Good Software Starts With Strategic UX

“70% of IT products that are eventually delivered are unsuccessful because users don’t adopt them.” -Info-Tech Research Group, Key Challenges IT Leaders Face 2015 [1].

Enterprise organizations whose projects fail to meet business goals or don’t get adopted the first time around spend up to 80% of their yearly budget [1] on maintenance and improvements leaving them cash constrained and crippling their ability to power new innovation.

“When UI is not specified up front, changes to UI account for 80% of the unforeseen fixes required to the code. 20% are bugs.” -Strategic Data Consulting, UX Business Impact & ROI 2009 [2]

Good design creates good user experiences. And good UX is good for business, because it facilitates less abandonment, more customer loyalty, better customer service, and more conversions.

This doesn’t happen as a result of good luck or happy accidents. UX-focused design takes into account issues of cognitive psychology, anthropology and sociology, as well as principles of graphic and content design.

What is UI/UX

UX (User Experience) design includes every aspect of a website or an application, from navigation to buttons and individual page layout. It’s calculated to create the optimal interaction between your business and your potential customers, and it’s informed by analysis of current user behaviors.

UI (User Interface) design is a balancing act between technical functions and visual cues meant to keep users on a page, on a site, and create the behaviors you’re looking for — making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, and so on.

The key to UI design is the understanding of what your user base is looking for and helping them to find it easily.

Good UI design includes attention to a number of important elements, including

  • Fast load times

  • Information that’s prioritized in a hierarchy that makes sense to the consumer.

  • The use of graphics to help establish these priorities.

  • Setting a clear path for consumers to follow.

  • Logical, simple, and intuitive controls.

Effect of UI / UX by the Numbers

  • Investments in UX during the concept phase reduces product development cycles by 33-50% [2].

  • UX investors generate 37% growth [2].

  • One-quarter delay in time-to-market equals a loss of 50% of that product’s profit [2].

  • Leaders of UX outperformed the S&P at a cumulative total of 43%.

  • Those failing to invest in UX had a negative cumulative total of -34% relative to the S&P index.

“Every Dollar invested in UX brings 100 in return.” -ChaiONE, 2014

A Common Misconception from Enterprise Decision Makers

70% of Enterprise software projects fail because they do not adopt agile development practices and do not focus on building the correct tools for the job. User needs are based on assumptions from enterprise stakeholders rather than first hand knowledge.

The biggest mistake from corporate decision makers is that they often adopt a narrow and one-size-fits-all attitude. This means they expect that one software tool that worked in a similar situation elsewhere will work equally well for their needs.

Employing research to delineate software requirements up front prior to development work minimizes this risk. Focusing on uncovering user needs and infusing cognitive psychology and sociology into creating the best graphic design possible has proven to lead to great ROI numbers in the B2C domain.

“Design-driven businesses have outperformed the S&P by 228% over the past 10 years.” -Fast Company, 2014

Ultimately every work role within a business needs a customized tool for the job, and this is why:

  • 57% of enterprise software users rate their software effectiveness as below average.

  • Only 10% of users rate their software effectiveness as above passable.

The Importance Of Validating your User Interface and User Experience Before You Build

Prior to any code being written, it is important to know with certainty that your end users enjoy your software design and understand how it adds value to their daily lives. This starts with a blueprint, also known as a prototype.

A design prototype is made up of the core screens and include indicators for form fields, buttons, action items etc., but will still lack a deep level of detail and visual aesthetics.

The overarching goal is to determine if the design will enable a user to complete core tasks quickly, efficiently, and without errors.

If validation testing does not meet expectations or hit key metrics, then the team can return to the drawing board and ideate a different solution.

Insights from this stage in the process quickly manage the risk of building the wrong product, prevent a wasteful development investment, and instead allow the team to pivot and refocus on meeting the objectives.

To implement design validation we employ a 5 step process adopted from Google Ventures called the design sprint. Research, Ideate, Converge, Design, and Test.

  • Research: Spend time understanding the user’s needs, business needs, and technology needs.
  • Ideate: Explore a small number of possible UI / UX designs.
  • Converge: Choose the design you feel will best be suited to achieve your objectives.
  • Design: Create a mockup of the chosen design.
  • Test: Gather a number of test users and expose them to your design for feedback and validation.

Effect on conversion & ROI of good UX

  1. Info-Tech Research Group (2015). Key Challenges IT Leaders Face.
  2. Strategic Data Consulting (2009). Special report: UX business impacts and ROI.

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