For many app entrepreneurs, they put the importance of design above all else. They’re concerned with the look. They’ve had the vision in their head for so long, that they can’t see beyond the visuals. That’s not the worst thing in the world; we’re just here to make sure you’re thinking a bit deeper.

When we speak with Product Owners, we agree that design is incredibly important, but we stress prioritized design. Designing just to design isn’t sustainable; all of those design decisions have to be based on the backlog. You can get the nuts and bolts of the backlog from our previous article “It All Starts With A Backlog.” In a nutshell, we stress the importance of designing features and experiences that are important to your MVP, your initial launch, not the 5th iteration of your product.

Setting yourself up with a designer that isn’t going to do the research and is simply going to jump into elaborate designs will ultimately waste a lot of money on designs with no real functions or immediate utility. That leaves you with a bloated product that could already be over budget.

When it comes to time to hire UX/UI designers, you have to be smart. UX, or user experience, is an area of developing an app that cannot be short-changed and should NEVER be left out. With that being said, any startup UX help should include extensive research. It’s vital to know your user’s perspectives and needs before writing a single line of code and beginning to build your MVP. You’re not designing for yourself, you’re designing for a user, and you need to know everything about those users.

This UX research phase doesn’t have to slow down the process, and it doesn’t have to take forever either. Researchers can knock it out quickly by going straight to the source – potential users – and talking to them directly. Every mind needs to come together including managers, stakeholders, and the project team to find an affordable way to maximize your research plan and spend time determining the most important features to prioritize design and ultimately develop your MVP quickly and effectively.

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CEO and Co-founder of Neon Roots Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Neon Roots, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.