Week 5 of thoughtbot Startup Incubator: Senga

Jordyn Bonds

I’m starting to appreciate how much deliberate attention and decision-making goes into even “simple” features.

We’re here in the thoughtbot Incubator reporting to you live with the latest updates. Curious how we got here? Check out last week’s post about Week 4. Don’t forget to check out the Founder’s Journal for more insights from our startup CEO, Agnes Malatinszky.

Prototyping & User Testing

With our target user personas and assumptions firmly in hand, we’ve been busy prototyping and getting ready to test with users!

Prototyping at this early stage feels a little bit like watching a pixelated image load over a slow internet connection:

Mandelbulb GIF 20191019

Things are beginnging to gradually resolve into clarity as we learn more and iterate.

We started by drawing our ideas by hand, looking at them together, and discussing what we were seeing. This helps uncover out both innovative ideas and misalignments in our assumptions. With every image and conversation, we refine our common understanding of the value proposition until we start to arrive at a shared vision.

Once that shared vision began to crystallize, our team designer picked up the baton to create a higher-fidelity (maybe even clickable) prototype that we can show to users for validation. Similar to our hand drawings, we look at the prototype together daily and share reactions. Is this testing our most risky assumptions? What’s missing? What’s distracting?

At the same time that we were doing this design work, we began to plan for interviewing users. In this case, we’re using UserInterviews.com, which is a platform for finding folks who look like our customer and scheduling time to interview them and show them our prototype. We set up a project, sent out invites and, as of this writing, already have 12 set up!

Founder’s Journal

We kicked off the design of the onboarding section of the prototype this week! Everything we’ve learned so far feeds into how the onboarding experience should feel, set expectations for the product, how long it should take users, and the voice of the company. The team reviewed onboarding flows we liked and did not like, mostly from other consumer apps, and borrowed features we liked. I love the pages that our team designer, Kevin, came up with! After we add the next couple steps, we’ll have a prototype that can be tested with users. Overall, I’m starting to appreciate how much deliberate attention and decision-making goes into even “simple” features.

This week I also started to think about what resources and team I’ll need after the incubator ends. Although there are still a lot of open questions about the core product and the business model on the assumptions matrix, we’ve validated enough that I’m confident and excited to move forward.

Next up

For next week, Agnes and the thoughtbot team are interviewing users, iterating on the prototype, and planning for the future – what does Agnes need in order to take what we’ve accomplished during the incubator and turn it into a sustained pattern of growth for Senga?

If you are going through a business validation process, or hope to in the future, this programming can be a resource for you as well. We are also doing weekly LinkedIN Live broadcasts with the incubator team to dig even deeper into what’s being uncovered as it happens. Follow thoughtbot on LinkedIN to catch us live or watch the recordings.