Design in Startups

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Matt Farag (@mattrobs) discusses why design is vital in any startup. "Design is not how it looks, but how it works."

Presented for Incubate summer workshop 2013.

Published in: Technology, Design
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Design in Startups

  1. 1. Design in startups by @mattrobs hello.People who are reading these notes: I wrote them at 1am the night before. They are theramblings of a delusional crazy person. There is LOTS OF SHOUTING AND EMOTION.Sorry about that.
  2. 2. Hey. Hi. you look nice today.
  3. 3. Let’s startwith a story.
  4. 4. So, who isthis jerk?
  5. 5. • I’m Matt.• I worked in failed startups.• I met the best designer and developer friends of my life.• Working on 2 new products!
  6. 6. Bitches.Big shot.
  7. 7. pretty big.I also work for these guys.One of Australia’s most successful Internet startups.Help businesses send email newsletters with analytics. Apple. Nike. Square. 37signals.Soundcloud.Users want QUALITY, RELIABILITY, WANT IT NOW. Can’t fuck it up.
  8. 8. Design in startups by @mattrobs hello.All of that was just to justify my preaching for an hour. Let’s begin.
  9. 9. What is design?
  10. 10. Not justmaking shit pretty
  11. 11. Pretty solves nothing.DESIGNERS WHO JUST DO PRETTY ARE A DISGRACE
  12. 12. 1. Strategy 2. User motivations 3. Organising information 4. The way they interact 5. Pretty shit1. A simple idea that solves a problem. Convenience. Appeals to an emotion.2. The way a user flows through an app. GET THE MOST FROM FEATURES AND FEEEEEELLLLACCOMPLISHMENT3. Organising so its EASY TO COMPREHEND4. Clicking on this does that. Page to page interaction.
  13. 13. Design is not how it looks, but how it works. — Some guy.
  14. 14. Design is not how it looks, but how it works. — Steve Jobs.
  15. 15. My dear Matthew, why should I care about design in a startup?
  16. 16. People don’t want ideas, They want solutions.Design takes an idea and it PITCHES it in the right direction. It POLISHES AND SELLS
  17. 17. Dropbox is a great example of a solution, not an idea. Hundreds of startups had tried tomake file sychonisation a success. They failed. They were big, complex, they didn’t design forthe user. They made a product. Dropbox made a solution. What if your files JUST APPEAREDon ALL YOUR DEVICES? MAGIC. EFFORTLESS. FITS INTO MY LIFE.
  18. 18. Good design are abouthumans not products.
  19. 19. eople use Facebook not because they like browsing Facebook. They like using Facebookbecause it’s an ego stroke, they can stalk friends and feel good about themselves, keepup to date about their real friends. How often have you incessantly refreshed the page afterposting a photo? It’s not a product for product’s sake. It taps into a core emotional need.Psychology in copy
  20. 20. People don’t want ideas, They want solutions.People don’t like using computers. Computers are intimidating. Virus ridden. And difficult tounderstand. And a black box. They’re obtrusive to life. LIFE IS IMPORTANT TO REGULARUSERS.That’s what design’s purpose. CATER TO THE USERS.
  21. 21. Good design makes it easy to understand an idea.TO THEIR REAL LIFE PROBLEMSIf you don’t focus on design, you’re not focusing on the user. You’re not making a productthat is USEFUL.People don’t LIKE computers. They like REAL LIFE.
  22. 22. LOOK CLICKABLECALL TO ACTION
  23. 23. 1. Title 2. Section 3. ContentsHEIRARCHY
  24. 24. Related together
  25. 25. Related together
  26. 26. Danger Safe
  27. 27. My photos “LIVE” hereWith good design, RANDOM DIGITAL SCREENS develop a PERSONALITY, LIVE IN UNIQUEPLACES, CONTAIN UNIQUE DATA.Your mind treats it like an OBJECT a thing you can understandGood design takes a random idea and makes it MATERIAL
  28. 28. Users won’t notice good design.All subconscious. No one realises this. But it all comes together to form a general gist of“understanding”.
  29. 29. “It just feels professional ” trustworthy fun simple
  30. 30. Good design is delightful.Remember when you first tried rubber-band scrolling? I bought the first iPhone and wouldshow the hot chicks in my class rubber-band scrolling. They all had the same wide-eyedchild-like delight. It was unlike any technology they’d ever triedDelightful. Metaphor. Relationships with animations. Real world imitation with rubberbanding. “Had me at scrolling”. Remember when you first tried scrolling with an iPhone?Animations teach relationships. Became a part of ourselves. We love our iPhones because it’sevolved from a tool to an extension of ourselves; an experience. It brings us joy.
  31. 31. Demo time!Why good design is important → an example of poor designPygg live demo! Scenario/user persona: we are at a thai place on a Friday night. Dirty,disgusting, delicious thai food
  32. 32. —— Visual design sets tone. Gives background. Would you trust that icon WITH YOUR BANKACCOUNT INFORMATION? Too playful. you’ve already lost half your audience
  33. 33. Come on
