Product Design for Startups – 5 Tips for Effective Product Design

If you’re constantly googling the words ‘product design for startups’ chances are, you are a startup, seeking some product design. Are we right? If this is you, then you have come to the right place.

Whether you just want to peruse our blogs to get all the info or drop us a line to kick off a project, we are here for you!

So how does product design for startups work? What do you need to know before you start? Here are our top 5 tips for effective product design:

1. Product Design for Startups Means: Clearly Defining the Problem

You have your concept in mind, but the beginning of your product design journey is the best time to take a small step back. Make sure you have clearly understood and defined the problem you are seeking to solve for your ideal customer. If this is something you are creating out of a personal requirement, then chances you’re ahead of the game. But either way, always take a step back and really map out the problem the user faces and the possible solutions. Keep going back to this, until you run out of answers!

Rubix cube to represent problem solving
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

2. Product Design for Startups Means: Know Your Audience

It’s not good guessing who your ideal customer is. You need to get out there and fully understand what drives them. You’ve identified the problem and you have a solution to offer, but now it’s time to get to know your client. What is your target demographic? What sort of budget would they consider for your product, realistically? Where do they hang out? How do they like to buy their products? How do they like to shout about their new find? There is quite literally zero point in saying ‘but I need to charge x’ when in fact, the client will only ever be able to afford ‘y’, and there is no point in trying to sell your wares at the local market if your user just adores shopping via Instagram.

Empty seats to represent knowing your audience
Photo by Tuur Tisseghem from Pexels

3. Product Design for Startups Means: Done is better than perfection

Your product is always going to need to evolve to keep up with your market. Diving into product design can be an absolute rabbit hole of potential, glitches and opportunity. But don’t overthink it – get your first phase done! By sticking like glue to your original brief, you will nail the budget, nail the timeline and get launched – this is the only way to get started!

Dartboard to represent perfection
Photo by icon0.com from Pexels

4. Product Design for Startups Means: Test, Test, and Test Again

Welcome to the feedback loop – this is your new best friend. You’ll be doing testing-a-plenty both before and after your product goes live. Your design team are going to want to try your product out among focus groups, friends, and even your customer base. Sound timely and expensive? Don’t worry, it needn’t be! The Nielsen Norman Group, leaders in research-based user experience, created an interesting argument for the less is more approach when it comes to user testing. In fact, they argue that the best results come from running a test of no more than 5 users. Click the link below to read on*. You will need thorough testing before you are able to launch your product. In fact, the feedback loop will likely provide you with a snag list to resolve, before you can create your final model and take it to manufacture (following more testing of course!).

Post it notes to represent the user journey
Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

5. Product Design for Startups Means: Always Innovating

Congratulations, you’ve created a customer base and sold your products! As mentioned previously, you will need to revisit your feedback loop at this stage. First you will need to find out how best to evolve your product to avoid obsolescence. Keep one eye on the competition and the other on your customer feedback and evolve that product to meet the next wave of demands, before your competitors do! You might also find opportunities here to create products which add value to your core offering. Now we’re talking!

Lightbulb for innovation
Photo by Kenall Ruth on Unsplash

We hope we’ve demonstrated that product design for startups doesn’t have to be daunting. Once you’ve started your product design journey, you will need to consider reaching out to a product design consultancy to help guide you through the process. By doing this earlier rather than later, your design team can help guide you through the right steps to getting your design live quicker.

To learn more about each of the steps we’ve outlined in this article, please check out our blog series which guides you through the product design process step by step. This series kicks off with ‘Sourcing a Product Design Consultancy’.

To speak to our team of product design professionals today, get in touch by dropping us a line at andy@conficio.design. We’d love to hear more about your unique concept!

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