We are all used to think of design as a servant of aesthetics. However, design is not only about making things appear pleasing to the eye. First of all, it is about communication. Design defines how your product or brand is communicated to the market, how users see it, and how they interact with your product.
There is no business nowadays that can live without design. Have you ever asked yourself when seeing hundreds of websites that are designed in pretty much uniform style… why should you spend so much when the result is so predictable? Or, if you are fond of good quality design, how can you convince your managers who only understand the language of ROI?
Business benefits are most effectively measured in numbers. We’ll get to the numbers later, but first, let me tell you a story about software that was not made for humans.
It all happened when an employee of Citibank accidentally wired $900 mln to third-party lenders instead of transferring it to an internal account. Some people returned the money, but most kept it. The lawsuit didn’t help as Citibank actually owed them the money (however didn’t plan to return it at the moment).
Saving your time on reading the case in detail, the error occurred because of the default settings of the software used to make transfers. To make an internal transfer to a “wash account”, the employee had to check three checkboxes. It’s hard to blame them when you see what the software screen looks like:
Image credit: bloomberg.com
The user interface is anything but clear and understandable. A pure nightmare of a UI/UX designer. This time poor user interface cost the bank hundreds of millions.
Most times, the losses or gains are much harder to count. We’ll bring you just a few stats that demonstrate the importance of investment in design.
How good design can increase revenues?
Measuring design impact in numbers is complicated for many obvious reasons. However, modern researchers have made an advance in this field.
McKinsey has conducted research on design practices in 300 big companies in different countries. They followed them for 5 years, and the result is the McKinsey Design Index (MDI). It consists of numerous parameters and indicates how strong the design approach of a company is.
Here is the graph that shows a correlation between the MDI and annual growth: companies with higher MDI are those with annual growth is twice higher than the industry benchmark.
Image credit: McKinsey
You may think that the importance of design is more significant in certain industries, such as service, leisure, luxury products. However, the research proves that investments in design have an impact on a broad range of businesses: the researched companies represent medical technology, consumer goods, and retail banking.
Here are some of the best practices that top companies adopt:
- Focusing on user experience rather than the product. Nowadays when the lines between physical, digital, and service design are blurred, user experience is not something that only UI/UX designers should care about. User experience is constructed of many little details on all the stages of the customer journey.
Design thinking benefits business not only in the parts where the designers are involved directly. Start with analyzing deeply user needs instead of just following the beaten path of your competitors, and you will end up with a product with higher performance than others.
- Collaboration between the departments. Companies with high MDI were not just hiring teams of great designers but also promoted their constant communication with developers, sales team, etc. As a result, the design solutions fit the product and serve business goals.
At Eleken design agency, we consider constant communication between designers and other team members a crucial element of UX/UI design services. Design is a process, not an event, and it requires more input from the client than just a good brief.
- Design decision-making at a high level. Companies that take design seriously, involve top management in the process of solving design issues. Of course, this requires a good understanding of customers’ needs by the executives.
- Measurable design impact. For many business owners and designers, the idea of metrics for design performance may seem odd. However, the practice of measuring design is adopted by many successful companies. Using these metrics in your monitoring routine will make better proofs than any research data.
How can you measure design impact?
Specific “design metrics” are most suitable for internal evaluation of the creative team performance and dynamics. To measure business impact, one of the most secure ways is to introduce two designs and run A/B testing. You’ll see changes in the following metrics:
1. Revenue/Conversion rate
This is the most straightforward example, but also very universal. All kinds of businesses consider conversion rate as one of the most important metrics. Along with it come bounce rate, time spent on site, etc.
Research by Forrester shows that improvements in UX design can result in up to 400% increase in conversion rates. Of course, the change is not always that drastic, but even a much smaller increase is enough to justify the investment in UI/UX design services.
Take the change in conversion rates, CLV (customer lifetime value), and there you get an approximate revenue increase from design improvement. However, the business benefits of good design do not end here.
2. Customer satisfaction/word of mouth
It is often said that good design is the one that you don’t notice. This is particularly true for UI/UX design. The goal is to make the interaction as easy as possible. The user doesn’t have to be impressed by the design. The best result is that they fulfill their needs without any obstacles and frustration. They are satisfied and end up recommending the product to other people.
NPS, Net Promoter Score, is a metric that measures how many clients are happy enough to recommend the product to others. The higher is the number, the stronger is the effect of word of mouth and the bigger will be your savings on promotion.
3. Number of tickets/customer support
Here is one more “savings” factor for measuring the impact of good design. By investing once in quality UI/UX design services, you save much more on customer support later.
The vast amount of tickets in support come from clients confused by overcomplicated websites or apps. Instead of resolving each ticket separately, UX design works with the root of the problem and fixes it. As a result, customer support advocates can focus on more important or individual issues that require the assistance of a professional.
These are just a few examples of the metrics that can measure the impact of design on your business. There is way more options for showing tangible improvements. You can start with any problem that you want to address, contract quality UI/UX design services, and see the changes in key metrics.
The goal-oriented approach in design works best. Don’t redesign for the sake of redesign. Only when you know what is the goal, choose the right metrics, and measure them correctly, will the design be efficient and impactful.