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Design as
Competitive Advantage




                                                                      Tweet me @andybudd
Hi there,

My name is Andy and I run a relatively well known design agency in the UK called
Clearleft.

I also founded Fontdeck.com, one of Europe’s biggest font embedding services for
designers.

And over the past few years I’ve worked with and mentored dozens of start-ups. And
one thing I’ve noticed is that few of them make full advantage of the power of design.

So I wanted to share some of my learnings with you.
Utility Trumps Design




                                                                              Tweet me @andybudd
When you're creating something that's never existed before (like this death star) and it solves a
particularly annoying problem (like the rebel scum), people tend not to care how well it's
designed.

They simply want a product to be in existence and make the problem go away.

We can see this lack of concern about design in many early products,
Early electric
Hair Dryer




                                   Tweet me @andybudd
like this commercial hair dryer.
Early electric
Hair curlers




                              Tweet me @andybudd
these electric hair curlers
Early device for
the treatment of hysteria




                                                                       Tweet me @andybudd
Or this device for treating victorian ladies for hysteria.

It’s clear from all these examples that the aesthetics and user experience of these
products weren’t considered when they were created.

They were first and foremost engineering problems.
Design flaw




                                                                    Tweet me @andybudd
However in the rush to market, many of these products contained critical design
flaws.

Like the electric curlers tendency to set people on fire.
Early adopters




                                                                       Tweet me @andybudd
Despite this you will always find a few early adopters.

In fact most of the people working on start-ups fall into this category.
Utility vs usability




                                                                         Tweet me @andybudd
People willing to use a product for the value it brings, irrespective of what it looks like
or how hard it is to use.

If you’re not careful, this can give start-ups the sense that their product is perfect and
they’ve hit the jackpot.

However over time, less forgiving users will come on board and they’ll start to notice
all the little problems with the product.
It’s Ugly




                                Tweet me @andybudd
They’ll notice that it’s ugly
It’s Confusing




                 Tweet me @andybudd
It’s Difficult to use




                        Tweet me @andybudd
Tweet me @andybudd
And if your not careful, that can spell “game over” for any growing company
Your competitors
Will try to out do you




                                                                  Tweet me @andybudd
Because very soon some young entrepreneur will come along and try and out do you.

In the early stages this will be on the engineering front.
Making it smaller




                                    Tweet me @andybudd
They’ll make your product smaller
Making it faster




                         Tweet me @andybudd
They’ll make it faster
Packed with features




                                                                           Tweet me @andybudd
Or they’ll add lots of extra features, like adding a touch screen to the front of a fridge.

Incidentally the only reason I can see for the existence of a Smart Fridge is the fact
that digital displays and wifi units have got so cheap, the cost of putting them into
white goods is minimal.

So it’s like the 80s when suddenly everything had a digital clock in it.

A classic case of design being driven by what’s technically possible rather than
desirable.
Technology becomes a commodity




                                                                      Tweet me @andybudd
Now competing on technology is great for a while.

However over time the engineering advances alone will stop being compelling. 

And very quickly your “must have” product will become a commodity.

This is the point at which most companies start to take design seriously.
Design becomes important
over time




                                                                      Tweet me @andybudd
This is partly down to pressure from other competitors.

Partly down to consumer demand.

And partly down to trends.



To me the interesting thing with these slides is that you’re witnessing the
development of three different products take place over around 100 years.

With digital products, people expect the same pace of change over 5 years.
Design becomes important
over time




                                                                      Tweet me @andybudd
This is partly down to pressure from other competitors.

Partly down to consumer demand.

And partly down to trends.



To me the interesting thing with these slides is that you’re witnessing the
development of three different products take place over around 100 years.

With digital products, people expect the same pace of change over 5 years.
The importance of aethetics




                                                                      Tweet me @andybudd
When most people think about design they tend to focus on aesthetics or surface
level appearances.

And this is indeed an important aspect of design.

