There is a common consensus that the designer is the user’s advocate. Proponents of this thesis claim that “marketing people” are concerned about the product, “the salespeople” with the sale, and so on.

While good designers ensure that users are heard and represented in the final experience, the best designers act as “intermediaries” between the needs of the user and the company they work for (this is what we call a design strategy aligned with the company’s strategy).

Design unplugged from company’s strategy is a missed opportunity!

It’s been a while since a CTO (Chief Technology Office) friend of an e-commerce/ads site introduced me to a “re-design” of their app and asked for my opinion (since they would use this as a test for the UX Director position that they were going to open).

“Not knowing any detail, what do you notice in re-design?” – he said.

Just by looking at the screenshot below, I clearly identified that it had been “promoted” by the design team, since the focus was to show how they solved the problem of larger (portrait) images, making the reading more visual and enjoyable – point to user needs!

I took advantage of it to talk about strategy again, based on assumptions, since my friend did not want to talk about the research done for the re-design and the position he was looking for was for his company’s board of directors:

“Okay, to have the bigger images, and consequently greater visibility, the user pays an extra value” – I said;

“No, no!”, he interrupted me and continued:

“The larger images are the vertical ones. See that they are more visible now.”

Then it was my turn to interrupt:

“What do you think will happen when users realize this? They will modify the rectangular images of your products, making them vertical! Your previous problem will haunt you again in a few weeks!”

The conversation did not go long after that since he wanted to focus on things important only to the user (removal of cents, etc.). Clearly a missed opportunity to align benefits for both user and corporation. In my head, charging a little more from the advertiser to have better exposure of their product is a benefit to the user, aligned with the company’s strategy of facilitating sales and improving profitability.

Anyway, on your next project, identify your company’s strategy and study ways to connect it with your design. You are much more valuable as a designer.

Any questions? Comments are welcomed down there.