Season 5

|

Episode 1

The art of designing for delight

Jenny Wen

Original designer of Figjam

Feb 29, 2024

Feb 29, 2024

|

42 min

42 min

music by Dennis

About this Episode

In this episode we get to hear from Jenny Wen who is the person who originally designed and brought Figjam to market. This conversation is full of inslights like:

  • How Jenny attacks ambiguity early in the design process

  • What we can learn from Figjam’s product strategy

  • Jenny’s framework for adding delight to a product

  • How to create visuals that stand out in a sea of confetti animations

  • Strategies for facilitating live workshops in Figjam

  • What Jenny looks for in design candidates

  • Jenny’s vision for the future of Figjam

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Lauren LoPrete

Director of Design Systems @ Cash App

David Hoang

VP of Marketing and Design @ Replit

Adrien Griveau

Founding Designer @ Linear

James McDonald

Designer @ Clerk

Femke

Design Lead @ Gusto

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Lauren LoPrete

Lead designer @ Netflix

David Hoang

VP of Marketing and Design @ Replit

Adrien Griveau

Founding Designer @ Linear

Femke

Design Lead @ Gusto

Join 10K+ designers

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Deep Dives

Get our weekly breakdowns

Insights + resources from top designers 👇

Lauren LoPrete

Director of Design Systems @ Cash App

David Hoang

VP of Marketing and Design @ Replit

Adrien Griveau

Founding Designer @ Linear

James McDonald

Designer @ Clerk

Femke

Design Lead @ Gusto

Join 10K+ designers

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Transcript chapters

[00:00:00] Story of Figjam's launch

Jenny: So this was config 2021. And I actually hosted config that year and it was also a virtual config, so it was our first time actually trying to do it and sort of like bring it to scale on the internet. I just remember being in this like tiny garage studio thing, somewhere in Dogpatch in San Francisco and.

I think it was very weird 'cause it was supposed to be this sort of like monumental moment where we're launching our second product and it was a product that I'd also worked on. but at the same time I was just like sort of nervous about hosting config and doing it in a way where I couldn't see the audience.

cause I'd done a little bit of speaking before, but it was always in front of people. And this one sort of felt weird 'cause, you know, we were just mic'd up and doing this virtually. I feel like that whole day was. Sort of a blur, because I was, I was there, I can fake, like announcing the product.

but I didn't really get to see folks' reaction. So it was just sort of me, ducking behind stage as like different speakers were going on and, and being broadcast and just like looking at my phone furiously and, and getting a bunch of slacks from people being like, congrats. And then looking at Twitter and being like, holy shit, what's happening?

It was really exciting, but it was almost like detached the same way that we are on Zooms today, where it's a little delayed and it feels like, you know, we should have this big reaction, but we are sort of separate from each other.

So, it was, it was strange, but I think at the same time it was just like a really, felt, like a really, really big moment for me personally. We sort of worked on this thing for, you know, almost a year and a lot of the time I was just sort of wondering like, Hey, how are folks gonna react to this?

what, how is this landing? Is this gonna be okay? Are these the right features to launch? And stuff like that. and. Almost having that question mark is nerve-inducing as it is? But when you actually get to release something, there is almost something where it's like, oh, it finally drops and you get people's reactions.

And even if there's like criticism out there it actually feels really good. That certainty of being like, cool. I know exactly what's wrong with this. I know what's working and I know exactly what to do next. And just clearing that sense of ambiguity felt really, really good. I think.

[00:00:00] Story of Figjam's launch

Jenny: So this was config 2021. And I actually hosted config that year and it was also a virtual config, so it was our first time actually trying to do it and sort of like bring it to scale on the internet. I just remember being in this like tiny garage studio thing, somewhere in Dogpatch in San Francisco and.

I think it was very weird 'cause it was supposed to be this sort of like monumental moment where we're launching our second product and it was a product that I'd also worked on. but at the same time I was just like sort of nervous about hosting config and doing it in a way where I couldn't see the audience.

cause I'd done a little bit of speaking before, but it was always in front of people. And this one sort of felt weird 'cause, you know, we were just mic'd up and doing this virtually. I feel like that whole day was. Sort of a blur, because I was, I was there, I can fake, like announcing the product.

but I didn't really get to see folks' reaction. So it was just sort of me, ducking behind stage as like different speakers were going on and, and being broadcast and just like looking at my phone furiously and, and getting a bunch of slacks from people being like, congrats. And then looking at Twitter and being like, holy shit, what's happening?

It was really exciting, but it was almost like detached the same way that we are on Zooms today, where it's a little delayed and it feels like, you know, we should have this big reaction, but we are sort of separate from each other.

So, it was, it was strange, but I think at the same time it was just like a really, felt, like a really, really big moment for me personally. We sort of worked on this thing for, you know, almost a year and a lot of the time I was just sort of wondering like, Hey, how are folks gonna react to this?

what, how is this landing? Is this gonna be okay? Are these the right features to launch? And stuff like that. and. Almost having that question mark is nerve-inducing as it is? But when you actually get to release something, there is almost something where it's like, oh, it finally drops and you get people's reactions.

And even if there's like criticism out there it actually feels really good. That certainty of being like, cool. I know exactly what's wrong with this. I know what's working and I know exactly what to do next. And just clearing that sense of ambiguity felt really, really good. I think.

[00:02:03] Opportunities that came out of the initial launch

Ridd: Yeah, it's interesting 'cause you had like a multi-month long internal beta kind of thing and you shipped at like a really high production bar. What were some of the opportunities that you identified in those first like days and weeks after releasing and how did you approach those?

Jenny: So in the first launch, we basically just said like, Hey, what is like the minimum. Amount of tools we actually need to make this like an operating whiteboard. So we basically just had like the core essentials around like shapes and sticky notes and texts, like those core things that you needed to like, create anything.

And then we also had a set of features that were sort of like a little fun which I know we wanna talk about a little bit later. And those sort of created this like brand of FigJam. So things like cursor chat and emotes. I think we did release with the high fives and that was like basically it.

But in the, in the few, kind of like weeks after folks used it we got a lot of like feedback around, you know, things like the core mechanics and whatnot, but I think we already actually had like a list of things that we knew we wanted to follow up with that were really, really essential to, a person's experience, whiteboarding so.

Things like the timer and things like voting and, and all these sort of like meeting tools that really made people, you know, be able to collaborate together. So, I think we had a list of these things already but we were hearing from folks around things like. Oh, you know, we didn't expect this one interaction to work this way.

Or I would love to like resize sticky notes 'cause you actually couldn't resize sticky notes at, at the beginning. And some of these like, really tiny things that didn't make, using fake jam as friendly as it could be yet.

[00:02:03] Opportunities that came out of the initial launch

Ridd: Yeah, it's interesting 'cause you had like a multi-month long internal beta kind of thing and you shipped at like a really high production bar. What were some of the opportunities that you identified in those first like days and weeks after releasing and how did you approach those?

