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Neverbland is a team of designers, developers & doers.Specialists in user experience, interaction design and product development.Having earned our spurs working on startups, we understand the importance of simple, elegant solutions and quick releases; matching beautiful aesthetic to functional design.Were driven by the Webs ability to unite and empower. Thats why were passionate about collaboration and the open source movement.But its what we havent done that really excites us.

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5 tips to get your digital product design right

Oct 4, 2016

Jolyon Varley, co-founder of Neverbland, a digital product studio, explores how startups can best build their digital products. The hard thing about hard things Building digital products is hard. We should know. Having launched almost 20 businesses, built over 100 websites and logged over 12,876 hours of collective design and development since the start of the year, we’ve encountered, observed, swerved and (eventually) overcome many of the potholes on the road to minimum viable product (MVP). Here’s a few things we’ve learnt so far: MVP means MVP Be rigorous in testing the core of your idea. What is it about your idea that’s different? This is what you need to prototype and test in order to understand if you have product market fit. Remember today’s unicorns started as simple concepts, not the feature-rich experiences that exist today. Budget, budget, budget Put no more than 50% of the 1st year development budget into the initial build. You’ll need the remaining 50% to maintain, iterate and deliver new features post launch. Ensure there’s budget and time set aside for growth hacking, marketing initiatives, social and content strategies, pay-per-click (ppc) advertising, partnership programmes and more. Building successful products is a journey and not a destination. Post MVP it’s vital to continually test and improve by increments so you can learn what works and do more of it. Communities Start building your community early. Introduce small groups of beta users to the product as soon as possible. Encourage key influencers to act as early adopters who can help shape the product and raise awareness through their networks. In our experience this works best when these audiences are given an opportunity to engage with a product before it hits the wider market, whether through immersive product showcases or an inventive viral social engagement tool. Visual design & UX Animation is a great tool for increasing user engagement, but use it sparingly. Good design is about solving problems. Superfluous design and animation, while looking cool, do nothing for converting users and increase load time on the page. A good product should ‘feel’ fast. Focus on speed and a simple, intuitive interface. Nothing decreases user engagement like site latency, slow performance or confusing user interface (UI). If a form field has to meet certain validation, do your users a solid and let them know what that is before they click submit. All form fields should be clearly labeled and all placeholder text should be an example of that input. Be aware of how accessibility informs design. The minimum size for touch areas for CTA in mobile design should be 1cm sq. If users can’t click on your link, they can’t convert. Also remember hover states are non-existent on mobile so don’t hide anything important behind them. Producing a design style guide is a crucial component of product design as it shows products as a system of states rather than a collection of pages. Stand on the shoulders of giants and don’t be afraid to lean on common design patterns to aid consistency. Giving users 14 different button styles across your product does nothing for your street cred. Think fast, ship smart Who’s going to build the product? Can you code? Can you build an in-house team of developers around you? Should you work with a digital product studio? There are pros and cons to every approach but we urge you to explore all three before making your decision. Don’t be fooled by flavour-of-the-month development frameworks. Some developers are fond of Angular, others sit firmly in the React camp. It doesn’t mean that one is always better than the other. Underpinning all of these is Javascript. We believe any developer worth their salt should know vanilla Javascript inside and out. We champion Agile. Agile development involves working in tandem— UX and design working concurrently with the development team for rapid prototyping and product development. Such close collaboration means the team is collectively working towards a shared goal and inevitably gets there quicker. Recommended for you

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