In previous posts, I’ve touched on the idea that “UX ≠ Usability” and “the crucial role of UX designers in preparing project briefings”, today, I’m excited to dive deeper and share which types of projects truly shine under the influence of UX design.

UX design, with its academic roots and methodical approach, is versatile enough to enhance any project. Yet, some projects stand out as particularly suited to reap the benefits of a robust UX design. I’ve curated a list of these project types to help you understand where UX design can make the most significant impact, ensuring that your initiatives not only meet but exceed expectations.

The concept of UX design originates from analyzing the interactions between products, services, and their users. This begs the question: Which products and services can most effectively leverage this concept? This blog post aims to explore the types of offerings that benefit most from a thoughtful application of UX design principles, enhancing the overall user experience.

The Projects That Create Social Impact

Social impact is defined as the “social and environmental changes and effects that occur as a result of a business or activity, encompassing both immediate and long-term transformations.” This dynamic interplay often parallels innovation but with a twist: social impact can spring from the clever integration of existing technologies, not just from groundbreaking new inventions.

Take, for example, transformative projects like systems that ensure safe drinking water in developing countries, medical devices that tackle hard-to-treat diseases, or educational apps that enhance cognitive functions. Each of these initiatives demonstrates how thoughtful applications of existing technologies can drive profound changes.

One such project that I had the privilege of contributing to is bloo vision, a vision training device designed to improve amblyopia in children. This endeavor is a prime example of how UX design can spearhead potential social impacts.

Creating such impactful outcomes requires rigorous research and robust design efforts, with user research being especially critical. Engaging in UX design not only streamlines this research process but also highlights various unseen challenges and opportunities. By bringing these insights to light and visualizing the outcomes, we can more effectively communicate the tangible social and environmental benefits, paving the way for substantial social impact. This approach not only enhances the project’s visibility but also underscores its significance in driving societal change.

ChatGPT has revolutionized the landscape with its profound social impact, reshaping the way we approach research and production. This groundbreaking service has transformed traditional methodologies, introducing a new era of efficiency and innovation in how we gather information and generate content.

The Projects That Make Things Convenient

Among the seven foundational elements of UX, “Useful” and “Valuable” stand out, representing the essence of convenience. However, it’s crucial to distinguish between providing utility and over-engineering for convenience. Excessive convenience can lead to complexity, making products harder to use. A classic example is a TV remote control cluttered with unnecessary buttons or the overwhelming number of electronic payment options in Japan.

Yet, the desire for convenience, no matter how small, holds immense value for those who seek it. Consider Emirates Airlines, which employs facial recognition technology to streamline boarding processes. While travelers still need their passports, the convenience of not having to present them at every checkpoint significantly enhances the travel experience. This feature might not have stemmed from extensive UX design concerning passport use, but UX principles are undoubtedly critical from check-in to boarding to optimize facial recognition technology.

Similar innovations are evident in other services, such as courier cash-on-delivery options and Amazon’s return system, all designed to simplify user interactions. These examples underscore how practicing UX design is not just about adding features; it’s about crafting experiences that transform routine convenience into extraordinary user value.

person holding iphone 6 inside car

The arrival of Uber has revolutionized transportation, making it vastly more convenient and accessible.

The Projects That Bring Empathy

In the business world, gaining empathy is often touted but achieving it can be challenging, particularly when transforming empathy into tangible business outcomes. This difficulty arises because what may seem obvious to one person might not be as clear to another, influenced by individual perceptions and life experiences. For instance, people from similar backgrounds tend to empathize more easily due to shared environments and experiences, whereas those from different backgrounds may struggle due to diverse perspectives, a phenomenon often highlighted by generational gaps.

This lack of empathy can stymie initiatives such as car sharing in Japan or the adoption of digital technologies, where cultural norms heavily favor consensus. In such environments, a project cannot advance without collective empathy, which often leaves many innovative ideas unrealized.

However, UX design emerges as a powerful tool in bridging these gaps. While it might seem unconventional, employing UX design to foster empathy among stakeholders—not just customers—during a project’s lifecycle is vital. This approach is essential, regardless of whether the stakeholders are team members or external partners. If your team does not feel empathetic towards the project, neither will your customers.

At its heart, UX design is rooted in design thinking, which starts with empathy. Thus, practicing UX design is fundamentally about building empathy, not only with users but also among colleagues, superiors, and investors. This broad application of UX design can transform how teams and stakeholders connect with a project, paving the way for more aligned, effective, and successful outcomes.

Get a Free UX Consultation!

No matter the scope of your project, it’s advisable to consult a UX design expert early in the process. While not every situation may require a UX designer—sometimes a UI designer or even your existing team resources can suffice— recognizing this early can save on unnecessary expenditures. Engaging the right expertise from the start ensures that your project is not only cost-effective but also aligned with the best practices in user experience design.

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At Genki Brothers, we have initiated the startup “Connect” with the aim of exploring the integration of UX/UI design within business contexts.

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