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Dominic Magnifico
Dominic Magnifico

Some UX Design Principles Startups Should Know 🥸

Hitting the ground running as a startup is tough. There are a million things to do and no time to do them. You’ve gone through the “justification” phase, explaining to everyone and their mom why the world needs your startup. You’ve documented every single forecast and business plan. Now it’s time to start thinking about actually executing your vision. It all begins with User Experience. Great UX design isn't an afterthought or a “nice to have”; it's an absolute necessity for any startup aiming to stand out and thrive. That said, let's dive into some UX design principles that every startup should know.

User-Centered Design 🗣️

First things first: always put your users at the center of your design process. This means understanding their needs, behaviors, and pain points. It's not about what you think looks good; it's about making sure your users can accomplish the goal you’ve set out for them with the least amount of resistance.

  • Conduct User Research: Surveys, interviews, and usability tests are your best friends here.
  • Create Personas: Develop detailed profiles of your target users to guide your design decisions.
  • User Journey Mapping: Map out the steps users take to complete tasks within your application, to identify opportunities for improvement.

Simplicity and Clarity 🧘

Less is more. Seriously. Don't overload your users with information or options. Keep your design clean, straightforward, and intuitive. As users flock to your application, you’ll be able to take their feedback and make well educated, data-driven decisions about what to improve.

  • Clear Navigation: Make sure users can easily find what they need without getting lost. Don’t hide primary actions behind layers of interaction.
  • Minimalist Design: Remove any unnecessary elements that don't add value. Truly ask yourself why something exists, and how it aids in users accomplishing their goals.
  • Readable Content: Use clear, concise language and break up text with headings, bullet points, or some very cool emojis if you’re hip 😎.


Like all things, consistency is key. Especially when it comes to creating a seamless user experience. This means maintaining uniformity in your design elements across your website or app.

  • Design System: I love design systems. There’s nothing better than an organized style guide that includes typography, color schemes, button styles, and all the little components that make your application unique.
  • Consistent Interactions: Make sure similar actions produce similar results throughout your site. Don’t have twelve different variations of that modal. People notice, and it makes you look silly.
  • Branding: Keep your branding elements consistent to build trust and foster that brand recognition.


Accessibility needs to be top of mind at the outset of any project. Baking accessibility best practices into the UX and design phase of your application will ensure you’re providing an equitable experience for each and every one of your users, regardless of how they interact with the web. Make sure you’re at a minimum making these considerations:

  • Alt Text for Images: This is too easy not to be doing. Provide descriptive text for images to assist screen readers.
  • Keyboard Navigation: Not everyone browses the web with a mouse or a $130 Apple trackpad. Make considerations for those who navigate with a keyboard.
  • Contrast Ratios: I’m old and this one bothers me more and more. Do a quick check to make your text has at least a AA contrast ratio. There are several tools for this. Pick one.

Feedback and Responsiveness

In our wild world of JavaScript applications, ensuring that a user knows that something is happening, has become more important than in the past. Our applications connect to more third-party services these days, and our users must know that an action they’ve taken is processing. We use these strategies to help with that;

  • Loading Indicators / Skeletons 💀: Skeleton loaders not only sound cool, they also provide anticipatory design elements that give users a sense of what will be on the page, before the data has fully loaded.
  • Error Messages: Provide clear, helpful error messages when something goes wrong. There’s nothing worse than a user seeing Uncaught ReferenceError: Invalid left-hand side in assignment or some other nonsense. Give them plain English feedback instead!
  • Performance Optimization: This is becoming more and more tricky. The more services we integrate, the more complex a database becomes the more creative you have to get to ensure an application is performant.

Emotional Design

This is such a cool concept to us. Emotional design focuses more on creating experiences that evoke a particular feeling from your users. As cliche, as it may sound, this creates a unique connection and keeps your users feeling positive about the service you’re providing them. This can be done in a few ways;

  • Storytelling: Visual storytelling on the web is an art form. We love expressing our creativity through creating a full-fledged digital experience.
  • Micro-Interactions: Small, thoughtful animations and interactions tend to put you in a position to entertain and engage your users and drive them to keep coming back.
  • Human Touch: Incorporate human elements, like friendly language, relatable imagery, or exceptionally witty content, like the content you’re reading right this second.

Iterative Design

Everything is iterative. After you build an MVP, it’s back to the drawing board. Starting the process over and continuously iterating is the only way to keep pace with the multi-billion dollar applications that exist in our world. Stay engaged with your user base, listen to their feedback, and they’ll remain loyal to you.

  • Usability Testing: Regularly test your designs with real users. This is and always will be something that the tech giants miss out on. Don’t miss the mark here.
  • A/B Testing: Get super granular with this. A/B test simple language, or small components, and use that information to inform the larger design.
  • Analytics: Use data to inform all of your decisions. There needs to be a why, and data will uncover it.

Focus on Business Goals

While user satisfaction is paramount, your application should align with your business objectives. All that work you did at the inception of your idea shouldn’t go to waste. The forecasts and the documentation are invaluable, but balance user needs with your startup’s goals. No bullet points here, those business goals are yours to define. We’ll be here to help you refine and execute them.

Keep testing, collaborating, learning, and evolving. Chat with us to get that startup started up the right way 🚀