August Wrap-up: Communicating the Value of Mobile

Building a mobile product is a hot topic, as everyone struggles to be the next Angry Birds.  But in the mad rush to ship a product everyone loves, we often forget to think through the user experience and what is necessary for a great user journey.

That’s where the Innovation Game ‘Product Box‘ comes in. At our August session, Luke Chambers introduced us to the game and said we were going to work on a mobile variation.

For the digital crowd, ‘Design the box’ takes us back to our software roots when software was packaged in boxes. It also builds on decades of consumer packaging to work out what is important to get a user to buy this cereal or gadget.

The object of the game is to take a real life physcial box and decorate it to represent the product. What are the features? Benefits? System requirements? Logos and taglines?

The physical box is both fun and important because there is limited real estate, different viewpoints and it becomes a tangible thing for the team to discuss.

Luke led us through the user experience journey and common pitfalls in the mobile space.

Luke explains 'design the product box'.

We were then challenged. We needed to create a fitness app. Easy! That required no user input. Hmmmm…

One group, Simplifit, aimed to allow users without any energy to create fitness goals and compete with their friends – and to aim low mysteriously.

iCoach brough Skynet to life as an exercise app

Pole Position was a bio sensor that tracked your movments, gave feedback on your technique and naturally compared against your friends.

Fitness Box 1iCOACH boxPole Position box

Finally we had to sell the box. A representative from each team would explain the features of the app and how they designed the outside of the box to suit.

Prizes were awarded to the Pole Position team; Matt, George, Nadia and Steve.

Overall we had a great time and people were keen to take this technique back to their teams to help clarify the vision and purpose of the products we are managing.

We would like to thank Luke from UX Mastery for leading the fantastic session and inspiring the participants.


August event: Communicating the Value of Mobile

For years now, ‘mobile’ has been the hot ‘new’ thing – in the press and possibly in your company.  Most companies will have a desktop product that needs to be ‘mobile friendly’ but what exactly does that mean when you get into the details?

This month, Luke Chambers will help us understand the value of mobile and how mobile products are different to what we do on the web.   He’ll lead an interactive session on mobile, ux and product vision.


I’ll let Luke tell you more…

People have evolved with two legs, making us inherently mobile creatures, yet we’re still relying on desks and devices that tie us to a static location. Mobile computing changes all that, and our designs need to keep up in order to create a compelling experience for users of mobile apps and websites.

As designers and product managers we need a clear view of what we’re creating and why – simply scaling down a desktop app or website is majorly problematic.

  • So what are the principles we need to work in this arena?
  • How do we tackle starting a mobile project?

In this session we’ll explore the mobile landscape and run through some practical activities that help develop our mobile product vision and allow our teams to collectively make decisions about important features and other aspects that are otherwise more difficult to articulate. Make sure you RSVP for this one!!



Luke Chambers is a brilliant presenter and he is a general tinkerer, web tailor, user-centred design soldier and tall-ship sailor. Luke is one half of the founding partnership behind UX Mastery. He learned his collaborative, visual thinking and storytelling skills while studying filmmaking at the Victorian College of the Arts.

He has worked in the web industry since his first startup in 1999, and came across user-centred design while himself participating in a user testing session for Sensis. He has since championed user experience design for both small guerilla projects and at large companies like Penguin Books, and consults through his agency Experia Digital. He enjoys sailing tall ships, writing retro detective fiction and creating lists (lots of lists).

Throughout his day he listens, sketches, tells stories and explains to people the ‘why’ of the design that happens behind the visuals. He lives in a tumbledown farmhouse in Melbourne with his wife, and has three chooks.

You can follow Luke on Twitter at @lukcha.

July Wrap – Defining your Product (& the Benefit of Not Having Much Money)

Our session in July focused on start-up product management – specifically when the start-up is small enough that the founders are the product managers. Morgan Ranieri & Francisco Trindade, co-founders of Melbourne based YourGrocer, shared their experience of defining their product which is working on making local shopping convenient.

