Startup Growth Series

Lessons on UX design for startups

Credit: Princess Chike-ogwo.

Princess is a User Experience Designer who lives and works in Kano. When she’s not working, she can usually be found eating, reading, or scrolling through her Twitter feed.

You can ​connect with Princess on LinkedIn

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What is User Experience (UX) ?

UX refers to the way people feel when they encounter your website or use your app and product.

It involves answering the questions below (and many more!):

● When a person visits your site or app, do they immediately know what you're offering?
● If they decide to use it, are they able to navigate easily?
● Is there a learning curve to using your product, and if there is, have you tried to remove obstacles from the learning process?

The goal of UX Design is to have an end product that is pleasant to use.

In building a new product, it's easy to focus on core functionalities and ignore other elements because you might think that ​ "as long as it works, people will use it".

That may be OK until.....

Your competition offers a similar product with efficient core functions AND other elements like nicer aesthetics; a product that's easier and more intuitive to use, awesome customer service, etc.

So...

You should put into consideration good user experience design to ensure customers have a good first impression of your product and are drawn to keep using.

How to design a good UX into you product

If you want to build a product with good user-experience, here are few things to focus on.

1. Your Minimum viable product must actually be viable: ​

First, build a minimum viable version of your product.

It is easier to evaluate the experience of users with MVP. But note that your MVP should be usable, ​ deliver value and solve a problem.

2. Good information architecture is key to creating a better UX:

​Make it easy for users to find what they are looking for with good site layout and content structure.

People always like to know where to go or what to do next when using your product.

3. Find a Balance:

Aesthetics are great, but can’t solve all your UX design problems. ​

Good design is a balance between form and function​ . The right visual design (form) can be used to influence user behavior (function). A good example is highlighting "call to action" button so that people are drawn to click it.

4. Test everything you can, as early as you can:

Many companies build and test prototypes before they build and roll out the real thing. This ensures that they don’t spend time, energy and money building actual products that no one wants to use.

This approach is highly recommended.

The major benefit is that testing your information architecture before you roll out the core functionality of the product is a good way to gauge the market interest in the product before you even write a line of code.

This saves you a lot of money.

How to conduct User Testing

User testing involves getting people to test your design or product before it goes live. The feed backs you get helps you to know how to make improvements before the product is introduced to actual users.

There are many ways to conduct user testing.

You can read about it and do it yourself. UserTesting.com has good number of resources on this topic.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to test the overall look/feel of your product, you can start by posting on forums. One of such is Radar, where you can ask for feedback which might help.

Here is an example.

Sometimes, it is better to use services of paid testers.

You can specifically request to have testers who are in the same demography of your ideal users. This makes your results to be more credible.

One of them is ​ Test-Everything​ is one of such agencies dedicated to user testing

You can get testers for a small fee.

In the next lesson....

In lesson 6, you will learn how to use short explainer videos (usually 60 seconds long) to increase the number of people who will pay for your product. Short videos are becoming an effective way to communicate the value of your product quickly.

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