How UX Product Designers can Help Startups and the Mindset they Must Have!

Starting an organization from the ground up, as anyone who has been in this position knows, is utter chaos. This is particularly relatable for the individuals who oversee the start-up team. In this scenario, each member has their own discipline and goals that directly impact those of the next team member, and it is up to the person in charge to decide which direction they must follow. Naturally, this also must be done while ensuring that everyone is on board with the path the start-up as a whole is taking. In today’s day and age, most start-ups are designed to be “agile” which means that this focus can change at the drop of a hat and usually this format presents the most difficulty for designers. So, how can designers deliver the start-ups true message to consumers amidst the chaos?

Stay User Focused

As any designer who has experience working in an agile environment knows, staying focused on the user experience (UX) is much easier said than done. This is because many startups simply don’t know who their users are yet and even when they do, many agile start-ups tend to neglect certain aesthetic or intangible components that aid in creating a fantastic user or product experience. To better understand what the audience will look like and prefer, it is crucial for designers to try to understand who the product is being designed for from those who are in charge of the start-up (typically the entrepreneur who dreamed up the idea). Although the audience may not be researched beyond a general segment in the initial phases, designers can incorporate aesthetics or other UX focused features catered to a more specific group as they go. To stay focused on the UX, it is also helpful to choose a few people who fall into your general target category and have them test out the prototypes.

Work in Stages

Good product design takes time, research and plenty of trial and error. In an agile start-up, designers may find that they cannot work in a traditional manner from start to finish. Instead, they should work in stages where they can slowly alter each concept based on the feedback that they receive. This will eliminate the need to make costly and time-consuming changes as the start-up adapts and changes their focus over time.

Be understanding

One of the most important skills that a designer working with a start-up must possess is a certain level of understanding. They cannot adequately deliver the start-ups true message to consumers if they do not understand it themselves. They must also understand the mindset that is possessed by most start-ups. They are often focused on specific, measurable results which are difficult to provide when it comes to something subjective and abstract like design.  This often leads start-ups to put the design on the backburner and focus on other areas. A good designer: however, can provide immense insight that extends well beyond the aesthetics and the key is to allow the start-ups to see this value.

Even though working with startups requires designers to change their traditional design approach, by following these steps they can work hand in hand to develop safe, practical, and functional designs. This is our mission at Punctuate Design!

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