UX and the startup: Stories of human experience with technology

Every time I’ve mentioned the word ‘user testing’ or UX or Design in a startup forum or with founder friends, I can hear the quiet groans, see all the eye rolling and the ‘I’m outta here’ body language. Sometimes if I’m lucky enough, in a moment there are sharp comebacks. “Startups can’t afford UX research, we have Bootstrap for all our UI reqs, our analytics tool is all we need for tracking what we want”. And then there’s another camp that’s just fascinated and in love with UX, to the point of patronizing, it all gets very mushy. “We love UX. Apple does UX so well. How can we do the same?! Give me a list of books, give me a list of courses .. ”.

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Then there’s the never ending argument of what UX is and isn’t, and who does UX and who doesn’t. I’ve decided that this one is probably the most dangerous of them all because no one walks away with anything useful at the end of it unless they are academicians trying to fix Design education. The discussion of what it is, leaves everyone wanting a 101 level course and no one’s happy with anything lesser than that. Not to mention how each person comes from a different end of the skill set spectrum wanting information on how UX is applied specifically within their domain! And the discussion of who it belongs to or what it is leaves 90% of the room mad at each other and generally just creates animosity between disciplines rather than generate any meaningful conversation.

So many polarizing conversations around this topic of UX (more so in India) makes for a much needed column and space for discussion. Given the increased focus on products, the Indian startup community now more than ever before requires a hawk eyed focus on delivering world class experiences to people around the world. Already we’re beginning to see some writing emerge in this space, though not as often as I’d like, from founders sharing lessons and we’re hoping to blow the door open for a very rooted, realistic and practical conversation about UX and the startup. This column will cover a wide range of topics including stories and everyday lessons from how the Indian startup ecosystem employs experience methods, thematic stories of specific user groups, patterns from specific industries amongst others. We invite the YourStory community to participate in these discussions helping grow UX awareness and incorporation of best known practices into the Indian startup community.

Feel free to send us thoughts, write requests on topics you’d like to see in the comments section or tweet to @AshOnIndia. Here is a quick glimpse into topics being considered.

+ Dismissing myths of UX ownership — Making UX everyone’s job
+ A simpler view of the practice of UX
+ Simple methods for understanding your users
+ Perspectives on the rapidly growing mobile usage across different user segments in India
+ Context awareness in App design

What else would you like to see? Throw in your suggestions, let’s make this a dialogue! We’ll regularly bring in domain experts, founders and their designers too, to address specific topics and paint these much needed stories of the human experience with technology!

Ashwini Asokan

Ashwini Asokan

Co-founder Mad Street Den & Mad Street Labs. UX professional, Recovering California addict, Musings on Design & culture. Follow me @AshOnIndia