Today, user experience is the end all and be all. Everything you do must be optimized appropriately to create a mind-boggling digital experience. The end-user shouldn’t have to change their behavior to adjust to your product. Instead, your product should be malleable, cater to the needs of the users, and leave a lasting first impression! Keeping this in mind, here is a checklist for the UX Project of a Start-up.
Consider these when you’re on the verge of turning ideas into a user-friendly digital product and it will help you understand your user, keep your business goals aligned, and avoid expensive mistakes.
The Elite UX Project of a Start-up
1.Conduct scrupulous research
When you are getting started with a new idea, you have little to no information. It is a challenge to guess the most ideal outcome. To begin with, in-depth research is necessary to know the viability of the UX project of a start-up. This would involve the following key steps:
1.1 – Analysis of data
The foremost step of conducting research is the collection and assessment of useful data. Take a closer look at the accessibility and usability of your website or app. Try to find out if there are any issues that may hinder the app or website’s ability to meet your business goals. You can use web/app metrics and analytics to identify the problems and notify the UX team. Some of the problem categories that you need to focus on are technical, traffic, content, visual design, and navigation.
1.2 – Competitive analysis
As the name implies, competitive analysis is about exploring companies in your niche that are competing with your products/services for market share. A thorough competitive analysis will not just help you understand your competition, but also find out how they’re dealing with issues that you have encountered during data analysis.
Competitive analysis will also help you in building domain knowledge, identify best practices, and discover ways to improve your UX/UI project by learning from the mistakes of your competitors.
1.3 – User research
User research is the most vital part of the UX/UI checklist. If you don’t understand user needs, you cannot possibly include features that your users want (and need). You can start by creating a user persona, which is a fictional representation of your average user. The characters that you need to create a persona include gender, age, geographical location, educational background, interests, income, and frustrations. After all, it is never a good idea to work on a UX project for undefined future users.
Thanks to Clevertap, we have a great example of how a user persona should look like:
Additionally, you can take a look at buyer feedbacks for comparable products/services, and go through forums and online surveys. This can also be useful in gathering insight into your target audience.
2.Plan a smooth UX journey
Create a customer journey map, which will outline the path that users will take to reach a specific goal (your goal!).
2.1 – Create personas and user stories
Considering that you have already created user personas, it’s time to create user stories to prevent design dead-ends. A user story is nothing but a brief statement that identifies the user and his/her needs.
Once you know who your user is and what they need, getting the UX design and features on point wouldn’t seem so difficult.
2.2 – Map out user flows
Know what your users need? Great! Now, quickly help them reach the solution by mapping out a user flow. User flow is typically like a route that your users will follow through an application. Nobody said that the flow has to be linear. It can even branch out in non-linear paths.
Example of how a user flow looks. Reference – Careerfoundry
2.3 – Define red routes
Now you have to identify and also optimize red routed, which are the most critical tasks that provide users the most value. These are the foundational design journeys that can make or break your app/website. These usually capture most of the user actions. For instance, if your project is an eCommerce platform such as EdgeFx (designed by us at Divami), then the red routes will lead to the checkout page.
3. Explore your UX project from all angles
Armed with research data and user insight, we move onto this stage. Here, we explore everything about the UX project for a start-up from every possible angle. This is the stage when you finally start drawing the initial designs.
3.1 – Brainstorm and brainstorm some more, then sketch
Now that you know what your users want and what your competitors are doing right or wrong, make time for a brainstorming session. Get together with your team to discuss, sketch, vote, and disrupt. Try to make the session as productive as possible. Throw in some tasty snacks and beverages!
3.2 – Develop wireframes and prototypes
Hopefully, the brainstorming session has borne fruit and you have successfully developed the initial designs for your UX/UI project. The next step is to develop prototypes and/or wireframes. This is essential for any UX checklist as it lets you test the features before the designs are finalized. You can create a low-fidelity prototype to give your UI designers an outline for the development of the UI of the website/app. Often, designers refine the prototypes to create wireframes. In the case of wireframes, you will have to create at least 3 for each page – one for tablet, desktop, and smartphones.
4. Communicate with your target audience
On our UX checklist, the next step is to ensure that your information infrastructure makes it easy for your users to find what they need. To make your product communicate with its users, you need to use easily translatable language. The language that you choose should be in sync with the personality of your brand and relate to the culture of your audience. The ultimate goal is to ensure that your target audience understands what the product is all about.
5. Create the best possible version of your digital product
Next, how can you make your digital product better than the competitors or the best version of itself? For that, we add the following to the UX project of a start-up:
5.1 – UI elements
Make your app/website accessible and user-friendly by adding UI elements such as input controls (dropdown lists, toggles, buttons, radio buttons, checkboxes, and text fields), navigational components (search field, slider, breadcrumb, icons, and slider), and informational components (progress bar, message boxes and notifications).
