I early adopt the crap out of new software, web and mobile apps. You probably do too. It's good for our professional development to keep an eye on what others are doing. I'm also just a lover of new stuff that makes my life more fun or productive. 

This past few years I've spent most of my time working on early stage products so this gives me a unique perspective when I'm taking them for a test drive and I'm trying to make a habit of not keeping my thoughts to myself but documenting and sharing back to the company. This information can be really helpful to the folks working their buts off to make us cool stuff. 

I would love to encourage you to do the same. Rather than enjoy it in silence or nitpick it to yourselves. Keep track of your thoughts and shoot them an email or ask for a change via a tweet .

I tweeted Slack a while back complaining of how many steps it took to switch between groups on the mobile app. They tweeted right back the shortcut (3 finger swipe). Then I gave them a suggestion for an improvement (Display the name of the group for a second after the swipe so you know when you are on the right one) They implemented it in I think 24hours if not less. Isn't that cool?!  Now I have a better product to use and they got smart feedback from a customer which is what every product developer wants. 

So to demonstrate here is the feedback I sent to recently launched and super awesome Gmail plug in Sortd.

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Hi,

Loving your product! Congrats to you!

Couple thoughts (I'm a product designer myself so just trying to help):

1. Try targeting your email communication better
I just got the below email letting me know I have invites to share but if you had your systems set up in a certain way you would have known that I have already invited close to 15 people. I implemented it on 3 of my gmail accounts because I love it so much and this gave me access to 15 invites. You missed an opportunity to thank me for being an early supporter and instead asked me to do something I have already done for you.

 

2. Did you know women are WAY more into the idea of your product then men?
I posted on FB about the product and asked if anyone wanted an invite. Lot's of folks did. The interesting thing is that of the 19 people that wanted a code 18 were women. My husband (the stay at home dad) was the only man who was interested. You probably already know this is the case but thought I'd share. Actually one other man responded. He said he is happy with Any.do already and isn't looking for a replacement. 

 

3. My biggest usability hurtles right now are
I want a big button top left to switch between regular Gmail view and Sortd list view. Right now I think the only way to do this is to click on the teeny tiny tab on the far right. This is awkward and outside of my usual gmail flow. My mouse stays on the left side.  I also find huge value in switching back and forth and I'm not a keyboard shortcut person (I know that's what you were going to suggest :)

 

All the buttons are too small. It's a surgical moment to find and select buttons like everything in the top nav bar and archive/trash on the email it's self.

 

4. Batch select would be nice
Everyday I batch select and Archive of Delete. It would be cool to do this from the Sortd interface but not a huge deal, especially if I get that quick switch button. 

 

That's all for now! Hope the week has been a great success. I have been working on an "in Gmail" product this year and it's a whole different beast bravo on the work so far!

 

Tyesha Snow

@tyeshasnow

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AuthorTyesha Snow

In light of the uproar over Twitter's apparent plans to "curate" our feed using really awesome algorithms just like Facebook. I thought I would finish a little post that was sitting in my drafts for a while.  

I've been designing user experiences for over 10 years now and since the very beginning I've struggled with balancing the ever increasing trends of simplifying (removing functionality) and personalizing our digital environments, with my desire to empower people and put them in control.

In an of themselves simplifying and personalization can be great methods for solving specific design problems but their rise to cultish like status within the digital design world has me concerned. The uproar of the possible Twitter stream changes is a perfect example of the issue.  Farhad Manjoo in Fast Company explains some of the issues very well in this article and I love this quote.

"There is still too much presuming that we 
want a steady diet of what we just consumed. "

I will piggy back on that quote and say these trends (business practices) bug me for another reason we are creating a culture of ignorance. Each time these magic little algorithms are applied and each time we strip down our experiences to their most basic features we are removing opportunities for people to participate fully in their own digital lives. Correction: Lives.

We are not singular. 

We are not the same.

Our needs change (often). 

Interface should reflect this.

We need to ask more of users.

They need to learn and grow so they can have more control.

Designers have a responsibility to make better ways to do more and get better at providing innovative filters that we control. 

