How does the digital design phase give authority to a new project? Whether we are talking about a business ecosystem, process, method or practice, design can add value to organisations in many different ways, including economically.
At Antreem, we are convinced that a solid foundation is the key to building an all-round successful product. This is why the Design phase – including both service analysis and product conceptualisation – is an integral part of our process. The integration of people with different but complementary knowledge into the process, who can provide feedback from their different areas of expertise, is in our view, an indispensable part of project development.
Is this a result of chance?
That a product, which is the result of the inspired intuition of a manager or of good market research, should inevitably be positioned and compete with satisfactory results, is not entirely obvious. The approach with the end-user plays a key role in the adoption phase. When products are built on customers’ needs, when they are easier to use, when they are aesthetically pleasing, more customers buy them.
Looking at it digitally, even small things can make a difference, such as easy sharing or simply accessibility to a wider range of users. Quite simply, this flow of interactions from user to user means that there is a return in terms of registrations, product adoption and ultimately a return in economic terms.
For some years now, User Experience Design has become a very important element in brand recognition, going beyond both the aesthetics of the end product and its price. Studies have shown that users judge a website or an application in a couple of seconds, which is enough for them to have a perception of the reliability of the product. Without a good and well thought-out design, in line with your brand identity and values, you risk losing customers and opportunities.
The search for the right images, the typeface, the colour scheme, every little detail contributes to the overall perception of the product; Microsoft recently reported that a simple change of one shade of blue in the corporate identity of some of its products contributed to an annual sales increase of USD 80 million.
Below the surface
In contrast to what one might think, most of the work behind a good design product is not immediately apparent. On account of the “invisible” nature of such a large part of design activities, most people limit their concept of design to the aesthetic or visual.
As mentioned earlier in this article, this translates into having a beautiful GUI (Graphic User Interface) in a software context. But instead, much of what makes a product usable, and even relevant, is created “behind the scenes” by the designer.
If we wanted to use a metaphor, we could think of an iceberg, the tip of which represents what is tangibly visible in the atmosphere, but underwater hides 80% of its volume. Supporting this sound way of thinking about design, Antreem is often called upon to solve problems relating to individual stages of a process (e.g. the design part of the service or interactive flow), and not just the realisation of the whole product. This type of consultancy is tailored to the client and is linked to the flexibility that the company has towards both the client and the type of help it is able to provide.
Led by design
Studies conducted by the Design Management Institute have shown that when the growth of a project rests on a foundation created by involving design, it has a better chance of being accepted by the market. In particular, there were four practices that emerged that are well known to companies that have used design as a vehicle for growing their business. These are:
- analytical leadership: the best performing companies count design as a top management concern and monitor its performance with the same rigour as company profit and loss accounts;
- interdisciplinary talent: introducing designers to issues not strictly related to the creative or aesthetic side of the product in order to make the whole design process completely user-centred;
- continual interaction: the areas where design is most effective are those that allow for an approach that includes learning, testing and interaction with and by users;
- user experience: with the ongoing feedback provided by social media, the distinction between product and service is blurred in favour of a seamless experience.
The submerged part of the iceberg, referred to above, plays a crucial role in the degree to which the product is accepted by the market. With research and a deep understanding of customers, companies can generate new revenue streams.
Understanding the needs of the end user, combined with UX design, prototyping and interactive development can increase the attractiveness of a product. A sound approach to design, reduces development time and costs. Ongoing projects can also reach the market faster with appropriate feedback and adjustments. These elements can be found in most cases, so failing to focus and avoid spending resources in this area may prove counterproductive at a later stage. So don’t say you weren’t warned.