Max and David have started Breezi’s video production department this week! Here is their first non-video contribution!
Seeing what our customers create with Breezi website builder is by far one of the most rewarding feelings. How people use our platform to express themselves to the world in new and exciting ways makes the long hours we spend perfecting Breezi all worth it.
This is the first post of our “Spotlight” series, where we’ll catch up with Breeziners to hear their story, and share it with you. I had the chance to chat with Tristan Irvine – a composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer – about his background, his music, and his Breezi website, FragmentsOfWinter.com. Enjoy!
My first encounter with musical instruments was at a very early age; we used to have a tiny keyboard for kids at home, and a bigger, slightly more serious one. I would make up melodies on them and really enjoy it. Then later came the Playstation and I discovered a game called ‘Music 2000′, which acted like a simulation of the ‘digital audio workstations’ that nowadays everybody uses to make music. I loved it and created lots of songs with it (that I would record to cassettes, give them titles, draw the artwork, etc – I must have been between 10 and 12 at this point). After that I got a computer and some real instruments… the rest is history I guess.
Thank you! I like to refer to my sound as ‘orchestronica’: a mixture of electronic and orchestral sounds, with melancholic melodies and cinematic atmospheres.I tend to compose music that moves me personally and I love the idea of that happening to people in different parts of the world as well. It’s such a surreal connection to have with people that I have never even met.
A website is the primary online identity for any business, artist, musician etc.It’s a potential fan’s first impression of what I’m all about so it has to represent my project and my music in the best possible way. Nowadays, I think that some people are relying too much on social networks, which I do think are a pretty good thing, but a website is a blank canvas where you can express yourself freely and I believe it comes before any other online presence.
After having used WordPress for a few years I decided that I wanted to change as I was tired of having to spend hours on fixing technical problems, dealing with issues such as MySQL overload, slow loading times, plugins not working properly, etc. Also, in the past couple of years I got out of the habit of coding so I wanted to find a way to build an elegant and uncluttered website without relying on too much coding.I had a go at Breezi and never looked back. What I liked about it was the fact that it is simple and intuitive to use but at the same time powerful, allowing me a lot of freedom in creating exactly the design that I had in my head, without dealing with any technical issue. That’s all I was asking for.
I’m really happy to announce that the Breezi layout builder is available to all our users!
As a part of this announcement, I’m going to dive into the reasoning behind how we did it and where we’re going next. If you’re not interested in all of that and just want to try it out, click Test Drive at the upper right!
Box Model vs Free-form Model
In order to understand why the layout builder even matters, you have to understand the difference between the “box” model and the “free-form” model. From the very beginning, Breezi was based on what we call the box model. This is different from most website builders because almost all of them are based on a free-form model.
In the free-form model, you allow users to put objects in any place. It’s a lot more like print design than web. Platforms like Adobe Muse, for example, use this approach. The box model respects the structure of modern websites, which are not made of one giant box with objects pinned in random coordinates. A simplified way of thinking about the box model is to think about many boxes (divs) with hierarchies. So a box can be inside another box and so on.
The free form model is more free during design, but creates a lot of debt after you’re done putting things in random places. The nice part about it is that it’s really familiar to print designers and it “feels” really flexible. You can place things in exactly the place that you’d like. Doing whatever you feel… free… form.
The most practical example to think about when understanding the reason for the box model would be to think of a situation where you have a widget that has content inside of it that can grow. An example would be your three most recent posts. The exact height of this widget grows. If you write a longer post, it could go to the 2nd line and push everything down. The container/block than contains it grows. The widget that you might have underneath this block might grow as well. So might the above it. Because of these interdependencies on width and height, you need objects that are truly static all the time to be able to actually use the free-form model, which is not very conducive to how most people want to create and manage a website.
Before layout builder, it was really hard to express why the box model made so much sense to someone who didn’t understand html markup. But now that you can create your own dynamic layout, you will understand why you need this type of structural organization for your site. Just spend 10 minutes playing with Breezi and you’ll get a better sense for this.
Outside of building layouts, we’re relying on the layout builder as the foundation for organizing the variables in our design. In about a week we’ll be releasing the bulk style editor, which will really give you understanding for why the box model makes sense. So stay tuned for that!
Side note: I urge any web designer to stop using a tool that is free-form. It’s bad for us as an industry to keep pretending like we’re print designers.
Talking a bit about the actual difficulties we had while building layout builder….
