Category — Software Pdt Developement
For two years now, Uzanto’s software team has been engaged in building a web based software product (called MindCanvas). MindCanvas is essentially a research product and is meant to help designers (interaction designers, UI designers, web designers, usability/user experience folks, product managers et al) back their design decisions using quick, innovative & robust (online) user research methods rather than sub-optimal, manual or ad-hoc techniques. It’s a unique product and pretty much, the only one-of-its-kind anywhere in the world. In line with web2.0 trends, the product is conceptualized as a mashup; a mashup of three things– online surveys, online games and data oriented statistical methods. Presently, MindCanvas is in private beta but is being used by some of the biggest software/internet companies of the world for powering their user research.
In my role as the product manager for MindCanvas, if somebody asked me to describe the experience of building it, here’s what I would say- ‘ It’s been two long, hard, grueling years of relentless, uncompromising and serendipitous product development work’. In fact, it’s been like a tumultuous journey, with many ups and downs; many a times we have been at our wit’s ends while designing, coding or testing the software. However, I would think that we have ‘survived the initial storm’. We have learnt a lot during this journey and this learning has given us a head start in terms of understanding what it takes to make a world-class web product (specially ones that are targeted at a web2.0 audience).
June 5, 2006 43 Comments
Small, nimble startups (as opposed to big corporations) are the hotbeds of innovative products & services in the software/web workspace. Its not difficult to imagine why- smaller companies are closer to the market and are better equipped to capture market insights and translate them into innovative products.
If you question this maxim, here’s a visual narrative to prick your thinking. (A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words).
Just in case you can’t read the text in the cartoon with your browser, here are the captions for each of the frames [left-to-right]:
(1) How the customer explained it
(2) How the project leader understood it
(3) How the analyst designed it
(4) How the programmer wrote it
(5) How the business consultant described it
(6) How the project was documented
(7) What operations installed
(8) How the customer was billed
(9) How it was supported
(10) What the customer really needed
In larger multilayered corporations, (with their emphasis on protocols and processes), critical market insights/feedback often gets dissipated in a game of chinese whispers as the customer’s voice is sequentially relayed from the frontline to the product development teams. Smaller organizations simply dont have these multiple layers; very often the programmer, analyst , project leader et al is the same person, thus cutting out the ambiguity.
February 17, 2006 5 Comments