Archive for the ‘Features’ Category
Here are two more views — a content object page (in this case, a document that’s been uploaded by a service provider) and a profile page. Images click through to PDFs.
It’s important to note that at this point, these sketches are mainly about content and user interaction — so, what’s on the different pages, what the user can do on each, and how users move through the service.
Layout, look and feel and general design elements are more placeholders than anything else. In fact, the design for the profile page has changed a lot since this sketch, but the content and interaction elements are still accurate enough. With that in mind… what do you think?
Content object page sketch
Profile page sketch
These user journeys explore how three different users could interact with the site and how it might benefit them. Each journey touches on key screens from our model.
*Please note, you might have to view these full screen so the text is readable.
Last Friday Mike Butcher came into the Made by Many offices for a chat about this project.
As the Editor of TechCrunch Europe, Mike’s got a good view of what’s happening in the tech world. He also knows a few things about start-ups. For these reasons we were keen to walk him through what we’re planning and get his thoughts on the concept and the approach.
First, the big-picture stuff: is there space for this service?
We showed Mike a couple of user journeys to demonstrate how this free, collaborative, peer-to-peer knowledge exchange could work.
Right away, he understood what we were aiming for and was really positive about it… which was a relief. (If you have to explain your concept a few times, doubts begin to creep in about the soundness of it all…)
Like a lot of the people we spoke with at the outset of this project, Mike was quick to emphasise the importance of local knowledge and the challenge of sharing information and connections. The trick, he thinks, is getting in touch with that ‘golden contact’ — the person who knows who or what you need to know. If this service can help people do that, we think it could make a huge difference to the people who use it.
The importance of working with, not against, everything else
One of the things we’re looking at is how to integrate this service with what’s already out there. Mike was quick to bring this up. Shoehorning this into a busy digital marketplace without making any connections or synergies between this service and others, like Twitter, LinkedIn, Zing and so on, is just not a good idea.
Mike also mentioned of the importance of a viral loop: giving the people who have used the service a reason to come back and promote it. To do this, we need to build a service that does what it sets out to do and creates a lot of happy customers, but one that is also easy to promote: if users have to work to share it, they won’t.
If we make this service super share-able, we could help people make online and offline communities on their own, as they find each other — for example, all the people who use a certain resource in the service might connect to talk about how they can help each other. We like this idea a lot.
Nitty-gritty stuff: how to go about it
Like us, Mike thinks having an open API is a great idea. It’s crucial we get this right from the start, rather than bolt it on later. It’s also critical that the API is simple — Twitter’s API is a great example of this.
In keeping with our aim to make our service super-workable with other services, we should think carefully about how we release data that other developers can do things with.
For example, when people are at a place or event, they do things — they Tweet, update their Facebook status, write blog posts, etc — that create data. That data can be captured and put to work, so when someone else goes back, they can see who’s been there and done what… and create connections. We’ve got to make this a part of what we build.
Towards the end of our chat we started talking about failure. I’ve blogged about this over on the Made by Many blog, so I won’t repeat myself, but I will say that for me, this was the most interesting part of our conversation.
Most people are afraid to fail, and that in turn makes them risk-averse. Mike suggested we use this service as an opportunity to get the word out that failure isn’t necessarily a disaster, and in fact, is often a big step on the road to success. He cited the Silicon Valley start-up motto of ‘fail fast’ and James Dyson’s line, “I always make interesting mistakes” as examples of fail-friendly language — the kind of language we need more of. As a writer, this is something I need to think about when I put together the copy for this service.
Mike’s final comment on our project was, “It’s a long game with a long tail.” One-off satisfied customers are not enough. We need to give people a reason to return and share content (on the site) and experiences (of the site); we also need to build it in a way that makes it easy for it to go viral (sticky content, low barrier to entry, ease of use; quality content). Tall order, but we’re up for the challenge.
All in, we got a lot out of this chat — huge thanks to Mike Butcher for taking the time to come in and take a look at our project.
Last Friday Mike Butcher (@mikebutcher) gave us a little help getting the Going Global word out there by tweeting the following message to his many followers:
How can uk gov’t support tech companies launching in other markets?
His tweet attracted thirteen suggestions — here they are:
- Offer TSB/NESTA/RDA-type funding funneled through UKTI or other dedicated body
- Give us help with patents (advice, money to get them) both here and abroad so UK ideas stay with UK companies
- Help with flights; arranging meetings/”demo days” with potential partners/clients through embassy; provide local market information; help with PR
- Check out the UKT&I Global Entrepreneur Programme — how about an equivalent to that but with a local/national focus?
- How about a free local PR agency?
- Promote Webmission-like initiatives
- More school leavers with foreign language skills
- How about seminars on what other markets expect from you — getting language and marketing pitch right for those markets etc?
- Do a quick analysis of the brand name, appearance, and packaging would be very useful — just to make sure there’s nothing obviously inappropriate for the country/market in question
- Shared office space to operate out of on trips to key geographic markets; also, local legal help
- Advisors in UKTI with experience of building tech companies
- Allow application of R&D Tax Credits to travel and overseas office expenses
- The Government could assign case workers at consulates, dedicated to your company, to make introductions and assist
This is a pretty full list, and I expect some if the items on it may be a touch contentious, but I think it’s great to get some debate happening on this subject. What do you think — do any of these resonate with you?
Just a note — we’ve followed everyone who suggested something. If you’ve got ideas about how we can make this service better, tell us in a tweet (@goingglobalbeta), or follow us and send us an @ message. We’ll then follow you back so you can DM us. Not a Twitterer? Comment away…
We’ve come up with lots of ideas for our service. I’ve uploaded all of them here.
If you’re a manager or founder of a UK Technology SME, take a look, and let us know which ones you think should stay and which should go using the ticks and crosses.
If you come up with your own idea, please feel free to add your own.
You’ll need a Google account in order to vote or submit ideas.
As ever, your help is massively appreciated.