Caught up by the startup bug? Want to compete with the giants in the market? Write your own success story? Well, for that, you need to fix the direction, set the sails right and keep your business afloat. Launching a startup is a big challenge especially when you are bound big time with the capital constraints. Amidst the limited funds, tight deadlines and other factors governing the run, UX design is the last thing to catch the attention of the entrepreneurs. Now, this is where they tend to make a big mistake as design is something which cannot be ignored if you want to make it big in the market. You have to understand that an awesome UX is not a luxury for a startup rather a necessity for its smooth sailing.
Time is not far where every organization, be it big or small, will dwell on its in-house UX professional to construct valuable products and services. The UX expert will work on directing the employees of the organization to achieve the same goal of delivering powerful user experience to the customers. Even if your startup stands out in visual appeal, but fails in providing interactive experience in a way that the users can’t even navigate or find their way intuitively, it is still far away from the mark.
UX can’t be overlooked at any cost as it is critical in picturing the first impression of the product/service as well as in influencing future choices. So, if you want UX to strengthen your business strategy, here is what you should know to incorporate UX design from an entrepreneurial perspective:-
1. The Meaning
Currently, UX is ruling the design world. But remember, it is just not a trend that will pass. UX, without doubt, is here to stay. After all, it adds to the credibility of the product. It works on all the elements together, be it interface, layout, text, brand, sound or interaction. UX allows co-ordination between all the elements so that the best possible interactions can be churned out for the users. In simple words, UX design regulates the best possible experience a user can get from a product so that they further recommend it to their friends and come back in future for more.
These days, UX is gaining more and more importance with increase on the dependence of mobile devices such as smartwatches and exercise trackers. Consumers are expecting more from the sites and apps and seek comfort in their use so that they can get an easy, enjoyable and intuitive experience.
With increase in demand of internet usage, UX is also on an increase and will scale high. What can you expect when 40.4% of the world’s population owns internet connection and the number keeps climbing year after year. Online interactions have increased tremendously and so have our expectations of an experience that not only fulfills our goals but at the same time makes the process fun and engaging too.
2. UX Designer – The Savior
Okay, first things first, let us distinguish between UI and UX designers. UI designers deal with the interface, interaction and visual details of design. They handle layouts, colors, typography and graphics. Remember that UI designer by any chance doesn’t create wireframes or prototypes. When UI designer takes the command, the wireframes should already be done and handed over. He might consider improving certain graphic elements as well. UX designers, on the other hand, have a broader scope of work and create wireframes and layout prototypes.
That is not it. They are very much responsible for submitting every positive aspect and every promised component of the product to the end user. It is valuable that UX designers identify some layout changes in the process of development. And for that, they do some field research, get acquainted with user’s needs, make user personas and perform detailed analytics. They recognize roles, do storyboarding, create user flows, build a mind map, make wireframes and ultimately design working prototype. An indispensable profile, isn’t it?
As per a report by Forbes, 90% of startups fail in the race. The major reason is that there is no buyer to buy the product, in other words, there is no market need generated. A UX designer conducts a thorough research to ascertain what is already present and frame your potential target personas, even before the creation of the visual design for the website. This comprehensive market research goes a long way in the launch of the product and saves a lot on your time, money and efforts later.
Users have a very short attention span and the average time spend on a website by a user is eight seconds. So, make sure that the first impression is all worth it. A badly designed or poorly functioning website can make the customers lose interest easily and opt for the competitors instead. It is guaranteed that an irritated user will not choose your site again nor will he spread a good word to his friends. A UX designer gives utmost importance to the users’ needs and spends good time with real users to figure out the real pain points of your product. They strategize not only to fulfill the expectations of the users but deliver an experience that somehow exceeds their demands and leave them elated with less bounce rates.
Business transactions are flourishing great online. Mobile commerce has taken a great share of online spending and is giving a big competition to the retail industry. With these high proportions of business transactions being conducted online, it is important that everybody in the target audience can smoothly find and navigate their way across a website so that they can successfully attain their goals. Just like a ramp is built in a shop for the convenience of a wheelchair user, similarly the ease of the users should also be accommodated online. A UX designer takes care of all the users so that they get what they are searching for with least trouble and take a positive impression of the brand with them.
