Nov 16

How UX Can Save Your Startup


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So, you’ve just begun your startup. You have an innovative new B2B platform, SaaS (software-as-a-service) system, or E-commerce product, and you’re ready to take the market by storm. It should be an exciting time for you!

Startups have the potential to change industries for the better. Like with any business venture, there are also plenty of risks. It’s incredibly competitive with new startups seemingly springing up from the ground overnight.

Don’t let this discourage you. The failure rate for startups is high, but most fail because there simply isn’t a market for their product. Market research and understanding the needs of your future customers are just as important as the product.

Most people think UX only exists in the digital space, but its best practices apply in multiple aspects of running a business. Following the fundamentals of UX may benefit your startup in more ways than you think.

We’ve mentioned how important research is, right?

UX research gives us insight into what we don’t know and validates what we do know. It helps to navigate uncharted territory and is incredibly valuable when starting a new business.

90% of startups fail. That’s an unfortunate statistic, but knowing what you’re getting into will save you time and money in the long run. The research will help you gauge the overall interest in your product, so spend plenty of time with it and make sure it’s an ongoing process. The more research you can gather, the more polished the final product will be.

When you fully understand the space you’re operating in, you’ll be more prepared for the unexpected. Study your market, competitors, and future users:

  • Who is your product for?
  • Who would be your biggest competition?
  • Why have they been so successful?
  • What features have been most helpful to their users?
  • Why is your product better?
  • How will your product change the industry going forward?

Solidify your UX approach

UX best practices serve as a guide for designers, and they heavily influence your approach to projects — especially with digital products. Once you know your idea is viable, spend plenty of time planning your UX approach.

We built our UX process at CreateApe around the idea of user empathy. We decided that the best way to improve the user’s experience was to put ourselves in their shoes to create solutions that answer their needs. We spend much of our time with research and analytics, and by creating user personas, we put a “face” to our data to make a more human-focused space.

Establishing your UX approach will give you a sense of organization for the often hectic startup world. When figuring out your approach, consider how much focus you need on each aspect of UX:

  • How much time are you spending on research?
  • How are you getting to know your potential users?
  • How will you incorporate your findings into the product?
  • How will you validate your creative choices for the design and branding?
  • What will you do for quality control?
  • How are you going to generate excitement for your startup?

Learn to love iteration

No one gets a design right on the first try, and that’s not a bad thing! The nice thing about UX is that you can go back to the drawing board and tweak everything until it works as it should. Negative feedback is still usable feedback because it shows what needs fixing to improve the overall experience.

You will likely need to do multiple rounds of iteration and testing until you reach an MVP, so don’t be afraid of failure. Your users will tell you everything you need to know about the success of your product, so their feedback is the most valuable to the UX process.

Consider how the user feels in every aspect of testing. If you answered no to any of these, revise until you get it right:

  • Do your digital solutions help users easily accomplish their goals?
  • Do your branding elements speak to them?
  • Does your communication style inspire loyalty?
  • Do they feel good when they use your product?

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel too much

Your ideas are cutting-edge and innovative, but your product should not be complicated. Iron out all the details and don’t try to get too fancy with the design or features. At the end of the day, if it distracts the user from completing their goal, you can probably live without it. Your MVP doesn’t have to be the final version of your product, so don’t be afraid to simplify things as you go.

Think about the startups that changed the game in their industry. PayPal makes safe online purchasing a breeze. Uber makes finding a ride convenient. And how easy is it to book a cheap room for the weekend on Airbnb? They’re groundbreaking ideas with relatively simple processes.

The user doesn’t want to jump through a million hoops to complete their goals. Find the best way you can help your user solve a problem in just a few quick steps.

The value of collaboration

Starting a business is a big investment and quite intimidating! The good news is that you don’t have to do it all by yourself.

UX is best when it’s a collaborative effort. Open your mind to suggestions from your target audience or sessions of brainstorming with other UX professionals. Getting help from an agency is worth the investment because you’ll have an expert in every area to help you fully realize your vision. They will already have a solid approach to UX and an understanding of what makes a startup successful.

In the ideation phase, there is no such thing as a bad idea or a stupid question. An agency will take your ideas and refine them into a solution that works. From concepts to execution and user testing, you’ll get a fully functional final product ready for the market!

So why is this important?

Some of the most creative and original products have come from startups, but many of them struggle to get off the ground. Use UX best practices to develop a solid plan of attack before you invest your time and money. Spend plenty of time exploring ideas and refining your choices, then don’t stop testing until your product is the best it can be!

Do you have an idea for a startup and need someone to bring it to life? CreateApe helps companies big and small grow with UX. Contact us today!

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