UX design as a strategic business tool

Strategy, Business

Often times UI/UX design is an afterthought in small B2B software teams. A decorative piece on a half-baked idea. Let’s coded first and see if it works then will give it to the designer to make it pretty and we are ready to ship. And the team will bicker over colours, fonts and what type of text field we should use. Feels like you decorating your home with your spouse.

There is no rational thought, just personal preferences in some weird power dynamics. And if that’s you and you enjoy this process, that’s fine. You should definitely keep doing this.

For the rest of you who think that this is draining, annoying or just straight up unproductive, there is a better way to do design.

Design is a business tool

So, if it’s not for decoration and making things pretty what it is for?

UI/UX design is a business tool. It’s a tool for making money, saving them and reducing risk. It’s a process for testing your business ideas fast and low-risk engagement. It’s for iterating and improving the business.

‍Natural Selection

Let’s look at the top tech companies and what do they do. They all talk about empathy, inclusivity, design thinking, design sprints, and growth hacking. And what all these processes have in common is the willingness to experiment. You have an assumption you create an experiment to test your assumption. The results of the experiment feed the development of your business. It’s a simple scientific method that is commonly used in environments with high uncertainty. It’s a process that exists in nature itself.

It’s called natural selection. In nature, it’s not the most stronger or bigger species that survive but the most adaptive. You know the saying “you adapt or you die”. Human beings in nature are a great example. They are numerous examples of species that didn’t make it to modern days they just couldn't keep up with the changes.

Experiment & adapt

To be the most adaptive software business is forever changing market you need to be willing to experiment. Enter UI/UX design. This is your business growth tool. When you have an assumption of how the business can evolve design an experiment. Prototype your assumption. Validate it with your team but the most important gather feedback from the real users. This is your market, the ever-changing environment. If it survives there, allocate resources and execute. If it didn’t even better, you saved your team from what could be a huge waste of resources. If somewhat works, iterate and test again.

Designing the experiment itself it’s a lengthy topic I will cover in another article but here is the short version:

  • Pick the right experiment based on effort and impact
  • Test one assumption at a time
  • Define the business goal you aiming to achieve
  • Define how successful experiment looks like
  • Test with real users
  • Keep goal top of mind when analysing the results
  • Share results with the team
  • Repeat

Such a design experiment could take a week or two without ever getting into lengthy development cycles. And the payoff is time and money saved, reducing the risk of becoming irrelevant, grow faster.

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