Week 2, business strategy resources


Find at least three resources that explore how or why designers should be involved in business strategy development.

These resources must be substantive (not a 500 word blog post) and demonstrate critical thought. They can be video or text; if video, they should be at least 5 minutes in length.

Tell us, in your words, why you’ve included each resource. I’ll pull these into one public HTML document that can serve as a post-class resource.

Your resources (annotated)

Note: these links will open in the same new window.

The purpose of this assignment is to practice one type of writing that UX designers are expected to display in the field. An annotation presents evidence (argues) about the relevance, accuracy and quality of the source.

  • Active not passive tense.
  • Articles do not “talk”. Authors explain/argue/<pick your verbs carefully>
  • Avoid picking the first three search results; I frown on multiple people selecting the same resource unless it’s seminal (because, odds; search results are custom these days)
  • Commas > be consistent (Oxford comma explanation)
  • Forbes is, in the main, a contributor-centered site so any assessment of quality has to rest on the credentials of the author, not of the “brand”
  • Liking an article is an insufficient reason to include it. In the context of this assignment, why should your peers in the class read/watch it?
  • Resources for writing annotations:

Articles (lightly edited)

Core77 (general resource not specific article)

Core77 is an online design magazine focused on industrial design. It has a plethora of articles dedicated to the design process which covers topics related to UX. Much of the content is contributed by volunteers, so it provides an insight into how different people approach different projects with design.

Design thinking as a strategy for innovation (Creativity At Work)

This article argues that when design principles are applied to business strategy the success rate for innovation improves. This quote is a summary take-away: “Great design has that ‘wow’ factor that makes products more desirable and services more appealing to users.” If designers keep this concept in mind they might also create ‘wow’ design products.

The direct correlation between good design and business growth (Forbes)

In this article, the author discusses the customer “journey” in navigating through websites and argues that there is a “direct correlation between good design and business growth”. It may seem like common sense to have good pictures, and a website that is easy for a customer to navigate. However, the author shows how a company has to continually focus on their customer experience, even if it’s a well-known company like BMW.

How UX is transforming business whether you want it to or not (Forbes)

The author acknowledges that the UX shift is towards the customer-centric approach with or without business input and argues that “we” as customers expect more from our products now. Businesses that excel use UX research (hard data) to influence their long term UX design, which is not a “quick fix”.

How to develop a website redesign strategy that guarantees results (Hubspot)

This blog post focuses specifically on business strategies for website REDESIGNS. Today almost every business already has a website, so unless you get hired for a start-up or new business, many jobs will be redesigns. I think it is important for us to know that there are different strategies for a redesign and what those strategies might be.

Influencing business strategy through design (UX Magazine)

This 2009 interview with product director Luke Wroblewski argues that including designers creates a more successful business strategy. One of my key takeaways is that designers not only can help produce a more effective product, but that their ability to process and relay information visually can be beneficial for everyone involved in a project. Wroblewski mentions that many designers may not be embracing their more business-oriented skills because they don’t want to hinder their own creative freedom.

Let’s stop pretending design is not art (Medium)

The author argues that designers try so hard to please business people and get a sit seat at the board that they forget of the importance of being an artist as well. He explains that we convinced everyone that our design is methodological — and not just art — then argues that innovation can be born through violating conventions and expectations. Thus he claims that both sides (art and science) are needed to help guide business decisions.

The role of design in business strategy (UX Design)

(1) Key take-away: innovation is not a linear process. This article describes the pitfalls of neglecting the full process of the UX team. Compartmentalized departments in a company and non-inclusion of UX people in the planning stages of a project can lead to delays, bottlenecks and even sub-optimal or adversarial work environments. The solution they propose is the three-legged stool approach, a more inclusive way of starting and working a project that incorporates management, UX and engineering from the beginning.
(2) Instead of listing dull ideas about how design relates to business strategy, this author compared two business models. The first is the linear process of product development. The second introduced the cross-disciplinary product team which incorporates designers into all the states of product development.

UX case study: CNN mobile app (Usability Geek)

This case study about a largely trusted site, CNN, determined the usability of CNN’s mobile app. CNN has over 10 million downloads across devices, meaning they have the power to push certain information to a large population. This analysis is relevant to this course because we discussed what determines the apps we use and what would cause us to remove the app. Also, apps are a key way to stream your company/brand directly to a user’s device. These researchers have previously analyzed Duolingo, Bumble, and ESPN mobile apps. It’s important to remember that things change and grow rather than thinking of usability as completed once a product is launched.

