Unlocking business value: design beyond eye candy
Companies and brands work hard to provide their customers with great products and services. Achieving this goal is getting increasingly harder – considering the rapid rise in consumer expectations, instant access to global information and reviews and the fusion of hardware, software, and services. Only the very best products and services stand out from the crowd. That’s why today’s companies need stronger design capabilities than ever before.
To discover how design is able to create business value, McKinsey conducted an extensive research. They tracked the design practices of 300 publicly listed companies over a five-year period in multiple countries and industries. Their study uncovered the greatest correlation with improved financial performance: companies that excel at design grow revenues and shareholder returns at nearly twice the rate of their competitors.
At Netcentric, we believe that visually appealing user interfaces that perfectly transport the brand messages of our customers are just one side of the coin. Our understanding of what design includes and of the impact it can have on business performance goes much further than just the beauty of user interfaces and slide decks. To generate business value for our clients and outstanding experiences for their customers we follow a strategic design approach that consists of four building blocks and has been tested and proved by working with top-tier companies and brands around the globe.
Measure design performance
We don’t want our designed solutions to “just work” and look pretty – we want them to delight customers and to positively affect the business of our clients. The true purpose of design is to drive action from as many people as possible. Therefore we need a way to measure the effectiveness of our designed products and services. This means measuring how good they are at driving business-related conversions (e.g. converting views into actions like downloads, contact inquiries or purchases).
To demonstrate the value and effectiveness of design we blend qualitative data with quantitative measures and define actionable, user-centered metrics. Relying solely on behavioral or attitudinal metrics only tells you half of the story. That’s why we consider both: behavioural and attitudinal KPIs. The truth lies n between what users say and what they finally do.
Additionally, we define Key Experience Indicators (KEIs), leveraging the HEART (Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Task Success) framework from Google. Measuring our design performance allows us to increase the effectiveness of our delivered solutions and therefore increase the business value for our clients.
Think far beyond a single product
Next to design metrics, another key success factor is embracing the full customer experience. Do not focus only on features of a single website or mobile app! The boundaries between products and services are merging into integrated experiences. Therefore it is essential to break down internal walls among physical, digital, and service design and act strategically.
As Experience Strategists and Designers at Netcentric, we think far beyond a single product. We do not focus only on one web platform or mobile app, but consider the complete customer journey. We design end-to-end processes, workflows, and experiences. Our design approach requires solid customer insights, understanding the underlying needs of potential customers and considering the business goals of our clients.
We fuel the business of our clients by asking questions such as:
- What is our client aiming for in the near and in the long term?
- Which opportunities can we identify for our client to gain an advantage against competitors?
- What is the gap between the needs of the customers and their current experience?
- How do the overall capabilities of our client’s employees support the customer experience the client wants to provide?
The third building block focuses on collaboration. We do not only design for people, we also design with people. We do not make design a siloed function, but everyone’s responsibility. Instead of tiring design strictly to a dedicated group of people operating under the radar, cut off from the rest of the organization, we break down silos and extend the group of people being involved into the design process.
In a world of increasingly complex challenges co-design is a powerful force for creativity and collaboration. We co-create together with the complete team, including developers, requirements engineers, solution architects and project managers and involve our clients and key stakeholders into the design process. By doing that we benefit from the diversity of expertise, experience and skills and ensure excellent outcomes. Beyond that, it is about discovering everyone’s unique and collective perspectives on the environment, the product and the customers, which makes it vital to create together.
Our co-creating process includes the view of the end customers as well as the perspective of our clients with their business objectives and guarantees feasible, effective and cost-efficient solutions.
Never stop improving
The fourth building block is about striving for excellence: Our design process does not end with a product launch. After an MVP launch it’s all about enhancing, polishing and improving a product or service and ensuring its continuous enhancement. Taking future challenges and requirements into consideration, our delivered solutions help our clients to save future costs and efforts because they are designed with business sustainability and scale in mind.
To achieve the best results, we iterate continuously, listening and testing with end-users. Our research and testing approach combines quantitative (Analytics data) and qualitative methodologies (user interviews, usability tests, etc.).
This approach has plenty of benefits:
- It provides us with feedback from customers to make sure that the product or service requirements actually meet their needs.
- It enables us to reduce usability issues and, therefore, guarantee excellent customer experiences.
- Costs and time for dealing with mistakes decrease, as the development team may reveal all the issues at an early stage.
- Our clients and stakeholders are provided with better visibility of the product or service development progress.
Finally, our iterative design approach treats the budget of our clients with care and fosters customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Let’s make an impact together!
Led by the four building blocks of our strategic design approach, we consult our clients on activities and initiatives that are required to create sustainable competitive advantage. Are you looking for professional support to shape your digital transformation? Or would you like to join our team of Experience Strategists and Designers and contribute your expertise? We’re curious and always looking for new challenges – just get in touch with us!