After all, you can use beauty to drive desire and set you apart from the competition.
Good design drives desire




                                                                      Tweet me @andybudd
For instance if you think about heavily commoditised products like headphones,
design really is one of the few avenues for competitive advantage left open to you.

In this case, Beats by Dr Dre have managed to corner the headphone market by
building a powerful brand around design, despite what many audiophiles would claim
to be sub standard hardware.

It amazes me how so few start-ups have managed to do the same and build up a
compelling digital brand.
Aetherics only go so far




                                                                       Tweet me @andybudd
However aesthetics will only take you so far
as anybody who has ever tried to make orange juice using this Philip Stark juicer will
attest to.

Good design is so much more than just what something looks like. It’s also about
how something behaves when used.
New technology is often
viewed as complicated




                                                                     Tweet me @andybudd
You see, a lot of new products are designed by super users and end up looking like
this.

And while this solution may have all the features super users want, most people feel
intimidated by this level of complexity.
Design can simplify




                                                                        Tweet me @andybudd
One of the benefits that good design can bring is it’s ability to simplify. To ditch that
which is confusing or unnecessary and focus on the core of the product.

This will help you expand into new areas and attract the less experimental customers.
The ones that just want your new product to work, and work seamlessly.

So the best designers work to develop a deep understanding of how your customers
use your products.

And then design products around their needs.
Testing is essential




                                                                 Tweet me @andybudd
To do this, testing is essential.

Because no matter how logical things may seem on the drawing board, when you put
things in the hands of real users, unexpected things start happening.

This is one of the foundations of user-centred design.
Dieter Rams 10 principles
of good design




If you’re still not sure what good design looks like

Legendary Braun designer, Dieter Rams, created a set of core principles which drove his work.


These include...


 ■ Makes a product useful - A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria,
   not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the
   usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
 ■ Is innovative - The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted.
   Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But
   innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be
   an end in itself.
 ■ Is aesthetic - The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because
   products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-
   executed objects can be beautiful.
 ■ Makes a product understandable - It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can
   make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user's intuition. At best,
   it is self-explanatory.
 ■ Is unobtrusive - Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative
   objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to
   leave room for the user's self-expression.
 ■ Is honest - It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really
   is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
Dieter Rams 10 principles
of good design


     Is	
  innova)ve                               Is	
  honest
     Makes	
  a	
  product	
  useful               Is	
  long-­‐las)ng
     Is	
  aesthe)c                                Is	
  thorough	
  down	
  to	
  the	
  last	
  detail
     Makes	
  a	
  product	
  understandable       Is	
  environmentally	
  friendly
     Is	
  unobtrusive                             Is	
  as	
  li<le	
  design	
  as	
  possible




If you’re still not sure what good design looks like

Legendary Braun designer, Dieter Rams, created a set of core principles which drove his work.


These include...


 ■ Makes a product useful - A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria,
   not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the
   usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
 ■ Is innovative - The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted.
   Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But
   innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be
   an end in itself.
 ■ Is aesthetic - The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because
   products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-
   executed objects can be beautiful.
 ■ Makes a product understandable - It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can
   make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user's intuition. At best,
   it is self-explanatory.
 ■ Is unobtrusive - Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative
   objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to
   leave room for the user's self-expression.
 ■ Is honest - It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really
   is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
Good design is like a
detective story




For me, good design is like a detective story

It’s a case of pulling together all the different clues in one place, sifting the evidence, spotting
patterns and playing out your hunches.

Bad designers are like the detectives that try and get a quick conviction, no matter whether the
person is guilty or not.
Good designers workspaces
look like this




Which is one of the reasons that a good designers workspace typically looks like a
crime has been committed.

And incidentally, if your designers work spaces don’t look like this, I’d wonder why.
Kano Model




                                                                      Tweet me @andybudd
Designers have built up various tools to help them design great products.

One of my favourites is the Kano Model

[Explain]

Minimum viable product
Minimum desirable product

The creation of delight is a very important characteristic, and something I’ve spoken
about at length in the past.
Designing for delight




                                                                           Tweet me @andybudd
However adding stuff like this to your product isn’t the type of thing you’d see on
your average user story or Kanban board.

