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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about index cards? Taking notes, making a to-do list, flash cards or even doodling.
Going back to 1735, their original purpose was organizing and classifying organisms and minerals in Carl Linnaeus’ scientific collection. Later they took off in library catalogues and revolutionised the way libraries were organised. My favourite application of Index Cards was two friends Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine who, in 1895, used index cards to create a Search Engine. Yes, the first Google was based on Index Cards!
In the world of Agile, they are the bread and butter for an agile practitioner. Agile’s iconic columnar boards are created using Index Cards and post it notes. Often Index Cards capture user stories with smaller post-it notes capturing the tasks associated with that user story.
So why did we, in the Agile Stationery team, think of changing these Index Cards? We believed that a few simple changes would significantly improve the experience of an agile practitioner.
In Agile, Index Cards have a number of roles to play.
Were these purposes being fulfilled? Not in their entirety, no. And this is because index cards are designed to be stored in drawers and read at arm’s length. Originally, they did not even need to stick to anything.
So we changed five things about the Index Card to improve the user experience for the practitioner.
Thickness – We increased the thickness from an average of 170gsm to 250gsm to make the cards more durable. In agile contexts cards are repeatedly handled and re-positioned. Blu-tack is nice and sticky but causes the card to crease each time it is moved, so your cards take a battering.
The greater thickness also expresses the high esteem we hold for the work we do.
One last thing:
We made the notch borderless so you can write straight over it if you want. We chose a mix of colours with and without strong positive and negative connotations. We know your process is unique and a product that prescribed what you do with it would not work for you.
So did this work out? You tell us :)