The Secret Yardstick Driving Innovation At AOL, Beats, And Microsoft
From Fast Company
January 4, 2013 - 7:45am
What does innovation look like? For one thing: It should be discernable at 15 feet away. "When you look at any other email product from a distance--if you’re at a Starbucks or on the train, and you see someone reading Gmail or Yahoo--they all largely look the same," says Bill Wetherell, a senior director of UX design at AOL. "One of the key things from a design perspective that we wanted was to do something different. And we wanted it to pass what we call the 15-foot test." The "15-foot test," as Wetherell refers to it, is the threshold for differentiation he holds his team to: Products must attract attention even yards away from the computer screen. It’s the idea that in order for a product to stand out in such a crowded market, he says, "it needs not only to function differently but also look noticeably different from afar." That standard was arguably the driver behin...
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