Usability & User Experience – The costs and benefits

Tuesday 4 October 2011 - Filed under Usability News

There are many global companies that understand usability and user experience is one of their main product attributes and product make-up, and effectively see it as a significant attribute to their ‘store front’.

In simple terms it’s a combination of satisfaction, effectiveness and efficiency within a specific and particular context of use.

Good Usability & User Experience offers many potential benefits to companies, with the main positives focused around increased productivity and customer satisfaction.

It is common knowledge in the industry that even as more companies become more “user & customer centric”, there are still many who do not integrate usability and User testing effectively into their product lifecycle development process.

As the industry has seen over the last 20 years or so, it has been a hard challenge incorporating User Testing methodologies as part of Companywide Product and Marketing Strategies & objectives, and even now it is strange to see why companies don’t get it, as you don’t need to be a user experience and usability expert to see the potential Return on investment & benefits of having good UX.

One of the reasons why some companies still refuse to ‘acknowledge’ UX as being a credible part of their organisation is that though the positive benefits are in most cases easy to spot and recognize, they are by no means easy to calculate or quantify.

On a lot of occasions this type of concern causes usability engineering budgets to be slashed, or less prioritized against other traditional market research data gathering methods, – as we know often management and stakeholders will often go with that they already know.

In terms of benefits for employing modern Usability testing methodologies there have been a number of detailed studies carried out, that purely addresses the cost benefits of usability and user testing using both Agile and the Waterfall Product Management development approach.

Most of the studies agree that the introduction of human factors and live product testing is crucial to a technology company’s proposition in order to gain a competitive edge and advantage through improving UX and usability, which ultimately leads to a positive increase in conversion, retention and product sales.

On the other side of the coin, where there is a customer focused organization, they can look can reap better rewards through their end user productivity, – which means better a better usability and User Experience will help to reduce task times, and ultimately reduce staff attrition and turnover.

There are some usability studies that have analyzed the potential cost benefits of better user experience and usability from the view point of larger corporate clients, vendor type companies &  end users that agree that non-positive usability findings results in an increase in customer support costs, particularly  when the customer/client has a significantly amount of users.

When a company focuses at the beginning of a project on better usability and looks to employ usability principles and best practices techniques, they can slash development costs which would normally be attribute to fixing ‘bugs’ on unfamiliar or broken user flows.

2011-10-04  »  admin

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