product development

How to overcome UX challenges with product design sprints

Rolling out a digital product or even an iteration, whether it’s a website or a mobile app, requires a substantial amount of time, effort, finances and expertise. 

For many businesses, the only way of finding out whether their product or service works is to launch it to the public, and user experience plays a crucial role in how the product is perceived.

Knowing what you’re not: defining your design principles

Successful products and services are those with a definite point of view, those that avoid an identity crisis by knowing exactly what they’re not.

Government Digital Service (GDS) has garnered much praise for its transparent and reasoned approach to design.

And whilst smaller organisations may not need ten principles (like GDS), those with a distinctive approach to digital experiences are gaining competitive advantage.

Here’s a revealing case study, from a tech startup founded in 2011, that I think provides food for thought for any business creating new online services.

Hive: A startup culture in a corporate behemoth

The team at Hive have an interesting story to tell.

Iterating a new product in a nascent part of an old industry, doing this within an enormous organisation like British Gas, while maintaining an independent, startup culture.

There’s a lesson in there for anybody.

Here’s what I learnt about Hive by listening to Tom Guy, product and commercial director, at #canvasconf, organised by 383.

How analytics can be used to inform product development

As companies become more digitally savvy they are beginning to better tap into the range of data and analytics at their disposal.

This is frequently used to optimise marketing channels and campaigns, but are brands making the most of analytics to inform their product development?

Six lessons Immediate Media can teach you about publishing

How does a publisher move from brand engagement to an enterprise transactional model?

It all revolves around thinking like a retailer and utilising your brands to capitalise on new revenue streams.

Immediate Media is a combined publishing house formed with BBC Magazines, Magicalia and Origin, with around 70 brands.

The group has been investing in technology for a while, enabling digital elements to be added to its subscriptions, as well as integrating advertising and product sales.

The magazines are chiefly publishing special interest content, from sports to weddings etc. With 80% of Immediate’s revenue coming from selling content, it’s clear that there’s a balance to be found between product development and monetisation.

Let’s take a look in more detail…

The what and how of minimum viable products

If you’ve been involved with a startup in the past several years, chances are you’ve heard the phrase ‘minimum viable product’ quite a bit.

Thanks in part to prominent Silicon Valley figures like Eric Ries, the father of the Lean Startup, and Steven Blank, a successful serial entrepreneur, more and more young businesses, as well as product managers at larger, more established companies, are trying to perfect the art and science of the MVP.

But what is a minimum viable product, and how do you get there?

Can this man save Google’s social strategy?

How important is social to Google’s future?

It depends on who you ask. Some believe that if Google doesn’t find a way to compete in the space, Facebook might eventually eat its lunch.

Those who are a tad more skeptical suggest that Google and its advertising money machine don’t need social to thrive.

Time will tell which camp is right, but Google has already decided. With the launch of Google+ and Search, plus Your World, it’s clear that the search giant is committed to giving its all in an effort to become a meaningful player in the social market.

With a Subscribe button, Facebook becomes more like Twitter

The number of differences between Facebook and Twitter may be greater than the number of similarities, but that doesn’t mean that the companies haven’t been watching each other.

Several years ago, of course, there were reports that Facebook and Twitter had held acquisition discussions, but those didn’t pan out, and Facebook, some suggested, went on to acquire FriendFeed in an attempt to out-Twitter Twitter.

Q&A: David Kang of Hearst Magazines on content extensions

David Lee Kang

As Hearst Magazines refines its approach to print and
digital in a quest for more consumer-generated revenue, the publisher has created a new function, creative director of content extensions, and installed veteran David Kang in the role.

Kang is now charged with extending such legendary brands
as Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Good Housekeeping.

The executive was freshly
tapped from Rodale, where as SVP/GM of Rodale.com, he helped turn The Biggest
Loser Club into a $100-million + online diet and health products franchise.

I talked with Kang about his plans for Hearst.

Etsy: how much social is too much?

Online businesses face many challenges these days. Internet users are
more sophisticated, and more demanding. And in many markets, they’re
also very social.

Thanks to the popularity and ubiquity of services like Facebook and
Twitter, that means many website owners are compelled to find ways to make their
sites more social.

However, going social isn’t always easy, and it comes with plenty of risks…