not perfect, that we’ll screw things up along the way, that we’ll fall short. That’s okay. We know what our North Star is, and we all have a chance to do better every day,” Leung says.
The “definition of success” certainly needs a redesign. It is hugely mistaken.
When was the last time you were annoyed by something small? Like the mean, angry noise a chip reader makes when it’s done with your card? Or the mess a pen makes when the cap pops off in your back pocket? Or how deeply, achingly, frustratingly hard it is to tie a water balloon?
Web development is both fun and frustrating because it is always changing, and fast.
Web development is always changing. One trend in particular has become very popular lately, and it fundamentally goes against the conventional wisdom about how a web page should be made. It is exciting for some but frustrating for others, and the reasons for both are difficult to explain.
Code alone can’t solve every problem. It’s okay to do things that don’t scale.
While Airbnb is data driven, they don’t let data push them around. Instead of developing reactively to metrics, the team often starts with a creative hypothesis, implements a change, reviews how it impacts the business and then repeats that process.
Individual team members at Airbnb make small bets on new features, and then measure if there’s a meaningful return on the bet. If there’s a payoff, they send more pirates in that direction. This structure encourages employees to take measured, productive risks on behalf of the company that can lead to the development of major new features. It allows Airbnb to move quickly and continually find new opportunities.
Good design is understanding business and help it grow.
There’s only 5 things execs care about:
• Increasing revenues
• Decreasing costs
• Increasing new business/marketshare
• Increasing revenue from existing customers
• Increasing shareholder value
Design leaders know to frame their team’s efforts as helping these priorities.
I always rely on a todo list. Now I know it has other benefits.
Keeping a list of tasks you need to perform is like taking notes when you’re reading a book or listening to a lecture. When you take notes, you need to filter external information, summarize it in your head, and then write it down. Many studies have shown that note taking helps us distill the information we hear and remember it better than we would if we’d just heard or read it.
Mindfulness also lowers levels of anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness has become trendy around the world in recent years – but in Japan, it’s been ingrained into the culture for centuries.
3 simple but effictive lessons about keeping customers at the center of what you do.
For many organizations, cultivating a community will mean cultivating a new capacity. This is a democratic, not autocratic, route to building customer relationships. It requires trusting instead of controlling, and commitment instead of flightiness.
Interesting approach for managing your commits.
In software development, we usually start with writing the code. But what if we’d start by writing out the commit message? Follow me through the concept of commit message driven development.
How to increase focus to solve challenging problems by minimizing distractions.
Task switching is a design killer. Find out why switching and interruptions are even more serious than you think and how biology makes it difficult to resist the temptation to just check your email every few minutes. Learn how to slay the distraction dragon with five practical tips for increasing focus as you tackle challenging design problems.
Some useful tips on how to impress your new boss early on.
Exceed expectations • Display excellent writing skills • Accept feedback willingly • Give feedback willingly • Be eager – but set expectations • Be a “manager of one” • Be empathetic • Small gestures make meaningful impact
7 interesting things that made Briana working at Stripe feel different.
I recently left Stripe after 4.5 formative and magical years. Some reflections on what made working at Stripe feel different than working other places:
7/The API metaphor
Empathy isn’t about being nice but it can help increase revenue.
Entrepreneur and author Michael Ventura has dedicated his career to exploring how empathy can make us better leaders, collaborators, and contributors to society. In his 99U talk, Michael explains that the practice of empathy “isn’t about being nice” — it’s about deep understanding, and learning to apply that understanding to incredibly effective ends.
I’ve been working remotely for 12 years now, and these practices are must-do.
FYI’s co-founder, Marie Prokopets shares some new research on remote work they’ve gathered and a detailed breakdown of 10 practices to ensure remote work success.
So this is how Amazon innvotes at scale: relentlessly practising their principles.
You can’t escape Amazon in the digital economy. Now a trillion-dollar company, they have disrupted diverse sectors from retail to software development with a deftness and drive that’s admirable and alarming. They actually seem to be speeding up their rate of innovation as they scale, defying the Law of Large Companies that causes giants to get dragged down by their own girth. How do they manage that? A week ago at the MIT Platform Strategy Summit, Dirk Didascalou, vice president of IoT at Amazon Web Services (AWS), laid out their approach to innovating at scale.
Different ways to communicate product changes and how to select them.
When it comes to communicating new features and functionality, your main objectives are driving awareness and promoting adoption. That’s why you want to convey both the why and the how. When announcing something new, it can be tempting to start the story off with capabilities. But before you tap into your inner infomercial host, remember that users don’t really care about what a product can do. They care about what a product can do for them.
