Does great web design increase business value? How do you prove that?
How do you systematize great web design? And what does that look like?
In this article I’ll summarise the learnings from McKinsey’s recent Design Index report (October 2018) which attempts to correlate design practices with business value. I’ll be relating each of the four learnings to the nexus of business design: the website.
What McKinsey did
In their own words, they undertook “the most extensive and rigorous research undertaken anywhere to study the design actions that leaders can make to unlock business value.”
- 300 publicly listed companies over a five-year period;
- interviewed senior business and design leaders;
- more than two million pieces of financial data;
- recorded more than 100,000 design actions.
What they found
Companies with the top-quartile MDI scores (McKinsey Design Index) outperformed the average by as much as two to one, increasing their revenues and business value:
Insight #1: Analytical leadership
High performing companies tend to have Senior Management support that legitimises design within the business. This tends to be combined with a solid understanding of the customer.
Insight #2: User Experience
An optimal design approach requires “solid customer insights gathered firsthand by observing and—more importantly—understanding the underlying needs of potential users in their own environments.”
Insight #3: Cross-functional talent
The best performing companies said they could break down functional silos and integrate designers with other functions. This often involved using hybrid designers who can leverage data analytics, prototyping tools, design software and communication apps to drive productivity.
Insight #4: Continuous iteration
Best results “come from constantly blending user research – quantitative (such as conjoint analysis) and qualitative (such as ethnographic interviews).”
Design is most successful in environments that encourage learning, testing, and iterating with users.