Is Your App Design as Good as Your Web Site?

This week, one of the best web firms I know just told me that they’re getting out of web design, “because we can’t compete with the high school kid in his parent’s basement, and we don’t want to.”

Instead, they’re shifting to high-end application design—most of which may never be seen by anyone but the users.

And we’re going to recommend them, even if no one asks us for a UX expert.

Until we talked, I wasn’t giving enough weight to the look-and-feel of the complex applications that drive our clients’ customers’ businesses. We know about creating urgency, of course, and how to get messages across so people take action, especially on web sites. But what if the application design isn’t cutting it? Is it worth the investment to just “make it look better”?

Yes, it is.

Chances are, the average business buyer won’t even—or ever—‘see’ the difference. But as buyers, we’re also consumers, and we’re influenced by every slick user interface out there, whether it’s showing up on our phone, the plant floor, or in our living room. If the interface is hard, or clumsy, or confusing, it can deaden the deal.

I’m willing to bet that this is a hidden vulnerability for most companies, because most prospects won’t tell you that the reason your software went from ‘interesting’ to ‘maybe next year’ is because it just wasn’t good enough to use, every day.

So this is why our clients need to care a whole lot more about their application’s interface. And yes, this is also part of the new PR.

Because our kind of PR is really about sales.

That means almost everything that touches the buyer, or the user, shapes their experience—whether it’s a great email or a lousy 800 number response. Experience is what builds reputation, and reputations drive revenue.

So the new PR? Add user experience to the list.

Want to see what an award winning UX looks like? Check out the winners of this year’s User Experience Awards below.