In fact, the nice little features are usually the first things to be cut, in favour of extra
features or a faster product.

So designers play a very important role here as product champions.
Mail Chimp excels
at delighting their customers




                                                                     Tweet me @andybudd
A company that always manages to delight it’s users is MailChimp.

They manage to turn the simple act of sending a marketing email into a joy.

Zappos is another, oft used examples of this.
Mail Chimp excels
at delighting their customers




                                                                     Tweet me @andybudd
A company that always manages to delight it’s users is MailChimp.

They manage to turn the simple act of sending a marketing email into a joy.

Zappos is another, oft used examples of this.
Seth Godin quote                                      “ Market-driven
                                                        design builds the
                                                        success of the
                                                        products
                                                        marketing into the
                                                        product itself”
                                                                 Seth Godin




One of my other product design heros is Seth Godin.

Seth talks a lot about the power design has when marketing your products and suggests that
most companies would be better off diverting their marketing budges into product design.

So rather than building average products and having to spend a lot of money promoting
them, it’s better to build remarkable products that promote themselves through word of
mouth.
Dropbox Designs




This is exactly what Dropbox did when they diverted the bulk of their marketing spend ($233-
$388 per user) into improving the user experience on their product.

“we spent almost all our effort on making an elegant simple product that just worked and made
users happy”

What they ended up doing was creating a product that worked seamlessly and their users
loved them because of this.
Build a product
people love




                                                                       Tweet me @andybudd
And after all, when we talk about design what we’re really talking about is building a
company your users will love.

And frankly, unless you’re building developer tools like GitHub (which is awesome
btw) you’re going to want to have designers at the centre of this process.
Triple threat




Because when you pull all these different aspects of design together it becomes
incredibly powerful and you end up with something like Nest.

It’s a beautiful piece of product design making a boring commodity product typically
selected by your heating engineer, into a sexy design statement.

However it’s also incredibly easy to use because it was based on a deep
understanding of user behaviour. This this is a product that learns about its users and
changes based on their behaviour.
“ We’re shifting to an
                                           experience economy
                                           where an experience
                                           is becoming the
                                           primary economic
                                           offering”
                                                      Joseph Pine




A lot of this comes down to another aspect of the modern world that I’ve talked about
before in the past.

The fact that we’ve moved from a product or service model to an experience model.

Products and services have become a commodity. More and more people these days
are looking to pay for experiences.
User Experience Design




                                                                        Tweet me @andybudd
This is one of the reasons we've seen the rise is discipline like user experience

A way of designing products not just based on what they look like, but how they feel
when used.
Create something that is
difficult to replicate




So I see good design as a business strategy.

As a way of creating something that’s difficult to replicate.

Because design is hard.
Competing on design
is hard




                                                                     Tweet me @andybudd
Lots of companies are attempting, but many are failing.

Which is why the consumer electronics market is filled with “me to” clones.

Until recently companies like Nokia were really struggling to produce good designs,
despite having some really good designers and employing a user centred approach to
R&D.

I’ve spoken to many people at Nokia who were working on “innovative features that
first debut in the iPhone” many years ago.
You need great designers




So how do you compete on design effectively?

The first thing you need to do is hire good designers.

However unless you’re a design led company, it’s really hard to judge the quality of a designer.
Not all designers are
created equal




So most start-ups will go onto a site like Dribbble, find a “hot young talented designer” and
make them the lead designer at your start-up.

You then tell them what you want and they go away and design what you imagined.
Don’t hire stylists




If you do this, you’ll end up with a stylist rather than a designer.

Somebody who is good at mimicking current design trends, but lacks the initiative or
experience to solve the complex problems.

