January 7, 2021

Keep Things Simple, Small, Fast.

John Saddington @8bit

The design that we've launched with has been a good starting block and I'm grateful for the work that was put into it!

But it wasn't designed or constructed in a way that allowed for more immediate and larger use. This is as it should be because keeping things light and simple is the best way to build a product!

A good example of this is our latest functional addition: A delete button for each post:

It feels odd not having it in the beginning but when you're attempting to build a product — especially in the early-stage — you don't want to over-engineer anything, if you can help it.

Why? Because, speed.

You can often time get to a working, profitable product — called an mvp — without many of the features that most folks would consider "tablestakes" or "necessary" for commercial success. Not true at all!

Naturally, adding a delete button makes perfect sense and so we built it — we already had the edit button:

But, we did it in the right order; meaning, we didn't build it until the community and users asked for it to the point where it became a priority!

You see, community-driven design (like a CommSaaS) doesn't need to be complicated! Practically-speaking, it's just listening to your members — as you build — responding to them transparently.

And when you do this you are rewarded immensely with a better product and a happier user.

The delete and edit buttons are two easy and small examples of this approach and product design philosophy. But it happens at the "macro" level as well.

For instance, we've begun iterating on our core design, taking a "static-yet-usable" design into a more dynamic-one. More specifically, our existing YAPP design doesn't work well on a mobile device — horribly so.

Just on desktop first:

Here's the devastation:

Yup, that's not going to work at all. Here's our next iteration that's currently in-development:

It looks pretty on desktop above and gracefully "folds" on smaller screens and viewports auto-magically:

And, now with more community members and more demands on the platform itself, it was time to get this right for more frequent use.

Building in a community-centric way sometimes feels as if you have to compromise "quality" for speed but that would be a poor conclusion as nothing is permanent in the early stages of a new product's life! In the words of Michael Seibel:

If you think your mvp is special then you'll think it has to be perfect; if you think it has to be perfect you spend a lot of time messing with it (and not launching).

But, if you think of your mvp as "shitty" you'll behave very differently with your earlier versions.

Here, at YEN, we try to take that advice to the extreme by choosing very discretely the things that we'll spend time investing time building; less is truly more and extremely practical when you have limited resources.

Today's Top Milestones
  • Migrate to Nuxt SSR
    It was great being online, but the site wasn't doing as well as it could do because it wasn't server-rendered. Very kindly Alex Lichter from the Nuxt
  • Start the development
    In 2016 I built a time-tracking app for android. At that time, I was learning programming and the goal for the app was just to practice the skills. Fo