Hi All, hope you’re all ready for a great week. We sure are.
So for the last month or two, the desiral team has been busy thinking about what really matters to our community, so we can develop the leanest and most effective minimum viable product know to man. After speaking with a heap of independent businesses and the people who love them most, an interesting and consistent theme has begun to emerge….the critical need for simplicity.
Initially we considered simplicity as merely a functional issue, requiring the scaling back of features for launch and building front end processes that allowed for minimal friction. However, as we explored this theme more deeply it became blindingly obvious that there was something missing from all of our discussions: USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN!
As a trained (but nonetheless amateur) graphic designer, I had taken it upon myself to develop all the designs for desiral’s current interface. The progression and evolution of which you can squint at in the thumbnails below:
Despite this, what desiral was missing (as our talented developers Stu and Saral brutally pointed out over drinks) was a significant lack of experience in designing for interactive digital experiences. My ability to render a competent visual mock-up did not match the skills we really needed, namely an understanding of how people interact with digital designs.
So this week (after swallowing my pride and inner design diva) I had the pleasure of meeting up with a few of London’s most talented user interface (UX) designers, including Matthias Link, who designs for the startup NearNote and various other projects between San Fran and the UK.
I asked Matthias a few questions about the importance of UX design for startups and here’s what he had to say:
@desiralHQ: Some advocates of the lean startup movement suggest that design is secondary to the speed of shipping a product. Do you agree?
@link_m: I do. The design process can be a limiting factor, but does not have to be secondary. Designing a digital product can occur synchronously with the iterations of lean development without causing any delays in release time. I personally believe that keeping the design lightweight and flexible in the flow of quick shipments is the right approach to integrate design into the process of lean development and prevent expensive failure.
@desiralHQ: Do you think that startups are showing more focus on strong, clever and intuitive design?
@link_m: Intuitive design is always subjective, with many people fearful of doing something new and different. The risk of failure with some edgy or clever design is simply too risky for most start-ups, as there is a fine line between being misperceived and creating real value to the user. Therefore, great attention has to be paid to bold branding in early stages to have control over on the visual reputation in the long-term.
@desiralHQ: Is there an example of a startup that you think have gotten their user interface design absolutely right the first time?
@link_m: As simple as it sounds, Pinterest has done an admirable job in presenting mass visual information in the fashionable way of a grid. They have been clearly disrupting the traditional feed design by displaying findings on a bulletin board design. Alongside it gives you the feeling of having your own personal collections rather than just a grid of images.
@desiralHQ: How long have you been designing for startups?
@link_m: I’ve been accelerating start-ups in their design and development stages since 2008, when I started to work as a front-end developer and designer for a travel platform, which was bought 6 months later by a German media house. Now I am involved more in responsive web design for a couple of start-ups in London, two have moved already to Silicon Valley. Therefore, I hope to follow their roots.
@desiralHQ: What do you think the most important part of the interactive design process is?
@link_m: Understanding the objectives of your client, as well as the needs of the target audience. As a result, design reflects your understanding of the client and will be crucial for the valuation of the website.
@desiralHQ: Desiral is designed for independent retailers and their fans. Is there anything you think we should watch out for design wise?
@link_m: Focus extremely on simplicity and find the right spot of uniqueness in this area. Consumers of independent retailers admire new and hip ways to present offers, therefore not be scared to try out new concepts and transform existing ways of presenting products like of shopping windows to the web.
@desiralHQ: any last words of wisdom?
@link_m: read this > http://startupsthisishowdesignworks.com/ a comprehensive guide to design for startups
Thanks for tuning in! To find out more about Matthias Link, desiral or anything in between feel free to give us a shout.
This post was written by Tayo for @desiralHQ
Desiral.com makes it easier to demand the things you want. Visit us at http://www.desiral.com or request an invitation for our early beta