It’s the Aesthetics Stupid…..

Innovation and creative thought are the foundation of the next generation business ideas. As more and more ‘thinking’ jobs Business Week article move to less expensive labor around the globe, design will become more central to successful business operations.

Cultural differences and varying tastes around the world give us all the opportunity to keep those creative positions in-house. The result is that “Design” can be your business differentiator.

New York Times economics columnist, Virgina Postrel believes we are just at the beginning of a time when ‘design’ and form factor will prove beneficial. Her book The Substance of Style gives case after case of style influencing the purchase decision. In sexy technology toys like laptops and game cubes as well as everyday items like a toilet brush – design matters for sales.

Consumers are expecting smart design in their purchases. They are expecting to see it in products from vacuum cleaners Dyson to MP3 players iPod to automobiles BMW.

Obviously this applies online. Web applications that make sense and are easy on the eyes have higher success metrics. Jakob Nielsen included one of our own case studies 3 years ago in his ROI for Usability Whitepaper. His metrics were for sales and conversion rates as well as user performance or productivity. Granted, gathering a true mathmatical measurement of design improvements is squishy, the underlying results of our examples are that online sales can improve dramatically if design is appreciated.

There are still only a handful of hugely successful online sales stories (Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Apple, GAP) but more and more evidence that the Internet is being used for research and comparison shopping.

As trust in online security increases that awareness and knowledge of a product or service will continue over the vintage advertising continuum toward prefernce, conviction and ultimately purchase. Those final purchase decisions will be guided by preferred “Design” that doesn’t stand in the way of commerce.

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