You’re an innovative entrepreneur in startup mode with an amazing disruptive digital product. You’ve got your lean canvas, you’re employing an agile methodology, you’ve already pivoted and you’re focused on your MVP. All of the buzz words are in place, the team has been working around the clock, and you are ready to share.
There’s another buzz word that needs to be considered every step of the way: User Experience (ok, not buzz word, but phrase really). User Experience (UX) has become more prevalent across the design and development space, and there is a good reason for that. Your users need to love your product, and ease of use is a big factor. Have you vetted the MVP feature set with them, ensuring that what you’re building is what they really want - or more importantly, need? Have you put a prototype in front of them to make sure that when they download your app, they can quickly gain value from it instead of struggling to use it? The answers to these questions may be yes, in which case you’re on your way to being successful (unless the people you put it in front of are your parents, friends or startup partners).
What if your answer is no to the above? Perhaps this is due to limited budget or schedule constraints. Or it’s possible that you may be convinced that your idea and implementation are 100% spot on, and your customers will have no trouble at all. In the end, whatever reason you didn’t test with your users really won't matter if your customers reject your digital product.
UX design and testing don’t have to be budget-breaking, schedule lengthening tasks if done correctly during your startup phase. In fact, they should be viewed as time and money savers and be integral parts of the process. They can help you avoid a few critical errors that can make or break a digital product:
- Wasting money developing a feature set that doesn’t meet your customers' needs
- Building a product that confuses or angers your users with a poor interface and experience
- Designing for the wrong audience
By employing a few basic best practices, you can take steps to save time and money while helping your product be more successful.
Keith Deaven is responsible for co-founding Mediabarn, a company that specializes in UX research, design, and staff augmentation. As CEO and Co-Founder, he has led Mediabarn through twelve successful years.