How this CEO is Combining Creativity with Customer Service to Create Phenomenal UX/UI

Mallory Merrill

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UX/UI profoundly impacts any SaaS product. Users that enjoy using an application, ultimately utilize the tool over and over again, which drives customers back to the developer. On the other side of the coin, no matter how great the functionality is, if the experience is clunky, users will become frustrated and limit their usage, or stop completely. Yikes.

For this episode of SaaS Academy we pulled in Jake Kongaika, who’s nothing short of a UX/UI genius. He took his first graphic design job when he was 15 years old. Later, as a fresh-out-of-college creative type, Jake had a musical stint. This wasn’t just a let-your-eyes-roll garage band— because of the engaged fanbase he created, Jake fully crowd-funded his $50k record. (FYI, he was the first person to do this in the U.S.)

Fast-forward to 2008, when Jake founded his own graphic design company called Create Out Loud. Create Out Loud targets customers with the world’s most creative experiences. ABC, Target and Adobe are just a few of his clients.

On this episode, Jake gives us a few tips on how he designs these amazing encounters.

What is a Bad User Experience?

Ultimately, we all know what a bad UX looks like, because we’ve all had a bad customer service experience.

You know why we like Jake? He’s real. He’s honest. He explains life simply — and his definition of a bad UX (or UI) is no exception.

A bad UX is no different than that time you walked into a restaurant with that terribly confusing menu … and then there were no pictures. Or remember when you walked into that beautiful gym, ready to jump on the mats and lift some weights, but then the terrible customer service frustrated you until you left or quit your membership? That’s a bad customer experience, and Jake says it’s the same thing in tech.

Ultimately, in any customer situation, you want excellent customer service, cleanliness, and phenomenal presentation. SaaS is no different. Jake says...

Customer service, presentation, cleanliness-- all of these transfer over to UX and UI.

Listen to the Market

Back to that simple, boiled-down realness Jake is so superb at delivering — he pointed out something that may seem painfully obvious, but is worth the double-take. (Because so often, this goes totally missed):

The market will tell you what it wants, what it likes, and what it is willing to pay for it.

When you develop a SaaS product (really, any product), you reiterate as the customer gives you their feedback, and if they aren’t using a feature, there’s clearly a problem. Also, the market can help you determine the price of your product as well. Jake had a great example of this:

At one point, Jake worked with a pro football player to market his specific beverage. Eventually, 7-Eleven wanted to distribute the product on the West Coast to its stores, but Jake and his colleague didn’t meet 7-Eleven at their price point.

They missed the distribution opportunity.

Several years later, they ended up agreeing to 7-Eleven’s, and they sealed the distribution. Why? Because the market tells you what it wants.

According to Jake, they would have had much better success had they simply listened to the market earlier.

Allow Mistakes to Educate You

When asked about his career-defining moment, Jake had a profound response...

He said that his career has not boiled down to a pivotal time when everything “clicked,” but rather, perseverance through error was the defining characteristic that turned into disciplined habits in his life.

We’ll leave you with his words: Disciplined actions lead to disciplined results.

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