Category Archives: product design

LifeProof makes front page news on the San Diego Business Journal

By | innovation, product design | One Comment

LifeProof, a DO client, was featured on the front page of the San Diego Business Journal this month announcing a new product launch. LifeProof has had a banner year so far, already doubling the number of employees to keep up with their rapid growth. Every month they are doing better and DO is proud to be working with them to help meet their goals.

LifeProof has sold over 1 million iPhone cases and CEO Gary Rayner is planning to reach over $1 billion sales by 2016. Because of the success with iPhone cases and great demand, LifeProof is releasing an iPad case later this month.

The iPad case (as with the iPhone case) protects from drops up to 2 meters high and is waterproof up to 2 meters below the surface. Imagine watching one of your favorite movies in the pool on your iPad or checking your email on a summer day from the beach.

The iPad case also features nüüd naked screen technology, which unlike many other cases does not allow for air to get trapped between the screen and the cover. The nüüd naked screen provides “uncompromising visual clarity and an intimate touch experience”, according to the article.

LifeProof continues one of its main beliefs that consumers want a slim but protective case. Rayner believes people pay for the slim design of Apple products and LifeProof extends that to their cases as well.

The iPad case’s suggested retail price is $129.99. It is available for pre-order on the website or in retail locations nationwide

For more information check out the Article in the San Diego Business Journal Vol. 33, #28.

* Update on August 8, 2012.

Today LifeProof was featured on TechCrunch as one of the top 5 iPhone Cases to bring back to college this coming fall semester. TechCrunch points out that as LifeProof cases are waterproof, shock-resistant, snow-proof and dirt-proof – students won’t have to worry about those late night ragers with spilled beer, forgetting it in the ice chest or dropping your iPhone out of your dorm window. LifeProof has your iPhone covered!

To read the full article on TechCrunch, click here.

LiveByDesign Nominated for Awwwards – Website Awards

By | agency life, awards, client testimonials, design, Digital Operative, product design | One Comment

Not a bad way to launch a new website by getting accepted into the website awards called Awwwards. This website awards website states they provide…

“The awards for design, creativity and innovation on the Internet, which recognize and promote the best web designers in the world.

Awwwards are the awards that recognize and promote the talent and effort of the best developers, designers and web agencies in the world.

An international jury made up of some of the most important designers, bloggers and Internet agencies, will evaluate each site by means of a strict system of evaluation; scoring it on a scale of 1 to 10 for its Design, Creativity, Usability and Content.”

From the founder Cesar Lang to Bobby Ghoshal for his creative prowess to the whole team at DO; we are very proud of this moment. If you like what you see on LiveByDesign, you can rate the website here.

Branson’s Project Magazine – A New Magazine for the Digital Age

By | apps, geekery, innovation, product design | No Comments

Project magazine cover video from Project on Vimeo.

Project magazine issue 1 – cover video.

Project magazine issue 1 – cover video.

Virgin Digital Publishing’s Project magazine is ready to rock or so it seems. Project will be run by veteran magazine editor Anthony Noguera and Branson’s daughter Holly. I did what any Digerati does and tried to click on the App Store link … it says it isn’t available in the US yet. I bet this app is going to be a daily destination for sure. It may not be the end all to be all for the publishing industry, but it sure as hell seems to be trying to push some boundaries.

On mobile phones, “distance” isn’t really important

By | design, innovation, location-based, mobile apps, product design, user experience | No Comments

DO has been cooking up a location based mobile game over the last month or so, we’re still early on in development but I wanted to share an interesting conclusion I came to tonight while building one of the interfaces.

Our game requires the user to make a new ‘match’ and invite his or her friends to it. While the user will be able to do this from the web interface, we also want it to be possible to start up a new match on the go, right from the mobile device. Essentially a match consists of three things: a starting location, the radius of an area surrounding that location, and a title. The problem I ran into with creating an interface for this is that capturing all of that information can get clunky. Below is the initial layout I came up with based on discussions with the team (disclaimer, I am a programmer practicing design without a license, these would normally be cleaned up before going into production).

Initial Interface

Initial Interface

So I didn’t really like the interface here, but I kept rolling along with development anyways, it’s still early enough in the process that overlooking aesthetics is alright. However, as I continued about my merry way writing code to support the interface I just built, it slowly dawned on me that everything wasn’t as ‘alright’ as I thought it was. Problem one came up when I tried to actually convert the distance entered into the text field to an appropriately sized circle on the map. The map on the iPhone only allows you to specify dimension in terms of one metric: latitude and longitude differences. So I dusted off my trigonometry skills and started to write the code that converts from a distance in meters, to iPhone friendly units. I then realized this still hadn’t exactly solved my problem, as it turns out, users at different elevations can’t exact distances the same way when using latitude and longitude to measure them. So for instance, if I’m at the top of an office building, the distance covered between a single degree of latitude is not identical to the distance covered between that same degree at the bottom. Well, needless to say my head started to hurt a little bit here, and I went back and re-evaluated why I was in this situation.

