How will a UX agency help you when talking to investors?

 From this article, you will learn:

  • How a UX agency will help you prepare to talk to investors;
  • What are the possibilities for validating your idea before meeting with an investor;
  • What you will learn about your product through a well-executed validation;
  • what an MVP and a waiting list are, and you will learn about specific tools for their use, such as clickable prototypes or a pilot service;
  • What are user interviews, and what channels will help you get detailed feedback from your target audience;
  • What you will gain from conducting product research in a real environment;
  • How important user testing and attention to user experience is to the credibility of your business.

Engage a UX agency. Increase your credibility

Investors expect a clear rationale for why your idea is worth their funds. A UX agency will help you present it based on reliable feedback from potential customers. To this end, it will first prepare the necessary digital tools for this task and monitor the results. As a result, you will get credible arguments to use in the business conversation.

Idea validation is not all that a UX agency can do for you. It can also help you create a coherent marketing and communications strategy that will attract the attention of investors. With a properly designed presentation or informational materials, you can convincingly present your idea to them and get them to invest in your start-up.

What will an investor check before giving you funds?

A potential investor wants confirmation that your idea is marketable and likely to succeed. Make sure that the materials or presentation you present reflect your idea convincingly and inspiringly. The best situation for an investor would be to know that your product or service already has an audience and is already earning for itself. However, what about when this is not yet the case? Your idea may be good; it may have potential, but these are still just assumptions. You need concrete data, concrete examples how your product or service will work in the market.

Here, we come to specific ways of validating your idea that can help investors decide to provide funds for the development of your company or project. 

Idea validation – how will a UX agency help you convince an investor?

There are many ways to obtain data on a digital product’s attractiveness. In this article, we will focus primarily on solutions that a UX agency can provide.

MVP and waiting list

The first is to create an MVP, a truncated version of the software or service that will allow potential customers to test critical features and capabilities before purchasing the full version. Typically, an MVP has limited functionality, but what must unquestionably be in it is the keynote of the final product. This could be, for example, a video, a simple version of the app, or a landing page to encourage purchase.

The launch of an MVP version can be accompanied by collecting interested people for a full release waiting list for your product or service. Creating such a list can be through newsletter sign-ups or making a registration form on the product’s website. When time permits, eager users will be informed of the product’s availability.

Conversations with users

There are alternative ways to validate an idea, such as user interviews. The results from such interviews will show whether your product addresses a significant problem for users and whether they will be able to pay for it. It will also allow you to tailor your solution to your customers’ real needs and expectations, which will significantly increase your chances of success in the market.

User interviews can be conducted in person, by phone, or online. What can you ask? Basically, anything that will help you answer the question of what customers want.

  • Does your product or service solve the users’ problem?
  • How have users dealt with this problem so far?
  • How important is it for them to find the optimal solution?
  • How much money are they spending now to deal with a given problem?

It is important to ask open-ended questions and encourage honest answers. Only this will allow you to deeply understand your target group’s point of view. If, as a start-up, you can offer them a better, or perhaps even cheaper, solution to their problem, this will tell you that you are likely to gain a customer in them.

UX agency support in practice – building prototypes and application specifications

You already know what options you have for validating your project. Now, it’s time to get specific. What can a UX agency do for you? What products can you prepare to make you a credible player for potential investors?

Launching the pilot service

What is a pilot in the context of idea validation? It’s launching a service or product for a trial period or to a limited number of customers. With a pilot, you can test whether your service actually meets customer expectations and whether there is a demand for it. During the pilot, you can collect feedback and opinions from users, so you will be able to make any adjustments and improvements before officially launching the service.

If the pilot is successful, customers will inquire about the possibility of making the service permanent, and you will have further proof that your idea will find its way to the market. Thus, You will build a strong customer base, which will interest potential investors.

Building clickable prototypes

Another way to validate is to build a clickable prototype, an interactive version of the design created so that the user can test its functionality, navigation, and interactions with mouse clicks or screen touches. This is not yet a finished and working application, but it allows you to test the idea in a form close to the final product.

There are many tools for building clickable prototypes that can be used to collect customer feedback. A few popular tools are Adobe XD, InVision, Balsamiq, Sketch, and Figma. Working with a UX agency will guarantee that the tool that best meets the project’s needs will be used in preparing your MVP.

Defining MVP costs and functionality

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a product that contains only the basic functions and features necessary for release. This allows for quick data and user feedback to further develop the product in accordance with customer needs.

The UX agency will greatly support you at the stage of defining specific costs and MVP functionalities that the investor would like to know about.

