Converting Your UI/UX Design into Tangible Sales
The role of a UI/UX designer is moving in a more pragmatic direction. There are so many pre-made tools out there for designers to use even if they only serve as a starting point. You can download or buy layouts, icons, and vectors all over the web in just a few minutes.
With all of these resources at your disposal, businesses are going to want more than just a creative eye to design their website. The only thing that separates you from the pool of ready-made templates and graphics is your knowledge of what actually brings conversions and sales to your client.
Your design skills are an important asset, but in time they won’t be at the forefront of your portfolio. Good design will become the standard, not the exception. When that day comes, you will need to be equipped with the next crucial skill: the discipline of problem solving.
Problem solving is pretty inadvertent to most of us. Whether we are working under a deadline, trying to come up with a better system of organization, or pick out our lunch, we are constantly making decisions. We don’t give much thought to what we are doing, we just do it and move on to the next problem.
Problem solving goes beyond the UI/UX designer and should be considered one of the most important life skills. If we continue to hone this ability, our lives will start feeling a lot less complex. We can significantly enhance our personal lives and professional careers if we start prioritizing the services we provide.
As a UI/UX designer, you will be inclined to put most of your focus on your visual design skills. This will definitely come in handy later on, but it shouldn’t be the first item on your agenda. Make sure you have a working product before you try to make it more attractive. After all, no manufacturer would deliberately put a broken toy inside a fancy box.
Instead of asking yourself what your design should look like, try asking yourself what problem your design solves. If you’ve got the aesthetics but no definitive solution in mind, you are selling your client short. You are also stifling your own talent by adhering to an outdated stereotype that won’t keep you on par with your competition.
You need to position yourself as a problem solver, not just an artist, if you want to convey value in the business world. The good thing about all of the free and low-cost resources out there is that they are inflexible.
Usually when someone opts to use them, they are frustrated because they can’t mold these designs into what their business needs. You can learn the discipline of problem solving by following these five broad steps:
- Define the problem
- Gather information
- Explore and brainstorm (possible solutions)
- Implement (the best solution)
- Evaluate your design
To define the problem, you need to break down the specific business requirements of each project. In a perfect world, the UI/UX designer would only be tasked with fixing an unattractive website. In this scenario, having incredible visual design skills might be enough to resolve a client’s issue.
It is far more likely that the problem goes beyond design and has to do with user interaction. The company’s website isn’t mobile friendly, visitors are struggling with broken links, or they are bouncing off your homepage because of a slow web server. Maybe your client is losing a lot of potential traffic because their title pages aren’t SEO friendly.
After you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to start doing some research. You may want to reference other websites in the same industry, or play around with similar apps. You’ll essentially be gathering all the information you need to make your prototype.
Don’t expect to get the job done seamlessly the first time around. With this newfound knowledge, you can start brainstorming possible solutions. Remember that the user experience is subjective and based on the target demographics. The people you are tailoring your services to aren’t tangible objects that you can mold to your liking.
Your skills are utilized to do the exact opposite. You are the problem solver, and you are there to make life easier for the user – not yourself. You are also responsible for fulfilling the needs of your employer. From their standpoint that means generating more revenue through positive user interactions.
At this point, you should be ready to implement your prototype. I’m sure some of you have heard me say before that there is no perfect solution, there is only your best guess. That’s where you should be at right now.
You’ll start making your product functional by coding the UI design and adding in features that meet those specific business requirements. When everything is in place, you can move on to the final step: evaluation.
You’ll want to spend the next couple of weeks monitoring your product and its overall efficiency. Make sure your design is user-friendly by testing it out on family, friends, and focus groups.
Moving away from your creative strength might feel a little bit uncomfortable at first. You’ll soon realize that you are solving problems all the time, you just aren’t always aware of it. To master the discipline of problem solving, you have to make a conscious effort to follow the steps I laid out.
It’s always best to come up with multiple possible solutions in case your best guess doesn’t go as planned. If you’re in the evaluation phase and you haven’t solved an obvious problem, go back to step three and reassess the situation.