Value Creation through Digital Transformation Design

by
Evan Prout

Digital transformation leverages user-centric design to enhance experiences across digital platforms, improving customer engagement and internal productivity. By focusing on intuitive, accessible, and responsive UX, businesses can boost ROI and maintain a competitive edge, ensuring seamless interaction for users and fostering brand loyalty.

Digital Transformation
UX & Design

Table of Contents

  1. Value Creation Through UX Design
  2. Leveraging UX to Meet Customer Needs
  3. Steps for Implementing UX During DX
  4. Successful UX Transformation of a $2B Company

Whether they know it or not, many businesses talk digital transformation design on a regular basis. Adding project management software and creating an online employee portal and resource center are examples of digital transformation. So are inserting an AI bot that gets customers to the right human representative and ensuring websites work just as well on phones and laptops.  

For these types of digital tools and processes to deliver a positive return on investment, they must be done in a way that’s useful, effective, and adds value.  

This guide explores value creation through digital design transformation and how user experience plays a pivotal role in its success. It also shows what it looks like in practice to incorporate UX design into a well-established commerce company undergoing digital transformation.  

UX Design and Its Increasing Importance in Digital Transformation  

Digital transformation (DX) is not just about adopting new technologies. It’s about creating useful and meaningful experiences for the people using such tools, whether those individuals are internal (employees and organizations) or external (customers).  

The best digital experiences are seamless across all channels, creating consistency and reliability that builds trust and brand loyalty. Employee experience DX strategies can improve engagement, productivity, and retention. Customer experience DX helps businesses build brand recognition, meet user needs, and achieve financial goals. Digital transformation design that optimizes these experiences is an integral part of any successful transformation strategy.

Value Creation Through UX Design Transformation

To ensure value creation through transformation design and user experience (UX), IT and business leaders will want to use a customer-centric framework that leverages technology to meet changing needs. Since digital transformation tools are typically add-ons to or upgrades of existing tech stacks for businesses looking to grow, it’s also important to consider integration and agility.  

How a Customer-Centric Approach to DX Improves Loyalty

A key aspect of digital transformation design is its shift toward customer-centricity. By focusing on UX, DX design that prioritizes client needs and preferences increases loyalty. Giving customers the value they want, be it time savings, personalized service, tailored recommendations, or inclusive accessibility, creates positive emotional experiences. This positive engagement improves retention in an increasingly competitive digital world.

How UX Design Leverages Technology to Meet Customer Needs and Enhance Experience

On the surface, digital transformation seems synonymous with technology and tools. Yet a more comprehensive and accurate view of DX includes how business processes and tool adoption impact those using these resources.  

Two foundational components for incorporating user experience into transformation are digital experience platforms and product information management. Digital experience platforms (DXPs) are the set of core tools that support creating, managing, and delivering optimized digital experiences. Product information management (PIM) is how the information required to sell products is controlled.  

A well-developed DXP with a robust PIM system enables companies to create valuable tools and processes that increase customer satisfaction. These include:

  • User-centric and responsive design: A UX design team will first want to understand the needs of their target audiences and ICPs (ideal customer profiles). Designers and strategists employ user research, personas, and a digital transformation journey map to develop experiences tailored to user preferences and pain points.

In North America, over 50 percent of web traffic is mobile. Thus, design for digital must shift according to device. Responsive design is part of creating a seamless user experience regardless of desktop, smartphone, or mobile app use, enabling businesses to meet users where they are.

  • Intuitive navigation and interactive interfaces: Competition across every industry is too great to discount how important it is for tech to be easy and enjoyable to use. Customers want to find what they are looking for quickly, yet are more likely to stay engaged with the appropriate placement of multimedia elements and interactive communication tools.  
  • Personalization and accessibility: Since all users are not the same, UX design must account for behavior, preferences, and demographics as well as accessibility needs. Personalization ensures the delivery of relevant content to all users. Accessibility means creating and delivering functionality inclusive to the 13 percent of Americans with disabilities.  
  • Seamless integrations: In addition to playing nice with a company’s basic tech stack and multi-channel customer experience opportunities, businesses will want to ensure product information management integration that maximizes UX. PIM should present info in a clear and structured manner with detailed specifications for easy product comparison. Consider compatibility with ERP, payment gateway, fraud protection, tax, transaction email, and user-generated content systems as well.  
  • Consistent branding: Good UX design portrays that a brand and its products or services are a solution to a customer's needs. Branding should be consistent across digital platforms to build trust and recognition that adds to user experience and increases loyalty.
  • Feedback mechanisms: Value creation through digital transformation design can increase by incorporating feedback mechanisms into platforms to gather user challenges and insights. This gives companies data that enables continuous improvement, allowing the DXP to meet changing customer preferences and needs.
  • Optimization: When it comes to performance and design, consistent monitoring and managing to ensure digital and website optimization is all but mandatory. Load times, responsiveness, and continuous updates enhance end users’ experience.  

