The Customer First Approach: Principles of Visual Design

10 min

Customers expect more personalised experiences when interacting with brands. The way to achieve this custom experience, is to have a customer-centric mindset, which has has bought about the movement best known as 'customer first design'. It's never been more important for businesses to understand their customers, including how visual design effects their buying habits, and how best to make use of the visual hierarchy in web design.

The Forrester study found that in 2022, customers will expect more personalised experiences when interacting with brands. They will also demand more transparency and easier access to information about the brands they do business with.

In order to keep up with these changing customer demands, businesses will need to focus on creating more personalised customer experiences and becoming more transparent as a whole. The way to achieve this custom experience, is to have a customer-centric mindset, which has has bought about the movement best known as 'customer first design'.

Customer first design is a way of thinking about and designing products and services with the customer in mind. It starts with understanding what the customer wants and needs in their everyday life, and then adapting the design process so that it meets those needs. It's important to think about the customer throughout the entire process, from initial planning to final implementation.

In fact this is the key to the customer first approach, it's about walking in your customers shoes, seeing the eCommerce experience through their eyes - which can only lead to positive change.

We all know that poor customer service can lead to consumers leaving the company, while good customer service can result in customers being more likely to use a company again and to buy from it again. In a recent study, 78% of customers who have had a negative experience with a company said they are less likely to do business with that company again.

When you think about it, thats massive, right? The potential for any business to lose out on customers is high, and thus you need to mitigate it with smarts and a customer first strategy. This approach needs to be enacted by the entire organisation, head to toe, in order to be effective.

The Customer-Centric Company. Source: Simplicity 360.

The Customer First Strategy

Design has always been about solving problems. But in the past, the focus was largely on designing for the person who would be using the product or service. More recently, however, companies have realised that they need to start thinking from the perspective of their customers and put them first if they want to succeed.

This customer-first design approach is now popular than ever, and there are several reasons why it’s so successful. One reason is that it allows companies to get a better understanding of what their customers want and need.

By taking the time to talk to customers and learn about their lives and how they interact with products and services, companies can create offerings that are truly tailored to what people want. This not only makes customers happier, but also helps businesses stand out from their competitors.

Another reason customer-first design is so popular, is because visual designers have realised that it leads to more innovative products and services.

When companies focus on meeting the needs of their consumers instead of simply following what everyone else is doing, they come up with new ideas and solutions that no one has thought of before. And since innovation is key for success in today’s competitive marketplace, this is a huge advantage.

So, what are our tips success?

Understanding the star model

Understand Who Your Customers Are

In order to provide the best customer service possible, it is important for businesses to understand their customers and get a real sense of who they are as individuals. This can be done in a variety of ways, including surveys, focus groups, and interviews. While you would think that visual elements are the most important thing in terms of design work, knowing your audience well is perhaps the most invaluable design principle.

However, simply asking customers questions is not always enough. In order to get the most out of customer feedback, businesses need to be able to interpret that feedback correctly. It's important to organize information obtained from consumers in a logical manner; so that it can be appropriately analysed and used to compare and contrast various elements in a design project.

One of the best ways to interpret the feedback given, is by using market research tools like segmentation and targeting. Segmentation involves dividing a market into smaller groups based on certain characteristics, while targeting involves selecting which of those groups a business wants to serve.

By understanding customer needs and desires, businesses can better tailor their products and services to meet those needs. They can also create more effective marketing campaigns when designing websites, that speak directly to their target audience.

Another way businesses can use customer feedback is by analyzing complaints. Complaints provide valuable insight into what customers do not like about a company’s products or services. This information can then be used to improve those products or services so that future customers are more satisfied.

Use the data you have available

Creating a customer profile is one of the most important steps in understanding your target market and designing products or services that appeal to them. A customer profile allows you to gather data about your typical customer, including their demographics (age, gender, location), psychographics (lifestyle, interests), and behavior (purchasing habits, what they value).

Once you have this data, you can begin to craft a marketing strategy that resonates with your target market. You can also design products and services that meet their needs and wants. Keep in mind that your customer profile will evolve over time as you learn more about your customers; be sure to update it regularly.

