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5 reasons why design matter

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May 4, 2012

Design is a way of conversation that lasts and that’s sustainable. It is something extraordinary. According to Sir George Cox as he put in the Cox Review: “Design is what links creativity and innovation. It shapes ideas to become practical and attractive propositions for users or customers. Design may be described as creativity deployed to a specific end.”

The greatness of a great design, ‘of anything’ lies in its inevitability, you cannot ignore it. just it. Interestingly most of us, we, want that people will fall short to ignore our products. There would be no way to avoid us. However, we never work according to our want. We want to go to heaven but don’t want to die. We like dreaming as long as we are not forced to put them in practice. For the same reason we fall short when it comes about design. We fall short certainly. We choose mediocrity over extraordinary, we choose substance over something substantial, we choose risk avoidance over success and we consider cost first over gain.

Above that, we often blend design with something unrelated to product and business. However, it is very much related to business and statistics shows that a great design produces more sales, increases brand image and creates community. Best example is Apple. Let’s see some tangible reasons why you should focus more on design:

Design sells: The other day I and my co-worker Ashiqur Rab was talking with a designer cum packet supplier about our packet design and printing cost. By no means it was a consultancy meeting, we were about to see the design, know the price and receive a quotation and order for some sample print. Our purpose was to reduce cost at any way and accordingly we were discussing about how can we reduce cost and how efficiently can we do that. At certain point of discussion the supplier cum designer raised the point that, we should not consider price over standard or design. He did not relent himself just by saying that, he also put some other examples like; why he buys certain products and certain item and why doesn't buy other. What he said is not a word of marketing specialist nor something to take so seriously but what stroked me later on is that: he is a customer, he better knows why he buys certain item better than a marketing guru. And what he said is that he buys because of design. He buys because he finds something looks good. People seldom test before buying anything. People see the cover. Although, from childhood we’ve been taught that, never judge a book by its cover’ but alas we did so in our whole life.

Design makes ideas successfully tangible: Presentation does matter. How do you present something, how catchy, how rule breaking, how jaw dropping, all these are matter as how great your idea is. A great idea can be well beaten to a mediocre idea just because of meager presentation. Design is a way of making idea tangible and it matter how better you do.

The best possible investment in terms of return: Several research shows that an investment in design ultimately pays off. It has already been proved that, a better design sells better than a mediocre one. Apple products are live example of legacy of design. Here are some statistics to help you:

“Every $1 invested in usability returns between $10 and $100” --IBM, Cost-Justifying Ease of Use

Investing 10% of a total project budget yields:

Metric + Result

Sales/ Conversion rate 100%
Visitors/ Traffic 150%
User Performance / Productivity 161%
Use of (Key) Features 202%

Source: Jakob Nielson, Return on Investment for Usability

Attract investment: A catchy design ignites conversation and help you to go viral. It makes attention cheap in a world of distraction. Moreover, a better design gives a good first impression and attract investment for you.

Building brand: Customer experience with a product in their first encounter is a critical branding condition. If your product fails to resonate with customers feelings at their first encounter you better seek other ways to survive. The branding is all about making difference, differentiation, connecting with customers in a way nobody else does. However, a great design communicate a well crafted story, differentiate, connect customers emotion with it, engage people and strike conversation which all are very much important for making brand.

A great design has great impact on branding, sales response and profitability of a product.

However, there is a lot confusion regarding what actually design means for a product manager. As the focus of this article is not to tell you what design actually is, though, precisely design is not anything that makes a product intricate, reduce user friendliness of a product or hinder customer experience with product rather the task of design is just opposite.


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Ruhul Kader is a technology and business analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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2 comments on “5 reasons why design matter”

  1. Unfortunately, design in itself seems to have very little value in Bangladesh. Not a tangible product/'job' = worthless. 

    1.  Thanks Oru for reading. However, i differ your opinion. Even in Bangladesh we buy packets  more than products. We often choose the product with better attire, better color. Just think about Pran Jhal Muri, they spent a big amount in their packet and I can tell a lot more examples, from product design to package design to picture design,that support we people always run for nice design and in Bangladesh design has quite awful implication in Business.

      Thanks:)

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