Embracing Failure! - Spotify

We learned how to cope with failure during the Spotify workshop "The art of the error message". Marina and Tamara, both UX writers at Spotify, talked about the importance of shaping a product experience with clear and conversational language.

In an ideal world, we would never see error messages. Things would just work. But even if your product is perfect, sometimes - if want it or not - things just go wrong. Bugs creep into your application and you stumble upon errors. That the moment you need to tell your users that something is going wrong.

Marina and Tamara gave us a couple of tips to do this. Firsts of all it's always important to say what happend and why. Next you should always suggest a next step to fix the problem. And finally it is important to find the right tone of voice. You don't want to sound too robotic, but also not to silly. Try to find the right balance.


Spread the product design DNA - Feltron

Nicholas Felton is a designer, entrepreneur and artist whose work focuses on translating quotidian data into meaningful objects and experiences. By being an entrepreneur and artist at the same time, he has to deal with a lot of binary contradictions and friction. On the one hand he considers his work as a piece of art, but also as a product, and on the other hand he wants to create non-commercial products, but also commercial products.

He has been working on his Annual Reports for over 10 years. Every year he documented every little detail of his life and he merged this data into a format that reveals connections, provides context and suggest correlations. These annual reports showed how his personal data has evolved over the past decade. For him this project was a good example to show the combination of being an artist and an entrepreneur. It united personal expression, visual design, the exploring of a new concept and expanding his own abilities.

Conversational UI - Amazon

The talk "From blank page to world stage" from Cheryl Platz was one of the most inspiring sessions. She s a designer specialised in storytelling for design and taming extreme complex natural user interfaces aka NUIs. During this talk she told us about the Echo Look and the time, effort and design process it took to create and develop this new groundbreaking product.

The Echo Look is an Alexa-enabled home fashion photography device with companion app. It takes photos that emphasises the customer by obscuring the background and it provides a 360° angle view. By using the Echo Look over time, you can document your look everyday and receive customised fashion advice.

According to Cheryl Platz, to break new NUI grounds it is important to follow these guidelines.

1. Always seek the truth and make time for ethnographic research to challenge your core hypothesis. Be completely sure about the potential of your product.

2. Spot the icebergs or the deep problems that can sink your project. You can do this by constantly testing, criticising, fixing and endlessly retesting your product.

3. Inspire allies with your stories. Creating new products takes the input en effort of a large team of people and you can't assume that they all share your vision. You have to create and share stories by using storyboards. It's fast, cheap and it invites people to the conversation.

4. Solve old problems in NUI ways. When applying voice UIs it's all about minimising friction. Voice isn't a universal solution, but in many circumstances it's more desirable than touch. So make the user feel powerful and get the interface out of the way.

5. And last, but not least, embrace change, but stay the course. When designing new products you'll come across multiple mishaps, but also a lot of new opportunities. It's essential to tackle en explore these, but be sure to always get back on track.

"New product releases are a marathon, not a sprint."