I started my job as a user experience designer at a startup back in the beginning of 2017. Now, about six months after leaving the startup I can look back at my time there. There’s only one thing I can conclude…
I failed. I failed as a designer at a startup.
Continuing looking back at my time there I can share my experience with you to help you succeed at your startup. Maybe you’re thinking about pursuing an idea or you’re wondering if you should apply to a job opening as a designer at a startup. In that case you’ve come to the right place. Let me help you out!
Being a designer at a startup. Is it something I can do? Is it something I want to do?
Being a designer at a startup is not easier or more difficult than being a designer at an accomplished, more mature company. The pros and cons are the same — you still have to sell your design. You still have to convince stakeholders to follow your advice and invest in your skills.
Your design will not be pretty…at first.
Your design will not be understood…at first.
Stakeholders prefer working software over good looking software…at first.
Do these look familiar? They should. They are not that different at ‘regular companies’. You should not be too worried at this point. However, there’s one big difference. Pace. Things change very fast at a startup. Things have to be done very fast also. That’s because everything is new. A lot needs to be established.
Things like the software you use or the way you communicate with colleagues is not yet a given at a startup. That’s why there will be less focus on your design…at first! It’s up to you to get your design noticed.