User experience design more important than pure engineering

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Yesterday I wrote about how Social science is the science of the future because product design makes more of a difference to startup success than the underlying engineering and now this morning I saw a post from Dave McClure which makes the same point – but does it better. Much better in fact, his is pithy, more memorable and comes with convincing convincing detail and I immediately wanted to copy it here.  Further in an irony that isn’t lost on me I realised I got the title of my post wrong yesterday – the most important point is about the centrality of product design not social science and I should have put that up top.  That is fixed today

So, in the words of McClure:

But seriously, do you need that much geek when designing most basic input-output forms for consumer internet software?  How much tech does it take to collect data & present data, when so much of the underlying infrastructure has been built into the OS & browser platform?   We stand on the shoulders of these giants [Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Bill Joy], but do we actually require them in every startup?  well, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have code jedis at the helm of your starship, but there are other areas that deserve at least equal attention… if you’re building consumer internet sites & services.

Because while it’s actually pretty easy to write a web 2.0 friendly front-end app or website these days, it’s still MOTHERF**KING difficult to create visually-appealing interfaces, and beyond that to design them in ways that are compelling, engaging, drive calls-to-action, and are MEASURABLY beneficial to getting more customers using your products. figuring out game mechanics and activation, designing reinforcement schedules, visual imagery, copy writing, and landing page tests — all of this is not trivial, and only recently are there starting to be good resources for learning how to do it well.

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