Product Deck
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Lens of..FlavorQuestionsContributor (+Fan) SuitImage StatusCount
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MotivationNo matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.
— Carol Dweck
• What motivates the learner to use our product?
• Are they learning-oriented or performance-oriented?
• Is the motivation seeking or avoiding?
• How might our product transform someone's motivation?
nickdone15
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SuperheroHe's a silent guardian, a watchful protector,
a Dark Knight.
— Commissioner Gordon
• What are our product's superpowers?
• What superpowers does our product give the learner, or the teacher?
• Is our product the hero or the sidekick?
nickdone but worth revisiting
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PaperPaper prototypes are great for rapid testing; on the other hand, paper-centric thinking may fail to harness the potential of software. • What, if any, aspects of our product make sense to prototype with paper? Which aspects don't?
• How can we prototype our product on paper?
• What about our product can’t be achieved on paper?
• What about our product would feel better on paper?
nickdone
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SecretInformation is power. Think about who knows what, and why. • What information is known by the product only?
• What is known by the teacher? What is known by students?
• What secrets does the learner keep?
• Would changing who knows what improve the product in some way?
nickdone
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TeamFund people not projects – Alan Kay • What are our team's superpowers? What's our kryptonite?
• What are the ways for other teams to plug into ours, and vice versa?
• Which teams' help do we need to be successful?
• Is this the right team for this project?
nickdone
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TimeDesign for Minimum Time To Awesome
• What happens in the first second with our product?
• First minute? 5 minutes? 15 minutes? 1 hour? 1 week? 1 month? 1 year?
• What does time mean to your user? What common tasks do they do and in what length of time?
• What words, units, or experiences repeat? How do the messages of each length of time link together?
nickdone, but colliding with Saved Time
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Voice / Tone• What is our relationship to the user? (Ex: Are we a friend, assistant, teacher, tutor, authority figure?)
• What tone of voice is typically used in that relationship, that we would use?
• What tone of voice do we want to avoid?
nickholding off, as this relates to a few other cards. superhero, for example.

think in general a lens of voice makes sense though.
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Inclusion • Who is being included here? Who is missing?
• How does this serve those who are least served or underrepresented?
• Are there any unconscious assumptions we may be making about those who are not here to represent themselves? Have we put into place mechanisms to make sure that we can get their honest perspectives?
• How does serving the underserved create potential halo effects that benefit everyone (e.g. curb cuts, accessibility)
nickdone
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Subject vs. ObjectWe don't teach students: students learn through our materials. We don't motivate students: students form their own interests through their experiences with our product.
* What happens when you make the user the subject of your sentences, not the object?
* If we're doing something to the user, can they do it for themselves instead?
* Would they even want to?
AndyLens of agency, maybe? how can this feel less grammary?
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Tools"People need new tools to work with rather than tools that 'work' for them. They need technology to make the most of the energy and imagination each has." –Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality* What happens if you think of your product as a general-purpose verb—like a hammer—rather than a place to be visited, or a special-purpose machine bolted to the floor?
* What are the key verbs associated with your product? What's are the weirdest nouns that might apply to them?
* What would it mean to make a version of your product so general it could be integrated into the operating system?
AndyNot quite sure what the lens of the tool is yet, the bullet points feel quite different
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NavigationYou can use a GPS to get to your destination easily and efficiently. You can use a map to understand structures and spot details spontaneously. Which does your product want to be?* If your product's providing turn-by-turn directions, what does it mean to explore the map?
* When does it make sense for your product to supply specific directions? When does it make sense to encourage the user to explore?
* On a map, you might spot exciting points of interest without even looking for them. How might you encourage that kind of spontanaity in your product?
AndyLens of Navigation, maybe? Potentially confused with "nav" but that's easily fixed.
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Dogeared BookEveryone's got something they've totally made their own: a book, a pair of jeans, a tool. It's worn around the edges, or scribbled all over—molded to its owner's needs, and utterly personal. • How might our product empower users to make it utterly their own, on their own timeline?
• How might our product become more beautiful to users as they make it more personal, like a well-loved book?
• How might our product "wear" into users' lives like a perfectly-fitting pair of jeans?
Andydone but the name is too long. maybe "Lens of Denim"
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Bloom's TaxonomyWhat any person in the world can learn, almost all persons can learn if provided with appropriate prior and current conditions of learning.

• Which cognitive objectives in Bloom's Taxonomy is our product trying to serve?
• Are we using verbs that match these objectives?
• How might our product extend to serve additional objectives?
done, problematic. it's the cognitive domain, don't love the questions. DoK maybe
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DisasterBecause the sage always confronts difficulties,
He never experiences them. — Tao Te Ching
• What's the worst that could happen?
• Seriously! What could go horribly wrong?
• What would someone who wants us to fail write about our product?
• How can we make sure none of this happens?
done
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External BehaviorIn a classroom, our product is just one piece of a delicate and intricate dance. • What's the user doing to achieve their goal besides using the product, invisible to the product?
• How does the product interact with all those things?
• Can any mechanisms or interactions be handled better "outside" the product?
• Having understood those external behaviors, can the product support or amplify them?
