We know that customers will pay a premium for easy-to-use products and services, and this has been demonstrated time and again So, why is it then, that so many companies are hesitant when it comes to investing in User Experience (UX) and User Interface design (UI)?

Usability matters

Here at Clarity International, we’ve been designing and building intranets and complex eLearning solutions for many years, and over that time, we’ve learned a thing or two. While racing to up the cool factor of their portal, sales tool, or internal comms solutions, companies lose sight of the fact that great design and usability begin in the same place; the needs of the user.

A great product experience starts with UX and is followed by UI, though both are vital for the product’s success. Defined simply, UX design is an amalgamation of tasks focused on optimisation of a product for effective and pleasant use, while UI design is the look, feel, and interactivity of a product.

Recent studies indicate that, regardless of the industry, implementing a focus on your customers’ experience increases their willingness to recommend your company to others, pay more for your products or services, and reduces the risk that they’ll switch brands.

Sometimes these improvements can be very simple – Microsoft changed the colour of links in its Bing search engine to a bolder blue, and saw an estimated $80 million in additional advertising revenue as a result.

More than a pretty face

It’s easy for technology leaders to assume that improving user experience is primarily a matter of hiring a designer or two and making applications “look pretty” to the extent that time and funding allow.

Creating a more accessible solution won’t just help you save money; there are significant time savings as well. By some estimates, developers spend 50% of their time reworking projects. This means: 50% of a developer’s salary is wasted on fixing errors that a UX design process would have weeded out during an earlier iteration.

As such, companies are recognising that it is far less expensive to prevent a problem or usability issue from occurring in the first place than to fix it later in a redesign process.

Show me the money

Our prime objective at Clarity International is to help our clients attract new users, improve security, and create new functionalities and features to make their digital solutions more cohesive and responsive.

As we’ve covered in a previous post, usability and employee engagement go hand in hand. So, while you might be on the fence as to whether you should invest in UX/UI, consider that by doing so, you can create a significant and quick return on your investment.

We’ve learned that when the experience is exceptional, users become enthusiastic, and that can be contagious. Happy customers not only spend money and return, they become cheerleaders for your application or product.

Harvard Business Review found that satisfied customers are much more likely (23%!!!) to recommend a product to their friends via word of mouth. Not surprisingly, aligning the goals of a business with those of the user can lead to greater adoption levels and more sales.

The language of giants

As you work to develop your UX and UI design, focus on “borrowing” from common consumer platforms. Apple, Google, and Microsoft have spent years and billions of dollars educating the general public on what a finger swipe or right-click means. The more your application leverages common design “language,” the faster users will intuit how to use it, thereby lowering your deployment costs.

Sprinting to market with greater levels of functionality won’t ensure dominance; solutions must offer users an intuitive and tailored user interface.

In a marketplace with very little differentiation among products and increasing complexity, companies that embrace usability early on will drive revenue, productivity, and loyalty.

Know your user

Researching who is currently using your application/product and what features they go to most often is an important step when looking at a design.

By researching your clients’ needs and particular expectations, you can garner a better understanding of what is currently successful and how to build upon those ideas to attract new users in the future. This will also help you set attainable goals when conducting research before moving onto additional information presented in the focus groups and testing phases.

The core principles of your business should be reflected in the design principles and framework in order to promote a consistent, quality experience when your customers are using your application.

Good design is good business – T.J. Watson, Jr. (IBM)

The quality of an experience can be the deciding factor between completing a transaction or giving up halfway, recommending a product to a friend or tweeting about an unsatisfactory interaction, returning to a site or going to a competitor.

Over time, these details add up to losses of billions – soon to be trillions – of dollars a year in revenue. That’s reason enough to invest in UX/UI design.

Companies are investing in usability studies to boost Employee Engagement. If you want to learn more about how we’ve helped clients such as BT, TEVA, and Alcatel-Lucent boost their Employee Engagement, have a look at our Case Studies.