Notes on LukeW’s Conversations@Google 2016

(From Part 1 a 2-part talk LukeW gave at Google, uploaded 10/5/16, link here) Increase in mobile time spent: 8% small phone 85% on a medium phone 334% increase on phablets 81% increase on small tablets 25% increase on large tablets Bottom nav is preferable to top nav due to ergonomics—esp phablets—it’s much harder to reach top nav. And the millennials in particular are all about using only one hand for their phones Before LukeW redesigned the navigation of the Google+ app All functions where under a Home label on a dropdown menu at the top of the screen All features were … Continue reading Notes on LukeW’s Conversations@Google 2016

Notes on Marty Cagan’s Root Causes of Product Failure

(from Marty’s talk at 2015’s Mind the Product, posted on Vimeo, link here) This quick note only catches the last ten minutes of his 50 min presentation, which was all good stuff—use the link the watch the whole thing! Product teams—managers, designer, dev—need to work side by side to come up with the best solutions A strong discovery process is key to developing a good product MVPs are essential tools for testing, learning and validating (and aren’t Product 1.0!) The job of the product team is to: Take the company’s overall vision as a starting point Break it into smaller … Continue reading Notes on Marty Cagan’s Root Causes of Product Failure

Notes on Scott Belsky’s Crafting the First Mile of Product

(from Scott’s 6/21/16 post on, link here) Over time, product leaders can become more focused on a small group of existing power users than on widening the group of new users and their “first mile” (onboarding) experience of the software This top-of-the-funnel experience is often slighted out of haste to initially release the software and never gets updated or iterated to match the evolving user base Users onboarding want to know: Why they’re there What they can accomplish What to do next. They don’t need to know everything at this point, too much to remember! Optimize your onboarding for … Continue reading Notes on Scott Belsky’s Crafting the First Mile of Product

Notes on Paul Adam’s Future of Product Design

(From a podcast between Amy Jo Kim and Paul Adams on Amy’s site,, link here) Paul runs product at a fast-growing customer communications startup called Intercom Paul and his colleagues use Job Stories that are inspired by the Jobs-To-Be-Done approach first developed by Clayton Christensen Job stories use the format “When I want to….so I can…” (read more about how they are used at Intercom here) They include Job Stories in their initial design briefs then use them as check ins throughout the design process Job Stories are better than personas in product development because they are less limiting—sticking too closely to … Continue reading Notes on Paul Adam’s Future of Product Design

Notes on Melissa Perri’s Creating Effective MVP Experiments

(from Melissa’s slideshow for Lean UX NYC 2014, which I was at but somehow missed summarizing, link here) This summarizes only a portion of Melissa’s great talk—check out the link for more great insights Don’t think of an MVP as a Product Lite version of your product—that’s not it An MVP is an experiment you run to learn something you need to know to effectively move forward in creating a product The general creation flow is Problem Exploration (discovery) > MVP experiments > Feature development HOWEVER, if your MVP can’t fail and your product idea can’t be heavily modified or discarded, than this type of … Continue reading Notes on Melissa Perri’s Creating Effective MVP Experiments

Notes on Cynefin for Designers

(from James O’Brien’s 6/26/16 post on, link here) First things first–cynefin is a Welch word that’s pronounced K’nevn. Thanks to James’ post, I can see more clearly how I could use this in my UX practice James has customized Dave Snowden’s concept of cynefin (which I summarized this last summer) specifically for designers Essentially, cynefin is a framework for assessing problems and possible solutions Evaluating your work flow against these categories can help your identify true priorities, see where more research is required and figure out where “good enough” is actually good enough Cynefin categorizes problems into 5 types: Disorder This is the pot … Continue reading Notes on Cynefin for Designers

Notes on Melissa Perri’s Rethinking the Product Roadmap

(from a 5/19/14 blog post by Melissa Perri, link to her blog here) Melissa argues the the product roadmap needs to be replaced with the problem roadmap Product roadmaps: Are built on arbitrary estimations Lack built-in time for validation and research Allow little room for change Focus solely on solutions and features, ignoring problems (read the post for a thorough explanation for each point above) Problem roadmaps: Focus on problems to be solved, rather than on features to be developed Can be planned over any period of time (quarters in her example) Are broken into two phases: Discover & Experiment Build & Validate … Continue reading Notes on Melissa Perri’s Rethinking the Product Roadmap

Notes on 3-12-3 Brainstorming

(From a 10/27/13 post by Dave Gray on, link here) The name derives from the amount of time devoted to each portion of the exercise If possible, boil concepts to be brainstormed down into two words: instead of “How will tomorrow’s television work?” use “television’s future” to evoke thinking about defining aspects first, rather than solutions Distribute index cards and markers to team members 3 minutes of making observations (individual) Write down characteristics one per card Include both nouns and verbs No filtering! No bad ideas! Just ideas You may find it helpful to do a quick card sort … Continue reading Notes on 3-12-3 Brainstorming

Quickie: Disney’s Creative Strategy (for idea development)

There are 3 main stages in Disney’s Creative Strategy: Focus on creativity: share creative ideas and solutions without worrying about how they would get implemented. (Perhaps try the 100 Post It technique—everyone puts one idea per Post It in a brief, though maybe slightly too-long, period. This quickly surfaces the obvious ideas but also pushes people to get creative) Focus on reality:  how to turn the idea into an action plan with measurable success metrics Focus on critique:  what could go wrong, what could be difficult to implement, what’s missing etc One team could perform all three stages, or you could assign one team per … Continue reading Quickie: Disney’s Creative Strategy (for idea development)

Notes on Maria Giudice’s Remaking the Making Company: Moving from Product to Experience

(From Maria’s session at EUX 16: The Politics of Innovation) Maria’s identified several key themes to affecting change in large orgs: Build community Design isn’t a noun—it’s an active verb, a multidisciplinary effort shared by the team. Everyone’s a designer at some level! The ultimate goal of design isn’t to create artifacts, it’s to build something new or create change in something that exists Design tools aren’t for our exclusive use—they’re the org’s tools for everyone to share (Ok this is my point) Don’t get hung up on the preciousness of design artifacts Create them in a democratic tool (like Excel or Word) … Continue reading Notes on Maria Giudice’s Remaking the Making Company: Moving from Product to Experience