We cannot highlight this enough - use customer data to make business decisions, but also ensure that you continue to make new improvements based on the never-ending stream of feedback you receive. Essentially, you need to stay one step ahead of the curve.

The First Impression

Create A Humanised Experience

Creating a humanised experience in ecommerce is important because it makes customers feel engaged and appreciated. Designing a website that creates a sense of authenticity, when customers feel like they're interacting with a real person, means they're more likely to return to that site and make purchases. 

Additionally, studies have shown that customers are more likely to spend more money on sites that offer a personal touch. By creating a humanised experience in ecommerce, businesses can improve their bottom line while also providing an excellent customer service experience.

One way to create a more humanised experience in customer first design is to think about the customer's needs and preferences. For example, you could ask the customer what they would like to see on your website or what type of communication they prefer (e.g. email, phone, chat).

You could also consider how you can make the customer's experience as easy and convenient as possible, for example by providing a self-service option or by allowing the customer to track their order online.

Visual Design Elements and Principles

Slay Your Websites Graphic Design

Online businesses are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve customer experience in order to stay ahead of the competition.

Customer first design is one approach that can help achieve this goal. In this type of design, businesses focus on the customer first and work backwards from there. This involves understanding what the customer wants and needs, and then designing a product or service around those desires.

The perks of creating a visually appealing website

Customer first design has several benefits for online businesses. First, it helps create a more user-friendly experience that makes it easy for customers to find what they are looking for and complete transactions quickly and easily.

Second, it fosters trust among customers, which can lead to more sales and longer-term relationships. Third, it encourages innovation as businesses strive to come up with new ways to meet the needs of their customers.

Fourth, it leads to better results overall as businesses put their efforts into satisfying customers rather than chasing after trends. Finally, it is an effective way to differentiate your business from the competition by providing unique value that they cannot match.

Design is at the heart of customer satisfaction.

Its important to remember that 94% of all website first impressions are digital design related. There are various studies that have researched this concept in depth. The overall feedback received is of that 94%, the following key design elements were negatively rated.

  • The website design is boring
  • Color theory is used incorrectly
  • The inclusion of pop up advertisements
  • Too much text, and conversely, too much white space
  • The layout is complex and visually overstimulating
  • Lack of fundamental elements like navigation aids
  • The website was created with corporate aesthetics
  • Poor search functionality

When it comes to website design, there are two main priorities that designers must consider: design and usability. Interface design the visual complexity of elements within, is the first impression a website makes on a visitor, and it is important to make sure that the site looks professional and attractive.

However, it is also important to make sure that the site is easy to use, with clear navigation and easy-to-find information. If a visitor cannot find what they are looking for or does not know how to navigate the site, they will likely leave and never return. A website that looks great but is difficult to use will not be successful. For this reason, make sure you have done your UX research and understand how visual cues will impact the look and feel of the website.

Go Proactive and Be Predictive

Being predictive in terms of customer needs in web design means anticipating what the customer wants or needs before they even know themselves. It means creating a website that is intuitive and easy to use, one that provides the information or service the customer is looking for without having to search for it. It's really important that once you have identified the things that mean the most to your customer base, these need to be actioned through proactivity.

Being proactive is important for businesses because it allows them to stay ahead of the competition and better serve their customers. Proactive businesses are always looking for new ways to improve their products and services, while reactive businesses often fall behind and may even lose customers to their more forward-thinking rivals.

Some of the best tips we have include:

  • Anticipate needs and be proactive in addressing them
  • Communicate with customers regularly to get feedback
  • Address customer concerns and complaints promptly
  • Train staff to be attentive and helpful
  • Offer a variety of ways to contact the business
  • Make it easy for customers to find information on products and services
  • Respond quickly to online inquiries

The Final Word

The principles mentioned regarding customer-first design are simple, but they’re not always easy to put into practice. By understanding your customers and their needs, you can create a website or product that meets their expectations with the ability to create visual interest.

The different elements in a design are really impact the visual identity of a website, and so it's important to know how key elements are arranged in order to carry the most visual appeal possible.

We hope the examples and tips in this article have helped you see how putting your customers first can lead to better design decisions and more sales.

What are you waiting for? Start designing with your customers in mind!

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