Many technology and software companies need a cultural change to fully mature in UX design (user experience). UX design and Design Thinking is a lot more than the appearance of digital products and services. It’s about how products work and what value it adds to the market.
Organizations located high on the UX maturity ladder are better able to deliver products with a powerful combination of functionality, usability, and aesthetics – in line with the organization’s business goals. They know that well thought out and user-friendly design is of strategic value to existing business models. Therefore they are able to:
– innovate faster and acquire a larger market share with refined propositions;
– have structural savings on development costs by improving existing products.
ROI of UX Design
UX design is no longer a cosmetic procedure, but an indispensable strategic choice to grow businesses.
But how do I measure ROI, you might ask… Well, take a look at these 5 key aspects:
– No unnecessary functionalities: just create what the user needs and what ads value in the market.
– By paying attention to the user experience, there’s a faster return on investment faster and sales will increase.
– UX design saves development time by clear and simplified documentation, and more effective collaboration with development, marketing, and sales.
– Increased user-friendliness results in more satisfied users and reduces the risk of rejection.
– A consistent user interface creates trust and professional brand value.
There are six indicators indicative of an organization on the maturity ladder.
1. The moment when UX design is involved in the design and development process. The sooner UX design is involved, the higher the company is on the maturity ladder.
2. Degree of UX expertise and resources in-house, or the possibility of acquiring UX capacity.
3. The application and used technique to collect and translate user feedback from UX design.
4. Leadership and culture within the company, how management values UX design and understands its necessity from a business perspective.
5. The level of UX design processes & principles and the degree of integration with other corporate processes, enabling multidisciplinary teams to work better together in the development of digital products and services.
6. How design thinking is applied to a broader perspective to continuously improve the user experience.
UX Maturity stage
We distinguish 5 stages on the UX Maturity ladder. From low, inception, to high, integrated, on the ladder:
1 – inception
“Absence of UX”
Features are built and released by developers. Feedback from users is not collected or perceived as irrelevant. Often, users have to use the system or platform because it is the only solution provided. Util the pain is felt in the wallet a change of mindset will not be possible — or at least very difficult.
To take the first step towards more attention and awareness for the user, try observing one to three users and making video recordings of this. Have the user say aloud what the obstacles are and present the video of this to management and other team members. This gives your organization insight into how the product is perceived by users.
2 – awareness
“UX as aesthetics”
UX is recognized that involving customers and users in the development of products is beneficial, but the team still often rely on their own insights and assumptions. There is a person responsible for usability, but he/she often has multiple roles, ranging from visual design to front-end development.
At this stage, it is important to create support among colleagues and middle management. By conducting small user tests during and at the end of a release. More people will become convinced of the value of UX design by sharing the results within the organization.
Invest more in usability research and pre-testing new functionalities. This can be done, for example, by giving one person the responsibility for research and UX.
3 – adopting
“UX as a process”
In this stage, UX design is seen as a critical factor. Managers decide to engage external usability experts or researchers to participate in the project. Data is collected ad hoc and the quality of the UX is sometimes measured. Responsibility for research and UX is vested, but there are limited budget and time available for UX activities.
In this situation, the promotion of usability and UX design is important to the board and higher management, so that budget is released and more support is created.
Change is only possible if a vision is developed to apply UX design within product development in a structural way.
“UX informs product strategy”
The importance of UX design is no longer discussed. Users are involved structurally, feedback is collected and shared with team members. Qualitative and quantitative data is used in decision-making by product owners or product managers. Projects are done by multi-disciplinary teams in which the different roles required are clear. The right research techniques are used at the right time, including the making and testing of different prototypes.
Changes are possible if the importance of UX design is supported throughout the organization and the results are communicated to all team members and senior management.
“UX part of global strategy”
All customer interactions are continuously mapped and measured. The decisions of managers and leaders are made in consultation with (the representatives of) the UX design & product teams. Researchers and UX designers have specialized roles and are given the space to follow the user-centered design process. The UX lead facilitates the selection process with all stakeholders and advises on the implementation of the strategic roadmap and development activities. The organization is informed by qualitative and quantitative data.
“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”
— Dr. Ralph Speth, CEO Jaguar