How do I design that meets business needs?

Imagine this scenario:

You were called up for a meeting to discuss the next feature your team is about to launch. Your Product manager took the floor and said,

The next quarter is around the corner and our goal is all about revenue. So our first feature in the list is, XYZ and our goal is to increase the revenue by xx to yy%

Sounds easy huh?

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Designing is one thing, but making it sensible to users is another. Making users understand it is hard. Why? Because it is money and users don’t like spending them. And so how can we nudge them to spend or to spend more?

The question of designing with business or business metrics in mind is the same question I had years ago. But to be honest, designing with business metrics in mind is not the biggest question we have to answer, but how should we design that meets the business need and makes sense to thy users.

And so, for us to understand how we can design with two worlds at hand, let’s have a recap first of the mindset we were taught when we started.

Comics from Pablo Stanley

Design with thy users in mind, they say.

It is obviously expected from us to design for users especially when the role attached to our names and written in our contracts is User Experience Designer. We have to design following our user’s persona, what they value, how they behave, and how they interact with the app.

Our design revolves around them.

But what if one day, it just won't revolve only to them anymore.

All of a sudden, you hear heavy footsteps rushing through your door and it knocked with such urgency.

You opened the door.

And comes this man in his suit and tie.

He took a chair.

Opened his suitcase.

And opened this document of all their business needs and numbers you will never understand (just like the scenario earlier).

Your work now is to design and to meet their business needs.

As a designer, how should I work for a business-centered feature?

If there’s one main KPI of any business, absolutely it is money $$$. This is where you’ll hear the words Revenue, GMV, EBITDA, and so on which leaves you feeling at a loss after 1-hour session of it 🥴

Thus now, I’ll share two things that you should know first when you’re starting a design that has a business need.

1. Understand the AARRR funnel

AARRR funnel is also what they call a Pirate funnel (due to how it sounds) which is mostly used by startups for growth. Basically, the goal is to have a good conversion rate as the user goes through each funnel.

Acquisition — This first part of the funnel is about having your users download your product. Two things come into play to have a good acquisition rate: Marketing and Product Onboarding. And when I say Onboarding, it is this:

Even though users have downloaded the app, but once they see your welcome screens they opt to not Register, then you’ve just solved the 50% of your acquisition problem.

Activation — the moment your users sign up and start engaging with your app, is the moment they get activated.

  • Did they post a photo?
  • Did they purchase an item?
  • Did the walkthrough experiment you designed worked?
  • Did they have a good first-time experience with the app?

Retention — from your xx users on day 1, how many went back on day 2? If the problem is very less number of users are coming back in the app, then the product team’s goal is to identify, why they’re not coming back, what are the things existing users liked which made them come back, and what possible tweaks or feature you can launch to nudge your churning users.

Revenue — the measuring stick of businesses. And this is where the problem of, How do we design with the goal to increase revenue without being too spammy on our users (just like ads and pop-ups 🙄).

Referral — do they tell their friends about your app and encourage them to sign up.

2. Understand thy user growth

When I say user growth, it talks about the following:

New users —users who had the first time experience in your product

Existing users — new users who continued using the app for xx days

Churned users — new or existing users who didn’t use the app after a month

Resurrected users — churned users who came back in the app

And each user category from the user growth has different behaviors and personas, and so you can’t just say that you’re designing for all. That’s why you have to understand what does each user in their specific category share in common.

So what do I do now after knowing these two points?

Identify what user group are you designing for.

Are you designing for new users because you found out that you have a great number of user registration but only xx% has bought an item? or are you designing to nudge existing users in spending more money?

If you’ve identified for whom you are designing for then start digging into their Whys and behavior.

What’s in it for them?

It is their money we are talking about, so your goal is to provide value. Are they paying for convenience, for an upgrade, for ease of use, or for more discounts. You have to show them their money’s worth.

The timing

If you happen to design an advertisement, please don’t be too spammy. If your target is new users, then don’t welcome them with advertisements from the moment they sign up. Allow them to experience the app, then if they come the 2nd and 3rd time, then maybe that’s the right time to do some nudges.

Mindful prompt

When doing a business need, designing to ask the user to spend their money is a big challenge. You just can’t show a flashy image and banner and expect them to buy. You have to know from which user growth are they from, how they affect the revenue, and the value of what they’ll be spending for. At the end of the day, users are still your priority but this time, you have to make it a win-win for your users and for the business.

Product designer from the PH based in SG . Email at . Brainfart @

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