User experience can make or break a product’s success. This is particularly important for startups, who not only have to provide users with a valuable, enjoyable app, but must differentiate their brand from competitors in the process, like adding something unique or identifying a pain point.

However, there have been some misconceptions about UX. In some cases, companies will not devote as much time and effort to their application’s UX as they should because of cost concerns. Today, we’ll look to clear up these misunderstandings and offer insight into affordable UX for startup organizations.

Why invest in UX?

There are several reasons startups should make UX a prime focus for their product initiatives. These investments can considerably pay off for the business, especially when executed in a way that best benefits the users as well as the company.

Enhancing UX capabilities can save a startup considerable money, particularly when it comes to preventing wasted time and resources during development. UX improvements can also be a boon for reducing the cost of customer support. By pinpointing, testing and repairing the top issues users have with an app, the support team won’t have to deal with as many user complaints, saving considerable time and effort. Some up-front UX research can save you hundreds of engineering hours and thousands of dollars.

UX can also boost conversion rates, increase customer retention and loyalty while reducing churn. An application that is engaging and offers an enjoyable experience for the user will hold their attention for longer, lowering the chances that the user will seek out other resources.

In addition, Usability Geek contributor Megan Wilson pointed out that an application’s usability can also help boost the company’s return on investment. A focus on application usability can help lower overall development costs and increase sales.

“Enhanced usability makes for happier customers who are more likely to buy, ultimately increasing your business’s revenue,” Wilson wrote.

Myth: UX is expensive

There used to be a myth circulating that UX was simply too expensive for many new companies to invest in. No doubt, startups have their own unique challenges when it comes to spending and overall budgets. However, this does not mean that quality UX is out of reach.

There are strategies startups can use to fit UX testing into their budgets – many of which do not require the expensive lab, staff and equipment that many think it might. In fact, several UX experts have noted that labs are often unnecessary, and testing only requires small teams to complete. Being the methods are way too flexible they scale up or down according to circumstance.

Quickly start UX: Key strategies

There are several critical approaches startups can take to begin their UX initiatives while still remaining within the confines of their budgets.

  • Meet and seek to understand users: One key strategy here is having the team meet actual users, and seek to understand their needs and preferences.
    This doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor – in fact, this process can be carried out with zero monetary investment. Simply invite a small group to the company’s location, and perform a Card Sorting, iterative prototyping or gain insights through interviews. The organization can also create an online survey to reach those that may be unable to travel to the business’s office. Video calling and other communication tools can foster interviews, helping the company get a better sense of their user audience.

  • Design for users: After gaining insights into the users that will be leveraging the application, the team can begin creating user flows and storyboards. These bring a visual element to the project, helping the team to better see and understand what they are working on.

  • Test to ensure the team’s understanding aligns with user needs: When start working on the app design, it’s important to test to see that the insights the team gained from its research matches users’ needs. This can be done cheaply as well, as many techniques enable testing without requiring actual users to utilize the app. Even if you don’t have a running app, you can use a prototyping tool like UXpin and a Testing platform like UserTesting to check your work before moving to the development team.

Overall, UX is a critical part of application creation and is worth the investment. However, startups don’t need a huge amount of capital – they can begin with some basic strategies that enable a better understanding of users. Besides, achieving these processes pushes the team to always have in mind who are they building the product for, what problems are they solving and how are they helping.

To find out more about UX for startups, contact Making Sense today.