How to Make $100 for Every Dollar You Invest in UX

When I started my career as a User Experience Designer, I was constantly involved in projects with unrealistic goals, poorly defined system requirements, or plagued by communication issues and difficult politics among stakeholders. We have all been there.

Robert Charette estimates that 15% of all software development projects fail because of these issues.

In Charette’s article, Why Software Fails, these issues are among the twelve main reasons why software development projects do not succeed.

Dev Teams Are Trapped in a Bubble

It is easy for a development team to get caught in a bubble

During the process of creating software, we have a lot to handle, such as creating a plan, coming up with time estimates, and most importantly following through and releasing on time. It is easy for a development team to get caught in a bubble without asking themselves if what they are doing is really what needs to be done.

We often think we know everything about our product: exactly what the software should do and how it should do it. Unfortunately we don’t know. You don’t know. Only your users can know how it fits in their lives.

What is the ROI of UX?

With UX you save money from rework as ROI.

With UX you save money from rework as ROI.

UX helps you to incorporate the needs, hopes, and dreams of your users into your products. The benefit can be 100 times what you invest in it. According to usability.gov, about 50% of programmers’ time during a project is spent doing rework.

UX involves your users into co-creating your products

This is caused by misplaced assumptions and guesswork. IBM, too, has said that for every $1 invested in UX, the ROI can be anywhere from $10 to $100.

Finally, Joel Ross has discovered the 1:10:100 ratio: from $1 invested in UX, you save $10 in fixing issues during development, and $100 if the product has been already released.

Most of all, UX involves your users into co-creating your products, clarifying project goals, system requirements, and supporting a shared language on how to develop the best product possible.

Switching to Your Users’ Perspective

Take the case of the $300 million button. Jared Spool was part of a team hired by a major e-commerce company that was analyzing and identifying ways to improve their checkout process using design methods for UX research. Spool’s team conducted usability tests and set up the site’s analytics to study users’ behaviors during check out.

The team realized that in order to complete a purchase a new user needed to register for the website, and that was making shoppers abandon ship right before checkout. Long story short, the company replaced the register button with a continue button, along with a message,“You do not need to create an account to make purchases on our site. Simply click Continue to proceed to checkout. To make your future purchases even faster, you can create an account during checkout.”

The outcome was simply fantastic, sales increased by 45% for a grand total of $300 million of extra revenue in a year.

But What’s in It for My Company?

Just like in the $300 million button example, UX can help your developers spend less time fixing and more time developing meaningful software. And it is a game changer for your products.
If you are serious about getting started, you can contact Sandra Vazquez, part of our UX Team, at svazquez@nearsoft.com.

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