Design Teams Cultivate Long-Term Success

I won’t walk you through Dieter Rams’ quote about good design. We won’t talk about the principles of design. No, I’m not a designer. I tried really, really hard in college. I spent hours on photoshop projects and illustrator. I tried making logos and billboards and sketches. Every single time I was proud and happy with the result. But I wasn’t a designer.

Whenever I designed something, it was either too loud or took your eyes the wrong direction. This was OK with my photographs because I could get you to look wherever I wanted you to look and guide you properly. But when I was designing an element from scratch? Trash.

And that’s the difference between a designer and anyone else. This team that so often gets overlooked is so insanely integral to your work. I’m lucky to work for Sprout Social, a company that has an entire design team, but I’ve worked with a lot of SaaS companies that just don’t get it. When they hear “design” they think marketing materials that are pretty. When they hear User Interface (UI) or User Experience (UX), they think of people there to design pretty.

I won’t sit here and pretend to know the secrets to great design on a SaaS product because I’m not that person within the team. Happy to user and beta test, but to be the person to design where your eyes go, it’s not me. That is a fundamental difference between many companies placing an emphasis on customer success right now, and it’s something that’s changing.

Companies have always put money into UI teams, but with many companies beginning to mature and reach a state where retention is as (if not more) important than growing revenue, we’re seeing an increasing look at making products easier to use and navigate, thus reducing friction.

Teams are looking to psychographics as a way to build on demographic user information. It’s this kind of intense thought that is making design better. People should be able to understand your pages and platform almost instantly.

As we move toward this idea, customer success teams can help their design programs by being involved in product decisions. You can work with your book to find willing beta testers and early adopters of these changes. We write primarily for that audience, so I implore you to reach out to your design teams about how you can help get involved.

The future isn’t far off for this particular data set, and you can easily help land yourself at the forefront by reaching out to a team that would gladly take your help.


Joe Huber is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. He is currently a Customer Community Strategist with Sprout Social.

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