How to create an effective UI/UX design solution for a startup from the scratch?
Since the day we’ve named TheRoom — we started working with startups. It just happened so because we like working on the project from the idea stage, creating UX Researches and making a complex design solution with the ongoing support of the client. Our wishes simply overlapped with startups niche. And the story began: for 2 years of work, during different circumstances and in different situations we were learning science of working for startups. And know we can share our knowledge with you.
The first rule of working with startups is being involved in the whole work process and product. Any startup lives his business idea, so a trusted UI/UX designer or a team of designers also should support and live it!
Show your engagement before the first call with the client — prepare valid examples from your portfolio, research niche and competitors and test best practices to get know the industry better. You should also be a professional in the niche if you want to make an effective design.
Example from life: We’ve started working on a complicated SaaS B2B platform several weeks ago. And we only wanted to present high-quality design to the client, so a whole week of time was required to understand the startup idea. You may think the client was irritated, but no — it was valuable for them, as they relied on our expertise.
It is always better to become a professional in the niche you work for before starting the design. Talk to your client, read and learn to make a design effective.
Work for startups always begins with UX Researches. They allow both your client and you understand the business and the idea better. In case of startup has nothing at all (only an idea), include in your UX Research:
- market and competitors analyses;
- Jobs to Be Done research based on “to do _____, when _________, I need to __________;
- MVP functions list: based on the Jobs to Be Done, you can outline the most important functions of the app;
- Screen-map and user flow diagram.
In case, the startup already had MVP designed and wants to improve it, you can conduct the next research:
- Audition of the current solution;
- Audition of competitors and best practices with an outline of which functions can you take from them;
- New structure and screen map.
Example from life: Once, we’ve conducted UX research for the properties company, that allows landlords and people make deals inside of the app. However, during the research, it became clear, that the idea requires a lot of work. So the client left us for 6 months when he was improving the concept and came back with a stronger and more effective plan. Clients always appreciate when design brings value to the business.
UX Research will make both you and your client believe you are on the same page. It also will help to identify business risks at an early stage.
Startupers are smart, but you are a professional designer they turned to, so you need to be enthusiastic and passionate about UI design as well. Once the UX research is ready, you should analyze references of the client to understand the level of visual education of the client. And starting from that point, you can take the design process to your hands and create the best visual solution for the product.
Most clients don’t know how exactly should their startup look like, so here you need to turn your professionalism on maximum and create your own visual system. Of course, it is important to approve the visual direction with the client once the home screen is done (it’s better to begin with the home screen, so your client can see the level of your skills and the idea).
Example from life: We’ve started working on a FinTech startup 2 years ago. And we had neither brief nor requirements at all. So, we had to think about everything ourselves. And the client is so happy with our engagement, that now we’re working on his fourth project already.
You should always be pro-active and engaged!
When we talk about startups, it’s not enough just making the project and washing away. You always need to communicate with developers and client in case of any questions. The most important part is launch and you need to make sure, that the product was launched with your design.
Moreover, startups usually require ongoing support to develop an app from MVP to the complex version. So, you need to assist and help if you want to add a successful startup to your portfolio.
Example from life: We’ve started working on another FinTech startup a year ago and still provide ongoing support. We always communicate with developers and control the work process to make sure the product is successful. And client appreciates that and trusts us like the core part of the team.
You need to communicate and care.
Working with startups is the most important thing that may happen with the UI/UX designer. Fresh ideas, openness to the new solutions and engagement of business owners make the workflow smooth and cool. So be passionate, stay active and work hard to become that one legend of the Silicon Valley.