App developers spend a lot of time finessing their user experience (UX). An excellent user interface can increase customer conversion rates by as much as 400 percent, while a bad one can drive customers away.
Are designers doing enough to engage actual customers in pursuit of the ideal UX design?
According to new data from Forrester, the answer is yes. In Forrester’s Digital CX 2019 report, analyst Andrew Hogan found that developers are doing a better job at engaging end-users than they used to. How? Design thinking seems to be responsible.
In a blog post on the report, Hogan points to increasing evidence that the best developers are incorporating more iterative, customer-focused activities into their designs. Sophisticated development teams have started to realize that adding a hodgepodge of features that offer no real strategic value doesn’t increase customer loyalty. “Many have wisely decided to design with human needs as their focus rather than checking all potential feature boxes,” Hogan writes.
In an effort to understand and empathize with clients, development teams are spending more time and resources connecting with users. There’s been an increase in the creation of liaising departments such as DesignOps and ResearchOps, which aim to close the gap between designers and customers. The report states “In their quest for great digital CX, organizations are recognizing that the right road ahead is human-centered design.”
Customers say they want to spend less time online, and developers are willing to help.
One of the report’s most surprising reveals is that app developers are responding to customer feedback about excessive screen time. Designers want to find ways to encourage users to put their devices down.
There’s no question that we spend way too much time looking at screens. A recent UK survey found that 16-24 year olds spend an astonishing four hours a day on their smartphones.
Some blame must go to app developers, who have historically used all kinds of attention-grabbing devices to keep us trapped in their web of entertainment.
However, Hogan found that the most sophisticated development teams are listening to consumers who say they need to find a balance. In the report, he points to several popular apps that re adding time-management features, such as Instagram’s “You’re all caught up!” notes and Apple’s customizable Screen Time notifications.
It’s a smart move given 60 percent of 16-to-25 year olds now track their screen time. The trend also reflects a willingness on the part of developers to recognize that sometimes the best design choices are the ones that help customers improve their quality of life.
“These changes are a win-win,” Hogan concludes. “They’ll of course help users, but they will also help the businesses that embrace them grow — by winning and retaining more customers.”
This new trend is yet another example of how design thinking can challenge an organization’s most basic assumptions.
To learn more about the way Design Thinking can rethink conventions, read our post on How Design Thinking Can Change Corporate Culture.
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