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Craft & The Machine

Craft & The Machine

New products often start from within; we have an itch to scratch. But what we make is also influenced by larger online trends, movements and metrics. In product design, the trend has been towards more; faster. While we've been focused on that, however, a new more constrained approach to personal expression and consumption is finding its way into the products we use. One that takes an opposite approach and champions slowing down, choice and craft.

With seven years of learnings from designing for online music, Hannah will describe techniques for questioning the status quo in product design; how and when taking an opposite approach might be beneficial; and why having a sharply tuned radar for style and trends is just as important for product design as being observant of what we want.

Hannah Donovan

April 26, 2013
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  1. CRAFT
    & The Machine
    Hannah Donovan, Front Trends
    April 2013

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  2. HELLO!
    I’m @han. I design
    products.

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  3. BIG FAT
    CONTEXT
    SLIDE

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  4. Many bits
    that fit together to make a
    product.
    Your bit

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  5. What do you want?
    Why do you want it?
    First ask
    This is ‘the brief’ (questions you
    ask together with your client,
    users, colleagues) – whether
    you’re working for yourself or
    someone else.
    How to do it?
    Then decide
    This is for you and your
    colleagues to choose. This is not
    for your users or clients to decide.

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  6. What do you want?
    Why do you want it?
    First ask

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  7. Investigating
    (what, why)
    Producing (how)
    Turning the
    ‘creative corner’

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  8. 50%
    OF MAKING
    is learning to ask
    the right questions
    at the right time.

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  9. Case
    Study:
    Tw
    o
    problem
    s
    There are two big problems
    in online music:
    I want to listen to ‘my’
    music – when, where
    and how I want
    Access
    * For varying definitions of ‘my’
    I need ‘new’ music
    Discovery
    and ‘new’

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  10. Case
    Study:
    Tw
    o
    problem
    s
    There are two big problems
    in online music:
    I want to listen to ‘my’
    music – when, where
    and how I want
    Access
    * For varying definitions of ‘my’
    I need ‘new’ music
    Discovery
    and ‘new’

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  11. Case
    Study:
    Tw
    o
    problem
    s
    There are two big problems
    in online music:
    I want to listen to ‘my’
    music – when, where
    and how I want
    Access
    * For varying definitions of ‘my’
    I need ‘new’ music
    Discovery
    and ‘new’

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  12. Case
    Study:
    Tw
    o
    problem
    s
    There are two big problems
    in online music:
    I want to listen to ‘my’
    music – when, where
    and how I want
    Access
    * For varying definitions of ‘my’
    I need ‘new’ music
    Discovery
    and ‘new’

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  13. Case
    Study:
    Tw
    o
    problem
    s
    There are two big problems
    in online music:
    I want to listen to ‘my’
    music – when, where
    and how I want
    Access
    * For varying definitions of ‘my’
    I need ‘new’ music
    Discovery
    and ‘new’

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  14. Access & discovery are examples
    of 1st and 2nd order problems
    1st order
    Infrastructure
    Tools
    Needs
    2nd order
    Community
    Play
    Wants

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  15. Access & discovery are examples
    of 1st and 2nd order problems
    1st order
    Infrastructure
    Tools
    Needs
    2nd order
    Community
    Play
    Wants
    Government consensus Public gov.uk website

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  16. Access & discovery are examples
    of 1st and 2nd order problems
    1st order
    Infrastructure
    Tools
    Needs
    2nd order
    Community
    Play
    Wants
    Government consensus Public gov.uk website

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  17. Access & discovery are examples
    of 1st and 2nd order problems
    1st order
    Infrastructure
    Tools
    Needs
    2nd order
    Community
    Play
    Wants
    Government consensus Public gov.uk website
    Clean tap water Sodastream™

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  18. 1
    st
    or
    2nd
    ?
    Both are important but require different strategies.
    Q
    uestion:
    the
    problem
    type

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  19. Find out as early as possible
    which type of problem you
    like working on.
    It will make
    you happier.

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  20. If you’re working on a
    second order problem,
    trends matter more.
    New trends often
    emerge in opposition
    to previous ones.

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  21. If you’re working on a
    second order problem,
    trends matter more.
    New trends often
    emerge in opposition
    to previous ones.
    When
    everybody
    zigs, zag
    Our natural inclination
    is to go with the group.
    Creativity, however,
    demands the opposite”
    – Marty Neumeier
    Photo by davidsmalley on Flickr

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  22. If you’re working on a
    second order problem,
    trends matter more.
    New trends often
    emerge in opposition
    to previous ones.
    When
    everybody
    zigs, zag
    Our natural inclination
    is to go with the group.
    Creativity, however,
    demands the opposite”
    – Marty Neumeier
    Photo by davidsmalley on Flickr
    70s

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  23. If you’re working on a
    second order problem,
    trends matter more.
    New trends often
    emerge in opposition
    to previous ones.
    When
    everybody
    zigs, zag
    Our natural inclination
    is to go with the group.
    Creativity, however,
    demands the opposite”
    – Marty Neumeier
    Photo by davidsmalley on Flickr
    70s
    80s

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  24. If you’re working on a
    second order problem,
    trends matter more.
    New trends often
    emerge in opposition
    to previous ones.
    When
    everybody
    zigs, zag
    Our natural inclination
    is to go with the group.
    Creativity, however,
    demands the opposite”
    – Marty Neumeier
    Photo by davidsmalley on Flickr
    70s
    80s
    90s

