Startups are created with an idea to try and solve a problem. ‘User Experience Design’ is all about understanding how to create a product with a meaningful experience.
One of the most essential phases of User Experience Design is conducting user research- a phase that is often ignored in some regions due to a variety of reasons i.e. budget constraints, lack of skill, or time constraints. And it is crucial in any design process to incorporate user feedback into the product you have at hand. However, the most common process and approach is to compare similar apps and shamelessly copy their features and visual appearances. This may deliver results in a short time but growing the platform and getting the best conversions is a different story altogether.
In an effort to replicate aspects of design from different platforms, most companies fail to understand that what works for one app/website/platform may not work for another, primarily because the users are different and the way they interact and think is different. Ripping off a design from another platform has its risks. Other than ethical restrictions, what if the design you recreate does not work for the target users you want to cater to?
What a UX Process Does For You:
If you are a startup owner, you NEED to have your digital agency follow the design process.
A proper UX Process helps you with:
- Understanding what users/customers really need as opposed to what they want.
- Creating products that are built around user needs, as opposed to one person or a group of people’s perception about their target user’s needs.
- Changing needs of users. Product development does not stop post-launch; it’s important to be on top of changing trends and needs of users to survive and be on top of your game. Usability testing makes sure things are on the right path.
Your approach to every design project may vary depending on the need of the hour and other factors. Here is a little insight to give you an understanding of how a typical design process works.
Empathy here reflects the process of carrying out user research, understanding and absorbing those findings in the design process. William Hudson highlights the importance of empathy as follows:
“User-Centred Design is surprisingly difficult. One of the biggest issues, certainly for those with no HCI or usability experience, is a lack of appreciation of how users think and work. Their assumption is that users will approach and solve problems in the same way as the designers and developers of an interactive solution”.
Importance of Understanding User Psychology
“Creating a product on your gut alone is like preparing a meal for someone without knowing their preference in food”
It is important for UX practitioners/Product designers to understand the psychology and needs of the user. There is a difference between creating what you think a user needs and what he actually needs. Spend time in understanding your user and develop resonating products. Getting to know what they want and what they need are also two ENTIRELY different paradigms. A laddering technique is a good way to find out what people value or what their subconscious motives are.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”
“Spending More on Design is Money Not Well Spent”…?
This perception is of great disadvantage to the success of any new business. In today’s day and age, in most tech startups, if you don’t have a solid design team and you are just making fiction-based decisions, they will sooner or later haunt you. In the book Cost-Justifying Usability, Clare-Marie Karat, Ph.D. from the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center references a study where:
“$20,700 spent on usability resulted in a $47,700 return on the first day the improvements we implemented and $68,000 spent on usability on another system resulted in $6,800,000 return in the first year.”
Designing and creating a product is just the beginning. Like the ever-changing market landscape and user behavior, you need to constantly test your product to make sure it’s at the top of your game. History has plenty of examples to show how products that have not changed a lot with time end up being squashed out of the picture.
How to Succeed Using UX
This is meant to help you with both; either working on a product from ground zero or working with an already existing platform.
Understanding the customer’s persona and traits is your first step in coming up with the goal of your digital product. Draw inferences that will help you attain conclusive results and start with the discovery stage of the process. Make sure that your app/website’s flow is in line with the inferences you have made. Look for all opportunities you can offer. It is important that you optimize your app/website according to the needs of the user.
For example, when you are creating a website and you spot one on awwwards.com site and really like the layout and design of the site, perhaps because it’s very visually interactive with lots of cool JS effects. Now, consider the target audience for the website you’re trying to create. Imagine one of the target groups is not very tech-savvy, and not that great at reading English either. Utilizing a design that may look visually stunning but not the right fit for their users will yield all kinds of wrong results.
This brings another point here. Not testing products. Selling an untested product is like eating peanuts without taking their shell off. Usability testing involves a number of daily practices to be taken into consideration. The core essence of usability testing is to make sure that an app is created without making it difficult for people to understand. Oftentimes, in a scenario, there isn’t enough time or budgetary constraints that make thorough testing impossible. In such a setting, heuristic evaluations are used to make quick professional judgment calls.
UX Design- Your Key to Funding & Capital
Investors tend to make decisions their gut feels comfortable with and their eyes find appealing. You never want your prototype to look ugly or worse, not to run smoothly. If your new software or product has a semaless experience and runs intuitively, there are 60% chances that investors might be interested in investing in your idea.
Design is a crucial, often underrated competitive advantage. Tables have turned rigorously in the past few years and most of the hirings now, even in Silicon valley are UX designers. Most of venture capitalist firms have also been hiring UX consultants, designers, and partners who help them in making investment decisions.
By now, you must have understood the importance of having a UX designer affiliated with your startup from the very beginning. These are factors previous startups overlooked and faced collapse just because of this one negligence. You have an idea of your life. Let’s not waste any opportunity to make it big!
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