Growth May 27, 2020

From Side-Project to #3 Product of the day - Some tips I always follow

Florian ARGAUD @IndependenceDev

Disclaimer:

  • I'm not fluent in English. I'll try my best to make this article as readable as possible
  • I didn't make a single penny from my project JustMandala. And I'm okay with that.
  • Every project is different.
  • This article is my point of view, NOT an expert recommendation in any way. I'm just a guy who likes to make stuff online.

(This is my first article on IH. Would love your feedback! 😉 )

I launched a project seven days ago that was featured on ProductHunt. It ended as the "#3 Product of the Day".
Fun fact: That was the first product I shared on PH and IH. I didn't spend a single dollar on marketing things, and I only shared the product here and Twitter (I had less than 30 Followers). Here are some rules I always follow to push my idea to life the best way possible. Maybe you'll get inspired!

Don't try to reinvent the wheel.

I just had an idea

So, you have an idea, huh?
Good. But let me tell you something you won't like: there is a 99.9% chance that your idea already exists as a nicely done product.

  • Want to create a News website that talks about the Future? Sorry. Already taken.

  • Why not a passive-aggressive password machine? It sounds like a fun idea! Nope, already taken.

  • Okay then, and what about a dating website for Zombie lovers ?! Well, guess what?

But, hey, don't throw your idea right now, I'm sure it's a fantastic concept you have! What I want to highlight is that your project needs to solve something that your competitors don't.
Is your project better at some point? Are you able to create a better UX design? Do you solve other problems? What makes your product better than your contenders?

And if you don't have an idea right now, I have some good news! The world is full of opportunities that await for someone to solve them. Every day, thousands of new problems are expecting a solution. Observe the opportunities that surround you & catch them. Just don't try to reinvent the wheel. Create an improved version, or find a better, cheaper & easier alternative.

Less is more, keep that in mind.

annoying gif

This is the face you make when when a popup is showing on a webpage

JustMandala is simply 300 lines of codes written in 8 hours. That's it, and that was enough to become one of the Top product on ProductHunt.

You don't need to add too many features on your product, and the chances are that a lot of features can be more annoying than useful:
Remember the last time you saw a pop-up asking to "Signup to the Newsletter and get my free E-Book: '25 Secrets to Rule the World' "? I guess it was more annoying than helpful, right? You probably closed it wishing it will not appear again.

The same thing applies to "Chat support," "Newsletter signup," "Promo Code," etc ... it's intrusive and not necessary. If you absolutely need to add them to your project, add them in a way that you don't bother your potential customers.

"Less is more" is a win-win approach: you spend more time focusing on the actual content, and less time trying to add useless and annoying features.

Be consistent, no matter what

I'm lost

If you are not consistent with the different components of your product, you will confuse your visitors. And that isn't what you want.

For example, you don't need to use more than 3 or 4 different colors.
Look at IH, for example; It's only three shades of blue (Dark blue, light blue, and a 'grayish' blue) for the main content, some Orange/red for the 'important' tools (Edit, Delete, New Post, Notifications), and that's it!
When you scroll IH, it's easy to recognize the different elements on the website, because there are not too many flashy components. Everything is consistent.

Same rules apply for the other elements:
If your buttons are rounded, keep all your button rounded.
If you use a shadow for your boxes, keep the same shadow.
If you use some color on the Login page, use them on the other pages

Instant Sugar

sugar hit

When you go to JustMandala, you click on "Get started" and BOOM you can make Mandalas. It's instant fun: no login required, no subscription needed, no pop-up. It's just you enjoying making some fancy mandalas!

You need to give your audience instant sugar. For example; If you have an e-commerce, don't ask your viewers to create an account to add something into the cart; instead, make this process at the end of the checkout process and as smooth as possible.

If you have a Web App, the same point applies: make the process of accessing and enjoying your App as short and as fun as possible. Nobody wants to: first - create an account, second - confirm e-mail, third - enter account details. Come on! We want to enjoy what we came for as early as possible.

And, PLEASE, stop overthinking.

do it gif

"What if ..." "Yes, but ... " "It's not EXACTLY like I want..."

"Improvise now, improve later."

Nothing in this universe is perfect. If you have a product that works and makes sense, you are good to go. Each delayed day is a potential opportunity lost.

In the end, if your project is not "pixel perfect," who cares? Just publish it!

  1. 2

    Quite inspiring Florian. I love to build products vanilla JS without endless frameworks overhead. You're words are what I was missing to ++ my adrenaline :) Merci beaucoup

    1. 1

      Let's go!
      The more you create, the more you get confident

      I really enjoy making projects from just Vanilla JS, but 90% of my projects use NuxtJS ^^

      1. 1

        I have my own template system and don't need/want no other overhead.
        Best, Alex

  2. 2

    just tried out JustMandala and i love it! super cool and relaxing. Also, I found your writing very insightful and motivating, thanks!

  3. 2

    I really dig the intent behind your CTA.

    "give your brain a 5 minute break"

    That alone made me try it for 2 minutes.

  4. 2

    I used JustMandala and really cool project. Especially liked how you made it frictionless for anyone to use it. Congrats

    1. 1

      Thank you buddy ! :)
      Cheers

  5. 2

    Just tested your project I have to say it is really cool! What canvas libraries did you use to build it!?

    1. 2

      Thank you Esteban :)
      I don't use any library for the canvas, it's vanilla JS !

      Cheers

      1. 2

        Wow! It is so smooth. Have you considered coding a sketching site/or js library? I want to add sketching on top of images on my platform but can't find a way to do it correctly.

        1. 1

          Ho yeah I see what you are looking for. It's not very complicated but the problem is you'll need to give your <canvas> a fixed width/height.

          Something like this? https://codepen.io/icesofty/pen/dyYBorB

          1. 1

            Yes, but with a few tools to make marks, squares, circles on designs. A bit like Figma will let you comment on designs.

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