3. Area Of Work
A UX designer works meticulously on various processes so that your startup can taste success with its effective approach :-
- Perform competitor analysis to record what similar products occupy the space in the market and what are the opportunities and threats to keep in mind.
- Form a unique value proposition (UVP) structure that distinguishes the product from others in the market.
- Do user testing and research to improve the UVP more.
- Create user personas (in depth illustrations of the people who will use the product) along with the goals and required tasks.
- Iterate the layout with the help of several paper prototypes and wireframes based on the readings of the usability research so as to match the level of target user needs and wants.
4. Integrating UX Design
- Incorporate lean UX principles so that the deliverables are checked timely and all the employees work on the same goals and in the same direction.
- Let there be an outside mentor for the designers who can prove instrumental in refining their skills and offer valuable advice that can be put to use in the projects.
- Give the designers time to research onto new trends so that they can improve and reform and bring forth something unique. For instance, Google permits their employees to allocate 20% of their time to devote on innovative projects.
5. UX Brings Success
As we are learning about mobile app UX design for startups, let us take into account the giant leaders like Apple and Microsoft. Can there be any compromise in the quality of their services or features? Never. But still people like using Mac more over their smartphones as they made a blue chip design for the product. Note that user experience design for a mobile app is not all about cute buttons or attractive fonts.
It is about effective placement of all elements so that they form a responsive and usable end product that is beautiful in look with its colors and fonts. Big companies like Facebook and Twitter are a global hit as they invest huge into UX research so that they can stay ahead in the race and leave no stone unturned to deliver maximum customer satisfaction.
6. Expand For More
To supercharge the design process, it is better if you chalk out predictably better solutions. Now that can be done if you include more UX designers in the team. By pairing designers, you can transform the equation, have more speed, gather quick insights and benefit from an idea which the other designer from twice the time couldn’t think through. It is actually not about maximizing the speed rather quality so that the designers can deliver more, that is, better design.
Designers can together maximize the energy in polarity. One can manage the assertive tasks whereas the other can take over the reflective roles. One can handle the drawings; on the other hand, other can work on patterns and words. This way, through pairing and focusing on polarized responsibilities, we can enhance the level of thinking for the product.
7. The Bigger Picture
Technology is pacing fast and so are the UX design practices. Yes, it is important to keep a track of the latest trends and whatever new that is happening in the industry, still don’t include an element in your layout plan just for the sake of its hype. The thrill of getting a responsive website makes us forget the importance of mobile context which is actually more scoring from the customer’s standpoint. Don’t fall into the trap of short thinking.
Agreed, entrepreneurs should focus on the current technologies but consider only the ones that are contributive to the startup’s broader strategy and goals. Remember sustainability is a significant factor that should not be ignored as we spend so much time creating software and put in lot of efforts to make it work on the web. Build a brand that has strong presence and design a product that can ideally last in the fast-changing environment, then only success will be yours.
8. The Agile Way
Startups can benefit immensely from lean UX. Now, what is lean UX? Lean UX is designing keeping in sync with the development team and in small sprints. For instance, if your website has some weak points that you aren’t happy with, then you don’t have to dump the whole thing rather pick out small parts and start working on its improvement in a lean way. The aim is to gather as many solutions as possible and opt for the best ones from them. In place of big deliverables such as wireframes and mockups, designers should buckle down on other business functions together.
When you start your business amidst the giant sharks in the industry, UX is one thing that can distinguish you from others through your outstanding product. Even if you offer simple apps like email service or chat messenger, it is possible to beat your rivals with all fancy apps as your basic yet significant app can capture the users with its minimal yet comfortable design. To keep you business sailing high, you need a person responsible for design, the one who is focused on empowering the user experience, no matter what title is allotted for the same.
It is crucial as user experience is not something that can be forgotten or forgiven easily if bad. Remember applicability is vital too. No design will be a success if the customers don’t deem it necessary. In the coming years, UX design will be pivotal to new startups as the consumer’s expectations with their online experience will rise. At the time of hiring a UX person, look for a professional who can fit in your company and be a part of its culture rightly. Strive to innovate with quality solutions, after all, it is not only about coming first but delivering better!
Images Credit: www.dribbble.com
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