First Round Capital, a venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage startups, hosts a regular event called Design + Startup. I had the opportunity to give a talk at one of their San Francisco events. I described my 4-step design process I’ve developed over the years working at startups, building products customers love.
Creating this talk really helped me boil down my process into its essentials. I’ve always approached design as more than just pushing pixels around or making an interface pretty. I always approach with the intent to understand user behavior first and foremost.
Through the years, I’ve learned what tools and processes help get to the heart of what users are doing and thinking. At a small company, we don’t have multiple designers, analysts, and researchers. These tools and processes helps a designer wear “many hats” to figure out what needs the most attention in the website or app, so you can focus your energy and resources on the projects that will deliver the highest impact. This is particularly important at a startup, where your resources are limited and time is of the essence.
To help drive that point home, instead of creating a presentation for designers, by a designer, where everyone has an opinion about typeface, grid, colors — I drew my slides with markers. When iterating quickly, the presentation of your deliverables matters less than getting your ideas across clearly and quickly.