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The designer role in a startup
#hatchbyffadesignmonth #thefearlesscommunity
Lewis Kang'ethe Ngugi
Lewis Kang'ethe Ngugi
ngeshlew
@ngeshlew
https://lewisngugi.com
#thefearlesscommunity
Startups (design) in Africa
InvestBambooPaystack Helium Health
Startups today
How do you build
design in an
organisation that has
never had a design
team before, what
are the challenges
and what are the
hacks?
NEA's 2016 Future of
Design Survey
highlighted that the
key characteristics
of a ‘design-centric’
organization
1. Design integrated across multiple
areas
2. User-Centricity
3. Dedicated Design Team
4. Designers as part of C-Level or
Executive team
5. Founder who is a designer
6. Equal ratio of Designers to Engineers
By level of importance:
Source:
NEA: The Future of Design in Startups 2016
Survey Results
How do you build
design in an
organisation that has
never had a design
team before, what
are the challenges
and what are the
hacks?
NEA's 2017 Future of
Design survey, 95% of
all respondents
believe that designers
in technology startups
need to be involved
directly in the
business side.
What this tells us is that the role of design
in any organization today is changing
significantly. Designers now have greater
opportunities to influence the success or
failure of a business.
Design is becoming a key
differentiator for companies to
acquire funding, press coverage, and
loyal users.
Source:
Future of Design in Startups: Survey Results
2017
Design today
Design fails
1
2
Customer could abandon your website, the
numbers hover around 15–30% for a bad user
experience.
91% of people regularly or occasionally read online
reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as
a personal recommendation.
Low Search Engine Rankings
Negative Brand Perception
3 Website UX issues such as performance,
accessibility, mobile friendliness, page speed e.t.c
all constitute a huge component of ranking
factors.
Website Abandonment
4 Users will not think twice before abandoning a
product or app which causes them frustration.
Competitive Disadvantage
Startups fails
1 Tunnel vision and not gathering user
feedback are fatal flaws for most tech
startups.
Ignoring customers (9)
2 Knowing your target audience & knowing
how to get their attention & convert them
to leads & ultimately customers is most
important skills of a successful business.
Poor marketing (8)
3 Bad things happen when you ignore what
a users wants and need, whether
consciously or accidentally.
User unfriendly product (6)
4 While obsessing over the competition is
not healthy, ignoring them was also a
recipe for failure in 19% of the startup
failures.
Get outcompeted (4)
Source:
CBINSIGHTS: The Top 20 Reasons Startups
Fail
What's the problem here?
The 300 million dollar button
Spool worked on a major eCommerce site with a typical
login form as part of the checkout process. When users had
filled their shopping carts and were looking to pay, they
were presented with a simple form asking for email address
and password with buttons for login, register, and forgot
password.
First-time customers were hesitant to click “Register”
because they were afraid of marketing messaging and
entering personal information, despite not knowing what
registering would actually involve.
Spool found that 45% of all customers had multiple
registrations in the system, and there were 160,000
“Forgot Password” requests a day—75% of which did not
result in a subsequent purchase. All the team had to do
was replace the “Register” button and put a “Continue”
button with a disclaimer that creating an account was not
necessary to make a purchase. The number of customers
purchasing skyrocketed by 45%, resulting in $15 million the
first month.
Over the course of the year, that one tiny design change resulted in $300
million in new revenue. Even the tiniest-seeming elements of design can
have a huge trickle-down impact on profitability.
How did it work out?
Design from day one?
Dear
Designers...
Visual
Designer
Brand
Designer
Conversation
Designer
MarCom
Designer
Product
Designer
Leadership
You wear many hats and naturally become a multidisciplinary
designer
What does it mean to be a designer in a
startup?
Hacks to succeed as a designer?
Prioritize
You will get requests from everyone
Learn to say NO!
Using Prioritization Matrices to Inform
Design Decisions
Be a generalist
Become the everything designer if
you want to be a great startup
designer to fill needs as they arise
(broaden your design skills). You will
own the design for these big
projects from start to finish
Consistent User
Research & analytics
Capture behavioral data, the basis for
evidence-driven design decision. Sheds
light on what people actually do with a
product, which can be substantially
different from what they say they do
with it.
Create a design
process
Startup fails as they rush the product
to the market without proper research,
strategy, & testing.investing months in
production without thinking of
customer satisfaction. As a designer in
a startup, you have to move fast as well
by having a process.
View book View book View book View book
Hacks to succeed as a designer?
Communication
Asking the right questions & Always
have a why. Tim Brown, the CEO of
IDEO, says leaders may not have all
the answers, but need to ask the
right kinds of questions.
Knowledge
transfer
Document your processes and
deliverables. Document all decisions.
Network with
other designers
Attend meetups, conferences, AMA
and other networking sessions virtually.
