UX design study reveals 86% of companies fail to integrate design across the organization, forfeiting business benefits

Limina Study Exposes what Design-Integrated Companies Know that Others Don’t

LONGMONT, Colo., June 1, 2020 — According to research findings released today by Limina, only 14% of today’s organizations are considered Design-Integrated businesses; embedding a human-centered design culture into their organizations to gain both exceptional customer experiences as well as business and financial goals. Of the remaining 86% of companies, 15% are considered “Design-Conscious” taking strong action to move in the direction of integrated design, while the remainder are lagging. This study outlines how business leaders can achieve Design-Integration into their companies, and how user experience (UX) designers can demonstrate their value.

The three largest barriers to creating a Design-Integrated business include C-level support, a human-centered design culture, and alignment of operations and metrics, according to the study. Limina found that 74% of companies that integrate design resources across the enterprise see strong alignment between organizational business goals and the goals of their design teams. These Design-Integrated businesses understand that strong and equal alignment of business, design, and technology functions lead to a repeatable, standardized, and sustainable way for all employees to work together to build digital products that fit the needs of their users and are intuitive to use.

“During this COVID-19 pandemic, people have been forced to use digital services every day — from remote education and telehealth to online grocery shopping and banking,” said Jon Fukuda, co-founder, and principal of Limina. “Human-centered design is more important now than ever before, as the majority of interactions and transactions are happening online.”

Limina, a UX design consultancy, surveyed online 111 design and UX decision-makers across a wide range of industries in the U.S. This quantitative research was supported by 10 phone interviews with design and UX leaders from recognized brands. The study had two parallel goals: To increase awareness of the issue of maturity in the design and UX industry overall and to accelerate the adoption of design and UX as integral to business success by outlining best practices and methods for companies to follow.

Key study findings include:

  • Core traits define Design-Integrated businesses. Although Design-Integrated businesses are disparate in nature, Limina’s research has discovered that regardless of size, industry, or geography, they have seven commonalities that make them outstanding.
  • A CEO-level directive is vital to design integration. The study shows that many companies have not built a human-centered design culture and do not have C-level executive backing to support the culture. Only 49% of the most senior UX or design leaders surveyed report into a C-level executive. The remaining half report into lower levels of management. Without authority and budget, design will struggle with visibility and importance in the organization.
  • 52% of designers have a seat at the executive table, but no voice. This kind of “window dressing” makes design teams less effective and leads the organization to wrongly interpret the power of Design-I
  • Companies have difficulty integrating UX and user-centric design resources into business functions. The companies surveyed were fairly evenly split between centralized, distributed, and integrated models.
  • 87% of companies say metrics and business impact are part of initial design conversations. However, the alignment of the metrics and the capability to achieve follow-through continue to be a challenge. Success requires collaboration between design-focused team members and team members with expertise in business and data analysis. It’s a two-way street: Design needs to adopt and build more of an understanding of standard business metrics, and design-specific metrics need to be aligned with business metrics.

6 Best Practices for Creating a Design-Integrated Business

The Limina study unveiled six best practices for Design-Integration, including:

  • Embed a human-centered design culture in every corner of the company, starting with the C-suite
  • Establish a common language to drive understanding, mitigate risks, and improve processes
  • Integrate design resources into relevant business functions
  • Capture specific metrics and manage to them to bridge organizational divisions and drive business outcomes
  • Create reusable artifacts and repeatable processes
  • Invest in artifacts, then processes, then systems

“When the entire organization is focused on the needs of the user and the value their product delivers, better products are created and brought to market,” said Fukuda. “Strong alignment among cross-functional teams creates higher efficiency, working together toward the common goal of creating higher quality user-centered products, which leads to cost savings and increased revenue.”

To request a copy of Limina’s e-book, “The 2020 Design-Integration Report: 6 Best Practices to Build Design-Integrated Businesses that Win,” available in early June, visit: https://limina.co/2020-design-integration-report/. The e-book explores the survey results in more detail and shares best practices to create a design-integrated business.

About Limina
Limina is a user experience (UX) and technical design consultancy that helps Fortune 500 companies and government agencies simplify complex human-to-computer interactions by designing more intuitive integrated digital user experiences. Limina’s discovery process helps clients uncover the needs and wants of their customers, rather than create a new product or service that they think customers want. Founded in 2003, Limina is based in Longmont, CO. Learn more at www.limina.co or follow us on LinkedIn at Limina.co, on Twitter @liminaux, and on Instagram @liminaux.