Exploring two different visions for the app

Sloane recommended designing a couple different versions of a brochure page for the app that could be used as provocations—artifacts designed to tease out a signal that can be used to make decisions around.

It reminded me of a branding exercise Mike and Katie talked about. Mike said "we ask ourselves...what will the subway ads look like?" In the process of designing a vision for a subway ad, you're forced to imagine the tone of the brand. You have to make stabs towards the visual and written language you'll use speak to your customers.

Another version of this that I've used is the Headlines of the Future exercise. You write headlines you'd like to see in the news about you or your company.

All of these techniques force you to focus on a narrative, audience-centric outcome. You get to craft the end state before you worry about everything it's going to take to get you there. In other words: am I working on telling the right story? Building a product or a brand is hard work. A designer must live in the future. Climb the right mountain.

Let's look at the concepts.

Exploration #1
Exploration #2

Concept #1: Fun and useful feedback

The first concept is all about better feedback. The survey shows that a lot of people get "feedback" on Instagram, but this happens mostly via likes, which is about as useful as grunting approvingly in someone's general direction. Not to mention likes that come from bots and other kind of spammy, self-promotional behavior which are worse than worthless because they are random noise masquerading as signal.

There's a big gulf between a "like" and a comprehensive, written review by an expert, like the one that Leon talked about. Imagine posting a photo and being able to choose what type of feedback you're looking for. Maybe you're struggling with something more technical, maybe you can't decide on a winner between a set of several images, or maybe you're wondering what gets conjured up when someone sees your image.

By focusing on specific use cases you could have fun, engaging experiences around giving feedback, resulting in a higher quality of feedback received.

Concept #2: Small, authentic community

Matt made me realize that perhaps the more you know someone, the better feedback you are capable of giving. He talks about a beautiful experience he had in a senior seminar at NYU, where everyone left feeling like "they were the best class ever."

This idea that useful feedback requires knowledge of the person holds for a hypothetical situation where two photographers, at random, were to produce the same image. Useful feedback might look quite different for each photographer, because work doesn't exist in a vacuum. The same image can mean very different things given context.

This concept explores the idea of limiting the size of people you'd be interacting with for a period of time long enough to get more familiar with them and their work. Maybe this sounds novel in a social app, but it's exactly the way classes have worked since the beginning of time. In real life, a class is a fixed-size group that lasts for a pre-determined length of time, like a semester.

Layered onto this could be the concept of "projects", which are sometimes called challenges on other social photography platforms. A project could be anything, but is mostly useful as a creative constraint and to get the group focusing energy in certain direction.

What do you think? Anything that resonates with you? Hit me up if you've got thoughts.

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