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Product Designer Joined about 10 years ago via an invitation from Justin E.
Watching Marc Hemeon review design portfolios for his new startup, Design Inc, live on Periscope was incredible. When you empathize with a reviewer who has 500 portfolios to review and limited time, you really see your own portfolio in a new light.
I wanted to share my learnings in case you missed the Periscope stream. Lmk what you think or if it's helpful! :)
I watch product, design, and startup videos every day while running on the treadmill at the gym. I wanted to test out the idea of recapping a quality talk to see if I could capture all the wisdom in text form and see if people got as much value out of it as I did from watching the talk.
This post recaps an excellent talk given by Google Ventures Design Partner Braden Kowitz at 500 Startup's WARM GUN conference. There's tactical advise, anecdotes, and a healthy dose of challenging designers to do the hard things first!
Some of my favorite quotes from Kowitz's talk:
"Great design can't solve a broken business model."
"I think I had it a little bit backwards. It wasn't about how we can ship great design here. The real goal is: how do I use my skills as a designer to build a great company?"
"As a designer, when you're working at a startup, it's much more about the learning than it is about the execution. It's about doing the risky stuff first and then doing the fun stuff last."
"Do not do paper prototypes unless what you're delivering to customers is paper."
"It may not be the best icon—it may not fit with all the other stuff that you're doing—but if user understands what that icon means, it's fine. You can polish it up later."
"Nothing will kill a project faster than not having the right data."
"If we change what we do to focus a little bit on the core, we can have an even bigger role in shaping the success of our companies."
As a participant at the studio detailed in this post, there's even more benefit than is being communicated here. For example, I joined a sub-group with Zapier's main support team and it was inspiring (and wildly valuable!) to learn about their insights and desires through sketching onboarding ideas.
In general, everyone felt charged up after the exercise and we had tons of actionable ideas to act on. Try it!
Thanks for the feedback, Stefan! Both the 'How It Works' page and the Homepage will definitely continue to evolve. During a recent redesign, we had a version exactly like you described. It can be surprising how less details can sometimes increase signups. It's a dance you do around making a technical product feel simple to first-time visitors. We'll continue to test different versions that bring more "how" into the mix - it's a good idea.
You probably already tested it, but you can learn a lot by watching people use the existing version.
If you do mockups of the new version, you can get that in front of people and have them verbally describe what they see and what they might do to accomplish a specified goal. That might alert you early to potential issues. Existing users might be more distracted by lower-fidelity mocks and changes to the previous version though, so fresh eyes might be best early on.
Words definitely matter. It's maybe a truism of marketing, but you might try the artisanal bun because it was presented in a compelling way, but if the burger sucks, that effective language choice only works on you once! Apple has the goods to back up their messaging, but I wonder of they go too emphatic or hyperbolic with it considering the products are so excellent - I wrote about their marketing language after seeing the new iPhones announced: https://medium.com/content-makers/2e718a84d106
As for the 5C, after holding a friend's, I think it feels great in your hand and is fun to use with iOS 7. I'm sure the bright colors and plastic look will seem dated and overly trendy in the future, but isn't that how Apple keeps us buying new devices?
The personal profiles in the posts are very compelling and I enjoy the designed signs, but in every case shown here, I personally find that the original signs evoke more of a connection with the sign bearer. The handwriting conveys lots of information and these originals are quite legible and well done considering the circumstances.
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Totally. And that's a great perspective to have! I have so many todos.
Thanks for reading and lmk if you had any takeaways I missed!