8 Ways To Design A Beautiful, Useful App, From The Co-Founder Of Instagram

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger

Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger recently spoke at a 500Startups event. He shared eight ways to design a beautiful, functional app.

Here are his tips via The Next Web’s Ken Yeung, who was there taking notes:

  1. Understand what you’re building. Krieger warned the crowd not to start creating an app with any pre-conceived notions. Talk to experts or immerse yourself in the field before you start coding so you’re armed with knowledge.
  2. Decide how you’ll be different. Krieger suggests putting together “Product Mad Libs.” : ___ is ____; it does ___. Unlike ___, we ___.
  3. Sketch first, code second. Instagram ended up trashing entire features it had built. Talk out the functionality and design with someone before you get started.
  4. Build in weeklong increments. Krieger says Instagram would focus on answering one big question per week, such as “can we build great-looking filters?” and ship an updated product every Friday.
  5. Be able to explain your product quickly and easily. Krieger says if you can’t explain it to a stranger at a bar, it’s not simple enough.
  6. Control what you reveal to the world. Krieger says to choose what you share wisely with a carefully selected number of individuals. Private betas can be a good way to start testing concepts.
  7. Know when to move on to the next feature. Keep things moving.
  8. Create and ship. Watch what your users are doing and iterate.

For more design tips, check out the full presentation Krieger gave, below:

Mike Krieger of Instagram at Warm Gun 2012 from 500 Startups

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