The Hidden Cost Behind Bad Design

Denislav Jeliazkov
Denislav Jeliazkov
February 15, 2021
6
min read
Getting a design done right is expensive, but getting it wrong is even more expensive.

How often has it happened to you, a client comes in with this grand idea, you get excited, you tell your mom and you prepare to buy that iPhone, but then he calls you and says:

We don’t have the money for that, can we do it cheaper?

Well, as designers this is a big part of our careers unfortunately. We walk a thin ice of decisions, defending what is best for the people using the product and what’s in the best of the business interest.

This all sounds great in theory, but how do we know what is bad vs good design?

I can go on a tangent here and talk about fonts, colors, hierarchy and so on, but this is not the case. When you think about what makes a product popular is how well does the product meet the peoples needs.

Having good content is at the core of what makes design good, nobody will buy your product if it says Loren I-sum for $5 a month right?

If we have to simplify it, a more popular product would mean more profits.

What is the cost?

Here are the 3 very tangible ways that you can hurt your business when you ask for or settle on a poor design decision.

  1. You loose customers I get it, we want to ship products fast and get them out of the door, but people just can’t use your product. They just can’t figure how to navigate inside it, where the menu options are, how they can achieve the task they want to achieve.

A product with poor usability and design is going to bleed users every single day. So if you are losing users, you simply can’t retain enough over a long period of time, this means you should take a deeper look into how you do design.

2. You spend way too much money building it and then rebuilding it When you take away designers’ ability to think through all different workflows issues will be coming up during development. Engineers will be confused by the designs, and this might lead to miscommunication lost in translation. Everything will take too long to build.

Another way to look at it is that designers won’t have time to test their designs. So instead of getting feedback early and often they get it months from the release. This workflow is counter productive and slow as people write to support, which is often handled by marketing, they come back to you and then you change the design and engineering builds it. This can take months before you realize the issues that you could have seen and fixed if you followed the known design process.

3. Decreases the way you make money People make decisions on feelings, and subjective satisfaction has more of an impact on your product than anyone in your team is willing to admit it.

If a person (I don’t like calling them users) is annoyed or displeased because of something, I can tell you from now, they are not buying the premium subscription and that will affect your revenue.

What are the steps to avoid bad design?

This is super hard to judge as there is not a golden rule, we can follow certain steps that we use as guidelines to ensure this doesn’t happen.

  1. People don’t care about trends (especially neumorphism) Yep we know it looks cool when done right, but nobody cares about the latest design trend. Trends aren’t bad, however it’s important to keep your reasoning for developing this product in mind no matter what.
  2. Start talking to your customers A good designer embraces this. They are keen on talking to customers and changing their design accordingly to fit their exact needs and desires. With that said it’s important to have a good judgment and to determine what actually they need to listen to and to implement.
  3. Invest in better content By now we all know how important is UX copywriting, however if you don’t feel comfortable it’s always great to collaborate with somebody that can help provide value to the customers. When you have good content it elevates the overal user experience and it provides additional value to a specific tasks that the customer aims to achieve with your product.

In the age we live in, we have a massive amount of products and apps to choose from and the next big thing is just around the corner.

Amid the speed and expectations, it is very important to realize the value of good design and the true costs behind bad design and the impact or lack of it can have.

Nothing that is done fast goes a long way

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