I’m very excited to be the guest author on this week’s 52weeksofUX, a blog by Josh Porter and Josh Brewer, two people I greatly admire.
My topic is the increasingly crucial role that user experience design plays in the success of a startup. I called the piece StartUXs (get it? startups with an X instead of a P) to reflect just how intertwined I believe the two to be.
Most people believe that User Experience is just about finding the best solution for your users — but it’s not. UX is about defining the problem that needs to be solved (the why), defining the types of people who need it to be solved (the who), and defining the way in which it should be solved to be relevant to those people (the how). Yet as a rule, startups are being built on the what.
[Read the entire post over at 52weeksofUX, then read Josh Brewer’s follow-up post, The Five W’s of UX]
Announcement: In conjunction with the publication of this piece, I am publicly launching a new consulting model that I am now offering to startups. StartUXs are companies that want to build products around the needs of real people, and I want to help them.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the blog post and the StartUXs concept. Thanks!
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Fantastic! Whit, I think this is a great idea, and offers starups a potentially huge advantage. And it makes me want to get off my butt and start consulting (a day job is nice, but I’d love to work with startups, as well).
I’m going to do something I’ve not yet done–defend my employer!
Can you really lump Yahoo (my employer) with products like ning and bebo? Sure Yahoo has not succeed in creating a clearly defined company wide product strategy but individual products such as Yahoo! Sports and Finance are best-in-class because of strong product vision. The scale of Yahoo is exponentially larger than the other companies you mention. And let’s not forget that when Yahoo began it did have a clear purpose when it began–to organize the world wide web. It may have lost its way a bit in subsequent years but should not be called out to aspiring start-ups in the same breath as the other sites and applications you mention. It is a case study for another article.
Ok, I’ll get off my soap box now :)
Maureen, I totally respect that you want to defend Yahoo! and surely you know much more about the company’s practices from the inside. From an outside perspective, it has seemed that Yahoo! hasn’t been able to define its target audiences and develop a product strategy to differentiate itself from competitors. But I do agree, it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison to the other companies I listed.
I agree that as a whole Yahoo! doesn’t seem to have a single audience, but I think this really helps them cater to their many audiences.
Many of the big companies have multiple audiences: Google, IBM, Oracle, Apple, Dell, etc. I think what they do is carefully target them with a user experience to cater to them.
For example, Dell.com immediately segments the audience by purchasing size, then adjust the web design to fit. Compare the “large enterprise” section with “for home”.
A good ‘call to action’ to get people more involved in all the aspects of making a business more successful.
To clarify, when you say “outside perspective”, is this yours or a consensus among the people you have met?