Friday, February 04, 2011

The ROI of UX

I spend a lot of time defending the ROI of user experience. From a macro perspective we work in an industry that spends around $1 trillion a year on custom software projects and applications. Roughly 15% of those projects fail even when they are undertaken using an agile methodology, for a variety of reasons including (culled from other posts and experience):
  1. An unreliable team
  2. Weak leaders
  3. Poor stakeholder communication
  4. Reqs and specs are incomplete or too abstract
  5. Focused on success/outcome instead of learning
  6. Retrospects are not implemented
  7. Team members and stakeholders are not properly engaged
  8. Lack of best practices in any of the disciplines
  9. Lack of metrics to measure outcomes against
  10. Inefficient use of time
  11. Scope creep
  12. Not having the right experts at the right time.
UX and design thinking plays a fundamental role in correcting many of the above behaviors and patterns. It starts with playing a role in helping to define a project and its outcomes, shapes the delivery of the actual parts of the technology in terms of who does or uses what and finally gives us measurable improvements in terms of adoption, training and other aspects that are fundamental to the final drop.

Dr. Susan Weinschenk of Human Factors International postulates the 3 of the top reasons that all projects fail are directly tied to UX, and breaks it down in plain language and pictures in the video below, pointing to measured ROI which we can extrapolate into 8 high value categories as follows:
  • opportunity cost or loss resulting from unintended behaviors
  • sub-optimal conversion rates
  • abandoned registration due to complexity or reg-wall
  • reducing support costs associated with complex interfaces or processes
  • decreased training costs for new application rollout
  • more use resulting in repeat customers and process optimization
  • less development time (impact to bottom line) - Download a PDF poster of the ROI of User Experience animation featured in this video.

About Dr. Susan Weinschenk:
Dr. Susan Weinschenk has over 30 years experience as a consultant worldwide and is Chief of UX Strategy, Americas at Human Factors International. Her areas of expertise include persuasive interface design, neuropsychology, user centered design, and generational differences.
Dr. Weinschenk has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University. Susan has published 4 books on user experience. Her most recent book, Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click?, published by New Riders, is in its second printing.

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