In an MVP, do looks matter?

Set of makeup brushes, with the words "In my looks matter?" written over-top.

The value of building an MVP is getting your concept out in front of the world as quickly as possible so you can start gathering feedback. The keyword in Minimum Viable Product, of course, is “minimum”. An MVP should have minimum features and should require minimum work. A real MVP should just cross the the threshold from useless to functioning.

One question I get a lot is,

When it comes to building your MVP, do looks matter?

The TL;DR answer is : It depends. Probably not too much. But you should definitely come back to worrying about aesthetics as soon as you are ready to move on from MVP to a full product experience.

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Equity, Designers, and Startups

paper and pen with words overlayed "equity, designers, and startups"

In a recent post, I discussed some of the reasons a freelance designer might hesitate to take on a startup client. A primary reason designers may balk at working with a startup is compensation; specifically, not receiving it. One potential solution is to ask the startup for equity, but that brings its own list of concerns. For instance, consider this question from a freelancing UI/UX Designer that climbed aboard the startup train for the first time:

I’m serving as UI/UX and Front End Dev for a pre-money startup. They have 3 founders and one other employee, all technical and competent. I played a significant role in distilling their ideas into solid workflows, prototypes, and a defined scope for MVP. I will build the front end for the MVP. We have a good relationship and they want me to stay on board. I intend to get them at least to MVP, likely further. How do I contextualize my value?

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Strong ego required in entrepreneurship and design

Picture of a bubble floating in the air, with the words "strong ego required" written overtop.

Ego has a bad rap. Conceited, over-confident people are often described by the size of their ego, which has made “ego” a word we try to avoid. But it’s actually a useful concept to think about. In psychology, ego is defined as…

the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.”

In other words, it’s you. It’s the thinking, feeling, piece of you that deals with your instincts as well as the outside world. It’s the piece of you that makes decisions on how to act and behave. It’s the “bubble” your consciousness lives in.

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What I learned about design through writing

What I learned about design through writing

After I finished my Ph.D, my brain was “done” with research and design. I wanted a new craft to pursue, and I decided to take up writing. After one round of NaNoWriMo I had written the most miserable, trite novel. And I loved it. I also had learned a lot of life lessons. First, I learned that all novels start off trite and miserable, but with discipline and hard work you can make them better. Then I realized writing and design are more similar than they are different (and that my brain wasn’t as done with research and design as I thought.) In this post I share three pieces of advice I learned on my brief foray into writing. These are mottos that all writers know, and designers could benefit from.

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