UX design is not graphic design it’s business strategy (Medium)

I don’t fully agree with UX Content Strategist Shawn Roe, and I’d like to learn more about where the line is drawn between “design” and “business design”. Roe believes that the visual experience is completely separate from the business experience. However many of our readings and discussions thus far have been grouping visual design as an important part of UX business design.

Use design in your business (Info Entrepreneurs)

The author clearly states how to implement design into business strategy. This article is similar to our textbook, but it is better organized and simplified. It provides readers a typical workflow about how to integrate business strategy with design and explains why business strategy benefits from design.

What is design thinking and how can businesses use it? (The Telegraph)

This source had a different flavor than most; it seemed to be speaking to newspaper readers and the business set or stockholders rather than geeks. “It’s not enough to identify a problem – to solve it, you must understand why it’s a problem for your users.” Though I think this article failed to eloquently define design-based thinking, it did successfully describe several concrete examples. These examples were not directly web or tech-related, for example, one was complaints about claiming expenses for a bank. The author focused on design-based thinking, and importantly design-thinking research, to envision solutions.

Why designers should be shaping business (InVision)

(1) The author shares a comprehensive point of view on why designers should be involved in the business from the beginning, from what challenges a business might encounter, and why designers should be involved in the business strategy design to how do they solve the problems. With the simple example, it is easy to understand the rationale.
(2) This article explains how designer-involved strategic decision-making will make designers valuable to a company. I found that very interesting that as a designer, we might have different perspective of business strategy from the real business people but it might make us valuable.
(3) This article emphasized the role of designers in making strategy. Design and business strategy are always an inseparable, so businessman should really sit down with designers and make decisions with them.

Why good UX design means better business (Forbes)

This article by Forbes contributor Goran Paunovic emphasizes the importance of providing “a seamless, frictionless digital experience that aligns with their daily lives”, and while this statement is referring specifically to our “online” lives, our expectations online also shape our expectations offline. This article also reinforces Amy Santee’s point about including design from the beginning of a project being more cost effective in the long run.  “For every dollar spent to resolve a problem during product design, $10 would be spent on the same problem during development, and multiply to $100 or more if the problem had to be solved after the product’s release.



Solving business challenges through design (YouTube)

“If there isn’t a strategy… to dictate the design, well then it’s always going to be subjective and whoever has the stronger personality or the higher position in the company will win.” This video from a branding company, composed of designers, is a down to earth description of the value of designers in business strategy. The speaker describes some hypothetical scenarios where designers were excluded from the important early planning of a project, causing problems further down the line. He mentions that designers can later be blamed for things that are not their fault because they were not privy to early conversations and were sequestered aay from decision-making.

His remedy for this is a Discovery Session, where the business, users, brand and goals are clearly defined. Including designers in this part of the process will pay dividends in all the rest of the process. On his whiteboard diagram, the brainstorming phase that includes this Discovery Session comes directly before the strategy and design phases. As the designers are included in the Discovery Session, they play a role in the downstream strategizing process as well.

“Saving business from itself” (YouTube)

Roger Martin’s keynote on the key intersection of intuitive and analytical thinking or “design thinking.” (You can see from his chart that it’s a very small area to exist in.) Despite the weird camera angles, Martin defines abductive logic, design thinking, and the partnership of exploitation and exploration. A good primer on the topic. Roger Martin wrote The Design of Business.

Practicing anthropology in UX, design and business (YouTube)

Starting at around 9:20, this webinar led by Amy Santee breaks down her experience as a UX designer in a variety of business environments. While it’s a fairly long presentation, Santee reiterates a lot of the points we’ve been covering in the class discussions and readings, and goes into more detail on how user oriented research feeds into making better designs for a more successful business plan. One idea that stood out to me is that it’s more expensive for businesses to have to fix something after launching than it is to research the best design before launching, so having designers involved in every step of the way can be more cost effective in the long run.

Don’t build a usable wrong thing (YouTube)

The role of UX strategy has been described as “not building a usable, wrong thing.” Beyond the inner workings of a company being negatively affected by a top-down approach to project planning that excludes designers, this is the real point for the product itself: the UX team (i.e. the designers in the room) are the people that can think like the end users. And thinking like end users is crucial.


Your resources (insufficiently annotated or not-annotated)