Ask for what you
need
Nobody can read your mind. Not your
coworkers, not your friends, not your
partner, and especially not your boss.
It’s good to have a sounding board
before you talk to your boss, where a
mood swing might have larger
implications than it deserves.
View book View book Meetup View book
Hacks to succeed as a designer?
Prove ROI of your design work
Understand the
business acumen &
which metrics matter.
Startups trust results
they can measure
(preferably in dollars).
Saying that a design has
increased conversions by
200% is brilliant.
Attaching a number to
something makes
entrepreneurs (and, yes,
designers, too) feel better
about the problem being
addressed.
View book
I promise, it's true!
Greatest Hack of all time!
Dear
Founders...
Startups can use
Agencies
1. Branding
2. Marketing / creative
campaign design
3. Packaging design
4. Product design
Creative agency DesignStudio developed Airbnb’s new logo
If you are a Founder
Be involved
● In design decisions and support
design as a key pillar of the company.
● In regular design reviews
Build a diverse team
● Perspectives that are shaped by gender,
race, ethnicity, religion, culture and life
experiences
● Grew up in a rural vs urban vs suburban
area, associates vs bachelors, etc
Designers switch jobs
● Concerned about lack of career
growth
● Leadership team didn't understand
value of design
Hire the right designers
● Entrepreneurial: resourceful and
willing to experiment
● Curious, motivated, and humble
● Natural leaders
Everyone is a
designer
- Tim Brown: "Design is everywhere, inevitably everyone is a designer"
- Don Norman: "We are all designers. We manipulate the environment, the
better to serve our needs. We select what items to own, which to have
around us. We build, buy, arrange and restructure: all this is a form of
design."
- Daniel Burka: "Whether you like it or not, whether you approve it or not,
people outside of your design team are making significant design choices
that affect your customers in important ways. They are designing your
product. They are designers."
Useful links
Community sign up page:
fearlesstalent.co/community
MBA for designers
d.mba/
5 steps to a hypothesis-driven design process
invisionapp.com/inside-design/hypothesis-driven-design-process/
Pick tools wisely
userinterviews.com/blog/ux-research-tools-map-2020
UX Coffee Hours
storage.googleapis.com/uxcoffeehours.com/site/index.html
Amazing Design People List
https://www.adplist.org/mentors
Other books
Practice Product Design Skills
productdesigninterview.com/
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're
Wrong About the World--and Why
Things Are Better Than You Think
amazon.com/Factfulness-Reasons-W
orld-Things-Better/
Fearless
Fearlesstalent
_fearlesstalent
@_FearlessTalent
https://itsfearless.com/community/
#thefearlesscommunity
Thank you for joining us !

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The Designer Role in a Startup (Fearless x Founders Factory Africa, Sep 2020)

  • 1. The designer role in a startup #hatchbyffadesignmonth #thefearlesscommunity
  • 2. Lewis Kang'ethe Ngugi Lewis Kang'ethe Ngugi ngeshlew @ngeshlew https://lewisngugi.com #thefearlesscommunity
  • 3. Startups (design) in Africa InvestBambooPaystack Helium Health
  • 4. Startups today How do you build design in an organisation that has never had a design team before, what are the challenges and what are the hacks? NEA's 2016 Future of Design Survey highlighted that the key characteristics of a ‘design-centric’ organization 1. Design integrated across multiple areas 2. User-Centricity 3. Dedicated Design Team 4. Designers as part of C-Level or Executive team 5. Founder who is a designer 6. Equal ratio of Designers to Engineers By level of importance: Source: NEA: The Future of Design in Startups 2016 Survey Results
  • 5. How do you build design in an organisation that has never had a design team before, what are the challenges and what are the hacks? NEA's 2017 Future of Design survey, 95% of all respondents believe that designers in technology startups need to be involved directly in the business side. What this tells us is that the role of design in any organization today is changing significantly. Designers now have greater opportunities to influence the success or failure of a business. Design is becoming a key differentiator for companies to acquire funding, press coverage, and loyal users. Source: Future of Design in Startups: Survey Results 2017 Design today
  • 6. Design fails 1 2 Customer could abandon your website, the numbers hover around 15–30% for a bad user experience. 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Low Search Engine Rankings Negative Brand Perception 3 Website UX issues such as performance, accessibility, mobile friendliness, page speed e.t.c all constitute a huge component of ranking factors. Website Abandonment 4 Users will not think twice before abandoning a product or app which causes them frustration. Competitive Disadvantage Startups fails 1 Tunnel vision and not gathering user feedback are fatal flaws for most tech startups. Ignoring customers (9) 2 Knowing your target audience & knowing how to get their attention & convert them to leads & ultimately customers is most important skills of a successful business. Poor marketing (8) 3 Bad things happen when you ignore what a users wants and need, whether consciously or accidentally. User unfriendly product (6) 4 While obsessing over the competition is not healthy, ignoring them was also a recipe for failure in 19% of the startup failures. Get outcompeted (4) Source: CBINSIGHTS: The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail What's the problem here?
