If I say that seamless and enjoyable customer experiences are a must today, I am probably being redundant. Everyone is aware of the importance of UX design. Yet, some companies still understand user experience as an isolated domain that is applied only in certain parts of the process and, in many cases, UX designers are left out of business conversations. Companies can’t afford to do this anymore.
When it comes to managing UX Design and business, too often we see the following as the current model of companies:
Here, business and design activities are parallel to each other. What if instead of keeping these activities as parallel but separate, organizations encourage their teams to take a look at what others are doing and understand their perspective?
The first step to understanding why organizations need to involve UX design in the whole process of product design is to examine its impact on customer engagement and retention. Research indicates that organizations that implement UX design as a strategy to create functional and delightful products are able to increase conversion rates as much as 400%. Today, even if you create the best product in the market, without a usable, compelling and clean digital presence, your product will remain in oblivion.
Consumers invest in and purchase from organizations they trust, and one of the best indicators of a trustworthy brand is an exceptional user experience. This was the case of Airbnb, which after putting into practice the principles of design thinking went from almost a failure to seeing significant revenue growth, and is today valued in the billions of dollars.
Design thinking and customer experience are not only positive for customers who are looking for new and attractive experiences, but they also have a tremendous impact on revenue. For instance, websites that take too long to load cost retailers more than $2 billion in lost sales every year. One of the biggest eCommerce companies increased sales by $300 million after simply changing the text of a button from “register” to “continue”.
This demonstrates one thing above all: every aspect of a user experience needs to be created based on a business strategy. When there is co-creation and collaboration between UX designers and business strategists, both organizations and companies benefit from the results. It’s a win-win situation.
The tremendous impact of UX design in business is clear. But, what is the approach that executives need to adopt in order to get the most out of it?
First of all, UX design goes beyond the digital domain. It’s true that the tangible results of UX design are in most cases beautifully designed websites or applications; nonetheless, visual design cannot exist as an isolated field anymore. Behind visual aspects, there needs to be a foundation that supports them. This foundation is a strategy that involves aspects that are not exclusive to UX. You have probably heard about methods such as contextual surveys, interviews, and A/B testing. These methods are designed from the perspective of user experience. But while the user must be at the core of every practice, executives and UX designers need to consider design, business and technology perspectives as a whole.
This means that UX design that fails to take into consideration both feasibility and profitability can bring negative results to an organization, resulting in both user and business needs not being met.
Behind every decision, there must be a why. It’s the key to building the best result in any domain. In this case, the why needs to answer questions such as, why am I building this workflow for the user and why do I consider it’s going to be have a positive ROI? Are these features clear for the user and will our technical team be able to maintain and improve them? Are these features aligned with the message we want to transmit as a company? How will this user experience represent a competitive advantage for us? Is this set of visual elements and workflow challenging and innovative for our team? Does it provide opportunities to grow?
Leading organizations are combining the efforts of different areas. They recognize that UX designers are in fact UX strategists who will positively impact the company in the short and long term.
At this point, it’s clear that companies can’t leave UX designers out of business discussions. Even when the competences and skills of a business strategist differ from those of a designer, when everyone involved are able to have insightful conversations, organizations increase productivity and quality. Consequently, more and more designers are speaking the language of business, while conversely more executives are getting to grips with UX design.
As a result, a holistic approach is what companies should be aiming for. When I think about this, Service Design comes to my mind. This is an holistic approach where people, technology and infrastructure are orchestrated together. It takes into account what the user can see but also what the user cannot see: the invisible components that build an end-to-end experience. Service Design is what enables companies to detect flaws as it builds and analyzes a complete picture of the customer journey, the technical aspects and the business needs.
I wonder if Service Design will become the father of all the D’s: UX design, UI Design, Usability Design, and Interaction Design. How will companies have to adapt their internal processes to harness the power of such holistic approaches? This is a question to discuss in another article.
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