Agile is good, but focus on Zero Overhead

Introducing new forms of visualization is an iterative process.  We work in an agile manner and release features at a minimum on a monthly basis.  Some of our visualization changes are pretty radical and will have user’s playing for some time to get ‘it’.  It is quite challenging to introduce new ways of visualizations and also to ensure that  users get ‘it’ without too much of a hassle. DJ Patil’s and Josh Elman’s latest post on Techcrunch has kind of called this the ‘Zero Overhead’ Principle. 

“The real challenge for analysts is that they are already overloaded and tend to ignore additional tools that require training (remember these guys have real time pressure).  So we had to adopt a different mindset. Our products had to work naturally with the analysts’ work styles. Period.  That’s the Zero Overhead Principle. Put another way, our products had to teach the user as they went along. In essence, we were really just building enterprise products with a consumer mindset.”

This also has a great video on how they used data driven science to improve user engagement at Twitter. The key lessons from him are :

  1. Focus on building a “glide path.”
  2. Use data to find friction
  3. Prioritize the design experience

Published: March 01 2013

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