Understanding the value of usability – notes from the @UKUPA event on UX and ROI

22nd July 2011
Posted by in Events
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The UKUPA is the UK Chapter of the Usability Professionals’ Association. It brings together UK professionals from the design, technology and research communities who share a vision of creating compelling technology that meets users’ needs and abilities.

Once a month they hold events and Bunnyfoot had the pleasure of sponsoring the July event on the theme of UX and ROI.

The event sold out in 48 hours and the crowd were treated to the following talks.

Joe Leech – CX Partners

Joe kicked off and reminded us that improving conversion rates is much tougher these days and as an industry we need to be justifying the work we are do. Using metrics is one way to do this.

For a metric to be useful we need to understand the following:

  1. Timescale
  2. Benchmark
  3. A reason to be reported
  4. An associated action

But what’s a good conversion? Well, it depends…

How much can I expect my metrics to improve by? Again, it depends…

And this set the scene for the rest of the evening’s talks, proving ROI for UX depends on many different factors…

Jamie Knight + Lion from the BBC

Jamie gave us a timely reminder that as we are an ageing population, accessibility considerations will become even more important. And we’re not only talking about blindness and impaired motor skills; Jamie discussed the importance of designing for mild disabilities e.g. forgetting your glasses or cognitive impairment due to tiredness.

John Mildinhall – Electronic lnk

John Mildinhall talked about the importance of ‘value for money’ rather than ROI and outlined the ‘Value for money framework’:

  • Economy: The raw materials – cost
  • Efficiency: How well can you convert these raw materials to do the job
  • Effectiveness: How well did you solve the problem – outcomes

Using a low, medium or high score for each of these can indicate whether a project proved to be good value for the client and the business.

Ian Worley – Morgan Stanley

To further prove the point that UX and ROI is a complex one to consider, Ian Worley made the point that we can do the best work for the client, but if the product is then built poorly, or the competition beats them to it, the ROI could still be poor which makes proving the ROI very difficult.

Ian took us through many examples of design projects his teams had worked on where the user experience had undoubtedly improved as a result of the work. But increased conversions didn’t always equate to higher margins. Also, what kind of return are you looking for, is it conversions, basket value or satisfaction with your brand?

ROI can be demonstrated and depends very much on each company and each project. With this in mind Ian left us with the following advice:

  • Surround yourself with talent
  • Get the right process
  • Get the right clients
  • Balance the needs of the business with those of the user
  • And finally, care. Do the right thing for your customers

We won’t argue with any of that.

Thanks to all speakers and organisers for making the night such a success.
You can also read highlights on Twitter under the hashtag #uxroi


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About Bunnyfoot

We are psychologists, interaction and design experts, researchers, usability specialists. We cover Web, software, mobile, print, service design and more.
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