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The importance of UX design in product development

Written by André Bártolo (UX / UI Design Lead)

In current days user experience and user interface design is a very used word in the tech industry, but what does it mean? What does it represent? How can a product or a company benefit from it?
What is User Experience (UX)?
Before we delve into why UX is important for your business, let’s take a second to clarify what it is.
According to Don Norman and Jakob Nielsen,
“User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services, and its products.
In a simpler way, UX is how a person feels when interacting with a system, product, service, or company. This may include a website, an app, desktop software, a process and basically any form of human/device interaction.
It seems simple and loaded with common sense, and in fact, it is. But simple does not mean simplistic. Since it is user-centred, UX when done right is a time-consuming occupation that requires a lot of knowledge from all kinds of subjects from visual design, psychology, interaction design, anthropology, product design and programming. To design for human users means you must be able to have high levels of empathy, be able to work with tough subjects like accessibility and accommodate many physical limitations.
In the end, UX is a discipline that oversees the entire process of acquiring and integrating and using a product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function. It is a story that begins before the device is even in the user’s hands.

What does user experience represent?
User experience represents different things, there is a lot in it and there is a lot it can do for you, for your business or product and of course for your users.
Above all else, I would say UX represents opportunities through knowledge. With the help of user experience, you will get to know a lot of aspects of your users and your business. UX tries to fulfil users’ needs, it tries to make user’s life easier when interacting with a product or service. It aims to provide meaningful experiences but also to add business value to the experience which in the end it is value for the user.
To put it simply, it aims to provide positive experiences that keep users loyal to the product or brand while allowing you to build knowledge about the users and the product, that are useful to your business.
Now, we have gone through the knowledge side of it, but the user experience has more to it.
It brings a holistic overview of the whole process of assembling a product.
“No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service, and maintenance.
Make them all work together seamlessly”.
-Don Norman.
This is another big aspect of user experience, it is not limited to the product, it is not focused only on solving usability issues. It is all about the big picture, acting as the glue between technology, business, and interaction.
It can impact a whole organization from the way it thinks to the way it delivers a product ending in the way people interact with that product.
This means with UX, your team doesn’t solve isolated problems rather it looks at how all aspects work together. Consequently, you will have a product or service which was conceived with a thought on all touchpoints during the user’s experience.

How can a product or a company benefit from UX?
It is all fine and dandy to talk about the marvels of user experience, but how to benefit from it?
Including a user experience strategy in the process of building your product has become crucial to converting visitors into users, and ultimately into buyers and advocates, but the benefits one company can take from UX are many more.

  1. Fail fast, learn fast

Integrating UX in your development process is highly relevant because requirements are researched and designed, the solution is user-tested before the engineering team builds it.
An iterative UX process lets you test your assumptions and ideas directly with users and if the user or business stakeholder changes their mind, UX is a part of the process so the team can quickly adapt and change. This means UX allows you to fail fast and the agile approach tells us that iterating fast failures achieve the desired result faster than perfecting the solution.

  1. Increase organic engagement

User experience when done right allows your business to increase organic engagement
A well-structured content, design or interaction with value for the user will attract more users. You’ll be able to see the product’s future more clearly and predict the next moves that are more in line with your goals as a company.

  1. Clear path to build

Through a user-centred approach to product or service building, your business will have a clear vision of what to build next. You will be able to avoid losing yourself in meaningless features and you will understand what presents difficulties, how to deal with problems, and what offers benefits. Thus, you can provide a clear value to your users and have a well-defined scope.

  1. Good user experience is good business

ROI is also an important benefit of UX. According to Forbes on average, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 dollars in return. That’s an ROI of a whopping 9,900 per cent.
Research shows that companies that invest in the UX see a decrease in customer acquisition costs, a decrease in support costs, an increase in customer retention and enjoy market share growth, according to Forrester research.

  1. Reduce costs 

With UX design comes designs systems which aim for easiness of development and consistency. In simple terms these are building blocks you can reuse A design system is a collection of previously tested user interfaces that solve common design problems. Organizations that rely on pattern libraries, as opposed to reinventing the wheel each time, see a 50 per cent increase in product development efficiency.

User experience is a must
With more companies going through digital transformation learning about the benefits of UX design, is a big step in the right direction. Having a UX designer or team for a website is now a must-have. Businesses that fail to adopt UX into their digital presence are going to find themselves in tough spots without the ability to understand what went wrong.
User experience can produce sweeping changes in a company’s digital presence with large returns on investment. It will avoid you, your business and your product common mistakes, lower support needs, increase customer trust, and much more.