It will conduct a thorough analysis of market needs and expectations of potential customers. This will help you bullet out a list of features needed to create a basic version of the product. It will also be important to determine what specific costs will be involved in creating and maintaining the MVP. This includes costs related to developers, marketing, hosting, technical support, or software licenses.

Gathering all this information will help draw up a business plan with a detailed description of the MVP’s costs and functionality and financial projections for product development. The presentation of the business plan, which will form the basis for negotiations with a potential investor, should be clear and attractive and include all relevant information in an accessible and concise manner. It is worth trusting specialists in this case!

Testing applications and taking care of user experience

These are vital elements in the software development process. Regular testing of your application will detect bugs and improve its performance. Taking care of the user experience, i.e., making it easy and pleasant for users to access features and interact with the application, will increase their loyalty to your product and allow you to gain their trust.

How do we get user feedback?

UX agency specialists will ensure that the data and feedback collected from your target audience are reliable and as detailed as possible.  To this end, they will work multi-channel, using:

  • online surveys sent after the first contact with a product or service;
  • Holding focus group meetings where customers can express their opinions about products or services;
  • Creating a feedback form on the website or mobile app so that customers can easily give their suggestions;
  • Monitoring social media and responding to customer comments for feedback;
  • Creating a loyalty program where customers can actively express their opinions and suggestions;
  • Regular phone calls or meetings with customers to learn about their experience with the product or service;
  • Analyzing data from customer purchases to identify trends and preferences and tailor offerings;
  • Monitoring user behavior data on a website or app, such as average time spent on the site, user paths, conversion rates, retention rate, engagement rate, or bounce rate.

Collecting feedback from users, both positive and negative, will help you better understand your customers. You will learn what annoys them or makes them uncomfortable. They will tell you about things that are impossible to catch by analytics. When a user abandons a product they have started, you will only learn from typical analytics tools that the rate attributed to this has increased. With the information gathered directly from the feedback, you can find out the reason for the exit from the site or app and whether you should be worried about it.

Do you have feedback? Streamline what you need!

You already have all the data from user feedback. What can you do with them? Use them to improve your idea. By analyzing specific messages, you will avoid mistakes in the design of your application and adapt it to the real needs of your target audience. The feedback you receive can also help you recognize what improvements or additional features users might find helpful, making your product even more appealing.

Don’t limit yourself to lab tests

Using an app in a real-world environment is critical to improving the user experience. You may find a marked difference between using the same application in a controlled environment and using it in the field. Technicalities, such as a weaker Internet connection, may be an obstacle. By observing how users use the app, you can identify potential problems and quickly tweak the relevant parameters to eliminate shortcomings.

It’s also worth mentioning responsiveness testing of the app on different devices and platforms. Make sure that users from different devices and operating systems have a uniform and satisfying experience using the app. This will help you avoid these problems in the future and offer your customers the most intuitive and functional solutions from the start.

Testing in a real-world environment is a great way to build trust and brand loyalty because it shows that, as a developer, you are truly committed to improving your products.

Testing with users and attention to user experience are key to success

Investors increasingly recognize how important a positive user experience is in driving the success of a product. They are not wrong. Attention to user experience makes users more willing to use a given service or product, which translates into greater user satisfaction and loyalty.

It will also be to your start-up’s advantage to know that user testing has been conducted. This is insanely important. With information from your target audience, you can correct what you already know isn’t working, monitor whether the problem still exists, and look for entirely new difficulties at some stage of use.

Push Buttons for your business

Inviting a UX agency to work with you can be strategic to the success of your start-up. A well-chosen team of specialists will help you convince an investor that your idea is worth investing in. An agency like Push Buttons will provide you with specific data and guidance on product development and will also support you in creating a marketing strategy. Your idea deserves to be developed by the best of the best, and these are the ones we employ at Push Buttons.

7 Lessons for Founders and Startups – CSF2023

I had an opportunity to attend most of the talks and some of the closed workshops and lectures. I was surprised by the level of shared knowledge. 

Happily, our way of designing digital products in Push Buttons is consistent with the approach presented by worldwide startup specialists.

Finding gathered knowledge is crucial for future founders, I want to share some of the most bold thoughts with you.

 I hope you use it well!

Your early investors are your clients.

I’ve met many founders who were upset with difficulties in finding investors. It takes work to get one. But remember – one way of creating a startup is bootstrapping. It means you fund your startup with your own money (and maybe with FF money – collected from your family and friends). What you can do more, you should start selling your product, so your early customers become your investors – their money will help you to keep building your product. Moreover, you can talk to them and improve your product quickly.

This instant feedback loop is often underestimated.

Start selling your product even if it’s not ready.

