SpoolCast: Backstage at 37signals with Jason Fried

Brian Christiansen

March 22nd, 2010

Duration: 29m | 17 MB
Recorded: February, 2010
Brian Christiansen, UIE Podcast Producer
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Jason Fried


Jason Fried brings a unique viewpoint to any design discussion, one informed by years of success with his company, 37signals. Recently, Jared Spool was able to chat with Jason about 37signals’ current work. If you’re joining us at the UIE Web App Masters Tour in Minneapolis or Philadelphia, Jason will go into even more detail. Among the topics they’ll cover in this podcast include:

  • the design and development process behind 37signals ID, their single-sign on feature for their four major web applications which serve more than 3 million customers.
  • what they’ve learned about controlling ballooning projects
  • their on-going experiment with rotating design and development teams

37signals is known as a organization that does little, if any, testing with users prior to launching a feature. Since UIE advocates user research and usability testing as common components to most design projects, sometimes folks wonder why we’re so interested in the process at 37signals, and why we’re excited to have Jason to speak at our events. We don’t believe there’s only one right way to run a design project, and it’s hard to debate the success Jason and his team have had with their process. In this podcast, Jason discusses their experience with building the 37signals ID, and what role testing played in this project:

…we don’t really do any formal sort of usability testing. I think that usability testing, or bringing outside people in to look at this, it clearly would help in some ways, but… you only kind of really get this when you’re going through the real process.

…you can bring people in to read a screen or to kind of fake go through the process, but it’s only when you’re hurried and you’ve just logged into Basecamp and you need to check a new to-do list, and all of a sudden you see this screen, for real… that’s the only time you can really evaluate whether or not this is clear or not. And so I think it’s really hard to simulate those situations.

After listening to Jason’s thoughts on testing and process, how do you feel they would work in your organization? Share your thoughts on their process and your experiences in the comments. After listening to the podcast, you won’t want to miss Jason’s presentation, Backstage at 37signals, at our Web App Masters Tour in either Minneapolis or Philadelphia. We look forward to seeing you there!

Web App Masters TourWant to learn more from Jason? See his session – Backstage at 37signals at the Web App Masters Tour

2 Responses to “SpoolCast: Backstage at 37signals with Jason Fried”

  1. The Real Josh Says:

    I really enjoyed the podcast. Makes you appreciate the changes that site go through in order to better serve their customers. Also helps to keep these potential user database issues at the front of the mind when build products like that.

  2. Alles over Content Management » Jason Fried (37signals): “Usability testing is niet ons ding” Says:

    […] Beluister de ‘Spoolcast’ met Jason Fried […]

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