There is no longer any need to debate whether or not UX design is necessary. User experience is now recognized as the key differentiator of successful digital products. When it comes to the complex discipline of UX design, all efforts are focused on the end goal of making users happy.
To achieve this goal, a UX design needs to ensure that users find value in the product you are providing to them. The experience also needs to be seamless and without friction, letting users complete their tasks quickly and efficiently. However, many companies are still obsessing about how to make their products “feature rich,” losing sight of the core of any great user experience - usability.
There are real and substantial costs associated with this kind of design oversight, because today’s customers appreciate the ease of use far more than the complexity of too many functions. They’ll abandon your product quickly and go for an easier and more user friendly alternative.
The Obvious ROI of Usability
UX designers are often in a position where they have to prove the value of user experience to their executives and show them how investing in it will actually pay off. For those still in doubt, let’s look at the obvious reasons for investing in usability and user testing.
Integrating usability into the product design process early on has substantial impact on cost savings. It is painfully obvious that creating a usable product the first time around is much more efficient than having to make changes to it once you’re knee-deep in code, and you’ve poured a lot of money into development. Not to mention the massive costs that many companies have incurred due to design errors that went unnoticed until the product was already released.
Now, let’s look at the figures shown by several industry studies:
- Every dollar spent on UX brings in between $2 and $100 dollars in return.
- Fixing design issues or redesigning a product in the development phase costs 10 times more than making the same fixes early in the design phase.
- Fixing a digital product once it’s been released - the costs can then be as much as 100 times higher!
Ignoring the importance of usability testing from the outset of the project can literally ruin the product’s chances of success. Without it, you are driving blindfolded and you can’t be sure that the product you’re building is actually usable and won’t require costly or impossible changes later on.
If you’re serious about meeting the needs of your end users and understanding how they interact with your product, then there’s simply no way to go around user testing. Benefits of this, still overlooked element of the design process, include:
- Decrease in product development costs
- Shorter development cycles
- Increased user retention and satisfaction
- More customer loyalty & trust
- Improved revenue & market share.
Usability Testing Makes Perfect!
Just think about it, when you first interact with a new mobile or Web app and you intuitively know how to use it, are you more likely to continue using it? Of course you are! There’s an undeniable appeal to products that are easy to understand and enjoyable to use. Apple’s products are just one proof that consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that are easy to use.
However, designing usability into your product is not at all easy. Usability is closely intertwined with other elements of user experience so problems can often go unnoticed. It takes careful testing to uncover potential usability issues from the get-go and minimize the risk of failure. And the only effective way to approach this is to introduce your product to relevant users as early as possible.
Unfortunately, a lot of the tools and services available for testing interactive prototypes are often complicated to use themselves or there’s a time lag to benefit. And time is one commodity no one can afford to waste when developing a new product. This is why it’s important to find a usability testing tool that helps you quickly expose issues in design so you can determine where you need to make changes to improve usability.
By integrating usability testing into the development process early on, you’ll be able to launch your better products faster, minimizing wasted resources.
The Less Obvious ROI
While the most obvious benefits of usability testing are related to time/resources savings, and money saved and earned, there are less obvious benefits that transcend any specific project and positively impact the entire UX practice in an organization.
If a design team continuously tests products’ UX with real users to ensure customer satisfaction, this will impact the ROI in more ways than one.
Usability testing brings insight and knowledge about user behavior and interaction with a product that can be applied to similar projects in the future. You can find a pattern that will help you invest less time and effort in UX and testing while achieving the same results.
Usability testing empowers your design team to make better assumptions about product’s features, functionalities, and behavior. This will eventually lead to a scenario where your company delivers products that attract the highest numbers of users with the least amount of development effort.
The more effort you invest in usability, the more you’ll be able to differentiate your products from competitors and consequently drive up revenue and increase customer loyalty.