Only great teams build lasting products and companies. And with a finite number of perfectly suited, talented individuals, businesses must constantly battle to recruit the best: If you’ve been in the web world long, you’re likely intimately familiar with Silicon Valley’s Talent War and similar fights throughout the country.
“For any company, the most important asset you have is your people. Building a great team is the most important ingredient for success,” Charlie O’Donnell of First Round Capital said. Continue Reading »
Cloud computing has evolved from the realm of novelty to a major growth industry in just a few years’ time. Enterprise-level companies and startups both rely on this computing infrastructure to increase efficiency, scale more easily, and lower costs.
But how will the Cloud change in five years – or even six months? How will current Cloud providers adapt and how will they deliver for a rapidly growing customer base? Continue Reading »
While many developers have an intuitive sense of what looks right, they sometimes lack the vocabulary needed to express their hunches to designers and the rest of the team.
To help fix this common problem, EffectiveUI Senior Developer RJ Owen and Lead Experience Architect Michael Salamon are hosting a session at Web 2.0 Expo SF on Design Essentials for Developers, during which they’ll cover basic design techniques and principles; design vocabulary, heuristics and analysis techniques; how to do quick and dirty user testing and prototyping; and the difference between information architecture and interaction design.
RJ and Michael recently spoke to us about their upcoming session. You can read the full interview below.
Interview with RJ Own and Michael Salamon on Design Essentials for Developers
Kaitlin: Why did you decide to host this session? What particular problems were you seeing at your own company or others’ that made you think this training is necessary?
RJ: As a developer, I find myself frequently involved in making design decisions and really passionate about the way users interact with the applications I’m building.I think we-as-developers are in a unique position to be the first real deep testers of the software we’re making.It’s up to us to help identify design problems early, and this requires a set of tools and a vocabulary that most developers don’t learn in school or along the way.
At EffectiveUI we always hire developers who have strong opinions about design – even if they don’t have the background.We’ve found that people with opinions care, and people who care will take the time required to get the little things done properly.
Michael: It’s naive for designers to think that developers aren’t designing, and it’s in their best interest to arm their design implementers with all the knowledge they can. Unless you are supplying user interface specifications for every possible use case and error, then your development team is doing as much design as your design team is. Continue Reading »
If your startup doesn’t know how to talk to users (and get the most out of those discussions), you could miss out on exactly what your customers want you to know.
Web 2.0 Expo speaker Laura Klein (Users Know) regularly consults with lean startups and other small companies on usability research, and shows them how they can use this valuable information to improve their business.
In her upcoming session Who Do I Talk To Now? User Research for Every Phase of Your Product, Laura will discuss the most common types of usability research, what types of conversations to have with different sets of customers, how this changes as your product matures, and tips on how to avoid some of the common mistakes startups stumble on. We recently talked with Laura about her session and user research.
Read on for the full interview:
Kaitlin: The basic problem your session goes after is how can a startup (which by nature has very limited resources) better “talk” to their customers, specifically with usability research. Without letting the cat out of the bag too much, can you list a few of the types of usability research your session covers and why they’re important?
Laura: Over the past couple of years, dozens of new products have been released that claim to help make user research faster and easier. The problem is that most people don’t know which ones to use or how to get the most out of them.
A large part of what I cover in my session is how to use things like remote usability, unmoderated testing, and micro usability tests to make gathering qualitative feedback much faster. I’ll also talk about which methods give you the best results for the different stages of your product. Continue Reading »
Web 2.0 Expo Speaker Scott Porad believes new developers should write and commit code to production software on day one, before they’re even given the chance to set up and get cozy in their desks.
As CTO of Cheezburger, Inc. (the company behind i can has cheezburger? and Fail Blog), Scott has a key role in hiring and directing how developers are trained. Last fall he wrote a somewhat controversial post on his blog about his hiring and training practices. (Allow me to kill the controversy here: New employees actually do get shown the bathroom.) Boiled down, his philosophy revolves around making employees and the team happy:
“Developers are probably like most employees in every job which is when you’re happy and excited and engaged with what you’re doing, you’re a 100 times more creative and productive and successful than if you come in and are trudging away stamping out widgets every day,” Scott said.
Jeremy Britton of ZURB design consultancy thinks your product strategy may have too many features. And if you listen to his theory (which he’ll present at Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco this year), you’ll learn how you can chop your plans for one product into bits – and into multiple successful and clean products.
Jeremy’s talk (Add a Feature? No. Make a New Product.) features his own company’s experience as the center case study. Instead of reworking ZURB’s flagship product Notable to update a core screenshot annotation feature, the team created a new product – Bounce - from the idea, and have been overwhelmed with the positive results.
We recently spoke with Jeremy and ZURB’s Marketing Lead Dmitry Dragilev about their product/feature strategy and what to expect from his presentation. Check out the audio interview here:
Included in this interview are the team’s thoughts on
Gradual Engagement: Bringing a customer in slowly but effectively
Determining when to make a feature its own product, and when not to
Why starting fresh makes it easier on your developers
How marketing fits in to this strategy
Keeping the customer’s needs in mind through it all
Kaitlin Pike is the Web 2.0 Expo community manager. She can be reached @w2e or @kcpike. To see Jeremy speak, register for Web 2.0 Expo SF now with discount code websf11bl20 to save 20%.