"How does your business intend to make money?" It's an unexpected— but important— question to ask your team at the beginning of a design process. Understanding your customer's service strategy affects the design process in several ways.
First, it never hurts to have people continue to challenge how you intend to make money with your website. All team members should be focused on making money for the company.
Second, every interaction in your website needs to balance the business goals with the user needs. If the business goals are left for after the site is built, then it's going to be very difficult to make changes to the core functionality to accommodate a revenue stream. Companies like Twitter may pull this off, but it's a bad strategy for most web start-up businesses.
Third, design experts are going to help you find ways to optimize your ideas, especially professionals that see how small changes in the implementation of an idea can contribute to higher returns. For instance, we've seen small visual design elements, such as adding a thin gray line, contribute to a 40% increase in ad revenue.
The next time you sit down for a design meeting, don't be afraid to outline your service strategy. It's just another way for a good designer to help you reach your customers and revenue goals.
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