App Club at Degree 53

Design, Musings

The design team over at Degree 53 are an ambitious lot. I don’t mean in a self-obsessed way (although I kind of suspect that Martyn is planning to take over the world). We’re an ambitious design team in the sense that we constantly want to better ourselves. We want to improve and to challenge and to test one another. It’s a singular goal, an obsession almost, and it’s one that we work towards as a team.

As you’d expect from a busy design and build agency, we’re always working away on a variety of exciting projects. We pour our time, heart and soul into our work to make sure that we’re producing fantastic user-centric products.

However, as a design team, we’ve found it crucial that we take some time to focus on developing our skills and knowledge.

Some of the ways to do this are obvious. We all make sure that we keep up to date on modern trends and practices, that we’re well read, and you’ll find that we’re often working away on side projects. Recently though we’ve been trying something new; App Club.

We’re by no means the first design team to do this, but we are finding it to be an effective exercise. I suppose it’s not too different from a traditional book club. Each week we agree on a mobile app and we make sure that we all give it a fair go for a week. We then meet together to discuss it. The idea being that we’re not only exposing ourselves to new products that are out there, but that by critiquing these we’ll be able to improve our own processes by learning from the successes and failures of these products.

In recent weeks we’ve looked at the fantastic Slack and Sleep Cycle Apps. As a company we use the Slack desktop product daily, so it felt like a natural choice to test drive the app. Sleep Cycle proved to be a really interesting product to test. Being well rested is vital to a creative mind, so it was fascinating to be able to examine the data from our sleep patterns and make adjustments.

I’m pretty excited about the future of App Club and we’ve now been joined by developers, project managers, business analyst and sales & marketing staff.

I’ll try to keep you updated as to how App Club is going either on this blog, or over at the Degree 53 blog. In the meantime, I’d recommend trying out Slack and Sleep Cycle.

As for this week, we’re looking at Apple Music. It’s going to be an interesting session.

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