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Product Design is Poo - And we're all going to die


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A humorous presentation about what is wrong with the current way of building digital products. Showing what is wrong, explaining the signs and giving you a checklist for reforming your company - are laid out with links, resources and further reading.

Published in: Internet
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Product Design is Poo - And we're all going to die

  1. 1. Digital Product Design is And we’re all going to die… @OptimiseOrDie
  2. 2. @OptimiseOrDi e • Growth Optimisation, Lean, Agile • Teams, Culture, Methodology • Split Testing, Analytics, UX • 200M+ visitors tested • 230+ sites, 26 languages • Is it working right? • No? • Sullivac @
  3. 3. Designing for Humanity! @OptimiseOrDie
  4. 4. Designing for Humanity! @OptimiseOrDie
  5. 5. You had One F***ing Job to Do! @OptimiseOrDie
  6. 6. From 1994 -> To the Future! @OptimiseOrDie
  7. 7. The Depressing Reality of 2016: @OptimiseO
  8. 8. Stuff I expected to be HERE: • Artificial Intelligence instead of Forms • Instant Customer Service • Seamless Web and Call Tracking • Microwave dinners that open properly • Flying Cars • Jetpacks • Free Energy • Space Tourism • Learning from past Design Mistakes! • More Usable Products! @OptimiseOrDie
  9. 9. Why? Because We are F***ing Stupid! Let me give you a couple of examples… @OptimiseOrDie
  10. 10. @OptimiseOrDieAnnual Sales in DE/FR/UK/IT/ES = £4.5Bn (2015) After Millions of Years of Evolution…
  11. 11. @OptimiseOrDie
  12. 12. @OptimiseOrDie 3 minutes later…
  13. 13. Quick Calculation: • £4.5Bn Sales @ £3.5 average price • Assume 60% are failures • Costs 90 seconds of wasted time • 72514285714 seconds wasted • 1208571428 minutes • 20142857 hours • 839,285 days of life - wasted on friction! • What about injuries? @OptimiseOrDie
  14. 14. @OptimiseOrDie A Completely Solvable Problem!
  15. 15. A Packaging Manifesto: 1. Packaging should never require a sharp implement to open. 2. Packaging should not require finger control or strength which discriminates against population groups 3. Any packaging must be capable of being returned to its original state to preserve any unused contents @OptimiseOrDie
  16. 16. Why? “If it comes off in one, it's gonna be banging! If you’re picking plastic out of your dinner for ten minutes, it's probably gonna taste like shit.” @OptimiseOrDie
  17. 17. Why? “Because an experience is only as good as its shittiest part” @OptimiseOrDie
  18. 18. @OptimiseOrDie
  19. 19. Edwardian Hygiene “It was only in the early 1900s that British doctors realised that the housefly could carry disease on its bristly legs. Flies were a major transmitter of both typhoid and summer-sickness, causing thousands of deaths each year. After the hot summer of 1911, there was rising public panic about the high levels of infant mortality from diarrhoea. Medical officers decided that they needed to change the way the British public felt about flies.” @OptimiseOrDie
  20. 20. @OptimiseOrDie “The creation of disgust around flies was a major achievement of the early 20th Century… The Death rate from diarrhoea fell steadily from 1913…” @OptimiseOrDie
  21. 21. @OptimiseOrDie “A 2010 Study found that when swabbed, 28% of London Commuters had faecal bacteria on their hands!” @OptimiseOrDie
  22. 22. Quick Calculation: • Less than 20% of people in the world wash hands • Mainly because they don’t have soap and running water • London is well served for these! • A huge part of UK ‘Food Poisoning’ is actually faecal bacteria • This part costs the economy up to £1.5Bn a year • British travellers get ill on holiday more often than Americans, Australians or Europeans! @OptimiseOrDie
  23. 23. @OptimiseOrDie “The London Handshake”
  24. 24. Why? Because We are F***ing Stupid! @OptimiseOrDie
  25. 25. What can Manufacturing & Retail teach us?
  26. 26. @OptimiseOrDie Car Manufacturing Timeline 1893 The Daimler Motor Syndicate formed in Britain 1908 The first Model T rolls off the production line 1930s New innovations in body types – bumpers, closed bodies, boots! 1945 Car Manufacturing takes off in Europe 1959 The Mini comes onto the market! 1961 The first Robot used by General Motors 1960s Japan becomes a major force in manufacturing 1973 Oil Crisis Hits, US market stagnates, Toyota, Nissan, BMW thrive! 1980 Japan becomes 1st in worldwide car production 1980s Use of robots prevalent at virtually all manufacturers
  27. 27. @OptimiseOrDie Car Manufacturing Timeline 1983 Chrysler opens new ‘just in sequence’ assembly line 1990 Japanese carmakers nab 28% of the US market 1991 GM and Ford post record losses whilst Japan booms 1997 Toyota launches the Prius Hybrid car 2005 Four of the 10 largest companies are oil, four are car companies! 2006 Chrysler and GM post huge losses and are rescued 2008 Tesla debuts the Roadster 2010 Toyota, GM, VW and Hyundai the biggest companies 2010 GM sells more cars in China than the USA 2015 First mass market hydrogen car
  28. 28. @OptimiseOrDie Car Manufacturing Timeline Toyota Production System (1960s ->) Lean Manufacturing (1960s ->) Kanban (1960s ->) Continuous Improvement (1970s ->) Six Sigma (1986 ->) Agile Manufacturing (1990s ->)
  29. 29. @OptimiseOrDie 1. Change Growth TrajectoryWhat are these for? • Maintain or Improve Quality • Remove Defects & Waste • Increase Production Capacity • Agility, Flexibility, Rapid Delivery • Continuous and Rapid Change • Roboticisation & Automation • Market, Demand, Resource Planning • Get it very right or death results!
