Shearing layers

September 25, 2017

In his classic book How Buildings Learn Stewart Brand highlights an idea by the British architect Frank Duffy:

A building properly conceived is several layers of longevity.

Duffy called these shearing layers. Each of the layers moves at a different timescale. Brand expanded on the idea, proposing six alliterative layers:

  1. Site—the physical location of a building only changes on a geological timescale.
  2. Structure—the building itself can last for centuries.
  3. Skin—the exterior surface gets a facelift or a new lick of paint every few decades.
  4. Services—the plumbing and wiring need to be updated every ten years or so.
  5. Space plan—the layout of walls and doors might change occasionally.
  6. Stuff—the arrangement of furniture in a room can change on a daily basis.

In a later book, The Clock Of The Long Now, Stewart Brand applied the idea of shearing layers—or pace layers—to civilisation itself. The slowest moving layer is nature, then there’s culture, followed by governance, then infrastructure, and finally commerce and fashion are the fastest layers. In a loosely‐coupled way, each layer depends on the layer below. In turn, the accumulation of each successive layer enables an “adjacent possible” filled with more opportunities.

From Jeremy Keith: Resilient Web Design

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Mobile first

September 25, 2017

Losing 80% of your screen space forces you to focus. You need to make sure that what stays on the screen is the most important set of features for your customers and your business. There simply isn’t room for any interface debris or content of questionable value. You need to know what matters most.

Luke Wroblewski: Mobile First


Material honesty

September 25, 2017

Using TABLEs for layout is materially dishonest. The TABLE element is intended for marking up the structure of tabular data. The end result of using TABLEs, FONT elements, and spacer GIFs is a façade. At first glance everything looks fine, but it won’t stand up to scrutiny. As soon as such a website is stress‐tested by actual usage across a range of browsers, the façade crumbles.

Using CSS for presentation is materially honest—that’s the intended use of CSS. It also allows HTML to be materially honest. Instead of trying to fulfil two roles—structure and presentation—HTML can return to fulfilling its true purpose, marking up the meaning of content.

[About mobile first/responsive design:]

This content‐out way of thinking is fundamentally different to the canvas‐in approach that dates all the way back to the Book of Kells. It asks web designers to give up the illusion of control and create a materially‐honest discipline for the World Wide Web.

From Jeremy Keith: Resilient Web Design


Minimize outputs – maximise outcome

September 24, 2017

There’s always more to build than we have time or resources to build—always. [The art of the possible is to] minimize output and maximise outcome and output.

Jeff Patton: Mapping User Stories, p. xli


Shared understanding

September 21, 2017

Shared documents aren’t shared understanding.

Jeff Patton: User Story Mapping, p. xxxiii


User stories

August 28, 2017

“The real goal of user stories is shared understanding.”

Jeff Patton – User story mapping, p. xxxiv


Build less

August 28, 2017

One of the common misconceptions in software development is that we’re trying to get more output faster. … But if you get the game right, you will realize that your job is not to build more – it’s to build less. Minimize output, and maximise outcome and impact.

Jeff Patton, User story mapping, p. xli


Product funnel

August 8, 2017

The actual funnel depends on the type of product, e.g. for You Tube, NYT, Buzzfeed

  1. Awareness
  2. Education
  3. Engagement
  4. Conversion
  5. Revenue
  6. Recurrence

OR (SaaS, enterprises w Freemium plan etc.)

  1. Awareness
  2. Education
  3. Conversion
  4. Engagement
  5. Recurrence
  6. Revenue

From: Laura Klein et.al. Build better Products

 


Jobs to be done

August 7, 2017

The Jobs-to-Be-Done framework is a representations of user needs born out of qualitative user research, such as field studies, interviews, and discount usability testing. It involves identifying for which goals customers “hire” your product (and, ideally, also finding out if there are competitor products that these users are ready to “fire”). Armed with this understanding, a product team can think about the nature of the users’ core problems and needs from a fresh perspective, and devise product features that solve that main need as best as possible.

For example, if a traditional task analysis unearthed that delivery drivers frequently needed to print out directions that showed how to navigate between each stop on their daily route, it’s likely that the design team would focus on making it as easy as possible for the drivers to format and print the directions; however, a JTBD-focused approach would focus on the delivery driver’s “job” (that is, getting navigation guidance while driving), and would look for solutions to that problem (such as a GPS system providing voice guidance).

Oftentimes, we hear JTBD advocates referring to the famous Theodore Levitt quote, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” Rather than focusing on a list of features for a product, the JTBD framework forces designers to think about outcomes: would users be able to (happily and easily) complete the job they “hired” the product for? Does this solution provide a better outcome than existing ones?

From: Personas vs. Jobs-to-Be-Done by Page Laubheimer

 

 

 


Persona attributes

August 7, 2017

Most well-crafted personas include a multitude of information such as:Demographic details, such as age, marital status, or income:

Personas vs JTBD by Page Laubheimer