It's important to foster an environment of learning and achievement in service of a technology intelligent world.  Interestingly video games don't dumb everything down. They seem to understand that people can learn. 

Doing it for them is creating an ignorant populous, out of control of basic human activities - Consuming information. Learning. Sharing. Transacting.

 

Do we only get to learn what is put before us.

 

Just some thoughts and obviously business needs and specific use cases play a huge role in how to apply this type of thinking but it's always a good idea to put your decisions up to a test. Think about it next time. 

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Authortyesha

Dear Delicious, 

I don't think you understand how people use your product or you just don't care. It's exhausting. I should just leave but I'm in too deep and everything else is more product than I want or need. Will you read this and just think about it? If you can't figure out how to do better. Just make this whole thing Open Source and get out of the way. But I don't think it needs to come to that. You have a lot of people and content and you have history. I'm sure you can figure something out. Maybe look at some analytics or ask your users some questions. Just a thought...

 

1. This is what I want but it's over here. Marginalized, disrespected trapped in a design pattern that doesn't understand it. Why Delicious? Why?

 

2. You know I want this. The navigation label acknowledges this.  

 

3. What about this big space? My tags would love to stretch out here and be easy to browse and click. What's this stuff? I just saved these. I'm not here to remember them. Recency doesn't equal importance. 

 

4. Really this much space reserved for one saved link? You know there is a whole site behind that saved link. I only have to click it and I'll get more than you could every show me here.  Also, why do I care who else saved the link?  I have enough friends. Quit pushing these people on me. 

 

5. This list that I have been adding to for almost 10 years is a glimpse into my inner workings. It documents my professional development and my personal interest. This raw data about me is not for public consumption. You know that about me. I've never in 10 years responded to any of these social features.  

The problem with Delicious.jpg
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AuthorTyesha Snow

Hey Big Fish is our gift to the SXSW community.It helps you engage in a more meaningful way during and after the event. It creates a record of  SXSW 2013 that represents what happened and what the community valued.

The Story

Our team came together with the goal of designing a product to launch as SXSW. The idea was to create a little gift for our peers and bring some attention to the great work our organizations are doing.

The first step was to find a technology partner and fellow Portland, Or company Little Bird was an obvious choice.  Their product quickly became the spark of inspiration we needed - We could use Little Bird’s technology to add a layer of smarts to whatever we come up with.

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This is the front page of a new webservice. I will not be going any further.

I will not be a user of this product (for now).

I saw a promotion for the service in a newsletter and I was interested. I clicked over. I saw that I'd have to log in to check it out. That's cool. If I want to check something out online I'm not discouraged by a log in gate, I can always delete my account and I'm happy to engage with the company in they way they need in order to provide the service they spent so much time and money creating, especially if it's free.

Today I will not be doing this because the visual design of this page is terrible.

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Authortyesha

I got a new computer a couple weeks ago and as part of the set up I had to make that age old decision, which browser to use.

Of course I download Firefox and Chrome so I have all three,  but which one am I going to commit to this time. Which one will I stock up with all my cookies, auto-fills, saved passwords, usage history and bookmarks?

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Authortyesha
2 CommentsPost a comment

This is a diagram I quickly presented as part of my talk at HIVE 11. It needs some context but I wanted to pop it up here quickly and get back to the explaining when I get back home. If you were at HIVE you know it was a wonderful day. I was particularly pleased by the emergence of themes across many of the talks. This is always a good sign that your discipline is moving in a positive direction if many great thinkers and doers arrive at similar conclusions independently. Well, as independently as you can in this information sharing world of ours.

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Authortyesha

There are these ugly little things that appear again and again in our lives (particularly in our digital lives) and I think it's time to speak up.

Not only are they ugly they give you a negative jolt each time you encounter them and THEY NEED TO BE REDESIGNED. I'll be calling them out as I find them in hopes that someone will hear our cries.

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Authortyesha
Tagsflash
bottled water bad

This is an excellent infographic. My wish is that the banning of bottled water for casual use would soon become a major issue.

