We explored what it takes to design and build great products at the July edition of Startup Saturday in Mumbai. Three of our speakers were:

Our first speaker, Hanisha Vaswani stressed on the fact that finding a problem, before jumping into the solutions is very important. Some of the key questions an entrepreneur must ask himself are, ‘Who are you building it for?’, ‘What are the value propositions?’, ‘Is the product really solving a problem?’. According to her, one of the best products that she came across was IRCTC’s website. In her opinion, a good product is what solves a problem and IRCTC did just that. It solved the problem of standing in huge queues among many others.


To better visualise what she meant by ‘finding the problem’ and ‘knowing one’s user base’, Hanisha proposed the audience to write down the issues they face on their everyday commute.  On the basis of few chosen problems, the audience was asked to find possible solutions. Understanding the problem statement is the key to building the right product. Asking hard questions, like the ones mentioned earlier can ensure that your startup is actually building something that adds value to the users. She also mentioned how a startup should approach building a product at the early stages to validate their ideas. Like many others, she stressed on the idea of building a Minimum Viable Product for startups. Not just that, Hanisha also discussed upon what should be done to validate an idea even before the product is launched in the market. An example was a smokescreen test. It is to create a landing page about the product and see if people are at all interested in using what you are planning to build. 

The underlying truth, according to Hanisha is to build something small and gather enough data points which will help you understand user behaviour and help you build additional features.

Our second speaker, Lavina Utamani believed that ‘Not the marketing, but it is the design of the product that should speak’. According to her, building a product and then presenting it to the user is not the best approach. The best approach to designing the best product is to have the users involved in it throughout the process. 

She also mentioned how important it is to understand user behaviour while designing the product. One can take user interviews, map customer journeys and analyse tasks to better understand user behaviour. But, that’s not enough. Along with user behaviour analysis, it is also important to keep usability in mind. For startups, validating their products is very important. Validation can be done either before building the product, or while designing it. Smokescreen test which was suggested by Hanisha as well, is one way to validate your ideas before it is even built. On the other hand A/B testing is a way to test design methods to figure out if one method works better than the other one. 

One key thought that Lavina mentioned was that ‘The best place to look for an opportunity or idea for a startup is where there is High Importance and Low Satisfaction.’

Our third speaker of the day, LoveKshitij, spent some time stating how human psychology in design can impact a business. With a very low attention span, even a second delay in loading a webpage can bring down conversion by almost 7%. Which brings up the question, ‘Is a good design, how it looks?’ So, here’s what constitutes a good design according to him:

  • Discoverability: All the possible actions and how to perform them
  • Understanding: Meaning of different control and settings
  • Visibility and Communication: Proper visibility of key elements and communications. 

He also mentioned the importance of color theory and its importance in product design. Different colours have different meaning and emotions. Picking the right one is the key to building a product that connects better with the user. LoveKshitij also mentioned the importance of social influence in design. Using the right elements can help you build trust, whereas using scarcity & social proof can help you sell more. Designers should also focus on building with cultural sensibilities in mind.

For startups, it is really important to understand what it takes to build great products. Not every idea is great, and neither is every product. So, keep ideating, building and testing. That’s the key to building a great product.

Contributed by: Bharadwaj Kanamarlapudi & Rajat Sinha,
Volunteer- Mumbai