The Compatibility of UX Design With Agile and Iterative Methodologies

To be successful in the long term, UX design must consider the agile and iterative methodologies inherent to software releases and upgrades. Agile is an incremental approach that breaks development into small functional bits for iteration. Iterations are cycles referred to as sprints, generally following a ‘design, build, test, renew’ workflow.  

This means UX design must be agile and iterative alongside software development for the platforms to be compatible. As with digital transformation, however, it’s important to remember that the focus is on the people using the tools rather than the tools themselves. Agile software and UX design prioritize changing based on customer response rather than rigidly sticking to a predetermined plan.

Steps for Implementing UX Design in Digital Transformations  

Generally speaking, implementing UX design in digital transformation follows three basic steps: research, creation of wireframes and prototypes, and ongoing optimization based on implementation feedback and testing.

  1. Conducting Thorough UX Research  

Before UX designers implement design changes, they must undertake user research and rely on data analytics. To determine how to solve customer problems and address client preferences, designers must first understand user behavior, needs, and pain points. Thorough UX research forms the basis for a user-centric digital approach designed with intent.

  1. Creating wireframes and prototypes

Wireframes and prototypes are visual representations of design thinking meant to help customers see how the end product will be used by customers. Rather than fully formed models of finished products, they are blueprints to be evaluated and given input before actual development begins.  

  1. Ongoing Optimization Based on User Feedback and Testing

Just because a concept has been approved, developed, and launched does not mean the work is done. Digital transformation models require ongoing optimization based on user feedback and testing. In this way, DX tools evolve alongside customer expectations and technological advancements to keep companies relevant and maintain their competitive edge.

The Critical Role of UX in Digital Transformation  

User experience design is key to ROI for digital transformation. For any digital transformation strategy to be successful, IT leaders must take a human-centered approach that leverages digital technology to create enhanced and agile experiences.  

The C2 Group + ACCO Brands: Successful UX Design Integration in Digital Transformation

By partnering with The C2 Group and digital experience platform Optimizely, ACCO Brands used UX design to overcome issues preventing them from scaling.  

The challenge: As an almost $2B supplier of branded academic, consumer, and business products, ACCO brands needed a unified content and commerce digital solution to support its more than 20 market-leading brands. Its existing system was built on aging tech, siloed data, and redundant brand and product websites. Customer expectations regarding basic online shopping (account creation, viewing account-specific pricing, checking purchase history, etc.) weren’t being met, nor were they receiving tailored experiences that would allow ACCO to increase loyalty and retention.  

The solution: Averse to undertaking a time-consuming development of costly one-off DXP and PIM solutions, ACCO relied on C2 to help create an ecommerce strategy that unified its brands and could scale to support organizational goals.  

Together, they created Helix, a rollout-management program that leverages a design system and a code base of templates, blocks, and integrations that drastically reduce development time while meeting individual brand needs. The new brand sites feature optimized product and checkout experiences, dynamic storytelling, powerful personalization, and robust integrations on one platform, Optimizely.  

Optimizely allowed ACCO to simplify its martech and ecommerce stack, eliminating redundancies and cutting spend. With its user-friendly design, all brands now manage and make updates without outside developers.  

The Impact of UX Design on Business Growth and Customer Engagement

For ACCO Brands, UX design for digital transformation led to over $1M in direct order intake. This represented a 17 percent increase in annual revenue, with average order values for some brands increasing 260 percent.  

Since its inception,16 brands have launched Helix, which can be handed off to new users 60 to 90 days after kickoff. With style libraries, atomic design principles, and a shared, reusable code base, Helix can optimize product pages and checkout processes while integrating with PIM, ERP, payment gateway, fraud protection, tax, transaction email, and user-generated content systems. For firms overseeing multiple brands in one portfolio, the Optimizely DXP brings all content and commerce into a single platform.  

The C2 Group specializes in creating responsive and accessible web interfaces that improve customer engagement. With development expertise in front- and back-end solutions, including CMS and e-commerce integrations, C2 can help you create secure and scalable systems.  

To learn how form can meet function to create value during digital transformation, check out The C2 Group’s stance on UX visual design.