Design for Growth

One thing that many people need to realize, especially for those working on Growth, is that Design comes first, then Data and Analytics comes next, and lastly Engineering.

Similar to the engineering of a car, design dictates how you go about the engineering and the performance data at the end of the day will show how good or bad the car turns out.


Now here’s the question, who gets to decide the final design?

During the product design process, people by nature pay more attention to UI than other things. From the day PRD is ready to the day the product is launched, it seems that everyone on the team has opinions about design and can influence the design: this color doesn’t look great, no one else uses this interaction pattern, this animation is impossible to realize.

The important question is:

  1. Who gets to decide the final UI design?If someone pushes back and makes a suggestion to change design, who is responsible for that decision?

  2. What is the reasoning for changing design? Can the reasoning be quantified and supported by data?

If everyone can suggest changing design and no one is responsible for the outcome, it is meaningless to go through such a workflow. My response is to not pay too much attention on the UI and shift focus to understanding how design impacts business.


Design’s Impact on KPI and beyond

I have learned that design’s impact is potentially 10x bigger than the underlying algorithm on user behavior. There was once when we changed the layout of a product and noticed that by only changing the layout, certain KPI dropped by 60%. With millions of users you can imagine how the layout update impacts the business.

During that time, the company didn’t realize this problem and put more effort on operations and data, but the performance only went up to 60% of what we had.

Not every company has capacity to run A/B testing and know the optimized solution for the next iteration. Startups are especially resource constrained. And Growth team in the startups should be hyper-focused .

So what can we do? Design needs to work in hand in hand with Product and Business to create a good user experience. Indeed what is a good user experience and why this button should be here and not there needs baseline data and data should be closely monitored after launch. Both Designers and Product Managers need to know that design not only impacts user experience but also impacts KPI and success metrics.


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