5.2 – Gestures
A gesture-driven interface can certainly help distinguish your product from the rest. You can use a swipe slider or other gestures such as drag, pinch, rotate, zoom, shake, or motion detection. The addition of gestures can remove UI clutter and make your app/website very easy to use. With just 2 or 3 touch interactions, your users can find what they’re looking for.
For instance, Gmail and Facebook’s side-swiping menus. The menus can be hidden when not required and allow you to focus on what you need.
5.3 – Responsiveness
Mobile took over desktop way back in 2014. Standing in the last leg of 2020, you cannot shy away from responsive design for your website/app. It is no more about mobile phones. There are smart-watches, smart-TVs, and a host of other smart devices where your users might want to use your digital product. Also, a cross-device experience is crucial because people are no longer limited to using just one device.
6. Provide feedback and interact with end-users
This stage on the UX checklist is about determining how your prototype app/website is functioning. You need to accordingly give feedback to your team so that the project can be moved ahead. Also, you have to interact with your users to generate interest in your product, via visual indication.
6.1 – Make waiting times entertaining or make them disappear
Here, you have to give your team feedback if users have to wait for ages for a page to load. First, page load speed is crucial and you have to optimize the various elements present on the page so that it loads faster. Second, if the page still doesn’t load any faster, you can make it more interesting by showing users a loader. This might get them to stick around for longer periods.
6.2 – Acknowledge errors
At this stage, you have created a prototype product. If you see certain places where errors can occur, you can include messages. Acknowledging errors will give users a clear idea regarding what they’ve done wrong. They won’t repeat the same thing. For instance, while creating a Gmail account, when a username is already taken, the color changes to red.
But, ensure that the error messages are mentioned in a simple language. All of your users are not going to be tech-savvy!
6.3 – Let users know of completed actions
Don’t you love it when a website or app has some sort of animated or visual indication to tell you that you have completed the task? This is a great way for a digital product to interact with users. Also, this gives users clear and immediate feedback regarding their actions.
7. Finalize elements for the UX project:
Now that your UX project seems somewhat complete, it is time for you to finalize a few design elements that may seem unimportant but are quite significant. These include icons, images, fonts, and colors. These elements truly help in tying all the features and design to offer a great user experience.
7.1 – Finalize the design layout
It is time to make your design stand out and shine. Don’t stop with the first design draft. Look for ways to improve it. See if you can play with the lines, shapes, texture, and color palette of the design. When it comes to creating a successful visual design, you can give importance to unity among all the elements on the page; space to reduce noise; and a balanced play between similarity and contrast. You may even have a design layout where one element outshines the rest but does so with immense aesthetic appeal.
7.2 – Use icons and high-quality images
Now that the design is coming together, you have to decide on what images and icons to use. Both of them have to be relevant and influenced by the culture, context, and layout that you are using.
7.3 – Maintain color and Font hierarchy
Use font sizes and colors properly so that it appeals to the sensibilities of your audience and help your digital product stand out. When it comes to driving users in taking specific actions, visual hierarchies are known to play a huge role. Visual elements attract the attention of the audience and you can use this to lead them to your desired actions. After all, 90% of the information processed by your brain is visual!
8. Delight users
If you truly want your UX project to be a success, you cannot only think from the POV of a seller. Yes, you have to focus on the content and highlight the features, but users also want to be delighted. How can you delight your users? Here’s an action plan:
8.1 – Add microinteractions
Micro-interactions are found within apps and all over devices. Their primary function is to delight users and create a moment that is engaging and welcoming. Here is a microinteraction that we did for our Transworld Avana.
For your project, you can use microinteraction that appeals to the emotion, design sensibility, or simply makes them smile.
8.2 – Introduce transitions
Motion is not just beautiful, but it can add functionality to your UX project and build meaning regarding the spatial relationships of the system. Introducing transitions can give users one more reason to stay hooked.
9. Find potential problems by conducting usability testing
A detailed UX audit is a final item in the checklist for the UX project of a start-up. When you review your project in detail, you may find potential issues that were overlooked in the earlier stages of the project. Uncovering these issues before the launch of your app or website will save you money (and embarrassment!).
Wondering what is a UX review? It is an in-depth examination of every single element of the UX project. During this audit, you can examine the functions, user interface, and all the features found on your digital product. A major part of this review is usability testing where auditors typically use real users to use the product and test it out before it is released. This helps in finding errors or problems.
And, what else? Keep improving. Bug fixes, design updates, and new features – these are some of the things that will be never-ending.