Reworked Interface

Reworked Interface

The conclusion I came to was that distances in feet or meters really aren’t always appropriate metrics to be using for mobile map interfaces. Granted, if you’re getting directions it’s nice to know how far down the road you need to continue, but on the other hand, how often do you evaluate the distance as drawn by a line on the map, and how often do you evaluate distance by looking down the road and approximating ‘another 200 feet’? I would wager that the map will almost always provide more accurate context for distance than any hard number would. So taking that as granted, I reworked my interface (and the concept of what a ‘match’ consists of) completely without any units of distance.






Our new interface has a few benefits:

  • The user doesn’t have to worry about how far away three miles is, they just zoom in on the area they want their game to take place, the red circle remains the same size (relative to the screen) and they have chosen their game radius without having to enter it in a text field.
  • The issue of whether they are using kilometers or miles is completely a moot point
  • We’ve saved ourselves hours of development time, and the headache of ever having to convert or worry about distance
  • The interface is cleaner and simpler

I imagine that the same issue of converting distance for iPhone maps has occured countless times as more and more location based apps make their way into the app store, keep a look out for this: do you notice many of them bothering to note distances directly on the map?

Product Management: Features are Your Enemy

By | product design | One Comment

Kill Features

I have been reading the 37 Signals Book Rework. While I don’t agree with everything, the overall messages in it are dead-on. Every entrepreneur who has dreams of being the next Techcrunch traffic spike should read it; BEFORE they start.

No one thinks about product management when they start building an application. The entreprenuer assumes the role because it is their idea. What they don’t realize is that over time the idea evolves and they are no longer suited to manage it from inception to execution. Features get added daily in response to the proverbial “What If…”

Let me tell you from experience, having seen the demise of a startup with $1M+ invested, features are your enemy. There’s a section in Rework called Progress. Read it. Own it. Live it. Here’s the index:

  • Embrace constraints
  • Build half, not half-ass
  • Start at the epicenter
  • Ignore the details early on
  • Making the call is making progress
  • Be a curator
  • Throw less at the problem
  • Focus on what won’t change
  • Tone is in your fingers
  • Sell your by-products
  • Launch now

You don’t have to read the book or be a product management genius to get the point. Here are a few words of wisdom that I share with our clients:

  1. Create Your Yardstick – Define The Core. In 2 sentences (MAX), define what your application is and does. That is your yard stick. Every feature should be measured against it. If it doesn’t add value to the core, it’s just noise.
  2. Launch with 3 features, not 30. Get Feedback. Until you launch your application and have real users plugging away at it, what you think people want is just that. What YOU THINK. What you would want isn’t always what everyone else wants.
  3. Evaluate Features Objectively. Use a product matrix to list features and evaluate them against business goals. Uploading pictures to a profile page is great, but does it directly increase your revenue or build a bigger community?
  4. Features are Put on Hold. Just because you strip out something today, doesn’t mean it can’t be added back in tomorrow. Chances are when you actually do add it back, it will be twice as good.
  5. Users Need Simplicity. The more options and choices you give someone the more opportunity you create for confusion, frustration and ultimately abandonment. Keep it simple. Let the 5% of people that want 25 configuration options suffer, not the 95% who don’t care.

Bottom line is this: keep is simple. Evolve over time. Add features based on feedback and actual requests, not based on guesses. Guesses cost you time and money. You aren’t Facebook or Twitter. When they started they weren’t “Facebook or Twitter” either. Be smart, agile and successful.

Zipcar // beep, beep over their iPhone app

By | mobile apps, mobile marketing, product design | No Comments

With the whole iPhone app craze going on, many brands are finding ways to not only add value to their current customers’ experience, but also provide a gateway for browsers. Zipcar is one of those brands that gets it.

With the introduction of their new iPhone application, Zipcar is enabling current and potential customers to:

  • Find Zipcar locations, Browse for cars and make your iPhone go beep, beep!

Members have the ability to:

  • Reserve and find cars available.
  • View, extend or cancel reservations.
  • Honk your Zipcar’s horn with your iPhone to find it in a crowd
  • Unlock and lock your Zipcar with your iPhone after scanning your Zipcard at the start of each reservation

Then I started thinking about what type of iPhone app features Zipcar could add for some of their customers. So for the absent-minded moms that leave their kids in the car when they need to run into the store real quick … I’ve invented an iPhone app feature that lets moms do the following:

  • A notification shoes up on screen that states: “Your child is crying”
  • Mom can toggle through an action carousel: “Play DVD”, “Play music”, “Start childseat vibrator”

Method looks to their backyard for inspiration

By | blogging, customer experience, product design | No Comments

If you’re not a fan of the company METHOD, well, you should be. These guys have been pushing the product design’s form + function while still maintaining aspects of sustainability since 2000. I’ve had the opportunity to not only visit their HQ in San Francisco, but also be a part of some strategic brainstorming sessions in a previous role. These guys get it and they continue to impress me everytime I take a sneap peek into what they’ve been up to.

Their latest endeavor is a new product design for their kids line. As a customer, love it! As a professional marketer, love it! They decided to look to their very own Northern California backyard to dervie inspiration from the animals they found. From seals, sea lions, crabs to penguins; Methodkids is tapping the NorCal jungle. Here’s a post on their blog from Josh, head of form + function at method

If they came out with a line for Southern California, what animals would you like to see? Leave your comments below.

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