IT

Turn your website into Prince Charming, not the hairy Beast (part 3)

  • In part 1, you read what happens when products try to recreate the success of existing products artificially.
  • After reading the second part, you know that it's important to keep the end user in mind.

What can we learn from perfect snapshot monsters?

 

Perfect snapshot monsters: when products don't evolve over time

Perfect snapshot monsters are created when the digital product is designed without taking one critical dimension into account: time.

What's the right approach? Try to create a first version of the product and then adjust it step by step. Often, perfect snapshot monsters are products that have to be as beautiful as possible from the beginning and are no longer getting much attention afterwards. But nothing is perfect first time around, even when it took a lot of time and money.

There are 3 types of perfect snapchat monsters:

1. Visual monsters

Visual monsters are digital products that are created to look good. First, designers make hi-fidelity mock-ups in Photoshop to quickly get buy-in from management. Then the product is built.

2. One-shot monsters

We're talking about very focused, framed projects: no mission, no roadmap, no strategy. The product has no follow-up and no improvement. It becomes an outdated, frustrating tool, and gets replaced.

3. Patchwork monsters

Are you adding extra features and changes to one-shot monsters, again without unity and coherence? Then you're creating a patchwork monster.

 

How do these monsters harm?

Digital products are not static objects. They are meant to be used, to be interacted with. It is a process, something dynamic and embedded in a timeline.

If this timeline isn't taken into account, digital products can harm in 2 ways:

  1. It harms users because the flow is not optimized. It may concern end users who get to see beautiful pages but cannot complete a task, or intermediate users, such as content creators, who cannot properly manage content over time because the design only shows a few content items.
  2. It also harms the organization because the product is not built to evolve smoothly in time. As a consequence, the product isn't updated until a few years later, when it looks completely outdated, and a new, expensive design process is necessary.

 

How do you spot these monsters?

Does the project have a clear planning and scope, but no mention of the higher plan, like the mission, final goal or next steps? Or does the project start with design mock-ups, without documentation on how they are used?

Then you are probably dealing with a perfect snapshot monster.

 

How do you slay perfect snapshot monsters?

Perfect snapshot monsters use the project's budget to build the product with as many features as possible.

The challenge is to shift this approach: since not a single product is created right the first time around. You start by defining what you want to achieve. Then you create a first version, including the core features/content, and have a follow-up phase to improve it.

It's also recommended to document what needs to be remembered, in a lightweight. No 200-page PDF file, but the key takeaway information in bite-size deliverables, like:

  • Information about the organization
  • The project’s mission
  • The users
  • The top tasks
  • The visual style of the product

This way, it is easier to refer to it and stay consistent over time.

Last, make sure you test the interactions of your solution before building or launching it. Try out important user scenarios, see if they are logical, practical, enjoyable. You can do this in many ways:

  • Roleplaying
  • Paper sketches
  • Wireframes
  • Prototypes
  • The finished product

 

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