By: Sara Livingston
I think it is safe to say that startups are primarily focused on business functions, funding, and/or the technical attributes product or service itself. The design of what is being created by the startup is not necessarily a priority. However, successful startups have shown time and time again that design, in various forms, can often be the defining factor of whether or not a startup survives in a competitive market. This is not a new concept; it is just not something that people often focus on when they are trying to get a service or product off the ground.
One of the integral ways that design can and should be implemented in a startup is through user experience (UX) design. By definition, UX design is the way in which the usability, usefulness, and desirability of a product provide a meaningful experience for the user. While relatively straightforward, the importance of UX design can be best understood by looking at trends. Whether it be Apple products, Hydroflask water bottles, or Lululemon clothing, often what sets these popular brands apart from the rest is not necessarily their technical functionality, but rather the feel, look, and perception of the product. This can also be said for companies providing a service. Even if the service itself is great and works well, if the user’s experience while using the service is not enjoyable, the company is not likely to be successful. Given this, products must consider UX design in order to have a successful product or service.
Beyond what is being offered, the design is also extremely important in the way in which the startup is communicated to the public through marketing and branding. If a buyer has never seen a product or service, what is going to persuade him or her into looking into it is the ad or other promotional products that the company is using. Therefore, it is incredibly important that the promotional design attracts the interests and desires of the target market. Furthermore, the overall branding of a product or service is often rooted in design. Whether it be a logo or colors, what makes a company iconic and recognizable is the focused design of the brand. In general, buyers hate uncertainty, so if they recognize a brand due to its logo or iconic colors, they are more likely going to buy a product or service.
Knowing all of this and the historical evidence that backs it up, why don’t more startup companies focus on design? The answer is unclear, but the good news is that up and coming startups don’t have to make the same mistake. While it is not the only component determining the success of a startup, it is defiantly an important one.