The success of a new startup depends on many things of course, but often hinges on the coexistence of a set of variables: the right product with the right features for the right audience in the right market. If you’re even a little bit off in your planning, you can end up wasting time and resources, and potentially put your company in a very difficult situation.
Many founders of new startups are so optimistic that they already understand how to design a winning product. They are excited to get to market ASAP, therefore, without studying their customers and their needs, they plunge straight into production. This is one of the common issue for ambitious but unexperienced entrepreneurs who base their designs on guesses and their own personal opinions. Then they put themselves in financial turmoil due to over-investing in products and features that weren’t relevant to their customers, and often that’ll be the sad ending of driving a startup story.
However, the solution is far simpler than what we often think: just stop playing the product design lottery and start collecting the insights needed to make awesome products. In other words, do research and as a handy tool, use surveys.
Yes, we all have seen it! Instagram has recently launched a new visual identity. They have changed their app’s interface, made it more ‘simplified’ as they describe it, or if you ask me, they made it just much ‘whiter’.
But what created most of the hype about Instagram’s new look and feel, was an entirely different, unexpected, and very poor design for Instagram’s app icon.
But if you do a little research and read users’ comments and reactions under the mentioned posts, you’ll notice a totally different narration than what they officially try to communicate.
Some say that people don’t like changes. They get used to things and tend to stick to the way things are. This might be the case for some of the negative reactions about Instagram’s new look and feel; but there are many design experts who have clear reasons to explain why this was a bad design decision.
Well, the original icon had a skeuomorphic style, which is generally considered to be not good when used in symbols, logos, and icons. It’s true; and these days, it’s a particularly popular design trend as well. You may have heard the general term “flat design” used to describe the relatively recent interfaces which have a very simplistic look and feel with minimal amount of details.
One of the major things that Instagram’s design team has done is converting that old skeuomorphic design of their app icon, to a very simplified and abstract glyph shape, which still can be recognized as a camera. So far so good, and honestly the glyph does have a decent graphical appearance. However, what makes it very disappointing is their choice of using that gradient fill with so many variations of colors, which are not necessarily that appealing together.
Practically, gradients are very hard to handle and reproduce, especially in printing, and in grayscale or black & white versions of logos and signs. Therefore, gradients are almost always avoided by professional logo designers. But the color combination and these practical issues are not the main problems with their choice of gradient; as Instagram lives majorly on colorful high-end screens, rather than papers and packages. Nevertheless, the main problems is that they have simply taken away the entire visual identity of the well known and recognizable brand.
It seems that their design team have been aware of the fact because this is what Instagram mentions briefly about their change in the App Store:
Every day new ideas are thought out, innovations as some may call them. Personally i prefer calling new ideas evolutions. Let me explain why; before the smartphone we had the mobile phone, before the mobile phone we had the phone, before the phone we had the telegraph and before telegraph we had the letter and so on and so on. For me this is evolution, for some Innovation, more on this great topic another day 🙂
Yes i know, this is a crazy thought, but please do. Before the smartphone and apps, we had companies like Nokia, Ericsson… and they ruled the mobile phone industry, individual taxi companies ruled their cities, and games like Snake was the coolest game you could play on your phone. To be honest I was never that good at snake, it was too boring and repetitive (as seen in the picture below).
Year 2007 Nokia dominated 62,5 percent of the mobile market with their OS (Symbian) and was a comfortable leader in the mobile industry. All this before Apple decided to enter the mobile phone industry with their iPhone (the real smartphone) and it’s amazing iOS apps platform in year 2007. I’m mentioning Apple apps because without the iOS apps platform iPhone would have been a new Nokia phone with a big screen, fancier but after some time just as dull.
The Apple iOS enabling development of apps by third party made iPhone what it is today, according to me this is why Apple took Nokias mobile market share and many other companies not fast enough to react and evolve with the evolution.
Thanks to the Apple apps platform we have today companies like Uber, that has changed the taxi industry for ever, WhatsApp, Instagram and millions of other apps created and being created as we speak. Let’ not forget the games that have come with the smartphone like angry birds, candy crush, the list never ends 🙂
Early year 2014 Microsoft buys Nokia mobile division and by the end of year 2014 Microsoft drops Nokia as a brand from their mobile, Nokia as a mobile phone is no more. This shows that even if you’re number one at what you do, not evolving fast enough can kill you no matter how big your company is.
With this dark (big company losing its market) but great introduction I would like to talk about, staying current as a business, embrace new technologies and what recent advances have been most influential for businesses.