User experience vs. Business goals: finding balance

When we discuss or implement UX design goals, we usually focus on increasing user satisfaction with the product… The core values ​​of this goal are empathy, ethics and usability, which are critical to successfully increasing user satisfaction.

But while mastering user experience design is important, CEOs and product managers of private companies usually hire UI / UX designers for a specific end goal: help the business grow.

This is usually achieved by increasing the most important business metrics: conversion rates, retention (loyalty), improved brand perception, and more.

Designers who don t understand this have no chance of getting a seat at the table. They will keep talking about goals that are very rarely valued by senior executives, and that makes sense.

Finding the right balance

User experience and business goals often go hand in hand. A simple and straightforward pricing page is likely to save time and headaches as well as increase conversion rates. Everyone will benefit.

But not always. A simple cancellation mechanism may leave some unsatisfied users feeling positively relieved, but at the same time, the frequency of cancellation will increase and the company will lose a significant amount of money.

How easy should it be to unsubscribe?

On the other hand, making it harder to unsubscribe will negatively impact the lives and bank accounts of the people you care about most – your users (this is me about you, Apple)

A good product designer must find the best balance between these two goals. For example, make the mechanism for unsubscribing relatively simple, while striving to maximize the number of users who wish to stay.

Dropbox has an interesting method to accomplish this. They allow you to unsubscribe, but first they ask what is wrong with their services, trying to suggest solutions to your problems. Cancellation is still a few clicks away, so they tried to optimize revenue while staying user-focused.

User experience vs.  Business goals: finding balance

Designers who want to focus only on empathy and don t want to prioritize business goals above user satisfaction should think about jobs that meet this criterion – education, research, government or non-profit organizations – where money doesn t depend on users.

In fact, most majors are not like that, and we are required to always deliver tangible results to our business-oriented leader.

This is why a good product designer should start any task by first understanding why it matters to the business. Why using this feature will help your business grow. Only then move on to common user experience methodologies – find out who your users are, what their problems are, what they are trying to achieve, etc. You can also back this up with relevant research and form a series of assumptions about the impact on both business metrics and user experience. experience.

Just don t go to the dark side

Sometimes I have been asked to develop solutions that are useful for short-term business goals, but bad for users.

This actually happens quite often, and with many designers. Designers working in the gambling, pornography or piracy industry will come across this very often, but even designers who work for legal companies will come up with such ideas.

These “solutions” are called dark patterns. They are shaped in a variety of ways, but they have a common element – they exploit human weaknesses to make it easier to achieve business goals. For example, Confirmshaming is an attempt to get more users to accept an offer because rejecting the offer will cause them negative feelings such as shame.

User experience vs.  Business goals: finding balance

With great power comes great responsibility

If you have joined a company as a UX designer, it is your responsibility to raise the flag if you think the red line will be crossed for values ​​that you consider important and widely accepted in the UX design community.

Of course, this is not only your responsibility. There are enough people on your team, and they should be good people too. However, the designer s job is to properly remind their team of the importance of user focus and try to have as much of a positive influence on them in that direction.

If you are not successful and you feel that you are constantly being pressured to design things that are not in line with your values, then you are probably working in an unhealthy environment for you, and it is time to think about the next step.

But if you manage to stay true to your ethics and still help your business grow, that s great! You are one of those great designers that the world needs so much.

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