Did you know that UX design can be your strongest brand differentiator?
For years, companies have relied on product features or USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) before competitors could catch up. But, those times are gone. Thanks to digitization fostering industry-wide disruptions and customers yearning for immediacy, personalization, and convenience, incumbents face the massive challenge of delivering satisfactory UX as a part of their product/service differentiation strategies.
UX UI Design has evolved from being just a mere aesthetics enabler to a strategic function that dictates the overall acceptance of an app or other digital products/services. Netflix, Uber, and Google are examples of some of the top-tier tech companies who understood early on the power of aligning business and design strategy to enhance their ROI and stand apart.
If you are still falling behind, here are some tips for you to make your UX design and business strategy work in tandem to help you become a differentiator in your niche.
1. Knowledge and learning about business objectives
The temptation to dive in and start designing an app or website is going to be all too intense and overwhelming – but, hold on. A well-design strategy is always founded on a bedrock of learning and data-driven research. So, step 1 of your design and business strategy should be all about gathering knowledge and learning about the objectives and goals of your business.
Here are a few searching questions that you need to answer before you get down and dirty:
- What resources are at hand and what market opportunities are available to you?
- What is the current status of your current software, along with customer-facing websites, applications, and software?
- Do you need any new skills or resources to make your strategy work? (This can include anything from the adoption of new work patterns or new hardware to a new UX design team)
- What are you hoping the user will accomplish using your app or visiting your website?
Answering these questions will help you create a path for design.
2. Discovering consumer personas
You’re not done with just knowing the business objectives. There’s still some research left in the form of discovering consumer personas and what each of them wants. Communicating with different groups will help you gain full comprehension of what people connected to your digital product expect and want.
- Primary stakeholders: They are the decision-makers and the people in charge of the digital product/design project or company. They’ll have a lot to say and should be involved from the beginning. Find out what features they want to see and what elements are not working well with the website/app. Also, know the metrics that they would track.
- Secondary stakeholders: They are related to the company, but are not part of the management team or project, employees, or financial partners. Know how they wish to use the app/website and what features they feel will enhance the overall experience.
- Users: They are the prospective customers who will be using your digital product. You must know what they would want to see in the design, the features that will make your experience of using your product better, and also observe how they interact with your app/website.
Another component is to analyze the competition to see what features and design elements are already being liked by the end-users. This is important to help you create a website/app experience that is at par with what users expect, but not a duplication. An example of this would be the Corpus ATV Platform that we designed.
The design may seem to be inspired by Netflix. But, this platform provides a Live TV viewing experience, along with integrated communication through Skype.
3. Putting user needs first
As a UX design agency, limited resources, and tight deadlines to finish a project is a scenario that is all too real. But, no matter what the scenario, we never shift our focus from the user’s expectations while aligning these to the business goals (and you shouldn’t too!). This is how we can achieve an output that delivers the maximum ROI to the business. The alternative is too grim – once users identify that the design is not user-friendly (but, more business-friendly), chances are that you’ll lose them forever. For instance, the Snapchat redesign fiasco. The company completely ignored the importance of a user-centric design approach and massively damaged its brand image.
When aligning your design and business strategy, UX design goals should tip in the favor of your end-users. This will automatically benefit your business.
4. Usability testing, along with bug and acceptance testing
Before releasing any digital product, acceptance and bug testing are carried out to ensure that the app or website runs smoothly and without a glitch. However, one important testing that a lot of businesses overlook is usability testing. Will people visit the website or download the app at all? Or, will users do what you expect them to do?
The answers to these questions lie in usability testing. Keeping in mind this testing phase is the reason why so many app/website launches include a beta version. The expectations of the users are tempered when they know that the website/app is in the test phase.
However, do not just put a beta version and forget about it. You need to plan for a specific timeline and gather data, via A/B testing, feature requests, use log or support issues & analytics.
5. Avoiding on-the-face marketing gimmicks
We’ve all come across apps/websites that are simply annoying. Haven’t we? Promotional banners, constant pop-ups, and in-app purchase notifications make it extremely hard for the user to find the information that they need in the first place. We understand that your marketing team needs to collect information such as phone number, email ID, and other demographics. But, that shouldn’t affect the overall user experience.
You need to avoid such on-the-face marketing gimmicks. Else, your prospective users will go to some other website with a more usable UX design. This is going to hurt your business by increasing the bounce rate and decreasing the conversion rate.
6. Evaluating and revising before the final release
You cannot just go through a grueling testing phase and do nothing about the data. You have to take a look, hard look at the data that you’ve collected during the testing phase. And assess the design elements that are working and ones that need tweaking. The gathered information will also give you an idea of the elements and principles of design that are bringing results. You need to figure out if the same can be universally applied across the entire app or website design.
This evaluation is crucial before the final release so that you are sure that your digital products are cent percent ready to wow your target audience.
7. Always staying current
Once you have launched your digital product and feeling satisfied that users are connecting and engaging with the design, you think it’s all set, right?
You’re wrong! The best user experiences never stop evolving. Design and technology trends are constantly changing. You have to stay on top and keep evolving your design as well.
Well, this may sound challenging. But, users will continue to engage with your app or website because of the positive UX. Furthermore, user will see you as an authority in your industry. This will result in maximizing your business ROI.
To sum up, while it may seem like trouble to align your business and design strategies, don’t overlook it. Having defined business directions to guide your design decisions is priceless, and it sets a clear path in front of you. Know more by requesting a design consultation with Divami.