Dylan Bathurst, Head of Technology at Close5

Read what else Dylan Bathurst is reading for work

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Product at Weave

I haven't read this yet but I've been thinking the same thing. It's a great illustration of what to focus on in the beginning.

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Editor-in-Chief at Quibb

Lololol - not offended at all ;)
Thanks Dylan

Head of Technology at Close5

:)

Content & Growth at ConversionXL

The last line pretty much sums it up! It's good to see entrepreneurs building things that really, really work instead of focusing on design first.

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Product Marketing at Kustomer

I <3 this article. Quibb is great because it has a clear social dynamic (who checked out that article? And who are they? And why should I know more about them), a mechanism for rewarding success (yay, more eyeballs on that post!), and a very simple method to participate (curated entrance, post some stuff, comment on some stuff.)

The value is in the commenting and in the information discovery - note that "commenting" and "information discovery" don't have to be pretty, and they do have to have a high signal/noise ratio.

Could Quibb get prettier? Sure, and that's not the point. Quibb's clear value proposition is "find the best information around and who is sharing it, along with their interesting and insightful thoughts." Compare that value delivery to any other Q&A site or info discovery site out there and Quibb stands alone as a unique offering. I'm not sure what it is, and I like it.

Product Lead at Flurry

It's a great testament to Sandi's focus and also a really good reminder that if you focus on the core product, the few key things that actually matters, your users will tolerate a lot of other sub-optimal stuff. Another great example is the 2nd generation kindle (pre-Kindle Fire), almost every feature on that device sucks. The tweet a passage feature was one of the most convoluted & janky flows I've ever seen. Pretty much everything aside from reading & purchasing a book was terrible. But it's one of my favorite devices of all time. Because the two things that mattered most were 10x improvements over the status quo.

Co-Founder at edshelf

If your service is ugly AND people still keep on using it, that means your service is innately valuable.

VP Product & Business Operations at theBoardlist

I think part of the greatness of Quibb is the connection Sandi and others are making between people. It's not just a "look at me; how cool am I" kind of thing . . . it's actually people getting to know one another and their work, thoughts, ideas on a deeper level. I'm loving it, for sure.

Manager Social Media Strategy at Sony Music Entertainment

It's the Reddit approach, community first and design second.

Head of Technology at Close5

Or in Reddit's case. Design never.

Scout Ventures, Dozen Digital

+1 to all the comments here. Also, while there may not be a ton of "design", the UI works well, and that's most important. Pure "design" is great for first impressions. But, over time and with usage, aesthetic elements lose their intrigue, and whats left is functionality. So its very rarely something that matters to me long term anyways.

And for what its worth, heres Quibb in Comic Sans :) http://imgur.com/mkJYenR

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Seed Investor at Scout Ventures

I think this "design vs UI" point is important. It made me think of when I paused while reading this paragraph awhile back:

http://quibb.com/links/the-three-success-factors-for-marketplaces

"User interface and design are less important with transactional businesses as compared to engagement businesses [such as social networks]"

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me too! :D

Independent

I guess I have a different definition for what 'ugly' means, when it comes to design. To me, ugly means poor decisions were made that negatively affects the usability and/or the appropriate 'look and feel' of the service. In other words, being ugly is a sin. I know some rhetorical latitude should be given regarding the author's intent, meaning a simple and sparse aesthetic. However, to me, 'simple' and 'ugly' are not synonyms.

Independent

Totally agree, I never thought of it as ugly. Quibb is more of a launching pad to other websites/articles than it is the place where I'm doing the bulk of my reading; so as long as it's not hindering my ability to do that, I don't think it needs a lot of bells and whistles - it just needs to get the job done.

Solid focus on perfecting the MVP without letting user suggestions pressure the team into scrambling to add non-core features and ending up all over the place. Hedgehog concept, anyone?

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Entrepreneur-in-Action at Sequoia Capital

So I have to say, I disagree with this post. I don't consider myself a primadonna designer by any means... A typography nerd? Maybe, but I think design is pretty important for content/consumption based sites. I *love* love love how awesome Quibb is, and the community here is amazing. But I just can't bring myself to consume the content on the site without restyling it. and so I did. I use Stylebot which is a chrome extension that allows me to restyle this any which way I want. I can change the line-height, and minimize the size of things that aren't as important to me in the visual hierarchy. In fact, some things, I can just do a display:none on :)

That said, I understand the thrust of your post and many of the comments here. Focusing merely on aesthetics in the beginning would be a waste of time, but I don't see how the two are mutually exclusive. Making tiny design improvements to the site renders it more usable and more enticing to me.

And as for the mobile app - there are crucial things that I think could make an already useful/utilitarian app *indispensable*.

But I've already started talking about those with @Sandi ;-)

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Quibb, Uber

Post a screenshot of what your Quibb looks like!

Product Marketing at Kustomer

@ash I absolutely appreciate your perspective. And also know that you're a designer ;)

It is great that you have suggestions for Quibb - the point of my comment was that *if* the site is sticky without good design that is an opportunity for a talented designer to make both a beautiful and engaging experience by knowing that there is already an active community.

Some sites err by focusing only on beautiful design and not on a key driver to visit. The best sites combine that drive to visit with an effective and often beautiful design.

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Co-Founder at edshelf

I agree. In my case, we started our company with a designer who crafted a wonderful UI very quickly - and our UI has become a point of distinction between us and competitive services. Some audience members even use us over the alternatives, even though we have fewer features, because of the UI (and because we offer a more focused feature set). We set out to have a great UX in the core of our company's DNA. So I certainly agree.

With that said, great designers are very, very difficult to find. And great designers who can code and move at startup-speed are even more difficult. The startups that have such individuals are true gems. And for startups without such people, I don't think they should fret. It's still possible to build a much-loved service with an ugly UI.

Just like it is possible to a much-loved service with ugly code.

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Designer at Freelance

Quibb is a bit of a visual throw back but ultimately it fills a gap the blogosphere. I feel similarly about mailbox it's not as polished as gmail but is it functionally unique.

However we may be overlooking the fact that we are all perfect beta users (techheads) and I have a hunch that if the quibb team wishes to court mainstream users the rawness of the design and complexities of the interactions may confuse (think of Quora struggles).

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Head of Technology at Close5

Good point. Although I don't think Quibb has to reach main stream consumers as long as they can monetize this smaller (but still large) customer segment. Which brings up another great point. How do you monetize Quibb? There are a bunch of different ways the Quibb team to choose to monetize, but only Sandi MacPherson really knows what the plan is for that.

I really hope it's not ads, but the other obvious one would be a subscription model. Which isn't completely out of the question because of the greatly curated community here, but it's hard to sell someone before they really get to experience the "Quibb effect".

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Executive Advisor & Business Coach at Revelry Labs

I'd pay. =)

Director of Content Marketing at ViralGains

Here here. Really admire the focus. :)

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Interesting discussion. I think Quibb's "ugliness" may vary in large part based on how a user interacts with a system. Personally I largely interact with it via the emails digests, which have become one of my daily must-reads; there is certainly info I would subtract and add (example of both: if 2 people I follow both share the same article, then only include it once with both people's info). Certainly the emails convey the critical stuff that I need: headline, source, referrer, etc. Putting more of a "skin" over what's clearly been conceived as a minimalist design by Sandi MacPherson would likely serve to obfuscate this key info, however slightly, and degrade the utility. Unclear to me how this may vary for someone who primarily uses the system by browsing it. Sandi, could you share some stats about how users interact with the website vs the email?

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