Startup UX design top 5 activities you can do yourself.

You have a startup idea or a functioning product with paying customers. Either way, startup UX design is a fundamental role you need to support you and your team during the critical early stages of growth.

Startups rarely have the budget to hire a full-time UX designer on their team. They also often don’t have the team and/or capacity to execute on a UX strategy even if they had it.

  1. Hire a startup UX design consultant
  2. Talk to customers like a UX designer
  3. Create customer personas
  4. Map the user journey
  5. Prioritise the impact

1. Hire a startup UX design consultant

Hiring a UX Design Consultant is a good way to avoid the long-term commitment of a full-time team member and focus on the activities that will bring the most impact based on where your startup is at.

A UX Design Consultant can be brought in at the early stages of any initiative, to discover problems, validate solutions, find product-market fit and structure your offering.

Part of the user experience is making sure the user interface does what it needs to do to facilitate the action your user needs to complete, but only a portion of the value startup UX design can bring to your business.

Hiring a startup UX design consultant will bring long term value even if the engagement is only for a few months.

2. Talk to customers like a startup UX designer

Seems obvious, but talking to customers through the lens of a startup UX designer will change the way to speak and what you learn.

You probably talk to customers or prospects to either answer support questions or with the intention to sell.

Having a preconceived expectation on what you need to get from the conversation will limit the areas of discussion you may explore that might uncover opportunities. Your bias will influences what you’ll learn.

During a customer interview undertaken by a startup UX designer, there is no intent apart from learning and gaining insights to better understand the problem space and customer’s view point.

So book in some calls with customers without an angle. Have some open ended questions on some areas you might want to learn more about and have a conversation.

I guarantee you’ll be surprised at what you learn.

3. Create customer personas

There’s no doubt you understand your customers at a level where you can sell and maintain a relationship with them. You have a startup solving single or multiple problems for them.

However, if you roll all your customers into the term ‘Customers’. That’s the issue. You need to have roles and sub personas under the overarching term ‘customer’.

Most product have multiple roles that work together for the product expereince to work.

Gaining a deep understanding of the varying customer personas helps you prioritise your roadmap and deliver a startup ux design that drives your desired success metrics.

The understanding of your personas should cover:

  • Fears
  • Frustrations
  • Desires
  • Aspirations
  • Environment
  • Jobs to be done

You don’t know what you don’t know. There may be undiscovered opportunities for your startup to innovate and improve the startup UX that sets you apart from your competitors and accelerates you to hyper-growth.

4. Map the user journey

Mapping a user journey is one of the most impactful activities you can do to gain a birdseye view of your startup’s user experience, the gaps in workflows and overall business.

Start at the awareness phase before your customers even know your startup exists by adding each high level stage your customer goes through. I’ve included a fairly comprehensive user journey template below but I’d recommend coming up with your own from your own perspective.

  • Trigger / Problem – What is the trigger reason for customers to search for your solution?
  • Discover – How do customers discover your startup solution?
  • Investigate – What information do customers need to access to make a decision?
  • Educate – How do customers educate themselves on?
  • Try – How do customers try your startup solution?
  • Sell – How do you sell your solution to customers?
  • Buy – How do customers buy your solution?
  • Adopt – How do customers adopt your solution?
  • Engage – What experience will engage your customers?
  • Retain – What keeps customers coming back?
  • Advocate – Why and how will customers advocate for your startup?

5. Prioritise and organise the impact

After going through the above activities you’re going to have a lot of information you were unaware of.

The next stage is to add structure and architect a prioritized list or roadmap from the Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies (look up RAID analysis). I also like to add in ‘Questions’ and ‘Ideas’ as these open up areas for more learning opportunities.

Consider the attributes of your personas when prioritising impact (Fears, Frustrations, Desires, Aspirations, Environment, Jobs to be done) and what core human trait you can use to deliver an amazing startup ux design.