Andydone
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DMV"You know what they should do? When you walk in the door, they should have somebody hiding just punch you in the face." —Dane Cook • What interaction in your product most feels like filling out a form at the DMV?
• How might you turn that interaction into something joyous instead?
• Or at least make it as painless and unnoticed as possible?
Andydone
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Self-reliance"Assume nobody is going to help you. […] Then, when someone does help you, it makes it even better." —Derek Sivers • What lingering blockers or critical path tasks belong to some other person or team?
• What would you do if you assumed they weren't going to help you?
• Would it be helpful to do that thing now anyway, defensively?
Andydone
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Cul-de-sac (dead end?)Painted into a corner, caught in a cul-de-sac, out on that final last-chance limb, life scrabbles around, searching for a new way out. — Joseph C. Pearce • Does our navigation ever take the user to a dead-end, where all they can do is go back?
• Does a learner's journey ever stop, with no way to continue?
• What new paths can we create for these people?
• When might it make sense to rest? What does that product experience look like?
done
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Saved time"Well, let's say you can shave 10 seconds off of the boot time. Multiply that by five million users and thats 50 million seconds, every single day. Over a year, that's probably dozens of lifetimes. So if you make it boot ten seconds faster, you've saved a dozen lives. That's really worth it, don't you think?" — Steve Jobs • Multiply time consumed by frequency of use: what operations eat up the most time?
• How might we deliver the same value in less time?
• Which operations have the biggest gap between time consumed and value delivered?
• How might we make the "expensive" ones more valuable?
Andydone
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Network effectsThe value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system. — Metcalfe's Law • Which aspects of our product become more valuable when more people use it?
• Can that property be magnified or better deployed?
• Would any aspects of our product begin to have these effects if a critical mass were reached? How might we reach it?
Andythinking of a good image...
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Strategic fit"When [trade-offs] mutually reinforce each other, competitors can’t easily imitate them. When Continental Lite tried to match a few of Southwest Airlines’ activities, but not the whole interlocking system, the results were disastrous." —Michael E. Porter
• What do we choose not to do?
• What things might we choose not to do in a way which might amplify what we choose to do?
• How might we prioritize product investments which mutually reinforce one another—so that a competitor would have to imitate all of them to compete?
Andy
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MiragenickA placeholder to think about "the fallacy of place." just because user wants something, doesn't mean the thing needs to be a page
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Platform"A great platform starts with a great product." —Feng Zhu and Nathan Furr • Given a particular product feature, which components might generalize to other offerings?
• Given a generalized offering that serves many purposes, what would it look like to reframe that to perfectly serve a highly specific user need?
Andy
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Press release"Iterating on a press release is a lot less expensive than iterating on the product itself." —Ian McAllistor, General Manager at Amazon
• What's in the press release for the dream version of your product?
• Is that actually what you're building? How does that affect your prioritization?
• Operationally, how might you generate the testimonials or experiences you included in the press release?
Andy
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Institutions
• What larger institutions affect your users' decisions and behaviors around the product? (e.g. districts, conferences, associations, etc)
• What language, schema, and criteria do they use?
• How might they advantageously influence your product's adoption and engagement?
Andy
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Cupcakenicktodo
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Play"Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy doing physics. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it… It was like uncorking a bottle: Everything flowed out effortlessly… the whole business I got a Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around." —Richard Feynman, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
• What part of the product feels fun even when no goal's being achieved? What happens if you amplify that?
• What if your core product interactions were a board game? An arcade game?
• Is there a role for pretend in your product? Storytelling? Imagination?
Andysee also lens of the toy in game deck
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Triggers
• What trigger causes the user to launch your product? A notification? A feeling? A scheduled time?
• Where does the user go in response to the trigger? Does that "place" in your product feel like it's responding to that trigger?
• What other context surrounds that trigger? How might you resonate with it?
• Can you encourage the creation of more triggers?
Andy
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Mischief“The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it.” — Abbie Hoffman, Steal This Book
• What actions or elements of your product produce a whiff of mischief?
• Is it a joyous, gleeful mischief? If so: how might you emphasize it, or recenter around it?
• Is it a shameful, aversive mischief? If so: how might you make it joyous (or at least dilute it)?
Andy
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Good Samaritan"I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another." — Thomas Jefferson• How might you frame an action in your product as a good deed?
• How might you celebrate your users' moral righteousness through their use of your product?
• If your product has dystopian edge cases, how might you temper or subvert them?
Andy
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Celebration"Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures." — Sam Walton
• Are there any missed opportunities to celebrate your users' successes? To make existing celebrations bigger?
• Is there anything which doesn't *seem* like a success, but which you could make feel like something to be celebrated?
• Can you help your users find humor in their failures?
Andy
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Digital Medium"Is there anything [technology] could do that would actually improve on a room with a master teacher and great physical thought objects?" — May-Li Khoe • In what ways might technology improve an analog experience?
• In what ways might technology degrade an analog experience?
• What does technology make possible that wouldn't be otherwise?
nick
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GraduationIf you love someone, set them free. • When might it make sense for someone to graduate from our product?
• What would that person graduate into? How can we help?
