During the past 12 months, we spoke to over 20 startups and supported them in their product development and UX design endeavors. Through our collaboration, certain issues bubbled up over and over again that drain most of the startup resources. And to our surprise, all of them were related to delivering a great user experience.Most of the startups think of UX as interface design and usability testing. That’s just only touching the surface of what UX design is about. You see UX design is about re-imagining human experience and creating a new field of human-computer interaction that no other competitor did think of.
Like a general doctor in a flu season whose most patients would have similar symptoms, we’ve observed four common weak points amongst our portfolio startups.
- Startups can't design great experiences —> AND copy-pasting competitors
- Startups have UX debt from the start
- Startups don't have the right team
- Startups lack a systematic process to produce great design FAST
1. STARTUPS CAN'T DESIGN GREAT EXPERIENCES
They can’t because they don’t understand the magic of design lies in collaboration and iteration.There’s not enough collaboration on design because startups can hire only 1 or 2 designers at most especially in the early phase.Startups often don’t iterate enough on their ideas. They usually go directly with the first or second iteration and that’s the recipe for irreversible failure.
2. STARTUPS HAVE UX DEBT FROM THE START
“Let’s just design something quick and we iterate later” that’s a common phrase a product manager of a startup would use.Often they are under pressure to increase their customer base and up their revenue. So they think by just moving forward as fast as possible, they’ll get ahead of the game.That’s a wrong approach!You need to be fast, sure, but also you need to deliver a stellar experience and solve real customer problems.Startups carry forward fast delivering half-baked experiences and end up with an incomplete product that doesn’t solve anyone's problems if not to create more problems.
3. STARTUPS DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TEAM
A recruiter can't hire great designers. Experienced designers can hire talented designers.That's the huge mistake that the majority of startups make. They think they can put together a stellar design team from the get-go. That's only wishful thinking. They go down this rabbit hole of hiring designers. They can’t compete with bigger companies in terms of a lush financial package and appealing organizational culture.As a result, often than not they hire a talented yet not experienced designer and hand over lead design position to them.Result? A mess!
4. STARTUPS LACK A SYSTEMATIC PROCESS TO PRODUCE GREAT DESIGN FAST
This is an Achilles heel of most startups. Startups spend so much time improvising how to solve problems case by case. The disadvantage with improvisation is that at every given moment, there is a certain cognitive load one can carry. Given the complexity of the product innovation process, a product manager has to make many decisions on a daily basis. Facing too many decisions, a product manager may reach cognitive overload and not be able to handle the complexity of the matter.Although certain levels of improvisation, especially early on, are healthy, you must attain a transparent product development process so they can iterate fast and produce at scale.The advantage of having solid processes in place is that you can reflect on them at the end of each sprint, analyze what worked and what went wrong, and improve the processes.Therefore over time, the hope is one ends up with a well-crafted process that helps you save time and resources designing and developing new experiences. We love startups and have an exclusive startup package. Read more here: Startup PackageJoin our growing community of startups and product innovators: Design Thinking and Innovation – Only WorkshopsReach out to us at email@example.com in case any of the above symptoms resonate with you.