Jenny: So in the first launch, we basically just said like, Hey, what is like the minimum. Amount of tools we actually need to make this like an operating whiteboard. So we basically just had like the core essentials around like shapes and sticky notes and texts, like those core things that you needed to like, create anything.

And then we also had a set of features that were sort of like a little fun which I know we wanna talk about a little bit later. And those sort of created this like brand of FigJam. So things like cursor chat and emotes. I think we did release with the high fives and that was like basically it.

But in the, in the few, kind of like weeks after folks used it we got a lot of like feedback around, you know, things like the core mechanics and whatnot, but I think we already actually had like a list of things that we knew we wanted to follow up with that were really, really essential to, a person's experience, whiteboarding so.

Things like the timer and things like voting and, and all these sort of like meeting tools that really made people, you know, be able to collaborate together. So, I think we had a list of these things already but we were hearing from folks around things like. Oh, you know, we didn't expect this one interaction to work this way.

Or I would love to like resize sticky notes 'cause you actually couldn't resize sticky notes at, at the beginning. And some of these like, really tiny things that didn't make, using fake jam as friendly as it could be yet.

[00:03:45] Tension between solving problems vs. quirky features

Ridd: Can you talk a little bit about that tension between like the fundamentals and then some of those delight features that did make the cut? Because there's other instances where I've heard the team talk about they ship something that actually wasn't scoped. You know, you could make the argument that that came at the cost of like being able to resize sticky notes.

And so it's like an interesting thing where you're not just solving problems or thinking about how do we improve the Miro experience. It's like you're really, really pushing the boundaries and trying to innovate in, in fun quirky ways. So how did you think about that trade off?

Jenny: it honestly is like more of an art than a science. Like I, I wanna say like we have this perfect framework for saying, these kinds of features get in and these features don't, but for us it was sort of about. creating this like core experience that was usable for certain use cases, but at the same time, knowing that, you know, this first launch is a very special moment and you actually don't get to redo it, right?

So, it didn't make sense for us to just like try and reach parity with other tools other whiteboard tools right off the bat. It made sense for us to. Reach parity to some extent. So you could do certain use cases like basic diagrams and like basic brainstorms and whatnot, but at the same time, like really launch with this flavor and this brand that felt uniquely ours and that we can make this statement on the world, like right at the launch gate.

It's really about finding that balance of, what is something that is lovable and sort of like uniquely ours and that, when it goes out the gate it says. This is something different.

Ridd: I like that it is like if you were only playing the functionality game, it almost increases the bar for what you have to ultimately ship because you're just saying, Hey, juxtapose us on feature parity with what you're already using. Whereas instead by like having these little quirky details. It almost kind of creates your own measuring stick in some ways.

Jenny: . Yeah, exactly, . I feel like there's always those landing pages, you know, with all the check boxes. It's like, oh, we have this and other people have this. I feel like instead of filling the existing check boxes, we actually like created some of our own check boxes.

nobody else has like cursor chat or anything like that. And, and we sort of made that a feature that was unique and folks didn't really have in these other whiteboard tools.

Ridd: I wanna talk a little bit about like design processing stuff. Because you've been working on this now for like, over three years, which is

Jenny: yeah.

Ridd: Like, that's like a, that's a pretty long time. So my question is, how has your design process and like the way that the team collaborates even, how has that evolved over that three year period?

Jenny: I actually don't think the actual collaboration process has changed very much. I think we're definitely bigger because when it first started out it was basically just me working with, you know, maybe eight or so, 10 or so engineers at, at the time when we launched.

And also we had brought on another, another designer who's wonderful Kian. And so it was just the US two at launch time, but over the years, it's then graduated to, I think we're seven designers now.

but I feel like what's unique about our teams is that engineers and designers and PMs are all really involved in the early design process and brainstorming ideas.

, but I think one thing that's actually pretty unique is that. When designers design something we sort of say like, Hey, this is like the direction that we're most confident in. But we're not fully sure because, you know, it might be something really interactive. It might be something on the canvas.

And a designer can't actually just like mock up all the different states of, you know, like moving a sticky note around on canvas. 'cause that's actually like, just infinite, right. But what we do is we actually usually have engineers work closely and they sort of build out this first version and they build the first version out with sort of this expectation that, you know, it, it might actually change.

This isn't like the final thing. And we actually see engineering as a part of the process of iterating and refining and whatnot. And I think at a lot of other teams the, the, the norm is that, you know, if it gets built. And it changes. It's sort of like throw away work and it's a waste of time.

But we actually see that as it's not a waste of time. It sort of moves the project forward and it's a part of the design process. And so we, we have this like unique iteration and sort of like tension between design and engineering where it helps actually make the product better. And I think that's a big part of, just like how design works on the FigJam team, but also at Figma together because it really helps us get to this final really great product together as opposed to, you know, design, working in a silo, handing something off to engineering, and then it just like going out the door right away.

[00:03:45] Tension between solving problems vs. quirky features

Ridd: Can you talk a little bit about that tension between like the fundamentals and then some of those delight features that did make the cut? Because there's other instances where I've heard the team talk about they ship something that actually wasn't scoped. You know, you could make the argument that that came at the cost of like being able to resize sticky notes.

And so it's like an interesting thing where you're not just solving problems or thinking about how do we improve the Miro experience. It's like you're really, really pushing the boundaries and trying to innovate in, in fun quirky ways. So how did you think about that trade off?

Jenny: it honestly is like more of an art than a science. Like I, I wanna say like we have this perfect framework for saying, these kinds of features get in and these features don't, but for us it was sort of about. creating this like core experience that was usable for certain use cases, but at the same time, knowing that, you know, this first launch is a very special moment and you actually don't get to redo it, right?

So, it didn't make sense for us to just like try and reach parity with other tools other whiteboard tools right off the bat. It made sense for us to. Reach parity to some extent. So you could do certain use cases like basic diagrams and like basic brainstorms and whatnot, but at the same time, like really launch with this flavor and this brand that felt uniquely ours and that we can make this statement on the world, like right at the launch gate.

It's really about finding that balance of, what is something that is lovable and sort of like uniquely ours and that, when it goes out the gate it says. This is something different.

Ridd: I like that it is like if you were only playing the functionality game, it almost increases the bar for what you have to ultimately ship because you're just saying, Hey, juxtapose us on feature parity with what you're already using. Whereas instead by like having these little quirky details. It almost kind of creates your own measuring stick in some ways.

Jenny: . Yeah, exactly, . I feel like there's always those landing pages, you know, with all the check boxes. It's like, oh, we have this and other people have this. I feel like instead of filling the existing check boxes, we actually like created some of our own check boxes.

nobody else has like cursor chat or anything like that. And, and we sort of made that a feature that was unique and folks didn't really have in these other whiteboard tools.

Ridd: I wanna talk a little bit about like design processing stuff. Because you've been working on this now for like, over three years, which is

Jenny: yeah.

