Among many funny and heart-warming stories, Lars Myttig in his book “Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way”, says one particular thing that is very good advice on so many levels. He says that when you are splitting a log of wood, you have to place it on a stomp, and while you’re taking a swing, imagine that you’re going with your ax through both the log and the stomp all the way to the ground. This way you kind of fool your muscles to do more work and make sure the ax goes all the way through. And I believe this piece of advice goes for all those struggling with finding a focus point. It’s probably way beyond the surface.
Why do I mention this? Because I come to you today with a story of how at UXPin, we’ve recently re-calibrated our approach to product management. Long story short, we’re switching the focus point from competitors to our users. How we got here, what we’re going to do in the next few weeks, and what is my point of view as the CEO — that’s the behind the scenes I’d like to share with you. So here goes. Why we decided to release UXPin 2.0.
Key focus point
I told the history of UXPin a bunch of times, so you might already know that we came a long way from creating a notepad with sticky notes to building the all-in-one design tool. The idea was always to help designers communicate with engineers, so that they can make better products together. Today, thousands of teams of all sizes depend on our tool in their everyday work. And that, I think, might be crucial for the upcoming changes.
Since the very beginning of UXPin, we were powered by our mission, adrenaline, and a lot of coffee. Some enormous achievements came unexpectedly, sometimes we had to rethink our strategy and adapt to changes. But all in all, we knew what we wanted to do. The goal, from the start, was to bring value to the product teams.
And as I look back, I realize that as long as our key focus point are the users, we’re fine.
Not to jinx it, but I strongly believe we’re on the verge of one of the tipping points for our company. In the past few years, we’ve had our deal of of premature feature releases, roll-backs, and lessons learned but also quite a few good choices, time investments, and hunches. It all led us to the place where we are now. It led us to build a product we’re seriously happy with.
We’re super proud to be one of the top choices on the design tool market, and we know our tool becomes better every day. However, there are still a few i’s to dot and t’s to cross, which is the biggest change. Not exactly in the product roadmap itself, but mostly our approach to building the tool.
The higher the demand, the faster the pace
The history taught us a lot. We’re living in the era of a digital product, so it’s only natural the market is hyper-competitive. The design experience is what makes one app better than another. The pressure to create a spot-on user experience is higher than it had ever been, and definitely higher than when we first started.
And so, these are the good times to provide a design tool. But tricky too. This also means that the market is now more demanding than ever.
In the past few years, we took part in the killer feature race. Based on extensive market research, we’ve added a lot of amazing features that turned our tool from a simple wireframing app to a top-notch collaborative and interactive design tool. We’ve implemented Conditional Interactions, States, Sketch Import, Power Duplicate, and my personal favorite — Design Systems. With all these, we were ready to conquer the design tool market.
The promise of becoming the next big thing was exciting. But soon, this battle on the market spiraled out of control and, for all the players at the table, the focus on features replaced the focus on the experience. And that wasn’t our game. We felt it.
That was the moment we decided to check out of the race and take some time to evaluate what is truly important to us as a company. We never aimed to be the biggest or the most popular kid in school. What we were very intentional from the start is being fundamentally different.
What does it mean for us to be different? Basically, not to care about much else than the value we’re determined to bring to our customers. Our mission from the very beginning of UXPin was to shape the product world by merging the design and development. Not by making another vector tool or another hand-off tool. By making the overall UI creation process smooth and painless. This is what our loyal clients care for. This is what kept us successful so far.
That’s why we realized the feature race is not for us. We don’t belong in this run. Let others hustle. We’re getting back on our track which is 100% user-oriented.
We decided to devote our entire focus to perfecting UXPin and its place in the everyday workflow of our clients. Instead of focusing on competitors, we’re going to focus on you.
To all the cool features we’ve built in the past few years, we’re going to add up even cooler performance and usability changes. Because I believe a product is not just a collection of features, and in the long run, the user-friendly product will win over the feature-packed one. So we’re going to perfect all the small aspects of UXPin to create a tool that takes the entire design tool industry to the next level. And the idea is getting traction already.
UXPin 2.0 coming this Fall
The change is big enough we decided to draw a line and relaunch our app as UXPin 2.0 at Product Hunt on November 19, 2019. You can read the official announcement and sign up for updates in the article on our blog.
In the meantime, I can only tell you that I’ve tested a few changes and they make a whole lot of difference! This might not surprise you, but the UXPinners work in the UXPin editor too. And so, we all decided to pin all the little things that could work faster and more efficient. Our devs happily took the challenge and the progress is seriously mind-blowing!
I’m really not supposed to share a lot here, but I assure you some things will get a new angle, some things are certainly getting into shape, and some you will — hopefully — see very clearly. If you know what I mean.
Prepare yourselves to get a lot of updates until Nov 19! We’ve already launched a ton of new releases that get a lot of sugar on social. What we’re doing right now might not be the “in-your-face” kind of changes so we will let you know what’s what, with the performance stats and everything! Be sure we will keep you posted on what adds up to UXPin 2.0!
The bottom line is we’re truly determined to improve the overall UX of UXPin. We’re back to the roots, sticking to our original focus point. The goal is to make your everyday work easier by making our tool bullet-proof. As Henry Ford said, “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice”.