As mentioned above, having customers as soon as possible is perfect. But what if I tell you you could have a few without a product? That’s the ultimate way to validate your idea and start collecting the money! It’s only sometimes possible, of course, but worth trying.

To test your idea, you can start a landing page, set up online ads, and check if your audience is converting to customers. Even if they get a message that the product still needs to arrive, and you will inform them when it will be ready.

You can also find a client to pay you for some particular app functionality crafted exclusively. It’s a great way to collect funds and get traction. 

Don’t spend too much time (and money) on MVP.

I can’t count founders polishing their MVPs as long as it’s perfect and has all the functionality they think is needed to make the first sale. And then… well, it’s not always a success story. Actually, in most cases, it’s exactly the opposite. Polishing your MVP and adding more and more functionality before market launch is missing opportunities to test your idea, gather feedback, improve, and iterate. Sometimes you can miss strong signals to pivot.

So, remember – it’s much better to start MVP and start learning asap than to polish a perfect product and fail….

Fail fast, learn faster.

Let’s stay a little longer with failures (but not too long 😊). Every successful founder was telling about his failure stories. Without regrets, without shame. Because every failure is an opportunity to learn, improve yourself (and your product), and move on with better chances for success.

So remember not to be afraid of failures cause they’re natural steps to final success. But only if you can learn your lessons and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Go global from day one!

When asked for globalization advice, all founders say, ‘Think global from day one.’ That doesn’t mean that you should start your product on unknown markets from the beginning. No! It’s good to start on your home market. The market you understand, with customers and culture you know.

But use that market to test your ideas, get initial traction, and start your operations on other, more significant markets. In most cases, it’s the only way to become a scaleup and get new, bigger funds.

Your product is very cool… so what?

Avi Wiesenberg – Partner at Team – X – during his speech titled ‘From Lead to Close Won! How to sell to global companies!’ showed up with a slide ‘Your product is very cool’ and then added ‘So what’? In the following words, he explained that it doesn’t matter how cool your product is as long as it doesn’t solve a real problem. Only a few people pay money just to have a cool product. In most cases, they expect an actual value.

So if you want to build a product that will be saleable, discover your users’ problems, create a solution, and learn how to show the value the product is giving. Without that, it’s gonna stay as a gadget that only a few can pay for.

Don’t undersell yourself.

The last one was explicitly dedicated to Polish founders.

During his talk ‘Raising a successful A round from International VCs’, Ariel Finkelstein gave some great tips for Polish startup founders. One has especially come into my heart as I often see this during different events. 

We must be taught how to sell our products and ourselves in Poland. Some of us have this natural instinct, but more units believe everyone else is better, stronger, and more valuable. Especially when it comes to competing with US-based companies.

So the advice from specialists was… well, don’t do it 🙂 Believe in yourself, believe in your product, and don’t undersell your value!

You are as good as others, or even better.

Never forget that!

Czy użytkownik pomoże nam ulepszyć produkt?

Ale od początku…

Klienci, którzy do nas trafiają, najczęściej oczekują wykonania audytu istniejącego systemu, lub zaprojektowania czegoś od podstaw. To drugie lubimy robić najbardziej, więc proponujemy, aby filarem dalszych działań były badania z użytkownikami. Zdarza nam się jednak zbyt często obserwować z jaką łatwością firmy rezygnują właśnie z badań, uważając je za niepotrzebny element procesu tworzenia produktów cyfrowych. Tworzą rozwiązania przez pryzmat wyobrażeń o grupie docelowej, zamiast poświęcić czas i poznać swoich użytkowników – ich potrzeby, przyzwyczajenia i kontekst użycia produktu.

Może to brak wiary w założenie, że użytkownicy dostarczają ważnych informacji? A może brak wiedzy na temat tego jak badania z użytkownikami mogą wzbogacić projekt?

Na szczęście takie podejście do badań zmienia się wraz z ukończeniem pierwszego procesu badawczego. Wtedy sceptycy i przeciwnicy najczęściej zmieniają się w zagorzałych fanów badań, widząc w nich realną wartość. Coż, jeśli 100% badanych osób mówi, że nie użyje Twojej aplikacji, a Ty dzięki temu nie zaliczysz rynkowej wpadki i masz szansę na drugie podejście, to trudno się dziwić 🙂 (przykład z życia wzięty)

Spieszymy zatem z wyjaśnieniem czym są badania w projektowaniu UX, dlaczego są istotne i co mogą wnieść do projektu.

Nie chcemy tutaj opisywać szczegółowo wszystkich możliwych rodzajów badań, jakie można wykonać projektując produkt cyfrowy.