Ridd: Like, that's like a, that's a pretty long time. So my question is, how has your design process and like the way that the team collaborates even, how has that evolved over that three year period?

Jenny: I actually don't think the actual collaboration process has changed very much. I think we're definitely bigger because when it first started out it was basically just me working with, you know, maybe eight or so, 10 or so engineers at, at the time when we launched.

And also we had brought on another, another designer who's wonderful Kian. And so it was just the US two at launch time, but over the years, it's then graduated to, I think we're seven designers now.

but I feel like what's unique about our teams is that engineers and designers and PMs are all really involved in the early design process and brainstorming ideas.

, but I think one thing that's actually pretty unique is that. When designers design something we sort of say like, Hey, this is like the direction that we're most confident in. But we're not fully sure because, you know, it might be something really interactive. It might be something on the canvas.

And a designer can't actually just like mock up all the different states of, you know, like moving a sticky note around on canvas. 'cause that's actually like, just infinite, right. But what we do is we actually usually have engineers work closely and they sort of build out this first version and they build the first version out with sort of this expectation that, you know, it, it might actually change.

This isn't like the final thing. And we actually see engineering as a part of the process of iterating and refining and whatnot. And I think at a lot of other teams the, the, the norm is that, you know, if it gets built. And it changes. It's sort of like throw away work and it's a waste of time.

But we actually see that as it's not a waste of time. It sort of moves the project forward and it's a part of the design process. And so we, we have this like unique iteration and sort of like tension between design and engineering where it helps actually make the product better. And I think that's a big part of, just like how design works on the FigJam team, but also at Figma together because it really helps us get to this final really great product together as opposed to, you know, design, working in a silo, handing something off to engineering, and then it just like going out the door right away.

[00:08:03] The cursor chat story

Ridd: Are we able to go a little bit deeper on that? Like is there a, a feature or area of the product where you really were leaning into this iteration cycle and committing code multiple times in order

Jenny: Oh yeah.

Ridd: ultimately shipped? I.

Jenny: Yeah, all the time. I think maybe one good case study from when FigJam actually shipped was when we worked on cursor chat and emotes together. And that was like basically a sprint with myself Emily, who was a PM at the time, as well as two engineers, Carl and Ryan, who are just really good at sort of hacking stuff together and putting it on staging and trying stuff out.

And I think with. Cursor chat as an example. There was just like so many little iterations of it where it was like, oh, you can type and then we drop the cursor chat on canvas or something. Or like, we had this thing where if you type certain emoji names, like if you typed like poop, it would, it would drop a poop emoji on canvas.

And there's just a lot of like weird little interactions where we weren't, we weren't sure how ephemeral the, the chat should be or if it should be actually like an object on canvas or if you. Could interact with somebody else's cursor chat or if it should be something that's like a little bit more permanent on like the side of the window.

Every day there was almost like a new build and we try it out and we'd go to somebody else's meeting and be like, Hey, let try out this thing and see what you think. And we get feedback and then, Carl, Ryan, Emily, and I would jump on a call and, and say, Hey, how do we wanna iterate on this?

And, and we would make some calls and then. Carl and Ryan would like prototype something and then they'd be like, try it out on our, on our internal instance. And then we try it out and give them feedback and whatnot. And it almost felt like every day we were iterating and we were doing something new and it really felt like this really tight connection between the four of us.

And there was a lot of times wherein those Carl and Ryan suggesting stuff and I'd be like, oh yeah, that's great. Let's do that instead of like, whatever I said. And Emily was like mocking stuff up and she was trying it in different meetings and getting feedback and giving suggestions, and it really felt like this connected tissue of four folks.

, and we basically got to an endpoint that we didn't really expect. And it was sort of messy and there wasn't like a linear process. But that's literally one of my favorite experiences working at

Ridd: this prototyping culture and like the, just the speed to iteration even. You said that you got to a point that you didn't expect. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Jenny: it wasn't what I had originally mocked up or anything.

And I think when we started the process we were like, we think there's something fun with being, to being able to chat with your curses, but we don't know what it is yet. And we think there are certain interactions it should have, There's a certain ephemerability that was really interesting. I remember thinking like, yeah, what if we could just like mimic the way, you know, when people would type on the canvas and you could see people like typing and they'd be like, Hey, like, what if we could mimic that interaction?

And then I thought there was gonna be something about what if you could Drop emojis or something, something fun about dropping emojis on the canvas. But there wasn't that really with, with cursor chat that we found. And so it was sort of operating on these gut feelings of things that we wanted it to be, but really unclear about what the final outcome was.

but I, I, I'm really happy with what we landed at. It was just like I didn't know going in. Right.

Ridd: I mean, it makes it more fun anyway if you knew exactly where you were going. I don't know if it would be as exciting to be a

Jenny: Yeah. Yeah.

Ridd: which, especially like when you're dealing with a project of this scale and complexity and all of the expectations of shipping something under the Figma brand. My hunch is that things probably weren't super linear and didn't go according to plan all the time.

So can you talk a little bit about like a challenge that you faced? In the design process while creating FigJam and how you approach that.

[00:08:03] The cursor chat story

Ridd: Are we able to go a little bit deeper on that? Like is there a, a feature or area of the product where you really were leaning into this iteration cycle and committing code multiple times in order

Jenny: Oh yeah.

Ridd: ultimately shipped? I.

Jenny: Yeah, all the time. I think maybe one good case study from when FigJam actually shipped was when we worked on cursor chat and emotes together. And that was like basically a sprint with myself Emily, who was a PM at the time, as well as two engineers, Carl and Ryan, who are just really good at sort of hacking stuff together and putting it on staging and trying stuff out.

And I think with. Cursor chat as an example. There was just like so many little iterations of it where it was like, oh, you can type and then we drop the cursor chat on canvas or something. Or like, we had this thing where if you type certain emoji names, like if you typed like poop, it would, it would drop a poop emoji on canvas.

And there's just a lot of like weird little interactions where we weren't, we weren't sure how ephemeral the, the chat should be or if it should be actually like an object on canvas or if you. Could interact with somebody else's cursor chat or if it should be something that's like a little bit more permanent on like the side of the window.

Every day there was almost like a new build and we try it out and we'd go to somebody else's meeting and be like, Hey, let try out this thing and see what you think. And we get feedback and then, Carl, Ryan, Emily, and I would jump on a call and, and say, Hey, how do we wanna iterate on this?

And, and we would make some calls and then. Carl and Ryan would like prototype something and then they'd be like, try it out on our, on our internal instance. And then we try it out and give them feedback and whatnot. And it almost felt like every day we were iterating and we were doing something new and it really felt like this really tight connection between the four of us.

And there was a lot of times wherein those Carl and Ryan suggesting stuff and I'd be like, oh yeah, that's great. Let's do that instead of like, whatever I said. And Emily was like mocking stuff up and she was trying it in different meetings and getting feedback and giving suggestions, and it really felt like this connected tissue of four folks.

