How do we design MURAL?
In this post, I will open the design kitchen behind MURAL.
I will retell the challenges and opportunities that arise when designing a product from scratch with its own users as the starting point and the compass.
The first MURAL insight arises from the actual pain of one of its founders at their previous company: an online games studio.
As it usually happens in most creative processes, every time the team had to work on a new concept for a game, they individually collected tons of references for inspiration, developed new ideas around them, and tried to share them with the rest of the team.
The team found this process tiresome and frustrating.
They needed something that would let them share content of different formats like videos, links, photos, etc. in a way that would allow them to shape their ideas together.
The first emerging ideas for MURAL began to be designed in these early prototypes and as they evolved its main function and its role was shaped.
How could we solve this problem?
What shape should the solution have?
How could we validate it?
These were some of the questions that popped-up in the very early stages of development.
Under conditions of extreme uncertainty and limited resources - as most startups - and with the strong mission to avoid building a product that nobody wants, we embraced Lean Startup principles from the beginning.
From the UX Design point of view, this mindset allowed us to set a work environment based on experimentation and learning.
The main purpose was to focus on our users from the beginning - being able to engage real customers in testing early versions of the product.
This is something I want to highlight. From the start, the company was built bearing in mind that our product needed to “solve somebody’s problem”.
Nonetheless, we soon encountered limitations as we started to follow traditional UCD (User Centered Design) practices. Within our highly dynamic and unpredictable environment, these practices were not enough to deal with our specific needs.
At this point, we found enormous value on Lean UX principles that helped us move on.
Lean UX takes the best parts of the designer’s tool kit, combining the foundations of Agile Development, Lean Startup & Design Thinking in a way that makes the UX methods relevant to these new contexts.
I will do my best to exemplify how we started to adopt Lean UX principles in our daily routine:
How we involved our customers, which type of user research we carry out, the tools we use and the way our team works collaboratively as a way to break down the silos of the different disciplines to solve users problems.