Working in a start-up or scale-up, there is always a lot to get done.
There's so much value we can give our clients in a number of areas but as a Product and Design team, we have to prioritise what gets designed and built first.
This often means there can be a whole host of ideas sitting in the backlog.
Creative Fridays is a weekly session the design team started to give ourselves some space to get out of the day-to-day.
It allows the team to focus on design problems or ideas that aren’t currently a priority.
When we started these sessions, we got together and brainstormed a list of key known issues our users struggle with, improvements that have been suggested by customers, mixed with ideas that we would like to see worked on.
Each Creative Friday session only lasts an hour, which isn’t a lot of time, but we aren’t looking for pixel-perfect solutions at the end of each session.
These sessions are more of an informal idea generation session that would give us the building blocks for a potential project and get us thinking of ideas without the restraints that come along with a new project.
Our format for each session is simple: outline the issue, compare competitor solutions, mockup Freetrade solutions, discuss and share the results.
We spend the first 10-15 minutes going through any competitor examples, highlighting interesting features or interaction patterns.
The next 15-20 minutes is used to go off and create mock-ups of what it could look like in the Freetrade app. Again, not a pixel-perfect solution, it could even be greyscale wireframes.
Adding an edit option for the watchlist will allow a Freetrade user to re-order and expand each instrument to see more details.
Opening the watchlist edit state lets the user reorder their watchlist.
Allowing a user to sort their watchlist by investment performance.
After the timer is up, we spend the rest of the session presenting our ideas and thoughts and giving each other feedback.
It's really great seeing how differently we each tackle the same problem and often we will take aspects of one design and merge it with another to create a better solution.
Ultimately, we want to see our output from these sessions get picked up and go live but this will always be the challenge in any startup with competing priorities.
The good news is that even if the watchlist itself doesn’t get picked up straight away, the toggle or dropdown exploration we used for it could be rolled into other features around the app.
Going forward, our other challenge is how we scale these sessions.
For the past year, we have been a very small team and that's suited the current Creative Friday format. But with our rapidly expanding design team, soon an hour-long session is not going to be enough to get through everything.
We will continue to adapt Creative Fridays so they are always worthwhile and still fun for all the design team.