Yap Labs
Nullius in verba
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Portfolio

I've been a designer, engineer, and product manager in one fashion or another for over 15 years.  This is a sampling of the projects I've worked on over the years.

Plum Keeper


Company: Combines scrap-booking, blogging and social networking to help parents capture and share family events.

Solution: Strongly leveraged the journal metaphor using skeuomorphs to strengthen the emotional connection.

Timeline: Apr 2008 - Jul 2008



Introduction

Plum Keeper gives parents a digital journal of their children’s achievements and development. They can add text, pictures and video from nearly any device, share content with friends and family, have conversations about events or instances, and even print physical books. Plum Keeper strives to help busy parents capture those important moments—without the hassle

Parents, particularly mothers, want to share stories about their children with friends and family across the country and around the world… without the hassle of manual processes or risks inherent in existing social networks.

Methods Used

  • Heuristic analysis
  • SSNiF identification. This process was developed by Philip Haine to help focus designs by forcing every feature to be explained with a stakeholder and situation that informs the need (Stakeholder, Situation, Need, Feature). Ultimately, the needs become the primary focus of the design.
  • Persona definition / customer interviews
  • Wireframes
  • Low-fidelity mockups
  • Critical user stories

Example Problem

The team (Kyrie Robinson, Perry Mizota, David Straus and me) decided early on to create a strong journal metaphor. We tested several metaphors, including blog-like interfaces; however, the journal metaphor offered a novel, intuitive interface with strong emotional connections for parents. Despite the benefits, this physical metaphor creates some awkward situations in the digital realm. For instance, actions such as tagging, sharing and modifying entries aren’t naturally exposed in a journal metaphor.

Example Solution

We decided to employ a method of revealing interface options when an entry is moused-over. I typically shy away from such interfaces, because of discoverability problems. In this instance, however, the large percentage of screen covered by entries mitigates both discoverability and Fitts’s Law problems while maintaining the easily understood journal metaphor.

Results

  • Dynamic, but simple experience for parents and viewers
  • Easy integration with existing tools (SMS, MMS, email, etc.)
  • Professional printing of selected content for easy gifts and scrapbooks

Conclusions

Performed moderately well with initial beta users. Eventually, the product hit a wall trying to ramp up adoption through a Facebook app version. The startup and product were shutdown in 2010 after failing to gain enough traction. Despite the eventual failure, some of the novel approaches to this design influenced many projects that followed.