Product Design is one of the fastest-growing areas in business today, with around 70% of leaders confirming that they have increased the size of their Design teams in recent years.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the field continues to expand. This is because companies have recognized the need to digitize their products and services, making UX Design an essential part of their business strategy.
Many organizations, such as Amazon, Starbucks, IBM, and McKinsey, have already understood the strategic role of Design.
However, some companies still fail to realize all the benefits that Design can bring them.
In this article, we will explore the impact of Design within a company and explain why companies should view Product Design as a strategic area.
Change starts from within
To fully benefit from a strategic Product Design area, companies must first establish and promote a Design Culture internally.
This culture should prioritize improving the user experience of the company's products and services by using the principles of Design Thinking throughout the organization.
Design Thinking principles encourage collaboration, experimentation, and creativity, and they can be applied to various aspects of a company's operations, from product development to marketing and customer service.
By embracing Design Culture, companies can foster a customer-centric approach that drives innovation and differentiation in the marketplace.
Ultimately, this can lead to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue, making Design an indispensable strategic asset for any forward-thinking business.
To build a strong Design Culture, IDEO identifies five key characteristics that companies should adopt:
- Curiosity: everyone in the company should always be asking questions, and systems and processes should be in place to help answer them.
- Frequent experimentation: employees should be encouraged to explore different possible solutions, leading to a higher success rate in product launches;
- Collaboration between teams: integration and communication between all areas and levels of the company should be promoted to ensure that no project is anonymous;
- Storytelling: a person responsible for each project should build effective and compelling storytelling to communicate the product's value and purpose.;
- More ideas: companies should explore new ideas daily, promoting discussions, interactions, and feedback to foster a culture of innovation.
Establishing a Design Culture is crucial for companies to fully comprehend the benefits of Product Design. By adopting these five characteristics, companies can create a more customer-centric approach, drive innovation, and gain a competitive advantage in the market.
Reading Tip: Design Thinking: Creating Innovative Solutions
Essential Product Design Tools
Several tools can assist companies in establishing a Design Culture and facilitating various UX Design processes. Here are three essential ones:
- Design Thinking: a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to problem-solving within a company. The goal of Design Thinking is to develop creative strategies that prioritize the needs and perspectives of users. It is the foundational tool for establishing a Design Culture.
- Storytelling: this technique involves telling a compelling story that resonates with the audience and communicates a relevant message. In UX Design, storytelling is crucial because it conveys the user's perspective and showcases the evolution of their experience.
- User Journey Mapping: this process helps build a map of every and each interaction a user has with a product or service. It allows designers to identify all user touchpoints and, therefore, the main gaps and unmeet needs of the product/service.
By leveraging these tools, companies can establish a Design Culture that fosters innovation, improves user experiences, and drives business success.
The power of Product Design on companies
We've established that it's crucial for companies to implement processes such as Design Thinking, cultivate a Design Culture, and prioritize UX/UI as strategic areas.
But what are the impacts of working this way?
InVision conducted research that measured the impact of Design on Business. Over 2,000 designers were interviewed from various markets and industries around the world. Here are some of the key findings:
Companies are increasingly utilizing design to improve their efficiency, results, and market positioning.
Design has been shown to improve product quality, increase customer satisfaction, and generate revenue. An important benefit to highlight is also cost reduction.
"Almost 75% of companies said there was an increase in customer satisfaction and usability through Design" – The New Designer Frontier By InVision
Design for Development
Design significantly impacts companies by enabling them to redesign and develop new products rather than just adding small features.
According to the survey, most companies agree that the Design field has played a vital role in creating new products and services.
The Design area has played an increasingly active role in developing new products rather than simply improving existing portfolios.
Spreading the word about Product Design
Another significant impact of Design on companies is the dissemination of a Design Culture.
InVision's research has demonstrated that there is a significant engagement of stakeholders in the Design processes within the surveyed companies.
Spreading the word about Product Design is essential because it disseminates knowledge and the process of Product Design throughout the organization, allowing the company to apply design practices such as ideation, experimentation, and testing within its various sectors, promoting an innovation mindset.
The bigger the impact, the bigger the revenue
The companies studied by InVision's research confirmed the following hypothesis:
"When design takes center stage, it can have a direct impact on tangible business results, like revenue, valuation, and time to market." – The New Designer Frontier By InVision
The above data is extremely relevant because it demonstrates the correlation between a company's revenue growth and its focus on design.
This highlights the importance of incorporating Product Design into a company's strategy and how it can contribute to its overall success.
Other key benefits of Product Design
In addition to enhancing a company's results, Product Design also provides other valuable benefits, such as:
- Innovation: promoting a Design Culture within a company also fosters an innovative mindset;
- Branding: The Design department can add value to a brand by bringing more authority to its products. Product Design should collaborate closely with Marketing to ensure that objectives are aligned;
- Communication: establishing a Design Culture requires integration across several areas of the organization. Effective communication thus becomes a valuable skill within the company, particularly among departments such as Marketing, Sales, Product Design, and Finance, who should maintain clear and transparent communication;
- Customer Loyalty: by prioritizing the user, Design can help build customer loyalty by enabling companies to truly meet their needs.
Case Study: Slack
Slack struggled with client retention, but its Design team was able to identify needs and propose improvements to address this issue.
The Product Design team surveyed users and worked closely with the sales department to identify problems and develop solutions.
In the following video, Jen Long, Product Design Manager, details this transformation at Slack.
It is no surprise that the Product Design field is growing rapidly. Companies are recognizing that design is just as critical as any other business area. As we have seen, research and data demonstrate the tangible impact of Product Design on companies.
As a Product Designer, it is essential to understand these impacts and the potential value your work can bring to companies. By doing so, you can better appreciate the value of your work and position yourself more effectively in the market.