If you’ve ever looked for a layout builder before, you’ve probably stumbled upon the YUI layout builder or the YAML layout builder. There are a few others. Building the layout builder itself wasn’t really the hardest part. Our team has built stand alone layout builders a long time ago.
The hard part was putting that in the mix with the rest of the website building experience.
When you open the editor, the first thing you’ll notice is that your layout controls are very accessible. You don’t have to go turn on another mode to get the controls. That’s because we see layout as a design task. You shouldn’t need to go into another “mode” just because you want to add another column or resize something.
The other item is the subtlety of the controls. They are small but very powerful. The controls were made to be very compact so they don’t collide with any of the other controls and can be ignored if they aren’t being used. The compacted controls even work for very tiny areas.
You’ll also notice the difference between “sections” and “containers”. You can think of a as the holder and the sections as the blocks inside of it. The controls all the way to the right are for adding containers while the controls within the inner part of the site are for adding sections.
The final result of this UI was from over six months of prototyping and iterating through static mocks. We had two working prototypes and went through six different versions of the layout builder during this time.
The funny thing about it is that, in terms of real estate it feels so small, like it shouldn’t have taken this long. For the technical people reading this, I’m sure you can appreciate the irony. Little things that do a lot.
So what can you do with it?
- Add new containers, remove them, reorder them
- Add sections, remove them, reorder them
- Add columns, merge them, resize them
What we’re working on next?
- Speed improvements
- Changing the entire width of your site
- Saving your layout
- Applying your layout to other pages
The ideas for the layout builder have been in the works for almost a year now.
The technical specs, the numerous mocks, the prototypes… it’s been a long road to this. I’m really happy with what we ended up with. The Breezi team really worked tremendously hard to make this happen. It takes a lot of patience to develop something like this. It’s not a MVP (minimal viable product) mindset. For things this ambitious, you have to really stay true to the problem and work at it until it’s really resolved. Our team really did that and that’s apparent when you use it. It’s all thanks to the amazing team that we have.
It’s a huge step for Breezi.
I leave you with an old mockup of what the layout builder was proposed to look like early on and a quick video on how it looks right now, enjoy.
Cpanel Website Builder
For many web hosting companies, offering a cpanel website builder as a value-add for customers has become a standard practice. Think about it, it’s a natural fit in the value chain. Depending on the types of customers you target, some hosts make this a main feature they promote, while others simply include one or more of the typical site builder options in the control panel by default.
As we prepare to release Breezi’s website builder cPanel plugin for hosting companies, I wanted to survey web hosts to get a sense for what site builder options you’re offering currently, and what features and capabilities would be most ideal for your customers. Complete the brief survey below and we’ll be sure to share the results with you:
Breezi is excited to announce the upcoming release of our cPanel website builder plugin, which will enable our web hosting partners to seamlessly offer our premier website creation, design, and CMS platform to customers.
The Usual Suspects Are Stuck in Time
Let’s face it, the website builder options available to hosts are behind the times, and that’s putting it nicely. We’ve poured through countless host forum discussions, and have heard straight from end users time and again – they want something better!
That’s why we’re making Breezi website builder available through a cPanel plugin, so that hosting companies can benefit from offering a much better solution to customers.
Gain a Competitive Edge
The web hosting space has become very competitive. Having strong differentiators to set your hosting services apart will make or break your business in the long run. By partnering with Breezi to offer our cPanel plugin to your customers, you’ll show customers you’re ahead of the curve, and really care about giving them a solid solution for creating and managing their websites.
The Best Solution…Without Cannibalizing Your Customers
Web hosts have lots of options for website builders to offer customers. But for one of two main reasons, they all fail to add true value for customers while creating a new, sustainable revenue channel…until now.
Avoid the Dinosaurs
There are a handful of site builders that have been around for years, solely made for distribution through web hosts. Sadly this has become the industry standard. The host pays licensing fees, installs the software on their servers, and…no one uses the tool because it’s complicated and restrictive.
Customers who do use it complain, adding to your support costs. It’s a money pit that doesn’t add value, and it’s only getting worse as customers realize there are newer, much better tools available.
Beware of Covert Competitors
The newer crop of tools market themselves as hosted site builders for their direct-to-consumer retail channel, mixing hosting in with their website editing tool. While they may offer you aggressive rev. share options, don’t be fooled. They’re looking to exploit web hosts as a distribution channel, and slowly steal your customers.
Don’t cannibalize your customer base and devalue your own services!
A True Partner in Breezi
Breezi is unique in that we’re the ONLY website builder that is both very high quality and doesn’t compete with you at all. We in no way market any hosting services, nor do we set storage limits.