, and we basically got to an endpoint that we didn't really expect. And it was sort of messy and there wasn't like a linear process. But that's literally one of my favorite experiences working at

Ridd: this prototyping culture and like the, just the speed to iteration even. You said that you got to a point that you didn't expect. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Jenny: it wasn't what I had originally mocked up or anything.

And I think when we started the process we were like, we think there's something fun with being, to being able to chat with your curses, but we don't know what it is yet. And we think there are certain interactions it should have, There's a certain ephemerability that was really interesting. I remember thinking like, yeah, what if we could just like mimic the way, you know, when people would type on the canvas and you could see people like typing and they'd be like, Hey, like, what if we could mimic that interaction?

And then I thought there was gonna be something about what if you could Drop emojis or something, something fun about dropping emojis on the canvas. But there wasn't that really with, with cursor chat that we found. And so it was sort of operating on these gut feelings of things that we wanted it to be, but really unclear about what the final outcome was.

but I, I, I'm really happy with what we landed at. It was just like I didn't know going in. Right.

Ridd: I mean, it makes it more fun anyway if you knew exactly where you were going. I don't know if it would be as exciting to be a

Jenny: Yeah. Yeah.

Ridd: which, especially like when you're dealing with a project of this scale and complexity and all of the expectations of shipping something under the Figma brand. My hunch is that things probably weren't super linear and didn't go according to plan all the time.

So can you talk a little bit about like a challenge that you faced? In the design process while creating FigJam and how you approach that.

[00:11:48] The tension between Figma and Figjam

Jenny: I think one of the challenges was figuring out what the, what the balance was between how much we actually wanted to borrow sort of from the Figma brand and like feel like it was, you know, cut from the same cloth versus coming up with something that felt pretty different and uniquely our own and our own brand.

And we actually did start out originally with. A sort of like information architecture that looked pretty much like Figma's. So you know today in Figma how there's actually the top toolbar and there's like the blue highlighted active tool. We basically had the same thing except there's like a purple active tool and we were sort of like, yeah, it should sort of feel like, it's a part of Figma.

People expect that and whatnot. But it, it did start to feel like, hey, we wanted to have, create this thing that's a little bit more delightful, a little bit more different. And something that, you could see this screenshot of the tool and be like, cool, like that's uniquely fake jam. that's not some other whiteboard tool.

That's not Figma, that's unique. And I think this is all a part of that. Designing this first launch that felt. unique and differentiated. It wasn't just like every other whiteboard tool. So that was like a, a, a tension. It was like, Hey, we designed this original toolbar and we basically just scrapped it within a, like a few months before we were shipping.

And then we sort of decided to build this new toolbar and it was tough to figure out like, Hey, how expressive do we make it? And. How do we decide, you know, what is actually tactile in the tool bar And I think we also designed it in a way where there are a lot of details there.

So like every time we do wanna iterate on it, it's tricky. There's, there's a lot packed in there and there's a lot of like, polish and whatnot that needs to be done. And there's, also this tension there with like, keeping it very simple, but at the same time needing to show that, hey, victim is this powerful tool now.

You can make these like really advanced diagrams. We have all these widgets and plugins, even though it looks really simple. So I think that's a challenge that we face today, is keeping it simple and approachable and, really keeping with this brand of, it's delightful and expressive but also showing complexity and showing power like a powerful tool at the same time.

Ridd: Yeah, you're right. 'cause it's like on the surface it looks so playful, like I have a little

Jenny: Yeah. Yeah.

Ridd: stickies, and then it's like, but I'm one command away from generating this really robust table using ai.

Jenny: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

[00:11:48] The tension between Figma and Figjam

Jenny: I think one of the challenges was figuring out what the, what the balance was between how much we actually wanted to borrow sort of from the Figma brand and like feel like it was, you know, cut from the same cloth versus coming up with something that felt pretty different and uniquely our own and our own brand.

And we actually did start out originally with. A sort of like information architecture that looked pretty much like Figma's. So you know today in Figma how there's actually the top toolbar and there's like the blue highlighted active tool. We basically had the same thing except there's like a purple active tool and we were sort of like, yeah, it should sort of feel like, it's a part of Figma.

People expect that and whatnot. But it, it did start to feel like, hey, we wanted to have, create this thing that's a little bit more delightful, a little bit more different. And something that, you could see this screenshot of the tool and be like, cool, like that's uniquely fake jam. that's not some other whiteboard tool.

That's not Figma, that's unique. And I think this is all a part of that. Designing this first launch that felt. unique and differentiated. It wasn't just like every other whiteboard tool. So that was like a, a, a tension. It was like, Hey, we designed this original toolbar and we basically just scrapped it within a, like a few months before we were shipping.

And then we sort of decided to build this new toolbar and it was tough to figure out like, Hey, how expressive do we make it? And. How do we decide, you know, what is actually tactile in the tool bar And I think we also designed it in a way where there are a lot of details there.

So like every time we do wanna iterate on it, it's tricky. There's, there's a lot packed in there and there's a lot of like, polish and whatnot that needs to be done. And there's, also this tension there with like, keeping it very simple, but at the same time needing to show that, hey, victim is this powerful tool now.

You can make these like really advanced diagrams. We have all these widgets and plugins, even though it looks really simple. So I think that's a challenge that we face today, is keeping it simple and approachable and, really keeping with this brand of, it's delightful and expressive but also showing complexity and showing power like a powerful tool at the same time.

Ridd: Yeah, you're right. 'cause it's like on the surface it looks so playful, like I have a little

Jenny: Yeah. Yeah.

Ridd: stickies, and then it's like, but I'm one command away from generating this really robust table using ai.

Jenny: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

[00:14:03] How Jenny attacks ambiguity early in the design process

Ridd: So obviously FigJam is like inherently collaborative at its core, but I'd love to drill in on your personal process a little bit because something that you mentioned on your website is your ability to take a bunch of disparate information and turn it into something that people just get. I want to zoom in on that piece, like what does that look like in practice for you, and what are some of the ways that you attack ambiguity, especially really, really early in the design process?

Jenny: The way that I usually approach like a, a big open-ended problem or project or you know, just overall area is.

I sort of wanna just like write down all the questions that we have and all the questions that we need to solve. And I actually remember doing this with FigJam, with Emily, and we just had this like really messy page. And this was before FigJam. So we had this messy page in our Figma file that just listed like all of the different questions that we had and that we knew we would have to solve before launching this.

it's big questions like. what is the relationship between Figma and FigJam And small questions like how do you manipulate text? You know, and just like really being exhaustive there. 'cause I think that also sort of like relieves, at least for me, the anxiety of having to like really navigate this ambiguous problem space.

And then once you sort of like list out the questions, I will go through and sort of look at the questions and say like, what are the questions here that really feel like, once we crack them all the answers to all the questions, other questions will sort of be easy to answer and very obvious.

