The SpoolCast with Jared Spool

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Episode #95 Backstage at 37signals with Jason Fried

March 22, 2010  ·  30 minutes

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Jason Fried brings a unique viewpoint to any design discussion, one informed by years of success with his company, 37signals. Recently, Jared Spool was able to chat with Jason about 37signals' current work. If you're joining us at the UIE Web App Masters Tour in Minneapolis or Philadelphia, Jason will go into even more detail

Show Notes

Jason Fried brings a unique viewpoint to any design discussion, one informed by years of success with his company, 37signals. Recently, Jared Spool was able to chat with Jason about 37signals' current work. If you're joining us at the UIE Web App Masters Tour in Minneapolis or Philadelphia, Jason will go into even more detail. Among the topics they'll cover in this podcast include:

  • the design and development process behind 37signals ID, their single-sign on feature for their four major web applications which serve more than 3 million customers.
  • what they've learned about controlling ballooning projects
  • their on-going experiment with rotating design and development teams

37signals is known as a organization that does little, if any, testing with users prior to launching a feature. Since UIE advocates user research and usability testing as common components to most design projects, sometimes folks wonder why we're so interested in the process at 37signals, and why we're excited to have Jason to speak at our events. We don't believe there's only one right way to run a design project, and it's hard to debate the success Jason and his team have had with their process. In this podcast, Jason discusses their experience with building the 37signals ID, and what role testing played in this project:

…we don’t really do any formal sort of usability testing. I think that usability testing, or bringing outside people in to look at this, it clearly would help in some ways, but… you only kind of really get this when you’re going through the real process.

…you can bring people in to read a screen or to kind of fake go through the process, but it’s only when you’re hurried and you’ve just logged into Basecamp and you need to check a new to-do list, and all of a sudden you see this screen, for real… that’s the only time you can really evaluate whether or not this is clear or not. And so I think it’s really hard to simulate those situations.