UX design for startups: how to get it right

By Hans Lambert Pedersen

Discover the best UX design tips for startups and how you can use them to turn your digital product into a success.

It's a well-known fact that 9 out of 10 startups fail. According to Forbes, the top reason for this comes down to the lack of a market need for the business’ product.

However, this isn’t always the case. There are times when you conduct your research and all your data indicates a real need for your digital product. It’s just a matter of executing it correctly.

The user experience (UX) is frequently overlooked by startups. You can have a beautiful visual identity and useful concept, but if a user can’t intuitively understand how to navigate your app, website or platform immediately, it’s going to miss the mark.

In this blog, we define what UX design is and provide a blueprint of how to use it to help get your startup off the ground.

Top UX design tips for startups

UX design tip #1 - Create a better bottom line

Good UX design is essential for startup companies because it helps generate happy and loyal customers. Frustrated users won’t return and, more importantly, won’t recommend your product to their friends or acquaintances. On the other hand, satisfied customers will become ambassadors of your brand – and that can be crucial to your startup's early success.

The UX designer not only finds out how you can live up to customer expectations, but also how to exceed them. This results in an increase in your product's value, conversation rate, and ultimately, profitability. Moreover, it ensures your marketing money is spent well and you don't end up throwing money at customers who become uninterested in your product.


UX design tip #2 - Think ahead

While there may be a need in the market for your solution, there's still a good chance that you’ll find that it still won’t be enough to make your customers stick around. This often occurs because the solution you created was not implemented well enough or it doesn’t meet the ever-evolving core needs of the individual users.

Many startups have software developers right from the start, but it's important to remember that building functionality is not enough. A product's functionality should support the users' needs and create value. However, adding more functionality doesn’t mean that it's a better solution if it doesn't even meet the need.

It’s a balancing act you need to factor in. UX design practices are constantly changing. And as a startup, you need to make sure your digital product is agile enough to adapt and cater for the future. For instance, it should be mobile responsive and aligned with your broader strategy and goals.

In 2020, sustainability has become a key factor in startup success. Getting the user experience right from the start will enable your business to build a stronger brand and create a product that remains relevant for a longer time. In turn, this will save you money.

UX design tip #3 - Overcome the financial challenges of your startup

There are plenty of positive results from the application of good UX design. However, for an entrepreneur, there's more to consider than just the benefits. You're probably already worrying about the expense and risk of hiring a UX designer or UX design agency.

But the question here isn't whether or not you can afford a UX designer or UX design agency. It's whether or not you can afford not to hire one.

When you create a poor user experience for hundreds of people, you’re going to struggle to regain their trust. The damage you inflict within the first week of the launch can have lasting effects on your growth as a startup.


UX design tip #4 - Hire externally

Instead of hiring someone on a full-time basis, opt for an external UX designer. The main advantage of this is that you reduce your burn rate and will only need to pay for the hours worked.

With an external UX design agency, you get the expertise of a whole team of experienced UX designers and developers. In addition, you get objective discussions about your project which can often lead to the breaking down of subjective assumptions that might be hindering the progress of your idea or startup.

UX design tip #5 - Consider lean UX

Lean UX is another way of making UX design manageable and affordable for startups. In essence, lean UX is a technique originating from Toyota’s manufacturing model. The idea is to work in alignment with Agile development methods to reduce waste and provide more value.

In the world of digital products, it’s a case of working closely with the development team and in small sprints. For example, if you have an existing platform in its early stages, instead of scrapping it all, you can work on improving the weak points in short sprints.

The concept is perfect for discovering which solutions work and which ones need improving. For startups, it’ll minimise cost and make deliverables more realistic – two important factors when you’re racing against the clock to hit deadlines.

Good user experiences are just a call away

Many things need to be considered at the start of your business journey. That's why it's easy to lose focus on your end-user.

With the help of a good UX designer, you’ll be able to create a solution that matches the needs of your users, improve the return on your marketing investment and differentiate your product from the competition.

At Stoked, we’ve helped several startup companies get off to a profitable start by providing them with professional and efficient guidance during their initial design process. We’ve also worked with companies that already have one or more UX designers, providing them with extra assistance on short-term projects where it doesn’t make sense to create a new position.

To find out more about our UX design services for startups, give us a call.