The McKinsey & Company report on ‘The Business Value of Design’ reveals that there is a strong link between the financial performance of an organization and its design capabilities. They found that design-centric organizations increase their revenues and shareholder returns at nearly 2x rate of their industry counterparts.
Such stats are a constant reminder that if the design is not the focus of your business, then you are possibly giving away the opportunities to your competitors to survive and thrive in this cut-throat digital age. With every dollar invested in design returning up to $100, it is vital to treat ‘Design’ as a core piece of your business.
So, if you are looking to “invest that dollar” to achieve design-driven growth, then don’t limit yourself to your own ecosystem. Consider hiring a UX Design agency that can help create value for your business in ways that we are going to talk about in this blog.
Ways to Add Value to Your Business through UX Design Agency
Embarking upon a design-driven journey with an expert UX Design agency as your co-passenger can help you reach your destination quickly and easily in the following ways:
1. Conducting User Research
“Empathy is at the heart of design. Without the understanding of what others see, feel, and experience, design is a pointless task.” ~ Tim Brown, CEO of the innovation and design firm IDEO
In today’s user-centric business environment, it is important to find a holistic view of user expectations where design can make a difference rather than just ‘copy-pasting’ technical aspects from the last product. The ideal design approach goes further ahead by gathering customer insights of potential users in their own environments.
Conducting user research prior to designing the product helps identify and address your own misconceptions, which could become a reason for the failure of your product in the near future. A good design process always begins with an approach that blends the two forms of user research:
This is where having an experienced UX Design agency comprised of user researchers on the team will make the difference. They will help ensure that any user research studies undertaken follow best practices and target appropriate user profiles.
On the contrary, skipping the user research phase will grow the chances of your product failure because the User Experience of the end product will not be optimized for the target end-users.
2. Perform UX Assessment of Your Digital Products (Get some outside perspective)
Companies have been investing considerably in digital assets, like mobile apps, for the past few years. But these may not be delivering the intended experience or the desired performance. Before you think about embarking on a redesign project, it is advisable to find out the gaps in the User Experience that the existing products are delivering.
A UX Design agency can perform the assessment that can help identify gaps in the existing capabilities. The insights gained can be utilized to build a redesign strategy. Performing a UX assessment requires knowledge of Usability Heuristics and techniques like Cognitive Walkthroughs and Pluralistic Walkthroughs, which only a UX agency will possess.
3. Perform Usability Testing of Your Digital Products
“Usability is about people and how they understand and use things, not about technology.” ~ Steve Krug
Usability lies under the umbrella of the term ‘User Experience.’ It determines how easily a user can interact with your website or a product. Jackob Nielsen has suggested the following qualities of a usable product:
Usability testing suggested a minor tweak in design of Apple’s Mac UI. And the company got 90% fewer support calls.
Being such an important phase of the UX Design process, many organizations still do not find it relevant to invest in usability testing. The reasons vary from “no budget” to “no time”. This is why 70% of online businesses fail – because of bad usability.
Usability testing offers a direct assessment of the usability of a system. Thus, performing it in the right way with the right set of people at the right time helps reduce the risk of building the wrong product, thereby saving you tons of money, time, and other resources.
4. Create Rapid Prototypes
“The ideal prototype should be of Goldilocks quality. If the quality is too low, people won’t believe the prototype is a real product. If the quality is too high, you’ll be working all night, and you won’t finish. You need Goldilocks quality. Not too high, not too low, but just right.”~ Daniel Burka, Google Ventures design partner
Design flourishes best in environments that encourage learning, testing, and iterating with users. Rapid prototyping accelerates design iterations from the concept to the prototyping stage.
Prototypes help validate the potential design concepts by testing how the design ties in with customers’ needs at the design stage. Still, the majority of organizations fail to use this valuable technique to their advantage efficiently.
An ideal rapid prototyping approach requires a design thinking mindset, the necessary tools, and the ability to work collaboratively with all the stakeholders (marketing, design, research, operations, development, and sales).
