A mistake that taught me about business-oriented design.

    Several years ago I worked for an agency that is part of an international advertising holding. My task was to help a well-known payment system sell their services to large Russian banks.

    It all started with a workshop, during which representatives of the bank and the payment system generated ideas, thought through scenarios and discussed users. I had to select the key things from this variety, design the interface based on them and present it to the participants.

    One of my projects was an experimental mobile bank application. When I started designing, I immediately remembered financial concepts and tried to do something in a similar style.

    I was sitting in a meeting room, next to the large hall where the workshop was held. Periodically, the product director of the bank looked at me, whose board we were to present the project. By that moment I had already done a lot, so I could show some layouts.

    The product director looked at the main page, which I did according to the trends that were in fashion at the time, and said, “My business is here!”. He poked his finger below the beautiful cards with the balance, in the direction of transfer and payment operations, which were partially hidden under the scroll.

    At that moment, I realized my mistake and realized the key thing in building any business-oriented interface:

    The interface should focus on actions that help a business make money.

    Having thought well, it becomes obvious that the bank earns money on transactions, so first of all you need to show actions that provoke the user to make transfers and make payments. The account, however important it may seem, bears only an information component.

    This experience taught me a lot and later I was able to design better and faster, because I focused on the key business scenarios. Business, this approach is very appreciated, because it begins to see in the designer of the partner, and not the creator, who cares about his portfolio.

    Therefore, before starting work on a new project, ask yourself or the customer the question “What does the business earn?”, Then design the interface in such a way that actions affecting revenue are performed more often and as easily as possible.


    It is worth noting that in some services there is no one action on which the company's revenue depends. For example, Gmail does not earn on creating a new letter. Its task is to provide convenient work with mail and link the service with other Google applications. These actions will entail more advertising views and the transition to paid business accounts.

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