The value of UX

By Andrew on 10th January 2019 — 2 mins read

Your poor UX is costing you $4m per week in lost sales

Like it or not big scary numbers are a great way to get attention (at the beginning of a presentation for example).

You might not like it because big scary numbers don’t often bear much scrutiny – and are based on a bunch of assumptions, biases or maybe even deliberate distortion.

However – they can get folks to take things seriously. To get over any misgivings or squeamishness you might have, include the details of your calculation – transparently (keeping it a brief and simple model). They can then judge for themselves how to take things.

As an example, I’ve argued that a set of UI changes have led to a 5 second quicker journey for the staff who have to use it (based on some observations with a timer – and some guessing). By multiplying that 5 seconds by the number of times that journey happens per day I could show that 25 hours would be saved every day. Just through one set of UI changes – there were many more!

In yet another excellent post from Jared Spool, he shares a bunch of possible calculations you could make to identify what he calls ‘frustration costs’. I’m listing them here for my own reference (but I hope you might find it helpful too).

Frustration cost Calculation
Lost sales revenue Growth of competitor market share discounts / incentives / offers cost of sales processes
Increased support costs Time spent explaining new products/features dealing with issues caused * average cost of calls (total budget for call centre divided by number of calls)
Lost productivity costs Total yearly cost of staff * percentage of time lost to dealing with (or creating) frustrating user experiences
Wasted development rewrites Total yearly cost of staff * percentage lost to rewrites
Unused feature development Hours spent on unused feature * Total personnel costs

In the rest of the article he talks about identifying the people who own these frustration costs – and then proposing a Lean UX Project to address them. I think his over-arching point is that designers shouldn’t be put off or wait for someone else to put a business case together and galvanise folks into taking steps to address frustrating UX.

Some simple calculations can be a powerful to shed light on what’s at stake. It’s not a substitute for ethical and aesthetic reasons for improving things. It’s a additional angle – a separate lever to pull. It’s also one that has a greater chance of speaking the language of the board room / senior management.

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