Measuring ROI of User-Centered Design

User-centered design is still a new practice. The anxiety of spending more up front can seem risky to clients who have been tainted by the high costs of maintaining and fixing usability issues in a product’s design. The UX community is still in sales mode. Justifying the up-front cost of a user-centered process.

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But let’s back up a bit and start from the beginning.

Traditional methods of digital product design and development are rooted in the beliefs that once the product/service has been designed, all the kinks have been worked out by the designers and we can move onto development and release a great product.

Sounds great, but most traditional design processes lack the level of human factors thinking and research needed to understand the psychological and cognitive impact of their design decisions.

Spending a lot more money up front than the client is used to when they’re expectations of what it is going to cost after the product is released, is a little unsettling.

It’s overwhelming. It’s scary.

If I decide to let these designers spend more money and it costs much more money to deliver this product than what’s expected by my business partners, my heads the one on the chopping block.

Business folks are number centric people. To make any decision, they need a number to see how it will affect or compare to the bottom line.

A very simple, visually engaging example I like to point clients to, is by Dr. Susan Weinschenk’s video “The ROI of User Experience.” Watch and enjoy below.