3 Tips to Design for Any Technology

John Shiple is Founder of FreelanceCTO (http://freelancecto.com/). In this video he talks about 3 tips to design for any technology.

  • Diagram with only boxes & arrows
  • Use generic terms
  • Avoid using brand names


How do you design a product? How do you work with a team so that everyone’s on the same page? Everybody is talking in the same way with the same language and we’re all working towards building a cool, innovative product or company.

I do that by implementing a practice I call designing for any technology. How do you that? Well time and time again I get a request well we need Flash on our homepage or what does your company do? We do Ruby on Rails with MySQL. That doesn’t tell me anything about what you do. You need to talk in business terms. You need to talk features.

How do you do that? Step 1; draw only boxes. You’re going to be making a diagram. You’re going to have boxes and arrows. That’s it. You’re going to use generic terms. You’re not going to say Ruby on Rails. You’re not going to say Cisco. You’re going to say user management system. You’re going to say daily deal aggregator. Whatever’s relevant to your business. Look at your business plan. Use those terms.

And finally avoid brand names. Take all brand names out of any diagram or top level specs that you create. This is describing something in agnostic terms. So going back to the we need Flash on the homepage, really what most people are saying and that is I have a marquee, has three images that cycle and I’m promoting three different products in each one of those things. It’s not Flash. It’s not Ruby on Rails with MySQL. It’s a product promotional device on your homepage.

If you drew only boxes use generic terms and describe it and then kind of abstract agnostic term I think you’ll improve your results. You’ll get the team speaking at the same language and you should be able to innovate.