Measuring the ROI of Businesses Using Design Trends
Over the last few decades, the internet revolution has practically swept the world’s economy off its feet! A world of opportunities has opened up, and in spite of fierce competition, there is more and more access to information. Users have been empowered to have the ability to make or break brands. Consequently, businesses need to invest in understanding their users and creating products that actually matter to them. This is where experience design comes in.
Design is a long-term investment, and is an adaptive process, constantly evolving to position businesses uniquely. For years together, Apple has improvised on a modest number of products. One would think that with a product line that small, Apple would be bound to reach an impasse. However, a sharp focus on designing innovative user experiences, rather than designing new products, has ensured that the company stands a class apart. When someone uses an Apple product, the first thing they notice is the ease with which they can maneuver through the functions and features. Smooth functioning, a fast processor, and exclusive software, never fail to delight a user. Add to it the elegant and minimalistic design and you have a combination of functionality with design in a way that no other company has been able to successfully emulate. Tim Cook boasts of how you can fit the entire product portfolio of the world’s most valued company on a table, and we see why. Instead of focusing on innovating new technologies, Apple has consistently focused on innovating the user experience it provides.
We believe that design is an art that provides engaging, sustainable, and path-breaking creative models to businesses for the purpose of building robust platforms and products – and we have proved it! Let’s understand the areas where Design has a phenomenal impact and returns, both quantitative and qualitative.
Design and People (Users)
User-centric design means adding value to the user's life by offering beautiful solutions that solve their problems or serve their needs. A beautiful solution not only empowers people but also delights; it evokes positive human emotions. Every second spent by a person on the platform should make him/her feel more connected to your product/ service.
A study from Experience Dynamics shows that a staggering 70% of products fail due to lack of user acceptance. This can be avoided by incorporating UX Research and Usability Testing by businesses. Let’s validate the study with real-life examples and data.
We were asked to design an app that aimed at empowering the farmers’ community. We had to find answers to a few critical questions even before diving into crafting solutions for farmers such as:
1. To what extent can design actually provide a solution? This brought clarity between the client and Lollypop and helped us define our problem statements.
2. How many apps were in the market with the same intent and how many of them were actually being used? This helped us understand the bigger picture and draft our questions for farmers.
3. Who was truly our target audience and what were their pain points?
It was impossible to find answers inside the four walls of our cabin and hence we conducted intensive on-site research for 3 months with the farmers and all the involved stakeholders that influenced their decision making. Post this we had many actionable insights that helped us craft a unique solution but the most important was to bring the entire farming ecosystem under one platform so that the farmers could find all the answers from just a single app.
Also, we had to keep in mind that we had unconventional users who had experienced the internet for the first time on their low-end mobile phones. Their behavior and understanding were much different than any of us. This is where continuous usability testing helped us reduce the errors and hence the development time. The study shows that investing in usability testing can save up to 50% of wasted development time.
The app boasts of a 4.4-star rating on Google Play and the average session time on the app has increased up to 11%. This app won many awards on national and international platforms, such as Best UX Project India, 2018, India’s Best Design Studio.
Design and Functionality
As we have already gone over before, design needs to focus not just on how something looks, but more so on how it works. Design and functionality go hand in hand. Each function of a product needs to be designed such that it functions flawlessly, exactly like it was intended to. Functionality does not just imply that a product should work well – what it means is that the product needs to talk to the user, and function in a way that the user understands exactly what he needs to. Here’s an example of a project we worked on.
As one of the fastest growing FinTech companies in India, Paytm’s long term vision is to make India a cashless economy by penetrating into all economic strata of the country. We helped Paytm Money in translating their business model and motives as designs by enabling users with fully digital KYC that could activate their account under 30 minutes. We also maintained the visual language very close to the Parent app to establish an instant connect and trust among the users.
Within a span of 6 months from launch, Paytm Money boasts of 1 million users.
Design and Visual
Visual design is equally important as it provides a brand with face and personality. When we visit the website of an unknown company, don’t we actually form an impression on the basis of the layout, colours, typeface, and photos? Visual design is the surface of what one sees when they look at the brand. We worked with a Fintech company called CreditVidya to help them introduce alternate credit scoring system to the Indian audience.
Our challenge was to design the product of Credit Vidya in such a way that it was accepted by all banks; trust, ease-of-use, security, and dependability were of paramount importance. Along with the functionality, visual branding was treated with utmost importance. We provided a complete brand identity that consisted of logo, print and electronic stationery, UI design system and other assets and collaterals. Every element of the identity was designed keeping in mind the traditional look and feel of a financial system for greater acceptance by financial ecosystems.
