Do You Understand the Value of the User Experience?
Over the last handful of years, user experience design (UX), user interface design (UI), and design-thinking have become big time buzzwords for digital companies around the world and a favorite term amongst sales teams, marketing teams, and designers (web designers, webmasters, and graphic designers).
The value in having measurable, refinable customer journeys seems like such a simple concept now that we study and discuss it, but UX is still a bit of a mystery to some.
Although design-thinking and user-centered design methodologies have evolved over the years, we still have a long way to go before it’s widely accepted that design practices are needed in order to understand and adjust business opportunities in accordance to the customer’s wants and needs. UX benefits go much further than just having a beautiful website. In order to create successful graphic solutions you must first understand your user.
For your reading list: Design-thinking 101
How to Design with a Purpose
Unfortunately for many companies, no matter the industry or discipline, design remains purely decorative – seen as a luxury, rather than a necessity. Product engineering is number one and design plays second fiddle.
Design-thinking focuses on user-first vs. features-first. What does this mean? Design-thinking changes the way in which solutions to digital products are based on assumptions made by the business (business-centric). Assuming comes with the risk of not knowing if a design strategy will really work. So, instead, we focus on analyzing the experiences and emotions of users. The goal is to design with a purpose beyond beauty. Design is not a final product, it’s the end-to-end journey of our users.
Increase Business Profits
It’s safe to say companies that invest in experience-design and focus on their users will increase their business revenue. How? A user-centered approach increases conversion rates and improves customer retention and loyalty. Design-thinking is what makes Google, Apple, Airbnb, Shopify, Amazon, Facebook and more, the companies they are today. Good experience design is just good business.
The sooner you add UX research and test product solutions, the more cost effective it will be in the long run. Just think of the decrease in customer service costs and engineering hours when you’ve already considered the customer so thoroughly ahead of time.
Stop, Collaborate, and Listen
It would be easy to leave the whole thing up to the designer, but a design-thinking approach requires teamwork and collaboration. Developers, projects managers, marketing, and sales are all responsible for the success of the product. Everyone has their own goals to reach and those needs are important to understand during the creation process.
A user-centered approach invites empathy into the design process. There is a reason behind the five steps in design-thinking:
Before starting work on any digital product you must first understand what you are building.
The first step is crucial. Ask questions. You want to ensure the design will solve problems, engage users, and help them achieve their goals successfully.
Design-thinking is about continued iterations:
- analyze data
An up-front UX strategy will save time and money. How do we know this? We’ve seen the results. The tools are out there. The documentation is out there. All that is left is to implement.
For your reading list: Know Your User – UX Statistics and Insights