At our core we are a premium website creation, design and management platform, and we’re passionately dedicated to constant innovation and fanatical customer support.
Partnering with Breezi is a perfect fit, and together we can offer customers the complete package they need.
What Sets Breezi Apart from Other Website Builders?
Take a test drive to see for yourself, but here are the main reasons Breezi is far more advanced than other website builders, and why customers love our service:
1. Entirely Visual Editor: Everyone claims “ease of use”, but we actually deliver on it, far better than any other tool. Pixel-level design customization, precise page layout control, and simple content management are all brought into one intuitive visual editor.
2. Apps Galore: We’re constantly adding to our Apps library, which customers access to add, move, and edit all of their content, from text, videos and images – to forms, social media feeds, and much more!
3. Fanatical Support: In addition to our ever growing portal of helpful How-To guides, Tips & Tricks tutorials, and Q&A section, we offer live chat (for premium users) and ticket support so our customers are never left high and dry.
Partner With Breezi
We have a dedicated team, working day in and day out to continuously improve Breezi, add new and innovative capabilities, and push aggressively to offer customers the best possible website creation and editing platform on the market. We’re looking to partner with the best hosting companies that share our passion for giving customers the best, most innovative tools available.
We have over 30 web hosts signed up as partners for the program launch.
If you’re interested in testing out the cPanel plugin and signing up for partnership program, head over to our Hosting Partners page!
[update] MobileMe is now closed.
Thousands of MobileMe hosted iWeb sites will shut down tomorrow, June 30th, when Apple officially discontinues the service. If you’re one of those people, you need to find an iWeb alternative asap so that your site doesn’t go down, leaving your visitors confused and frustrated.
Here are some of the top questions we’ve seen from people looking for the best iWeb alternative:
1. What are my options now?
You have two options moving forward:
-Continue using iWeb, but move your hosting from MobileMe to another hosting service. This is not an ideal option because a.) moving your site to a new hosting provider can be tedious, especially if you’re more on the non-technical side, and b.) the iWeb platform is now very outdated, and there will be no support for users from now on – there are other options that are much better, and you may be ready for a site revamp anyway.
-An ideal iWeb alternative is to create your site on a different, hosted service. There are many options out there, but you’ll want to look into Breezi website maker, as it’s very much aligned with the features, flexibility, and simplicity that iWeb users love about the service.
2. Do I need to have a separate hosting service?
If you go with the second option above, then no, you don’t need a separate hosting account. Services like Breezi are fully hosted with support included.
3. Will I need to start from scratch creating a new site?
If you move away from iWeb to a new service for managing your site, then yes, you will need to start from scratch. But don’t worry – it’s actually easier than you’d think, especially if you use Breezi. It’s mainly a matter of setting up the same structure you want for your page layouts, copying your content over, and then applying the design look and feel you want.
And again, maybe your site is due for a revamp anyway, so this could be a great time to use Breezi as an iWeb replacement and re-think your site’s design, pages, and content to make sure it’s relevant and engaging for your visitors, and has an up-to-date look and feel.
4. What happens to my domain – can I keep it?
Yes, if you have your own domain, you can certainly continue using it. And if you move to Breezi before we launch pricing for premium Breezi accounts, you can use your own domain and there are no initial or ongoing fees at all!
Have other questions? Post them up in the comments section below and we’ll be happy to answer them!
Pick someone you know fairly well that you think of as someone who is not creative.
Or at least not in the most classic sense.
Think about them for a little while more. Are they really not creative or do you just happen to define creativity as something different than they would? Did they have to show their creativity to you to realize they’re actually creative? Should it be loud? Should they want to express it to the entire world for them to be a creative person? Does it have to be colorful or tasteful?
You can find many meanings of creativity. The one I always liked was “the act of creation”. If I had to define it more thoroughly, it would be “the act of creation seen from the eyes of the creator”. People fight over the definition of creativity because they are trying to define it for someone else. That’s the issue. That part is irrelevant. It discounts the most pure part of the entire mix which is Part 4 (see below).
I want to break apart creativity as we generally define it into a few components.
Part 1: Paradigm shift in thinking
Part 2: Mixing variables within the confines of ”good taste” or something that “works”
Part 3: Learning how to optimize the tool you use to produce
Part 4: Your expression / random mix of all your experiences / sole / self?
Let’s go into each part one by one though.
