Don’t Just Copy. Be Better.

I’ve always been annoyed by people who abuse the term Industry Best Practice. People need to start asking WHY and don’t just copy what others do. It’s very easy to copy, but difficult to be better. To be better, we need extra effort, finding out the WHY.

Definition of Industry Best Practice by some people that I’ve met recently:

Industry Best Practice, noun: We’re too lazy to think of better ideas and if the big companies are doing it then it must be good.

I have a dream to be a design leader one day, but my chance might be zero if I never act like one. Followers just copy. Leaders make things better. “They change things,” a line from Apple’s The Crazy Ones ad says, when talking about the people who have changed the world. It’s gonna be a challenging path, most people are comfortable with status quo, but I don’t wanna spend my time becoming a follower. I wanna change things.

Details Matter It’s Worth Waiting to Get It Right

I’m working on the improved experience across devices. It’s not only about the visual design, but also about the flow, interaction, and layout. “Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right, ” says Steve Jobs.

The thumbnail is the most used component on the website and app, but I think we haven’t done it well, with details that make the overall interface looks great. Inspired by Google Material Design, I’m using 8dp square baseline grid, and 4dp when it’s needed (e.g the space between ‘new ep’ badge and the left edge). The blue square is the target area for the overflow icon (40dp x 40dp).


Another challenge is to make the Top Volunteers more engaging, one variation:


I’m unifying and simplifying the flow across devices, focusing on the users key goals: discover shows and watch show. See one solution below:


See above design on Dribbble:

I still have a lot of things to be done, but everything looks great so far, and using 4dp/8dp baseline grid helps to lay things out perfectly on the screen.

Learn more about Google Material Design’s Metrics and Keylines.

My Tiny Dent In The Universe

Mentoring startups from around the world at Google HQ – Mountain View. Awesome and unbelievable.

ED Score (Emotional Design Score)

I’m excited to finally released ED Scoring method to Slideshare. At Rakuten Viki (especially the Design Team), we’ve been experimenting with different kind of work flows, with a goal of having a better collaboration between team at Rakuten Viki. There were three main problems that I found:

  1. No clear approach in communicating why a product is bad and frustrating.
  2. No structured method to compare our own product with competitors’ product.
  3. Unclear actionable items to improve the experience.

We’ve set our challenges (see them in the slides), and to cut things short, I’ve come up with ED Score (Emotional Design Score). ED Score is about “Communicate feedback and discuss improvement better with clear actionable items.” I won’t write a lengthy blog post, you can view the slides below. I’d expect people to try it out, share with us what worked/didn’t worked, and suggest better methods. Would be awesome if you tweet and mention me (@borryshasian) with your thought/experience when using it.

Sketchstorming and a Happier Life

Sketchstorming is one of my fav exercises at Rakuten Viki. When we’re sketching and sharing the ideas, there were always laughter, and I could feel the positive energy it brought to the people participating in it.

“Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict,” Melinda Smith wrote in Laughter is Best Medicine.

I’m even more excited that Sketchstorming has become a common thing in Rakuten Viki. It’s not about the sketching, it’s about believing in your ideas and the confidence level of communicating them to others.

Fostering Innovation for Better Design

I was so excited to be invited by Zhi Min from Institute of Systems Science NUS to share about Viki, product development process, best practices, and our work-in-progress ED (Emotional Design) Score. We need more of this collaboration to foster innovation for a better design. Good job to Teo Choong Ching and Esther Fan for sharing the best practices in user research and prototyping.