With data like this I imagine the people of the future will look back and wonder how we could allow something so damaging to everyone exist for the ease, vanity and irrational fears of a few.

I hope some of these stats echo in your head next time you consider buying or using bottled water

http://www.onlineeducation.net/bottled_water/

 

As always, please educate yourself and support access to clean drinking water for here. http://www.facebook.com/charitywater

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Authortyesha
CategoriesProduct Design
screenshot_630

It's an exciting time for new  ideas and interesting digital products. I'm signing up for about 5 new services a week. Many I'm genuinely interested in using, others just to keep my eye on the interaction design, startup, digital landscape ball.  I'll have to write a post on the many trends I'm seeing because their are a ton. The biggest trend I see is coming up with something new. With the emergence and persistent growth of stuff like the smart phone market, tablet devices, the new an totally unrealized world of location based services and community created information and sharing , everyone is looking for the next new thing. But what about all this stuff we already use. Is it done. No more creative problem solving around the products we use everyday. Are we done working on the products so essential they were developed first? Google keeps trying stuff. Wave, that social media thing I can't remember, Google Docs.  Not all of it has worked but I like that there are smart people still trying to make my every day more efficient and effective.  I like that there are groups of people working on eliminate the daily frustrations that go with using software instead of coming up with something new I have to figure out how to integrate into my life. Don't get me wrong I love new ideas, I have a few in the works and I'm addicted to trying new products out. My life is better with all of this new stuff. But I think if some of the basic activities of my day were streamlined I'd have better success utilizing the new stuff.

So I was extremely please to discover Fantastical a calender input program that integrates with all your Mac calenders.

The idea is brilliant. Throw away the old clunky methods of entering events into your calender and replace with an elegant time saving input program.

You must try it yourself but here is what I like about it.

1. Natural language input.

2. Enter all of the information into one field rather than the average 4 field steps of other calender programs.

3.  You can cut and paste into said field!!!

4. Beautiful interface design with fun and elegant visual feedback of actions.

5. Easy to access list view of all upcoming events and meetings.

6. Search

High five! to the creators flexibits.

Love their company description too.

 

Flexibits is Michael SimmonsKent Sutherland

...and we create applications that are enjoyable and flexible. What do we mean by flexible? Making your Mac better. Making your life better. Removing frustration.

We're users too, so we know what a good user experience should be. If you're disappointed or frustrated with anything, please let us know. With many years of experience working on many popular apps, our hope is that our experience and passion is evident in everything we do.

Flexibits: Flexible bits.

 

Hooray for improvement instead of invention! Hooray for not giving up on the dream of seamless, enjoyable, natural computing!

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Authortyesha
2 CommentsPost a comment

vegemite

The story of iSnack 2.0, aka Vegemite, is so interesting (and it is so hard to type iSnack 2.0 without laughing).  I'm not even sure how I feel about it or what the most important lesson of the story is.  Pop over and read Idsng's article about it.

Are you back? Ok.

From the perspective of a creative professional there are so many things wrong with this story and it's obvious that the public wasn't immune to the ridiculousness of it, but what really bothers me is the underlining assumption that everything must be continually improved. It's troublesome that a product that was clearly doing fine and has the affection of a nation could be vulnerable to this ugly side of business.

Constant unquestioned unending growth, optimization, updating to try and sell more has never set well with me. We've seen what can happen when the economy became addicted to growth.  I think that same crash'n burn can happen to a brand when it looses sight of the intention and limitations of a product.

Why can't companies just leave things alone. The product is special, it brings in a good profit, it strengthens your other brands by bringing stability and trust, people identify and consider it part of their life. What else could you ask for?  To sell more?  I guess so.....  but my approach would be to enrich what is already there. To dig deeper into what people feel and what they need and see what ideas come out of that.

I'm working on talk about Strategy as it applies to the creative industries, digital focused of course, this story is strengthening my resolve to get it done and out there.

ps I don't think you are a bad guy/gal Kraft. Just a little misdirected. I would love to work with you sometime.

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Authortyesha