TechHub Meetup insights: UX best practices for startups

Last week we gathered some of the most elusive UX specialists around the tech community and we asked them a couple of questions aimed at uncovering the ingredients of the secret sauce that makes their work so good.

While you can watch the entire live streaming of the event here, we also summarized the key insights from the discussions below. At the very end, you'll find some great resources to improve your UX knowledge, but don't skip ahead and miss out the important info.

What are the key elements that define UX as a design/experience concept? * User research * Web design * Web development * Multimedia creation * Copywriting * Involve the entire team right from the start, as much as you can.

What are some general UX goals that any startup can incorporate into their website or web app?

Great user experience design relates to the 10 design driven development rules by Dieter Rams, presented by Vitaly at How to Web 2013.
Create a map of your goals and include these principles to build towards them
Try to always delight your users
Execute the basics perfectly: make sure your application works, that it offers a smooth experience for the user, and then work on predicting user behaviour (which works with templates).
You can innovate on even the most common usability scenarios (such as logging in), but make sure you keep usability in mind.

Why is it essential to use responsive design and how can this type of design be created without major financial investments?

Make sure you know your audience and create a website/web app according to their usage patterns. Responsive design is not always the best option.
There are categories of audiences that do not use websites on mobile devices. The mobile-first strategy is not always the way to go for a startup.
Research should be the cornerstone of your UX strategy.
Make sure that whatever you do, do it fast, draw sketches and test it at each stage.
Consider the environment where your website/web app will be used. That will impact the user�s behaviour.
Always remember that using your website/web app differs a lot from using it on a PC versus using it on a mobile device.

How can UX help improve the leads collection process?

Be aware of user behaviour in terms of online shopping.
Use transparency and clear copywriting to build a trusting relationship with your users.
Don�t disrupt the user�s experience with elements that should not be there, especially in crucial moments such as in the payment step.
There is no space for drama (don�t leave buttons that don�t work there) and make sure your story has a happy ending (the user ends up achieving the goal you set for that specific page/website/web app).

What are personas and how should startups involve them in designing the UX for their website or web app?

Personas were originally used in marketing, for audience segmentation. In UX, personas are used to define types of behaviours and use case scenarios.
Personas help your team to focus on specific individuals that are representative of your targeted audience. You define for them: behaviours, needs, environments, language, income, purchase intentions, expectations from your product, etc.
Do some additional research to test the personas you envisioned against their real counterparts, so you can make sure you�re working with a viable model.

Can you recommend some methods or key objectives to achieve when testing the usability of a website or a web app?

Start with sketches, not with directly designing things. Refine your designs and keep an eye on analytics after the first deployment to base your design and product development decisions on the data you extract from the product being used.
Don�t start with the solution: start with options, talk about them with the people who will actually use the website/web app and choose the ones they indicate as the most viable options.
You need a lot of user feedback to make sure that the next step you�re going to is not futile.
Try to imagine what a user will do � put yourself in his/her shoes.
Use testing agencies to do usability tests. But make sure you filter user feedback according to what is related and important for your product.

How important is UX for a great MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?

UX is paramount. The users are not aware of the intricacies behind the product. The first interaction with the website/web app will define the return rate.
Align what�s in it for the user with your business goal.

How can you minimize the risk of deploying an unproductive UX?

Whatever you push out there, it will not work at a certain level. It�s important to iterate fast and make the necessary modifications. Make sure you test everything with the users first, so you don�t add anything that�s superfluous. Don�t make your product more complex if it�s not required. Every feature has to fight for its life, because every feature that�s not necessary pollutes the user�s life.

How can a startup balance business and user needs?

In the beginning, optimize for growth first, and at this stage these 2 goals are aligned. Moving towards monetization means starting to gather even more user feedback (analytics, A/B testing). Creating an engaging experience is a goal that serves both the user�s and the business�s needs.

What are some resources that startups can use to improve their UX skills/knowledge?

Vitaly talked about the importance of formal education, because there are a number of things that need to be examined in depth so you can understand the origins of design trends and patterns.
Self education is also very important.

Other resources:
Smashing Magazine

The inmates are running the asylum

http://www.goodreads.com/genres/ux-books

http://uxmastery.com/resources/books/

Conferences:

https://www.ux-lx.com/

http://www.ixda.org/

Talks:

Jared Spool - The Curious Properties of intuitive Web Design

Bill Buxton - Sketching and Experience Design

Don Norman - Three Ways Good Design Makes You Happy

Don Norman (again) - [The Design of Future Things](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQmwEjL6K1U
Aral Balkan - Superheros & Villains in Design

Podcast:

Boagworld (the podcast for people designing, developing and running websites on a daily basis :) )

Websites:

http://goodui.org/

http://www.uxapprentice.com/

http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/

http://52weeksofux.com/tagged/week_1

http://uxmag.com/

http://littlebigdetails.com/

http://www.nngroup.com/

For Android:

Guidelines - http://developer.android.com/design/index.html

Android Design in Action (YouTube)

The AppClinic

Google+ / Android Developers

Google+ / Nick Butcher

Google+ / Roman Nurik

Enjoy some pictures from last Thursday and see you next time!