Product design

Stan app dead end for curious new customers

I’m looking forward to seeing what Stan, Presto, and of course Netflix have to offer avid Australian movie and TV watchers like myself. I’m a ripe candidate for all of these new services: I don’t subscribe to Foxtel (can’t get cable at home), I haven’t bothered to bypass geo-location blocks to access US Netflix, I don’t want to download illegally, I don’t have an Apple TV (love hate relationship with Apple, hate relationship with iTunes), and I’m ready to see what else there is besides Quickflix for more than a few reasons.

Rather enthusiastically I downloaded the Stan app today on my iPad and was quickly disappointed. The first screen gave me nowhere to go: No information about the product, no hint of the launch date, no way to sign up, and no way to take any further steps. Even worse, it assumed I was already a customer.

The Stan iPad app. You can log in but if you’re a new customer you can’t sign up.

The website gives a few more options. You can read a bit about the service and more importantly sign up and register to an offer. Why isn’t this experience available on the app?

I can only assume its because its early days for Stan. To any Stan designers, developers and product managers reading this I don’t want to come across as a pedant, but am suggesting another form on the app page would be more appropriate. I am looking forward to seeing what’s in store. Good luck with the launch.

The Stan website has more information as you would expect and a more appropriate form for new customers and a new product.



Strategy The Work Experience

Breakthrough strategies

Breakthrough strategies… They rarely come from the typical strategic planning effort. Nor do they typically result from the common practice of generating and evaluating strategic options. And they certainly aren’t inspired in a traditional board offsite, executive retreat, or brainstorming session. Instead, they start with individuals working on big, specific challenges who find novel ideas in unexpected places, creatively combine them into innovative strategies, and personally take those strategies to fruition—against all odds.

This resonated with me. Read the whole article here:


The 8 traits of good and bad error pages

A little while ago I started a tongue in cheek collection of broken web pages on Tumblr called Shit Servers Say. It’s turned into a collection of what makes a good and bad error page. The best examples treat broken web pages as an opportunity to reach out to their audience. The worst do nothing.

The best error pages

1. Acknowledge the mistake and are apologetic to the user.
2. Are instructive, sometimes even offering a pathway out.

The good error pages

3. Speak with the brand voice. This is often funny and shows attention to detail to the content and brand strategy of the company.
4. Use imagery, (illustrations, photos, video) to lighten the mood.
5. Promise that the problem has been noted and someone will get onto it.

The bad error pages

6. Serve up raw server messages full of technical gobbledygook.
7. Mention the Systems Administrator or a C-Panel. Wow. This one fills me with early internet nostalgia.
8. Are boring. Keep an eye out for the underwhelming Facebook errors.

Here’s a sample of what you will find but to see the full collection go to:






The internet the world

Half baited

Noticing a missing word in this click bait title made me laugh. Guess I was half baited. Just goes to show how formulaic this stuff all is and how quickly it’s churned out.





What is design research data?

Are you recording enough after customer research encounters?

Noting behaviours, attitudes, and context during research encounters uncovers rich findings and helps to tell compelling customer stories. Just recounting what was said misses important data.

Consider the attitudes, behaviours and context  of research subjects carefully during design research encounters.

Sometimes designers and researchers return from field trips with written notes of what was said as the only record of their encounters. Memories of what was witnessed are forgotten, stories about people lack nuance and the resulting insights can seem generic.

As designers we promote the value of our work as an opportunity to uncover the why and new meaning. We justify observational field research as the method to uncover behaviour that customers cannot articulate (e.g. what people say is not what they do).

But we risk under-delivering on our own promise when the field notes we record don’t delve into the subtleties of what we experienced in the encounter. If our notes only reflect what was said in a conversation we risk failing to produce anything substantially different to that which could have been delivered over a phone interview. (Phone interviews can be great too). We can miss sharing what was novel and curious about the customer, staff and user stories we have to tell.

Short timeframes and demand for leaner methods are good reasons why this can happen but there are tools and frameworks that can help. Two easy tools are POEM and AEIOU.

  • POEM: People, Objects, Environments, Messages, Services
  • AEIOU: Environment, Users, Activities, Objects, Interactions

These tools are convenient shortcuts to help keep in mind the behaviours and context we should be paying close attention to during interviews and afterwards.

Consider and reflect on behaviour

  • What was the sequence of steps that was taken? Did the product support or hinder this sequence?
  • What was the subject’s body language? Did it support or contradict what was being said?
  • Was the subject indifferent? What do they value? What delights them?
  • What aspects of the experience was the subject avoiding? Why?
  • How has the subject adapted to their behaviour? What shortcuts, hacks have they developed?

Consider and reflect on the context

  • What clues does the work environment (or places the experience occurs in) yield?
  • What physical traces can you detect in the environment? What do they mean?
  • What artefacts do you see lying around or close at hand? What personal documents can you explore with the subject?
  • How does the subject record or store information?
  • What clues does the product inventory yield?

Consider and reflect on attitudes and projections

  • What aspects of the experience or product elicit strong emotional responses?
  • What preferences were demonstrated?
  • What is a perfect product or experience to the subject?
  • How does the subject respond to imagined future scenarios and prototypes?


References and further reading