The Importance of Design Maturity for UX Design in Business

UX Design has a tremendous impact on business. And the journey that a customer or user takes has a direct correlation to both retention and conversion rates. 

Think about it. The more unique and tailored the experience that you offer your customer, the greater your chances are of keeping them for the long haul. Better yet, you can even lure them in and capture their hearts. 

Using UX Design in the right way essentially means better ROI and better relationships.

Don’t Believe Us? 

Great. Keep reading.

Decades ago (around the 70’s), IBM’s second president, Thomas J. Watson said this:

“Good design is good business… We are convinced that good design can materially help make a good product reach its full potential”.

Watson’s ideas stood the test of time. When industry giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Uber took over the world, it was this type of reasoning that laid the foundations for their success. 

It’s simple. Cater to the user and their experience and you’ve got all the power at your fingertips.

If proof is your thing, then:

  • According to Forbes, “Studies show that companies that invest in UX see a lower cost of customer acquisition, lower support cost, increased customer retention and increased market share”. 
  • Forrester has found that every $1 that’s invested in UX results in a return of $100. That’s a ROI rate of 9,900%. Crazy, right?
  • If you aren’t investing in UX, prepare to feel the burn. Because 88% of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience.

But Not Every Business Is Design Mature

There’s more than enough evidence to back up the claim that investing in UX makes for a potential goldmine. 

But there are still a few barriers to entry.

The skills exist. The numbers don’t lie. However, the problem comes in when having to convince stakeholders just how important those skills are to their business.

So what is Design Maturity? 

Design maturity basically describes how well a business has adopted design-based thinking for problem solving.

And it essentially starts at the top.

The maturity of a business lies in how effectively they use design principles to change the perspectives of senior teams, the product development cycle and even the product roadmap.

These design principles are also mainly centered around usability and inclusiveness. 

Simply put: sympathy. It’s about sympathising with the user at all stages of their journey.

It’s pretty obvious that it’s worth your while. Especially when organizations that embrace and integrate design practices report the most positive business outcomes surrounding product, position, profit and more.

How Does Design Maturity Impact A Business?

When a business reaches a certain level of design maturity, they’re bound to see improvements in a number of areas:

  • Product Quality. This is the usability of a product, the overall customer satisfaction and period of engagement. 
  • Operational efficiency. Things like employee productivity and time to market.
  • Business profitability. Your ROI, revenue, conversions, metrics, and savings.
  • Market position. Things like brand equity entry into new markets, design patents, and valuation.

For a company to see these benefits, adoption and investment is essential. This will include involvement from key stakeholders and teams working on design considerations at every stage of the product.

The Five Levels of Design Maturity

Communicating the value of UX to a company can be a challenging task. 

Where does the company currently sit on their design journey? What if they’re not mature? What if they are mature? 

Luckily for us, InVision identifies design maturity as having five levels:

Level 1 – The Producers

Who They Are

Companies that use designers to simply make things look pretty are considered producers. 

These businesses really only look at design as the “finishing coat of paint that they throw on after the house is built”. And it’s generally only if they have the time and resources to do the job.

What Designers Can Do

As a designer, you can help prove to stakeholders and colleagues that design isn’t just for show. Indicate to them the importance of careful consideration in areas such as typography, visual spacing and interaction design. 

Show them how it can make their jobs easier. Provide examples and stats. Sometimes it’s as simple as showing that a please or a thank you after a request can increase customer conversions. 

Do research and present your findings. Give them reasons for your decisions and adjustments. Help them save time, resources and money. 

Level 2The Connections

Who They Are

Companies that get to this stage are more familiar with basic design terminology and deliverables. They already have a grasp of things like user research and usability testing and although they understand and respect design, they aren’t clued up on how to progress with it.

What Designers Can Do

This is a great time to shine. Designers can help a company level-up and grow from here. By discussing design principles and insights to developers and other stakeholders, you can help introduce better ways of mapping out a truly remarkable journey.

At this stage, designers can start introducing more concepts like systems thinking to enhance processes.

Level 3The Architects

Who They Are

Companies at this level are capable of comfortably scaling their design, operations and functions. They have a much wider grasp of design principles and thinking, having moved beyond the basics of design and with teams that share ownership and accountability. 

While design is a part of their ecosystem, there is great opportunity to test new systems and identify what works and what doesn’t.

What Designers Can Do

At this point, designers should start experimenting, evaluating and innovating. They should start creating mechanisms to use for testing and measuring outcomes more effectively. 

That way, they’re able to design, deploy and track innovations with far more ease. 

Level 4 – The Scientists

Who They Are

The companies that you find at this level truly understand data-driven design.

They have highly sophisticated practices and systems in place. And to continuously improve, they are constantly measuring, adjusting, optimizing, and innovating. 

What Designers Can Do

At a company on this level, designers have the opportunity to pursue the most important aspects of design with much more authority, autonomy, and responsibility. 

Designers at this stage are considered visionaries. They get to push into new strategies and push more boundaries, release credible thought leadership content and ensure highly competitive standards are set for their respective company.

Level 5 – The Design Machines

Who They Are

The very top of the food chain. These organizations are the paragon of Design Mature

They are essentially well-oiled designed machines.

With companies like these, every system and strategy is intentionally designed and meant to be optimally running smoothly at the micro (and macro) levels.

These are the companies that are truly pushing the boundaries of design and shaping what’s to come.

What Designers Can Do

Most of it’s probably top secret at this point. 

Designers at these companies become soothsayers. They pave the way for new trends. They have crystal balls and know exactly what people want now and in the future.

In fact, they’re design is so beautiful that it creates an addiction. Every step releases dopamine and is programmed to leave the user feeling a sense of pleasure. 

Why? So that they always come back for more.

These are the big guys like Google, Facebook, TikTok and Apple.

They’re paving the path for others to follow. 

Not to say that this power doesn’t come with huge pressures and responsibilities, but the impressive power that UX Design has is sometimes mind-boggling. 

What Businesses Can Do

Invest in UX Design. 

Yes, we’re biased. But with good reason. 

There’s more than enough evidence to prove that having full control of the User Experience is highly empowering for any business of any size.

If you’re unsure of how to navigate this new world of UX Design:

We can help you…

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