They’ll spend their time trying to make you happy by replicating what’s in your head, rather
than trying to make your clients happy

Incidentally this guy is from a crazy TV show called “Hair Battle Challenge”.
Real designers don’t wow
with crazy ideas




Where they do crazy things like make hairstyles that look like the Eiffel tower
Short runway




Sadly a lot of start-ups begin by hiring juniors with idea that they will bring in senior designers
in later on.

The juniors may be able to pump out designs very fast but the quality will be low, as will the
likelihood that they’re designing the right thing.

Good design actually takes quite a bit of time, so you need to start as early as possible before
your runway runs out.

There’s nothing like realising that your product is failing because it’s badly designed, when it’s
too late to do anything about it.

I’ve seen far too many companies come to me after a year and a half of working with mediocre
designers and still not where we could have got them in 6 months for about the same price.

However they naively believed they were gaming the system and that their less experienced
designers could have done the same job as us in 6 montsh for a third of the cost.
Hire the best designers
you can afford




So my advice would be to hire the best designers you can afford at the start of the process.

You can always transition to less experienced (and expensive) designers once the really hard
problems have been solved.
You need design thinkers




So instead of stylists you need design thinkers.

People that can challenge assumptions, untangle messy design problems and can get you to
the right solution as quickly as possible.

These kind of designers can add a huge amount of value to your start-up.

Not least because they can stop you wasting valuable time on design dead-ends.

However this level of skill is difficult to find and costly.
Get a design co-founder




Better still, find a design co-founder.

This is becoming much more common these days.

In fact some of the biggest start-up success stories of late were co-founded by designers.

And I think the quality shows.
The important design decisions
happen at the start




One of the reasons to have a design co-founder is that some of the most important design
decisions you will make happen at the start.

This is because an interface design is just the manifestation of your company values and
business model. If you get that wrong, no amount of visual tinkering will make the product
work.

This is why the better designers want to be involved with projects as early in the pipeline as
possible. If you only call in your designers once all the important decisions have been made,
there is little they can effect.
Build a culture
of design




The other benefit of having either a design co-founder or a relatively senior designer on board
at the start is that great designers attract other great designers and can build a strong culture
of design in your organisation.

Just in the same way that a great CTO can build a culture of innovation and excellence
amongst your engineering team.

So if design is important to you, a well known and senior designer could be a huge asset.
Design is
a team sport




That being said, don’t fall into the trap that design is just one persons job.

The design of your product is the responsibility of everybody in the company, from the founder,
down to the QA person.
There is no
B-Team




So you need to integrate design through the whole of your team.

Just make sure that you have at least one good designer directing the activities.
Silicon Valley is waking up
to the power of design




In my opinion Silicon Valley is starting to wake up to the power of design.

We’re seeing funds set up that invest purely in design companies.

And in the last 6 months I’ve had 2 different friends have their design agencies acquired by
Facebook and Twitter, purely for the design talent.

So the search for design talent is hotting up at the moment, and a senior design team can
really add to your valuation.
Lean Start-up
is good for design




I think Lean start-up has largely had a positive effect on design.

One of the biggest benefits has been this idea of “customer development” and the need to get
out of the office and learn from your users.

This is something that designers have been saying to their bosses for years, so I’m glad it’s
finally catching on.
Lean UX




Which is why I think programme like LUXr are very interesting as they aim to teach start-up
founders some of the basics of UX design.

However this doesn’t mean that you can supplement good designers by sending your
development team on a week long course.
Blindly following analytics
doesn’t count as design




However one thing I’d caution against is the current trend that says that analytics and A/B
testing are the way to design your product.

I liken this driving a car by looking only at the satnav.

It’s an amazingly useful tool and can definitely help guide the design process.

However if you don’t have a skilled driver and refuse to look out of the window every once in a
while....
Local maxima




You’ll do what this driver in England did and get stuck down a dead end and be unable to get
out again.

In the design world we call this a local maxima.

