Want your Startup to succeed? First stop: Great UX

April 17, 2020 9:53 am

Want your Startup to succeed? First stop: Great UX



If you’re a tech Startup what you may not want to hear is that nine in every ten Startup companies fail. With figures like that, you need to do all you can to stack the odds in your favour and that’s where we come in ….

Understanding your target audience’s needs, wants, and behaviours is crucial and SimpleUsability has helped organisations large and small, across a range of sectors gather that insight which is crucial to success.

Investing in research from the outset will ensure that you are heading in the right direction before it is too late. The only way to understand your user’s needs, goals and preferences for your product is to speak to them, observe them and learn from them. Do this – and continue to do this – and you’re significantly increasing your chances of success.

Studies show that 88% of online customers don’t return to websites or apps that were not usable / user-friendly and with 45% of companies not conducting any type of usability testing, you can start to understand why success rates are so low and failure is so high.

So what should you do? We have the answers to your Startup success…

Experts not buzzwords

Research often feels like an empty buzzword, an easy task to assign a member of the team to, but UX is not a small task to be undertaken by anyone. It requires experts who know how to ask the right questions, design the right tasks, in order to gain the most insight. Anyone can simply ‘go and ask users’, but by employing the wrong research methods you are at risk of losing precious time and money.

Getting a startup off the ground can be all-consuming and there’s a danger that you’re simply too close to your product or service to objectively research it. Without realising, questions and tasks may be designed to validate beliefs and assumptions and may lack context or be biased.

By utilising a UX expert you can ensure the highest level of critical insight that is driven by evidence, not bias.

Case studies: what happens with poor UX?

It’s not just Startups that fail, even the mighty can fall with bad UX.

It is hard to believe that MySpace was the most popular website in the US 13 years ago.  Valued at $12 billion, and holding 80% of the market share, where did it all go wrong?

Myspace loses all music uploaded between 2003 and 2015
Original MySpace page, Tom (founder) profile. Source: https://www.whereverimayroamblog.com/myspace-playlist/

Whilst MySpace’s downfall was down to a multitude of factors such as its failure to open up to third party developers, its poor user interface and user experience was one of its biggest failures that saw swathes of people move to its biggest rival: Facebook.  

MySpace ultimately got it wrong in terms of UX. For new users, navigating around MySpace was difficult, and often frustrating. Without using a standard UI, every page looked different, pages were cluttered with ads, and to customise your profile you had to almost learn basic HTML code. Whilst customised profiles might have appealed to creative, curious teenagers engaging with design and code for the first time, for the average user this was a big ask.

Facebook’s UI on the other hand proved that less, is definitely more. By adopting a minimalist design Facebook attracted new users who could keep in touch with their friends and family without having to invest so much time in redesigning their profile, and finding their way around the site.

Another example of a company’s downfall due to bad UX is Foursquare. 

Foursquare was initially posed as an app that you could use to check-in to restaurants, cafés, and tourist attractions. What made this application so ahead of its time was its effective use of gamification (elements of game playing to encourage user engagement with the app), such as collecting points, badges, and even claiming ownership of places that you could check-in called ‘mayorship’. Similarly, to other viral apps such as Pokémon GO, users would compete with each other to claim mayorships, high scores, and badges. The app was even incentivised through coupons for certain organizations.  

Unfortunately, when Foursquare made the decision to rebrand to ‘Swarm’ it was game over.

Although the new brand ‘Swarm’ might have been aesthetically pleasing, the new release was rushed and was not scrutinized with user research before it was pushed out the door. This resulted in Foursquare losing sight of the one thing that made their app great in the first place – fun.

By removing mayorships as well as a cluster of other fun features, Swarm saw their user base dwindle, as it turns out people used the app for the playfully competitive nature of it, rather than simply a medium to share their locations with friends.

Screenshot of Swarm, telling users to stay at home.

Looking towards the future, it appears Swarm have taken positive steps to encourage users to stay at home during this time of crisis. Users can seemingly no longer earn coins for checking-in at venues, so we will have to wait and see how they can introduce some fun to a user base that has to isolate due to government regulations.

Final thoughts…

Bad UX can see even the once mighty internet giants fall. In an ever-competitive market, your Startup needs to take advantage of experts in the field of UX to ensure you do not make the same mistakes. By investing in UX from the outset, you can validate your product, understand your user’s behaviour, and ultimately grow your company for the better. What are you waiting for?

Now is your chance! Calling all Startups: SimpleUsability are currently running a competition to win a customer research session worth over £5,000! For more information on how to entre please click here: https://www.simpleusability.com/startup-competition/