Welcome to the Tech for Non-Techies podcast

How to solve the right problem

95% of new products fail, according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. But, usually this isn't because they are badly made, but because they don't solve the right problem.

Before you delve into product development, define the problem you are solving. In this episode, you'll learn from Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg, author of What's Your Problem and Innovation As Usual, about how to reframe problem solving in business and in life.

Learning notes:

  • Non-techies can play an important role on product teams by being focussed on the problem they are solving, because they are less likely to get stuck in the weeds of building.
  • Not all problem solving needs fancy technology. Often, small changes in design can have a big impact, at a much lower cost. 
  • Being focussed on the problem is vital at the start of product development, and as your product matures. Keep analysing how people use it to see if you're still solving the right problem.

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How to make a prototype for your product: The Sprint Method

Making a prototype is a key step in your journey in bringing your tech idea  to life. Begin with UX research, which we covered in last week’s episode.

With your research done, it’s time to move on to making a “fake product," which you will test with real users to see if there is enough demand to invest in creating the real thing.

To do this, Sophia takes you through the Sprint method developed by Google Ventures. Using this method, you can have a tested prototype in just 5 days.

 

Learning notes from this episode:

  • The aim of a prototype is test the key assumptions you are making about users and their behaviour.
  • Even the greatest prototype is usually very far from a plan that could be given to developers to code. For example, an app prototype from a sprint usually does not contain screens like the setting screen, where you can manage your account, or designs to reset a forgotten password.
  • Book 5 people to test your prototype. Research...
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How to make a prototype for your product: start with research

The prototyping process is the first step in the product development journey. To go from idea to live app, site or algorithm, you need to test it with target users.

A good prototype can get you funding, but more importantly, it can show you whether the concept is worth pursuing in the first place.

One of the biggest mistakes non-technical founders make is hiring developers before they have a tested prototype. Listen to this episode and avoid this costly mistake.

 

Learning notes from this episode:

  • The prototype serves as an illustration of your product: it looks and feels like an app / site, but you don't need to write code to make it.
  • Algorithms in their simplest form can be tested using a spreadsheet .
  • The design process consists of 4 phases: discover, define, develop and deliver
  • To make a prototype, start with research: "Design is not just about how to build a solution, but whether a problem needs solving in the first place. Before working on prototypes and wire frames,...
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The new fashion for designer CEOs

career strategy ux design Apr 28, 2021

The hemlines for skirts are not the only thing to be dictated by fashion. So is the experience of tech executives.

The fashion for developers turned CEOs like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg is giving way to designers at the helm. The founders of Airbnb and Snap were designers not developers.

Good design is always focused on the user. The human not the code is what matters.

This is an opportunity for non-techies to shine in tech, as founders, innovators and investors.

 

Learning notes from this episode:

 

  • The new breed of tech successes today value people who have a strong understanding of the user, not only engineering. 
  • Many of the technologies underlying the products we use today are not as frontier as they used to be. This means that products compete on their usability, not just on functionality.
  • Learn to think like a designer researching an idea. Study people. Understand what they want. Once you do that, then you can think of products to build and find people to...
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How To Hire And Work With UX Designers

Great design is at the centre of the apps and sites we love. Bad design can kill a product, even if the underlying technology is world class.

Knowing how to hire the right designer and work with them effectively is a key skill all product makers need to have to succeed.

Listen to this episode to learn from Jasper Squier, MD at Intergalactic, a creative technology agency, and Ben West, Co-Founder of Eventbase, which mobile apps for the world’s premium events.

Learning notes from this episode:

  • Always work with designers before hiring developers
  • Come to UX designers with a problem you want to solve, rather than a feature list
  • When you're thinking of target users for your product, think about their behaviour, not just demographics

 

If you want to get more practical advice on how to hire designers and developers to make your idea come to life, get our ebook: How To Hire Your Product Team And Go From Idea To App: a guide for non-technical founders

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Introduction to UX design for Non-Techies with Sang Valte

ux design May 09, 2020
 

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works - Steve Jobs

Great design is vital if you want your app or site to succeed. Having great code is meaningless if your users cannot understand how your product works, or simply don't enjoy using it. Intuitive and easy to use design lies at the heart of tech giants like Facebook and startups like Peanut. A career in UX design is also a great way for non-technical professionals to participate in the tech boom.

Watch this video to learn from Sang Valte, Design Standards Board member at General Assembly and ex-Head of Design at leading multinational UX agency Tigerspike.

  •  What User Experience design is
  • What sits in the UX umbrella
  • How to work with UX designers to make great tech products

This session is presented by Sophia Matveeva, Enty founder, Forbes contributor and Chicago Booth MBA (seen in Financial Times, Wall Street Journal etc). Say hi to Sophia on Twitter https://twitter.com/SophiaMatveeva

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