  34. 34. —— User motivations — why am I on the transactions screen to begin with? COMPLETEINCONSIDERATION.Think back to the key user scenatrio. I’m on the go. TRANSACTIONS MEAN NOTHING TO MERIGHT NOW
  35. 35. I stopped reading half way through that first sentence. What does it even mean?Product was not simplfied enoughIcon is confusing. Wallet-out? Isn’t that what the Pay button does?
  36. 36. Tap on Pay. Get to here.
  37. 37. WHAT DO I DO NOWaffordance
  38. 38. New screen. Never seen before. Revealed in a BACK SLIDE!Think back to the Instagram example. I know where everything LIVES in Instagram. My photosLIVE in the bottom right tab. Pygg is just RANDOM SCREENS. I have no sense of heirarchy.Things just happen. I can’t break it down intoa gistBut by itself, is actually the best designed screen in the app— minimal, gets to the point
  39. 39. You only get one shot a first impression. don’t fuck it up.Every roadblock/confusion/resistance and you lose more of your users. They’re FICKLE. Theywon’t put up with it.See also: Pygg’s sign up flow. Utter clusterfuck
  40. 40. to makeYou only get one shot a first impression. don’t fuck it up.
  41. 41. How to good design?
  42. 42. You don’t have to be a designer.But it helps
  43. 43. 1. Strategy 2. User motivations 3. Organising information 4. The way they interact 5. Pretty shit1. A simple idea that solves a problem. Convenience. Appeals to an emotion.2. The way a user flows through an app. GET THE MOST FROM FEATURES AND FEEEEEELLLLACCOMPLISHMENT3. Organising so its EASY TO COMPREHEND4. Clicking on this does that. Page to page interaction.
  44. 44. Strategy• Simplify your idea.• What problem are you solving?• Are you making up the problem?
  45. 45. Would you use it?
  46. 46. Would you use it?
  47. 47. Would you use it? Product requires design and thought. Do I want to use it? Would I go through the pain to useit? If it’s no, do it again.
  48. 48. Strategy• Get the idea in the user’s hands.
  49. 49. Photoswatch idea test. What’s the cheapest way to test the idea of curated photoswatches? Afacebook page. People loved it. Cost us nothing to test.
  50. 50. M.V.P. minimum viable product Just the basic idea Designed for USERSMVP has a P in it— needs to be DESIGNED
  51. 51. People don’t want ideas, They want solutions.remember
  52. 52. Strategy • Remember the user. • Remember the objective.Who are your users? They hang above your head. They will make or break you. EVERY decisionyou do should be measured against the users. It sounds so obvious saying it right now. Butyou get distracted into a rabbit hole with an idea, a design, a engineering problem that youlose sight of the big picture.
  53. 53. Strategy • Remember the user. • Remember the objective.Who are your users? They hang above your head. They will make or break you. EVERY decisionyou do should be measured against the users. It sounds so obvious saying it right now. Butyou get distracted into a rabbit hole with an idea, a design, a engineering problem that youlose sight of the big picture.
  54. 54. Strategy • Remember the user. • Remember the objective.Who are your users? They hang above your head. They will make or break you. EVERY decisionyou do should be measured against the users. It sounds so obvious saying it right now. Butyou get distracted into a rabbit hole with an idea, a design, a engineering problem that youlose sight of the big picture.
  55. 55. UI !ows What the user sees What they see next What they do What they do nextAlways think in terms of the user. What are they thinking when they browse the app?Via 37s
  56. 56. UI !ows
  57. 57. Photo-what? wireframes!Notice I haven’t showed you PS mockups yet. PS is distracting. Use sketches. Use mockuptools. WIREFRAMES ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND.
  58. 58. • Related things go together. • Colour is emotional and meaningful. • Heirarchy helps with gist. • Motion attracts attention. • Metaphor helps perception. • Animation teaches relationships. • Data lives in unique places.Basic design principles
  59. 59. • Get feedback from people better than you. • Don’t get emotional. Kill your babies. • Your best design is never your first design. • Iterate. Iterate. Iterate.Basic design practices
  60. 60. You’re high! the counterargumentsprobably
  61. 61. “But x succeeded without design!” → Without visual design.Still had IA, ix and heirarchy
  62. 62. “We can do design later.” → Poisonous thinking.
  63. 63. People don’t want ideas, They want solutions.People don’t buy into ideas. They buy into solutions. Design takes an idea and makes acohesive solution. It tells them a story. It makes a big, vague promise into somethingmaterial. Something they can wrap their heads around.
  64. 64. Unsatisfying conclusion:It’s a balance.
  65. 65. Don’t waste time.Don’t waste money....dot dot dot by doing too much design
  66. 66. Don’t waste time.Don’t waste money....dot dot dot by not doing enough.
  67. 67. I’m hungry.Let’s get lunch. i’m @mattrobs

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