  • 7. The 300 million dollar button Spool worked on a major eCommerce site with a typical login form as part of the checkout process. When users had filled their shopping carts and were looking to pay, they were presented with a simple form asking for email address and password with buttons for login, register, and forgot password. First-time customers were hesitant to click “Register” because they were afraid of marketing messaging and entering personal information, despite not knowing what registering would actually involve. Spool found that 45% of all customers had multiple registrations in the system, and there were 160,000 “Forgot Password” requests a day—75% of which did not result in a subsequent purchase. All the team had to do was replace the “Register” button and put a “Continue” button with a disclaimer that creating an account was not necessary to make a purchase. The number of customers purchasing skyrocketed by 45%, resulting in $15 million the first month. Over the course of the year, that one tiny design change resulted in $300 million in new revenue. Even the tiniest-seeming elements of design can have a huge trickle-down impact on profitability. How did it work out? Design from day one?
  • 9. Visual Designer Brand Designer Conversation Designer MarCom Designer Product Designer Leadership You wear many hats and naturally become a multidisciplinary designer What does it mean to be a designer in a startup?
  • 10. Hacks to succeed as a designer? Prioritize You will get requests from everyone Learn to say NO! Using Prioritization Matrices to Inform Design Decisions Be a generalist Become the everything designer if you want to be a great startup designer to fill needs as they arise (broaden your design skills). You will own the design for these big projects from start to finish Consistent User Research & analytics Capture behavioral data, the basis for evidence-driven design decision. Sheds light on what people actually do with a product, which can be substantially different from what they say they do with it. Create a design process Startup fails as they rush the product to the market without proper research, strategy, & testing.investing months in production without thinking of customer satisfaction. As a designer in a startup, you have to move fast as well by having a process. View book View book View book View book
  • 11. Hacks to succeed as a designer? Communication Asking the right questions & Always have a why. Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO, says leaders may not have all the answers, but need to ask the right kinds of questions. Knowledge transfer Document your processes and deliverables. Document all decisions. Network with other designers Attend meetups, conferences, AMA and other networking sessions virtually. Ask for what you need Nobody can read your mind. Not your coworkers, not your friends, not your partner, and especially not your boss. It’s good to have a sounding board before you talk to your boss, where a mood swing might have larger implications than it deserves. View book View book Meetup View book
  • 12. Hacks to succeed as a designer? Prove ROI of your design work Understand the business acumen & which metrics matter. Startups trust results they can measure (preferably in dollars). Saying that a design has increased conversions by 200% is brilliant. Attaching a number to something makes entrepreneurs (and, yes, designers, too) feel better about the problem being addressed. View book
  • 13. I promise, it's true! Greatest Hack of all time!
  • 15. Startups can use Agencies 1. Branding 2. Marketing / creative campaign design 3. Packaging design 4. Product design Creative agency DesignStudio developed Airbnb’s new logo
  • 16. If you are a Founder Be involved ● In design decisions and support design as a key pillar of the company. ● In regular design reviews Build a diverse team ● Perspectives that are shaped by gender, race, ethnicity, religion, culture and life experiences ● Grew up in a rural vs urban vs suburban area, associates vs bachelors, etc Designers switch jobs ● Concerned about lack of career growth ● Leadership team didn't understand value of design Hire the right designers ● Entrepreneurial: resourceful and willing to experiment ● Curious, motivated, and humble ● Natural leaders
  • 17. Everyone is a designer - Tim Brown: "Design is everywhere, inevitably everyone is a designer" - Don Norman: "We are all designers. We manipulate the environment, the better to serve our needs. We select what items to own, which to have around us. We build, buy, arrange and restructure: all this is a form of design." - Daniel Burka: "Whether you like it or not, whether you approve it or not, people outside of your design team are making significant design choices that affect your customers in important ways. They are designing your product. They are designers."
  • 18.
  • 19. Useful links Community sign up page: fearlesstalent.co/community MBA for designers d.mba/ 5 steps to a hypothesis-driven design process invisionapp.com/inside-design/hypothesis-driven-design-process/ Pick tools wisely userinterviews.com/blog/ux-research-tools-map-2020 UX Coffee Hours storage.googleapis.com/uxcoffeehours.com/site/index.html Amazing Design People List https://www.adplist.org/mentors Other books Practice Product Design Skills productdesigninterview.com/ Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think amazon.com/Factfulness-Reasons-W orld-Things-Better/
  • 21. Thank you for joining us !