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Trial and Error – Your best friend and worst enemy! Trial and Error – Your best friend and worst enemy!

Published on Apr 29, 2013 by Jamie Munro

I've recently had my eyes open, mostly since becoming a parent.  My oldest kids are now 3; they are right at the stage of wanting to do everything for themselves.  It’s important to let them!  Kids learn through trial and error, so why shouldn't I?


 If you learn one thing today, I hope it’s this life lesson.  If you don’t ever try, you won’t ever succeed!  I personally don’t want to be putting my kids’ shoes on forever, it hurts my back.  I want them to be able to do it for themselves.  The more independent my kids are, the more free time I have.  Anyone with kids will truly respect how important free time is…

Here are some of my thoughts on how to effectively to trial and error and of course I learned these things through trial and error!

Keep it simple (stupid)


I’m sure we've all heard of the KISS acronym, it’s probably the most important aspect of trial and error.  Don’t over-complicate what you are trying to do.

It’s probably safe to assume that you don’t know everything and don’t know exactly what people will like.  So instead of spending an abundant amount of time trying to guess – just try something and get it out there.

If people don’t like it, its ok, don’t take it personally.  You just learned something very important.  Take what you learned and adjust your approach.

I've seen money thrown away by not following this rule.

Iterate, iterate, iterate


This works well with the previous point.  Just start with something simple.  Find out what people like and dislike.  Iterate on your idea in small chunks.  Games do this all the time – it’s actually a concept of user retention!

Don’t repeat yourself


Another often used acronym – DRY – is another important term with trial and error.  If your attempt failed, don’t make the same mistake again.

Don’t limit yourself


This is something I learned recently from a good friend of mine.  Why should we spend hours discussing, documenting, diagramming  designing something?  Who am I to say (or you) which approach is the right approach?  Why not try both – after all – this is about trial and error.  By using the previous points, you should take all approaches into consideration and find a way to easily execute them all.

Analytics being such a hot topic now-a-days will help you answer the question of how I should approach the feature because I just tried X different ways and scenario Y was a clear winner of what people liked.

Summary


I’m sure the list could go on and on, but rather than spending an abundant amount of time, I’ll start here and just get it out there and see if people like the topic and want to read more about it in the future!

Tags: Theory | trial and error | success | failure

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