Pareto Principle (80% of the effects come from 20%of the causes) holds true in the case of prototyping. Follow the approach of starting with breadth, then diving into depth. In other words, design all key user flows, but don’t focus too much on details.
How Net Solutions helped an Ed Tech Startup in its Successful Prototype Journey
One of the leading Ed Tech startups wished to launch an app that would address some pertinent questions related to the education sector – aligning the right tutors for the student community and providing frictionless payment interaction between tutors and students.
Net Solutions helped design a mobile app prototype for both tutors & students to facilitate frictionless payments.
We built two interactive mobile app product prototypes for the tutor-student community – Teacher Application and Student Application – using visualization tools such as sketches, user flows, and wireframes. Here, we leveraged Product Prototype as a service and methodology to design the app, with our target profiles being, the real audience.
5. Build Cross-Functional Teams
In a digital world that is quickly evolving, user-centric design is not meant to be a siloed function, rather it should be everyone’s responsibility. Thus, it is important to overcome the isolationist tendencies and set up nimble, cross-functional teams that can quickly iterate on ideas.
For instance, when UX approach is integrated into the DevOps team, requirements are researched and designed. The solution is user-tested before the engineering team plans to build it.
However, it is not an easy step to build a cross-functional team.
You will be surprised to know that out of all the organizations that claim to have cross-functional teams, 75% are actually dysfunctional. The study says, the cross-functional teams fail because of the following reasons:
- Unable to meet a planned budget
- Unable to stay on schedule
- Unable to adhere to specifications
- Unable to deliver a seamless customer experience
- Unable to maintain alignment with the company’s corporate goals
Thus, a systematic approach that a UX Design agency brings on the table along with a design-thinking mindset can help break the departmental silos and foster cross-functional collaboration, based on a shared mission and shared ownership.
6. Identify Relevant Metrics
“If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.”~ Brene Brown, Ted Talk
A design process involves determining the factors that should be measured, how and what an organization can do with collected data, and setting up the data collection in advance. And if you are unable to measure anything with your UX Design, remember your product does not exist.
A gut feeling might help your product achieve success but those chances increase with the application of data-driven UX Design. UX measurement includes three types of metrics:
- Perception metrics (e.g. NPA scores)
- Descriptive metrics (e.g. abandonment rates)
- Outcome metrics (e.g. conversion rates, average order sizes, number of calls by reason, how often customers escalate to the call center.)
These metrics are typically owned by different departments, like IT, Marketing, and Customer Service. Google’s UX research team has come up with a framework called Google HEART, which precisely measures the quality of experience delivered to your consumer. It is one of the good ways to measure the quality of User Experience to gain actionable insights.
Now you have a tool, Google HEART, in your kitty that can help evaluate your product’s design backed by large-scale data. But the question is how will you manage to collect the data that you require? That’s when an agency comes into the picture. They can help uncover this large-scale data that can be fed into Google HEART.
7. Brings More Innovation
“There’s a way to do it better – find it.” ~ Thomas Edison
Ideally, innovation happens at the crossroads of the following three factors:
- Business strategy (what the market at a certain context and moment in time deems viable)
- Design (what the potential customers desire)
- Technical constraints (what the limits of technology render feasible)
The following Venn diagram illustrates the said intersection:
The diagram suggests that the three elements must blend together to build a successful innovation design. But this convergence does not happen by chance. Design is a driving force that aligns business strategy and customer’s needs with technology.
A survey by Design Management Institute and Motiv Strategies states that when design principles are implemented to business strategy and innovation, the success rate of innovation improves drastically. Design-led companies like Apple, Coca Cola, IBM, Nike, and Target have outperformed the S&P 500 over a 10-year period by an extraordinary 228%.
Partner with a UX Design Agency to Create Amazing Experiences and Products
The goal to achieve with an ideal UX Design is to build solutions that are optimized for your potential users, which ultimately provide business value for your organization. Unfortunately, not many businesses understand the true potential of implementing UX tactics to their product development strategy.
Selecting the right UX Design partner is a vital stepping stone in the overall digital strategy process for any business to thrive and disrupt the market.