Output is a means to an end: Outcome.
Deciding what your engineers should do next can be a lot like climbing a ladder. On the lowest rung is a problem to be solved. At the top is an impact on the business, a change in the bottom line. Instead of trying to jump straight from the theoretical business impact to a directive for your R&D teams, it’s essential to stop for a moment and consider: “What is the desired outcome? If we implement a new feature, how will customer behavior change in a meaningful way?”
So much goes into designing great search experience.
Writing a good search experience comes down to thoughtfulness. As designers, we’ve probably used and created hundreds of different web search experiences, so we breeze through the process. But when we consider every small step of the process (every microinteraction and every edge case), the minor changes we make can have a major impact on the experience. Next time you find yourself reaching for a visual solution to a search problem, consider using your words instead.
Focus is the key, as it helps you move faster.
At my last company, KISSmetrics, I made a mistake that I truly believe lost me a billion dollar opportunity. It’s not something I’m proud of, and it’s one of the main reasons I’m now obsessed with building products the right way. I wrote the painful details of exactly what happened so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.
Don’t give customers what they ask for. Help them become more productive.
We’ve always had the utmost respect for the user. Every internal decision about look and function answers the question “What does the customer need?” and “How can we help them become more productive?” (Not “How can we give them what they are asking for?” because that isn’t the right question to answer.).
We do design team retrospective, and they are so useful. Let’s try these.
One of Intercom’s core values is that we’re serious about wanting to be the very best. One of the things we can do to implement this value is to be open and honest with each other about our strengths and weaknesses, with a willingness to learn and always keeping in mind that we can do better next time.
Looks like we need to fix the colors for our charts. Must get the basics right.
Consider if there is a better alternative to gradient colors when encoding your most important values. Gradient colors can be great to show a pattern, e.g. on a choropleth map, but it’s hard to decipher the actual values from them and to see differences between the values. Consider showing your most important values with bars, position (like in a dot plot) or even areas, and to use colors to only show categories. Readers will be able to decipher your values faster.
I too find this hard to do sometimes but it is essential for the team’s growth.
For so many managers and leaders — especially those of us who are used to be the person doing the work and are now handing off the work to others — learning to delegate is, well, tricky, if not painful. The good news is that we are by no means alone. I recently happened upon some helpful advice from leaders who similarly have a tough time delegating in a few conversations on The Watercooler. And they were incredibly generous with their advice.
This is a great advice for the CEOs. They should trust their teams more.
Many CEOs think they are best-informed people at their companies about what customers need/want. But product+design teams have time, focus, expertise to objectively validate ideas.
We have had hard time implementing OKRs. Maybe, we are going too deep.
OKRs really shouldn’t go too deep. For most teams, company-level OKRs are probably fine. As the company starts to grow, it may make sense to do team level OKRs. But those teams should not be functional teams, they should be product or mission teams. Don’t create engineering OKRs, product team OKRs, and marketing team OKRs. That doesn’t make sense.
Don’t conflate success with shipping a lots of features.
If you don’t think a feature is worth the time it takes to make it great, then it is not rational to ship a crappier version simply because you have sunk time into it.
This is why I love Basecamp. It simply gets the job done. And, this is the reason.
When making something new that clearly competes with something that exists, gravity will pull you towards trying to do everything they do PLUS the new stuff you want to do. I’d encourage you steer clear of feature parity. Instead, handle common struggles in novel, unique ways.
This is really insightful as we are building our own UI components library.
Learn the secrets of product design at scale in a design systems master class taught by the most influential thinkers in the field. Over the course of this up-close six-part video series, Brad Frost, Dan Mall, and Josh Clark share expert recommendations for every step of design system implementation—from early planning of system scope and structure to ongoing operational success.
Interesting “Plays”. Let’s try with the team and see if they help fill the gaps.
Step-by-step instructions for tracking your team’s health, and new ways of working ("plays") that build your Get $#!τ Done™ muscle. Use the plays on their own, or in concert with Atlassian tools. We developed the Team Playbook to transform the way we work. And it has. This ain’t your CEO’s management book. It’s by teams, for teams – any team.
I admit, I’ve had a hard time explaining the difference but Ryan has nailed it.
The difference between UI and UX in one image. The key to understanding UX is to introduce time. Things like an increase in anxiety (wait, what?) or running out of time (this is taking too long!) happen at specific moments.
Found this while working with our customer success team to reduce churn and increase retention.
