The Role Of A UX Designer From Start To Product Launch In A Startup
User experience and user interface designers are crucial in the current startup world. The typical stereotype for ux designer is that they are just regular graphic or visual designers. UX designers wear many hats in a startup. This involves marketing, planning, designing, communicating, and testing. Let’s go through the role of a ux designer from start to a product launch in a startup.
Questioning and Planning
The UX designer usually starts off the product by asking a lot of questions. They need to know what problem the product solves, what type of customers will they be targeting, how complicated will the design be, what platform will the product be used on, and many more. Most of the time, the beginning stage is all about brainstorming and getting a better understanding of what the project is about. Startups move quick and they move on a milestone basis, so a designer would usually communicate with the CEO and engineers to brainstorm their product, then break up the project into different milestones. UX designers communicate as often as possible with the engineers to avoid any misunderstanding and confusions.
After the designer obtains a strong understanding of the product, they will usually create an initial sketch. There are a lot of wire-framing softwares out there, but most designers like to sit down and draw a rough sketch. Usually this early sketch will include the homepage design, login screens, main function screen, splash pages etc. A lot of designers choose to sketch instead of using photoshop or illustrator right away because they feel that they should not be too distracted by colors and other advance design functions. They should be prototyping a quick design for the startup. UX designers like to sketch out something called “sitemap”, which is essentially a sketch of where the navigation bar, homepage, main functions will be.
In addition to sitemaps, ux designers usually put together a task flow diagram which is a visual diagram that shows where each page of the application connects to. For example you might have a category page connecting to a listing page etc.
UX designers usually then proceed to wireframing. This is a bare-bone version of the product and functions. Most of the time the initial wireframe isn’t meant to be extremely colorful, but a good wireframe will map out exactly where the button and function positions will be located. This is also the part where testing starts to occur. A lot of ux designers prefer to make a couple different wireframe for testing reasons. Most designers are big fans of balsamiq, a wireframing application. This process involves placing call to action buttons in different areas to see which ones are the most attracting. It also involves creating the actual feel and design of the page. A thing to note though, ux designers try to get as much feedback as possible throughout the entire process from start to finish.
Fill in the graphics/colors
At this phrase the designer will be filling in the colors and making the graphics look better. This is the part where a lot of photoshop, illustrator etc. is used. For the most part, this phrase involves making a good looking version of the initial wireframe. The results should not be too different from the initial wireframe. Think of this phrase as more of a touchup to enchant the layout and bring the boxes alive. Throughout this phrase the designer will be communicating with the ceo, engineer, marketing team to gain feedbacks. This might just be the designer walking around to different people’s desk asking if this is a good color and what the other staffs think about it.
More and More Testing
Testing is the key role for ux designers in a startup. After you get your startup up and running, you don’t want to release a product that users dislike. User experience designers will test test and test all day until they get the product right. Typically this is the part where the designer would be asking everyone if the product is eye catching enough. For example, a question they might ask is whether or not the call to action button stands out enough. Is the color attracting enough? Does the color target the correct age group. A good ux designer knows that certain colors attract certain environment and age groups. They will also be asking questions such as, whether or not the overall feel of the product is smooth? Does it set the correct environment for this type of product.
After asking for feedbacks and revising the product again, designers will usually narrow their designs down to 2-3 versions and conduct A/B testing. This could be done on a website, by going out and asking people, attending events, talking to advisors etc. The main goal is to see which version is the simplest and effective. Some ux designers like to use surveys to conduct test. That way they can reach out to a broader crowd. A lot of analytical tools such as google analytic is used for tracking landing pages on A/B testing. Again, throughout the entire process the ux designer gets feedback from as many people as possible and adjust to those feedbacks. This is the “lean style” of a startup.
Finally, after getting everything together and making final adjustment, the product will go into production mode. Usually, this is the time the UX designer gets involved with a lot of prelaunch marketing. They market the product and generate hype behind the product before the product launches. Designers also go through last minute minor adjustments. At this point, there usually isn’t any major adjustments, usually just color change, shape change, and placement changes.
Of course there is a lot more to what a UX designer does, but this is an overview of the role of a ux designer from start to product launch in a startup.
If you want a quick wireframe or get into ux designing check out balsamiq’s software. It’s quick and simple.