There's an article by who's the CEO of CODA around Eigen questions. And I actually made a template around this because I think about this like article all the time. And he basically has like a similar thing where it's like.

Try and identify these questions within your sort of like problem space and strategy that really unlock all the other questions and make it really easy to solve all the other questions. So I think that that's one big thing that I do. But I think the other thing that I think about a lot is it's important to sort of like keep moving forward even in, in, in the face of uncertainty.

And it's important to like, do something rather than just just analyze and just. think about the options. So even if there's a sort of big hairy question and you're like not quite sure what to do. My instinct is always to like do something.

It's like, okay, there could be a lot of options in this option space, but let me just like mock up one or two and, and sort of get those out there and get some feelers. 'cause having that information and that feedback about these two different options is gonna help me just understand the option space better.

when I don't know what the answer is and I have like four different design options, for example, I'll always sort of have what I call like a straw man. just one option that I believe in the most, even if it's not gonna be the final one. And I think just having an opinion and sort of asserting one option that I really care about.

is a good way to sort of like move things forward as opposed to having analysis paralysis. It's just having one option and just riding it out until it doesn't make sense anymore, because often it ends up actually being the best option too.

Ridd: I love starting by listing off all the, you know, big, meaty questions that come to mind. Also because it creates a bunch of different entry points to the project. Like you might know that this is the biggest question, maybe it's the relationship between Figma and Fig Jam, for instance. And you're just like, you know what?

I actually don't know how to push this ball forward. But I have eight other questions and like I do have some ideas over here and maybe I'll start mocking things up and then slowly you kind of. Can crack the whole puzzle where you reach this tipping point and things start to make sense and maybe you can come back to that original meaty question.

So I love that and it's like a big part of what I do too. It's like I always start in fig jam. Like that is always step one for me. And it's cool to hear you talk about that kind of being step one, even when Fig Jam didn't actually even exist

Ridd: you have all of these questions, especially when you're dealing on a spatial canvas, it's obviously so hectic, so messy. It's not like you would send that to anyone. It would be so disorienting for them. Can you zoom forward in your process a little bit when you're actually. creating some kind of a checkpoint to share your ideas, share some of the key questions that you know exist, like how do you go from the messy brain dump to actually looping other people into your design process?

Jenny: I feel like those messy questions and then the questions that I've sort of identified as like the essential questions, those actually end up guiding my design explorations. literally in design files, I'll have the question listed at the top.

It's like, what are the potential entry points for this feature? And then I'll have the option sort of laid underneath. , and then, you know, underneath it, it'll be like another question, like how do we define the relationship between these two tools and show all the options there. I personally am very systematic in that way here are all the questions, here are all the ways we can answer it.

And then there might be even a section's, like, how do these two things work together? I like to be super exhaustive about explorations and I'll, I'll put the exploration that doesn't make sense out there. Because I think just going through the exercise of mocking it up. Actually helps you learn about like, what, maybe it's like a bad idea, but maybe there's pieces of it that actually makes sense.

And I always like to think about design explorations within a spectrum. Like there's just two extremes. So for example, how fun and expressive should FigJam be? And you know, there could be one side that's like super, not expressive, like very utilitarian and one that's like over-the-top.

And I usually think with most design questions. It's actually never like the, the polar opposites. It's always like somewhere in between. And it, the, the fine line is like figuring out where it is in that middle. But I think just pushing the extremes lets you see like, hey, if we just optimize for , one certain thing, what does this actually design direction look like?

And usually there's parts of that that are actually things that you want. So. You know, if we push FigJam to, it's like ultimate expressiveness, there's probably pieces of it that we would keep. And maybe there's parts of FigJam that already are like ultimately expressive. . So, you know, we'll pull out, pull that out of that extreme. , so yeah, I think for me it's just , that system of laying out those questions, , and then laying out these spectrums of design explorations to find like, you know, what the right good middle is.

Ridd: I think a lot of designers, you know, they listen to you talk. Maybe they listen to your config talk. They obviously see the quality of FigJam and you know, if they're like me, you have this deep desire to create something that is equally high quality, but it's pretty tough to justify that level of investment in the finer details, especially when you're not working at a design driven company like Figma.

[00:14:03] How Jenny attacks ambiguity early in the design process

Ridd: So obviously FigJam is like inherently collaborative at its core, but I'd love to drill in on your personal process a little bit because something that you mentioned on your website is your ability to take a bunch of disparate information and turn it into something that people just get. I want to zoom in on that piece, like what does that look like in practice for you, and what are some of the ways that you attack ambiguity, especially really, really early in the design process?

Jenny: The way that I usually approach like a, a big open-ended problem or project or you know, just overall area is.

I sort of wanna just like write down all the questions that we have and all the questions that we need to solve. And I actually remember doing this with FigJam, with Emily, and we just had this like really messy page. And this was before FigJam. So we had this messy page in our Figma file that just listed like all of the different questions that we had and that we knew we would have to solve before launching this.

it's big questions like. what is the relationship between Figma and FigJam And small questions like how do you manipulate text? You know, and just like really being exhaustive there. 'cause I think that also sort of like relieves, at least for me, the anxiety of having to like really navigate this ambiguous problem space.

And then once you sort of like list out the questions, I will go through and sort of look at the questions and say like, what are the questions here that really feel like, once we crack them all the answers to all the questions, other questions will sort of be easy to answer and very obvious.

There's an article by who's the CEO of CODA around Eigen questions. And I actually made a template around this because I think about this like article all the time. And he basically has like a similar thing where it's like.

Try and identify these questions within your sort of like problem space and strategy that really unlock all the other questions and make it really easy to solve all the other questions. So I think that that's one big thing that I do. But I think the other thing that I think about a lot is it's important to sort of like keep moving forward even in, in, in the face of uncertainty.

And it's important to like, do something rather than just just analyze and just. think about the options. So even if there's a sort of big hairy question and you're like not quite sure what to do. My instinct is always to like do something.

It's like, okay, there could be a lot of options in this option space, but let me just like mock up one or two and, and sort of get those out there and get some feelers. 'cause having that information and that feedback about these two different options is gonna help me just understand the option space better.

when I don't know what the answer is and I have like four different design options, for example, I'll always sort of have what I call like a straw man. just one option that I believe in the most, even if it's not gonna be the final one. And I think just having an opinion and sort of asserting one option that I really care about.

is a good way to sort of like move things forward as opposed to having analysis paralysis. It's just having one option and just riding it out until it doesn't make sense anymore, because often it ends up actually being the best option too.

Ridd: I love starting by listing off all the, you know, big, meaty questions that come to mind. Also because it creates a bunch of different entry points to the project. Like you might know that this is the biggest question, maybe it's the relationship between Figma and Fig Jam, for instance. And you're just like, you know what?

I actually don't know how to push this ball forward. But I have eight other questions and like I do have some ideas over here and maybe I'll start mocking things up and then slowly you kind of. Can crack the whole puzzle where you reach this tipping point and things start to make sense and maybe you can come back to that original meaty question.

