Tools: Suggestion Funnel

Ideas and suggestions are cheap. Everyone seems to have a suggestion for what you should do next. Considering these ideas require your time and effort. Of course, the last idea deliverer wants their suggestion on the top of the list.

What should you do? Do you allow the squeakiest, most energetic, loudest or highest paid person to influence the list?

Here is a tool to help you understand as well as push some of the work back on the idea deliverer. Require that the deliverer go back and draw out the idea. It does not have to be perfect and fancy, but it needs to be clearly thought out. To insure this, ask for not one but 3 drawings. Require drawings of 3 different solutions to the problem they are putting forth.

draw show

Why 3? Once they have drawn it 3 times, they will have worked through many issues with their ideas. This will make it easier for you to gather the information you need to move forward. This will also deter those that are not willing to put in the effort to explore their idea.

When you meet, start by restating the problem being solved and the persona it impacts. Have the idea deliverer lay out the 3 designs. In each drawing they will have tried to solve an aspect of the problem different ways. To get a better understanding of the thought process behind the ideas, ask them to compare the three different solutions. Ask about what works and what does not for each choice that is made. At this point, you should understand enough to ask probing questions, determine the merits of the idea, and be able to judge where it belongs on […]

By |July 13th, 2015|Tools|0 Comments

Tools: PowerPoint Click-through

I work with complicated applications. Most of the screens have many moving parts. Describing the interactions and the flows to product owners and customers can be challenging. I use Microsoft’s PowerPoint to create a modern-day flip book.

flip it

Remember back to English class and doodling an animation in the bottom corner of the novel you were supposed to be reading? On each page I would draw a little guy walking along or riding a bike, going over a jump, and crashing into a million pieces.

Now I create similar “animations” using PowerPoint slides as individual pages. Showing the state changes to multiple parts of the screen for each interaction allows a product owner or customer to see what is going to happen. Each slide is a picture of the screen. Every slide is static. However, by clicking the down arrow or up arrow the viewer can walk through the changes. No actual animation is used to transition slides or move objects on the slides. The motion comes from the small changes done to the screens when viewed in sequence.

Steps to create a click-through:

  • Create the base slide by copying or drawing your screen
  • Copy the slide and paste it after the first one
  • Alter the screen to show the first change (e.g. a hover over or click)
  • Create an arrow that is big and bright to act as the cursor and focal point
  • Now you can click the slides back and forth to see the transition
  • Do this multiple times for each change in the screen
  • Add enough slides to bring the user through the whole set of changes that may occur
  • A slide deck can end up with 50 to 100 slides depending on […]
By |June 25th, 2015|Tools|0 Comments

Tools: How I Use Google Hangouts

I work with clients located all over the world. I use Google Hangouts to create a sense of connection you cannot get from a conference call. Google Hangouts is not a perfect substitute for face-to-face meetings. However, it helps provide the visual cues we need while communicating.


At the beginning of every meeting, each person joins and shows their video on the conference. This gives everyone a chance to see each other and connect socially. This mimics the beginning of an in-person meeting.

  • Once the meeting begins, everyone is asked to switch to their picture, by turning off their video, to reduce bandwidth issues.

Google HangOuts Turn Off Video

  • Google Hangouts will balance the screen to whomever is speaking. If you only want to focus on one person, click on their image in Google Hangouts and it will remain on that display.

Google HangOuts Selected-video

  • If there are bandwidth issues but you want to see each other, Google Hangouts has a bandwidth adjuster that looks like cell phone reception bars. This is located at the top of the screen when you hover over the Google Hangouts window. Click on the icon to see the dialog. Move the setting to the position one above the lowest.

Google HangOuts Bandwidth Adjuster

  • When someone wants to show something they are working on they can share the application or desktop. Hover over the icon with the green monitor and white arrow. Click on the icon and a dialog will show. Select the specific application or […]

Tools: How I use Google Drive

I use Google Drive to provide access to documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.

share Google Drive

It is a quick and free way for me to share easily, yet limit the access to a selected group of people. Google Drive provides the ability to organize and store documents that I want to share and collaborate on.

This is how I set up Google Drive.

  1. Create a folder in Google Drive
    • Google Drive New Folder
  2. Share the folder with the people that need access
    • Google Drive Share
  3. Create your document, presentation, or spreadsheet
    • Google Drive New Doc
  4. Go to the menu “File” and email collaborators
    • Google Drive File
  5. Email every time you make a change that you want your collaborators to review.

For small teams and ad hoc groups of people, Google Drive works well. As the groups and numbers of people using Google Drive increase, the system becomes difficult to manage.

Give it a try, it might be a good tool for the way you work. Good luck!

Copyright 2015 Frictionless Design LLC

By |May 21st, 2015|Tools|0 Comments