A number of things are very hard to describe to someone who has never “experienced” it in real. Rollercoaster, doing sport, a concert or a place you like. You can describe facts; but you know that it’s only one part of the picture. These facts wouldn’t convince you either, actually. The magic is hard to describe.
When you eventually get the right words — the facts — to generate enough interest so that this person will actually experience a similar thing, you won.
I believe, the better the experience, the easier it is to find words to describe it.
I have always been a big fan of dual screen. But after 2 weeks with a 27 inches display; I can say this is the best setup I had.
I use most applications in “half screen” mode using the cool little app Spectacle.
With mac OS I use a desktop for “personal” stuffs and a desktop for “work”. I have stuck to this model for month.
Here is how I work
1) getting the right idea, and 2) getting the idea right
- Do you want this feature or your users want it?
Think twice. Maybe three time.
- How this feature makes your user better at achieving what she wants?
Do you really understand how this feature will make the life of your user better?
- Do you understand the problem you are trying to solve?
I always start by stating the problem on paper in a simple sentence.
One of my favourite quote:
FR : Ce que l’on conçoit bien s’énonce clairement et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisément
EN : What one conceives well can be stated with clarity, and the words to say it come easily
- Mockup… but not too much!
I am a huge fan of Balsamiq to create mockups, but this will NEVER beat an actual real life implementation
- Use paper and pen
It’s always faster than any mockup tool, and practicing drawing will always be usefull. I have piles of sketches.
- Start early to implement
Your mockup might not even survive the first line of code. I realised paper & pen drawing last longer! Yes implementing is more work, but it brings you closer to your goal than mocking up
- Stay ultra-focused
If you are not working toward your goal, you are wasting time you could use for something else
- Get drunk
It sometimes helps to think out of the box. The main issue when you’re drunk is that you might forget your awesome ideas the next day. Have your paper & pen in your pocket to draw a quick sketch.
Write drunk; edit sober.
- Give it time to mature
I always work on several problems at a time because a solution need to mature in my head. Some might need a few days, or a few weeks. This is my main way of avoiding to do useless work: I don’t do the work at all unless I’m 100% it’s needed.
- Take time off
I had my best ideas when I was doing something else.
And the most important:
- USE YOUR SOFTWARE
I spend hours playing with my software. Use it with real examples, use it with everyone you talk to, girlfriend included.
Everyone having used enterprise software have thought once “have they used their software at least once before selling it?” No they didn’t, because they don’t care: they sold it to people who, like them, don’t use it. You are not like that because you have a soul.
I couldn’t commit to learn this gesture on the mac because it didn’t feel natural.
I wanted to change it to something different. But couldn’t really be bothered to do it.
I finaly tried to do it… realising I couldn’t change this gesture.
I got used to learn it and use it more naturally now.
- I was blocked by something pointless: a gesture
- I was lazy to do a simple 30 seconds job: look at the settings
- I realised I could accomodate myself to something
So many things to do and so little time. I’d better focus on things that matter. I have developped a technique that I apply for both my private and professional life
Know where you want to be
I deeply understand where I want to go in my life. Both personnaly and professionally. I have a core principle (it is stated in 2 sentences) that moves me forward. Every decision I take is assessed against this principle.
Know what doesn’t matter
There is a lot of things I have decided don’t matter. This frees my mind.
Have the right tools to build a system to make your life easier (and use it)
I continuously improve my environment to fit my lifestyle (that is driven by my core principle). My office is organised for maximum focus, I live in a place where I can go and get pretty much anything by bike. On my computer, I have all the tools or services I need to deliver. When a system works, I stick to it and use it to death. Well, none has died yet.
I have systems to manage what I need to remember (Workflowy), to manage my work (FeeAgent), to manage my emails, calendar, reading list (Instapaper), etc. etc.
I use this principle when I decide to read an article, to buy something, to go somewhere, to decide what to do next, when I need to go to sleep, who I want to see, who I don’t want to see, who I should call, what I should learn, what I should remember.