5 UX mistakes that make startup failure inevitable

Building a successful startup is difficult. By addressing the needs of the target audience, designing the product carefully to make it relevant to users, and tracking the product usage will ensure your startup is well on its way to long-term success.

India has become home to scores of successful startups in the past decade. A study done by IBM shows that the main reason for more than 90 percent of startups failing is in fact lack of innovation. Startups today are emulating existing successful global ideas. This means their products are being launched without any understanding of their real target audience. This along with the lack of design intervention soon becomes a recipe for failure. The lack of understanding of a brand trickles down to the product and results in the delivery of poor user experience (UX).

Here are the top five UX mistakes that make startup failure inevitable:

1.Not making the target audience the centre of your universe

Let’s start with the first and foremost mistake made in the startup lifecycle - forgetting that the app or product is being built for the actual users and not just the business owners. Why does this happen? Because business owners huddle in a room together and build a product out of all their favourite features without identifying and addressing the needs of their target audience.

2.Using the wrong research methods won’t get you the right results

Using wrong research methods is a bigger crime than no research at all. Let’s take Walmart for example. It lost an estimated $1.85 million even though it listened to its customers. You might be wondering how this happened. Well, their research lacked the right context, because who wouldn’t choose ‘spacious’ as the answer when there’s absolutely no context? Walmart used this research and based its store revamp strategy on making it more ‘spacious’, only to reverse it completely.

Another mistake is simply calling up friends (who are not your target audience) and asking for their opinions under the pretense of research. Research costs a lot of time and money, and treating it as a “buzzword” at this stage will prove to be a penny wise pound foolish approach in the long run. Even though there are different qualitative or quantitative research practices available, remember choosing the right method at the right time is equally important.

3.Copying design from competitors

Every product has different goals and user needs to meet, and it cannot look and work exactly like a competitor’s product. Every element of the product should be designed carefully to make it relevant to the brand and its users. This will also give the product an edge over and above what’s available in the market.

4.Not validating whether the UX works with usability tests

Validation is an important part of the design process. Validating through activities like usability tests give real qualitative feedback from users, and an understanding as to what works and what can be improved. These suggest valuable iterations and save money in the long run.

5.Not maintaining the product after the launch

Once the product is live, it is very important to track usage and collect feedback from users. Only through active maintenance can the product be improved and stay relevant to the users. This is undoubtedly the key to the success of a product.

Now, do you want to know how much revenue you can expect from your investment in user experience? According to a report by IBM, “every dollar invested in ease of use returns $10 to $100.” That’s potential waiting to be tapped.

So, look for a UX expert that takes the time to understand your goals, target audience, and product and who also chooses the right research you need. Not to forget, one who also steers clear from all these mistakes.