Only when you bring design into every aspect of your business model will you unlock the potential of digital.
An attractive website or app might be pleasing on the eye and easy to use, but it won’t revolutionise your business. Writing for Harvard Business Review, Leah Buley explains that digital winners like Netflix succeed because they incorporate digital design into every aspect of their business models.
Here are five steps you must take to achieve total digital-design integration.
1) Hire big hitters. The success of your digital design team depends on its leadership. Make sure you employ design executives with vision, ambition and a track record of excellence in the field. You need design leaders who’ll inspire their teams and pack a punch at board level.
2) Empower digital designers. Being design led means allowing thinking that goes beyond the limits of what present technology can achieve, but that’s also where future success lies. That’s why at Netflix, digital product designers are “empowered to question the status quo and to seek out new ways to grow the business”.
Fully integrating digital means putting digital design on a par with every other function of your business, including facilitating feedback loops and providing a direct report to the CEO.
3) Test and test again. “Companies where experiments are the norm in the design process were four times more likely to report that design had a positive impact on their revenue, five times more likely to see cost savings and six times more likely to decrease their time to market.”
At Gap Inc, design teams regularly recruit staff from company cafeterias to test new concepts before they get anywhere near formal testing. Digital success means robust, systematic testing which begins at the grassroots, making quick, informal test and feedback processes part of company culture.
4) Measure your success. Develop effective ways to measure ROI from digital-design inputs. United Services Automobile Association employs a “design scorecard that details everything, from engagement with compliance and legal to the accessibility of designs”. Some teams use the Net Promoter Score (NPS), others use Google’s HEART framework to measure at scale users’ experience of websites and apps.
5) Make everyone a designer. At Google, everyone is responsible for engineering, production and design, with different teams acting as partners first. That means creating “practices, principles, quality standards and tools” which enable everyone – from key partners to the guy in the mailroom – to have contact with and contribute to the work of your digital-design team.
Today’s digital brand names understand that digital design isn’t a team within the organisation; it is the organisation.