Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Simplify what it does to absolute minimum

I like simple things.  When I sign up for a service, I already have a problem that I would like to solve.  What I look for is the quickest path to solving the problem at hand.  From user's perspective it should be dead simple.  Simplicity of user experience means that someone else took the trouble of thinking through the intricacies involved in solving the problem, and laid it all out.  As a user, when I discover a simple product, I am thrilled.

There are different aspects to creating something simple, however.  Creating something simple is anything but simple.  There are three aspects that I can think of:

  • Problem that the product solves
  • Product UI and UX
  • Implementation

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Product Management: When to add a new feature

When do you add a new feature as opposed to improving the existing feature?

Past week I had a chance to spend time with a bunch of customers.  It always gives me a new perspective, a perspective that really matters to the company, i.e. the reality.  

Customers care about their unique problem.  They might not be at the stage where they can make use of all  the product features.  Their users may not have been trained on all the features, they may not have the browser version that supports the latest feature, or their internal roles may not have been set up the way product was designed to support.  Or they may not even know about the capability of the product.

Each customer is at different adoption curve.  They have a different set of problems they are dealing with.  When they are having user adoption problem, they are not interested in hearing all the great features that the product has to make it easier to scale the roll out.

Because of the unique customer perspective, many customers have their wishlist.  It is a list of enhancements to make their jobs easier.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Facebook Trusted Contacts & Mother's Day Notification

A couple of weeks ago, Facebook rolled out a feature called Facebook 'Trusted Contacts'.  Instead of relying on security questions and two factor authentication, Facebook is saying that they can solve the problem by using social graph.  Facebook is thinking that our identities can be verified easier by sharing the secret codes with our Facebook friends.  They can forward the codes to us, and we can enter them to regain access to our Facebook account.

A neat idea on the paper.  I like the idea of password-less login.  But asking them to send me a secret code that they received just so that I didn't choose to pick my security question or enter mobile phone number?  For me, the pain of bothering someone to solve my forgotten password problem is greater than regaining access to my Facebook account.

What about this push notification that I received from Facebook Pages yesterday?

Push notification that I got from Facebook Pages yesterday.
Sorry, Facebook.  My mom got a phone call from me instead.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

How to run a small business

Yesterday I dropped off my wife's car for an oil change.  My mechanic is a small independent one.  He is a typical small business owner.  He always has greasy fingers and runs between his tiny 6-by-6-foot office and the next door repair shop.  When the office phone rings, he is the one picks up the phone to talk to the customer.  Often despite his best efforts he answers the phone after several rings because he has to rush to the office from the repair shop.

When I dropped off the car, the shop was busy as ever.  There were three customers waiting to speak to him.

After waiting for my turn, I asked him.