author Jake Morrison

It's popular these days to use hosted applications instead of running your own infrastructure. It's frustrating as a customer, though, when the pricing model is not sophisticated enough to match your actual usage.

In a SaaS product, your pricing should scale with the value the customer gets from the product …

author Jake Morrison

Whenever we try to squeeze the last bit of utilization out of a system, there is a danger that it will have a big negative impact on the user experience. A great example of this is overbooking in the airline industry. Usually a bad customer experience does not involve getting …

author Jake Morrison

There is a saying that frustration is an occupational hazard of being a user experience designer (or an excessively logical engineer). Once you start designing processes, you see process problems everywhere, whether or not you want to. As an American living in Taiwan, I am used to being the weird …

author Jake Morrison

Applying for a merchant account so you can accept credit cards traditionally takes weeks. You meet with the bank, show them your financial statements, and explain your business. Then they make you an offer for e.g. %2.8% + $0.30 per transaction (plus other mystery fees that you find …

author Jake Morrison

When I design systems, one of my favorite things is looking at "abuse cases" which define how they behave when confronted by bad actors.

I am a big fan of cryptocurrencies. They give us an opportunity to design systems which enforce and incentivize behaviors, e.g. removing risk and rewarding …

author Jake Morrison

One of the most important decisions we make in product development is when to make a release. From a business perspective, it's better to release early and often, with a "minimum viable product".

It's also important to define explicit technical quality criteria, or we will waste a lot of resources …

author Jake Morrison

Everyone wants to have a beautiful graphical design for their product. The problem comes when graphical design becomes more important than usability and affects the efficiency of the development process.

There is an anti-pattern we call "graphical design driven development." The way it goes is that the client starts by …

author Jake Morrison

We often need to estimate development projects which have both iOS and Android. It's tempting to say that Android will be the same, but what we have found is that Android takes more effort.

The rule of thumb in Silicon Valley is that it takes two to three times the …

author Jake Morrison

When we create products, it's important that they help specific users with their issues, not generic users. It's easy to create a list of features, all of which sound good, but don't provide a compelling solution to a specific problem for a specific user. Without that, people won't buy your …

author Jake Morrison

User stories are the "Director of Operations" view of the world. They describe step by step how the business works, and what the software needs to do to support it. They should be done after we have defined the user personas, to make sure we are starting from users and …