When it comes to workplace communication, you just can’t get enough of Slack because it is the preferred choice of employees worldwide! Hardly surprising, the app’s design-led strategy multiplied its daily active user base from 0.4 million in 2014 to 12 million in 2019. That’s 50 times growth in just 5 years!
Like the secret ingredient of Coke, you might be wondering what keeps employees hooked to Slack. Well, it’s the engagement.
With numerous apps and workflows, it creates emotional dependencies for your employees and functional dependencies for your business. Slack is a classic product of a design-led company.
Read on to find out more about design-led companies and how you can join the bandwagon. Companies are looking forward to investing in their design teams. Uber’s design team, has multiplied 70 times since 2012. Have a look at this image to look at the way firms have improvised in their development and design teams’ distribution throughout the years.
What is a design-led product company?
At the core of the design-led company is the interconnection between product, services, and customer experience. Such companies go beyond products or services and provide a delightful customer experience. It’s all about providing convenient, personalized, and instant service.
Having a design-led approach helps companies integrate all the departments, functions, and employees to focus solely on the customer. Productivity goes up with a shared vision.
A great design is the USP of all leading brands, whether it’s a Rolex or a BMW. From products to ads to customer interaction, the design is a great differentiator for these brands. These companies believe that constant innovation and experimentation are the keys to a design-led company.
How can you create a design-led company?
Here are some ways you can create design-led companies:
1. Going Beyond Understanding the Customer
A design-led company probes deeper into why the customer wants something and not just what they want. Cultural anthropologists are consulted to try and understand the customer decision journey. They are constantly trying to determine the source of customer motivation and what turns them off.
Slack makes life at the workplace simpler by making messaging an engaging and fun activity. It offers different fonts, custom emojis, and an overall great design that keeps its users motivated.
2. Validation by Non-Users
The acid test for a design-led company is a product or service that can easily be used by someone who is not familiar with your product. Your existing users can quickly locate new features of your product, but the question is, can a non-user find those features, too?
When Slack added new features to their existing messaging service, the company decided to test it on people who never used the product before to check if they were on the right track. The observations showed that new users could not locate the added features. This allowed Slack to change the design so that all the features were listed and it was easy to operate — no matter who used the app.
3. Focusing on the Innovation
When Slack questioned their prospective clients on what they used for internal communication, they had no answer. This necessitated educating the end-user regarding the drawback of using multiple communication tools. So when the end-user understood the problem, they were more open to the solution.
What went in Slack’s favor was the fact that the concept of a central messaging system did not exist, and Slack created a market for it. To be a design-led company, consider strategically packaging the product as a concept and selling the concept. The product, of course, should be of the highest quality.
4. Faster Delivery Schedules
An efficient design-led company needs to respond quickly to changing customer feedback by lowering the product-to-market delivery schedule. You are not looking at perfection when you are launching the product — rather, you should be able to incorporate changes and build a better version quickly.
Why You Need an External Design Agency
As a startup owner, you will have a lot on your plate with funding, marketing, and more. In addition to all this, if you need to allocate your resources to product design and get it right the first time, your dream startup will take ages to become a reality. Hiring an external agency gives you access to a team of experienced professionals who will be accountable to you.
You need an external design agency when:
Deadlines Are Short
When you need to launch a product within a few months, and you don’t have experienced resources to handle the launch or the time to train your existing resources, the answer is an external design agency.
Your internal team might have a restricted perspective, which could be damaging for your startup. With varied perspectives based on experience, an external design agency gives you the edge you need for a successful product launch.
Certain projects require additional resources in the initial phase but can be maintained with your present resources in the long run. Instead of hiring a team and letting them go, you can use an external design agency for the challenging phase.
When you need to get your product right, it’s best to go with an experienced external design agency since they have a reputation to protect and an established portfolio.
Testing the Waters
If you want to test a product to get feedback about it, then hiring full-time UX developers makes no sense. An external design agency will help you with a transition plan, and you can hire full-time resources once the product takes off.
Focus on Your Core
To ensure success for your startup, you need your resources to focus on revenue-generating activities. Projects that don’t form part of your core activity should be outsourced.
If you want to take your startup to the next level, a design-led strategy is your best bet. Your focus shifts from the product or process to the customer experience. When you can integrate all your resources to provide the best customer experience, you develop a brand following and higher revenues. It’s an investment that you won’t regret!