Design is both a noun and a verb. For almost a century, consumers have enjoyed objects of design in our lives. These are artifacts of convenience, function, and appeal. Design as a noun is an object. When we buy something, we are making a statement. We are saying, “I am successful because I can afford this.” Or, “I have wonderful taste, because I have this wonderful thing.”
Design as a verb is the process of making things. Sometimes, that process is about a curiosity and exploration of material, or sometimes the process is about inclusive democratization–an inspired approach that shifts the creative spark from an external source of genius to the people who will be using whatever ends up being made.
A well-designed product or service is simple, beautiful, and easy-to-use. It creates a sense of purpose, responds to user needs, and it just works. But aside from these characteristics, how can a business know whether the investment of time and money into a good design will be worth it?
“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” – Dr. Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar Land Rover
Form Follows Emotion
Good designs positively impact how companies perform—across industries, products, services, and digital experiences.
A 2020 McKinsey report also shows how specific design actions impacted the revenue and growth of companies. The report found that the revenue growth of the top performers in design was double that of their industry peers. Their shareholder values were also more than 70% above that of their peers.
McKinsey devised a metric called the McKinsey Design Index (MDI). It found that companies at the top quartile of the MDI score spiked their revenues 32 percentage points higher than their sector counterparts in five years. For the same companies, shareholder returns shot up 56 percentage points higher than their industry peers, same period.
The evidence points to facts that an investment in design thinking is directly correlated with revenue growth.
All businesses have a long list of goals–to consistently release new products that resonate with customers, to deliver better services, and a seamless user experience. The value of design in business should be a priority, an integral way to solve problems and produce insights critical to solving problems and generating revenue.
Interactive Design Delivers Beauty And Sophistication
Interactive design is omnipresent: from your Google Maps that alerts you about the traffic to your smartwatch with a heart rate monitor. We live in a world where you can turn on the heat of your house from your smartphone and visit Machu Picchu through an augmented reality appliance from your apartment in New York. The boundaries between products and services are merging into one immersive experience.
Interactive design aims to optimize the experience of how a user interacts with a product or service. The end goal is to achieve compelling customer satisfaction at every touchpoint.
“Interaction design (IxD) is the creation of a dialogue between a person and a product, system, or service. This dialogue is both physical and emotional in nature and is manifested in the interplay between form, function, and technology as experienced over time.” – John Kolko, Author of Thoughts on Interaction Design
Design At The Edge Of Just Enough
Different target groups exhibit different preferences in design. For example, Chinese App users prefer complex and text-heavy design as opposed to its western counterparts who prefer minimal and clean design. Just look at products designed at Apple, the phones, iPads, and monitors are on a pinnacle of grandeur.
Design appeals to a variety of people. It is about magicians making magic things. Using personas are a great starting point to good design. Personas encapsulate critical data such as the emotional, cultural, and habitual influence of the audience that the designer can rely upon to conjure up aspirational sophistication.
Designing Products Customers Love
When designing digital services that require user inputs of personal data, it is imperative to think about the sensitivities of ethnicity and gender. The ability to reach a specific ethnicity with the right design and messaging is going to be every brand’s moment of truth. FrontAd is one such media partner that guides brands to stay relevant with the affluent South Asians.
The first step in achieving design diversity is to get rid of biases in the design process; in light of the fact, there are still products that only work well for a limited variety of people. They are, unknowingly or otherwise, designed to exclude.
Prototypes should be tested on diverse groups of people. This process allows potential users to interact with the designed commodity. The desired result should address the real needs of distinct groups and individuals.
Designing for diverse customers comprises two main principles–inclusivity and accessibility.
Designing for inclusivity is based on the fundamental idea that different factors affect how a person interacts with the world. These factors are–size, shape, age, gender, race, diets, abilities, education levels, income, spoken languages, and culture. Specifically, these factors affect how the individual experiences products and services.
Let’s take for example, Airbnb and News Deeply collaborated together to build a toolkit, Another Lens project, to help designers tackle their own biases for confronting their perceptions of the audience in their designs. The toolkit comprises a chain of questions that reflects upon the inclusivity and accessibility while designing commodities.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Design
Designing for accessibility is to ascertain that all users can easily use your products or services. Given most companies design products for the majority–those who can physically access the product.
Not much thought has gone into design for the physically disadvantaged users–visually impaired, vertically challenged, and so on.
Case in point is Microsoft’s introduction of the Xbox Adaptive Controller in 2018. The company launched the new product by advertising it at the 2019 Super Bowl. The thirty second ad showed the device being used by the physically disadvantaged young persons. So they can enjoy the video games they’ve been craving to play.
The ad had an inspirational headline, “We all win.”
The Design Mindset
Empower your pursuit of interactive design within your organization through cross-disciplinary teams with design-led thinkers to break down barriers within and broaden your consumer base. The user-centric design should be embodied in the mission of the company.
A Forrester Adobe study shows that companies that involve design teams in shaping corporate strategy see a 2X difference in growth. Companies that invest in the right people and give them the tools to succeed helps create world-class customer experiences.
Design Helps Companies Make Deeper Human Connections
Design both digital and tactile can help humans make better choices. Customers expect seamless experiences that allow them to interact with brands exactly when, how, and where they want. We live in a time where brands need to meet customers’ evolving expectations amid the continued proliferation of devices, displays, and interfaces. The only alternative to good design is bad design, there is no such thing as no design.