The Year of Product!

whole-head---LS---New-Year-2014

Happy New Year!  This last year has seen many great things in product, from product ecosystems to analytics to the continued formal expansion into companies large and small, digital and physical.

In addition to the many positive changes we have been witnessing in the broader industries, I am also very proud of several new product community initiatives as well as the product people I have gotten to work with…

The Product Group, the world’s largest meetup for product people, passed some pretty awesome milestones this year…

4600+ Members
40+ Featured Products
4+ Years

Looking forward to seeing you all at our next meetup…

Thursday, January 2nd
Featured Product: INCLUSION
Special Topic: News Skills. New Year.
RSVP Now!

We are always looking to grow The Product Group base.  If you are interested in launching a local chapter of The Product Group in your hometown, you can contact me at jhorn (a-t.) tpgblog DoT com.

tpj-logo-w_lkwThis year we launched the free job board, exclusively dedicated to connecting Product People and the Jobs they love, with 800 new job postings and growing!

Visit  http://TheProductJobs.com and happy hunting!

TPM-Short3-Logo4It’s been a long journey since TPM was launched as an MVP earlier in 2013.  The interest and participation has been greater and wider that I ever could have imagined…

With participants from…

United States, England,
Australia, Spain, Singapore,
Jordon, Canada, Brazil

We are midway through our very first iteration with many amazing mentees, and of course, mentors…

Becky Yelland, Beth Temple, Calvin Chu,
Raviv Turner, David Shoenberger,
Adrienne Tan, Steven Cohn, Ari Tiktin

If you are interested in being a Product Mentor in our upcoming Session…

Please visit http://TheProductMentor.com TODAY and
Sign-up today!

PictureThe annual search for The Best Product Person continued and exceeded last year’s participation (well over 100 nominees)!  As a matter of fact, due to the enormous turnout, and great candidates, it took considerably longer to get through all the judging than prior years – but we do have a winner!  Stay tuned over the next few weeks for the official announcement of The Best Product Person of 2013.

And, hey, it’s never too early to start submitting your nominations for 2014! (Important: The person who nominates the winner also wins a very cool prize. Winking smile )

You can submit your nomination for TBPP 2014 at:

https://tbpp.wufoo.com/forms/the-best-product-person-of-2014/

GA_logo_199This year I continued teaching the long-form (10 week) product management course I designed at General Assembly and have been psyched to learn it has been their most successful (in the US and Worldwide) to date!

In completing the 6th consecutive teaching of the course since launch, I have very happily taught over 130 product managers looking to take their careers to the next level.  I would never be able to list them all, nor the large subset of the group that have gone on to some very great new product gigs, but I did put together a cool movie looking back at my students of GA PDM, 

Enjoy…

(Yes, I know the music didn’t perfectly line up with the duration of the video. Blame Google’s auto-awesome movie generator. Smile with tongue out)

Looking Forward

I have a few new product initiatives in the works for 2014 (a new podcast, product associates program, and more)!  Hope you all continue to enjoy them as much as I enjoy putting them together.  If you would like to help out, contact me via jhorn (a-t.) tpgblog DoT com and mention this blog post.

And, again, Happy Near Year!  Make it another great one for products and their product people!

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

About these ads

I made it out of clay…

painter Is every online product starting to look alike? Running low on product experience creativity?

Some Simple Advice

Break the mold of the average user experience. Think about the problem you are trying to solve from alternative design perspectives by introducing new methods of interacting with the product.

<YAWN>

Most people will design their web application, interface, user experience, in the same old way, every single time. Pencil, paper, Photoshop, pen, storyboard, wire diagram, etc. So boring!

Make it out of clay!

A super-simple way to get yourself started on a new thought path is to change how you interact with the product during the design process. For example, change the medium (water color, paper mache…clay) with which you are designing and / or approach the online product from the paradigm of common, handy real-world products, remote control, oven, umbrella, etc. Imagine those products imbued with some or all of the features of the online product you are trying to create. How would those features be manifested in these different forms? How would the different forms the features and interaction with them?

Come on…Touch it

Shifting the interaction of you (the product or experience designer) with the product, changing from a computer monitor oriented paradigm, will, by its very nature, cause you to think differently about the problem and, maybe, find some new metaphors that can be applied to the design or interaction of the final product itself.

To tackle interaction design challenges I have used post-it collages, clay, created 3d working models, charcoal, etc. It helps to keep the creativity flowing when different mediums (other than Photoshop and your browser) are employed to see and truly interact with your interface as well as the user experience you are trying to create.

Enter the Real World

Take an existing product, in the “real world”, a CD player, a remote control, and shift the paradigm of your interface to those models. Yes, the end result may not be what you are seeking, but the journey that entails facing the different limitations and constraints imposed by the objects you are using as a guide are an excellent way to keep your mind fresh while you approach the problem from a variety of angles. And, once in a while, such a shift will present a really cool way to present that user experience that you hadn’t thought of before.

A (Paper) Widget

On an interaction design challenge I tackled previously, I found myself having to design a very small widget that required a great deal of information conveyance and required an enjoyable consumer experience. The 2 paradigm shifts I introduced that eventually lead to solving the interaction design challenge were…

Shift 1: I wondered what the tiny module would look like if it popped open like a CD player

…then I decided that, instead of mocking it up in Photoshop or other digital design tools, I would further introduce a different way of interacting with this widget, by…

Shift 2: creating a working 3D model… out of paper. (see photo of the model I built to the right)

Shaping it, crafting it, interacting with it, playing with it, viewing it from different angles and perspectives, having other people poke at it, all of which, in the end, led to a very cool consumer experience that also presented the user with the needed information.

For Example … Exercise

Goal:

  • Re-design the opening and closing of a desktop window.

Consider:

  • What if that window opened and closed like a clamshell phone.
  • What interface elements are on the top, outside of the phone.
  • What elements are presented on the inside of the phone?
  • What similar elements would make sense in the realm of my desktop window that could be made to fit the model?
  • What real-world elements exist that open and close that are very different from a desktop window?

Solution: Dive in and give it a try. I would love to hear and see what ideas people come up with.

Keep Exercising

Now, pick a completely different object that you interact with in the world. Try it out on one of your older (more boring) interfaces. If anyone comes up with anything interesting that they would like to share I would love to see them and post them on the blog.

Simply Put

As some parts of the holiday season wind down and others are just beginning, why not make it a New Year’s resolution, the next time you feel like you are stuck in a rut or need to inject new ideas, to break the mold and try making it out of clay!

Enjoy!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy