The role of UX in Startups 2024

Imagine you've crafted the ideal product for your startup. A solution that solves a pressing problem backed by the latest technology. But, if your users can't navigate your product or struggle to understand how it works, your venture might hit a roadblock. That's where User Experience (UX) comes in.
Daniel Andor

Whether you're a startup founder or a newcomer eager to make your mark, our annual The Role of UX in Startups survey offers you real-market insights and examples from fellow founders who face the same challenges as you. 

Now, let’s dive into the insights from this year’s edition!

What role does UX play in your startup?

Startups, notably recognized for their adaptability, innovation, and substantial value attached to user experience (UX), understand the pivotal role UX plays in their trajectory. 

They realize that how users interact with their products or services significantly influences their product's overall impression. 

Here are some of the main reasons why startups invest in UX:  

  1. A strong UX presents a practical, aesthetically pleasing, intuitive user interface, encouraging increased interaction and prolonged engagement.
  2. UX helps translate the brand's mission into a relatable user journey, securing customers' trust and loyalty.
  3. UX investments push innovation boundaries, often leading to market-leading advancements or competitive differentiation.

50% of survey respondents consider UX very important in their companies.

Our most recent 2024 survey indicates that the emphasis on UX in startups has never been more significant. Let's look at some of the direct insights from the findings. 

“ The experience facilitated by UX brings the client faster to the “aha moment”. “
“ It doesn't matter how good your product is if it does not solve an important problem for your customers.“
“ Usable and professional looking UX/UI is critical for adoption and reputation.“
“Bad UX can make even a useful product unusable“
“ UX plays a big part in creating a product that solves client pain points.
“A great experience will make or break any product's success, especially when introducing a new service.”

The numbers don't just suggest; they resoundingly affirm the immense impact of UX on shaping a startup's story. Hence, startups' growth trajectory is deeply intertwined with how they approach user experience. 

How does UX fit in your startup?

Your startup has a goal—to innovate and disrupt, right? UX design can be your secret weapon in this.

You want to offer your users something that doesn't merely solve their problems but does so in a distinctly accessible and engaging manner.

That's where UX steps in. This game-changing design method goes beyond visual appeal—it's your ticket to seamless user interaction and customer satisfaction. 

Here are some ways a good user experience can be defined and fit into the business activities of our survey respondents.

  • 27.1% see it as the overall experience of customers using the product 
  • 11.4% see it as the ease of usage of the product
  • 10.0% see it as a way to understand customer needs and pain points
  • 10.7% see it as time to value spent on product
  • 4.3% see it as intuitive
  • 4.3% see it as the user journey
  • 1.4% see it as usability

10 UX challenges startup founders face.

Facing the first user experience challenges can be a big task for startup founders. 

At the top, 49% of founders are working hard to make their platforms easier for people to use. Figuring out who their customers are puzzles 45.1% of them. Building the right product or a simple first version that people love is a challenge for 39.2%. 

Here are all the UX challenges that European startup founders come across and how many of them are facing them: 

  • 49% — Constantly improve the platform to make it easier to use.
  • 45.1% — Understanding the target audience.
  • 39.2% — Build the right product or MVP for your customers.
  • 29.4% — Customer communication, feedback gathering & making sense of the data collected.
  • 29.4% — Improve important KPIs, such as Customer Retention, Customer Satisfaction and Churn.
  • 27.5% — Improve and fix broken user flows in your product.
  • 27.5% — Figure out what to build or fix and prioritize your next steps accordingly.
  • 25.5% — Validate my product or feature ideas in a fast way.
  • 21.6% — Reduce the time needed to build the right solution and have faster iterations.
  • 5.9% — Redesign the current platform.

Facing these challenges and improving your current workflow is not always easy. Most of the time, it requires thorough planning and a budget allocated for it. 

Here's how much founders plan to invest in UX to address the challenges: 

  • 27.5% under 1000 EUR
  • 37.3% between 1.000 - 3.000 EUR
  • 11.8% between 3.000 - 5.000 EUR
  • 7.8% between 5.000 - 10.000 EUR
  • 7.8% between 10.000 - 20.000 EUR
  • 7.8% over 20.000 EUR

Who are the founders behind the survey?

Let's take a moment to look at the people who share similar challenges in their journeys to grow their startups.

  • 47.1% — Public companies.
  • 19.6% — Pilot projects or beta.
  • 13.7% — MVP.
  • 5.9% — Interview or customer development stage.
  • 3.9% — Prototype.
  • 2% — Idea.

The majority of survey respondents are startup builders with small teams, but all types of teams are represented. Here's what the distribution looks like:

  • 75% — 2-10 people.
  • 13.5% — 11-20 people.
  • 5.8% — 21-30 people.
  • 3.8% — +50 people.

These companies and projects come from various industries and places worldwide. 

Looking to learn more?

If you are curious to discover more insights into the role of UX in startups, the challenges they address, how they resolve them, and what stage of their journey, dive into the full report below or open the PDF version.