Blogs
2020-05-18

UX for Startups — Lean & Clean — Part 2

UX for Startups — Lean & Clean — Part 1

3. Start by aligning the team

Using this methodology is not just the designer’s responsibility. It involves the entire team, starting from the top with the decision-making person down to every team member. The whole team must develop a common understanding of business goals, technology, and workflows.

Besides transparency from the CEO (or PM), which is essential in terms of trust and engagement, starting with an ideation or alignment workshop can be a good idea to get everyone’s insight and perspectives on the product. It can provide an overview of what is to be built, what is the goal, the vision, the mission and what are the priorities. Using the ‘note&vote’ approach to drive this workshop can transform the belief that everyone’s opinion matters into a fact.

SpectroCloud — Ideation Workshop

4. Validation of assumptions

The validation phase must be constant in the work process, starting with presenting the idea to potential customers to see their interest in your solution down to each iteration that you do.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of MVPs (Minimal Viable Products) which is the smallest possible thing that you can build in order to learn if your hypotheses are true. But what if you can validate before committing any coding resources?

MVP can also refer to a Minimal Viable Prototype. This refers to creating a prototype that showcases 3–4 use cases (prioritized by the impact on the business and the hypothesized value brought to users) which you test and learn from, and that allows you to make decisions that move you forward into execution with a viable concept. Using tools like Figma, Invision or Adobe XD (to name a few) you can now bring these prototypes very close to a real product simulation in terms of experience.

Figma Prototype Flow

5. Cross-functional team

In businesses today where competitive advantage is essential, innovation doesn’t come just from one or two creative people. It is achieved through a creative collaborative process that involves people from multiple business areas such as sales, marketing, operations, developers, designers, or human resources. Each member can offer a different perspective, knowledge of the problem, and potential solutions. Most times it is the UX designers’ job to gather this data and turn it into tangible prototypes.

6. Measurement and testing

In the iterative process in which you need to constantly learn users’ behavior, it’s important to choose a set of metrics that you can measure. A good metric should be comparative, actionable, understandable and measurable. This will allow you to see what you can improve in your product and to prevent any derailment.

Once your product is used by users, there are a lot of qualitative and quantitative methods to measure metrics. These should be part of the workflow of the entire product lifecycle, helping in making decisions on when or how to act in certain situations.

7. Deliverables

In terms of UX, we can split the deliverables into two main categories. One is oriented towards the business side and one is focused on development. These two have a lot in common, like use cases, user flows, information architecture and prototypes but there are still some differences.

Business-oriented deliverables

This is focused more on the impact on the business and the value brought to customers. We talk about research reports, iteration results, and prototypes that often help in making strategic decisions for the future of the company. But these deliverables should be focused on the experience and not on thick documentation because with time, they become obsolete and the time invested in writing them is no longer justified. Finding the simplest way to represent an idea is essential in being time-efficient and implicitly, cost-effective.

Development-oriented deliverables

Developers need to understand the business logic, interaction, and visual details. Prototypes cover a lot of these aspects using modern tools mentioned above and whether you choose to go with an existing Design System like Material Design by Google, Lightning by Salesforce, Polaris for Shopify, etc. or build one from scratch, make sure that the visual design and the experience stay consistent across your entire product. Don’t focus on building a perfect hi-fi design right from the first iteration because this aspect can also be modeled based on the perception of the customer with every iteration. Figure out first the core components, after which you can play around with the details.

Conclusions

There is no such thing as the right process when it comes to building a product. The risk of failure is always there, but following these lean aspects can at least lower that risk. Constant validation with real customers and having cross-functional team collaboration are essential to building a product that solves real needs, something that we call innovation.

SpectroCloud Team

Thanks for reading! 🤘

Mihai Balea
UX Lead @ Spectro Cloud
Mihai has over 12 years of experience in the UX field, working both in enterprise and startup environments. He is specialized in tailoring UX processes and in designing complex digital products, balancing the users' needs with the business goals. His expertise consists in Lean UX, Agile UX, Design Thinking and facilitating Product Design and Strategy workshops.