How designers reflect personal value

May 1, 2023

But is such an argument really convincing for measuring the value of design?

As UX designers, when talking about the comparison of solutions before and after the revision, many people will refer to the optimization & upgrade of the business function level for the plan after the revision, and use this to prove the value of the design, similar to the presentation in the following figure:

But is such an argument really convincing for measuring the value of design?
There are many such cases in the collection of interview works received in the past. Every time I ask, this is more of a change brought about by the business and functional levels. What role does design play in it? Most of the answers I got were unsatisfactory, and some newcomers even fell into deep self-doubt: Can design only support business? In this era, is it true that UX designers are still artists in essence?
In response to the above problems, how can we find the starting point of design and reflect personal design value in business support? We can try to find some angles to solve the problem through the following steps.

Understand business context & goals

As a designer, understanding of business background and goals is a basic requirement, but if we have a deeper understanding and excavation on this basis, we will have a deeper understanding of the business we are responsible for.
For example, we can think about it from the following dimensions:

Therefore, when we get the requirements at work, if we can actively dig out the deeper background and goals, and think from a higher and more diverse dimension, we will have a more comprehensive understanding of the current work and determine the design direction. will be more precise. An excellent designer's understanding of business is not limited to product documents. We must look at every need in the work from a broader perspective. No matter how big or small they are, they are full of meaning and can inspire enough "sense of mission" in our hearts.

Sort out the core process & business logic

After fully understanding the business background and goals, you can analyze the core process & business logic through the business flow chart, have a clearer and more complete understanding of the required functional framework and interaction process, and increase the "sense of control" over the overall process.

Design strategy landing

For the effective information obtained in the early stage, we should not simply organize and list them, but find some problems or opportunities suitable for the design side through insight, and turn them into design force points. It should be noted that information that is important but cannot be exerted by the design side is not our current focus.
Usually in business support, the focus of the design side is mainly reflected in the following three aspects:

3.1 Function construction:

It is mainly reflected in the aspects of aesthetics, ease of use, and implementation cost.
Aesthetics and ease of use are basic requirements for designers. Although they are basic, they are extremely important. The quality of design output depends on the basic skills of designers. For the same requirement, a designer with a solid foundation will always do more amazingly. So this part always requires us to continue to improve.
Regarding the implementation cost, it depends on our experience accumulation and thinking summary. For example, the universality and expansibility of product functions must be fully considered in the conception of the scheme, and the consistency of specifications must be ensured when outputting. The cutting diagram or animation output of complex modules should also choose an easier-to-implement method from the perspective of research and development. This part belongs to the hidden value of the designer, and it will have no impact if it is not done, but if it is done well, it can save costs to a greater extent, thereby indirectly creating value for the company, and it will also greatly improve the designer's ability in the production and research team. Professionalism and trust are more conducive to long-term cooperation.

3.2 Perception Enhancement:

Enlarging/highlighting product functions and enhancing user perception through design means is also an important value embodiment of design. You can start from two angles, positive and negative:
Enhance positive traction - strengthen the points of interest and concerns through design techniques, and guide users to complete the target behavior.

Reduce negative anxiety - By highlighting key information (such as safety, trust, etc.), the user's negative anxiety can be reduced, thereby prompting the user to complete the target behavior.

3.3 Efficiency improvement:

Efficiency can be improved from two aspects
Information & Process Optimization - Improve user efficiency by discovering problems & stuck points in key processes and optimizing and upgrading them. Commonly used methods include information simplification, information aggregation, and information rearrangement. In actual work, the appropriate method can be selected according to the specific situation.

User Behavior Optimization - Improve user efficiency by providing quick operations and even behavior predictions for important or frequently used behaviors of users.

1. The message list usually has a "one-click clear" shortcut button in the navigation bar to improve the efficiency of users marking as read;
2. When the short video platform finds interesting special effects videos, it usually has a quick entry of "shooting the same style", which is convenient for users to create and release new content in real time;
3. When copying the address copy outside the terminal and returning to the sending page, the address recognition result pop-up window will automatically pop up. Through the system's prediction of user behavior, the efficiency of information entry is improved.

Design Value Verification

How to measure the value of design in business support can be measured in quantitative and qualitative ways. There are many tutorials related to specific methods, so I won’t expand on them here, but only emphasize the points that need attention:
Quantitative analysis:

1. Find relevant data

We need to define the key behaviors that meet the conditions according to the different content that needs to be verified, and determine the corresponding key indicators. Note that the indicators must have strong correlations. For example, if a new event is launched, we can verify the effectiveness of the plan based on highly relevant data such as the CTR of the event entrance banner and the final conversion rate. However, indicators such as DAU and usage time cannot directly reflect the value of the plan and are not convincing. Be sure to choose the appropriate data indicators when calculating the value of the plan

2. Control variables

When verifying the value of the design in the scheme, it is necessary to ensure that the design factor is a single variable and minimize the influence of other factors on the results. The typical method is to use AB test to verify the influence of the design point on the result under the same conditions, and then quantify the value of the design;

Qualitative analysis:

You can also start from the user's perspective to understand the user's feedback on the solution, and then determine whether it meets the user's demands. At the same time, qualitative analysis can also help designers understand users' perceptions of experience and emotion, which are also very important for the evaluation of design value.
To sum up, quantitative and qualitative analysis can effectively verify the value of design in the business, and can also help designers understand user needs more accurately, evaluate design effects, and make more valuable contributions to the business.

Supporting business is the most important daily work of most designers. How to reflect the value in such seemingly basic work is a question we need to think about.
I try to explain my personal understanding of value embodiment from the following three points:

1. Excellent job completion

If we can fully understand the needs, accurately anchor the program output and core goals, and have a strong professional standard, then we can say that we have completed excellent business support;

2. Indirect value creation

If we can reasonably coordinate resources, plan schedules, and select appropriate solutions based on experience in projects, thereby saving manpower/time/economic costs and improving development efficiency, then we have also indirectly created value for the company;

3. Value Proposition - Catalyst

On the basis of clarifying the stage of the business, we find out the design value positioning and focus. I define the design of the business support phase as a "catalyst" (it is not a reactant itself, but can greatly increase the rate of chemical reactions)

While building functions, our efforts focus on two aspects: enhancing perception and improving efficiency: enhancing perception and improving users' subjective wishes; improving efficiency and optimizing the operation path of products. Focus on these two points, and sprinkle "design catalysts" in each scene link to accelerate the improvement of key data indicators. This is also the significance and value of design at this stage.
Finally, I hope that everyone can clarify their own positioning in the future work, find the starting point and give full play to their professional ability. Although the current development momentum of artificial intelligence is strong, our insights and value contributions to actual business are still beyond the reach of GPT at this stage. Instead, do you agree with this?