The use of analytics and testing to optimise the existing product, where there could actually be
a much better solution out there if you only look hard enough.
3 THINGS
                    The Start-up World
                    Needs To Do

So in summary I think I have 3 important messages for the start-up community.
Realise that
                       Design
                       Adds Value

First off you need to realise that design adds value and invest accordingly
Build a Culture
   of
Design
Hire the Be$t
                       Designers
                       You Can Afford



And I think with those three things in place, you’ll be able to go out and build even better
products that make your customers happy and bring you the returns you’re looking for.
@andybudd
                                              www.clearleft.com
                                             andy@clearleft.com

It’s our job to make great products.
It’s your job to help ensure that happens.
Please help.
@andybudd
     www.clearleft.com
    andy@clearleft.com

I
Create something that is

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Design for Start-Ups

  • 1. Design as Competitive Advantage Tweet me @andybudd Hi there, My name is Andy and I run a relatively well known design agency in the UK called Clearleft. I also founded Fontdeck.com, one of Europe’s biggest font embedding services for designers. And over the past few years I’ve worked with and mentored dozens of start-ups. And one thing I’ve noticed is that few of them make full advantage of the power of design. So I wanted to share some of my learnings with you.
  • 2. Utility Trumps Design Tweet me @andybudd When you're creating something that's never existed before (like this death star) and it solves a particularly annoying problem (like the rebel scum), people tend not to care how well it's designed. They simply want a product to be in existence and make the problem go away. We can see this lack of concern about design in many early products,
  • 3. Early electric Hair Dryer Tweet me @andybudd like this commercial hair dryer.
  • 4. Early electric Hair curlers Tweet me @andybudd these electric hair curlers
  • 5. Early device for the treatment of hysteria Tweet me @andybudd Or this device for treating victorian ladies for hysteria. It’s clear from all these examples that the aesthetics and user experience of these products weren’t considered when they were created. They were first and foremost engineering problems.
  • 6. Design flaw Tweet me @andybudd However in the rush to market, many of these products contained critical design flaws. Like the electric curlers tendency to set people on fire.
  • 7. Early adopters Tweet me @andybudd Despite this you will always find a few early adopters. In fact most of the people working on start-ups fall into this category.
  • 8. Utility vs usability Tweet me @andybudd People willing to use a product for the value it brings, irrespective of what it looks like or how hard it is to use. If you’re not careful, this can give start-ups the sense that their product is perfect and they’ve hit the jackpot. However over time, less forgiving users will come on board and they’ll start to notice all the little problems with the product.
  • 9. It’s Ugly Tweet me @andybudd They’ll notice that it’s ugly
  • 10. It’s Confusing Tweet me @andybudd
  • 11. It’s Difficult to use Tweet me @andybudd
  • 12. Tweet me @andybudd And if your not careful, that can spell “game over” for any growing company
  • 13. Your competitors Will try to out do you Tweet me @andybudd Because very soon some young entrepreneur will come along and try and out do you. In the early stages this will be on the engineering front.
  • 14. Making it smaller Tweet me @andybudd They’ll make your product smaller
  • 15. Making it faster Tweet me @andybudd They’ll make it faster
  • 16. Packed with features Tweet me @andybudd Or they’ll add lots of extra features, like adding a touch screen to the front of a fridge. Incidentally the only reason I can see for the existence of a Smart Fridge is the fact that digital displays and wifi units have got so cheap, the cost of putting them into white goods is minimal. So it’s like the 80s when suddenly everything had a digital clock in it. A classic case of design being driven by what’s technically possible rather than desirable.
  • 17. Technology becomes a commodity Tweet me @andybudd Now competing on technology is great for a while. However over time the engineering advances alone will stop being compelling.  And very quickly your “must have” product will become a commodity. This is the point at which most companies start to take design seriously.
  • 18. Design becomes important over time Tweet me @andybudd This is partly down to pressure from other competitors. Partly down to consumer demand. And partly down to trends. To me the interesting thing with these slides is that you’re witnessing the development of three different products take place over around 100 years. With digital products, people expect the same pace of change over 5 years.
  • 19. Design becomes important over time Tweet me @andybudd This is partly down to pressure from other competitors. Partly down to consumer demand. And partly down to trends. To me the interesting thing with these slides is that you’re witnessing the development of three different products take place over around 100 years. With digital products, people expect the same pace of change over 5 years.
