What Are The Benefits of Investing in User Experience

What Are The Benefits of Investing in User Experience
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Time and time again, studies have shown that user experience investment increases customer satisfaction and productivity, builds customer trust and loyalty, generates significant cost savings and increases profitability. For some reason, many software managers still view user experience costs as an unnecessary added effort and expense. This could not be further from the truth.

Internal UX Benefits:

  • Increased User Productivity
  • Decreased User Errors
  • Decreased Training Costs
  • Increased Savings
  • Decreased User Support Requirements
  • Decreased Training Costs

External Benefits:

  • Increased Sales
  • Decreased Customer Support costs
  • Increased Value Perception

Both internal and external benefits of User Experience Investments make significant impacts to profitability.

Overall, user experience process implementation has been shown to create a high return on savings and product usability.

  • The rule of thumb in many usability-aware organizations is that the cost-benefit ratio for usability is $1:$10-$100. Once a system is in development, correcting a problem costs 10 times as much as fixing the same problem in design. If the system has been released, it costs 100 times as much relative to fixing in design. (Gilb, 1988)
  • “The average [software application] user interface has some 40 flaws. Correcting the easiest 20 of these yields an average improvement in usability of 50%. The big win, however, occurs when usability is factored in from the beginning. This can yield efficiency improvements of over 700%.” (Landauer, 1995)

UX processes make development more efficient by saving development costs, saving development time, reducing maintenance costs, and saving redesign costs.

  • UX processes can bring such benefits at any stage of your SDLC, but are most effective at the beginning of your SDLC. If you’re a product owner at a startup practicing lean/agile techniques you can cut dev time in half by applying UX processes alongside your SDLC.
  • User Experience generated benefits accumulate over time during product development and continue to drive business value during product release. Earlier product iterations are shipped to customers with UX improvements already built in leaving you with more freedom to iterate your product.

UX processes bring an average of 75% in design/development time savings.

  • A report by Human Factors International compared UX process generated savings in companies where UX processes guided changes earlier in their SDLC vs. later. The report found that when UX processes were used earlier in the SDLC, changes cost less. On average projects were found to have 20 changes needed. When these changes were discovered by UX processes later in the SDLC, an average of 32 resource hours were required per change. Assuming a minimal resource hourly rate of $35, late in SDLC changes would cost a total of $22,400.
  • In stark contrast, when the 20 changes were discovered by usability processes earlier in the SDLC, an average of just 8 resource hours were required per change. Assuming a similar hourly rate, change costs became $5,600-bringing total savings of $16,800.

UX Design processes pro-actively prevent issues that cause cost overruns.

In order to discover the reasons behind inaccurate project cost estimates, a group of product managers was surveyed. The survey by Barker discovered the 4 most common problems were:

  • Frequent requests for changes by users
  • Over-looked tasks/poorly designed workflows
  • Users’ lack of understanding of their own requirements
  • Insufficient communication and understanding between users and analysts
  • A study by Nielsen further corroborated Barker’s results. When asked to explain inaccurate cost estimates software product managers cited 24 reasons, and interestingly, the four reasons rated as having the highest responsibility were related to UX problems.

User Experience Research, Design, & Testing aligns with your business goals and improves profitability.

  • One-quarter delay in bringing a product to market may result in the loss of 50% of the product’s profit.
  • Speeding up development is a key goal for integrating usability effectively into product development.
  • Amazon increased it’s sales by 29% in 2010 by adding a single feature.
  • 74% of businesses believe that user experience is important in improving conversions and sales.

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