Recently the startup I've been working at for 6 or so months launched its first product. Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers -- a place where you can find the best source for a wide range of information online; from local hotspots to esoteric Harry Potter trivia, it's all there.
A lot of thought went into the Quora product design and even at this early stage many details have been revisited multiple times. So, I thought I'd share a few of the decisions and principles that went into the first major version of the beta product.
Key Product Design Decisions
Really early on I decided to focus only on the product design and would forgo any time spent on things like visual design and, to some extent, branding. I didn't really know how that would play out at the time but I knew I wanted to get as much built as possible and as quickly as possible and hoped this artificial constraint would pay other, as yet unknown dividends. In hindsight, this turned out to be a good call because it really focused the product design and avoided common distractions. So, the scant visual elements are carefully added to provide utility and help guide the user to the most important behaviors we wish to encourage.
Artypapers began as an experiment by Rebekah Cox but became an escape and turned into a series of useful & fun applications. While most applications have been deprecated, Scribble and the Blog still remain active.