sinaptia waves

The role of design in MVPs

Patricio Mac Adden
May 3rd, 2023

In our previous post, we discussed the main concepts behind an MVP and how to build them. One key aspect of developing an MVP is determining the UX/UI (User eXperience and User Interface) that best aligns with the product’s audience and purpose. Who are we building it for? Is it for end users, such is the case of an e-commerce platform, or for users of an organization whose objective is to get things done? Does our product need to stand out from our competitors in terms of design? if so, Why? By understanding the target users and product objectives, we can make informed decisions about how much to invest in UX/UI design.

The balance between design, development, time, and budget can be expressed under the same terms as the five-strings paradox. If you must invest in design and development, both the time and budget will be increased, whereas if you can put design aside (at least fancy design), then both time and budget will decrease.

Then it depends on concrete projects and their situations. Some projects have more time and budget to spend on a custom UX/UI design that suits their needs, and some have time and budget to design some parts - the most important parts. Some projects have their designs to cut costs down, or they decide to go with a UI kit for the same reasons. As you can see, projects have their necessities and particularities and it is our job to best advise their product owners.

So, what do we advise? Our advice is: try to invest as much as possible in UX/UI design while it doesn’t compromise the time, budget, and objectives of the MVP. Most of the time it’s more important to launch early than to launch beautiful, and getting beautiful along the way is possible.

Real-world examples

Dunu506 had to stand out from the competition from its conception. Julian had the objective of becoming the #1 marketplace of used cars in Costa Rica. Having this in mind, he invested a great part of the time in researching and designing the front end of the product. The back office, however, where Dunu506’s staff works approving and rejecting ads, among other tasks is less important in terms of design. Dunu506’s staff just needs to get things done. In this case, we advised to invest less time and budget in building it and went with a pre-built admin panel instead without customizing its UI.

Raive, in a different situation, had everything already solved. They had less time to invest in design as they wanted to launch the product as soon as possible as they already had a set of users ready to work with their platform. Their solution was, instead, to buy a bootstrap template and focus on the features.

In ChewChoo, we partner with DHNN, a design agency from Argentina. The nature of the project was entirely around design, so a great part of the time and budget was invested in UX/UI design and a thoughtful and precise implementation.


In conclusion, striking the right balance between UX/UI design, development, time, and budget is crucial when building an MVP. It’s essential to understand the target users and the purpose of the product to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources. Remember, each project is unique and will require a tailored approach. In the end, some of them may benefit from more elaborate designs, while others may prioritize a quick launch and refine later.