Technology has empowered customers with a plethora of choices when it comes to interacting with a brand. A single interaction with a customer can change the customer’s perception, making it essential to provide them with a great end-to-end experience. Nowadays, companies are launching multiple digital initiatives to reach out to the digital natives and enhance the experience, create recall and gain on the competition. Companies that are still the early adopters of digital products need a lot of help in terms of the user experience design, even more than front end development of products.
It becomes critical to analyze the top task flows, end user needs and map the front end interactions with the personas for a personalized and contextual experience. The entire journey of creating front end interface starts at design. No matter how hard companies try to leverage technology, without having interactions and visual designs that match what users need, it becomes impossible to engage them.
The new-age approach of design-led brands
The DMI Design Value Index, built by Motiv, includes a rigorously selected list of design-led, publicly traded US companies that must meet a set of six DMI design management criteria. Out of a pool of 75 publicly traded U.S. companies, just 15 meet the criteria. These companies include Apple, Coca Cola, Ford, Herman-Miller, IBM, Intuit, Newell-Rubbermaid, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Starwood, Steelcase, Target, Walt Disney and Whirlpool.
Results show that over the last 10 years design-led companies have maintained a significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an extraordinary 228%.
Outlined below are the different stages that design-led companies follow to design a product prototype:
Discovering the product objectives, goals and detailed requirements of the customer is quintessential. It is important to take a deep dive into what is to be built, what it intends to accomplish and who is the target audience. Along with requirement gathering, stakeholder Interviews, benchmarking and heuristic reviews are also performed by many companies to ensure the discovery is well-detailed.
Synthesis and Modelling
User Journey Mapping is pursued after understanding the client’s pain points, obstacles, and motivations. All the top task flows are defined, persona maps are created, and user stories are analyzed to ensure the wireframing and prototyping is aptly designed.
Wireframes & Prototypes
Wireframing and prototyping are crucial as they help to envision the product even before it is developed. The prototypes can be validated with the end users or client so that if there are any iterations required, they could be considered at the design level. The findings from top task flow analysis should be clearly incorporated in all the prototypes.
A thorough usability audit and testing are performed to analyze the efficiency and functioning of the interface, with real user surveys and feedback, along with heat maps. This is an essential step to measure the effectiveness of the interface in the real-world scenario.
Without the right design aesthetics, it becomes difficult to play on the most advanced technology. However, technology is also the backbone of winning product interfaces. Companies are leveraging new-age digital technologies such as Angularjs, React, Polymer, Bootstrap, and others apart from HTML and CSS to build robust and scalable front end.
The line between Front-end development and Design is thinning
During the experience design as well as development process, teams usually follow a standard approach to user experience design, use the latest technologies and yet, are able to create only mediocre or unexceptional digital products. They come across various hurdles such as content changes, multiple iterations, and more, which result in extended deadlines, substandard products or frustrated clients. In future, things will only get more complex with the medium of interaction for users quickly evolving from a click to touch to other gestures.This is happening despite elaborate conceptualization during the experience design process. What is preventing them from creating exceptional web and mobile products?
The requirement is collaborative thinking. Front-end development is becoming more & more dependent on design for providing users with an interactive interface. The line between front end developers and designers is thinning. Frontend development teams are actively getting involved with the design teams during the conceptualization so as to ensure that the development is according to the requirements. There is now a convergence between the two teams to make the process more nimble and Agile.
Some of the new-age product start-ups are also investing in training and certification of team members to make them more cross functional.
A design is a basis for front end development. Good design aesthetics can really engage users and impact the overall ROI of the product. More and more companies are trying to focus and invest in their UX capabilities to deliver UX led products. The power of front end technologies can really be leveraged well only if the design is well-thought and able to deliver the correct product experience.