Design Simplicity as A Competitive Advantage

The concept of design continues to stimulate customer experiential value and redefine consumer satisfaction. Customers, unlike in the past, have become an important part of product and service development that is focused on meeting their needs. In fact, findings suggest a positive relationship between consumer self-defined needs (autonomy, relatedness, and competence) satisfaction and perceived product design in terms of functionality, aesthetics, and symbolic design. The same findings reveal a strong link between self-identified needs satisfaction and consumer involvement. This article will answer questions concerning relative simplicity as a competitive edge, characteristics of a simple design, and factors to consider with customer value addition.

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Design Simplicity as a Competitive Advantage

Most designers believe that the pinnacle of good design is simplicity. According to Yen (2014), the technology industry is culprit for increasing complexity (adding everything and anything) rather than developing solutions that are simpler and offer a more satisfying and meaningful experience for users. However, simplicity does not always imply usability because other factors influence a product’s usability and commercial success.

A successful user experience is contingent on design consistency. Which, when interpreted in terms of efficiency, user satisfaction, and aesthetics, defines customer usability. It is important to note that not all simple designs indicate ease of use. Some design solutions are purposefully complex, notably, where the functions serve multiple users with varying cognitive abilities and cultural languages. As a result, simplicity can be an inherent benefit of design consistency, but not the primary goal of product design and user Where to Watch All Hunger Games Movies experience (UX). On the contrary, ease of use is whatever the user thinks it is, and the consistent design confirms this. It is only the user’s experience that determines whether something is simple to use. As a goal of measurement, how a company can effectively design its offerings and systems to reflect UX experience is critical to surviving in today’s highly competitive market (Moultrie, et al., 2006: Nam & Carnie, 2014).

Characteristics of a Good Design

According to Friis (2017), the three pillars that form the foundation of designing an easy-to-use (and commercially successful) product are effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. All three are achieved through design consistency as opposed to simplicity for a consistent user experience.

Other Factors to Consider for Customer Value Addition

Service design is an integrated strategy for aligning a customer’s values with a company’s objectives while keeping in mind all touch points related to the service. Future thinking, system assessment, design thinking, UX and CX practices, lean and agile thinking, and innovation team building are all part of the process of transforming a service. Here are the key things that creates customer value;

  1. Human-centered Design (HCD)

Improving customer experience means designing for people. The primary goal is to always make certain that the service meets customers’ and persona’s desires on all stages: cognitively, physically, socially, economically, and emotionally. It requires development of solutions with empathy, defining consumer needs with consumers, ideating with consumers, prototyping a solution, and testing with consumers. Focusing the solution on the people it is meant to serve, builds loyalty and trust. Important to note is, as people’s priorities and values evolve, your services and products must also evolve.

At Guild Digital our design process is heavily based on the problem-solving methodology of the Human-Centred Design Process. We believe that designing solutions with the end user in mind yields the most impactful results, allowing us to create products and services that resonate with and are tailored to meet the needs of our clients. With this mindset, we can effectively discover and define our clients’ unmet needs; validate our ideation with effective prototypes; craft and offer an effective value proposition based on tests, learning, and iterations. Our use case selection, impact strategy, workflow design, and technology roadmap are all influenced by the Human-Centred Design practice.

2. Service Design- Service as an actual product

According to Bösterling (2021), the linchpin of a brand is service, and when service systems improve, brands improve. As products become more similar, competition and brand displacement rise. As a result, service has become a differentiating factor. A tangible product cannot exist in the absence of a service design. Service at various stages of a customer’s journey considers purpose, resonance, and convenience, all of which are further explained in the six stages of a flowing service namely;- awareness, consideration, preference, action, loyalty, and advocacy.

Guild Digital is a group of top tech implementers and leaders who are passionate about advancing social change by listening to and supporting the social sector’s quest for meaningful, affordable and appropriate technology aligned to the mission. We’re experts in technology with a passion for social justice, and a commitment to further positive social change.


Bösterling, K. (2021, November 17). Service Design — How customer experience creates added value: Why service is the actual product. MoreThanDigital. Retrieved November 20, 2022, from https://morethandigital.info/en/service-design-how-customer-experience-creates-added-value

Friis, K. (2017, July 23). Why most designers think simplicity is key And why it is not. UX Planet. Retrieved November 19, 2022, from https://uxplanet.org/why-most-designers-think-simplicity-is-key-and-why-it-is-not-f911d08659ce

Moultrie, J., Clarkson, P.J. and Probert, D. (2006). A tool to evaluate design performance in SMEs. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 55(3/4), 184–216

Nam, K. and Carnie, B. (2014). The value of design for customers in the service industry: Contributions and measurements [Paper presentation]. Design Management in an Era of Disruption. Design Management Institute conference 2014, London. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328701685_The_Value_of_Design_for_Customers_in_the_Service_Industry_Contributions_and_measurements

Yen, S. (2014, August 11). How design thinking drives competitive advantage. Forbes. Retrieved November 19, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2014/08/11/how-design-thinking-drives-competitive-advantage/?sh=4b5ff6e1504a

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