Designing at a YC startup: How I delivered its first UI iteration

User Interface Design
Visual Design
Role
Timeline
Results
Quorum has secured $2+ million in funding from tech investors shortly after this collaboration.
Mobile screen designs - 3 weeks
Freelance - Summer 2020

Meet Quorum 👋 the chat with built-in payments and chat management.

Not another chat - a new way to approach business processes.

Project overview

Over the summer of 2020, I designed at an early-stage YC startup. They had recently pivoted, and was focused on delivering a chat service with built in short-cuts, such as subscriptions, payments and chat monitoring.

I joined as a contract designer working on their UX & UI design, and I conceptualized their first UI iteration 😎 (they've recently rebranded!)

Product Description
Quorum chat is a way to run your business, manage clients, and get paid — all from your phone.
The challenge
The challenge

During this design project, the biggest challenge was dealing with ambiguity. A lot of it.

There was no clear research insights, or a design direction - just guiding requests from Product Hunt and the first list of users who signed up, like Jane.

The solution

Jane needs to collect payments, check who has paid (or not), remove unfriendly participants - oh, and get paid in a timely manner.

She needs an all-in-one platform to do it all.

The approach - designing scrappy
No formal design sessions, no stakeholder interviews.

We went from decision to design, fast.
A REALLY SHORT TIME CONSTRAINT
  • Perfect is the enemy of the good. For me, this meant thinking of this design is an interim stage before its next stage, as the design will change as the product evolves.
  • You know what you’re building. It’s a mobile app - how do people use chat apps on mobile?
  • Be different. Have fun with it!
  • To fit the short window of time, the engineer co-founders would review the designs daily and start building it.

    In hindsight, I realize how impressive and dedicated the founders were, which is a true testament to the spirit and calibre of the Quorum team.
What's next?

Quorum is currently building their next version of the app.

With that said, I'm happy to chat more about my experiences. (Or you can try it out!)

Final takeaways
Leave some things alone

Due to the project scope and time constraint, his was mostly a UI re-skin. The goal of this design was focused on fundraising.

Personal learnings
Collaboration, not handoff

In retrospect, I would worry less about the pixel-perfections and more on the product as a whole. Which leads to my next point...

Personal learnings
Personal learnings
Breadth-first design

We had to get the whole app out, which was 20+ some screens. As a result, not all pages had to be custom designed.

Thanks for reading!
See my other projects →