Articles & research papers

Business Case

Justifying user centred design: Calculating cost benefits

For organisations already committed to user-centred design a cost-benefit analysis is not essential but it can provide a valuable input when formulating a usability plan.

The technique can be used repeatedly as a development project progresses to reassess the importance of various activities. The process can also be used to compare different usability methods and so aid selection of the most cost effective method.

Justifying user centred design: Calculating cost benefits

Share prices of companies using design effectively outperformed FTSE All-Share index by 200% over 10 years

This research shows that the share prices of a group of more than 150 quoted companies recognized as effective users of design out-performed the stock market by 200 per cent between 1994 and 2003.

The study has charted the performance of companies grouped together for their consistent showing in design award schemes. It has discovered that a Design Index of 63 companies and a further Emerging Index have held their lead over the stock market as a whole during bull and bear markets as well as during the recovery period which began in 2003. Since then, the Design Index has grown by 43 per cent and the Emerging Index has risen by 74.3 per cent, compared to 26.2 per cent growth for the FTSE 100 Index.

In addition to a performance commentary, graphs, information on research and tracking methods and a list of companies in each design index, the new edition of the report features an analysis of retail and banking sector performance and also looks at reasons for the design indices’ out-performance.

Post on the Design Index

Design Index (PDF, 270KB)

Original report: Impact of Design on Stock Market Performance (PDF, 230KB)

Usability is good business

63% of software exceed their estimates, with the top four reasons all related to product usability:
– frequent requests for changes by users
– overlooked tasks
– users’ lack of understanding of their own requirements, and
– insufficient user-analyst communication and understanding.

Lederer and Prassad, in Bias, RG and Mayhew, DJ (eds), Cost-Justifying Usability, 1991.

Usability is good business

Return on Investment for Usable User-Interface Design: Examples and Statistics

Return on Investment for Usable User-Interface Design: Examples and Statistics (PDF)

Professional Usability Testing and Return on Investment

Professional usability testing and return on invstment as it applies to user interface design for web-based products and services (a review of online v lab-based approaches) (PDF)

User Experience as Corporate Imperative

Okay, so you’re not IBM—but dollars are dollars, no matter the size or reach of an organization. Whether you’re undertaking a major overhaul or interested in a few targeted changes that will reap significant returns, improving user experience is always a good investment.

If your Web site is an e-commerce destination, are you making it easy for your users to find and purchase your products? If your site is a products and services site, your users are evaluating what you have to offer and whether or not it’s useful for them. Can you afford to have them leave in frustration? If your site is a corporate one, your users seek information about you; are they able to find it? If your Web-based product or application isn’t usable, can you afford the increased cost of maintenance, user support, and customer support?

User Experience as Corporate Imperative (PDF, 150 kb)