As a product designer, I encounter daily a lot of enthusiastic people who are building their new startups with wishes and dreams to be the next Uber or the next Airbnb.
Unfortunately, most of these startups end up failing with a lot of frustrations and damages.
I came across a finding that 90% of startups fails. A survey of failed startups found out that “lack of a market need for their product” as the single biggest reason for their failure.
I was thinking about how can user experience help these startups to avoid failing and how it can shape their path to be the next Uber and Airbnb.
So, how can User Experience increase the odds of startup success?
1- Technological innovation means product success.
Remember Google glass? It was a great idea and big jump in the technological fields but it was a big failure for Google.
“I was a Google Glass Explorer, and the experience was horrible from the start. Google Glass now sits in my office museum of failed products,” says Tim Bajarin, President of Creative Strategies Inc.
Startup founders focus a lot on the technology and try as hard as they can to be innovative in this area. Also, they focus on the business area including the marketing of the product and how the sales will go.
They ignore the user area which is an essential part in the process of creating a successful product.
Unfortunately, technological innovation is not a guarantee that your product will succeed in the market. It could be a great invention but it doesn’t solve the real problem for the user.
2- I understand my users.
In October 2003, Nokia released the N-Gage device which was a combination of phone and game console. Cool ideas right? It was a big failure for Nokia.
“Customers don’t care how much time something takes to build. They care only if it serves their needs.” ― Eric Ries
Founders build their products based on their perception about their users needs, goals and motives. Unfortunately, most of the time this understanding is not build on real data but rather it is build upon their expectations.
User experience designers bridge the gaps between these expectations and the real facts using research techniques: User interviews, focus groups and field studies.
Choosing features to implement without a reference is like sailing without a compass. That is the role of personas to align the understanding of the startup team about their users which make it easier to choose the right features to implement.
3- It is a great idea.
Did you know that YouTube when launched was for dating? Pivoting from a dating into all kinds of videos made YouTube the biggest video platform in the world.
“if you cannot fail, you cannot learn.” ― Eric Ries
Most of startup founders fall in love with their ideas and believe that if they implemented it as they imagine it will Boom.
Great ideas can fail due to a lot of reasons, maybe the market is not ready for such an idea or the this idea doesn’t solve a real problem for the users or it may need some modifications to Boom (Like the YouTube).
User experience designer will help you in testing your ideas as soon as possible, you don’t need to build it all to receive feedback, even a paper prototype for your ideas will give a great insights for your business.
Testing your ideas and receiving feedback from your users will reduce your costs of building something bad. It will make you fail fast and when you fail fast you can succeed fast.
Imagine the experience and work your way back to the technology . — Steve Jobs
Hiring a UX designer maybe increase your expenses and take longer time for research, understanding and discovery. But it will save you a lot of time and money in the future.
You need to align the Business, Technology & Design to ensure that you are building sustainable products.