It started as a pain point. I wanted to write more, but I was not satisfied with the way blog services work. Wordpress is fairly complex, and Medium, as nice as it is, doesn’t really feel like it’s my own content. Furthermore, writing and consuming content on mobile can sometimes feel quite arduous. So I set out to make my own service!
Understanding pain points is just one important aspects of product development. In this case, the problem I set out to solve was largely my own, and rather than commit to a lot of user research (as is common in good UX design methods), I decided to learn about the problem space by building the service as fast and low cost as possible and study how people use it, validating and iterating as I go.
I almost always start by writing. Writing is an important aspect of how I design, as it helps me identify key principles and concepts that should be communicated throughout the experience. To help with product development, I reached out to some friends and business connections to pitch the idea and pick their brains how to get it started. This alone was incredibly helpful as there are so many ways to get something started. The best advice I have is to just pick a method and get started!
After naming the service and buying a domain name, next was sketching out the screens that I needed to make. In the beginning, I just had a form page to submit your writing and an “About” page to talk about the service. To make it super simple, I wanted people to come to the site and just start writing, but I later realized not having an actual landing page was a really bad idea.
Eventually, I needed to add an actual homepage to describe more of what the product does. While it was more direct to give visitors direct access to the writing feature, it was clear from feedback that people didn’t understand what the product does, and I needed to find a way to convey this first.
As with any early stage product, growth and success is extremely challenging. Working on a product of my own creation has taught me a great deal about many more aspects of product development than just the design parts. I have set it aside for the time being, as I learn more about app development (programming is not my forté) so that I can build it into a true mobile experience. My hypothesis is that it will feel more personal when the service lives on your device. We shall see. For the time being, you can view the current state of the product at 200words.co!