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Bad design.

badly designed toilet door signs

Have you ever tried to pull a door that needs to be pushed? Or struggled to locate a crucial button on a website or app? Most of us have felt the frustration of trying to leave a big car park but not quite being sure where the exit is, or whether the lanes are one-way or not. Or found ourselves in a hotel room, mystified as to which is the hot tap, how the shower works or even how to turn the light on.

Every time you have to stop and think during an everyday experience, you’re experiencing bad design.

At its core, design is the key to solving or preventing these obstacles. By giving careful thought and attention to design, we can address a range of issues, such as the style and placement of a door handle (or whether there’s one at all), the user experience when navigating a website, or the simple act of labelling a tap with ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ indicators. Even if these design choices don’t align perfectly with an exclusive aesthetic, they have the power to improve people’s lives in countless ways.

Why does good design matter? 

Well, it has a profound impact on both your customers and your business. By implementing good design, you can create a better experience for your customers, even if they aren’t consciously aware of it. And when customers are happier, your business naturally thrives. Consider the following benefits:

Increased customer satisfaction — good design elicits positive emotions and improves the overall satisfaction customers derive from interacting with your brand. It shows that you care about their needs and have invested effort in creating a seamless experience.

Enhanced business success — when customers have a positive experience, they are more likely to become repeat buyers and recommend your business to others. This word-of-mouth marketing can significantly impact your bottom line and drive organic growth.

Higher sales — a well-designed product, website, or marketing collateral has the power to captivate and persuade customers, ultimately leading to increased sales. The visual appeal, intuitive navigation, and clear messaging provided by good design can make a world of difference in converting leads into loyal customers.

Reduced complaints — thoughtful design anticipates user needs and eliminates potential pain points. By minimising frustration and confusion, you can significantly reduce customer complaints and improve their overall perception of your brand.

Improved customer retention — customers who enjoy interacting with your brand are more likely to stay loyal over the long term. By consistently providing a positive user experience through good design, you can foster strong relationships and retain customers in an increasingly competitive world.

Lower costs and saved time — investing in design early on can save your business both time and money in the long run. By identifying and addressing design flaws or usability issues early in the process, you can avoid costly fixes or customer support interventions down the line.

It’s crucial to recognise that bad or non-existent design sends a message to your customers — one that implies they aren’t important, their custom doesn’t matter, and you aren’t committed to enhancing their experience. Unsurprisingly, this tends to yield unfavourable outcomes, including dissatisfied customers, lost sales, and damaged reputation.

A useful exercise, try being your customer, walk a mile in their shoes. How easy is it to contact your business, browse your website, purchase your product or service, complete an onboarding process, sign a contract, get support, or deal with an issue. How does your visual identity, the way you present your products or services stack up to your competitors, are you the obvious choice?

For most businesses this can uncover some obvious improvements, and remember design isn’t just visual, it’s also about process and user experience, every interaction your customers have with your business should be ‘by design’.

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