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The ROI of User Experience Design

by Jen Cohen Crompton

The ROI of User Experience Design

It only takes 1/20th of a second to decide if you like a website, which is why neglecting user experience (UX) is like saying you don’t care about staying in business!

What is UX?

In marketing terms, the user experience is comprised of every single interaction a person has with your brand, product, and/or service, even before making a purchasing decision.

In today’s digital world, your website or mobile app provides the interactions that make the first, and often lasting, impression on your customers. Focusing on user experience design will ensure that this impression is positive and actively helps you acquire and retain customers.

Of course, going through the steps of creating positive and impressive user experiences requires a real investment of time and resources. To help people understand how to get the most out of that investment, we sponsored a recent webcast with the American Marketing Association entitled, “The ROI of User Experience Design.”

The presenter was Willy Lai, Director of User Experience & Creative Design at Samsung. Willy has extensive experience in the UX space, having most recently led the design of Milk Music and next generation music apps across various Samsung devices.

One point he emphasized right from the outset was balance. Effective user experience design isn't just about satisfying the needs of your users; it’s also about meeting the goals of your business. 

The ROI of Bad UX Design

Willy started his discussion by pointing out that there is definitely an ROI to bad UX; it just happens to accrue to your competition. If you serve up bad UX design, he said, you are actually helping your competitors since users will quickly go somewhere else to find the experience they want and expect.

To back this point up, he shared the following stats: 70 percent of customers abandon purchases because of bad user experience (Red Signal); 67 percent of users say that a poor website experience negatively affects their opinion of a brand (Forrester); and 80 percent of users abandon a mobile site if they have a bad user experience (Limelight Networks).

The ROI of Good UX Design

On the flipside, good UX design can create a competitive edge. Think of it as the opposite of the bad UX ROI: Your site could be the “competitor’s site” that a user visits because of a bad experience elsewhere.

In addition to increasing traffic, according to Willy, improved UX can increase conversions, increase average order value, and even increase revenue. Forrester asserts that visit-to-lead conversions can be 400% higher on sites with “superior user experience.” And IBM maintains that in their experience, every “$1 invested in ease of use returned between $10 and $100.”

Designing Good UX

So how do you design a good user experience?

Willy believes that you have to throw out the “traditional” approach of providing a finished software product based solely on your company’s needs, and instead, focus on a design process in which “the end-users of a product are involved throughout the lifecycle of the product, including the early stages.”

But, as he said at the beginning, it’s not just about the users. For this reason, he insisted that you weigh the user's wishes against what is technically feasible as well as what is viable from a business perspective. Where these three factors intersect is the “sweet spot” that you need to hit with your UX design.

In the end, Willy’s presentation not only made the case the UX matters to users, he also made the case that it makes a difference to the bottom line. He also went beyond that to map out a process for improving the UX of any website. If you want the whole story, please check out the slides or watch the webcast recording.

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