Jun 29, 2022 | Articles

Designers, (Re)define Success First



Companies often measure success with “vanity metrics”, such as Net Promoter Score (NTS) or basic analytics data. They are called vanity because they are not painting an accurate picture of the site’s success, but make the owners feel very good.

UX designers sometimes use flawed metrics too: we think that if a product is viable, desirable and feasible, then it must be successful.

It is time that we redefine what success means; Lennart Overkamp present this exact opinion in his brilliant article for A List Apart. He argues that the three factors, often represented as overlapping circles, are not equal at all in real life. If the product is not viable from a business standpoint, it will never go live, no matter how desirable it is. He suggests the values should be swapped so that feasible and viable are the means to the end, which is to create a product that is desirable. This would be the ideal breakdown.

It does not, however, guarantee the product will be ethical: think about Instagram, for example. The app is highly desirable, and it was built purposely to be so, and to increase engagement. However, was it ethical to use psychology to make it almost addictive? You can decide.

Lennart, therefore, recommends adding a fourth dimension, ethical, which should wrap all others, making the product purpose-driven.

A new venn diagram: ethical factor wrap feasable, viable and desirable to create a purpose-driven product
He does not stop there, however, and this is where the article really shines. It is all too easy to preach (to the choir, I must add) without offering a solution: instead he presents his own template and metrics to get you started.
He created objectives that address design’s effect on three levels: individual, societal, and global. The underlying theme is: pursue well-being (individual level), equity (societal level) and sustainability (global level).
I am barely scratching the surface, so read the whole article: it is well worth your time. Designers, (Re)define Success First on A List Apart



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The Ethical Design Network (EDN) was founded on January 26 2022 by Trine Falbe. She wanted to create a space for digital professionals to help them share, discuss and self-educate about ethical design. We are a network for people interested in ethical design. We are here to share, inspire, and empower

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