Is Design Valuable?(moeamaya.com)

5 months ago from Moe Amaya

  • Steven CavinsSteven Cavins, 5 months ago

    I don't want to be that dude, but there's kind of disconnect between the content and the headline here. In my opinion, the article is closer to "Are design tools valuable to designers?" There's really no valid data here that says Tesla using a css gradient increases value, let alone my larger issue that perhaps a gradient in this context is a mere component of a design and not, in fact, design.

    Unless you're arguing that designing your own stuff well vs. the competition has helped you in this space, then I've misread the whole thing.

    In any case, thanks for sharing your hard work with us and being a good citizen of the community.

    6 points
    • Moe AmayaMoe Amaya, 5 months ago

      I'm pretty new to this whole writing about work thing, so I'm not quite as articulate as I'd like to be but let me give this another shot.

      If you have two products that are identical in features, but one is designed better, the designed one is significantly more valuable, and this isn't obvious to most business owners.

      The examples I created are simple web tools because they cost nothing to launch and have the business metric of Google ranking to prove value. A few other examples:

      • Housing: A better designed apartment can garner much higher rent. A friend built White Stone Studios and it's the highest per sqft rent in all of Arizona!
      • Gusto - Enterprise software is ripe for having tech companies come in and build the exact same features but with a better experience. I'm very long on Gusto passing ADP in the next few years.
      • Computers/Phones: Apple's margins and cash prove convincingly that design is valuable.

      Hopefully this helps clarify my thesis. Glad you enjoyed parts of the article!

      4 points
      • Gleb Sabirzyanov, 5 months ago

        Thanks for the clarification, but still not all things are clear to me. Why do you believe that Google ranking proves the design is more valuable? I guess it's a matter of a better SEO (especially when your product is literally called the same as a very frequent search). Of course, SEO is a part of the design, but it's the only part of it that is proven to be effective by your metric of high search ranking. Or did I miss the point again? :)

        0 points
        • Moe AmayaMoe Amaya, 5 months ago

          It’s because the 5 products I shipped were competing with existing products that have SEO+ads as their business model.

          Let’s say instead I decided to design a toothbrush (like quip did), I’d instead use market share and revenue to gauge business value...but that would take years and is hard data to get.

          The combination of fast results and easy comparison makes it simple to start with Google rankings.

          Ultimately im interested in building saas software and eventually housing so I will continue testing my thesis at larger scales.

          2 points
          • Gleb Sabirzyanov, 5 months ago

            Ok, now I understand your point of view but I cannot agree with you completely (I don't disagree too, I'm just trying to understand things). Maybe that's because I actually know nothing about SEO, maybe because I don't have enough information from your cases to know for sure.

            Are people finding your product because it has good design or because the product's name is exactly what they typed? I believe people are drawn to this kind of simplicity nowadays with tons of brands surrounding them. So if the main channel through which people find you is search, what role does design except copywriting play in it being ranked high? Also, if you would compare your products to those that already existed — why do you believe your products are designed better?

            Thank you for taking time to answer my questions and having a constructive dialog with me.

            1 point
            • Moe AmayaMoe Amaya, 5 months ago

              People are finding the products directly through Google, which is why SEO/rankings is considered “business value” in this experiment,

              For the second part of your question, I’ll let you form your own opinion:

              3 points
              • Mitch Malone, 5 months ago

                I think you'd have more compelling results if each product that you released had a control and experiment group. The experiment group had all the nice "designery" things and the control didn't. And then you measure real product engagement with each group.

                Here, you can measure engagement (how many people used the site to achieve a goal?) and retention (how many people who used it at least once in a month came back again in the same month?)

                Your experiments are measuring traffic to the site, not how well the site actually works.

                0 points
      • Ricky SalsberryRicky Salsberry, 5 months ago

        If you have two products that are identical in features, but one is designed better, the designed one is significantly more valuable, and this isn't obvious to most business owners.

        In some markets I think this is correct, in others not.

        For your thesis, I think it's important to clearly define what you mean by "designed better" — are we talking looks? style? functionality? UX?

        Design can mean a lot of things to a lot of companies. In general, I agree that 'design' is a value add.

        But it's important to consider a product's function, its audience, and the market it lives in. Some sites like Amazon or Craigslist are targets of young designers' unsolicited design projects because they aren't pretty. But adding a polish of visual design may not be worth the effort (if it were, they'd have done it). For some companies, it just won't have the ROI.

        Design can also be low in priority for a young business. Spending a dollar on engineering or development early on may have a higher ROI than spending that dollar on design.

        Again, it depends on the business. Some new companies use design as a differentiator. In other markets, it'd be wasted money.

        I think your examples are designing for designers, where this does have a clear value-add. But I don't think it's enough to make a blanket statement that it's always worth paying for.

        1 point