Google ventures said, not every product need to pursue the visual design

on May 29, hunting cloud network (compile: Azure)

when we try to find the right investment projects, tech entrepreneurs and ceos are often trying to best visual design and create a look very beautiful products, or a nice cool trademark to impress us.

this kind of phenomenon in apple products as the leading science and technology the world is understandable. Many created amazing product the success of the enterprise always put visual design as the first place, because of good visual design is often the most eye-catching.

however, you have to ask, there are many successful companies have no good visual design is how to return a responsibility? They seem to have been very successful, even though they ignore design. In some cases, it’s the truth. Maybe they don’t have any competitors, maybe their technology is very useful, so that it doesn’t matter how they look, or maybe they just luck is good, there are many successful examples of poor design, such as Craigslist and Google in 2004.

they do not focus on the beautiful product, but focus on the design of the work, other than these aspects for the development of the company is more critical. They at the right time to do the design. If you are thinking how to do investment in your design resources, are you sure you want to do the same thing too. Perhaps, as craigilist, you don’t need to create a beautiful look.


if you build a new website or application, where do you start? The color scheme? Registration process? Navigation?

no, you may first determine a market and opportunities, and then do a fit with the product of the market opportunities. Once you believe that your product will solve an important problem of a lot of people, you should continue to consider what to do, what to do, do what.

there is a hierarchy of product planning are all big companies use the:

1, the product design: create a product can solve a problem or meet a need.

2, interaction design, make the products more easy to understand and use.

level 3, visual design: make it look better.

so why the lack of visual design firms will still be successful? Because when we all spend a lot of time to create good design, the opportunity is for companies that focus on the product itself.

every company can decide where to invest in what stage. Part of the company will invest from start to the third stage. And the other part of the company will be in the second stage is to stop investment, resulting in product function and practicability, but not particularly beautiful. The rest of the companies have heavily invested in the first phase, and can’t see the design of the additional investment is worth it.

Three cases

Craigslist : the base product design

Craig Newmark discovered a huge opportunity: using the Internet to provide free classified ads. Craig website more attractive for advertisers, and appealed to those who need to recruitment information, sales information and looking for love. The network effect other ways to make it difficult to compete with Craigslist, especially the classification of unable to provide free newspaper.

Craigslist product design is excellent, and their interaction design also did very well, so they think don’t need to be further input from the design.

Uber , begins with product design, the power is necessary in the design of visual interactive. Landed in San Francisco in 2010 when the state, has been to provide a magical experience. You only need to move finger can get a taxi, Uber focus on providing the comfortable experience, create an on-call a taxi and high quality service, it do is product design.

of course, the first Uber apple application is very bad. But it was due to the efforts of the company for its products design development as well as the smaller industry competition pressure.

due to the upgrading of market competition and the increase of the characteristic service, Uber decided to increase investment in interaction design. In the late 2012 s, the ultimate perfect application in a more appropriate mass, Uber with its created throughout the taxi market demand for high-end brands.

Square : the first is committed to product, interaction and visual design. Square is not the first to provide a credit card payment, point-of-sale (POS) software, online reservation or commercial products of the company. There is competition, also know that light is not enough to provide functional products. So from the beginning in product, interaction and visual design thought and put.

Square’s payment after implantation smartphone, users can accept credit card payments and successfully realize the three functions. 1: the quickest credit card scanning, 2: setting up and application of the simple, 3: unique and cool application interface

due to the business expansion of mobile payment system, it also knows that facing the competition, and thus continue to increase in the design.

how to at the right time to make a suitable design?

back to look at those successful enterprises, they are always at the right time to put on design input in the right position, whether in the face of competition, or the different stages of market development, they always made the right choice. So, how about you?

when I work in Google vc, the most successful thing I did is to help our team avoid business risks, and through the design to make up for, and find solutions to reduce risk.

how startups straighten design position, hope you can find the answer in the question below.

there is a market for your product?

focus on product design, rather than the visual design. To make a simple products (or market demand) to let the consumer to try. All of the new products and features are thus begins. As long as your ideas to meet the demand of the market, you would have to seize the market in the future.

we can be competitive in the market with fierce competition?

there is only a good product design is not enough. Unless you can come up with a new business model (like Craigslist was first to offer a free classified ads service), or you can find new ways to attract users (such as Facebook do to conquer the campus user), if not, then you must pay attention to the design of the user interaction and visual experience. Communication with competitors customers, getting the chance to introduce more useful to them, better and more beautiful products.

users will believe us?

is particularly important for some products the trust of the user, you will need to close earlier note interaction and visual design. LendUp OnDeck is our investment and the two emerging financial services companies, their products according to this method have made great success in the first phase, including a better price and faster authentication, etc. While they were shooting in interaction design, visual design, and copy writing lots of investment and makes them successful build the trust of users.

we can do not alienate users at the same time increase the product function?

sometimes, most companies will face the challenge: how to users don’t feel confused and disappointed function under the condition of adding new products? Successful product footprints all over the world companies themselves have very big in the design of three levels.

a hierarchy, and new features to be useful. Level 2 and level 3 require function can let the user from psychological feel meaningful and practical. Like apple when to add new features to the iOS system, need to spend a lot of investment in the product design, the user won’t disappointed.

focus on the design is OK.

as a designer, who were willing to put into design and successful companies in three stages made me very impressive. Their products are often very useful, very easy to use, is also very beautiful. I will often encourage in the design of the new company will take the same investment. But through cooperation with nearly hundred companies over the years, I found that it also not is good advice. The human and financial resources and time of the new company is very limited, they can’t do all things at the same time.

so in different aspects of design, when you need to decide what kind of design is your company is most in need of attention. These decisions will affect what you need to recruit employees, how to cooperate with design organization, how to set goals, and what is your company need to give priority to do.

you may not be able to both into product, interaction and visual design. But through to know more about other company’s successful cases, and to evaluate your own risk and may face the challenge, you can at the right time to make the design decisions.


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