Part 4 is you. Your expression but the naked version of it. The unprocessed, unfiltered component of it. This part is often dismissed as just a remix of other people’s ideas when you see it in the creation. That might be true but there is still a small layer of you in there. When that part gets thrown into the mix, in aggregate it creates something completely different. Stop thinking about each part and focus on the outcome. If you’re fixated on the fact that 99% of it is other people’s ideas, you should just stop reading this now. Your issue comes from discounting the process of idea evolution.
Part 3 is mostly technology. The camera vs the iPhone’s camera app vs Instagram would be the perfect way to think of it. But this part has 2 components to it… you have the tool itself & the time + effort it takes to learn how to optimize it. This is the part that’s moving really fast and we as software designers have the most influence over.
Part 2 reflects how the more you view work from a certain genre of creation that is considered great, the more you’re likely to pick on its patterns, its boundaries and maybe even some of its distinguishing factors. This one gets dismissed as just imitation most of the time because the distinguishing parts stand out the most to both the creator and the viewers. They are not really paying attention to the micro creative decisions. They are too focused on trying to dismiss it. This part is very interesting because it starts to get much more complex if you think about utility-based creative decisions vs pure expressive ones vs ones that try to accomplish both. For the purpose of this article, you can think of it as trying to accomplish both.
Part 1 is where the new kids and the “true artists” divide. This is the part where you only land by a huge volume of work, pure genius, a lucky mistake, or a long understanding of the fundamentals of your genre. Ironically, this part has the most creativity as a percentage of the total but it also makes it that much harder to recognize.
So what’s special about each one?
My personal belief is that you always have Part 4 and that’s really at the core of my later arguments. Part 4 is really all you need. The other parts are up to us as tool designers to optimize for users.
Part 1 is more of the task for language and platform designers. Whereas what I’m focusing on here are tools that are not meant for innovation with that level of flexibility.
Part 2 + 3 + 4 are what we’re seeing with what people call our “remix” culture.
Ok, so how does all of this relate back to software design? Part 2 and 4 are the user inputs. Part 3 is your tool.
How does this tie back into software design?
In our field, we tend to listen to the people who have the most influence. So if someone says design software with less choices, everyone retweets and people repeat it. If someone says your job is to reduce until you have the simplest solution, people repeat.
These are extremely irresponsible ways of spreading knowledge. Spreading a philosophy of design without explicitly expressing the assumptions under which your philosophy works. Single use case philosophies that people from thousands of use cases feel like they have to apply to their work everyday.
The issue is that software is more and more becoming about self expression than anything else. Most of the other layers of experiences are becoming the commodity. The most valuable part of any experience is when the user uses the application to express themselves. I’ll challenge you to think of any software that the user really doesn’t ultimately use your application for some form of self expression. Think of the reason why they said they like your application. They might like it because it is simple but they love it because it allows them to ultimately express themselves.
Understanding the trade-off for your users
The critical idea to introduce now is self-expression vs time spent. That’s where, as software designers, we have to make the decision of who we’re optimizing for and we have to have an idea of who this person might be.
The argument is not where choice is bad or not. That’s just a ridiculous broad stroking argument. That argument fails in most things that you yourself use every single day. Think of a place where you really need a choice that seems a bit specific to your use case. Now imagine a life without that choice. Your life isn’t any better because the choice was removed. It was better before.
The difference is that, in that particular case, you valued the trade-off in favor of the choice vs the time spent making it. You put value in that choice. In that flexibility.
You almost always use the same temperature while taking a shower… so why are there no presets? Would your life be simpler if the preset was there? Yes.
Now think of the popcorn option on your microwave. How many times does it burn the popcorn? The preset there is useless. The user needs the choice to be able to set the exact time. I remember the specific bag of popcorn that I liked took exactly 2 minutes 15 seconds to be perfect. If you removed the exact time setting from my microwave, are you making my life easier? No. You’re making it worse. You make me think of my microwave as less valuable.
Now what if the popcorn wasn’t burnt and it was just a tiny bit burnt… would I care as much? Maybe not. That’s where the balance of the trade-off is key to understand. Who am I optimizing for and how can I make their life easier? Where is their line? And do I want to land there or instead give them both routes?
There is nothing inherent about a product that defines it as something that should be designed with less choice.
What’s useful is to think of your user as something that might care about that choice or not. Would they make the trade-off with their time to spend it to make that decision or play with that feature?
