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Designed to succeed—How design is playing a strategic role in today's software products?

February 18, 2014
Shilpi Choudhury

"Good design is good business"— we heard this way back in the 1950s from Thomas Watson of IBM fame. Cut to the 21st century and good design seems to have become more critical than ever. Higher competition coupled with evolving needs of the customer have made design a strategic differentiator for software products.

Mint got acquired just two years after its launch for a whopping $170 million. Google Maps for iOS became the most downloaded free app in the Apple App Store within two days of its release. Airbnb increased engagement on its site by over 30% just by changing its wish list icon from a star to a heart―leading software products which scripted their success stories by virtue of good design and stood out from the crowd.

By citing examples of some leading software products, this paper highlights how design is playing a strategic role in improving bottom lines and maximizing ROI. Design is no more an afterthought while building a product but is increasingly being used to solve key business challenges:

  • How Mint used Emotional Design to overcome issues of mistrust and fear?
  • How Google Maps for iOS blend utility, usability and desirability to defeat Apple in its own game?
  • How Flipboard took inspiration from legacy products and created something more relevant?
  • How Airbnb’s leap of faith into design set its cash registers ringing?
  • How MailChimp facilitated more collaboration and engagement in its app?
  • How Wufoo wooed its customers using the principles of dating and marriage?

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