People are full of creativity and the world is full of such creative people. With advancements in technology, the gap between a designer’s thought and his/her output has been considerably narrowed. This has led to an increase in the competition among designers which is healthy but has also resulted in design creations which might be too technical (for art) or too complex (for business).

Design creations are an essential part of a business. From marketing team to operation teams, be it for website creatives, promotional offers, social media creatives, the list goes on. In this blog, we will be talking about why too complicated/technical pieces of art may not end up as a good candidate for your business use cases.

A promotional banner example to begin with

Let us take a small example before we move on to say anything concrete.

Given below is the picture of a graphic aimed for advertisement of a product developed by a tech business. On the right is a design sample into which too many things were inserted to make it look good and more informative but if you look at it from a business perspective, this is not able to convey the vital information for which it as solely developed.

On the left is a design sample which is cleaner, conveys the information in a subtle manner and does not deviate the consumers of this advertisement from the fact that the latest technology is being offered! Knowing many things is a great virtue but throwing everything at your viewers might lead them to missing the point.

From the eyes of a Businessman

Let us try to understand why the graphic design on the right failed to qualify.

There can be multiple reasons for it but let's look at it from the perspective of a businessman. Their own goals define the goals for the graphic design and why they are even used at first place. Let us look at some of the business goals a graphic design should help the business achieve, one by one!

1. Profit:

Well, most of the businesses (some exceptions are always there) aim for profit only as this is the fuel which comes back as a further investment to the business. The messy design on the right above failed to gather customers and bring conversion to the business, thus impacting profits directly. It failed because it was too much for the customer to grab as designs are meant to simplify the information passing stage and not make it further complex.

2. Expansion:

A business which is not growing will soon see itself going down. Apart from profits, every businessman aims to increase the size of the business he is operating. We call it scaling up! Your website design, for example, should always be consistent even when you are scaling up. It should not change regularly just because of the pretext that business is expanding. Web designs should earlier be designed in such a way that they take the scaling up factor in consideration.

3.Brand Image:

Businesses capture customers by building a brand image in their mind. If your design is consistent overall be it your logos, mailers, graphics, web design, and color scheme then only a user can relate your business to your graphics which plays a key role in converting and retaining customers.

4. Impact Creation:

Impact creation is something every graphic/design aims to achieve. If you are confusing a customer through extremely fancy designs and are not able to portray the main features of your business or your product, then indeed you are creating an impact but probably a bad one!

Trade off between creativity and usability

This is one of the concepts we should be looking at to understand why fancy designs are not always an important input to business. I call it a trade-off between designer’s creativity and customer’s usability.

Above graph depicts a relationship between a designer’s creativity and customer’s usability. As a designer infuses creativity in his designs, he makes the designs much more understandable for the consumers and that’s the aim of bringing in the creativity to designs. We reach a point where we are able to deliver most out of graphics as well as relate to the customers thereby reaching an optimal point of creativity!

But the problem arises, when we bring in more complexity to designs which end up in making the designs harder for the customers to understand. It takes years of practice and domain knowledge for designers to limit their creativity to this optimal level to ensure customers can extract the maximum out of their designs(logos, web layout, mailers etc) and are able to relate them with one’s business.

UX vs UI

UX is focused on the user’s journey to solve a problem, UI is focused on how a product’s surfaces look and function. Business worldwide today are more focused on solving problems which users are facing because, in the end, it’s their solution which is getting the profits. UI is more about reaching to the customers with a solution at hand.

Let us take a case here. An example to follow:

Through graphic designs, Businesses are looking to depict the following qualities of their product and services to its end users

  1. Useful: How is the product useful to its customers? Designs should aim at bringing out the usefulness of the business in front of its customers.
  2. Usable: How is the product used by its customers? Designs should be self-explanatory for the customers to use the products/services provided by the business. It should also bring out the important aspects of how the product/service is affecting the daily life of its consumer.
  3. Desirable: Does your graphics create that hint of excitement in the heart of the user to purchase your product/services?
  4. Valuable: Your marketing designs and mailers should tell the customers about the value return if they invest money in your business by purchasing your product.
  5. Findable: Are the features that you provide on your website easily accessible? A clean and elegant UI provides important features at a click away and in the direct vision of its users. A messy layout will leave its users in a confusion of finding what they want on a website.
  6. Credible: Graphics should aim at showing your business as a credible and trustworthy one.
  7. Accessible: Graphics should also make your product widely accessible and easily available generating a sense of confidence in the mind of the user before purchasing it.

I am not saying that having a cool design is a bad idea. It may also get the attention of the users that a business in its early growth phase is always looking for!

But the main point is that no cool/fancy design should be made after considering the UX part of it. A fancy design without a good UX is like a gun without bullets. It may appear to have the power to bring success to your business but it is indeed powerless.

Amazon case Study

The tech giant is the largest Internet retailer in the world as measured by revenue and market capitalization, and second largest after Alibaba Group in terms of total sales. The amazon.com website started as an online bookstore and later diversified to sell video downloads/streaming, MP3 downloads/streaming, audiobook downloads/streaming, software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewellery.

The important thing to note is how Amazon has kept its design scheme very simple, minimal and uniform all around. Amazon has its services worldwide and its products across different domain yet they have managed to cover and represent all this through very simple and plain design. Their website is very simple and no artistic fanciness has been put into it. It has allowed its customers to focus more on its products rather than deviating them with bold colors or shapes.

In the end, note that though UI is an important aspect of attracting users and making them pay attention to the business you are doing, UX holds the key to whether you are actually able to convert those opportunities that UI has presented to you. Its all about maintaining a balance between UX and UI, with UX being given a slightly higher percentage.