  30. 30. @OptimiseOrDie What Can Retail Teach Us? Let’s take some random stuff from online: • The toilets must be clean • All the lights must work • Rails must not be stuffed with clothes • Disturbed clothing must be tidied • All tills must be adequately staffed • Window displays must be changed daily • All doors and lifts must work • Floor surfaces must be spotlessly clean • The air has to smell right! Thousands of little, tiny and very important details!
  31. 31. @OptimiseOrDie What Can Retail Teach Us? Let’s try some online stuff: • Checkout fails on Chrome browsers • Contact Us page doesn’t render on iPads • Mobile payment page fails on PayPal • Navigation was built by a Sadist • Search is so poor nobody uses it • Performance unusable on 3G data • Errors on checkout are never noticed • Your basket disappears after 15 minutes • The password reset takes 45 minutes to arrive • Nobody changes the homepage for a bloody year!
  32. 32. @OptimiseOrDie 1. Change Growth TrajectoryWindow Displays & Basic Merchandising
  33. 33. @OptimiseOrDie Arrogance and Basic Standards • Hiring call with developers • Candidate told me “People are f***ing stupid if they use browsers like Internet Explorer” • I explained using a buggy!
  34. 34. @OptimiseOrDie The Big Problem
  35. 35. @OptimiseOrDie The Big Problem
  36. 36. @OptimiseOrDie • Clothing 1M per month, 2 bugs • Travel 2M per month, 13 bugs • Telecoms 1.4M per month, 3 bugs • Travel 0.6M per month, 5 bugs • Event Site 2.5M per month, 11 bugs – These were only the first bugs we found – < 5 days time to fix – an ROI of 91,150% – Larger than the annual IT budget for some! How Much do Bugs Cost?
  37. 37. Browser Checks Mobile & Tablet Article & Info 6: Here is our £84 Million testing rig! @OptimiseOrDie Fix Those Bugs!
  38. 38. 6: Here is our £84 Million testing rig! @OptimiseOrDie We Are All Going to Die! • Made by PetNet • “The World’s first Intelligent Pet Feeder” • Links to your smartphone app • Schedule feeding times remotely • Ooops! Server outage! “We are experiencing difficulties with one of our third party servers. You may experience a loss of scheduled feeds and failed remote feedings” WTF! The Pet experiences the loss!
  39. 39. 6: Here is our £84 Million testing rig! @OptimiseOrDie Holiday Diet Feature! Before After
  40. 40. 6: Here is our £84 Million testing rig! @OptimiseOrDie It’s only just starting! • Cheap devices coming! • Some very good • Some designed by idiots • Most designed by idiots • Never built a digital product • Never designed one • Now we make one • What’s wrong with that? • Access to your Wi-Fi network!
  41. 41. 6: Here is our £84 Million testing rig! @OptimiseOrDie Already Hacked! • Cars • Watches • Lightbulbs • Home Security • Phones • Alarms • Music Systems • Baby Monitors • Video surveillance • Power & Utility • Printers • Kettles
  42. 42. 6: Here is our £84 Million testing rig! @OptimiseOrDie Already Hacked! • No ‘Best Practice’ security for design • No infrastructure for updating or patching product • Needs unfettered access to Wi-Fi network • Allows untrusted computers to connect • No ‘two factor’ authentication “Samsung Toaster Hack Paralyzes Bay Area” “Hungarian Mercedes Hack shuts Uber in Budapest” “Thermostat Worm costs $4Bn and counting” “Search engine available for Hacked Baby Monitors”
  43. 43. 6: Here is our £84 Million testing rig! @OptimiseOrDie Read More!
  44. 44. 16. Ignorance Example “As your Circle of Knowledge grows, as the diameter increases, so does the circumference that’s in contact with all that darkness outside the circle of light.”
