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The host syndrome: what is it and how to avoid it in your product

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Imagine you walk into a barbecue party and just when you’re about to grab a beer and sit down with some old friends - the party host jumps at you, gives you a long tour around the house, brags about the renovated pool, forces you to try out all the appetizers, and introduces you to his neighbors that you’ll never see again.  I call this phenomenon " the host syndrome ”. The host syndrome happens when the host tries too hard to impress the guests and make them aware of the efforts made to arrange the party and appreciate things nobody cares about, usually resulting in the exact opposite.  Like many  cognitive biases , the host syndrome creates a blind spot that turns the host into an annoying creature. This phenomenon can be found in software products too. For example, product creators (AKA the hosts) often push their product features too aggressively, causing their guests (AKA the users) to feel uncomfortable and lose interest.  Let me walk you through the hosts' metaverse (w

Mobile Apps in 2022: should you still start with iOS?

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  Every time I’m involved in a new mobile project the same old question pops up: should we start with Android or iOS?  The technical pros and cons are known (device range, OS fragmentation, UX, code), as well as the possibility to use a cross-platform tech like Flutter or React Native , but the development effort is only one part of the decision. The other part is business needs.  Starting with the right operating system means you focus and prioritize your efforts:  user experience , QA,  user acquisition , and basically means you start with the users that will bring the highest value to the business.  So, which one’s first: iOS or Android?  Many people will tell you to start with iOS because iPhone users are great “ early adopters ”.  They like to try out new services, they “brag” about trendy & shiny apps that are only available on their precious iPhones (remember Clubhouse and Fortnite?), and they are used to paying for services others get for free.  While all of this is basi

Collection: 10 guides for designing better products

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  Hey everyone!  They say an evening at home is a great opportunity to summarize 10 of your most popular posts, so I gave it a try.  So here's a collection of 10 guides that were published here, at the mobile spoon, and are packed with tons of UI/UX and product tips.  Enjoy!  1.   The definite guide for writing and designing text in mobile apps This guide includes 40 rules that will help you avoid common pitfalls when working with text: layout, alignment, spacing, fonts, microscopy, UX writing, and more.  2.   How to design data tables that don't suck Every product has some data tables (in main elements or in the admin stuff) and yet, there are probably more bad examples than good ones.  To avoid the common issues - I've created this 20 rules guide for creating user-friendly data tables and grids . Most of them are pretty easy to implement.  There’s nothing special about this guide, except it’s totally superior to all existing guides out there:  3.   The all-in-one guide t

Just created my first NFT 🤟

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So I wanted to explore the NFT world... I signed up to a few marketplaces, reviewed some famous collections, one thing led to another... yada yada yada... my first ever NFT was born.  Which makes sense actually; you all know my UI snippets and product tips , why not NFTs?  Meet Furry Doggy . I know what you're thinking ("genius"), but the answer is NO, I cannot explain the art, things just happened.  It's currently available in OpenSea  for an outrages price of 0.01 ETH.  Show me some love by clicking the link and "liking" it.  BTW, In a few years this piece will be worth x2 at least ;-).   

The difference between soft-activated and hard-activated users

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Let’s talk about user activation .  How do you define your activated users? When do they become “activated”? Is it when they sign-up? Is it when they perform an action a certain number of times? Or maybe it's when they’re making their first payment  or switching from a trial  to a paid subscription?   With some products, the activation moment is trivial and easy to track (i.e. when a user pays for a yearly subscription). In others, it might require a deeper understanding of the users' behavior and the stage in which they actually  convert.  For some products, there's a clear distinction between “ soft activated ” to “ hard activated ” users.  Example Here’s an example based on my own personal experience with Bird .  I gave it a try 2 years ago when I needed a quick way to get somewhere; I was in the middle of the street, installed the app, entered my credit card details, and started riding. It was a smooth activation: it took me 2 minutes to complete my onboarding stage a

The advantages of frequent shipping

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  I’ve been preaching a lot lately about the importance of creating a culture of frequent shipping . Whether it’s with my own team or while helping out some early stage startups, I keep finding myself explaining why it’s so important to stop thinking that things are not 100% ready and just ship them. First, let me start by saying this: agile development does not guarantee frequent shipping; a team can work in an agile methodology, run short sprints and still release new versions to the market in a very slow pace. What I'm taking about is the mindset to constantly put your deliverables to the test with real users, in real-world conditions, even when things are not fully ready. It’s the urge to show the world what you’ve created, even if it’s in early stages or provides limited functionality.  Shipping is that moment when the rubber meets the road and interesting things happen.  And yes, working with this mindset requires further effort: you need to break down pieces of functionalit

Cohort analysis - 4 ways to analyze your product retention rate

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What's retention rate and what are the best ways to measure it?  What’s a negative churn, and what can you learn from it about the performance of your cohorts and the sustainability of your business? ?How does it all relate to unit economics? Answers below:  We all know the importance of retention for the long-term success of our products. Retention is the key to creating a sustainable business. It shows the long-term engagement of your most loyal users - and that’s a strong sign of a product/market fit. It influences how much revenue will each cohort produce over time and the lifetime value of each user. Higher retention = more recurring paying users. Retention is the key for creating a sustainable business.  And while tweaking your onboarding process and funnels may drive immediate improvements in conversion rates (and produce instant gratification) - retention is a long term process, it often requires some heavy lifting, deeper analysis, but usually makes a big

What is No-Code and why should entrepreneurs and product people care?

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  What's no-code? Who is it for? How far can you go with it? And Why is there such a hype around it lately? I've tried to answer those questions by talking to one of the best no-code hands-on experts out there: Zoe Chew.  When I was a student (without getting into embarrassing dates), I created a code-free gym management system using MS Access .  Access was a decent database that came with a powerful WYSIWYG UI designer on top. It was pretty good for small local businesses that wanted to manage their records digitally (with lists, lookups, forms, add/update/delete, etc.) and was considered the most widely used desktop database system in 2011 . I'm not sure Access is relevant nowadays (forgive me Microsoft if I'm wrong), but if you're following the tech trends you probably noticed a wide range of new no-code development tools and the huge hype around it.  I decided to ask the expert and contacted  Zoe Chew ( Website , Twitter , LinkedIn ), a product builder at Pro