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The August Edition of Startup Saturday themed “All About Product Design” saw a number of interesting talks. Jasmeet Singh Sethi, CEO and Co-Founder of Tinkerform, a B2B innovation and design consultancy firm, shared his views and experience in designing easy-to-use products in the Product Teardown session. Jasmeet began his interactive session by taking the example of Savaari as the Product for review. He later proceeded to describe the process Tinkerform kept in mind for having high usability while developing ListenIn, a product they worked on. For those of you who missed this, read on!

Teardown Session Highlights:

  • Whatever grabs the attention of the user takes up mental space. Don’t have multiple focus points. Have one solid region that users can focus on. This greatly reduces confusion and increases clarity.
  • Always ask yourself if you’re describing characteristics of the product or what the product is. The former leaves the user with an ambiguous sense of what the product does, whereas the latter provides more clarity.
  • Figure out if your product is really making the user experience more efficient, delightful, memorable, or useful. Understanding a clear intent behind the execution is critical in creating an experience that is unique to your product.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the user. Develop high empathy and build user personas which you can use to look through the eyes of your user. (More on user personas) Some questions to ask yourself at this point are:
    • Is the message clear?
    • Are the visuals appealing?
    • Is the placement clear?
    • Is the Call To Action, if any, clear?
    • Are the elements in sync with each other?
    • Can I eliminate clutter at any point?
  • Identifying what goes wrong in most cases is the first step. The second step would be to take the right steps and make improvements. This would revolve around having:
    • Meaningful navigation when using the product
    • Better controls that are effective
    • Clear, organised information

The Making Of ListenIn

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Understanding The Business Idea

After preliminary discussions on the idea and collaborations, the processes and approach were considered. The idea behind ListenIn was to create a product that serves fresh music content and serves it as hand-curated playlists on mobile phones.

ENGAGE: Begin with an engaging conversation and prepare a requirement document as a trigger to cover all questions relevant to define the product experience.

Things such as Business Vision, Value To Users, Goals, Constraints and Risks are considered with a timeline for execution in place.

Capturing User Opinions

The users must be kept at the heart of the design process. This will serve well in testing assumptions.

PROBE: Investigate behaviour and habits of people associated with the product’s context.

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  • Interviews
    Speak to a small group of users who fit your target audience and set traits and attributes to differentiate different users.
    habits
  • Personas
    Based on the listener profiles create archetypes or user personas that feature users’ music habits, the importance of music to them, pain points and level of fluency they have with contemporary products.
    traits
  • Map scenarios
    Understand how your product will fit into the user’s life; create a list of scenarios where your user will use/discover/share the experience.
    scenario

Learning From Competitors

Most successful products differ from their contemporaries in one important way. Looking at your competitor’s product shows you commonality and differentiation among the competitors. If certain assumptions have failed for your competitors, it is worthy to make a note the same and see how you can possible be different.

Bringing It All Together As A Story

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Look at what will happen once your product is released. Look at user stories, look at what’s bringing them back to your product.

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Building The Product

Information Architecture

The basic skeleton of the app is decided after debating the functionalities to be provided in the first version.

CREATE: Start with the task flows and the kind of information and actions to be provided to support a feature.

Wireframing

Look at getting the product wireframing keeping flow and functionality in mind. Have a scenario based approach that helps everyone understand the flow of the functionalities.

wireframes

Wireframing offers a faster way to experiment with concepts. Do a deep exercise to create multiple iterations for the product’s key differentiators. Don’t forget to keep the product super easy and fun to use.

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Key Differentiator

Look at what differentiate you from your competitors. This can be a visual hierarchy, discovery options, sharing to enable network effects, etc Experiment, play and explore; tinker around till you find out what works and what sets you apart.

One can often underestimate the importance of great design in creating easy-to-use user experience. Time and again, we see that the ROI on laying emphasis to Product Design can have a monumental effect on deciding a product’s fate. The teardown and talk on building ListenIn greatly cut-short the learning curve for product novices.

Written by Suhas Mallya

About the speaker

Tinkerer at heart and designer by profession, Jasmeet Singh Sethi has worked with various product and service startups from design execution to design strategy. Jasmeet is currently operating as the CEO of Tinkerform, a young design and innovation consulting firm with a focus on startups.