ROI and user-centered design – How designers estimate the impact of UX

Designers aren’t purely focused on aesthetics – their role encompasses broader business aspects and technology, while carefully evaluating those by estimating the return on investment for each solution. In short, designers ensure that the end value of the specific solution, or product as a whole, brings gains to the client's business as expected and a significant return against the initial investment.

At intive, our designers maintain this awareness by developing across three core areas: business, technology, and user-centric design practices. For each vertical, they keep ROI in mind, taking care to estimate and realize the impact of UX on the client’s budget, goals, and wider technical framework.

Different companies are experts in their specific verticals, but if we think of business as a tree, the digital transformation of companies comes from a design branch that connects to the main trunk. Designers are therefore the tree surgeons who know what design stages to prioritize, when to do so, and how to lay the strongest roots to grow the tree.

Yes, designers make seamless, attractive virtual experiences. Still, they also have deep knowledge about how clients and end users psychologically and behaviorally respond to a journey, as well as how to lay the path toward greater business success. Here’s how designers estimate the impact of UX and ultimately ROI.

Designers are business experts

Designers wear many hats, the first one being a moderator. They lead and facilitate client discussions, openly listen, and learn about targeted business needs and goals, challenges, priorities and potential different use cases. They absorb a large amount of information in a short period of time and often act as conflict resolutioners, where they simplify contrasting feedback and reach a consensus to synthesize what order the next steps take. After all, their main superpower is problem solving.

An infographic that says "Designers are business experts” with 4 important points: Listen & learn 
Analyze market conditions  
Design 
Usability tests

Different administration practices come into play in the process too. Designers analyze market conditions and competitors, perform a SWOT analysis, and apply design thinking practices like research and deep statistical dives. All the while, they consider the problem(s) that triggered the design need in the first place, guaranteeing that decisions are strategic and aligned with the client and user needs, as well as what the technology offers.

Another designer “hat” takes the form of a translator. Designers identify what exactly has to be addressed and then communicate this to clients who may not be familiar with UX. They convert complex and technical obstacles and ideas into intuitive solutions that make digital products that meet (or exceed) both client and user expectations.

Designers know and evolve best practices

All digital products are designed around user-centric design best practices, meaning that they are curated based on proven rules to serve the end platform’s capabilities and the audiences’ needs (which might vary depending on their cultural background). But these practices are constantly evolving hand-in-hand with technological advances, so designers have to work closely with users and clients, and keep an eye on the latest tech and trends in the field.

Designers are also tasked with keeping up with research methodologies, tools, and thought leadership that advances best practices. At the same time, they frequently run usability tests to check that real data supports any changes to practices, and that they have the green light to design for friction points that have been firmly verified. With best practices always rooted in real-case scenarios, designers can more effectively ensure profitability for businesses and their products.

Designers keep the latest tech in their blueprints

Designers have a finger on the tech pulse. They know the basic workings of innovations such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, chatbots, and progressive apps (including conversational design for virtual assistants like Alexa) – and they have these on their radar when they design for the future innovation. By incorporating characteristics that lend themselves well to this kind of cutting-edge technology, designers reduce the need for expensive retrofitting down the line when these capabilities become the norm.

Likewise, designers’ tech awareness means they have the scope to consult clients in multiple directions when it comes to tailoring solutions. For example, intive designers worked on the AI-driven app to revolutionize modern agriculture for the leading chemical company, BASF. The app allows farmers to take a photo of plants and detect insects, damage, disease, and nitrogen status. And with data-driven continuous improvement based on machine learning technologies that are fed by users and experts in the field, the accuracy of detection in the app is always improving.

Designers have an inherent ROI radar

Designers are experts at connecting the dots between business, best practices, and technology, and precisely estimating realistic ROI. They know how to set up optimal teams, how to assign responsibilities to the right parties, and how to follow strict parameters that keep operations as cost-efficient as possible.

Male cartoon pointing at 3 topics namely Technology, business and best practices with a heading that says Precisely estimating realistic ROI

In fact, applying UX practices during the concept phase has been shown to lower the product development cycle by 33 to 50%. Meanwhile, companies that highly invest in UX design can see up to a 75% increase in their sales.

These figures demonstrate the ROI value of design and are partially why design roles have expanded to become more specialized within the business digitalization space. New roles have been created like DesignOps and Design Systems Manager to streamline design workflows within ROI specifications and incremental profit margins. DesignOps recognizes the need for implementing an ecosystem, or a set of standardized processes, methods, and tools that enable comprehensive, scalable design. Design Systems, on the other hand, looks at scaling teams and decreasing efforts with time, without compromising consistency or operations for future teams.

Designers are masters at spinning many plates at once, and with an array of modern automation tools and production flows at their disposal, they are even more equipped to be efficient, both in terms of finances and deliverables. They have an inherent ability to reach an equilibrium result when measuring metrics and data of actual usage against what has been predicted – and they do so with confidence and agility.

Design is an integral part of the innovation process and has been proven to increase productivity and drive new business growth. As design experts at intive, we have a deep commitment to our clients and the work that we do. We pride ourselves on the fact that we are built with strong foundations, continuously growing professionally and working collaboratively together. Our teams are always striving to be an integral part of the innovation process and larger picture of increased productivity and new business growth.

Interested in learning more about intive design services and capabilities? Get in touch to discover how we can construct success into your business and be the glue between innovation and ROI.



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