Mobile first is winning. That’s what Kayak (one of my favorite websites and iOS applications) is doing, moving the design of their applications to the web:
Normally a web-based company that decides to make an app wants to translate the look and feel of its site to that app. But Kayak has been there, done that. And from the design team to the executive team, those within Kayak say it now makes more sense to do the opposite. "I got to the point where I actually liked iPhone app better than our website, I thought it was aesthetically more beautiful," Kayak co-founder and CTO Paul English told me in an interview last week.
At its design lab up on Concord, Mass. Kayak does eye-tracking studies to see what users are or are not using. "Our design goal – if something is on the screen and people aren't clicking on, we remove it," said English. The overall goal in making the site look more like a mobile app is to shed unnecessary details and simplify.
A VC that in my opinion gets it right:
Code cannot come before UX. Design the experience before you code it. Art takes time and has to be at the core of your product/service. If you don’t have a designer as one of your first three team members, well, in my humble opinion, you’re already in trouble.
To illustrate, here are some details I assess when every new venture comes my way: Email structure, word choice, the signature, the amount of deck slides, the weight of the presentation, whether the dollar sign is placed before or after the amount, the choice of stock photography, whether MS Clipart was used, the thickness of the business card, the choice of typography, even the entrepreneur’s choice of laptop and phone.
All of these go to the heart of our assessment the product/service, the team and the venture as a whole.
It’s about the sizzle, which is UX. It sells the product. If you don’t have a great UX, investors have to be aware there are going to be many, many other costs, like additional marketing, to make a product successful.
Great UX is art, but it’s worth it.
Culture is a balanced blend of human psychology, attitudes, actions, and beliefs that combined create either pleasure or pain, serious momentum or miserable stagnation. A strong culture flourishes with a clear set of values and norms that actively guide the way a company operates. Employees are actively and passionately engaged in the business, operating from a sense of confidence and empowerment rather than navigating their days through miserably extensive procedures and mind-numbing bureaucracy. Performance-oriented cultures possess statistically better financial growth, with high employee involvement, strong internal communication, and an acceptance of a healthy level of risk-taking in order to achieve new levels of innovation.…
If there’s any doubt about the value of investing time in culture, there are significant benefits that come from a vibrant and alive culture:
- Focus: Aligns the entire company towards achieving its vision, mission, and goals.
- Motivation: Builds higher employee motivation and loyalty.
- Connection: Builds team cohesiveness among the company's various departments and divisions.
- Cohesion: Builds consistency and encourages coordination and control within the company.
- Spirit: Shapes employee behavior at work, enabling the organization to be more efficient and alive.
Look at Zappos, one of the fastest companies to reach $1 billion in recent years, fueled by an electric and eclectic culture, one that’s inclusionary, encouraging, and empowering. It’s well-documented, celebrated, and shared willingly with anyone who wants to learn from it. Compare that to American Apparel, the controversial and prolific fashion retailer with a well-documented and highly dysfunctional culture. Zappos is thriving and on its way to $2 billion, while American Apparel is mired in bankruptcy and controversy. Both companies are living out their missions–one is to create happiness, and the other is based on self-centered perversity. Authenticity and values always win.
Great post. It has answers from some of the leading UX practitioners, some of whom don’t have a degree.
"A degree or a certificate isn't going to magically get you respect, make you employable, get you on the speaker circuit, cure acne, or make you more attractive to the love of your life. A degree is not going to instantly improve your UX skills. Only lots and lots of practice can do that. All of the employers of UX professionals that I know-myself included-are looking for experience first and above all. However, that doesn't mean a degree is useless.”
"Of course, having a degree gets you past foolish HR departments that require a degree. However, remember that people who require a degree also look at applicants' experience. The most experience wins-the degree just lets you take part in the race.”
Here’s a job posting that a friend contacted me about (Lingo and Actionscript probably aren’t strict requirements). Ping me if you’re interested.
Also, ping me if you’re a visual designer or user experience designer in Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York. Recruiter friends of mine have 10 jobs open. Send me an email at email@example.com.
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