A key and very obvious part to developing a platform, product or service is understanding who might use it.
This is an extremely open ended consideration, and user experience in conjuction with user interface work with your start-up will go along way to providing some guidance on it.
UX for emerging technology startups most often starts with:
- Proposition definition
- A hypothesis created from domain expertise
- Desk research
- Best practises and UX heuristics
- Talking to potential customers
It is then refined over time, with input from the team and potential customers/audiences.
It is important that investors are not a voice in this conversation to avoid biases but usually this work should be done prior to going for funding as it would form part of the business plan.
UX further assists as:
- It indicates you are listening to your customer or audience (through interviews and research)
- It provides focus for development goals (by defining value propositions, use cases, work flows, customer task analysis)
- It reduces costs by providing guidance and framework for the minimum thing you can launch with AND expect income from
- It assists in understanding why and when a pivot occurs
- It provides well defined measurement benchmarks after launch for feedback and testing
- It will eventually inform your marketing plan as the customers/audiences are already identified
- It will reduce your marketing budget as the offering should be good enough to speak for itself
- Moves from a marketing mind frame to a service mind frame – rather than trying to convince a customer, there is consideration for their needs. This helps them to LIKE you, are more likely to be forgiving of glitches and more loyal to you long term.
At some point during the UX work, it will become apparent that a front end needs to be designed e.g. lo fi mocks and prototypes, plus descriptive content and some kind of branding. The benefits of UX led UI development are:
- It is an easily understood sum total of abstract concepts
- Creates a customer conversation that has direction without being leading – reduces bias
- Gets your investors/customers/audiences excited because it’s a physical step toward reality
- Provides the means to measure and validate your offering
- Directs the removal of ALL friction points like guest checkout, consistent descriptions, information heirachy, access to help, identifies what is automated and what could use a mechanical turk, demonstrates mobile first
- Describes why + how + doing
Business analysts working with developers are capable of providing some of these activities, however a user experience specialist and a frontend/GUI designer will provide clear user advocacy which will then dovetail into business and development activities.
© 2013 Hilary Cinis