By Jeremy Johnson
Vice President of Customer Experience, projekt202
I know Design adds value. As a process, as a method, as a practice — design can add value across organizations in a number of different ways.
I was recently digging into a great research paper on Design ROI and some lightbulbs went off on how we should be talking about design. It’s a great download, and has a ton of in-depth data on a topic that’s just as hot today as it was back when it was written in 2011.
The CliffsNotes: Using generative research and deep customer understanding, businesses can generate new revenue streams. This same understanding combined with UX design, prototyping and iterative development can increase key metrics for your products. Improved workplace tools and a better design and development process can reduce your costs. Your projects can hit the marketplace faster with proper design specs. These are all a direct result of common elements in most design processes.
Additional revenue via better experience drives more customers and sales.
When products are built from customer insights, when products are easier to use, when products find their market fit, more people are buying. More people are sharing their positive experiences. More people are getting through the sales funnel to checkout. When meeting the right needs, products that are better perform better. This leads to more downloads, purchases, sign-ups, usage, etc. -- all contribute to better financial performance.
Savings via improved processes, systems, via digital transformation.
In my UX = ROI talk, I use call centers as an example of this. Historically, most workplace applications are bad. They’re the scraps of the digital world and, because of this, they actively hurt productivity, which has a number of negative repercussions. As an example, shaving time off a support call equals millions of dollars for larger organizations, and improved systems allow employees to enjoy their work and feel more empowered with better tools. Another way is automating or moving processes from paper, phone, fax or walkie-talkie (no kidding) to digital tools that can drive efficiency, which in turn again reduce costs. Many of these projects can be cost-neutral to organizations, so they're great candidates for ROI.
Time to Market
Get to market with the right product or service faster, and get closer to the mark the first time.
Following mature Design processes means you have deep insights from your users and customers. You can translate those insights into prioritized experience enhancements across your customer experience journey. Having a product plan based on data means you’re moving in the right direction. Combine that with iterative prototyping and your development team has a blueprint to focus on developing great solutions that are fast and scalable. This helps get your product to market much faster than traditional processes.
Identify new concepts and revenue streams that leverage your brand with new services or products.
This is the one that’s often forgotten, but can be the most game-changing for your business. When you talk about innovation, you’re looking for novel ways to solve your customer's problems, sometimes ones they can’t articulate well. Design processes include methods to gather this insight via observational methods, personas and other Design methods to truly understand their world and discover something new. These new product ideas -- ones that weren’t on any company roadmap -- can open up new revenue streams and new categories of business.
In future articles, I’ll go deeper into each of these categories. When talking about what Design can do for an organization, this is a great framework to talk to the business teams about how design adds value.