While developing new products, companies try to perfect certain key aspects like functionality and robustness, while the design is usually relegated to a secondary position. However, this characteristic not only aims to make the product attractive but also relates to the experience that the user has while using the product, which in turn contributes to their level of satisfaction. Some experts are already predicting that design will become the element that positions companies as technological leaders, a belief shared by the young innovator Marcin Treder. Cofounder and CEO of UXPin, Marcin has created software that allows companies to implement collaborative design processes focused on user experience.
“To achieve a product design based on user experience, you have to unite people from different fields, from software developers and graphic designers to Customer Service professionals”, this young entrepreneur explains. “When you connect people from such different backgrounds, the tool used must be as simple as possible and allow cooperation at every developmental stage of the design process”, he adds.
UXPin´s platform allows each team member to contribute to the creation of the design, while maintaining each individual´s computer synchronized to the current version held on the platform. “It´s kind of like Google Docs”, Treder says. Whether the content is a sketch, a wireframe, a mockup or the prototype for an app or a website, “UXPin covers the complete design process because we do not believe in separating design into phases, but rather in achieving a usable, final product”, the designer explains.
Despite the fact that UXPin´s platform offers a complete package of functionalities, Treder admits that there are customers “who are not ready to give up Photoshop yet”. For these customers, UXPin offers plugins that add these functions to the design tools used by their customers. Although in his experience it doesn´t take long for customers to switch over to the complete version of the platform. Instead of pointing to sales statistics or the names of important customers as proof of his success, instead Treder refers to the number of users that register each month to test the platform: 20,000.
The history of UXPin dates back to when Treder, then a philosophy graduate and psychology student, made the decision to change the design mentality at the company where he was employed. For this purpose he began to run workshops for his colleagues regarding user experience. What he discovered through these workshops is that the best tool for running collaborative design workshops turned out to be a notebook with post-it notes. Treder then joined forces with a few colleagues from the same company with similar mindsets to found UXPin. Thus was born their first product: a notebook with a series of predetermined post-it notes associated to different categories within the field of design. The success was overwhelming, and their supply of these notebooks sold out within 48 hours, delivering some orders to giants like Microsoft.
While Treder was preparing his dissertation on Cognitive Psychology, this notebook + post-its were converted into software based on the same principles that underpinned that first product. This computerized version lead UXPin to raise 1.6 million dollars (almost 1.5 million euros) from investors in Silicon Valley (USA). It was the first time a Polish start-up achieved this level of success.
In the words of Mathilde Cristiani, chief editor at L´Atelier BNP Paribas and jury member for MIT Technology Review´s Innovators Under 35 Poland awards, “Marcin Treder´s success story deserves to be highlighted” given that UXPin “allows start-ups as well as large corporations to me more creative with greater ease, having proven themselves to be a scalable company capable of reaching new markets”.