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It’s time to bring User Experience into the Boardroom

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It’s time we consider how User Experience (UX) directly impacts Return on Investment (ROI). Let’s start in the boardroom. How many times have we seen executives and stakeholders birth grand visions for websites and mobile applications that they wholeheartedly believe will make their businesses more successful. And why wouldn’t they be right? They know their businesses better than anyone. The next thing you know, a visual designer and a website developer are hired. Yet if a designer and a developer are hired without an understanding of clear business goals and how those goals relate to user needs, the ROI is in jeopardy. No amount of beautiful graphics or CSS code will save a website if it does not solve a user’s need.

The Golden Intersection

Instead of creating a system built solely on the requirements of a business, UX designers lay foundations for a common ground where business goals and key user needs meet. I call this the The Golden Intersection. By including UX up front, a business’s goals can be clearly defined and referenced against user needs during design and development.

In 2007 Breastcancer.org optimized UX for their website search and by 2009 saw an increase of 117% in site visitors. A statistic like this proves that including user experience practices earlier saves time, money and frustration later. Incorporating UX design upfront also allows the executives, stakeholders, designers and developers to be mindful of the Golden Intersection of business and user needs. Everyone can keep their eye on the prize.

There is a legend in the world of UX design, which illustrates the raw power that great user experience design has. Once upon a time a large ecommerce company lost massive amounts of capital because of flawed checkout options. With the help of a UX expert, they were able to solve this problem by simply adding the option to complete purchases without having to login or create an account. The results seem shocking, but within the next year this company saw an increase in online sales of $300 million. A small change led to epic growth.

As with any investment, some may feel that user experience design is out of budget or too time constraining for project deadlines. It can’t be an after thought or “nice to have” It’s an integral part of the process and the potential ROI far outweighs the cost of the investment.

Have you seen a design or system fail as a result of absent UX planning from the boardroom?

 

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