We’re all familiar with how companies such as Uber and AirBnb have wrought fundamental disruption to their respective industries. Taxis and hire cars existed long before the advent of Uber. But one of the core differences they offer customers is the user experience. The ease of simply clicking a button within an attractive user interface, following the vehicle as it comes to your door, and enjoying a smooth ride. For all the talk of their technology, their business model, their strategy – what ensures customers continue to use the service is their experience with it. This idea has brought me to the concept of “UX as strategy” – that today, more than anything else, your UX will determine the success or failure of your software and your business.
Creating a product which has a powerful and engaging UX isn’t something which just makes your product easier to use. Rather, this is the core to engaging more deeply with your customers, and ensuring that they stay loyal to you rather than go to your competition. It builds brand loyalty, and increases the chances that your customers will become your most effective advocates. Your UX will also play a key role in enrichment, ensuring your customers purchase additional products and services.
I don’t believe I’m writing anything new in highlighting the importance of UX for software and applications. What is new however, is how your UX can form the basis of your competitive differentiation. Building long-term sustainable competitive differentiation is one of the toughest objectives that executives face. In today’s digital work, the UX of your products and services plays a fundamental role in this. People engage with brands and companies via their software, and thus via their UX.
It is your brand, plus highly satisfied customers and fans, that will result not just in your business growing, but in building competitive differentiation. For example, it’s incredibly hard for other companies to match the loyalty that people who love Apple’s products and services have. Even when other manufacturers build products that can compete on a technical and functional level, that may even sell at a lower price point, people remain loyal to the brand. Apple has been at the forefront of blending the concept of a brand with people’s self-identity, and image of who they are as individuals. Their UX is at the very heart of this.
At a high level, I recommend the following actions as you make UX your business strategy:
Ultimately, this is all part of what many people have referred to as the “democratization of technology”. This is because, fuelled by cloud computing and new open source technologies, it’s not just large companies or tech giants that can create these compelling user experiences.
So while effective UX design is one of the hardest aspects of product development, new technologies, tools, and approaches are making it possible even for startup teams on a budget to build these compelling digital experiences. We’re seeing organizations take advantage of this to move nimbly, and build light, attractive, mobile-first experiences. This is what it means to make UX your strategy and in 2019, I believe it is the only way your organization will survive and achieve success.
This article was originally published in Forbes.
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