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Keep it Simple

Simplicity

Leonardo Da Vinci said it best, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” At Green Mango, we try to keep this in mind when a client comes in with an idea for us. Having a clear idea along with a list of features is a good thing, but not all are necessary in the beginning. By removing the unnecessary, you are dedicating more focus to the necessary- leading to a successful product launch.

To Keep or Not to Keep

At times, you may find yourself torn between features you want to keep and features that overcomplicate and clutter your overall product. This results in a confusing and complex experience for the average user. If any of this this sounds familiar to you, it may be time to change your strategy and form new habits.

Features are important but once those features begin to take away from your product’s main idea, tough decisions need to be made. When designing your software, imagine every download will be done by a first-time user. While you and your team may know the in’s and out’s of your product, the knowledge doesn’t always translate as well to the average user’s experience. According to the Mobile Customer Retention report of 2016, over 75% of apps are never opened again after being opened for the first time. You only get one chance at first impressions. It’s important that your UX, or user experience, is as captivating as it is smooth.

Apple’s take on Simplicity

Apple has begun to master this with their own products.  Apple designer, Jony Ive, said “Our goals are very simple — to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it.” It’s because of thoughtful design like this that iOS is easily picked up from children to seniors. The simplicity of having a single button is one of Apple’s most notable features to understand. The home button will always return the user to the original home screen no matter what is open. This creates a comfortable and easy user experience. This does not mean that Apple’s iOS isn’t intuitive, in fact, tech savvy users tend to prefer Apple to its competitors. Reliability, usability, and a beautiful user interface draws users in and retains them.

Less is More

Products that come across as minimalist often times required more effort in development. This is the software paradox. It takes a large amount of time to hide the unnecessary. Cramming in only what is absolutely important during development requires more skill. When simplifying a product, the idea is not to strip away key features but to focus only on them.  Communicate as much information as possible with as little possibly allowed. This puts the user’s focus on your content.

Everything you are not doing is an opportunity to do something better. Be sure to take your time with it. Many products do not succeed because they fail to distill their ideas to their core essence. Be wary not to spread yourself or your ideas too thin. This is your opportunity to improve on what’s out there not by addition, but by refinement.

June 23, 2017
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Why We Started Our Own Colorizebot on Reddit

Colorizebot originally made its appearance on Reddit in 2016 and has been enjoyed by many. Colorizebot attempts to colorize black and white images using Artificial Intelligence. Anyone can get this bot’s attention simply by typing “colorizebot” in the comments. You can think of it as the Candyman for colorizing photos.

3 important parts of Colorizebot:

1. The AI engine created by Richard Zhang, Phillip Isola, and Alexei A. Efros that does the actual colorizing of photos

2. The CAFFE framework, which is  a deep learning framework developed by Berkeley            Artificial Intelligence Research,  does a lot of the heavy lifting that would need to be                 repeated in many AI projects

3. The bot which connects this awesome AI project to Reddit was made by Amir Avni               and NotAMacUser

Yesterday, I discovered Colorizebot had stopped responding to people on reddit. It seems the bot has been turned off. Given that all the code is open source and readily available, I decided: Why not run our own bot as a public service to all who use Reddit? Within less than 24 hours of development, Colorizebot was up and running again.

Welcome back to Reddit, Colorizebot!

Where do we go from here?
For the time being, I’m more than happy to keep the Colorizebot service running purely as a benefit to the Reddit community. In the future, I may spend time making improvements to the bot, or even the colorizer itself via a different training set, etc.

May 14, 2017
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