In today's fast-paced digital landscape, companies are facing intense competition and pressure to deliver high-quality products that meet the needs of both users and businesses. Even startups that already got desirable series B funding still need to find ways to maximize their value and differentiate themselves from the competition. But how to raise the bar?
Whether it's a website, SaaS product, mobile app, or web project, digital product design is a boon to shape the user experience and drive growth. According to a report by McKinsey, companies with strong design capabilities have outperformed their peers with 32% more revenue and 56% more total returns to shareholders.
Long story short, no matter where you are in your startup growth journey, adding value to the product should be among your top-priority tasks. And that’s what I’m going to talk about in this article, revealing the best digital product design strategies and practices.
How to leverage UX/UI design to grow startups
Getting two rounds of funding is a huge success, isn’t it? It means a startup has already validated its business model and achieved significant traction. Then why bother? Well, I can say it’s totally impressive, but still doesn't secure a business from going down. In fact, 95% of new products might fail if they don’t seek opportunities to scale their operations and expand their reach. And this is where digital product design can help them out.
Before digging any deeper, let’s first figure out what it is and why it’s a must-have to develop a product that resonates with customers. So, digital product design (aka. UX/UI design) is a combination of user-centered design principles and data-driven design methods to create digital products, services, and experiences that aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, but also functional, usable, and valuable to end-users.
A proficient design team is capable of improving user experience and functionality of the product, which are inextricably linked to customer satisfaction and increased usage rate. How so? UX/UI designers kick off with in-depth UX research, diving deep into the product, target audience, competitors, and company goals. They also approach the business side of the client's product and introduce new features that help the startup get more functional and appealing to the end-user. By thoroughly analyzing the digital product and conducting user testing, designers get rid of confusing processes and useless flows. Consequently, this drives organic growth through word-of-mouth recommendations and foster customer loyalty.
We invite you to take a look at the design process we utilized at Lazarev.agency. Our approach enables us to craft customized solutions that cater to the specific requirements of the client's target audience, with the ultimate goal of driving business growth.
Digital product design capabilities don’t stop there. A results-driven design can hands down enhance conversions, lower bounce rates, drive traffic and ultimately increase revenue. By exploring and then leveraging customers' pain points, needs and expectations, UI/UX designers build the user flow that is intuitive and fully comprehensive. That helps users understand the value of a product and make repetitive purchases. Here is a good example to back my words up. The online retailer Amazon reported a 29% increase in sales after making changes to its product pages based on design-driven user research.
Additionally, a unique and compelling product design sets a startup apart, builds brand recognition, and secure a larger market share. Sounds amazing, right? But I don't want to make big claims without any supporting evidence, so let’s move straight to the real-life example Lazarev.agency dealt with.
The power of design: Insticator case by Lazarev.
After pointing up the importance of digital product design for product growth, let's see how it actually works by looking at the Lazarev.agency case — Insticator.
It’s a leading ad tech company based in the US, on a mission to boost engagement and ad revenue for both publishers and advertisers. They achieve this by helping those groups create interactive content and build a like-minded community.
For over a year, the Lazarev design team has been working hard to add new features and utilities to their commenting platform and data tools. These upgrades were all about strengthening the bond between publishers and their audience, and making the Insticator offering even more valuable.
At the same time, we’ve been jazzing up a suite of content engagement tools, so publishers can give their site visitors fun and interactive experiences like quizzes, polls, and suggested stories, along with ad units that fit right in. These new features have helped publishers keep their audience engaged and monetize their content even better, which means they're getting more bang for their buck from Insticator.
Thanks to the slick design upgrades and improved product value, Insticator made a huge splash by announcing an integration with the leading data connectivity platform, LiveRamp. This was a massive step forward for the company's growth.
After all the hard work, they made it to No. 2172 on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list, which is a hugely prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the US.
This case is not alone to verify what I’m saying. Lazarev.agency has got 500+ of them. We featured the most interesting ones on the site in the Cases section, so feel free to view them sometime. And we’re moving on.
Key strategies to add value with UX/UI design
For startups, the ultimate goal is to establish a thriving business that can achieve sustained growth and remain competitive in their respective industry. One of the best ways to get there is by harnessing the digital product design potential.
The strategies I’ll talk about further can help startups build a solid foundation and create a digital product that can evolve with the business as it continues to grow. There are only two of them, but they are actually all you need to make the difference for your enterprise.
Strategy 1: Prioritize a data-driven approach to design
If you want to differentiate yourself from competitors and secure lasting progress for your business, you should pursue a data-driven design approach, which involves UX research. That’s a crucial point because creating only visually-pleasing aesthetics won’t be of any help.