  45. 45. The Solution to Stupidity? “You Need to Get a Better Quality of Ignorance!” @OptimiseOrDie
  46. 46. Rehab for Companies @OptimiseOrDie 1. What are the signs? 2. Burn Down the Silos 3. Startup Growth Team Models 4. Lean Corporate & Optimisation 5. Product Themes / Decoupling 6. Culture of Failure & Velocity
  47. 47. 1. “We have analytics – we just don’t use it (properly)” 2. “We have testing – we just don’t learn anything useful” 3. “We have Customer Insight – we just don’t listen or act upon what they tell us” 4. “We do ‘Agile’, but we’re not really agile at all” 5. “We have a Growth Hacker, but they work in a silo” 6. “We apply optimisation but don’t change the organisational structure or management at all” 7. “We have all these tools – but nothing happens” @OptimiseOrDie 1. Signs you need Rehab
  48. 48. @OptimiseOrDie • Enough Project Managers and Business Analysts to host your own IT conference. • Silos work on product separately • No ‘One Team’ per product/theme • Non agile, non iterative design • Product is ‘passed around’ • Large teams, unwieldy coordination • Endless meddling and signoff • AB testing usually crippled too! 2. Burn Down the Silos!
  49. 49. @OptimiseOrDie 3. Independent Team, by Features Uber Facebook
  50. 50. @OptimiseOrDie 3. Independent Team, by Metrics Uber Facebook
  51. 51. @OptimiseOrDie 3. Integrated Product Teams - Functional Pinterest Twitter Linkedin Dropbox BitTorrent Airbnb FT ING Spotify
  52. 52. 4. Lean Optimisation and Lean Corporate @OptimiseOrDie
  53. 53. @OptimiseOrDie 4. FT.COM – Example • Small teams (6-15) with direct access to publish • Ability to set and get metrics data directly • Tools, Autonomy, Lack of interference • No Project Managers or Business Analysts • Business defines ‘outcomes’ – teams deliver • No long signoff chain • No pesky meddling fools during execution!
  54. 54. @OptimiseOrDie 4. FT.COM – Labs, Beta, Split Testing • 100s of releases a day! • MVP approach • Launch as alpha, beta, pilot, phased rollout • This approach includes split testing to tune, optimize or decide! • Like getting in a shower • Read more at
  55. 55. @OptimiseOrDie 1. Change Growth Trajectory4. Increased Productivity • Most product changes we make are a waste of time! • The Financial Times – 50-70% of product developer time wasted in a siloed organisational structure • Minimum project time was “At least 18 months” for anything • Projects were always late, underperformed, didn’t shift metrics as expected • Post changes, every IT project was under time & budget • Products were iterated to hack their way to success • xxM per annum additional profit after three years
  56. 56. @OptimiseOrDie 4. FT.COM – Pesky Meddling & Signoff
  57. 57. @OptimiseOrDie 1. Change Growth Trajectory4. A Holistic Approach “Product changes and AB tests are just the same thing to us. Where we’re moving to is measuring and testing everything we do. This approach tells us what works, what doesn’t, what to keep, what to remove and what we need to iterate.” Financial Times – NextFT project
  58. 58. #1 Analytics / Quantitative #2 Split Testing #3 UX / Qualitative #4 Agile & Lean #5 Culture & Organisation The Optimisation Barstool
  59. 59. @OptimiseOrDie 1. Invest more in Analytics Build your own data layer with tools, people, training, self sufficiency and continual improvement . Invest MORE! 2. Remove wastage and defects By building products more efficiently, cheaply, successfully. Remove experience defects at all stages of the lifecycle. 3. Reform the organisation Set teams free to find the right outcomes and self optimise SUMMARY
  60. 60. @OptimiseOrDie 4. AB and MVT Testing Don’t just test stuff. Winners have a process and methodology around discovering, prioritising and running their tests 5. Stop Reading Best Practice Bullshit Their customers, website, data, market are not yours. Stop reading what other people do and start listening to and measuring your customers! 6. Qual AND Quant If you are not measuring customer behaviour (and reaction to experiments) with both, then you’re hosed. Use data and insight to replace Ego, Opinion, Assumption, Cherished Notion or Bullshit SUMMARY
  61. 61. • Leicester & Orchestra side 62 Orchestration! You can still be beaten by people without your budget, tech or tools!
  62. 62. @OptimiseOrDie
  63. 63. Hacking efficiency/time/ delight/productivity/fun Tell your friends good Lovable Empathetic Delightful Self actualisation Life changing Rewiring FUNCTIONAL ACCESSIBLE USABLE USEFUL PERSUASIVE COMPELLING TRANSFORMATIONAL Device Browser Mobile Audience Performance Accessibility Platforms Comprehension Affordance Simplicity Relevance Clarity Context Utility Tasks Goals Steps Completion Progression Resonant Authentic Compelling Consistent Benefits Value Trust Social Integration and Proof Habits Nudges Addictions Lifecycle Promotions Personalisation Brand Belonging Trusted Emotive
  64. 64. TIME ROI Your Dendritic Future “If we are to survive, we have to stop wasting money on things that don’t work, cause more harm than good or aren’t actually needed.”
  65. 65. The Three Horizons of Innovation (
  66. 66. @OptimiseOrDie McDonalds Hipster Test Store
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  68. 68. @OptimiseOrDie
  69. 69. Thank You! Email me Slides Will be tweeted! LinkedIn