If so, I’d argue that it’s your job to develop it. Develop it in the best way possible so it doesn’t tax the rest of the users who might not care about that feature. You can even make the argument that you want to focus on the other user type first. That’s fine. But what’s not ok is saying that somehow tools should always be designed with less choice. And that somehow you’re the savior for that user because you know better and you made their life better.
Think about it for a sec. Simpler – for – the user. The last part of that sentence is where we got lazy. Since it was hard to define who this person is, we’re defining them as whoever they are when it’s most convenient for us at that particular time.
So how does this tie back into the idea of creativity and who is creative?
Well, Part 3 is software. The thing that you’re designing. Part 2 is happening without you at a very fast pace. Part 4 exists in every human. My point is that there is such a thing as a micro form of creativity. One that doesn’t get called out by everyone else as something that a “creative” person made. It might be something as simple as organizing a few tabs in the workflow of the user or being able to customize the font size of an area. Those are actually creative solutions. And the combination of how to use these solutions is very creative in the eyes of the creator.
If you want to make an application with not many options to make it “simpler”, that’s ok. You’ll probably attract a lot of people who don’t put much value in self expression within that particular part of their life. That’s ok but it doesn’t prove that there aren’t others who value self expression and want tools that imply the same.
Again, self expression can come in the form of not only expression within the form of entertainment but also for optimization of a result for yourself or others. That is still expression. We tend to categorize expression with art / dance / colors / music… open up the definition more to accommodate a more utilitarian view as well and you’ll see how many more things could qualify.
We’ve been proven over and over and over and over again that humanity is extremely creative. We are toolmakers.
When creativity is incentivized, the person is encouraged to do more of it. That is happening more and more today. When you add lowering costs, faster technology plus a long tail audience, you get an even stronger multiplier.
Micro forms of creativity happen everyday. The tools can amplify them, give them shape and even incentivize the creator. This is a new idea and it’s important to recognize when designing tools for the new generation of people.
Don’t discount their creativity and dismiss it as complexity.
In my opinion, as technologists that’s our entire reason to do what we do. Create an experience that has a progressive learning path and that encourages creativity from your users.
Back when iWeb launched in 2006 as part of iLife (with tied-in hosting through MobileMe), there was lots of excitement about Apple’s newest innovation…an easy software tool to create, publish, and manage a website. At the time website builders were in the early stages still. iWeb was a nice tool if you didn’t want to code, yet still be able to design and manage a website fairly easily.
As the years passed, the website builder space became more and more crowded, and Apple had lots of other products to focus on, which took priority over further developing iWeb. Finally in 2011 Apple announced plans to discontinue support and further development, leaving loyalists wondering where to turn next.
Since then, users have increasingly been looking for an iWeb replacement for creating and managing their websites. Now, of course I’m quite biased when I say Breezi is the best iWeb replacement on the market by far, but here are some reasons why:
1. iWeb users loved the simple visual interface for creating their site. Although Breezi’s editing features are of course much different, we’ve taken the idea of visual editing to completely new levels, striking the difficult balance between simplistic, elegant user experience and ultimate flexibility & control making Breezi an ideal replacement for iWeb.
2. In iWeb, the design experience was all around themes. You pick a theme, and you modify it. Breezi will soon be releasing a full theming system, that not only lets you select from pre-designed themes and modify them as little or as much as you’d like, but also create and save your own fully custom themes easily. Plus through the style dots, layout options, and apps you can create an entirely unique design fairly easily.
3. You also had widgets in iWeb to integrate 3rd party services like YouTube videos and Google Maps. We take that idea way further with apps in Breezi. With apps you can add, move around, and configure everything ranging from photo & video galleries, contact forms, video players, a blog, slideshows, social media feeds, and more. And you can easily embed all sorts of 3rd party tools like shopping carts (PayPal, Shopify, etc.), mailing list sign-ups (MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.), custom forms (Wufoo), and many, many others. The sky’s the limit, and we’re growing our apps library regularly.
With iWeb you had to publish your site through MobileMe or another hosting service using FTP. It’s easier through Breezi – hosting is part of the service, and it’s all managing right through your browser. When you make changes to your site, they apply right then and there, without having to re-publish.
At the end of the day, people love Apple products because they blend intuitive simplicity with amazing functionality. When it comes to creating and managing a website, Breezi carries through that same ethos, and I honestly think it’s a very ideal iWeb alternative for folks looking for the best replacement.
After launching Breezi, we knew it was critical to support our growing community with all the information and resources needed to create amazing websites on our platform. But in the hoopla of talking with users, gathering feedback, and cranking out tutorials, how to’s, FAQs and other materials, we lost the proper organization for accessing and making good use of these resources.
