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Design: Better design through data driven goals

This is part 5 of a 5 part series on Design.

In the end, the goal of design is to improve the quality of your customer’s experience with your product and, in doing so, improve the profitability of your business. As with many projects at your business, it can be hard to tie back a specific design project to your overall company revenue. How, then, do you set goals for your design projects?

Since the goal of design is an improved customer experience, you need to quantify how much the customer experience affects your business model. This will vary by product type; some products have an obvious link between experience and revenue and others having an unclear relationship. Consider three different industries:

  • Mobile Games. The user experience is the primary reason the customer downloads the game – they want to have fun. The better the experience, the more often the customer plays and the more revenue you make from them from purchases or advertisements.
  • Enterprise Software. The user experience is often not why the customer buys the product, as they are looking for specific features and pricing, but it can reduce the length of your sales cycle. A reduction in the sales cycle of even 20% can mean closing 20% more deals in a given year.
  • Consumer Products. A customer may not use the product before they buy it, but a poor user experience can result in a high rate of returns, which cuts into profits. Even a small reduction in returns can greatly improve your margins.

These are just three examples, so you should think about how user experience affects your own. Is it before the purchase (like Enterprise Software), after the purchase (like Consumer Electronics) or a fundamental part of your revenue (like Mobile Games)? Or something else entirely?

Whatever the answer, it becomes the yardstick that you use to measure the success of your design projects and measure their economic impact. Given such a clear goal, it becomes possible to evaluate and prioritize design projects objectively and to review their success in retrospect.

In Review: Design is a creative process, driven by your vision and feedback from your customers. Even so, data can play an important part in ensuring that you make the right design decisions and focus on the right design problems.

Quote of the Day: “A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” ― Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

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