Why Every Business Needs To Think About Design

There’s a reason why you’re not using a Blackberry to check your email, or reading this post on your Palm Treo.

It’s the same reason why MySpace failed even though it was “first,” and why Google became a verb.

It’s why you won’t buy something from a shady looking website, and how you can tell a spam email from a real one.

It’s good design.

In today’s modern age of technology, design is of equal importance to function.

Everything that your customers interact with, from your website or app, to the brochure you give out at trade shows, to the tools your internal staff works with every day, needs not only to function well, but be well designed.

If the purpose of a website was to only deliver information, it should consist of text in bullet point format. But we know that isn’t compelling, because it lacks design.

In the past, good design was relegated to luxury brands and expensive products. But today, every consumer is discerning. Every app they interact with on their phone, online store they shop, and social network they peruse informs their design sense.

Good design is no longer a luxury, it is an expectation.

If your app is harder to use than Instagram, your customer will know it. (Look at the recent backlash to Snapchat’s redesign). And if they can’t learn to navigate your website but can order from Amazon with ease, they’ll stop trying.

Yes, your product needs to compete on the function level, ideally it would even surpass what the other guys can do. But more importantly, the user should enjoy using it.

That’s how you make customers come back for more, and help teams be more productive.

Steve Jobs talked about wanting Apple products to have this intangible quality; That they should be a joy to use.

Do you remember the first time you held an iPhone and ran your finger across the Slide to Unlock? I do. And there was a visceral reaction:

That was fun.

Using a Blackberry was not.

Don’t underestimate your customer or your staff. People are more discerning of good design than ever before. They know when something works well and looks good.

Do both.

In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer. It's interior decorating. It's the fabric of the curtains and the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.

> Steve Jobs | Jan 24, 2000