Friday, June 02, 2006

Top reasons why usability doesn't pay

Thoughts on usability ROI...

"I’d love to say that usability investment pays back every time.

Unfortunately that’s just not the case; often a usability project will completely fail to deliver measurable benefits, and this can have a devastating effect on future organizational commitment to the user-centered cause.

The good news though is that this is easily avoidable. So, in reverse order here are the top six reasons for failing to see a good return on investment from usability, and how to avoid them.

6. Not measuring it

We are always astounded when customers invest huge sums of money into development, commit to usability testing the result – and then fail to measure the ‘before and after’ figures.

We often receive notification that the new software or web sites have been launched, thanking us for our input – but when we ask whether they have seen measurable improvements yet, the answer is often ‘oh we don’t know, we don’t really have the figures from before’.

It’s impossible to tell if you have delivered benefits from your usability improvements unless you measure what happened before and what happens after. Take key metrics from core processes such as sign-up, basket/checkout and payment. For software you can record key timing and task data from the application itself, but also support call ratios and performance support usage.

Once you know how the figures have improved, it’s easy enough to convert that into a dollar figure and understand just how much you’ve saved/made."   continued ...   (Via uigarden)

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