Business Priorities

Bringing Together Design & Business

Making smart design choices can mean making smart business decisions.
A couple weekends ago, a few members of the FirstPage team traveled down to Seattle for An Event Apart 2014. These annual conferences cover everything web design, from emerging code trends to the user experience research. We heard from many great speakers, but one stood out to all of us. Jared Spool, a developer and programmer, spoke about the relationship between business and design. His talk provided a great framework for evaluating how different design decisions can translate into your business’ bottom line.

The User Experience

The first point Spool covered was the connection between user experience (UX) and content. It is not only vitally important that you are giving your audience the content that they desire and are searching for, but important to give it to them in a way that is easy to grasp and use. Spool uses the example of Apple Maps (when it was first introduced). While Apple thought they had enough data to support a global mapping system, they made critical mistakes in the delivery of that data. For example, they made a small town in Ireland named “Airport” into an actual airport within the app. This seemingly insignificant design decision may seem small to us, but was seen as no small matter to the FAA.  The content was there but the delivery was flawed, taking away from the user’s experience and causing widespread negative publicity. Your content and UX must be cohesive or one will render the other useless.

Business Priorities

Spool continued on to address a topic that isn’t usually spoken about at web design conferences: the business of design. As he explained, there are five priorities that executives (and business owners) want to achieve from a website:

  • Increase Revenue
  • Decrease Costs
  • Increase New Business
  • Increase Existing Business
  • Increase Shareholder Value

Effective web design strategies will positively address as many of these business priorities as possible. While some businesses may believe that filling up their webpages with pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements will bring in the revenue they desire, this model will really achieve only one or two of the priorities at the cost of others. Rather than filling up space on a webpage with advertisements, a model such as a metered paywall (where users are required to pay to receive more content) can achieve at least four of the five priorities. With time and experimentation, data has actually come to support this as fact, and many news publications are actively switching their online platforms over to this evolutionary, user-focused model.

Content Adds Value

In an example, Spool goes on to explain how someone purchased a small figurine for $3.00 and after creating a fictitious story about the figurine, resold it for $193.50. His point is that business strategy starts with content that delights. In marketing today, story sells. When that content is there, you can decide on the most appropriate business model to leverage that content. If you create a delightful experience for your users, they will be hooked and will desire more, which will in turn increase profitability regardless of the model selected.

As designers, we aim to create “delightful” user experiences with beautiful design and captivating content. At FirstPage, we love to bring together design and business for our clients. If we were to sit down together, we’d look at how your digital marketing tactics are helping your business increase revenue, decrease costs, increase new business, increase existing business and increase shareholder value – essentially offering a 360-degree view of your online strategy from a business perspective.

Sound intriguing? We would love to show you in person. Contact us at 604-866-2230 and we would be happy to talk.


Image Credit: Jared M. Spool – UX Design Means Business – An Event Apart Seattle 2014 – https://www.flickr.com/photos/zeldman/13549605684/in/set-72157643114602354/


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