Design for startups: boosting conversions by 30% with current resources

Nov 19, 2023

Boost your startup with heartbeat's techniques: Unlock a 30% conversion uplift with smart design strategies and practical tips.

Making design work for your startup

In the startup world, it's not just about how well your website or app functions; it's also about how it looks. This is where the Aesthetic-Usability Effect comes into play. It's a simple idea: if your product looks good, people are more likely to use it. This concept isn't limited to any particular industry; it works for everything from small cafes to large tech companies. Let's explore how good design can improve the performance of digital products.

The power of the Aesthetic-Usability Effect

This effect is all about the impact of design on user emotions. During product testing, you might notice that users pay more attention to the design than the functionality. If they like what they see, you're heading in the right direction.

The internet moves fast, and people decide quickly — often within 10-20 seconds — whether to stay on a site. A well-designed site can lead to a 30% increase in keeping users around. Interested in learning more about how design impacts user experience? Check out our blog post on the differences between UI and UX.

A case study: AirBnB's design strategy

AirBnB's success story is a testament to the power of good design. They faced financial challenges and identified that poor property photos on their site were a problem. By upgrading these images, they turned their business around almost instantly. It's a perfect example of how effective design can lead to real results. For more insights on how design can drive your startup's success, take a look at our branding exercises for startups.

Below are a few real-life examples of digital products we’ve worked on:

Case Studies: CleanCloud and Product Collective

In the startup landscape, design is not just about aesthetics; it's about functionality too. Let's look at two examples: CleanCloud, a POS software provider for laundry and dry cleaning businesses, and Product Collective, known for their industry conference website.

CleanCloud shows how design can enhance a specific industry tool. A user-friendly interface and visually appealing design can make a significant difference in user engagement for niche business software. Product Collective's website revamp is another example. They didn't change much structurally, but the design update led to a doubled conversion rate on PC platforms.

And here is a new version of Industry Conference pop-up:

The Double-Edged Sword of the Aesthetic-Usability Effect

While the Aesthetic-Usability Effect can lead to immediate benefits like increased conversions, it's not a cure-all. Focusing solely on aesthetics might hide underlying issues in your UI/UX design. It's a short-term strategy. Users initially attracted by a site's look will eventually notice if it's hard to use.

This effect can be a starting point, but remember, users are looking for solutions that ease their problems and bring comfort. Over-relying on aesthetics might initially draw users in, but without addressing functional needs, they'll eventually leave. To understand how to balance aesthetics with functionality, read about our UX design frameworks for future projects.

“Okay. Now how do I make it pretty?”

Finding the Right Design System

Design doesn't have to be complicated. There are many design systems with helpful guidelines out there. We've been working on our own for over 3 years, called .pulse. It's full of design rules and tips from our experience with digital products. .pulse has ideas on how to make your website look good and feel right. You can start using some of these ideas on your site right now to see improvements. For more insights into enhancing your startup's design, check out our thoughts on the importance of branding in 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you do conversion rate optimization?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) involves analyzing user interactions and making adjustments to your website to improve the likelihood of visitors taking a desired action. This process includes A/B testing, user feedback, and analyzing data to identify areas for improvement. Learn more about our approach to optimization in our article on designing for SaaS and best UI practices.

What is conversion rate design?

Conversion rate design focuses on designing your website or digital product in a way that maximizes the likelihood of visitors completing a desired action, like making a purchase or signing up. It involves strategic use of layout, color, text, and user journey mapping to guide users toward conversion goals.

What do CRO agencies do?

CRO agencies specialize in increasing the effectiveness of your website or digital product in converting visitors into customers. They employ strategies like user experience analysis, A/B testing, and performance tracking to identify and implement improvements that lead to higher conversion rates. Check out our process for a deeper understanding of how we approach these enhancements.

What is startup branding?

Startup branding is the process of creating a unique identity for your startup in the market. It involves developing a brand strategy, visual identity, and messaging that resonate with your target audience and differentiate your business. Effective branding is crucial for startups to establish a strong presence and build customer loyalty. For startups looking to craft a compelling brand, our guide on startup branding essentials offers valuable insights.