User experience (UX) is a critical component of the function of any business today. It has implications on the brand, operations and even sales. According to a study by Forrester Research, good UX design can yield website conversion rates of up to 400%! But UX is also a good way to iron out your thoughts, streamline your efforts and orchestrate the entire company’s efforts in order to achieve a specific outcome -- superlative customer experience. This can reduce switching of customers from your brand to that of your competition by more than 16% (Forrester) as well.
Costs to a Company
The best way to understand how UX design contributes to reduced costs and increased ROI for a company building a product/service, is to understand what the spends are in the first place. A product is usually built to serve the needs of a customer. Understanding what the customer needs is usually hard, as the old Ford saying goes: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
The second cost comes from handling customer service requests. These costs are higher for companies that didn’t put enough thought into designing their products at the outset or take into consideration the needs of the customers well enough. While the above are quantifiable, there are also the opportunity costs involved when people aren’t referring your product/service to other friends or colleagues they know can use it.
In addition to this, a company also needs to account for the number of potential customers that were lost after they downloaded and installed an app and realised that it's too hard to use or that it didn’t exactly serve their needs or that it was packaged in a way that was inconvenient for people to use.
What UX Does
The best metaphor for UX design in the field of software development is that of an architect in the field of construction. Architects understand the needs of all the people that will use the building, the requirements of the business and the constraints placed by plumbing, electrical wiring, movement of traffic, etc., and then design the blueprints of the building. We, as UX designers, do the same for software. We question every aspect of the service or product delivery through the app, thus allowing us to fix problems on paper before they become a problem in reality.
By conducting user-testing of prototypes, we can head off several usability issues that may traditionally only be caught by putting the app/product in front of actual users. We do this using EEG headsets, a method that not only avoids problems associated with focus group testing but also provides more in-depth insights into user behaviours.
Since we work with many different industries, we are in touch with various business approaches and see parallels between industries all the time. When we introduce these ideas to business heads, we are saving them an immense amount of time and money that may have been spent in achieving the same evolution.
Numerous studies have shown that every dollar spent on “implementing focus on customer experience” can make between one and two hundred dollars. Additionally, UX can increase a user’s willingness to pay by 14.4% and to recommend a product/service by 16.6% (Forrester).
Smart businesses that have attained success know that UX makes all the difference between a cutting-edge product and an also-ran feature. Efficient UX designing requires skillful architecture that takes into consideration all aspects of the product, your vision for the business and how it will suit the market. While UX is capable of increasing your revenues, it is also extremely powerful as a cost-cutting tool.
Sharan Grandigae is founder and CEO, Redd Experience Design
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