Blog Archives

Design Dabbling & Exploring Hoodline

Good morning, DMIers. We’re just over a week away from spring break, so I wanted to give an overview of deadlines and tasks we’ll be completing prior to the break.

Today: DMI Brief 4

We’re going to be reviewing how to effectively name products. It’s a tricky proposition to name your product: it’s got to be creative, connect with your market and not already owned by someone else. Here are some tools that might help you with this task:

  • Name Robot: this site offers some free elements including tips on naming, how to research ownership and tools that might help with the creative process.
  • Sticky Branding’s article The Power of Symbols in Branding provides a good review of symbolism and how the eye processes visual info.
  • Startup Stash has a long list of tools focusing on various aspects of product naming.

After our naming exercise, we’ll review Homework 6, which leads us into Monday.

Monday: Dabbling in Design

Deadlines:

  • DMI Brief #5, which focuses on money and how to get your market to part with it.
  • Mini-Pitch #1: You’ll present your Problem – Solution segment to the class in 60 seconds. Remember, you’ve got to tell an interesting story, not just spew data.

Most of this class session will be open lab time to work on two big design projects:

  • Developing your company color palette, font sets and logo.
  • Creating your product mockup via wireframing tools.

If you’re new to design principles, you’ll find these sources are helpful:

Wednesday:  An Introduction to Hoodline

Brittany Hopkins

J&PR alumna Brittany Hopkins will be joining us March 8 to talk about Hoodline, a San Francisco based digital media news company. Hoodline started in 2010 as a blog about the Lower Haight and has built itself into one of the “largest news sites in the city, with dozens of freelancers writing about their neighborhoods.”

Hopkins joined Hoodline in 2015 as a neighborhood editor and is currently the associate San Francisco editor. Photo above from her LinkedIn profile.

Homework 5 Deadline

The outcomes of your market research must be submitted no later than 3 p.m., Friday, March 10. This is a change from the course schedule. You’ll be submitting it via email.

Depending on the file sizes of your interview recordings or video sessions, you may need to provide this segment of the assignment via Dropbox or loading it into the course dock in the Mac Lab. Let me know if you have any questions or problems in this area.

Best,
@DebraJChico

Featured image source: Unsplash.com; CC Zero License

 

How to Conduct Research with Your Market

Happy Sunday DMIers: This week we’re continuing our focus on primary research. Your draft research plan is due Thursday and should include:

  • A description of your product concept
  • Clear identification of your market
  • Your introduction: how will you explain what you’re doing to the people you need to interact with?
  • The exact research methods you wish to use, and the exact questions you’ll use via those methods.
  • And, you’ll need to have some type of visual mockup of your product concept

In addition to the resources highlighted last week, you might find these two articles helpful:

Tools To Help Create Mockups

You can use paper drawings of your product concept for our first round of market research, but you might get inspired to dive in further with some of the cool tools you’ll find in the articles below. And, you might find some new app startups to experiment with – there’s fashion, time management, social media and email tools highlighted among many others. Both are found on Medium (an amazing news startup you should explore if you don’t already use it):

We’ll use some of our time in class Tuesday to work on the product mockups.

Enjoy!

@DebraJChico

Let the Creativity Flow

Greetings DMIers: I hope you had a successful week 1 and that you’re ready to leap into week 2.

TUESDAY’S CLASS

We’re going to do a design thinking activity that was created by the Institute of Design at Stanford. In our class session you will:

  • Brainstorm the gift-giving experience with a partner.
  • Based on that brainstorm you’re going to develop a product prototype.
  • Then, you’re going to test that prototype with your partner.

The pace will be quick and that’s intentional. Remember to spend some time before class thinking about your gift-giving experience. Think about the process, not just the person you gave a gift to and what the actual gift was. Also, think about your personal motivations in this activity.

START FINDING THE PROBLEM

This week we’re also going to start diving into the creation of your original DMI product concept. You have two assignments to help you jump start your creativity:

  • DMI 1 Pagers: Now That’s Innovation (due Thursday): This task has you identify innovators within the industry you want to focus on this semester. To create your own idea, you need to know what’s already happening in your industry: Who are the innovators? What cool things are being created?
  • Homework 1 Startup Ideas (due Sept. 8) forces you to put into writing some initial product concepts.

Two points to highlight about this product concept creation:

  1. As we saw in the introductory course videos last week, many people will argue that you should follow your passion in your startup ideas. But others, Steve Jobs included, argue that you should focus on what you’re good at rather than what you are passionate about. Why? Check out this Medium article.
  2. The most successful products solve a specific problem the market feels. It will be key for you to be able to clearly define The Problem your market faces. I often refer to this as your customer’s pain point. Example:
  • Let’s say you love going to music festivals or live sporting events. Think about the problems/negative experiences that come along with participation in this activity. If you had the power to change something in this experience, what would it be? Talk to your friends, do they have the same pain point as you? Perhaps they have a different problem to be solved?

The assigned chapters in the Briggs text will also dive into the topics listed above and help you jump start your new product concept creative process.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’ll see you in class Tuesday.

Best,
@DebraJChico

Designing for Digital Journalism

Happy Saturday, DMSers. I hope the planning and research on your markets, The Problem and product ideas are going well.

I wanted to share a few great reads that directly relate to our focus on entrepreneurial journalism:

From news startup Circa comes “Kevin Rose’s’ North Technologies releases photo-sharing app.” This story highlights the classic Silicon Valley tech approach: create a Minimum Viable Product, get it to market, test it and test it some more, if it gains traction then start a deeper build out.

From NiemanLab comes an interesting piece about product design: Designer or Journalist: Who shapes the news you read in your favorite apps?

This second story is relevant as we’ll be moving into product design in the coming weeks.

Enjoy!

@DebraJChico