Design Matters: And We’ve Got The Numbers to Prove It
Here at Ninja Otter we’ve attended a number of startup conferences on a few continents, often invite other startup founders to come into the office and meet our team, and we keep a keen eye on the world’s top startup books and blogs. In doing this we’ve spotted a scary trend: some people in the startup world have begun to claim that design doesn’t matter. However, in our experience it does matter; sometimes a lot.
The “unimportance of design” seems to stem from some interpretations of the lean startup movement. These interpretations seem to take the stance that spending too much time on design unnecessarily delays product launch and iteration, which in turn delays the learning that is fundamental to building a great product. However, design can also be a driving force behind your startup’s growth, and a key factor in whether or not your startup is successful. Dave McClure, venture capitalist and founder of 500 Startups, has even gone so far to say that design (and marketing) and more important than engineering to your startup’s success.
Design and Your Conversion Rate
A few weeks ago we wrote a blog post on the importance of good logo design, and in this blog post, we want to share some of the early results this redesign has had on our conversions.
The graph above shows the number of times Wakeful has been downloaded in BlackBerry App World over the past month; the data drops to zero at the endpoints simply because there is no data selected for those dates. On the 15th of October we changed the icon that our Wakeful Talking Alarm application uses in BlackBerry App World to reflect our recently redesigned logo. Although we only have about a week’s worth of data, our downloads have increased by roughly 60% after changing the design of Wakeful’s icon.
Does this mean that a redesign will necessarily double your sales? Of course not. But…does this mean that you should be wary of startups saying design doesn’t matter? Absolutely.
When you do a redesign you might find that your conversion rate and other important metrics remain unaffected, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that your redesign was a waste of resources. Your design is the face of your startup, and integrally related to how the world’s perceives your startup, and even how your startup’s team perceives itself. When Jason Cohen tested a redesign for his company WP Engine, he didn’t see much change in his company’s key metrics. What he did see was a change in how his company was perceived both externally and internally; customers were no longer “embarrassed” to refer their friends to the website, and the company’s employees took pride in the redesign and its reflection on them.
Figure Out What Works For You
Design matters…well, most of the time. As with everything in startups you can’t take what has worked for one startup, apply it to your own, and expect to have the same results. Your startup is unique, and you always have to evaluate what may or may not be the best course of action in your own particular situation.
We just hope you’ll take a few moments to think about it the next time someone says to you “design doesn’t matter”.