Designing For Growth

Devi Subrahmanyeswari


In a recent insightful conversation, Vinay shared insights on the challenges in designing SaaS and Deep Tech products, as well as strategies for effectively addressing those challenges. He emphasized that as companies scale, consistency in design becomes paramount. However, many in their initial stages overlook critical aspects like design thinking, leading to complications in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) as they scale.

SaaS and DeepTech leaders face a common challenge: creating an adaptive design framework that evolves with the product.

Often companies embark on their product journey without fully integrating design thinking into their product development process. This oversight, while seemingly insignificant at the outset, manifests as a series of UX and UI complications when the company begins to scale. 

The consistency and adaptability of product design determines how effectively it serves its users at every stage of growth adapting seamlessly across the product journey. 

The Role of Strategic Design in Scaling Companies

A product’s success relies on deeply understanding value from the user’s perspective. For users, a product is not merely an idea, website, or list of functionalities conceived by executives. A product is an experience that adds value to their lives by addressing a real human need or desire.

This begs the question: who is responsible for identifying and delivering that value in an organization? A strategic design provides a lens for that answer.

Design thinking starts by understanding the motivation behind people’s needs. By focusing on the human motivation behind a solution, designers craft intuitive and fulfilling experiences that resonate at an emotional level. This thought process needs to be baked in from the very inception of a project. As companies scale, a growth-focused design strategy keeps the value proposition for the end user at the heart of decision-making. 

Here are a few misconceptions about the role of design: 

It’s all about aesthetics

Design is often deprioritized because of the assumption that it’s primarily about the look and feel of the product.  But, user-centric design is far more than meets the eye. It begins by analyzing why customers use a product and then critically identifying the use cases and pain points the proposed features will solve.

Design can be rushed 

Products with limited design systems, inconsistent UI patterns, and disjointed user flows may seem perfectly adequate initially. But these UIs become increasingly difficult to use as new features and pages get tacked on. Rushing the design process reduces its quality significantly, thereby multiplying costs in the long run. If not addressed early, companies are forced to deal with scope creep, missed deadlines, overspent budgets, frustrated teams, and, ultimately, confused users. 

For instance, a fintech app expanded to new global markets to discover that its user flows broke down with complex regional transactions. Its product team had to take a step back and reevaluate every facet of the app’s design. My team and I worked with them to conduct an in-depth local market research to adapt and redesign user flows, ensuring compliance with regional regulations and preferences. Iterative testing and feedback collection further refined these product adaptations, drawing the product closer to the optimal user experience.

Design systems are static

Essential design adjustments need to align with evolving market trends and user needs. This involves nuanced changes like modifying color shades, introducing new fonts, and integrating new patterns into existing design systems. This ensures that as your product evolves, it won’t be restricted by stringent brand guidelines which can curtail creativity and innovation.  

New features are enough to deliver user delight

Adding more features to a page does not improve usability. Effective design involves thoughtful presentation and uncluttered interaction patterns, not just sheer quantity. 

These issues require long-term solutions. But how do you embed adaptability into your project’s foundations such that the design process scales alongside the product?

The 7S Approach to Designing for Scale

At Divami, we follow the 7S framework for scalable design. It provides a structured approach that produces visually appealing and user-friendly products that are also poised for growth and adapting to rapidly changing markets.

It is crucial to establish a scalable design infrastructure upfront. This involves implementing modular design systems for efficient UI expansion, constructing robust component libraries for UX consistency, modeling reusable layouts and templates for rapid iteration, and optimizing navigation and workflows to handle increased complexity. 

By investing in scalable infrastructure early, clients gain major dividends down the line when their products naturally evolve.

Our 7S framework to designing strategically for long-term growth involves:

1. Structural Scalability – It’s critical to create resilient information architecture that can adapt to evolving needs. Modular, future-proof content structures minimize potential bottlenecks while scaling the product. 

2. Systematic Consistency – We ensure familiarity amidst growth. Implementing uniform design patterns and components helps with this. Using design systems and libraries ensures a more unified UX as products scale.

3. Symbiotic Feedback – Regular research and feedback loops are critical in exploring various solutions to a problem, quickly identifying the best-suited solution and continuously improving the product based on real feedback

4. Seamless Flexibility – Adaptable layouts and elements are key for accessible, equitable experiences. Diverse users necessitate design needs to be fluid and responsive.

5. Speed and Stability – As the product scales, it’s critical to ensure efficiency to avoid frustrated users.

6. Scalable Interactions – Thinking ahead, we craft input methods and responses ready for any usage volumes and complexity.

7. Synergistic Collaboration –By cross-collaborating across functions, we leverage interdisciplinary expertise to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, from usability and functionality to marketability.

The goal of strategic design is to deliver solutions that are built to scale and resonate with both – your vision and the market’s demands. A future-ready experience depends on comprehensive design thinking for growth, scalability, and innovation. 

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