“What is UX” for Startups

I’m at a startup, as Head of UX, shaping a product that’s launching next week, and helping the team find ways of working that make them be more productive and feel more empowered.

One of the challenges with the otherwise small and jovial company, is that there is already a silo: Marketing.

What’s wrong with silos?

The one and only copywriter in the company is from Marketing, and typically spends his days defining copy for advertising campaigns, landing pages for the campaigns, emails (All The Emails), and the website.

“Product” is a new term.
“UX” is a new term.
Marketing and Technology don’t typically hang out.
And you don’t want to look at the state of our JIRA…

People forget UX

All the stories in the backlog until I showed up had “Design”, “Copy”, and “Build” sub-tasks.

There was no “UX” or “flows” or “how does this work”…

*in a David Attenborough voice* : “They were unaware of how important this was to their survival.”

So how do you get forty people who’ve never really met UX before to include your discipline – UX being a lynchpin discipline, especially for startups – in their every day workflows?

Posters FTW!

I don’t know how _you_ do that, but I made YAVD (yet another venn diagram) with emojis and stuck it on the wall.

I’m regularly referring people back to it to get them to question whether we’ve finalised the details of our product:

Do we now know

  • How it works
  • How it looks
  • What it’s saying

And if not, someone needs to do some more work.

There’s lots more documentation happening too

Right now I’m creating diagrams upon diagrams upon diagrams of how things work, and sharing them.

I use balsamiq, because it’s heavy on keyboard shortcuts, colourful, and sketchy. It also has built-in icons for most concepts, and various annotation shapes like arrows, post-its, curly brackets, etc…

I’m _very_ quick in creating with it, and people find what I make appealing to work with.

And then what happened?

The “products we love” poster lives on my desk, and on the wall next to our scrum board.

I’m incredibly lucky that I have a dual role, both Head of UX for the company and UX Lead on their new product team… and I sit right next to the product owner who is a great guy.

We – as a company – are slowly getting better at remembering to think about, analyse, and document “How this works”.

And the copywriter is walking over to the Product side on a very regular basis, to have a peek at what else he might need to work his plain english magic on.

Things are good!

Want this poster for yourself? Products we love poster (.png)