Application market growth has created a renaissance in product development and customer experience. Company focus is shifting from building physical products to sell, to focusing on the development of electronic apps. The average cost of developing an app is $6,453, but can also go as high as $150,000, according to Alex Ahlund’s article for TechCrunch, Ahlund was the former CEO of AppVee and AndroidApps.
The profitability of an app is proportionate to its functionality and its design. If two apps that perform the same function hit the market at the same time, who will be more successful? In every case, the app that has the better customer experience will outperform. According to the Design Management Institute’s research, funded by Microsoft, “2015 results show that over the last 10 years design-led companies have maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an extraordinary 211%.” Also, a $10,000 dollar investment in design-oriented companies will have a greater return than the S&P by 228%. With the growing importance of design-based development, it is no longer efficient to have separate development and design teams. It is now necessary to incorporate both to create a more efficient and streamlined customer experience.
The three main components and design teams within customer experience are User eXperience designers, or UX, User Interface designers, or UI, and product designers. UX designers typically focus on how to make the product as efficient and simple as possible for their users. They primarily want the app to have a good feel about it. UI designers focus on the general aesthetic of an app, or how it looks to the user’s eye. The product designer is more of a catch all term, but they primarily focus on how to balance the UX/UI experiences. They are the proponent of user’s desires. In traditional developmental style, each of these designers focus on a specific task for the creation of the product separate from the development team. However, having a decentralized design can cause problems. According to Nick Babich’s article, “The Evolution of UI/UX Designers Into Product Designers” presented by Adobe, if a product is designed in isolation it could become unusable by consumers.
By merging development and design teams into one focus you create new benefits, according to Babich. The first is by collaborating the team will be able to “think wildly” as they will have different perspectives, and will not have to worry about confirmation bias. Also, this collaboration will allow for a larger critique early on in the developmental phase so that when refining the product, it will not become impossible to use. This will make the methodologies of your design team “agile” and “lean” according to Babich, and will develop cross functional skills between the whole team. The cross functionality of customer experience integration will be beneficial to a larger company, but even more beneficial to a small startup or Intrapreneur who are limited in resources and staff.
Another issue that customer experience integration is essential to solve, is the constant developmental cycle after a product has been released. With app development, unlike physical product development, the process of refining never stops. As soon as you put out your prototype on the market you must then create the next build of your product–which must be more efficient, and simpler. Customer experience integration will allow for a constant refinement that will not slow down the next build, as the developmental infrastructure will already be in place to continuously refine your app on both the front end and back.
Whether you are a Fortune 500 Company or a fresh startup, customer experience development integration will return your investment many times over. Changing your developmental mindset will place you ahead of your competitors. For the application developer this is crucial. Next week the Trackmind blog will delve into the question on whether or not it is the right time for your tech.