A Work in Progress

By Poornima Vijayashanker I took the picture above while I was touring the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona last month. The famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi took over the project in 1883, and transformed it into his own architectural and engineering style. Gaudi continued to work on the church until his death, but to this day the church is incomplete. Many factors have contributed to the delay of its completion such as the Spanish Civil War in the 1950s and finding sources of ... Read more

The Art vs Science of User Experience Design

By Poornima Vijayashanker You might have used products that just get the job done. (Think Excel.) They compete with similar products on features, cost, and other mechanics. The problem is, these products become commodities and can lose their users to competition in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, there are standout products that are heralded as works of art. They inspire people and change lives, and consumers stick with these brands for a long time thanks to a glue called love. Most of us want to ... Read more

How to Compel People to Give You Valuable Feedback

By Poornima Vijayashanker Last week I asked my subscribers to provide feedback, and I’ve spent the past few days reading through all the submissions. I appreciate how candid people were: “The last time there was a survey I responded with a discussion topic and it was written about. I was very impressed as well as grateful to have my question answered.” “I've been losing interest in furthering my career in technology, because it seems to lack spirit and heart and compassion in so many cases, but after ... Read more

How to Identify Efforts that Make a Big Impact When Building Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker If you’re a technical person, such as an engineer or designer, then your todo list is probably filled with product launches, bug fixes, interviewing candidates, attending meetings, answering emails, and fighting fires. The daily grind can leave you wondering if the work that you do is actually worthwhile and makes a big impact. While it’s easy for people to tell us to work smarter, not harder, the bulk of the work still falls on our shoulders, and it often feels like the ... Read more

How to Use Empathy to Build Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker There’s one skill that every wildly successful product manager, UX designer, businessperson, and leader has in common. It helps them unite teams and ship products that customers love time and time again. What could possibly unite all these technologists? It’s conscious and deliberate empathy. Most people believe empathy is just about being compassionate, like lending your friend a shoulder to cry on when they’re going through a breakup. Others dismiss it altogether as a distraction, because they believe it’s more important to be ... Read more

How to Build a Community of Evangelists for Your Software Product

By Poornima Vijayashanker We all want customers to crave the products we build. Next, we want them to spread the word, because WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing is THE strongest and most authentic for your product. WOM is a testimonial delivered from one customer to another. The customer spreading the word cares about helping the other person out and is willing to vouch for the product based on benefits they’ve personally experienced. These days, most customer-to-customer testimonials live on the internet through social media, forums, forwarded ... Read more

Stuck making a tough decision? Here’s how 3 readers decided and delighted their customers.

By Poornima Vijayashanker When you woke up this morning you probably got out of bed, and had to decide on what to wear (unless you have a uniform..), how to do your hair (if you’re like me and have a pixie cut it’s easy!), and then you were off to work or maybe you took the day off, whoohoo! As you go about your day, you’ll notice that people will come up to you, and ask you to choose between one or many ... Read more

Make it Easier for People to Give You Valuable Feedback

By Sarah Doody Today’s guest post is from Sarah Doody, a user experience guru and instructor in Femgineer’s Lean Product Development Program. I always like to say that user experiences and products are not created in a silo. The best products are a result of collaborations between teams who are experts at what they specialize in, but also recognize the value that each of their peers brings to the process. But you know who else has to be present to create a great product? ... Read more

The Problem with Simple Advice

By David Kadavy Today's guest post is from David Kadavy, longtime partner of Femgineer and author of Design for Hackers (which debuted #18 on all of Amazon). I don't know about you, but whenever I've received "simple" advice it's left the voice in my head screaming: "WE'RE DYING! WE'RE DYING! FLEE!" The last time I heard this, my heart was racing. It was convinced my whole body was going to die. I had to use my brain—that great rational tool, the human forebrain—to try to tell ... Read more

Differentiating with Design

By Poornima Vijayashanker We know the impact design has on a user’s experience and a product’s adoption. But many product designers don’t realize that design can also be used as an effective strategy when it comes to positioning a new product. In this excerpt taken from my upcoming book How to Transform Ideas into Software Products, you’ll learn about companies that have effectively positioned based on design, and how to evaluate a competitor’s design to position your own offering. At the end of last ... Read more
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