Calculate the benefits of Usability - for your business
To calculate the cost-benefits of usability and user centred design:
- estimate the potential savings during development, sales, use and support
- estimate the costs that would be incurred through user centred actiivities
Financial benefits will depend on how completely user centred design can be implemented. A balance needs to be obtained so that the benefits that are substantially larger than the costs of additional user centred activities.
Applying a user-centric approach to the design of any product can radically improve the performance of individual projects and your business as a whole.
- Cheaper — decreases costs of design/development
- Faster — shortens development timelines
- Safer — decreases risk of project slippage, and radically improved chances of success in the marketplace
- Increases sales — products look better, demo better and sell better, as they are more intuitive to use, faster and more effective
- Increased competitive edge — customers expect products to be easy to use.
For Project management
- Improves risk management — lets you test designs and decide which should proceed, long before coding begins
- Simplifies planning — allows you to calculate required build times and eliminates the need for rework due to incorrect design and miscommunication
- Provides evidence of success early on — detailed reports, ratings, recordings and video confirm the validity of the design at the earliest stages of the project
For Design teams
- More accurate designs — you get a more accurate picture of what needs building with every aspect of the interaction modelled and documented.
- Proof that your designs work — you know designs will work as actual users validate them long before they are built
- Provides accurate picture of how users work — dont guessing how users might use the interface: you know before you start coding
- No more 'last minute' changes — designs are tested and completed before coding begins, so no more last minute panic changes
- Less stress at user acceptance testing (UAT) — since designs are tested before they are built, acceptance testing becomes a much smoother process with far fewer, if any, changes
For Documentation teams
- Start documenting much sooner — documented designs at the start of the project give you more time to produce documentation, help and training
- Less to document — decreases the need for user manuals, as the interface is far more intuitive
For User groups
- Reduces task time — reduced time on task leads to improved user performance and increased productivity
- Reduces user errors — these errors will have to be corrected later affecting productivity and will impact negatively on quality of service
Reduced training time for users — Every hour cut down on training is one hour more of productive work and one hour less to pay an instructorReduced staff turnover — higher staff satisfaction and motivation increases loyalty to the organisation.
For Support teams
- Fewer training materials — As fewer materials are needed, the costs of producing training materials is reduced.
- Reduces training time for support team — Every hour cut down on training is one hour more of productive work and one hour less to pay an instructor
- Better office efficiency — reduced time spent by experienced staff providing assistance when new users encounter difficulties
- More effective help line support — many enquiries to help-line support are about usability issues. Increased usability will reduce the numbe rof calls to support.
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 process can also be used to compare different usability methods and so aid selection of the most cost effective method.
Cost Benefit Analysis. TRUMP web site©UsabilityNet 2006. Reproduction permitted provided the source is acknowledged.