A Different Way to Think About Design: Check Out the Better by Design Conference

by | Better by Design

As a copywriter and content writer, when you say design my first thought comes to graphics and images.  But design thinking goes far beyond visuals. It can help you solve your biggest marketing problems, which is part of the focus of her Better by Design Conference.

The Better by Design Conference will be held August 17 and 18 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Its goal is for attendees to get inspired by people using design to make things better for people, projects and the world.

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The idea is you want to use design thinking to understand a problem deeply enough. Instead of just throwing ideas against the wall and seeing what sticks, it’s about designing solutions with an understanding of why people do things and what they need.

The design process similar to improving content and conversion

The Better by Design Conference should appeal to small marketing departments because the process is the blueprint can be used in so many aspects.  Winbound, for example, follows the process with our content and conversion efforts.

Step 1 – Understand what’s happening with the users

The design thinking process necessitates a deep understanding of your customers.  You find out what matters most to them and what problems you can help them with through surveys, interviews, market research and prior experience of your marketing team.

The design thinking process necessitates a deep understanding of your customers.

There are other methods you can use to understand your users.  Keyword research, for example, helped us understand that a company’s customers weren’t using the same term to describe the product name that the company was using.  The company called it (hypothetically) “widget watering system” while the customer called it “garden hose.”

When you start to peel back the layers of understanding, you can then ideate.  We used the term “garden hose” to improve the company’s website page, and drive more traffic to it.  We also researched semantic keywords that revolved around the term “garden hose” (kinks, leaks, too small) and developed copy to address users’ pain points.

Step 2 – Ideate and test

Winbound’s design uses Step 1 as a launch pad, but then we segue into the next phase, which we’ll call ideate and test.  First, you design rough solutions that, based on what you know about your users, could solve their problem. Then you test those solutions with users to get feedback on how effective your ideas are for them.

Test your solutions with users.

Back to the customer’s “garden hose” page.  The next step in our process would be to use heatmaps and surveys to determine what the customer truly thinks.  One-on-one interviews, with groups of 3-5 customers, can also be a way to get qualitative answers about how your customers think.

This iterative process then continues, with you making changes and improvements over and over.

Better by Design speakers to illustrate the design process

The two-phase design process sounds remarkably simple and straightforward. (Which is a good thing, right?) But the devil is not only in the details, but in the implementation.

The Better by Design Conference will showcase some top design experts and reveal how they implement the design process in a variety of unique projects. Here are just a few:

Russ Wilson is the Director of Cloud UX for Google, and at the main conference on August 18, he’ll discuss creating a robust design culture in all kinds of organizations, from one-person teams to large, siloed companies.

Meghan Louttit is the Deputy Editor, Digital Design for The New York Times. Meghan is in charge of the interactive features for The New York Times, and at the main conference on August 18, she’ll discuss how to use the design process across different teams.

Lesley Sager is a faculty member for the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and in her workshop on August 17, she’ll talk about how to use the design process to improve all facets of your life.

The wide range of speakers will provide you with a look at many different approaches, and give you a sense of how the design process can be used in a variety of different organizations. You can check out the full lineup of speakers here.  

The two-day conference also includes workshops and post-conference social hour. Registration for conference tickets ends August 1.

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Greg Mischio

Greg Mischio

Greg Mischio has been creating content for many moons. He is the Founder and CEO of Winbound, a sales and marketing agency that provides content and marketing services with a focus on manufacturing and industrial verticals.

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