A successful design process requires a deep understanding of your organization’s unique needs and objectives. Providing UX and service designers with this understanding is an investment that will lead to your desired outcomes.
How Designers Become the Business World's Superheroes
Designers are pivotal in bridging the gap between creative innovation and tangible business outcomes. Here's a breakdown of their key contributions in supporting businesses effectively:
1. Project objectives. Designers establish clear project goals using tools like the impact/effort matrix, Eisenhower matrix, MoSCoW analysis, Kano model, and 5 product levels to influence business metrics.
2. Stakeholder mapping. They identify and understand the needs of involved parties through stakeholder mapping.
3. User research. Extensive user research, including discovery/generative research and user testing, ensures user-centric solutions.
4. Competitive analysis. They analyze competitors and benchmark industry standards to identify opportunities and areas for improvement.
5. SWOT/STEEP analysis and trend analysis. Designers perform SWOT and STEEP analyses, evaluating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. They also keep a keen eye on industry trends.
6. Value proposition exploration. They assist in discovering and designing value propositions that resonate with target audiences.
7. Business model analysis and development. Designers analyze and refine the business model, ensuring it aligns with the organization's goals.
8. Product experimentation. They support the execution of product experiments, ranging from A/B tests to smoke tests and comprehensive analytics.
In essence, designers act as strategic partners who leverage a toolkit of methodologies and insights to ensure that design efforts are aesthetically pleasing, align with business objectives, and deliver tangible value.
What Exactly is Business Design?
Business Design is an approach that uses design methods and processes to solve business problems. It integrates the perspectives of both organizations and their customers to create effective, profitable and stable business models.
In a sense, every designer should be a business designer. Although UX Designers and Service Designers tend to focus on the end-user experience of a product or service, they must also consider issues such as costs, profits, and the scalability of their solutions.
Imagine an e-commerce company planning to introduce a new, innovative delivery option, let's say, by drones. Before even designing it, the analysts should verify the market needs, and researchers should identify the needs and pain points of potential users. Designers need to ensure that the new service will be both a source of delight for users and generate revenue for business. Taking employees' perspectives into account is crucial— because new processes and tasks can disorganize internal workflows. It is the art of not only designing experiences but also designing those that can be successfully implemented and sustained.
Business Design is closely related to Service Design, and focuses on shaping the company’s structure and strategy - in contrast to Service Design, which concentrates on crafting customer experiences and services. Both approaches are essential for effective business management.
Achieving a Clear Business Context Through Three Innovation Lenses
The “Three Lenses of Innovation” concept encompasses three essential perspectives for better understanding a project’s context:
1. Desirability - is this something users want and find valuable?
Desirability refers to how attractive and valuable a product or service is to users and customers. It focuses on understanding and meeting user needs, preferences, and expectations.
2. Feasibility - can we build or implement this?
Feasibility concerns the practicality and technical possibility of implementing a project or solution. It involves assessing whether the necessary resources, technology, and capabilities exist to bring the concept to life.
3. Viability - is this project financially and strategically sound?
Viability relates to the long-term sustainability and profitability of a project or solution. It involves analyzing whether the proposed idea aligns with the organization's strategic goals, can generate revenue, and maintain economic viability.
These three lenses, when considered together, provide a comprehensive framework for evaluating the project’s innovative potential. They help ensure that solutions not only meet user needs, but are also technically achievable and aligned with the organization's broader goals.
Why Do you Need to Focus on All 3 Lenses of iInnovation?
To put it bluntly, if you wanted to focus solely on desirability, you should offer the products and services for free and strive to deliver them immediately. Of course, this is not viable - the company will most likely go bankrupt immediately, nor feasible - we still don't have the technology to teleport things.
Focusing solely on business viability and technical feasibility, without considering customer preferences, can result in a service that's operational but unwanted by customers. This can lead to eventual failure. Professional designers recognize the importance of integrating all three innovation aspects for success.
In some organizations, these lenses may be isolated within different departments or teams, resulting in fragmented, or “siloed” insights. However, viewing the design process as a platform for cross-functional communication can break down these silos. This approach encourages team collaboration and ensures a more holistic approach to projects.
How Does Consumer-Centric Design Increase ROI?
Design isn't just about aesthetics; it's a strategic investment with tangible returns, especially from the consumer's standpoint. When businesses prioritize consumer-centric design, several key benefits come to the forefront.
Benefits of Design Strategy - Customer's Perspective
1. Higher Conversion Rates
A well-designed user experience can significantly boost conversion rates. When consumers find a website or product easy to navigate and visually appealing, they are more likely to take desired actions, whether purchasing, subscribing to a newsletter, or requesting more information.
According to Forrester Research well-designed user interface could raise your website’s conversion rate by up to 200%, and a better UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400%.
2. Increased Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
Consumer-centric design focuses on meeting and exceeding customer expectations. When customers have positive experiences with a brand, their satisfaction levels increase, fostering loyalty. Satisfied and loyal customers are more likely to return, repeat purchases, and recommend the brand to others.
Customer experience is a significant driver of customer loyalty. According to Esteban Kolsky, former Gartner analyst, 91% of individuals who don't complain simply leave, and 13% of them share their negative experiences with 15 others.
3. Improved Retention
Design-driven efforts, like user-friendly interfaces and personalized experiences, are crucial to customer retention. Customers with a seamless and enjoyable experience are less likely to churn or switch to competitors.
As per research conducted by PwC, in the U.S., even when people love a company or product, 59% will walk away after several bad experiences and 17% after just one bad experience.
Benefits of Design Strategy - Company's Perspective
Iterative prototyping, testing, and validation process offer organizations significant advantages. This approach ensures a more cost-effective design process and safeguards against unexpected post-implementation expenses.
In the report "The Business Value of User Experience," Infragistics asserts that for every $1 to fix a problem during design, it would cost 5x more to fix the same problem during development and 30x times more after the product’s release.
Moreover, the impact of design extends to particular tasks and teams within an organization:
- A well-designed internal system translates to more outstanding work efficiency, reducing task completion times, and saving valuable time on training new employees.
- An effective informational website generates more leads and equips client service and sales teams with easy access to crucial information. This results in fewer inquiries and more streamlined response processes.
- A well-structured transactional system translates to fewer technical support inquiries, as users encounter fewer issues during their interactions.
According to Jim Ross, Senior User Experience Architect, mid to large-size electric utilities reported cost savings of $300,000 to $3 million by reducing customer service staff training when implementing more usable customer information system software.
Even minor changes can significantly impact the user experience, influencing their propensity to make purchases and contribute to revenue in e-commerce. In our practice, we are involved in both the later-stage design and implementation of changes, as well as providing detailed recommendations for clients to implement independently.
Sample Outcomes of Audits Conducted by e-point Experts
Design strategy is a journey through an ever-evolving landscape
In conclusion, design is not a separate, isolated phase within the project lifecycle. From defining the challenge to evaluating project implementation, designers play a crucial role by offering an integrative perspective encompassing business, technology, and user needs. They bridge the gaps, align objectives, and ensure that the final outcome looks good and delivers real value.
Design, in its essence, is not a final product: it is a continuous journey that shapes better solutions and helps organizations thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.