Building a startup from the ground up could be quite a rewarding, but also a nerve-racking experience. From coming up with a kick-ass product idea to meeting tight deadlines, and pleasing investors, it’s no wonder why user experience (UX) design is often overlooked by some entrepreneurs.
For the past 12 years, we’ve been working with hundreds of startups, helping their founders validate and build better digital products, whilst cutting their time to market in half. As the number of startups we work with increases, we’ve come to notice a worrying trend.
Perceived as a vanity exercise, founders leave UX considerations to the last minute - a mistake that could end up costing you millions further down the line. As the digital sector continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, creating an outstanding user experience should be at the top of your priorities list if you want your startup to outperform its competitors.
Thinking about creating a good user experience at the last minute is a mistake that could end up costing you millions…
Regardless of your sector or company size, the importance of using good UX design principles should not be underestimated. At its core, UX tries to fulfil the needs of your users. It can help you outline the user journeys that benefit your business the most. A positive user experience can also give you a head start converting one time visitors into lifelong customers.
Still uncertain whether or not UX is something worth investing your time and resources into? Here’s our pick of the top 5 reasons why having a UX design strategy is pivotal for your successful startup journey and how it can actually help your company scale faster.
1. Builds credibility
Everyone can talk a big game but until you prove that you can walk the talk, your words are just that. Having a good user experience is the first step towards overcoming the healthy dose of scepticism your prospective customers will have towards your product. It creates a good first impression, builds trust, and influences future choices. Although, having strong visuals can go a long way towards building social proof if your product is hard to use or not intuitive enough it will fall short on the market.
2. Validates your product idea
The bitter truth is that 90% of startups don’t make it past their first year. The most common reason for that is that startups put their blood, sweat, and tears into building the perfect product without first validating its need on the market. There are multiple ways to test the market fit of your product such as building an MVP or running a Design Sprint. Regardless of your method of choice, however, conducting UX research will be an integral part of the process. It will allow you to establish accurate target personas before you’ve even started designing your product. Also, the detailed market research that follows can come in handy with your launch.
3. Helps you think Agile
Learning from the principles of lean UX and keeping in sync with your development team can benefit your startup big time - especially in its early stages. One of the benefits of developing a prototype and testing it with real users is that you can detect usability issues early on in the development process. Instead of dumping the whole thing and starting from scratch, you could pick up the bits that are not quite there yet and work on improving them. An important thing to remember is that you need to be doing continuous testing to ensure you are on the right track. Diving head deep without iterating is a surefire way to burn cash and waste precious resources.
4. Reveals your users’ pain points
Your product should have a UX that is useful, usable, and meaningful to your users. These are preconditions for excellent product design, and most importantly, traits shared among all successful products. It’s why user testing is so important. The best way to understand your users’ pain points is to actually talk to them. Evaluate the frequency and intensity of their problem and how your product is going to help them solve it. This is essentially the life purpose of all startups and why UX design is so important for their future success.
5. Improves conversion rates
Building a great product is one thing, but convincing people to buy it is a whole different story. It’s a multi-step process that involves a lot of smart decisions that usually start by conducting UX research. Studies have shown that the average time users spend on a website is eight seconds. Not a lot of time to make a good first impression so you better make the most out of it. If your product is poorly designed or its performance does not match expectations, it can deter your users and you can kiss your word-of-mouth marketing goodbye.
User experience is not something you should leave for the final moments before launching your product. It requires some time and effort to get right but it’s well worth it when it comes to the final output.
By creating a great user experience with simple and intuitive interactions you are consequently making your users’ lives much easier. It’s how you earn their trust, build loyalty and turn them into lifelong customers. In an increasingly saturated market, thinking UX first is the only way you’d get out on top.