Ever since I got interested in UX topic, I couldn’t help but wonder why dropping the word “UX design” in a conversation never gives a guarantee you’d be understood correctly?
Everyone around would nod and give you that knowing look, while hell knows what really happens in their heads.
Even when you’re talking to people familiar with building digital products…🙄
Even when these people claim to be UX designers… 🙄
Don’t get me wrong. I am not being nerdy expecting people to know the definition of UX design. It’s quite a new field and it’s okay if you don’t know it or struggle to see the difference between UX and UI.
It’s not okay, however, if you understand UX design wrong and thus fail to see its true business value. So let’s get it clear once and for all.
What is NOT UX design?
UX design is not just about “drawing screens” as it’s often being referred to. It’s not a way to produce pretty slides to impress clients or investors either. Yes, it includes prototyping, but this is just a shell for tremendous work performed earlier.
(If pretty screens are the ultimate goal – there are plenty of templates and customizable themes that will serve better, faster and cheaper than involving a UX designer.)
Talking about pretty things, UX design is not about aesthetics, composition, perspective, or color theory. It’s about balancing aesthetics and functionality. Quite often sacrificing the former for the sake of the latter.
Besides, depending on the target audience the sense of aesthetics can vary. UX design teaches us to be tolerant. You might like minimalism, while your audience – extravagance. Guess which design path you should follow?
And if at this point you think “Ha! I am better than that coz I know that UX is needed to ensure the butter-smooth experience for users, avoid intricate functionality and confusing paths” – you are on the right path but still not fully there.
The biggest value of UX design is hidden behind simple design improvements.
Having a marketing background, I think that UX design helps us to return to good old but often forgotten principles of strategic marketing: focus on creating the products that users will love right off the bat, instead of trying to wrap nicely and push to the market whatever you managed to cobble together.
UX design provides necessary techniques and nurtures the mindset needed to build your business around people’s needs. So here are some of its core values I’d like to underline for business owners:
Understand your clients’ problems
UX design helps us understand better our audience’s pain points that we should focus on solving. Through it, we can not only define the feel and look of a product but, what’s more important, decide on really crucial things according to what we learn about users’ needs: how a product should work? what it should do? what it should not do?
“Design is a really loaded word. I don’t know what it means. So we don’t talk a lot about design around here, we just talk about how things work. Most people think it’s about how they look, but it’s about how they work” – Steve Jobs
That’s why it makes sense to turn to UX design early on, and in every way avoid the situation “so here is the product, now we need to make it more usable and look nice”.
Validate ideas through UX design
Don’t rush to invest in costly and time-consuming coding of MVPs, whereas you can test your ideas with real users through iterative design. Through UX design you get fast feedback that allows you to validate and improve the concept of your product, or even cut off unnecessary functionalities before spending hours on coding them.
Ensure organic growth
Pushing sales through advertisement gives only a temporary effect. Whereas really useful products with a pleasant experience, designed for specific existing needs, stimulate organic growth and a loyal client base.
Unite different departments with the same set of goals
UX design can bring many useful insights for various departments in your company: from operations to marketing, from services to logistics. It can become a uniting thread that synergizes the efforts of your different departments and stimulates the cooperation by setting up common goals of creating a great experience at any touchpoint between a user and your business.
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I truly hope that more and more business owners develop a user-centered approach and turn to UX design strategically to make their products better. Isn’t it a great way to make the world a little bit better?
Liked what you’ve just read? Disagree or got some questions? Let me know about that – I appreciate any constructive feedback. Also, give me a sign if you like this topic and what would you like to read next.