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Just Make Stuff!


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Presented at FITC Toronto 2016
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Tools help us create beautiful, usable experiences for devices. However, they can also get in the way of creativity; designers and developers sometimes spend more time thinking about process, software, and tools than making. In this talk, Catt will discuss reasons we get distracted by process and tools, why stepping away from process and tools can be helpful, as well as methods to focus more on getting things done.


To help people worry less and create more.

Target Audience

Designers and developers

Five Things Audience Members Will Learn

Reasons people get distracted by tools and processes.
Why pausing conversations about tools and processes can be helpful.
How to stop being distracted by the “how”.
Methods to focus more on getting things done.
When it’s okay to discuss processes and tools.

Published in: Internet
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Just Make Stuff!

  1. 1. @cattsmall@cattsmall Just Make Stuff! FITC 2016 – Catt Small
  2. 2. @cattsmall@cattsmall ● Product Designer, SoundCloud ● Co-founder, Brooklyn Gamery ● Co-founder, Code Liberation ● Maker of various things! A little about me:
  3. 3. @cattsmall@cattsmall To help you worry less about the how and more about the who, what, when, where, and why. The goal of today’s talk:
  4. 4. @cattsmall@cattsmall ● Why this subject matters ● What process is good for ● Why process can be unhelpful ● How to focus less on process ● When process is okay Topics:
  5. 5. @cattsmall@cattsmall Why this talk matters
  6. 6. @cattsmall@cattsmall A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
  7. 7. @cattsmall@cattsmall Baby designer Catt! I wanna be the very best!
  8. 8. @cattsmall@cattsmall Waterfall :( :( :(
  9. 9. @cattsmall@cattsmall New methodologies! :) :):) :)
  10. 10. @cattsmall@cattsmall Lean UX Make Check Think
  11. 11. @cattsmall@cattsmall Agile Ship ShipShip Ship Standup Backlog Grooming Sprint Planning Retro Sprint Review
  12. 12. @cattsmall@cattsmall One-size-fits-all 50-person company :) :):) :) 200-person company :) :):) :) 1,000-person company :) :):) :)
  13. 13. @cattsmall@cattsmall It didn’t work FAIL.
  14. 14. @cattsmall@cattsmall To each their own.
  15. 15. @cattsmall@cattsmall Why processes & tools can be good
  16. 16. @cattsmall@cattsmall When it works, it works
  17. 17. @cattsmall@cattsmall Guidance We have a plan!
  18. 18. @cattsmall@cattsmall <form action="#" method="post"> <div> <label for="name">Text Input:</label> <input type="text" name="name" id="name" value="" tabindex="1" /> </div> <div> <h4>Radio Button Choice</h4> <label for="radio-choice-1">Choice 1</label> <input type="radio" name="radio-choice-1" id="radio-choice-1" tabindex="2" value="choice-1" /> <label for="radio-choice-2">Choice 2</label> <input type="radio" name="radio-choice-2" id="radio-choice-2" tabindex="3" value="choice-2" /> </div> Efficient It just works!
  19. 19. @cattsmall@cattsmall Self-improvement I’m a much better designer now!
  20. 20. @cattsmall@cattsmall Why they can be unhelpful
  21. 21. @cattsmall@cattsmall When it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work
  22. 22. @cattsmall@cattsmall Lots of hierarchy PHPJava SQL C++ASP.NET Objective C C#Ruby JS Python JS Knockout MeteorBackbone Angular ReactEmber
  23. 23. @cattsmall@cattsmall Real vs. fake I’m a real programmer! export class Just<A> extends Maybe<A> { constructor(public value: A) { super(); }; export class Nothing<A> extends Maybe<A> { constructor() { super(); }; fold<R>(match) { return match.nothing; } export function of<A>(value: A): Maybe<A> { return new Just(value); export function zero<A>(): Nothing<A> { return new Nothing(); export function map<A, B>(fn: (a: A) => B): (m: Maybe<A>) => Maybe<B> { return function morphism(ma) { return ma.fold({ just: (a) => { return new Just(fn(a)) }, export function bind<A, B>(fn: (a: A) => Maybe<B>): (m: Maybe<A>) => Maybe<B> return function morphism(ma) { return ma.fold({ </> </>
  24. 24. @cattsmall@cattsmall Right vs. wrong Sketch Photoshop
  25. 25. @cattsmall@cattsmall No room for variables But that doesn’ t work for our team... We should try this new method!
  26. 26. @cattsmall@cattsmall But none of us know how it works... Power shifts & vacuums This is the best framework!
  27. 27. @cattsmall@cattsmall No time to celebrate Work Think about what to improve
  28. 28. @cattsmall@cattsmall How to refocus
  29. 29. @cattsmall@cattsmall Breathe
  30. 30. @cattsmall@cattsmall Accept imperfection.
  31. 31. @cattsmall@cattsmall Stop unhelpful discussions I think we should use– Slow down.
  32. 32. @cattsmall@cattsmall Consider your context Company size Team composition
  33. 33. @cattsmall@cattsmall The how will arise from the what.
  34. 34. @cattsmall@cattsmall Ask yourself questions ● Are you feeling frustrated? ● Does it benefit you enough to continue? ● Where can you deviate?
  35. 35. @cattsmall@cattsmall Make your own process Ideate Iterate Learn Design BuildCelebrate Launch Test
  36. 36. @cattsmall@cattsmall Pat yourself on the back NOICE!
  37. 37. @cattsmall@cattsmall Caveats
  38. 38. @cattsmall@cattsmall If things get too loose, rein it in!
  39. 39. @cattsmall@cattsmall Confused What the heck are we making?
  40. 40. @cattsmall@cattsmall Frustrated I can’t take it anymore!
  41. 41. @cattsmall@cattsmall Unsure I don’t know what to do next...
  42. 42. @cattsmall@cattsmall Lacking communication What’s going on?!
  43. 43. @cattsmall@cattsmall Sprinkle that process on top!
  44. 44. @cattsmall@cattsmall Don’t let it get out of hand.
  45. 45. @cattsmall@cattsmall Define objectives upfront I think we should use– What is our goal?
  46. 46. @cattsmall@cattsmall W’s first Define who, what, when, where, why Define how
  47. 47. @cattsmall@cattsmall Be flexible That’s not what the book says, but it works for us!
  48. 48. @cattsmall@cattsmall Ignore trendy hotness React worked well for them, but Ember does the job for us!
  49. 49. @cattsmall@cattsmall //random integer method. Lorem.prototype.randomInt = function (min, max) { return Math.floor(Math.random() * (max - min + 1)) + min; }; //text creator method with parameters: how many, what Lorem.prototype.createText = function(count, type) { switch (type) { //paragraphs are loads of sentences. case Lorem.TYPE.PARAGRAPH: var paragraphs = new Array; for (var i = 0; i < count; i++) { var paragraphLength = Share knowledge Let’s break down how this function works.
  50. 50. @cattsmall@cattsmall #celebrate! We’re such an awesome team.
  51. 51. @cattsmall@cattsmall Wrap-up
  52. 52. @cattsmall@cattsmall ● Process is a double-edged sword. ● A person’s right is another’s wrong. ● Power shifts/vacuums can happen when one person advocates for a new process or tool. In summary:
  53. 53. @cattsmall@cattsmall ● Think about your context first. ● Always define project goals. ● Accept imperfection. ● Don’t worry about the new hotness. ● Celebrate what you make. Advice:
  54. 54. @cattsmall@cattsmall Go out there & make cool stuff!
  55. 55. @cattsmall@cattsmall Thank you. Questions? Tweet @cattsmall Email