  • 20. The importance of aethetics Tweet me @andybudd When most people think about design they tend to focus on aesthetics or surface level appearances. And this is indeed an important aspect of design. After all, you can use beauty to drive desire and set you apart from the competition.
  • 21. Good design drives desire Tweet me @andybudd For instance if you think about heavily commoditised products like headphones, design really is one of the few avenues for competitive advantage left open to you. In this case, Beats by Dr Dre have managed to corner the headphone market by building a powerful brand around design, despite what many audiophiles would claim to be sub standard hardware. It amazes me how so few start-ups have managed to do the same and build up a compelling digital brand.
  • 22. Aetherics only go so far Tweet me @andybudd However aesthetics will only take you so far as anybody who has ever tried to make orange juice using this Philip Stark juicer will attest to. Good design is so much more than just what something looks like. It’s also about how something behaves when used.
  • 23. New technology is often viewed as complicated Tweet me @andybudd You see, a lot of new products are designed by super users and end up looking like this. And while this solution may have all the features super users want, most people feel intimidated by this level of complexity.
  • 24. Design can simplify Tweet me @andybudd One of the benefits that good design can bring is it’s ability to simplify. To ditch that which is confusing or unnecessary and focus on the core of the product. This will help you expand into new areas and attract the less experimental customers. The ones that just want your new product to work, and work seamlessly. So the best designers work to develop a deep understanding of how your customers use your products. And then design products around their needs.
  • 25. Testing is essential Tweet me @andybudd To do this, testing is essential. Because no matter how logical things may seem on the drawing board, when you put things in the hands of real users, unexpected things start happening. This is one of the foundations of user-centred design.
  • 26. Dieter Rams 10 principles of good design If you’re still not sure what good design looks like Legendary Braun designer, Dieter Rams, created a set of core principles which drove his work. These include... ■ Makes a product useful - A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it. ■ Is innovative - The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself. ■ Is aesthetic - The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well- executed objects can be beautiful. ■ Makes a product understandable - It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user's intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory. ■ Is unobtrusive - Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user's self-expression. ■ Is honest - It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
  • 27. Dieter Rams 10 principles of good design Is  innova)ve Is  honest Makes  a  product  useful Is  long-­‐las)ng Is  aesthe)c Is  thorough  down  to  the  last  detail Makes  a  product  understandable Is  environmentally  friendly Is  unobtrusive Is  as  li<le  design  as  possible If you’re still not sure what good design looks like Legendary Braun designer, Dieter Rams, created a set of core principles which drove his work. These include... ■ Makes a product useful - A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it. ■ Is innovative - The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself. ■ Is aesthetic - The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well- executed objects can be beautiful. ■ Makes a product understandable - It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user's intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory. ■ Is unobtrusive - Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user's self-expression. ■ Is honest - It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
  • 28. Good design is like a detective story For me, good design is like a detective story It’s a case of pulling together all the different clues in one place, sifting the evidence, spotting patterns and playing out your hunches. Bad designers are like the detectives that try and get a quick conviction, no matter whether the person is guilty or not.
  • 29. Good designers workspaces look like this Which is one of the reasons that a good designers workspace typically looks like a crime has been committed. And incidentally, if your designers work spaces don’t look like this, I’d wonder why.
  • 30. Kano Model Tweet me @andybudd Designers have built up various tools to help them design great products. One of my favourites is the Kano Model [Explain] Minimum viable product Minimum desirable product The creation of delight is a very important characteristic, and something I’ve spoken about at length in the past.
  • 31. Designing for delight Tweet me @andybudd However adding stuff like this to your product isn’t the type of thing you’d see on your average user story or Kanban board. In fact, the nice little features are usually the first things to be cut, in favour of extra features or a faster product. So designers play a very important role here as product champions.