Morgan & Francisco shaped their story around 4 areas:

  1. Pragmatism
  2. Nothing is going to work
  3. Customers, customers, customers,
  4. Focus

Morgan opened with the vision of YourGrocer, which is to level the playing field between local shops and supermarkets.   The guys assumed people wanted to buy locally and needed it to be convenient.

They are growing 10% a week since promoting the business in December last year yet are still buckling down each week to see how they are doing against their metrics, whether they are prioritising the right items for their customers and still finding time to dream big.

1. Pragmatism

Morgan & Francisco have needed to stay open to what they are learning and respond to it – as well as understand their vision and know why they are here building this business. 

Morgan talked about validating their MVP as getting people to order & to have the deliveries made.   He got a friend to set-up their website and hired a van to do the deliveries.  He found he could order fruit, vegetables, meat & bakery items so they could start testing their MVP.

But when he told his friends about the idea – only 2 out of 40 people said they would use it and the 2 never ordered again.  Morgan discovered early he had gotten his customer type wrong! 

With minimal upfront investment, he ticked all the other boxes but needed to check with a new customer group.  When his friends’ mums started ordering – and reordering – he was ready to embrace the true customer.   This is how YourGrocer got started – with 8 deliveries a day for 2 days a week. 

A key thing to remember is the difference between what you hypothesise compared to what you learn when you hit the ground.   Instead of spending a lot of money up front, Morgan & Francisco try to keep development to 2-3 hours so if something doesn’t work out, it’s not a massive loss.  They want to get the most learning in the least amount of time to put something out there.

The great part about this stage of their business and growth is that they have a good relationship with customers and can ask them directly or test things via email. If they click on a button, it let’s them know that an action was taken and then they follow through to find out what was expected by ringing them.

2. Nothing is going to work

This is a mantra the guys have adopted to help them keep a happy mindset (not a negative one as the title might first imply!).

Sometimes they have tried things, were worried it might succeed really well and they wouldn’t be able to cope with all the orders that would roll in!  This mindset helps the team keep perspective and assists with bouncing back to try the next thing and not to worry that they won’t come up with another idea or solution.

They measure success with a small amount of key metrics, using a weekly/monthly review to decide which of the following they need to focus on:

  • more customers
  • customers buying more
  • customers buying more frequently
  • expanding suppliers

3. Customers, customers, customers

The guys would love to interview their customers all the time but it takes quite a bit of time!  Earlier this year they dedicated time to interviews and they do so whenever they feel they need a check in.  When they felt their ideas started to be too much like ‘people like Morgan’, they interviewed customers again to make sure they were thinking about them first & foremost.

Morgan and Francisco used the JTBD technique for the interviews. They struggle with the fact that they have a million ideas but just cannot get to them so eventually they got rid of the backlog as they ran out of wall space.

One of our audience, Lisa, called out with a suggestion to create an ideation space instead of a backlog.  She described the backlog as a “wall of pain” which received some nods from the Product Anonymous audience. Morgan and Francisco appreciated the suggestion as a way to help them continue to foster their big plans.

4. Focus

Perhaps another word for prioritisation but definitely super important when time is so essential and there are so many things one could do.  The metrics are key to review each week and assess against their monthly goals.  This way they can see what is not working and what they need to focus on next.

Questions from the audience included:

  • Ways to gain additional knowledge of customers – like inviting them to dinner
  • Customer Acquistion- They discussed their referral incentive program where both referrer and referee receive free milk. This has been a success but they need to figure out if the cost of acquistion is too much
  • Lean principles – practice is difficult! 150 active customers, 500 people on mailing list, so sometimes the data just isn’t meaningful.
  • Expanding their customer base – to organisations like schools and daycare
  • Having customers champion the product for you

We formally wrapped the session but everyone’s curiosity could not be contained and more questions flowed after that.  Thanks to Morgan and Francisco for coming along to tell their story and face the crowd:-)    (If you’re looking for the evening’s full info: see our post last month)

Our next session – Communicating the value of mobile – is on the 21st of August so RSVP now.