Why you have to design for business results

Designers, we need to be more open to business results. Unsplash

I’ve never been a big fan of interface designs that are put visuals first and usability second. You know the ones I mean — think Dribbble.

From afar, in a single screen, things look amazing — but if you get too close and actually look at the design, questions start to arise.

Where’s the back button? Home button? How do I use this thing?

I am skeptical for one simple reason — interface designers can bring more value than a pretty interface. Focusing on “interface porn” and nothing else is a great way to limit your impact on a product or project.

We need to design with business results in mind to maximise our value as designers.

Design decisions need to be made with business results and impacts in mind. We don’t have to prioritise profit above everything else, but we do need to keep these concepts in mind as we go.

How can we achieve such a thing? With a few simple steps.

1 — Keep the business/project plan front of mind when designing

Before you even start sketching, learn everything you can about the business/project at hand. Understand why things are done, how things are done and what the problems are. Make notes that you can refer to later when you’re in the middle of a heated Sketch session.

When you start digging into wireframes and designs, refer to those notes. As you move along the design process, don’t let your design focus drown out the other parts of your mind.

Keep the business context front and centre

2 — Tie your design decisions to business metrics

Design decisions are one thing, but every business has key metrics they need to hit in order to survive. Justify your design decisions by backing them with business factors in mind.

Consider the various key actions you want a user to achieve, and find design decisions that encourage users to undertake those actions .Whether you’re choosing the navigation style or the colour scheme, think to yourself each time you make a decision —

What metric am I trying to influence here?

Tie your decisions to a metric and see what impact you can make. Now you’re not only a designer, but a strategist.

3 — Align yourself with other departments

Designing independently of the rest of a business limits your influence and exposure to the rest of the organisation.

You’re not maximising your value if you are tossing up between teal and cyan while everyone else is fix the metric that fell through the floor last week. Sure, that may not be your job — but you may have some valuable UX input that can help more than just yourself.

Designers — take your value beyond the design department

Next time you’re designing, design with business results in mind.

Nathan Allsopp is a Freelance Product/UI/UX Consultant based in Sydney, Australia.

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