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Product Design

Thoughts on effectively selling products to customers.

March 23, 2017

3 Mistakes Your Product Development Team Might Be Making

Years ago, while working on the second version of Weathermob — a social weather app — we made a mistake. The app had traction, but it also had flaws that we were correcting to help it reach the next level of growth. Rather than solicit user feedback on our new developments, we built and released the new iteration based on our assumptions about the product’s existing user base. While the relaunch was a success, it did upset a small-but-vocal cohort of users. Small things like font size and interface changes, which we thought were improvements, frustrated a key user base: seniors who enjoyed talking about the weather. We’d failed to do our homework, and we had to make last-minute changes to address the situation. Worse, we’d missed a big opportunity to show our users that we understood their needs.

March 06, 2017

Does Your Creative Brief Contain These 10 Elements?

Imagine trying to build a product that you know nothing about. Who is the user? What features do those users need? What’s the budget and deadline? What should the interface and color scheme look like? A product’s creative brief — also known as the “product overview” or “project brief” — provides developers and designers with answers to those essential questions. Without it, they’re forced to hunt for basic project information, opening the door to costly errors and missed timelines. 

With a creative brief in hand, however, product developers and designers can confidently and quickly jump in. On a recent healthcare product, for instance, a client brought us a very comprehensive creative product brief — complete with product flows, a timeline, and a description of success. The brief allowed us to quickly understand client needs, fashion a product roadmap, and hit the ground running.

February 23, 2017

5 Common App Design and Development Mistakes to Avoid

Finally finishing development of your first mobile app is an exhilarating feeling. And it’s one that quickly fades when that app is rejected from Apple’s App Store. Thousands of iOS developers endure this emotional roller coaster every week. But acceptance isn’t the end of the road. A whopping 59 percent of apps generate so little revenue that they don’t even recoup development costs. Beyond painful rejections and inadequate monetization, poor development practices can also hurt users and cause PR nightmares. Just ask the developers of EnergyRescue. In January, the battery- saving app was booted from Google’s Play Store after a security vendor discovered it had been embedded with ransomware because of a development oversight.

February 21, 2017

5 Startups That Could've Been Saved By Stronger Product Roadmaps

A year from now, will your product still be in play? 

 To create something users can’t put down, you need a product roadmap. While roadmaps can’t predict the future, they can help your team stay on target when evolving your product. 
 The brain behind your product roadmap should be your product manager. Think of the PM as the architect of your product’s blueprint. For startups without PMs, a lead designer or engineer is the best person to plan your product’s future. Regardless of who you choose to craft the roadmap, it’s essential to tap someone who understands the delicate balance between business, technical, and user needs. This person’s roadmap can help you avoid a number of product problems that will, sooner or later, come back to bite you.

February 09, 2017

Customer Research & Mobile Excellence: An Interview With Jon Hoover Of Procore

As a product manager at Procore Technologies, Jon Hoover is responsible for the discovery and delivery of two world class mobile applications built for the construction professional. Procore for iOS and Procore for Android are both natively built for each platform by a dedicated team of in-house developers. He works with them to research, design, and develop apps that meet very specific customer needs. He meets with customers in their native environments, solicits feedback from internal marketing-facing teams, partners with executive and strategy teams, and works closely every day with designers and developers. He owns the product vision for Procore’s mobile applications, and works closely with other Product Managers to ensure changes made to Procore's mobile platform are done in concert with all other platforms.