How Prioritizing UX Design Can Fuel Long-Term Growth in the Next Decade Here's why businesses should be prioritizing user experience.
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Renowned as the "Warren Buffett of business communication," author Steve Denning has spent the last 15 years peering into the future, accurately predicting the age of agile that companies now eagerly embrace. In his book, Reinventing Capitalism in the Digital Age, Denning delves into the historical context behind the current crisis in capitalism and explores the Business Roundtable's 2019 call to shift from shareholder to stakeholder capitalism.
UX aligns with his perceptive insight that adopting a customer-centric approach is the most effective way to serve all stakeholders. By prioritizing UX, businesses can effectively cater to customers, employees, shareholders and the greater community, ensuring stakeholder satisfaction and long-term growth.
Customer-centric models yield significant benefits for shareholders
For a roadmap to success, we can turn to the most prominent companies in terms of market capitalization today. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have achieved tech giant status by dedicating significant resources to understanding their users. Amazon's checkout process is often cited as a UX case study, while Apple's design is renowned for fostering intense customer loyalty with its intuitive interfaces. While these corporations are not without challenges, a substantial portion of their achievements can be attributed to their focus on user needs.
CarMax and Aha! are compelling illustrations of companies that strongly emphasized UX and experienced remarkable growth over the past ten years. CarMax witnessed a substantial increase in revenue, soaring from $10 billion to $30 billion, after implementing Lean UX practices. Meanwhile, Aha! embarked on its journey in 2013 without any venture capital funding and began developing a SaaS platform using a Minimum Lovable Product as its starting point. By 2022, Aha! achieved a remarkable milestone of $100 million in revenue. Their products have garnered such success that they rely on word-of-mouth advertising from satisfied customers instead of allocating a budget for traditional marketing efforts.
Well-designed UX enables employees to work more effectively
As reflected in CEO Brian de Haaff's book, Lovability: How to Build a Business That People Love and Be Happy Doing It, Aha!'s approach goes beyond satisfying customers to creating genuine affection for the brand. They even keep track of the frequency of the word "love" mentioned in customer feedback as a metric for the business. This customer-centric model not only fosters loyalty among customers but also instills a profound sense of pride in employees who recognize the positive impact of their work. Organizations prioritizing UX often leverage this perspective to increase employee satisfaction and productivity in their companies. When the success of these companies' internal processes becomes well known, it can pique the interest of others seeking to learn their strategies, leading to opportunities for process and change consulting.
UX is a risk mitigation strategy. Projects that integrate UX have a greater probability of achieving success. It can be incredibly frustrating for developers to discover, after investing months or even years of effort, that their work fails to resonate with users during testing. This predicament often leads to sunk costs for companies, as they find themselves investing in features that ultimately prove to be unprofitable. This issue becomes particularly problematic when extensive redesigning becomes necessary. The cycle can create a stressful situation where there is a lack of accurate information to create a usable design, resulting in the need for redevelopment of previously implemented features.
Positive experiences result in higher user satisfaction
Countless tales circulate about customers abandoning their purchases in a shopping cart when the checkout process is overly complex. Unhappy customers may silently leave without voicing their dissatisfaction. The story of the "$300 million button" illustrates the profound impact of user testing on the bottom line. By learning what users consider important during the checkout phase, a prominent ecommerce website replaced a single button on a form, resulting in a remarkable 45% increase in completed purchases and $300 million in revenue.
According to UX expert Jakob Nielsen, conducting user testing with just five users can unveil around 85% of usability problems. A professional heuristic evaluation can substantially enhance user experience even without user testing. Identifying usability issues within your company's processes can profoundly impact your bottom line while also improving the quality of life for employees by saving them time and reducing frustration. When these savings are multiplied across an entire organization, the cumulative benefits of UX become truly significant.
Fostering inclusivity and accessibility enhances community well-being
By implementing inclusive and accessible UX practices, websites can cater to a broader range of users, including people with disabilities, seniors and individuals with diverse needs. Technological advancements driven by accessibility have now become commonplace for all users. Widespread features such as voice recognition, speech-to-text and tactile feedback were initially created to assist individuals with visual impairments or reading and writing challenges. Eye-tracking technology and gesture-based controls have not only benefited individuals with disabilities but have also found applications in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and gaming.
Accessible UX design is crucial in allowing users with limited connectivity or data, who primarily rely on mobile devices to access the internet, to use websites and online services. By factoring in accessibility, it becomes possible to extend the reach of education and technology to developing nations and individuals who would otherwise face significant barriers to accessing such resources. Localization and personalization provide culturally relevant content, improve accessibility and tailor experiences to all users. Understanding and adapting to the needs of different regions also enables businesses to unlock new growth opportunities.
UX is a long-term growth strategy you can't ignore
Over the past ten years, UX has evolved from being a relatively niche discipline to becoming a mainstream and essential component of product and service development. The escalating demand for UX professionals comes as no surprise, as it ranks among the top five tech skills in demand. In the digital age, businesses increasingly recognize the importance of creating customer value to satisfy the needs of all stakeholders. UX is an essential key to achieving this goal.