The term User Experience or UX is a rather enigmatic one. Perhaps that is why it is so difficult to justify why UX research and testing is a necessary task for any business that hopes to remain competitive and successful. The term UX does not only denote a practice for the business’s professionals to follow but also indicates a desired outcome for the business. The ideal situation is for the business’s product/service to offer unparalleled UX to its customers. To know whether it is doing so and to gauge how it is falling short, it is first necessary to measure the User Experience or UX.
To management, UX research and testing expenditure may seem to be an unnecessary one because it does not offer a clear cut ROI or impact the bottom line directly. For the design/ research team, showing how and why UX testing is critical for the business may be an impossible task. This gap makes it difficult to justify any spending in this area. However, as you read on you’ll learn how you can show that any investment made here in research/ testing is a fully viable, absolutely necessary expense for any business.
The management of any business outfit is primarily concerned with how an expenditure compares with the benefits it can yield. The most significant advantage with UX research and testing is that it can result in significant cost benefits to the business. When user experience has been evaluated accurately, it is possible to pinpoint exactly those areas where the service/ product is meeting the end user’s expectations and the areas where it falls short of expectations.
An effective UX measurement system gives developers a clear indication of what the customers want so that they can align the product/ service design more closely to users’ needs. Keep in mind that in absence of UX testing/ research, the developer is essentially working blindfolded. He may be developing solutions/ designs that are simply not valuable to the customer, not user friendly, not necessary, or not desired. In effect, the significant investment of time and money that is going into the designing process is NOT fully utilized.
Worse still, the product/ service may be so removed from the customers’ expectations that a complete make- over is necessitated. The developer starts from scratch to come up with a brand new design. That means the entire investment in the previous effort is wasted.
Statistics show that almost half of the time developers spend at work goes into reworking, i.e.: their productive work hours are cut by half. Add to this the fact that tweaking the design post- development is a highly time consuming and cost intensive task and you can see why UX expenditure is fully justified for any business.
It follows from the above point that when sufficient attention and money has been invested in UX research and testing, developers can head off potential problems at the designstage. So they create output that matches the customers’ needs more closely and addresses the common problems. Since these issues have already been addressed even before the product/ service is rolled out, the possibility of negative feedback about these aspects is very low. The business benefits significantly from the much lower incidence of negative customer feedback. It allows makes the customer support team’s job far easier since they have to deal with fewer complaints or criticisms.
An excellent way to keep your customers loyal to you is to show them you actually care what they feel about your product/ service. Gauging and testing UX and incorporating the findings into your business operations demonstrates that you are keen to ‘listen’ to your audience and give them what they want. A business that demonstrates its willingness to align its products/ service more closely with its end users gains their appreciation and loyalty. This is a great way to ensure that your customers stay with you for the long term.
Today’s customer is a savvy individual who knows that she can get exactly what she wants thanks to the immense competition in every field. New Age customers expect great service and great products and the only way you can satisfy them fully is by knowing exactly what they want from you. UX research and testing is a simple, direct and accurate way to gauge precisely this. In fact, by making UX testing an integral part of your processes you give your business a significant competitive edge in the market. While your competitors are still following the ‘hit or miss’ technique to captivate the audience with their product/ service, you are delivering what the people are looking for!
The most telling argument that should sway the top level executive with the tightest purse strings is that UX testing offers amazing ROI and there are several industry surveys that support this fact. In fact, experts say that for a dollar invested in UX research/ testing the business could earn a minimum of $2 as ROI and a whopping maximum return of $100.
Some of the world’s best known businesses are investing heavily in UX and the names include Samsung and Dell. These companies are witnessing some amazing results from this investment too and so could yours.
Feature packed, aesthetically designed, highly functional products services may fail miserably to garner the right market share where a simple, user friendly one hits the bullseye. In fact, design that is aligned to user tastes and preferences ensures that the product achieves market dominance over a surprisingly short period. Once this dominance is achieved, it is a relatively easy task to maintain it and keep competitors from taking away the Numero Uno position.
In fact, from this position of dominance the business can influence audience preferences significantly and sway the market in its favor.
So, the next time your team or your management asks whether UX research and testing is really worth it, we hope to hear your resounding yes.