So I love that and it's like a big part of what I do too. It's like I always start in fig jam. Like that is always step one for me. And it's cool to hear you talk about that kind of being step one, even when Fig Jam didn't actually even exist

Ridd: you have all of these questions, especially when you're dealing on a spatial canvas, it's obviously so hectic, so messy. It's not like you would send that to anyone. It would be so disorienting for them. Can you zoom forward in your process a little bit when you're actually. creating some kind of a checkpoint to share your ideas, share some of the key questions that you know exist, like how do you go from the messy brain dump to actually looping other people into your design process?

Jenny: I feel like those messy questions and then the questions that I've sort of identified as like the essential questions, those actually end up guiding my design explorations. literally in design files, I'll have the question listed at the top.

It's like, what are the potential entry points for this feature? And then I'll have the option sort of laid underneath. , and then, you know, underneath it, it'll be like another question, like how do we define the relationship between these two tools and show all the options there. I personally am very systematic in that way here are all the questions, here are all the ways we can answer it.

And then there might be even a section's, like, how do these two things work together? I like to be super exhaustive about explorations and I'll, I'll put the exploration that doesn't make sense out there. Because I think just going through the exercise of mocking it up. Actually helps you learn about like, what, maybe it's like a bad idea, but maybe there's pieces of it that actually makes sense.

And I always like to think about design explorations within a spectrum. Like there's just two extremes. So for example, how fun and expressive should FigJam be? And you know, there could be one side that's like super, not expressive, like very utilitarian and one that's like over-the-top.

And I usually think with most design questions. It's actually never like the, the polar opposites. It's always like somewhere in between. And it, the, the fine line is like figuring out where it is in that middle. But I think just pushing the extremes lets you see like, hey, if we just optimize for , one certain thing, what does this actually design direction look like?

And usually there's parts of that that are actually things that you want. So. You know, if we push FigJam to, it's like ultimate expressiveness, there's probably pieces of it that we would keep. And maybe there's parts of FigJam that already are like ultimately expressive. . So, you know, we'll pull out, pull that out of that extreme. , so yeah, I think for me it's just , that system of laying out those questions, , and then laying out these spectrums of design explorations to find like, you know, what the right good middle is.

Ridd: I think a lot of designers, you know, they listen to you talk. Maybe they listen to your config talk. They obviously see the quality of FigJam and you know, if they're like me, you have this deep desire to create something that is equally high quality, but it's pretty tough to justify that level of investment in the finer details, especially when you're not working at a design driven company like Figma.

[00:20:22] How to articulate why quality matters in software design

Ridd: I know you did a little bit of writing about this recently, so what suggestions do you have to help designers articulate why quality matters in software design?

Jenny: We're actually used to talking about quality a lot in, you know, like the physical artifacts that we buy. , so it's easy to talk about quality when we say like, you know, this like polyester sweater that you could get. Somewhere really cheap. Or you could buy like this, like cashmere sweater that's like really nice and soft and is something that you could actually wear for a lifetime.

Like we, we can look at those two things as human beings and know like, Hey, this one's higher quality and this one's worth paying for versus the other one is not. But for some reason in software we. Just haven't developed that language as much. I think some folks like designers can obviously sort of see that because we think about this all the time.

, but I think once we start to say like, oh yeah, you know, in these physical analogs, it's very clear why someone would buy one over the other. And I actually think when people use software, they do feel that too. Like, That's the reason why a lot of people choose to buy iPhones versus like other phones because, you know, you can start to feel like this is different, even though, you know, like an Android phone might actually have more features, for example.

It's like more useful in certain ways. When I talk to designers about quality and advocating for it, I think it's important not to just say like, Hey. It needs to be higher quality. Like I feel like usually that's where the argument ends. And so I think designers get stamped as folks who only push for quality for quality's sake and are kind of just like sticklers. , but I think it's important for us as designers to talk about quality in terms of like the actual value it brings, the software product we're designing. So I think especially for tools, for example, like obviously, you know, I've worked on Figma and FigJam, which are tools that are kind of like used by designers.

So it's like easy to rationalize for quality there. But if you are somebody who works on a tool, generally it's a piece of software that somebody pays for like every month.

I think one way to align it is saying Hey, you know, over time the quality of our product is actually gonna be the thing that keeps people paying again and subscribing and actually worth buying. So it's, it's really aligning to. the company's incentives and the company's goals, as opposed to just saying quality matters. It needs to be nice, it needs to be polished. It's finding what the company's actual, like success metrics are and goals are, and making sure that quality aligns with those.

[00:20:22] How to articulate why quality matters in software design

Ridd: I know you did a little bit of writing about this recently, so what suggestions do you have to help designers articulate why quality matters in software design?

Jenny: We're actually used to talking about quality a lot in, you know, like the physical artifacts that we buy. , so it's easy to talk about quality when we say like, you know, this like polyester sweater that you could get. Somewhere really cheap. Or you could buy like this, like cashmere sweater that's like really nice and soft and is something that you could actually wear for a lifetime.

Like we, we can look at those two things as human beings and know like, Hey, this one's higher quality and this one's worth paying for versus the other one is not. But for some reason in software we. Just haven't developed that language as much. I think some folks like designers can obviously sort of see that because we think about this all the time.

, but I think once we start to say like, oh yeah, you know, in these physical analogs, it's very clear why someone would buy one over the other. And I actually think when people use software, they do feel that too. Like, That's the reason why a lot of people choose to buy iPhones versus like other phones because, you know, you can start to feel like this is different, even though, you know, like an Android phone might actually have more features, for example.

It's like more useful in certain ways. When I talk to designers about quality and advocating for it, I think it's important not to just say like, Hey. It needs to be higher quality. Like I feel like usually that's where the argument ends. And so I think designers get stamped as folks who only push for quality for quality's sake and are kind of just like sticklers. , but I think it's important for us as designers to talk about quality in terms of like the actual value it brings, the software product we're designing. So I think especially for tools, for example, like obviously, you know, I've worked on Figma and FigJam, which are tools that are kind of like used by designers.

So it's like easy to rationalize for quality there. But if you are somebody who works on a tool, generally it's a piece of software that somebody pays for like every month.

I think one way to align it is saying Hey, you know, over time the quality of our product is actually gonna be the thing that keeps people paying again and subscribing and actually worth buying. So it's, it's really aligning to. the company's incentives and the company's goals, as opposed to just saying quality matters. It needs to be nice, it needs to be polished. It's finding what the company's actual, like success metrics are and goals are, and making sure that quality aligns with those.

[00:22:40] When it makes sene to invest in craft

Ridd: And even like going one step further, like what makes sense strategically for the company, given the market that you're designing in too. Because it's like I can hear someone say, well, yeah, like your physical good example makes a lot of sense, but. Not everyone has to be the cashmere sweater gap has built a massive business. So how do you think about when it makes sense for a company to invest in strategy so that designers can have that lens to even be able to think about their own pitch?