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  25. If you’re working on a
    second order problem,
    trends matter more.
    New trends often
    emerge in opposition
    to previous ones.
    When
    everybody
    zigs, zag
    Our natural inclination
    is to go with the group.
    Creativity, however,
    demands the opposite”
    – Marty Neumeier
    Photo by davidsmalley on Flickr
    70s
    80s
    90s
    00s

    View full-size slide

  26. If you’re working on a
    second order problem,
    trends matter more.
    New trends often
    emerge in opposition
    to previous ones.
    When
    everybody
    zigs, zag
    Our natural inclination
    is to go with the group.
    Creativity, however,
    demands the opposite”
    – Marty Neumeier
    Photo by davidsmalley on Flickr
    70s
    80s
    90s
    00s
    …and we wanted to make a
    new music discovery service
    201
    1
    it
    was

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  27. In 2011, a lot of music apps were borrwing from
    online trends in general.
    201
    1
    Status Quo
    Big data / algorithms
    Fast (real time)
    More content; a
    playlist as base unit
    “spreadsheet music”

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  28. Imagined
    Opposite
    100% hand-picked
    Slow
    Less content; a song as
    base unit
    Visual culture of music;
    personal expression
    If you want to create something playful,
    a good exercise is to imagine the opposite.
    201
    1
    Status Quo
    Q
    uestion:
    the
    opposite
    Big data / algorithms
    Fast (real time)
    More content; a
    playlist as base unit
    “spreadsheet music”

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  29. This Is My Jam
    1 2

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  30. New conceptual
    breakthroughs are
    invariably driven by
    the development of
    new technologies”
    – Don Norman
    Photo credit: Piemont Share on Flickr

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  31. New conceptual
    breakthroughs are
    invariably driven by
    the development of
    new technologies”
    – Don Norman
    Photo credit: Piemont Share on Flickr
    “ Are we doing it just because
    we can now?
    Often this indicates scratching
    at a first order problem; it’s not
    a product in itself.
    Q
    uestion:
    the
    itch

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  32. matryoshka
    matryoshka
    The only thing that matches the thrill of finding a
    new favourite song is sharing it with someone else.
    1
    the original
    social media
    Music
    Q
    uestion:
    the
    behaviour

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  33. 1. Blink and you miss it
    Want it later when you need some
    new music? Too bad, it’s gone!
    2. It’s a different pace
    Reading a status update takes
    seconds. The average song is
    3.5 minutes long.
    Rejecting ‘real-time’
    Q
    uestion:
    the
    right pace

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  34. Rejecting ‘real-time’
    4. Physical context matters
    You’re not wearing headphones or
    have speakers plugged in right now.
    Because you’re reading a feed.
    3. Personal context matters
    How do I know if you really love this
    song or you were just listening to it?
    There’s no context.
    Q
    uestion:
    Context

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  35. 1 million jams
    Shared slowly and thoughtfully.
    “This is My Jam is part of a growing,
    and overdue, movement… fucking
    delightful”
    “Here’s the deal: you get one song at a
    time and that’s all you get. That’s your
    jam. Simple. I like it”
    Chris Thorpe @jaggeree
    @ThisIsMyJam is closest thing I've felt for a while to the John Peel show I
    remember from youth. You may not like all but discovery is key.

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  36. Happens in the same room

    Happens in real-time

    You need friends

    Works best with 1-10 people

    You need a record player

    You need records

    You need to choose at the pace of a song (3 min)

    You have to pick from someone’s collection

    You can only share one thing at a time
    Constraints for playing
    records with friends:
    Q
    uestion:
    w
    hich
    constraints

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  37. Happens in the same room

    Happens in real-time

    You need friends

    Works best with 1-10 people

    You need a record player

    You need records

    You need to choose at the pace of a song (3 min)

    You have to pick from someone’s collection

    You can only share one thing at a time
    Constraints for playing
    records with friends:

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  38. Happens in the same room

    Happens in real-time

    You need friends

    Works best with 1-10 people

    You need a record player

    You need records

    You need to choose at the pace of a song (3 min)

    You have to pick from someone’s collection

    You can only share one thing at a time
    Constraints for playing
    records with friends:
    Q
    uestion:
    w
    hich
    constraints

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  39. We placed importance on personal expression and
    craft, and made it easy for your jam to have style*
    * I choose to use define “style as epithet” – e.g. the visual style of music helps you
    know what it might sound like. (From Michael Beirut’s article ‘Style: An Inventory’)
    Q
    uestion:
    the
    role
    of style

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  40. Question…
    “what are we making” and “why are we making it”?
    (Figuring out how is your domain)
    ‘what’ and ‘why’ during investigation period, before
    you turn the creative corner together
    the problem type: are you solving for a first or a
    second order problem?
    the itch: are you doing it just because “you can”?

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  41. Question…
    the behaviour: does the tech you’re thinking of
    using fit with what people want?
    the pace: What speed will people want to consume
    the content at?
    the constraints: which one(s) makes sense for your
    product?
    the appropriate style: especially if it’s a second
    order product, what style will attract your audience?

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  42. Question the
    OPPOSITE
    You might just create something new
    that meets emerging desires.

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