  • 32. Mail Chimp excels at delighting their customers Tweet me @andybudd A company that always manages to delight it’s users is MailChimp. They manage to turn the simple act of sending a marketing email into a joy. Zappos is another, oft used examples of this.
  • 33. Mail Chimp excels at delighting their customers Tweet me @andybudd A company that always manages to delight it’s users is MailChimp. They manage to turn the simple act of sending a marketing email into a joy. Zappos is another, oft used examples of this.
  • 34. Seth Godin quote “ Market-driven design builds the success of the products marketing into the product itself” Seth Godin One of my other product design heros is Seth Godin. Seth talks a lot about the power design has when marketing your products and suggests that most companies would be better off diverting their marketing budges into product design. So rather than building average products and having to spend a lot of money promoting them, it’s better to build remarkable products that promote themselves through word of mouth.
  • 35. Dropbox Designs This is exactly what Dropbox did when they diverted the bulk of their marketing spend ($233- $388 per user) into improving the user experience on their product. “we spent almost all our effort on making an elegant simple product that just worked and made users happy” What they ended up doing was creating a product that worked seamlessly and their users loved them because of this.
  • 36. Build a product people love Tweet me @andybudd And after all, when we talk about design what we’re really talking about is building a company your users will love. And frankly, unless you’re building developer tools like GitHub (which is awesome btw) you’re going to want to have designers at the centre of this process.
  • 37. Triple threat Because when you pull all these different aspects of design together it becomes incredibly powerful and you end up with something like Nest. It’s a beautiful piece of product design making a boring commodity product typically selected by your heating engineer, into a sexy design statement. However it’s also incredibly easy to use because it was based on a deep understanding of user behaviour. This this is a product that learns about its users and changes based on their behaviour.
  • 38. “ We’re shifting to an experience economy where an experience is becoming the primary economic offering” Joseph Pine A lot of this comes down to another aspect of the modern world that I’ve talked about before in the past. The fact that we’ve moved from a product or service model to an experience model. Products and services have become a commodity. More and more people these days are looking to pay for experiences.
  • 39. User Experience Design Tweet me @andybudd This is one of the reasons we've seen the rise is discipline like user experience A way of designing products not just based on what they look like, but how they feel when used.
  • 40. Create something that is difficult to replicate So I see good design as a business strategy. As a way of creating something that’s difficult to replicate. Because design is hard.
  • 41. Competing on design is hard Tweet me @andybudd Lots of companies are attempting, but many are failing. Which is why the consumer electronics market is filled with “me to” clones. Until recently companies like Nokia were really struggling to produce good designs, despite having some really good designers and employing a user centred approach to R&D. I’ve spoken to many people at Nokia who were working on “innovative features that first debut in the iPhone” many years ago.
  • 42. You need great designers So how do you compete on design effectively? The first thing you need to do is hire good designers. However unless you’re a design led company, it’s really hard to judge the quality of a designer.
  • 43. Not all designers are created equal So most start-ups will go onto a site like Dribbble, find a “hot young talented designer” and make them the lead designer at your start-up. You then tell them what you want and they go away and design what you imagined.
  • 44. Don’t hire stylists If you do this, you’ll end up with a stylist rather than a designer. Somebody who is good at mimicking current design trends, but lacks the initiative or experience to solve the complex problems. They’ll spend their time trying to make you happy by replicating what’s in your head, rather than trying to make your clients happy Incidentally this guy is from a crazy TV show called “Hair Battle Challenge”.
  • 45. Real designers don’t wow with crazy ideas Where they do crazy things like make hairstyles that look like the Eiffel tower
  • 46. Short runway Sadly a lot of start-ups begin by hiring juniors with idea that they will bring in senior designers in later on. The juniors may be able to pump out designs very fast but the quality will be low, as will the likelihood that they’re designing the right thing. Good design actually takes quite a bit of time, so you need to start as early as possible before your runway runs out. There’s nothing like realising that your product is failing because it’s badly designed, when it’s too late to do anything about it. I’ve seen far too many companies come to me after a year and a half of working with mediocre designers and still not where we could have got them in 6 months for about the same price. However they naively believed they were gaming the system and that their less experienced designers could have done the same job as us in 6 montsh for a third of the cost.