Retention can be measured qualitatively by talking and checking in with your customers regularly so you’ll know what their main questions and issues are, and when they occur. Retention can also be quantified, giving you hard data on how much money you’re losing. Typically this is done using a cohort analysis.
User flows are vital to design great UX. It helps detect edge cases so one can address them effectively.
User flows are visual representations of the path the user can follow to achieve a goal while using an app, website or any other product. Creating a representation like this, helps designers reflect on the flow themselves, communicate it with the team and stakeholders and get feedback. User flows also allow designers to compare alternatives, as well as evaluate and test them with real users before proceeding. The better designed the user flows, the easier it is for the audience to understand the story behind the designs and therefore the more constructive the feedback they will give.
When I review copy, I encourage brevity but not at the expense of clarity or personality.
UX copy is dependent on so much outside your control. The subject of the content itself, the position of a page in the user flow, and your users’ wants and needs. We often strangle ourselves into writing short copy no matter what. Not only can this hinder sales, it chokes any life or tone out of your copy. There is such a thing as being too brief—it kills personality.
There is always room for improvement. Even in a Git commit message.
If you haven’t given much thought to what makes a great Git commit message, it may be the case that you haven’t spent much time using git log and related tools. There is a vicious cycle here: because the commit history is unstructured and inconsistent, one doesn’t spend much time using or taking care of it. And because it doesn’t get used or taken care of, it remains unstructured and inconsistent.
Interesting exercise. Trying this on Unmetric Sports App.
How complexity can lead you to failure and why is it important to keep your product simple.
One of the few important things we need to get right in our product strategy.
Problems with focusing too much on the user feedback and how to fix them.
Conversational dashboards sound interesting. Just like replacing dashboard with insights feed.
This is something we can use to tighten our processes around product development.
Sounds like an interesting approach. One more thing to try and test.
Three key tenants that can any company can apply to move faster.
A simple four step process to setting up interviews with cold prospects.
How understanding the reasons why people shop Basecamp help them build better product.
A useful tool to build a common sense of the customers’ problems to drive future thinking.
Measure right, put right people at right places, collect feedback carefully, UX is the key, and focus on long term.
Asking the right question helps in finding the answer easily.
How reducing cognitive load can help with user adoption and virality.
When it comes to user interface design, clarity is job #1.
I’m learning CSS animations, and it’s beautifully explained in this video.
Expert timing and spacing is what separates a slide show from a truly amazing animation. TED-Ed demonstrates, by manipulating various bouncing balls, how the smallest adjustments from frame to frame can make all the difference.
Great article about Thinking, Listening and Imagination.
We avoid the pain of thinking like a medical examination. We’d like to believe we’re too smart to think. Thinking is stressful. While stereotypes click together sweetly, thinking comes in bitter flavors. We recur to clichés rather than reflection, because they make us wise without listening, bright without reasoning, and smart without taking the risk of being imprecise, boring, annoying, wrong. And just like McFood they’re easily bought and quickly swallowed, zero intellectual calories. Just as instinctively as we avoid listening, reflecting, and using our imagination to achieve clarity in writing, we avoid thought when we design websites.
Design is about solving problems. So, listen before you start.
If you spend time observing and talking with people who use your product or service, fantastic creative ideas start to appear. Also, features you once thought were critical become irrelevant as your audience tells you what their true emotions are behind the decisions they make. None of this happens in front of a whiteboard in the comfort of your office.
To stay on top of the competitors, offer great user experience.
Experience innovation will be a crucial components for companies seeking to remain relevant and retain customer loyalty. Today’s enlightened leaders are achieving success by crafting the entire customer experience–shaping, innovating, branding, and measuring it.
We have started using job stories to understand user problems and design solutions.
Designing successful products means observing how real people solve problems now, exploring the context of the situation they are in, and then understanding causality, anxieties and, motivations. If the team digs deep and learns about a customer’s Job To Be Done, they can then more effectively craft solutions.
Proven examples how focusing on real problem makes a product successful.
The problems people encounter in their lives rarely change from generation to generation. The products they hire to solve these problems change all the time. A strong understanding of the outcome customers want, and how they currently get it, is essential for you to succeed in product development.
Great advice on setting type for headings.
When designing a full set of headlines like this, it’s a great idea to start with the smallest headline and work your way up like we did today. While you’re at it, make sure you design how bolds and italics look in a paragraph, as well as lists, blockquotes, and all the common styles that will show up in a page. We call this a “General Styles” page. You can include tables, images, captions, and even form elements. Planning ahead for the styles you might need in the future helps you build a more complete typographic system and avoid any surprises.
A common problem with most softwares and how to fix it.