Tuomas Jomppanen

How a Blog Post turned into a small Web App

22 Dec 2011

tl;tr I started to write about web product designers. Then I got an idea, formed a hypothesis and built a web app. It’s a blog aggregate, gathering all blogs about the web product design into one page. The site is called Buildcraftcreate.

Builders, Crafters and Creators a.k.a The Web Product Designers

When I go for a run, I usually listen music or podcasts at the same time. So this one time I was walking with my dog and listening a podcast from 5by5, I heard Garrett Dimon say something about builders, crafters and creators. Wow! That sounded cool! My imagination started to fly at that very moment. I started to wonder what kind of people are the ones who are part of this group of awesome web product designers. They must be passionate, creative and always ready to learn something new. And they most likely build awesome products as well.

That would make a really good blog post! So once I got back home, I started to write. I looked through my google reader subscription list, looking for the bloggers who write about product design. There are very good product blogs, but they are just promoting their product, not necessary teaching anything new. I wasn’t interested about them. What I was interested was the people who give back to the community. People, who teach by writing insightful blog posts and share their knowledge of the magic art of web product design. Those kinds of people were added into my list of builders, crafters and creators.

After few chapters, I got an idea. Instead of listing the blogs every web product designer should read, why not make an aggregate web app that would gather the newest blog posts into one page?

The App and The Hypothesis

I think I’m a pretty good product designer. I have learned a lot from Eric Ries and I am big fan of his book. I believe firmly that to build a good web app I need a target audience and a hypothesis. Here is what I came up:

There are internet users, who are interested about web product design but do not want to use RSS readers for some reason. They might not find any content about web product design blogs. They search the web for web product design and find this site. They like the content of Buildcraftcreate.com and regularly come back for more.

Over the time, I have tried to sell the idea of RSS readers to lot of people who read blogs. They just don’t see the benefit why they should set up a RSS reader. They feel it’s easier to read the blogs separately. Some do not even use bookmarks, they just type the address every time they they want to visit the site. So there might be an audience for a web app like this.

Once I had a weekend with enough spare time, I build it. It’s called Buildcraftcreate.

The Validation Method

The method I am planning to validate my hypothesis is to use web analytics, and track the users who come to the site via search engine and track the returning visitors. I’m sure there could be better ways to validate, but for now, I will settle with this.

Trying to keep things simple, so I have two web analytics data to keep an eye for:

If you have tips and tricks for validating my hypothesis or tuning the hypothesis itself, please send me an email. I love learning!