Blog 53

At Degree 53, we firmly believe that we should always be improving. I know that as a design team we’re constantly discussing how we can learn from each project. Every internal design review or instance of peer critiquing provides us with an opportunity to grow as designers. This ethos runs throughout the entire company. It’s ingrained within us as part of our culture. We want to be better. We want to be the best.

We’ve recently started up an App Club. It is precisely as geeky as it sounds. It’s like a book club, but for people with less friends. The process is simple, we choose an app and commit to using it for an entire week. We then get together and have a roundtable discussion about the product. We look at pain points and blockers. We look at things that we like. We’re interested to see if there are any unexpected moments of delight – or even to see if any of use have found a use for it outside of its main purpose. You see, users will interact with your product in ways you would never expect. As designers we need to try and prepare for that eventuality.

We also consider what lessons we can take away from the product. Has it inspired us? Will it affect our approach to design or development? What would we do differently? The hope is that we can learn from the successes and failures of these products.

Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at the Slack and Sleep Cycle apps. We use the Slack desktop app on a daily basis, so it was interesting to see how a switch to the mobile app would affect us. Sleep Cycle was an ideal test case because we all know how vital being well-rested is to the creative process.

This week we’re looking at Apple Music. I’m sure it’s going to be a divisive product. Our App Club is made up of designers, developers, project managers, business analysts and sales & marketing staff. We’re still in the early days of App Club, but I’m excited to see what the future holds for us.

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