What’s the ROI un UX? Well, an investment in user experience is an investment in designing a digital product that is easier and better for your customers to use. These “digital products” could be bringing people through the complex task interface of encouraging online donations to your charity, or an app that is developed to make it easier for people to pay for parking, or the portal your staff use to log in and quote on auto insurance.
All investments need to generate a return. Some studies declare that “every dollar invested in UX will bring $2 to $100 in return” and this is a sensational, highly tweetable stat that has been all over the internet.
Truthfully the return on investment in ‘user experience’ can sometimes be very hard to measure in terms of dollars on the bottom line. It depends greatly on the project, the industry, the other elements involved in the initial decision to look at UX (is this part of a larger digital strategy?). However, learning something specific about the user or customer is a valuable investment because it informs future decisions to better suit the people using your product.
If you’re more of a stats and numbers person Forrester Research finds that “implementing a focus on customers’ experience increases their willingness to pay by 14.4%, reduces their reluctance to switch brands by 15.8%, and boosts their likelihood to recommend your product by 16.6%.”
In an ideal world the user of a product is considered in every step of product development and the Forrester stats can apply. But since that’s not the case, investing in UX can help save you money, drive your revenue, and inform competitive advantage… and get you in on those percentage points.
Saves You Money
- Avoid Redoing Work
According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) in 2005, an estimated 50% of engineering time is spent reworking errors that could have been avoided. Incorporating UX design and research from the start will avoid these added costs.
Reworking an error could mean:
- An incorrect assumption about what users will want or need
- Confusing navigation that causes users to get stuck or lost
- A design choice that isn’t usable or accessible
Usability research upfront can prevent wasted time (and money) on these avoidable errors.
- Decreasing Customer Support Costs
Customer support is a major expense for many businesses, and it can add up very quickly. It varies by industry, but from listening into customer support calls or chats across clients it’s apparent that the majority of calls and support inquiries are about a few select issues.
By listening to your clients and addressing concerns as they come up, as well as using this information about major and minor annoyances to inform future decisions and designs, the number of hours customer support is utilized will eventually decrease, and so will its cost.
- Increased Efficiency Through Increased Adoption Rates
As a cost saving measure many firms look for tools to increase the efficiency of their employees. However, a tool is only as good as its use and providing a platform for your employees that is easy, intuitive, and pleasant to use increases the adoption rates on that platform, as well as contributes to keeping your employees happy which has a whole host of benefits.
For an internally developed product/platform/software/tool, it is worthwhile to ensure that all the people who are invested in it or using it are having their needs met when it’s being designed to avoid having to redo the work (see point #1).
This is an iterative process that marries the needs of the business as well as of the user.
|· Legal, Marketing, Finance, IT, Project Managers, etc.
· What does each section of the business need from this product? How is it going to affect the bottom line?
|· Primary and Secondary users
· The people who will use this product, what are their needs? Why should they use it? How will they use it? What are they expecting?
- Increase Conversion Rates
If the goal is to increase revenue (and who doesn’t have that goal?), it is often cheaper, easier, and faster to focus on doubling conversion rather than doubling traffic. You could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on awareness campaigns and measure site traffic forever, but if the site is hard to use then there are just more people who are encountering these issues, and none (ok, very little) of that spend will impact the bottom line.
Doing upfront research and usability testing will reveal exactly where your users get caught up (unlike analytics or A/B testing), and reveals why they don’t convert. These specific issues can then be addressed fairly easily, sometimes with good recommendations coming straight from the mouths of your customers.
With our clients we’ve seen these issues ranging from confusion around the copy, to the colour contrast being difficult to see, to the user feeling stranded and not knowing where to go next so they leave. None of these insights can be found through analytics alone, and it’s only with thorough usability testing that our clients found out exactly where their customers (and their dollars) were getting lost.
- Improve Customer Retention and Loyalty
As any marketer or product manager knows, a customer who has a positive experience with your brand is more likely to stick with your product – or even better, become an advocate for you. This mindset can be directly applied to user experience.
A customer who finds it easy, intuitive, and pleasant to use your product to get what they wanted will be more likely to use your product again. People do not use tools just for the sake of using tools, they’re trying to accomplish something. Helping them get to their goal quickly and easily leaves a positive impression and is the beginning of customer retention and loyalty.
- Competitor Insights
A part of usability testing is identifying what potential and current users (or often customers) expect of the product in order to flesh out where and why users are getting confused. User expectations come from the combined multiple impressions and experiences that the user has had with your product and other similar and competing products.
So, your user’s experiences with your competition informs what they expect to see with your product, and this could be positive or negative. By running the same tests against your competitor’s products you can reveal insights on what they’re doing better or worse than you – and you can respond appropriately.
- Keeping Up With The Competition
As ‘user experience’ becomes more mainstream, more companies are investing in it, more products are becoming easier to use, and more people are expecting good user experience while rejecting bad user experience. Products that are easier to use will be used more often. If it is easier for customers to use your competitor’s products to achieve their goals, then they will do just that.
So the return on investment in user experience, while not always black and white on the financial statement, is an investment in the interests of better serving your customers. And as the old adage goes, if you take care of your customers they’ll take care of you.