Nie chcemy też kurczowo trzymać się przyjętych podziałów i zastosowań badań. Z naszej perspektywy nie ma sztywnych granic w wykorzystywaniu opisanych tu metod badawczych. Kierujemy się raczej podejściem “jeśli coś się sprawdza, to czemu tego nie zrobić?” Często w naszej pracy łączymy bowiem testy zadaniowe z wywiadami i ankietami dzięki czemu uzupełniamy naszą wiedzę o użytkowniku i jego wyobrażeniach o produkcie.

“Po co nam badania? Wiemy co myślą nasi użytkownicy, znamy ich potrzeby” – to bardzo częste myślenie i postawa przedstawicieli różnych firm. Jeżeli też reprezentujesz taką podstawę, ten artykuł jest właśnie dla Ciebie!

Badania potrzeb użytkowników

Zaczniemy od badań potrzeb użytkowników, które zazwyczaj są wykonywane na początku projektu, kiedy mamy tylko (a raczej aż) pomysł na rozwiązanie zauważonego przez nas problemu lub ogólną koncepcję naszego produktu. Badania potrzeb są również przydatne w momencie, kiedy chcemy rozwijać produkt i zastanawiamy się, w którym kierunku należy pójść.

Badania te najczęściej polegają na prowadzeniu tzw. wywiadów pogłębionych IDI (ang.Individual In-depth Interview), czyli rozmowie badacza z użytkownikami, która prowadzona jest na podstawie wcześniej przygotowanego scenariusza. Badacz elastycznie dostosowuje tematy rozmowy, tak by pogłębić wątki, które są interesujące z punktu widzenia projektu.

Dzięki IDI można się dowiedzieć

  • Czy problem, który chcemy rozwiązać jest realny?
  • Jak obecnie użytkownicy radzą sobie z rozwiązaniem tego problemu bez naszego produktu?
  • Czy są jakieś rozwiązania które im w tym pomagają?
    Czego tym rozwiązaniom brakuje?

Pytania jakie zadajemy oczywiście dopasowujemy do projektu. Badacz ma jeszcze jedną wielką moc… może pogłębiać i dopytywać rozmówcę o interesujące go odpowiedzi w kontekście projektu. Czyli zamiast domyślania się, co użytkownik miał na myśli, możemy po prostu go o to zapytać.”

Korzyści jakie dają badania potrzeb

Rozmowa z użytkownikiem pozwala testować nasze hipotezy projektowe.
Wywiady mogą obalać założenia, uważane przez nas za oczywiste lub wręcz przeciwnie, potwierdzać ich słuszność. Niezależnie, czy nasze założenia zostaną obalone, czy potwierdzone, dostajemy ogromną dawkę informacji pozwalającą na podjęcie słusznych decyzji projektowych.

“W przypadku potwierdzenia założeń, mamy podstawy do kontynuowania projektu. Z doświadczenia jednak wiemy, że każde badanie wnosi coś nowego do projektu… ciekawe spostrzeżenia, które są warte rozważenia i pochylenia się nad nimi. Dlatego, nawet jeśli nasze hipotezy zostaną potwierdzone, to może się okazać, że dzięki badaniom, mamy szansę zaprojektować jeszcze lepszy, bardziej przemyślany produkt. Produkt, który będzie rozwiązywał realne problemy ujawnione przez użytkowników podczas badań.”

Rozmowa z użytkownikiem pozwala testować nasze hipotezy projektowe. Wywiady mogą obalać założenia, uważane przez nas za oczywiste lub wręcz przeciwnie, potwierdzać ich słuszność. Niezależnie, czy nasze założenia zostaną obalone, czy potwierdzone, dostajemy ogromną dawkę informacji pozwalającą na podjęcie słusznych decyzji projektowych.
Z kolei, w przypadku obalenia naszych założeń, zyskujemy szansę na przemyślenie kierunków projektowych i podjęcia decyzji o wykonaniu zwrotu jeszcze na etapie koncepcji projektu. Co niewątpliwie jest oszczędnością czasu i pieniędzy.

Mówimy tutaj o testach jeszcze na etapie pomysłu, koncepcji. Z kolei, w celu sprawdzenia istniejącego produktu wykorzystać możemy testy użyteczności.

Pytania jakie zadajemy oczywiście dopasowujemy do projektu. Badacz ma jeszcze jedną wielką moc… może pogłębiać i dopytywać rozmówcę o interesujące go odpowiedzi w kontekście projektu. Czyli zamiast domyślania się, co użytkownik miał na myśli, możemy po prostu go o to zapytać.

Część 2 wkrótce na naszym blogu…