Jenny: It's identifying, your users, your product, and the pieces of it where quality is really gonna matter and, and are appealing to your audience and what they're paying for.

when I think about, you know, for example. Banks and like how there's banking apps now, I, I think a lot about how. in the past we used to go to the bank and like talk to a teller and people would actually choose banks based on their, like, overall service.

that relationship really defined which bank you chose. But now as like services are moving much more digital, I actually think that the quality of the app and the how easy it is for you to like transfer money, move it around how trustworthy it is.

That's actually the kind of quality that matters in folks like choosing a different bank. So it's really thinking about yeah, what are people trying to get out of this experience? What's actually gonna build trust with your brand and whatnot. and advocating for quality in those directions.

So a banking app is not gonna invest in quality the same way that we do in these like, tiny interactions But they're gonna really invest in quality. And you know how easy it is is it for you to understand how much money you have? How trustworthy is it when I actually send money to somebody?

Is there like a lag there or does it happen instantaneously? Quality just like, feels different I think depending on. Again, like your, your customer, what your, what your app actually does and what's valuable to them and isn't really universally applicable amongst all these different tools and apps.

Ridd: It. It's interesting that you use the banking example because I literally chose Mercury

Jenny: Yeah.

Ridd: deal with all of my money for my business because I was like, their design is awesome. Like it just feels better to use it, and that's a product that I want to use every day. So it's a

Jenny: Yep. I have also switched banks based on apps. Yep.

Ridd: Yes. So let, let's talk a little bit about like quality.

As it relates to moments of unexpected delight or, you know, going over the top as a designer to really make something feel good. I want to kind of pose this hypothetical of someone working on a B2B product. So I think that's like sometimes a little bit more challenging. There's a little bit more constraints.

It's very , utility driven. how should designers think about the right places? In a product to invest in adding to light.

[00:22:40] When it makes sene to invest in craft

Ridd: And even like going one step further, like what makes sense strategically for the company, given the market that you're designing in too. Because it's like I can hear someone say, well, yeah, like your physical good example makes a lot of sense, but. Not everyone has to be the cashmere sweater gap has built a massive business. So how do you think about when it makes sense for a company to invest in strategy so that designers can have that lens to even be able to think about their own pitch?

Jenny: It's identifying, your users, your product, and the pieces of it where quality is really gonna matter and, and are appealing to your audience and what they're paying for.

when I think about, you know, for example. Banks and like how there's banking apps now, I, I think a lot about how. in the past we used to go to the bank and like talk to a teller and people would actually choose banks based on their, like, overall service.

that relationship really defined which bank you chose. But now as like services are moving much more digital, I actually think that the quality of the app and the how easy it is for you to like transfer money, move it around how trustworthy it is.

That's actually the kind of quality that matters in folks like choosing a different bank. So it's really thinking about yeah, what are people trying to get out of this experience? What's actually gonna build trust with your brand and whatnot. and advocating for quality in those directions.

So a banking app is not gonna invest in quality the same way that we do in these like, tiny interactions But they're gonna really invest in quality. And you know how easy it is is it for you to understand how much money you have? How trustworthy is it when I actually send money to somebody?

Is there like a lag there or does it happen instantaneously? Quality just like, feels different I think depending on. Again, like your, your customer, what your, what your app actually does and what's valuable to them and isn't really universally applicable amongst all these different tools and apps.

Ridd: It. It's interesting that you use the banking example because I literally chose Mercury

Jenny: Yeah.

Ridd: deal with all of my money for my business because I was like, their design is awesome. Like it just feels better to use it, and that's a product that I want to use every day. So it's a

Jenny: Yep. I have also switched banks based on apps. Yep.

Ridd: Yes. So let, let's talk a little bit about like quality.

As it relates to moments of unexpected delight or, you know, going over the top as a designer to really make something feel good. I want to kind of pose this hypothetical of someone working on a B2B product. So I think that's like sometimes a little bit more challenging. There's a little bit more constraints.

It's very , utility driven. how should designers think about the right places? In a product to invest in adding to light.

[00:25:13] Jenny's framework for delight

Jenny: Yeah, I think about delight broadly as. Where are the moments where you can sort of like go above and beyond someone's expectations? For me, it's really not just about a little sparkle or, you know, an illustration or something that's like cheeky, which I think delight sort of gets bundled up into.

But it's the broad definition of really Yeah. How can we make something. A little bit better, a little bit more surprising, exceeding somebody's expectations. , and I think when you frame it that way, you can really apply it to, any tool or any app I think about something like, Shopify you're probably not going to go over the top on like a specific animation but you're gonna think about the moments, in which a merchant or somebody who's actually selling goods on their store, which moments they actually wanna celebrate, or which moments in which they're especially nervous or moments where.

They're uncertain , and really thinking about like, what does somebody actually need in this moment and how do we serve them best and go over the top. So in moments where maybe somebody's setting up their store for the first time and they're just like, oh, I don't really know how to do that. Maybe Shopify can help hold their hand a little bit better and, and really just be there for them, almost like a supportive friend so I think there, it's just really about. What is the task somebody's trying to get done? How are they feeling and how do we approach that in a way where they almost wouldn't expect from a digital tool? And how do we do that better than other people?

Ridd: I love the idea of using delight. To steer emotions and not just like celebrate wins. It makes me think of something I read from Andy Allen. He designs the not boring apps and he basically talks about this idea of how, as designers, the way that we think about when to exceed expectation is almost always tied to like these celebratory moments.

And his, his idea is actually we should be investing in. Quality and delight in the very mundane parts of our experiences that are getting the most traffic. Do you have a take on that and how to think about. Where it makes sense, like maybe even with that Shopify example Let's say you can only invest in, you got one spot, you got a little bit of extra bandwidth, and there's like a few days at the end of the cycle and you're kind of thinking about like, man, I really wanna level up a piece of this.

Jenny: Mm-Hmm

Ridd: Do I want to go through more of the mundane, the really high, highly trafficked parts of my experience?

Maybe it's creating a new product or is it like, no, I just wanna identify where like emotion is high and create something unexpected in that moment. Maybe it's like driving a sale or something like that.

Jenny: think both are possible, in this sort of Overall framework of delight as just like going be above and beyond in moments where people don't expect it. The mundane thing is also really interesting because I actually do think , there's room there and when I think about Andy Allen's apps, like that's exactly what he is done, right? Like with, with the weather app where, you know, you can just pause and sort of like spin the temperature.

I think he's, he's actually captured that perfectly, right? You might be on the subway or something and you're just like checking the weather, and you just have a moment and you flick it and it's like, it's perfect.

It sort of like gives you a little bit something extra in that moment when you're doing something that was supposed to be pretty mundane. I actually think that only adding delight to celebratory moments is kind of tired.

