Two country boys came together to build an app that makes sharing local favorite spots easier.
UX / UI / PRODUCT
2015 – CURRENT
Better way to discover and share local spots
Have you had a friend visiting the city you live? How did you recommend places to them? We believe you deserve a better way than sending bunch of Yelp links.
Definition, Strategy & Execution
There are infinite number of ways to get from point A to point B. It’s a matter of setting the destination, finding the right way to get there, and navigating toward it. Making a product is the same. As co-founding designer, I’m defining where we want to be in the market and rowing the boat, doing whatever means necessary.
I led ideation using Yes, and approach. Originated from improvisational comedy, the approach helped building ideas on top of another quickly. Nothing was wrong except saying no and but. We thought out loud and listened without judgment, then wrote down those floating ideas on post-it notes.
In just a few hours came bunch of random ideas with hidden gems. We talked through them making sure everyone’s on the same page and let those young ideas grow. Once they became solid lego bricks, we starred and ranked them by their importance. I structured them into a few core problems and their supporting features, which led us to the objective.
Make finding local favorite spots easier.
Tinder for local favorite spots
BACK TO THE BASIC
Because our engineer had to leave due to a personal reason, building that fancy interaction, or even an app became out of question. Still believing the cause, Jake and I took a step back, and decided to go with a low tech solution for the time being: e-book.
We shifted our focus from framework to content with the new direction. App was a conduit conveying content after all. Without content, the app would not exist. So we closed our laptops and hit the road.
We went to places. We blended in with hippies in Dolores Park, devoured El Farolito’s carne asada in Mission, danced with Mighty’s speakers thumps in SOMA, watched the sun rising over Golden Gate Bridge in North Bay. We pressed camera shutters everywhere we go.
We were able to recover traveler’s mind doing this for couple of months. We renamed the brand to Local Edition to better resonate with the mind. I jumped on creating an e-book with photos we took. It had this power to bring back to the moment with memories about places we have been to. We wanted to do so something with this emotional response.
Making an e-book
There were problems, however. First, it didn’t do a great job at extending the emotion to others. It needed some serious storytelling. Second, the process of making an ebook was not very scalable. Most of it all, market size was small.
To balance better between quality and quantity, we decided to create a social app that allows people to browse places, write personal notes, make collections and share them. We stopped working on the e-book and started to look out for engineering resource.
I created flows, wireframes, hi fidelity mockups, specifications with the new direction. Partnering with an app development company, we have built and shipped an app.
Detail – Book
Add to Book
Being a co-founder has allowed me to look at design from a different angle.
While I still value craftsmanship, going too deep on specific areas in the name of perfectionism can lead against the goal. Because a startup has to prove its business case under limited time and budget constraints within which the product also needs to complete the experience and provide unique values in today’s highly competitive market.
I am learning the hard way to think and execute strategically, and re-realizing who we are designing for. It is clearly not for the designer self but the customers and the business. Putting aside my designer ego seems like the first step.
It is still early days for Local Edition and it has a lot to prove. Design iterations and pivots may come in its future as scout through immense uncertainty. It may find its spot in the market or fail. What’s clear to me, however, is that I am growing as a designer and a person thanks to Local Edition. I will do my best to reciprocate.