Why designers should understand your business

Vitaliy Berezyuk, an art director and co-owner of the Rademade company, explains what a Product Designer is and what requirements should his work meet to run a profitable business.

The design should make the site sell

A simple and beautiful design is the primary goal. However, the main aim of an e-commerce marketplace regardless of its type is to sell. A professional designer, keeping aesthetics and art in mind, will be oriented toward this result. For him, a business plan would be a job description.

I’m absolutely sure that design equals sale. Any site is a business. Clients are users who come to buy goods or services. If a designer does not understand what is being sold, the success of the site will be limited.

For the business owner, explaining strategic goals to the designer is crucial, including your expectations as a customer and marketplace owner, as well as the expectations of your clients. Only in this case, the designer can:

  • develop a product that the target audience understands;
  • create the most user-friendly interface;
  • design a profitable online marketplace;
  • be a professional Product Designer.

A Product Designer is a specialist who knows everything. He thinks in a strategic way and he is responsible for the project throughout its lifecycle - from the idea to the project launch, he is continuously testing and upgrading it. In order to become such an expert, your designer should understand two things: how a marketplace makes money and what tasks should be completed by its clients. In other words, why they visit the e-commerce platform.

Design solutions within a business plan concept

All design innovations should remain within the scope of the business plan concept. That’s why each creative idea should be tested against profitability.

Recently we have launched an e-marketplace for crafters — an analog of Etsy. The designer proposed to add a rating of hand-made sellers. What is the problem of this suggestion? Right, sales will be narrowed down to the top 10-20 best sellers, the rest of the vendors will be out of the game, but our task is to give all the vendors the opportunity to be successful in selling.

If the business owner lets a designer in on his or her promotion plans, in the future they will be communicating in the same language so to speak. Here is an example of a successful case from the book when the design solved the business's problems.

The GE Healthcare company developed a tomograph for medical screening of children. Despite the innovative technology, over 80% of little patients were scared to be examined via MRI. They were terrified of getting inside this device. Designers solved this problem, they painted the room and the scanner itself and turned it to a pirate ship. Children stopped being scared; they began to interpret the screening as a game, and as a result the company’s income grew.

You can read about this case in more detail in the book by Tom and David Kelly «Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All».

Requirements of a modern web designer

Today, a designer must not only be able to draw. He should also:

1. Understand all the possible business models of a site (e-commerce, Saas, promo and creative sites, informational portals).

2. Be aware of terminology used in Internet marketing (MVP, CPA, CPL, LTV, CTR, ROI).

3. Work on a personal development map and spend 10% of his time researching the topic.

The last point is especially important when website attendance is decreasing, and usage of mobile applications and messengers is increasing.

If a designer misses all of the possibilities of the Telegram Bot Platform, he will lose a year of his development as well as some incredible opportunities. Perhaps, 3-4 years will pass, and nobody will use Airbnb as a site. Booking and other solutions will move to a chat platform. Discussions and making decisions will all move to chat.

Does your design work?

For learning about the product, I recommend reading the book by Igor Mann «Points of contact».

In business, sales depend on the points of contact between you and the client. What does it mean? For example, the client comes to you by car. If there is a parking space close to the office, that adds 1 point of contact. The client will be happy not to park his car somewhere that requires him to run across the road. Having parked his car, the client approaches the security guards - this is another point of contact, because a guard represents a company. Will he wait 5 minutes or 10 seconds? Will he take an elevator to the 5th floor, or walk up the stairs? These are all points of contact.

Imagine the following case. This refers to an unsuccessful design or how not to do it. The client moves through all the points of contact, and at a particular moment you pop out the window and say: «Michael, let’s sign a contract, let’s start working right away».

Similarly to the site, all the elements (images, blocks, forms, etc.) are the points of contact with the user. A very common case is when the customer has no time to learn the product, but a big window pops up in front of him — buy or make a booking. It is crucial to communicate effectively with clients, and the key to this is the design.

Learn the book, try to adapt it for a marketplace platform. A lot of things for a product design can be implemented in a different way.

Preview photo: enotmaks /

Header photo: Kluva /

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