I bet you already know your audience somehow and even anticipate its needs. You sure took a look at your competitors and investigated the market landscape, comparing trends and requirements. Because how else would you launch the startup? But starting a business is just the first step. To truly maximize its value, you need to understand your target audience and so many other things on a deeper level.
While you may have some insights, in-depth UX research is essential for validating product ideas and creating a user-centered design that resonates with your clients and expands your reach even further. Here is how this process looks at Lazarev.agency. I’ll walk you through it briefly, pointing out the business benefits a thorough UX research can bring. So let’s get going!
We start UX research by interviewing stakeholders to agree on product vision and expectations. When briefing the client, we also define the customer's motivations and constraints and develop a personalized project management plan. By doing so, we create a solid foundation for future work, enabling us to deliver optimal results for B-series startups.
The next step involves a market analysis to gain a deep understanding of the product's potential in the current market landscape. Although companies keep an eye on some market trends and requirements, there are numerous factors beyond their control. Therefore, through exploratory work and generative research methods, we examine the market's specificities, constraints, and other product-related factors. This enables us to achieve the coveted product-market fit, which is the key to success in any industry. Besides, by leveraging market insights, we can tailor the product to meet the needs of their target audience, and, in turn, achieve sustained growth in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Market research also helps us identify opportunities for post-development positioning. In other words, we can refine the product concept and clarify its characteristics to make it more competitive and attractive to users. This is an ongoing process that takes place throughout the entire product design cycle, with each iteration building on the previous one to achieve the best possible outcome.
Following the market research phase, we conduct a thorough investigation of the startup's target audience. At this stage, we do our best to understand the obstacles people face when using the product, as well as their expectations.
We leverage a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods, including in-depth interviews, surveys, field studies, experiments, and observations to collect the necessary data. The insights we gather allow us to create Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) and Customer Journey Maps (CJMs), which help us comprehend how our target audience segments can overcome their pain points by using the product. By analyzing this information, we create a design that meets the demand of the market and delivers an exceptional user experience to the customers.
Once we’ve gathered the necessary research data, we move on to the product positioning sprint. This phase is dedicated to validating the product's value proposition and ensuring that it aligns with the needs and pain points of the target audience. To accomplish this, we use a framework called the Value Proposition Canvas, which helps us create a clear connection between the product and the problems it solves for users.
So as you can see, conducting user research is a vital step in the digital product design process for startups looking to maximize their product value and differentiate themselves from competitors. But the design, even when it’s based on a thorough UX research, isn’t a cure-all if you neglect the next strategy. So why don’t we see what’s hiding there?
Strategy 2: Align design with your business goals: Bluwalk case
To maximize the value of design, startups need to understand how it fits into their overall strategy and how it can help them obtain the desired outcomes. This requires aligning design efforts with business goals, so they are in sync and mutually supportive.
This approach involves setting clear objectives for design, measuring its impact and integrating it into the overall business strategy. It also requires involving designers in strategic planning and decision-making, so they can contribute their expertise and perspective. I have an experience-based example to this point. It’s perfect to showcase the UI/UX design teams’ capabilities in terms of not only design creation, but also business development.
Lazarev.agency teamed up with Bluewalk, an app that connects gig workers with delivery and transport companies, including big players like Uber and Bolt. The initial version of the app was rough, and it had major usability issues. We conducted a thorough audit of the app and website and identified a long list of areas that needed improvement.
The scope of the project expanded beyond UI/UX redesign. Our client even got overwhelmed. So we offered to help Bluwalk rearrange some finances and make the app work. We dove into their business process, costs on a team, and their plans for the next 4 quarters. After analyzing the data, we recommended focusing on front- and back-end development rather than marketing campaigns, as that would yield a better return on investment.
We worked on UI/UX design, created the company growth roadmap with steps until the end of the year, and introduced Quality Assurance testing. Over the course of the collaboration, the Lazarev.team took on product management, working closely with Bluewalk to refine the user flow, streamline the onboarding process, and optimize the business processes. The result was a revamped app that delivered a 2x conversion rate and positioned Bluwalk for further growth.
I hope I was persuasive in my affirmation that companies that align design with business goals have better chances to create products that aren’t only aesthetically pleasing, but also meet customer needs and drive business growth. They can also differentiate themselves from competitors and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.
Ready to kick off your product design strategy?
Launching a startup is an exciting adventure. Backing it up with a reliable digital product design team can increase your chances of fighting through the competition, winning customers, and laying the foundation for future growth. And that’s where we can help. We offer a wide range of services to develop and launch a successful digital product, from UX research and interface design to branding and marketing.
So if you're ready to take your startup to the next level, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We'd be happy to discuss how we can help you turn your vision into a reality. Let's work together for growth!