That’s all about to change.
We’ve worked hard the last couple of weeks completing a new, integrated resources portal on Breezi.com, bringing together How-To articles, Tips & Tricks video tutorials, Getting Started videos, and a new interactive Questions area. The best part is that the intuitive search feature pulls results from all of these resource areas, making it quick and easy for you to find helpful answers and information on Breezi’s capabilities. We’re wrapping up final testing and will launch this new part of the site in the next day or two.
Why did we do this?
We found that a lot of users were having trouble finding answers to questions they had while creating their site, or even beforehand while browsing Breezi.com. Although we put together a lot of great materials and answers to frequently asked questions, they weren’t nearly as easily searchable and accessible as they should be.
So we basically merged our knowledge base, FAQs page, Tutorials, and Getting Started video series into one centralized, searchable portal.
Help shape Breezi – chime into discussions!
We’ve also added commenting to just about every post, so you can share your feedback and follow-up questions. You can also submit questions you have, and answer existing questions from other users. We honestly base a great deal of our product planning and feature enhancements on the direct feedback we get from users like you, and by getting involved in the conversation you’ll be helping to shape the future of Breezi.
We’re also rolling out a new newsletter where you can stay up-to-date on new features, how-to’s & tips.
So post up your questions, comment on posts, and if you have an answer or tip to share, please do! We look forward to hearing from you!
“Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, solution, artwork, literary work, joke, etc.) that has some kind of value. What counts as “new” may be in reference to the individual creator, or to the society or domain within which the novelty occurs. What counts as “valuable” is similarly defined in a variety of ways.”
Anything new. I think that’s a better definition. Anything new in the eye of anyone. The eyes of the creator or user. Doesn’t matter.
When you work in a field like ours, you could spend two years working on a problem and still suck at it. You naturally tend to respect hard work. Real problem solving. These are concepts that we have to live by, otherwise we go nuts. So when a tool seems to provide a shortcut to that, we naturally are skeptical and question its value.
What I’ve noticed in my own thinking and the people around me is that we assume there is a positive correlation between the degree of effort and the degree of creativity in the output of someone’s work. I’m not talking about simplicity. I’m talking about the degree of work it takes to create something new. Not the simplicity of the output. Just it’s differentiation from other things (newness).
When we were deciding what to launch Breezi’s beta version with, we really asked ourselves if people would be ok with starting with a blank slate. If the users would be fine with doing the hard work of creating something totally new that looked good. We didn’t have our themes functionality done yet so it was a difficult call. We decided to launch with wireframes which were mimicking the design process. We are launching themes soon but that’s besides the point.
Let’s pause for a quick second and define something “new” into two parts. Other people’s ideas + yours. And let’s say that we’re trying to define how “creative” someone really is during a particular creation task. Person A takes 95% of other people’s ideas and 5% his. Person B takes 20% of other people’s ideas and 80% his (let’s just say that is possible for a sec). Who do you think is more creative?
I’d argue that a person that even has a 0.01% contribution of his own ideas and 99.99% of other people’s is just as creative as the others.
The question is WHAT is that 0.01% and is that something that matters in the eyes of the creator.
That can be a word, a photo, an atom, a different angle, a slightly different temperature or another title for the same book. It really doesn’t matter.
What we have to note is that the mix has absolutely nothing to do with the newness of the outcome. The outcome is something new. It doesn’t represent the sum of its parts. Everything in nature obeys this same logic.
As product developers, we’re just enablers. Enabling anything at all. Even the smallest input from the user. If 0.01% is all you want or can contribute and that could make you feel creative, then it’s our obligation to figure out how to make technology that can accept that.
The user of an application that speeds up the creativity process doesn’t care about how much effort it took to create something new. As long as it’s something new they feel creative. That’s the most valid definition there is for the word. It’s the feeling of creating something new in your own eyes.
If you look at a creativity from a product development lens, you usually have 4 parts.
Input, effort, technology, output. Input is the user contribution. Effort is how much work it takes to give the right input. We should be able to accept .01% for that. Technology obeys the minimum user input and works around that. Output should make the user feel as though she created something new.
Example in case of Instagram… Photo is the input. Effort is how much sweat it takes to take the photo and pick a filter. Technology is the app and service. Output is the final photo with the filter you chose.
What’s interesting is that if you look at the mix from a technology perspective, the input is the .01%. If you look at it from the output perspective, it’s 100%.