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Business to Interface Translation — BIT

Smartphone and tablet innovation is exploding. The potential of mobile apps is yet to be realized to its full extent. We are still researching and innovating on various ways to put the interface on digital touch screens to use.

Some of the interfaces and businesses that exist today are already phenomenal. That said, we are not just limited to screens on your phones or tablets, you have watches, HMDs, TVs, IOT and other smart devices; there’s a whole new world being built in these spaces.

There’s a huge no. of people wanting to build and need help with apps to run a business on and for most already established businesses, it has become a need. There are costs & time commitments involved along with acquiring & retaining skill to build and keep your app running.

When it’s about building an app, we mean business, Essentially building out a system that can communicate and manage a business process with an app as front end. And, when it’s business, it means money.

Driving digital products from idea to implementation involves building the product, carrying out various processes needed for sustaining, managing the business, ensuring profitability.

Most content that you read online is about idea validation, design and development/build of the app but, there is more involved than just this for turning successful. It’s quite complicated to understand and do it right and hence, there are failures.

Start

Your journey as the owner can start anywhere based on the understanding you have and it completely depends on the your background and profile and the competence of your team.

 

Driving digital products from idea to implementation involves building the product, carrying out various processes needed for sustaining, managing the business, ensuring profitability. Most content that you read online is about idea validation, design and development/build of the app but, there is more involved than just this for turning successful.

It’s quite complicated to understand and do it right and hence, there are failures. Failures are not the end of the world, they could be handled by thinking through with a clear detail.

Plan

How detail can it be? Really!!

If you go out and order pasta at 10 different restaurants, it would definitely taste differently at different place. We’ll a place has full right to define how their dishes should taste but, you are the one eating it. You wouldn’t like all the 10.

Or may be you will not like any restaurant at all. Working with people and getting a product out is also the same. It’s not easy to get it right. It call for the owner to be more aware and mature with thoughts and operations.

You approach someone or put together a team and define the product to get some help. Would it match what you need without your involvement? Are you clear on what needs to be expected at a sharp visual and functional details covering all the cases possible?

Well, are you completely aware of the details involved?

Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO5sxLapAts and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zc4bGkU05o should help you get the context of it. 

Things to note from the meme

There was a presentation done that exactly misses out key detail. Most Product Requirement Documents(PRDs), UI mockups, wireframes, functional descriptions, system definitions have bazillion such details that don’t come out clear!

And, one cannot define these detail unless they are clear about what is needed and a deeper understanding of various lines of work involved in building and turning profitable.

“There’s more thought while production than while conceptualizing the solution.”

A Case

For example, A button to book a Stay with an aggregator service/app:(the label of a button, state changes and transitions). Most common first thoughts about such buttons are size, shape and position but, there’s more..

A whole lot more than what just meets the eye:

  1. Label

  2. State

    1. Pressed/Touched,

    2. Idle

    3. Being Pressed

    4. Force Press

    5. Duration of Press/Touch

    6. Before Press

      1. Active

      2. Disabled

      3. Hidden

    7. After Press

      1. Success

      2. Fail

      3. Something else happened

        1. Error ? What’s the error ? What should we say to the user

          1. How do we say it ?

            1. Modal ?

            2. Toast ?

            3. Something else ?

        2. Was it really an error ?

        3. Internet went off ?

        4. Server went down ?

        5. App crashed ?

        6. Was that a bug ?

  3. Style

    1. Padding

    2. Margin

    3. Border

    4. Border Radius

    5. Shadow

    6. Icon

    7. Background Color

    8. Text Color

A label:

Let’s cut down and focus on the Label

The possible labels in the this case are Book Now, Reserve, Request Booking for the various kinds of reservation options that the business has.

At the Designer’s Desk:

It’s not anybody’s fault that our dear designers use the word Book Now on their designs. Their job doesn’t really include a responsibility for adding a dynamic label for such simple point of interaction. There are some good designers who think this through and leave a comment about it on the developer handout or a PRD.

At the Developer’s Desk:

Our dear developers on the other hand have a whole lot of action going on trying to build functional aspects, dealing with engineering challenges, killing the bugs that show up every now and then. They obviously have their own problems to deal with, relating to the product again.

With so much going on, there’s a very good chance that a developer would ignore such detail about what’s written on the button. They’d rather focus on what the button does.

To get to this point in discussion, the designer on the project had to be good, not just visually. This is where the difference between UI and UX is.

Or, the developer had to take some time to think and call this out for discussion and most good programmers do. FYI, programmers are very good thinkers… They think, they write logic, they relate things that’s their everyday job.

So, Is a product manager to be blamed?

At the Product Manager/Owner’s Desk:

Well, a product manager’s job is never complete nor the responsibilities can be thoroughly defined. But they are assumed to take the ownership of the product and any aspect related to it. In a way, this is the responsibility of the product manager to address this issue. It might be too late by the time someone identifies this issue and it would be in most cases of the startup world.

In fact, Product Managers do not exist in early stage ventures probably because the value for such a role is not understood and then, there are very few good product managers around and a good product manager can happen only with great experience with how things are actually built. Some mature companies have PM roles split across different people viz.

  • Product Marketing

  • Product Operations

  • Product Development/Technical Product Manager

But regardless, there are many chances for details to be missed:

#What if the designer didn’t have enough information about the business?

#We might want to call it common sense to know these. But, common sense is not common. It’s one’s own perception of things. If somebody working had such clear understanding, they would definitely be in a better position to create a business than the guy trying to use somebody else’s efforts to build.

#What if the developer did not pay attention to details mentioned?

#What if the product manager or the acting product manager is not capable enough?

#What if the team is so busy trying to do things with an assumption that everything is clear?

These are the kinds of issues that would fail a product during initial phases of launch. Good products are the ones that are well thought through.

Digital products deal with dynamics of design on the Front End and multiple layers of complexities data collection, available data, correlations, background jobs, various sorts of intelligence across data available, involving framework limitations, and a lot of learning and understanding across design, engineering, architecture, communications and end user experience management(UX).

“Simplicity is ultimate sophistication.”

That comes from Leonardo da Vinci. One of the best designer, engineer and an artist that has ever lived. It’s not simple to design, engineer and build something simple. It involves a lot of thinking and a deeper understanding across verticals and most importantly, sitting down and building.

What we’ve discussed here is just about a label on a button. When you are actually venturing into running a business from a screen, there would be a million other factors that play a role. Please be aware and get right help when needed.

It’s always a good practice to have consumer journeys first and a PRD that talks about various key UX specs and decisions involved by a consumer. It’s completely okay to keep things open and call out things that you do not have clear thoughts about on PRDs and figure out a way to deal with them later.

If neglected they will call for one’s own imagination, turn into disasters, wasting the time and resources involved and it hurts. You wouldn’t want to do that.

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Jeremy Webb

Chief technologi.st & Adventurer about.me/jeremy.webb

Jeremy WebbBusiness to Interface Translation — BIT

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