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From minimum viable to maximum lovable: user experience strategy for software start-ups

Start-ups are usually keen to reduce their time-to-market. They can minimize risks by releasing pared down versions of their products to collect feedback from real users early on, but when is a product ready for release?
Laura Hokkanen (31) currently works in the Laboratory of Pervasive Computing at TUT.
Laura Hokkanen (31) currently works in the Laboratory of Pervasive Computing at TUT.

The doctoral dissertation of Laura Hokkanen explores the role of user experience (UX) in the development of start-ups.

 “The current trend in the development of start-ups is to first build an early version of a product to test the market and ensure viability before making major investments in further product development. The purpose of these so-called Minimum Viable Products is to attract attention, gain user feedback and learn from it. Products that are not economically viable can be discarded early on,” says Hokkanen.

This means that an early version of a product may not even be intended for long-term use, because at this stage start-ups are looking to create just enough value for customers to ensure access to reliable feedback or other data.

For example, it is critical for financial technology start-ups to exude credibility and reliability from the start, as they are dealing with the money of their customers. 

”If customers don’t get the feeling that they can trust this kind of a company, they probably cannot imagine using the company’s service and are likely to give negative feedback or stop using the product entirely. These companies lose their customers so soon that they cannot tell whether their product is actually functional or not,” Hokkanen says.

The doctoral dissertation of Laura Hokkanen sheds light on the objectives and methods that help start-ups reach positive UX and make the transition from viable to lovable products. She developed a UX strategy model, which provides a framework for achieving minimum viable quality of UX to reliably validate a product idea. In addition, the model aims to create lovable UX that provides a competitive advantage and helps start-ups achieve sustainable business growth.

Public defence of a doctoral dissertation on 18 August 2017

The doctoral dissertation of MSc (Tech) Laura Hokkanen in the field of information technology titled ‘From Minimum Viable to Maximum Lovable: Developing a User Experience Strategy Model for Software Startups’ will be publicly examined in the Faculty of Computing and Electrical Engineering at Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in room TB109 in the Tietotalo building (address: Korkeakoulunkatu 1, Tampere, Finland) on Friday, 18 August at 12:00.

The opponent will be Professor Pekka Abrahamsson (NTNU, Norja). Professor Kaisa Väänänen from the Laboratory of Pervasive Computing at TUT will act as Chairwoman.

The dissertation is available online at:

Further information: Laura Hokkanen, tel. +358 40 844 0228,

News submitted by: Anna Naukkarinen
Keywords: science and research