A Glimpse into the UX Designer’s World in a Venture Building Company: a First-Hand Perspective

Michał Biernacki

6 min of reading

18 September 2023

User Experience Designer, or simply UX Designer, is a role that has become increasingly important in various branches and businesses. But what happens when this role is combined within the dynamic environment of a venture building company? While many are familiar with the concept of UX, the nuances of being a UX Designer in such a context can present an entirely different landscape to navigate.

As someone who has taken on this role within a venture building company, I've encountered distinctive aspects that set it apart from other UX positions. In this article, I'll delve into the intricacies of what it truly means.

The role of UX

In the realm of user experience (UX), the role of a UX designer is one that's increasingly recognized and valued. Whether it is the screen of your smartwatch or smartband, the glass cockpit in Dragon spacecraft, the AC controller in your room, or the production line controller in a big factory, usability is crucial wherever there are interactions between human and machine. Therefore, UX designers can be found in all kinds of organizations around the world, handling complex aspects of usability.

Venture Building – what is it

I am part of a great team that designs solutions in ICEO, a venture builder company. In short, a venture building company is an organization that launches new businesses to the market. We have a wide spectrum of experts on board, with knowledge and experience in different domains. Our projects, the companies that we create, vary in terms of scope, from daily financial applications for families to online platforms for crypto enthusiasts. The skills that we have within our team also vary accordingly.

Venture Builder as an employer

On one hand, our routine is somewhat similar to what you may know from interactive agencies. In such a dynamic and experienced VB as ICEO, there are many projects being developed at the same time. Moreover, we serve many customers, because over time the startups we create become independent companies with their own management. Sometimes you support only one of them, and sometimes your skills are needed in multiple projects simultaneously. You can also ask for a change if you need to refresh your working environment. So there is this multitude of opportunities that we all enjoy from interactive agencies.

On the other hand, there are differences compared to working in an interactive agency. As we say in ICEO, sometimes you have to wear a different hat. In a venture building company we go through the whole cycle of creation and life of a new organization. UX Designers working in a venture building firm have to be open to new roles, new requirements, and new challenges. Our experience may be helpful at different stages of the company’s creation.

UX Design in a High-Tech Company

Expanding Horizons

The first stage of creating a new company is called Ideation. This phase is simply about generating and selecting ideas. During the ideation phase, UX Designers have the opportunity to work with experts from different domains. For example, we have a great R&D team that monitors the hottest trends in crypto. There are also amazing people with technical backgrounds on board who can suggest the newest frameworks and tools to us. Thanks to such cooperation, UX Designers not only have a much wider view, but also can share their usability knowledge from the very beginning of the future product during multiple workshops. This stage is extremely helpful to fully understand all the aspects of a developing product and identify areas for further exploration. It is also an amazing opportunity for designers to learn about completely new topics.

Staying flexible

The fact that we are coworking in a multi-role environment of a venture builder makes designers change their hats and leave their comfort zone. We all support each other in tasks that not all of us perform on a regular basis. We are all responsible for complex research that we discuss and plan during different workshops. We continuously learn and try new tools so that we can experiment with our ideas and try to make them real. Such a dynamic environment requires flexibility, open-mindedness, and courage to explore new paths from all the team, including UX Designers. It all greatly improves our overall skills and experience, giving UX Designers the confidence that we can deal with challenges even from areas that sound exotic at first.

Design Fast, and Forget Fast

One of the key elements in a creative and dynamic team of VB is to design fast and forget fast. We design on paper, sometimes using crazy eights, sometimes just sketching on a whiteboard. We also use Figma and Miro to design flows. All of that is subject to continuous change. Every day, any team member can improve our concepts. That’s why it is so important for UX designers not to get attached to design ideas too much. We have to be ready to update our designs or even discard them and quickly make a new one.

UX Designing as a Team Work

Boosting Creativity (thank you, Dear Users)

And where are the users? Well, we have to find them! As venture builders often create new value, new content, and new ways of interacting with technology, we have to approach our users in a creative way as well. Often there are no existing places or groups where we can find users matching our personas. Even well-known tools like Usability Hub or HotJar may not be enough to segment users the way we need to.

We have to cross multiple boundaries in order to reach users and learn from them. We have to look for unique language skills (because for example we may want to reach people in Africa where English may not be so common). We have to use different social media platforms to go through different groups, forums, lists and find the people who can benefit from our value proposition. Of course we have to be familiar with different tools for online communication to successfully meet with our users, share our ideas with them, and learn as much as possible from their valuable feedback. This is also another opportunity for our whole team to share new knowledge and continuously develop our product.

What’s in it for me

Does it sound interesting? To me, working in a venture building company is really an amazing opportunity to not only spread my designer wings but also to get to know new branches, new areas that will eventually become popular in just a few months. And we, UX Designers and the great team of ICEO venture builder, are the people who introduce those new ideas to global markets. We introduce new values to the users, changing the way they think and interact.

Michał Biernacki

UX Designer with over 10 years of experience in banking, genetics, and cryptocurrency.