  • 47. Hire the best designers you can afford So my advice would be to hire the best designers you can afford at the start of the process. You can always transition to less experienced (and expensive) designers once the really hard problems have been solved.
  • 48. You need design thinkers So instead of stylists you need design thinkers. People that can challenge assumptions, untangle messy design problems and can get you to the right solution as quickly as possible. These kind of designers can add a huge amount of value to your start-up. Not least because they can stop you wasting valuable time on design dead-ends. However this level of skill is difficult to find and costly.
  • 49. Get a design co-founder Better still, find a design co-founder. This is becoming much more common these days. In fact some of the biggest start-up success stories of late were co-founded by designers. And I think the quality shows.
  • 50. The important design decisions happen at the start One of the reasons to have a design co-founder is that some of the most important design decisions you will make happen at the start. This is because an interface design is just the manifestation of your company values and business model. If you get that wrong, no amount of visual tinkering will make the product work. This is why the better designers want to be involved with projects as early in the pipeline as possible. If you only call in your designers once all the important decisions have been made, there is little they can effect.
  • 51. Build a culture of design The other benefit of having either a design co-founder or a relatively senior designer on board at the start is that great designers attract other great designers and can build a strong culture of design in your organisation. Just in the same way that a great CTO can build a culture of innovation and excellence amongst your engineering team. So if design is important to you, a well known and senior designer could be a huge asset.
  • 52. Design is a team sport That being said, don’t fall into the trap that design is just one persons job. The design of your product is the responsibility of everybody in the company, from the founder, down to the QA person.
  • 53. There is no B-Team So you need to integrate design through the whole of your team. Just make sure that you have at least one good designer directing the activities.
  • 54. Silicon Valley is waking up to the power of design In my opinion Silicon Valley is starting to wake up to the power of design. We’re seeing funds set up that invest purely in design companies. And in the last 6 months I’ve had 2 different friends have their design agencies acquired by Facebook and Twitter, purely for the design talent. So the search for design talent is hotting up at the moment, and a senior design team can really add to your valuation.
  • 55. Lean Start-up is good for design I think Lean start-up has largely had a positive effect on design. One of the biggest benefits has been this idea of “customer development” and the need to get out of the office and learn from your users. This is something that designers have been saying to their bosses for years, so I’m glad it’s finally catching on.
  • 56. Lean UX Which is why I think programme like LUXr are very interesting as they aim to teach start-up founders some of the basics of UX design. However this doesn’t mean that you can supplement good designers by sending your development team on a week long course.
  • 57. Blindly following analytics doesn’t count as design However one thing I’d caution against is the current trend that says that analytics and A/B testing are the way to design your product. I liken this driving a car by looking only at the satnav. It’s an amazingly useful tool and can definitely help guide the design process. However if you don’t have a skilled driver and refuse to look out of the window every once in a while....
  • 58. Local maxima You’ll do what this driver in England did and get stuck down a dead end and be unable to get out again. In the design world we call this a local maxima. The use of analytics and testing to optimise the existing product, where there could actually be a much better solution out there if you only look hard enough.
  • 59. 3 THINGS The Start-up World Needs To Do So in summary I think I have 3 important messages for the start-up community.
  • 60. Realise that Design Adds Value First off you need to realise that design adds value and invest accordingly
  • 61. Build a Culture of Design
  • 62. Hire the Be$t Designers You Can Afford And I think with those three things in place, you’ll be able to go out and build even better products that make your customers happy and bring you the returns you’re looking for.
  • 63. @andybudd www.clearleft.com andy@clearleft.com It’s our job to make great products. It’s your job to help ensure that happens. Please help.
  • 64. @andybudd www.clearleft.com andy@clearleft.com I