6 UX ROI Resources

Do you need UX research or design workshops tailored to your organization with an emphasis on ROI? Email us at info@uiuxtraining.com.

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UX ROI is a challenging subject for UX professionals who often hear “Show me the money.” Use the resources below to measure and demonstrate the value of UX for your organization.

UX ROI Resource #1: The High Cost of Bad UX

In this white board video Dr. Susan Weinschenk cites the following statistics from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE):

  • 15% of IT projects are pulled before completion “because they are hopelessly inadequate.”
  • Developers spend 50% of their time on avoidable rework.
  • The cost of fixing an error after development is 100 times greater than the cost of fixing the error before development is completed.
  • 3 of the 12 major causes of failed I/T projects are related to UX:
    • Badly designed requirements
    • Poor communication among customers, developers, and users
    • Stakeholder politics

The key is to calculate the savings or additional revenue generated by improving the user experience. For example:

A non-profit receives donations through its web site with an average donation of $50. Unfortunately, the search and donations sections are confusing. The estimate is that 50 users per day abandon the site before donating because the user experience is bad.

  • 50 missed $50 donations equals –$2,500 per day or –$912,000 per year.
  • If it costs $50,000 to fix the UX problems and another $50,000 to rewrite the code, the total cost is $100,000. Based on the loss calculations above, it would take this non-profit about 40 days to recover the cost to address serious usability issues.

Watch this informative video for additional examples of UX ROI.

UX ROI Resource #2: What to Measure

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In How to calculate the ROI of your UX activities the experts at Just in Mind draw on the IEEE numbers listed above to argue for the importance of measuring UX efforts. The authors focus on three metrics:

  • Conversion rate refers to the percentage of users who subscribe, complete a purchase, or make a reservation, etc. Conversion is a useful metric for UX because the user’s interaction with the user interface (UI) largely drives whether users can and want to complete a task.
  • Drop-off rate measures the number of users who leave the sales funnel without completing a purchase, for example. As with conversion, drop-off rates offer a useful reference point for the usability (or lack thereof) of the UI.
  • Single Usability Metric (SUM) to Record Errors—While drop-off rates show where a problem occurs, they do not identify the specific usability issue. Measuring errors offers a better understanding of the types of usability errors present in the design and how to avoid them. The single usability metric (SUM) is an effective way to measure errors because it measures task completion rates, task time, and satisfaction and error counts.


UX ROI Resource #3: Persuading B2B Executives

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Miklos Philips reminds readers that B2B companies rarely release case studies or disclose detailed ROI data. The result, as he explains in The True ROI of UX: Convincing the Executive Suite, is often a UX team caught between executives requesting hard numbers and no ability to access these numbers.

Drawing on a specific B2B case study, Philips shows readers how to make the case for four key areas necessary to improve the user experience:

  • Usability
  • Consistency
  • Workflow
  • Brand perception

While guiding readers through the case study, Philips identifies specific calculations teams can use to show how UX conversion and ease of use.

UX ROI Resource #4: B2B Case Studies

The True ROI of UX: B2B Redesign Case Studies  is a companion to the piece discussed above. In this article , Philips once again cites the difficulty of finding real-world data from B2B designs. Given this challenge, it is imperative that UX teams in the B2B space work even harder to define the UX ROI than in other design environments like e-commerce.

Philips divides ROI into soft and hard dollars:

  • Soft dollars refer to increased customer loyalty, improved net promoter scores (NPS), and more word-of-mouth referrals as well as productivity gains and increased efficiency.
  • Hard dollars refer to savings gained from fewer support calls, lower development costs, fewer development “redo” cases, and increased sales among others.

The point is to make UX ROI numbers easy to understand by placing these numbers in context. Read these case studies to learn how to place your UX ROI numbers in the proper business context.

UX ROI Resource #5: Design Dollars

This widely circulated McKinsey report about The Business Value of Design is based on a review of design practices of 300 companies. The McKinsey team gathered more than two million pieces of financial data and more than 100,000 design actions. “Advanced regression analysis uncovered the 12 actions showing the greatest correlation with improved financial performance and clustered these actions into four broad themes.”

These four themes comprise the McKinsey Design Index (MDI). This index measures the strength of a company’s design efforts and the connection between strong design and financial performance. The research included the following findings:

  1. McKinsey found a strong correlation between high-quality design (as measured by the MDI scores) and superior business performance. Over a five-year period, companies in the top 25% of the MDI increased revenue by 32% more than their competitors.
  2. These results held steady in medical technology, consumer goods, and retail banking. This stability suggests that good design matters in the areas of physical goods, digital products, or services.
  3. Difference in financial performance for companies in fourth, third, and second quartiles were marginal. The market rewarded the top 25% disproportionately.

Top-quartile companies embrace the full user experience; they break down internal barriers among physical, digital, and service design (The Business Value of Design: McKinsey Report)

All UX practitioners should examine the detailed findings in this report. To our knowledge at UI UX Training, it is the most comprehensive study in recent years that establishes a clear link between quality design and strong financial performance.

UX ROI Resource #6: How to Design for Better ROI

The resources and statistics listed above should contribute to a sound business case for measuring the ROI of UX research and design.

A common question is how to design for better ROI. In other words, which design principles and techniques lead to an easier, smoother, and more enjoyable user experience? Tommy Walker provides the answer in Why “Simple” Websites Are Scientifically Better.

Walker makes a persuasive case for designing prototypical web sites. He defines prototypicality as the basic mental image the brain creates to categorize interactions. For example, most web users have a basic idea about what an e-commerce site will look like.

The concept behind prototypicality is cognitive fluency, which simply means that the brain prefers to work no harder than it has to. Therefore, people tend to prefer sites with layouts that match their mental model. When that does not happen, users become confused, annoyed, and often abandon the site. For example, someone visiting a healthcare web site designed like an e-commerce site would likely be put off. This reaction could cause the person to question the healthcare provider’s credibility.

Read this article to gain a deeper understanding of why simple is easier to process, and you’ll be on you r way to demonstrating the ROI behind sound UX design practices.

Contact UI UX Training

Do you need UX research or design workshops tailored to your organization with an emphasis on ROI? Email us at info@uiuxtraining.com.