• In trying to keep someone using our product, might we be holding them back from personal growth?
nick
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Defaults“We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” — Marie Kondo • What defaults does our product set around calls to action, privacy, visibility, and persistence?
• Why did we choose those defaults?
• How might we transform the learner experience simply by changing defaults?
nick
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Ink"Above all else show the data" — Edward Tufte• Which pixels in our product are data? Which are not?
• What does our product look like when we remove all the non-data ink?
• Does this make our product easier to use? Have we lost something?
nick
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Immersion"[If we grew up in France,] we'd all learn French perfectly well. If we all learned mathematics in Mathland, we'd learn math perfectly well. How can we create Mathland?" — Seymour Papert• What kind of "—land" does our product seek to immerse the learner in?
• Are there elements of the experience that disrupt that immersion?
• What might we change to make the experience more immersive?
nick
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Constraint"Inspiration which consists in blind obedience to every impulse is in reality a sort of slavery." — Raymond Queneau• What's something users of our product really want to do but can't?
• What abilities might we remove to create this situation?
• How might users creatively get around the constraints set by our product?
nickneeds work
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Wei wu wei"Act without acting" — Tauist phrase
"Fluid interfaces are those which work like an extension of our own mind" — Chan Karanamuni, Apple designer
• What would it mean to make parts of your product an extension of the user's mind?
• Are there components of the experience or actions the user can take where you could remove all conscious processing?
• How might you narrow the feedback loop between thought and action?
• Can you make the loop so short that the user can begin a gesture in the product before they even complete their thought?
Andyneeds work
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Simpler"Any damn fool can make something complex, it takes a genius to make something simple." — Pete Seeger• What's the smallest, least functional version of your product that's still valuable?
• What are the top ten features you would eliminate if you could get away with it?
• Can you move towards that reduced world by deemphasizing and rearranging—rather than erasing—functionality?
Andy
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Troll"Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be—or to be indistinguishable from—self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time." — Neal Stephenson• What is the worst possible news story that could be created because of someone's behavior with your product?
• What's the most horrific therapist visit your product could conceivably lead to?
• In what ways does your product inadvertently reward or incentivize this kind of misbehavior?
Andy
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Painted target"You must tell me how you come to be such an outstanding shot."
"Well, first I fire the arrow at the tree, and then I paint the target around it."
• What success metrics are we measuring?
• What are the stakes of those metrics? What are we going to do if we do or don't hit them?
• Are we moving the goalposts (changing the metrics or the stakes) while we play? If so, why?
nick
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Bad solution"If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right." — George Kostanza• What would be a really bad solution to the problem you're trying to solve?
• What makes that solution so bad?
• What would characterize the opposite of this bad solution?
nick
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VORPIn baseball statistics, Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) measures how many wins a player contributes over a fictitious, freely available "replacement player."
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Good Problem to HaveSometimes it's good to find yourself facing a particular problem—because it means you're finally past some other set of problems.• For each problem you face, what might have to be true for that problem to become existentially threatening?
• Are any of these problems actually fantasies? Does it depend on solving some of your other problems first?
• How does it feel to imagine yourself focusing only on immediate problems?
Andy
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The next billion"The next billion users are not becoming more like us. We are becoming more like them." —Caesar Sengupta, VP of Google's Next Billion Users• What changes in your product if connectivity is extremely limited?
• What’s the most US-centric part of your product?
• What parts of your personas are least likely to overlap between users in the US and in an emerging nation?
Andy
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Critic"An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmaster of ever afterwards." — F. Scott Fitzgerald• Who are likely to be your most energetic critics?
• What part of their criticism is most true and valid?
• What would happen if you tried to make those critics even angrier?
Andy
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Low floors, high ceilings"Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible." — Alan Kay• What will the most inexperienced user struggle most with in your product?
• Where will the most experienced user chafe against the limits in your product?
• Where does the path through your product feel most predefined? Is it excessive?
Andy
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Self-image"Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe• How do your users want to see themselves?
• What self-image do you imagine your users most want to project? What stories do they want to be able to tell?
• What self-image might actions in your product promote? How does that compare to the above?
Andy
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Workarounds"held together by bubble gum and duct tape"• What are some of the most surprising workarounds you've seen users improvise during observations?
• What are the places in your product where users are willingly enduring terrible experiences to achieve their goals?
• What can you learn from these behaviors?
Andy
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Elevator pitch"The purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you're with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over." —Seth Godin
• How would you explain your product in thirty seconds or less?
• What would you do if you were to focus only on the parts included in those thirty seconds?
• What would you get rid of if you were to focus only on the parts included in those thirty seconds?
Andy
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History"People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them." —James Baldwin
• How was this problem solved 100 years ago? What's fundamentally changed?
• What historical ideas in this space seem underrated or underexploited?
• What historical mistakes do you believe are too frequently repeated? Where have we failed to learn?
• What lessons can we learn if we consider the history of this space in cultures unlike our own?
Andy
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Human pleasure
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One-way door"See a two-way door and your instincts say open it? Go, check it out. If it’s horrible turn around and walk out — no harm, no foul. On the other hand, if it’s a one-way door..." — Susan Augustnick
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