First steps are the most important ones. A startup’s initial website affects how potential customers and partners perceive your business. Bad user experience will drive them away before they get to know you. People who get a good experience will stay around and help your business to succeed. They’ll let others know, letting your audience grow.
Don’t Rush the Initial Website
A startup’s main focus is its initial product or service. It has to produce something quickly, even if it’s only a sample of the ultimate goal. This doesn’t mean it should bring a sloppy, buggy prototype to a demo, though. Likewise, it shouldn’t rush a website out before it delivers good usability.
The most common form of startup business failure is not acquiring a market. Reaching a market requires presenting a good impression from the start, and the website is a big part of it. A site which people have trouble using will kill people’s interest permanently.
It’s all right to have a page that just says “Coming Soon” for a while. That’s better than a half-working site. The first version should get thorough usability testing before it goes public. Make a strong debut.
Understand Your Audience
What constitutes a good UX depends on the user’s goals, as well as your goals for interacting with them. What kind of information do they need? What do they want to obtain when they visit your site? What will they need to do to get it?
If you aim just at showing the audience how great your startup is, your site won’t succeed. You need to show them how much your business will benefit them. Imagine yourself as a typical visitor in order to gauge how they’ll react.
Don’t Go Overboard With Novelty
You’ve heard a lot about the importance of a distinctive brand, and it’s true. However, distinctiveness shouldn’t come at the expense of usability. Presenting a consistent set of colors is good. Using them in a way that ruins readability or makes the controls hard to understand is bad. Find ways to express the distinctiveness of your brand while keeping the pages understandable and easy to use.
Being too aggressive with promotions ruins the user experience. A one-time pop-up is fine. One that keeps coming back no matter what the user does will drive people away. It doesn’t matter how clever you think it is.
Simplicity and consistency are bedrock principles of a good UX. Something familiar is easier to use than a clever but unfamiliar interface. Save the novelty for the content, not the presentation.
The Mobile Experience is Important
A large part, possibly most, of your traffic will come from phones and tablets. Creating a good experience on a small screen with no mouse is more challenging than making the desktop experience good.
Common problems on mobile devices are clutter, tiny text, and difficult controls. A responsive design avoids these issues and makes a site easy to use on all devices. A startup needs to build its audience as much as possible, and this means creating a positive experience no matter how the user accesses the site.
The Customer Comes First
The user is the ultimate judge of the user experience. Think about how the customer will get the most benefit from the site. If they like their experience, they’ll tell other people about it. They’ll be interested in how your projects advance.
Every business needs to be concerned about how users experience its website, but startups are in the most precarious position. They need every advantage. A website which is pleasant to use is one of the most important advantages.