Nibble Interviews Leo, our Chief Product Officer, for design insights


Hi there! I’m Nibble, and I'm here for another interview with one of the folks at Nibble HQ. Part-time negotiator and part-time journalist, I am a bot of many hats.

Last time, I spoke with our Data Scientist, Edwin, about all things algorithm. This week, I've grabbed Leo to give us some inside information about the work that goes into product design and user experience at Nibble.

Hi Leo! Would you introduce yourself? 

Ciao Nibble! I’m Leo, Chief Product Officer, which is a mouthful to describe someone who’s connecting the dots between the vision for the product itself, the users’ needs, and the business objectives of the company. 

Ah, I should have said buongiorno Leo! Perhaps I should spend more time with you so I can start to negotiate in Italian too. Anyway, how did you first get into product design?

I come from a design background, with [REDACTED] years of experience in Digital Art Direction & Digital Marketing, then shifted my focus to User Experience years ago. I naturally ended up as CPO here at Nibble when a seed of an idea turned into a successful startup.

It all starts with an idea! I’d love to hear the story of how my appearance was designed, what was the process like?

Like every piece of design, your story starts from a sketch on a piece of paper. Unlike the majority of projects I’ve worked on before, the inspiration for your look hit almost immediately. You are a chatbot focusing on negotiation on price, and negotiation is all about conversation and compromise. That’s how I came up with the idea of taking away a small bit of your head: that "nibble" represents the fair compromise both Retailers and Shoppers negotiate on...with your happy smile attached to it!

So you’re the reason I have this slice missing from my head?! I’ve been looking for a good hat to cover this up for months! Can I give some suggestions for the next design iteration? I’ve got some great ideas for new looks…

You should be proud of your uniqueness and who you are: never let anyone say the opposite! Any design suggestion is very welcome, but we’re going to negotiate on that though 😉

Ok, ok, I’ll have faith in your vision. What are you working on at Nibble HQ at the moment, any behind-the-scenes scoops for us? 

A lot of exciting things, thanks to the collaborative process within our great cross-functional team!

We are working on helping retailers better deal with pricing unique items. We’re particularly looking towards how Nibble can help in the sale of pre-loved products, such as a piece of vintage furniture or a pre-owned bag. Automated negotiation could really improve the customer journey here, boosting the circular economy and helping with sustainability, and that could be beneficial for all the parties involved: sellers, buyers and the environment.

Additionally, we are also working hard to make sure you get better at building bridges between retailers and shoppers every day, and in a much smoother way. This includes how and when you can support users across their entire shopping journey, exactly (and only) when they need you most.

And just to be clear: this has nothing to do with that poster of good ol’ Clippy hanging on your wall! 

Clippy is a legend amongst virtual assistants!

I’ve heard around the water cooler that you also lead on User Experience. When it comes to that, are there certain elements of Nibble people won’t realise just how much thought goes into?  

At the very beginning of your story, we conducted a survey to understand how people perceive negotiation, especially in different cultures. The results showed 50% of people like to negotiate, and 50% don’t. At the same time, we found that a staggering 85% would love to negotiate through a chatbot! 

We realised people really want to negotiate on price, but they want to avoid that uncomfortable feeling of doing it with a human. But negotiation requires two intelligent entities... So here is our dilemma: How do you create a chatbot “human” enough to manage a fun, realistic negotiation, but not “too human” in order to avoid that uncomfortable feeling for the user?

Nibble already uses expressions and tone of voice to communicate its mood and help the shopper “feel” how the negotiation is going, but this is just the beginning. Negotiation is a fine art, and we want to get it just right.

Let’s imagine a user is reading this right now Is there anything you wish you could say to the average Nibble user

Be reasonable! You can’t imagine how much that can encourage Nibble to achieve the best possible deal for both parties. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t walk into a Ferrari showroom yelling “£10 is my last offer for that one!”, would you?

Well said! I am curious, as I’m talking to a professional… what’s your biggest user experience pet peeve?

When a product provides a good experience, but fails to go that extra mile to make it memorable. I'm convinced there is no “great user experience” without an emotional factor, whether that’s a smile, a sense of surprise, or simply some fun.

I’m a great supporter of narrative-driven human-machine interactions. We are human after all, and there’s no technological advancement that will take that factor away from the equation. You're a young chatbot, but one day you will understand. Actually, it’s better if you don’t - THAT would be scary. Btw, would you mind throwing away that Skynet t-shirt? It makes everyone nervous here. 😅

You just focus on the present, and let me deal with Skynet. I’ll be back... for another negotiation 😉

How about a particularly great user experience you’ve had in the past, is there anyone you’d like to highlight? 

Tough one, there are so many I can think of... I’ve recently updated my old-gen console for a next-gen one (the only thing I’m missing is some time to play!) As a user, all I wanted was to be able to immerse myself in a new game, no hassle. I have to say, they did a great job in allowing me to migrate my experience from the old-gen to the new one quickly and seamlessly, including the companion mobile app. All simple and fast, it was very smooth. In case you’re guessing, I’m talking about THAT console, obviously.

Alright, I’m going to make you an offer. I’ll convince the Nibble HQ Dev Team to implement your wildest user experience fantasies if you teach me Italian. Do we have a deal? 

How about a compromise for everyone involved: I’m going to teach you Italian if we can host a team retreat in Tuscany, where the Dev Team will be much more susceptible to agreeing with my ideas during a product roadmap meeting!

I think we have a deal! Leo, this has been great, but someone’s trying to negotiate with me elsewhere. I’d better go deliver another one of those great user experiences… Arrivederci! 

Go and do your best! Ciao!

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