Credit Vidya is recognized among the most innovative and pathbreaking Fintech solutions today. They are widely accepted by all big Financial institutions and have successfully upped the banking institutions’ lending capability.
Design and Viability (Business)
A need satisfies a fundamental requirement, that one needs to fulfill in order to be able to live on a day to day basis. A want is that, which is purely desirable, and isn’t crucial for survival. Simply put, sufficiency is equivalent to a need and extravagance is equivalent to a want. While making crucial business decisions it is critical to identify and satisfy the basic need first and later look into add-ons that would be desirable. On the basis of the ‘need vs. want’ principle, it is important for businesses to design user experiences that people need, more than something that people would find merely attractive. Let’s elaborate this notion with the help of an example:
Let’s look at the success probability when we have well-defined problem statements focused on serving the basic needs of the user:
We were approached by ‘Vymo’ to design a complete Workflow Management Solution software primarily aimed at sales teams to keep track of their leads and better manage them. The design challenge was to make Vymo CRM truly assistive that would encourage salespeople to not only use it but also perceive it as a solution provider. According to the data by annie, less than 30% of the install base opened the top 3 CRM apps in the market. With the help of user research, we understood what the users really needed and their pain points that would motivate them to adopt the app. We were able to gauge that unlike any other model we were required to adopt the bottom-up approach; Vymo CRM had to provide actionable insights and also take away the unnecessary burden of manual data feeding. It had to be a productivity management tool and not a measurement yardstick.
Vymo boasts of having over 80% of the user base being highly active on the app. And within a few months of its launch, they had a really big market share. They also shared that they were able to help some of the world's largest enterprise field teams get almost 2X productivity uplift; resulting in 30-50% higher sales within 3 months of launch.
Vymo has already been setting benchmarks and has won several awards in its field such as recognized as the only Gartner Cool Vendor in CRM Sales from across Asia in 2017, it was also named a notable vendor.
Design and Scalability
At Lollypop, we work towards proving that design can lead businesses to different heights that were previously believed to be unattainable. In the past, it has been said that businesses are all the same, with their attempts to sell their respective products. We are convinced that creativity and business acumen only go well together and that businesses cannot aim to grow without systematic processes that focus on design-led thinking. It is only through this process that businesses can scale, grow, earn higher profits, beat competition and empower their users. A good design not only empowers the users but also businesses by taking into account the near future growth and designing for same.
One of our most revered projects is designing digital Deccan Herald (DH) as it is known as the face of Karnataka's journalism. We had multiple focus areas with a singular objective of increased readership and user engagement. We spent close to two months discovering the business and user needs & behavior. With our research insights, we were certain that we could do justice to the readers but we were ambitious and wanted to provide DH with two main advantages; first, a scalable platform that would be independent of designers and second, an easy to use interface that could do justice to stories.
After much discussions and ideations, we settled for adopting the unified design language approach. The journalist facing interface was designed as an easy drag and drop platform that allowed every journalist to use the space and attention their story deserved. And all of this was done while ensuring that the website layout was always beautiful. We designed a complete library of assets defining more than 24 color sets, widgets, cards, and styles. This also allows DH to add many more news verticals without having the need to redesign from scratch.
The readership on DH platform has increased by almost 22% in the past 6 months according to similarweb.com. According to Alexa, daily page views per visitor shows a 7% increase while daily time on site has increased by 15%.
Design is an experience (Make it last a lifetime!)
The whole point of different businesses turning to design for the purpose of creating new experiences for users is to stand out. When an experience has been created, it is either memorable or not – positively or negatively. We’ve already mentioned how it is important for businesses to evoke positive emotions from their target audience. To do this, they need to create a strong user experience. For example, could you ever think of replacing your toothbrush with anything else? A simple design but such a strong experience. Let’s look at one more example as to how design can actually educate and cultivate good habits in people:
For one of our early days' projects, UpStox, we had to educate people about the value of online stock trading and win the users trust towards investing funds digitally. Shifting old habits and making people learn a new one could be extremely challenging. But with proper user research and embedding design in its strategy, nothing is much difficult to achieve. We along with the founders ideated on brand name, identity, and its products. Research spelled that we had two strong personas which required different interfaces; hence, we designed two different apps, viz., UpStox (designed for the common man) and UpStox Pro (designed for expert traders). We also began with the trading education platform called Trade Academy to build users trust and help them form a new habit.
Within a few months of its launch, Upstox gained a major market share and was considered to be amongst the top stock trading platforms. It also received funding from Ratan Tata.