Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 02:49:18 +0200
Startup2Startup dinner with Jeffrey Veen
Jeffrey Veen of Adaptive Path, MeasureMap, and now Google Analytics spoke at Startup2Startup dinner tonight. He covered startup design, and had a pretty good strategy as well as warnings. One of the warnings he had was on the current trend of copying the leader of the pack, the way you see iPhone UI replicated in newer models from Samsung and LG. Without real knowledge and understanding of why certain features are there it’s very hard to get the product right, even if the outer shell looks very similar to the successful competitor’s product.
A lot of the copying has to do with the cargo cult of the believing that if you have the right components of somebody else’s successful design in place, you’ll get the core of the product right as well, or at least fool the users into treating your product with the same respect as competitors’.
Veen also discussed the creative process behind WikiRank, his brand new, and yet unlaunched, project. Process might be a strong word for the strategy of rapid prototyping, which is not that expensive to do nowadays with Web products. Instead of spending time on designer mocks in high resolution, where people get distracted into discussing the qualities of the graphic design, focus on building wireframes and core pages, iterate as necessary, perhaps with pair coding of one person doing the front-end, and another one building out the model on the back-end.
Recommendations for testing on the budget? Projects like UserTesting.com are pretty effective with getting the users to your site, and getting the videos back to you, so you can test out feature by feature, and do things like A/B testing in pretty short time spans. Inviting the users in person via Craigslist and paying them in gift cards also worked out, but don’t have designers in the same room, as they get emotionally attached to the tested product.
The video of this talk is not (yet) available. Dave McClure might announce when it gets posted, but if you never heard Jeffrey Veen presented, here’s a fairly recent video of his talk from UX Week conference.