How should a startup evaluate design?

With the number of products launched daily on the Web you might think that there would be more discussion about the usefulness of design as it applies to the startup. How do you choose the right level of design to test an idea or the viability of a product? Sadly, most discussion about the usefulness of design is made by people who believe that design has near-infinite value, very little value at all, or is just a mystery altogether.

Parts of the design community haven’t been very helpful on this point either, because frankly, our livelihood depends on people believing that design is extremely valuable (or so we believe). And let’s face it, designers want to be able to put that extra level of pizzaz into their designs. But that pizzaz comes with a price tag and it’s not always worth paying for.

So how do you make good decisions about the level of design that is needed for a product before launch and beyond? I would suggest that the answer lies in three key questions.

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© 2013 John W. Long