I actually think that's, that is actually very expected. Like everyone's done the confetti thing. Everyone has like the fun animation once you've completed something that it's almost like table stakes to do that. So I actually think real delight is finding those moments that are maybe like maybe more highly trafficked.

Like if we wanna sort of , maximize the impact of delight in corporate speak. I'm like, I hate myself for saying that.

I hate it. But I mean, if you only really have time for something, like maybe you actually do wanna something, find something that's a little bit more trafficked but is unexpected and just shows additional care for folks, I think that could probably be more impactful than actually just choosing the most celebratory moments.

[00:25:13] Jenny's framework for delight

Jenny: Yeah, I think about delight broadly as. Where are the moments where you can sort of like go above and beyond someone's expectations? For me, it's really not just about a little sparkle or, you know, an illustration or something that's like cheeky, which I think delight sort of gets bundled up into.

But it's the broad definition of really Yeah. How can we make something. A little bit better, a little bit more surprising, exceeding somebody's expectations. , and I think when you frame it that way, you can really apply it to, any tool or any app I think about something like, Shopify you're probably not going to go over the top on like a specific animation but you're gonna think about the moments, in which a merchant or somebody who's actually selling goods on their store, which moments they actually wanna celebrate, or which moments in which they're especially nervous or moments where.

They're uncertain , and really thinking about like, what does somebody actually need in this moment and how do we serve them best and go over the top. So in moments where maybe somebody's setting up their store for the first time and they're just like, oh, I don't really know how to do that. Maybe Shopify can help hold their hand a little bit better and, and really just be there for them, almost like a supportive friend so I think there, it's just really about. What is the task somebody's trying to get done? How are they feeling and how do we approach that in a way where they almost wouldn't expect from a digital tool? And how do we do that better than other people?

Ridd: I love the idea of using delight. To steer emotions and not just like celebrate wins. It makes me think of something I read from Andy Allen. He designs the not boring apps and he basically talks about this idea of how, as designers, the way that we think about when to exceed expectation is almost always tied to like these celebratory moments.

And his, his idea is actually we should be investing in. Quality and delight in the very mundane parts of our experiences that are getting the most traffic. Do you have a take on that and how to think about. Where it makes sense, like maybe even with that Shopify example Let's say you can only invest in, you got one spot, you got a little bit of extra bandwidth, and there's like a few days at the end of the cycle and you're kind of thinking about like, man, I really wanna level up a piece of this.

Jenny: Mm-Hmm

Ridd: Do I want to go through more of the mundane, the really high, highly trafficked parts of my experience?

Maybe it's creating a new product or is it like, no, I just wanna identify where like emotion is high and create something unexpected in that moment. Maybe it's like driving a sale or something like that.

Jenny: think both are possible, in this sort of Overall framework of delight as just like going be above and beyond in moments where people don't expect it. The mundane thing is also really interesting because I actually do think , there's room there and when I think about Andy Allen's apps, like that's exactly what he is done, right? Like with, with the weather app where, you know, you can just pause and sort of like spin the temperature.

I think he's, he's actually captured that perfectly, right? You might be on the subway or something and you're just like checking the weather, and you just have a moment and you flick it and it's like, it's perfect.

It sort of like gives you a little bit something extra in that moment when you're doing something that was supposed to be pretty mundane. I actually think that only adding delight to celebratory moments is kind of tired.

I actually think that's, that is actually very expected. Like everyone's done the confetti thing. Everyone has like the fun animation once you've completed something that it's almost like table stakes to do that. So I actually think real delight is finding those moments that are maybe like maybe more highly trafficked.

Like if we wanna sort of , maximize the impact of delight in corporate speak. I'm like, I hate myself for saying that.

I hate it. But I mean, if you only really have time for something, like maybe you actually do wanna something, find something that's a little bit more trafficked but is unexpected and just shows additional care for folks, I think that could probably be more impactful than actually just choosing the most celebratory moments.

[00:29:11] How to go beyond confetti to visualize delight

Ridd: How would you push yourself to go beyond confetti and the typical visual expressions of delight?

Jenny: I feel like some of , the most delightful things to me our, our explorations of moments where people were like. Oh, wouldn't it be nice or wouldn't it be smart if we did X. It's actually not, wouldn't it be nice if we animated this thing or wouldn't, wouldn't it be nice if we celebrated a thing?

It's always just like anticipating someone's needs ahead of time and solving it with something that's a little bit different. , I feel like the most delightful moments always start with the designer being like, what if. , and showing something that's a little bit out of scope, but feels like it solves the user's needs a little bit better than expected.

Ridd: I like that a lot. I'm gonna say it back a different way, and you can tell me if you think I'm understanding it, but basically If you want to think about how to add delight to your product, figure out the right ways to extend your product surface area, or what your product can do in ways that maybe are unexpected, rather than throwing glitter on what you already have.

Jenny: exactly. like, I almost think about it as, , you know, going to a, a restaurant and then the server is just really good and participating every needs, , you dropped your fork and then you're about to pick it up, and then the servers like, here's your fork.

You know, like how do you actually extend like your product that way where it feels just like really good service, you know?

Ridd: Okay, so let's say that , you've made this investment. It's somewhere in the product you've went above and beyond. How do you think about the feedback loop for delight? Because it's not like you can just spin up some Quant funnel and look at the conversion rate at the end.

It's also not like you have like that built-in survey when the server drops off your check. do you have any thoughts on how designers can even almost justify the investment again after it's already been made?

[00:29:11] How to go beyond confetti to visualize delight

Ridd: How would you push yourself to go beyond confetti and the typical visual expressions of delight?

Jenny: I feel like some of , the most delightful things to me our, our explorations of moments where people were like. Oh, wouldn't it be nice or wouldn't it be smart if we did X. It's actually not, wouldn't it be nice if we animated this thing or wouldn't, wouldn't it be nice if we celebrated a thing?

It's always just like anticipating someone's needs ahead of time and solving it with something that's a little bit different. , I feel like the most delightful moments always start with the designer being like, what if. , and showing something that's a little bit out of scope, but feels like it solves the user's needs a little bit better than expected.

Ridd: I like that a lot. I'm gonna say it back a different way, and you can tell me if you think I'm understanding it, but basically If you want to think about how to add delight to your product, figure out the right ways to extend your product surface area, or what your product can do in ways that maybe are unexpected, rather than throwing glitter on what you already have.

Jenny: exactly. like, I almost think about it as, , you know, going to a, a restaurant and then the server is just really good and participating every needs, , you dropped your fork and then you're about to pick it up, and then the servers like, here's your fork.

You know, like how do you actually extend like your product that way where it feels just like really good service, you know?

Ridd: Okay, so let's say that , you've made this investment. It's somewhere in the product you've went above and beyond. How do you think about the feedback loop for delight? Because it's not like you can just spin up some Quant funnel and look at the conversion rate at the end.

It's also not like you have like that built-in survey when the server drops off your check. do you have any thoughts on how designers can even almost justify the investment again after it's already been made?

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