Cost & Return on Investment
Usable systems can save money by helping to
- increase productivity and customer satisfaction
- increase sales and revenues
- reduce development time and costs and maintenance costs
- decrease training and support costs
Usability Engineering Saves Money
You can use usability testing to show that the benefits of usability engineering outweigh the costs.
This method was first published by Clare-Marie Karat of IBM who used it to show a 100-fold return on investment for a particular software product. In that case, spending $60,000 on usability engineering throughout development resulted in savings of $6,000,000 in the first year alone.
The results from this technique are especially convincing if the same organization pays both the development costs of the Web site and the salaries of the people who use the site. But it should also be convincing to organizations that really care about how problems on their site cost their external users’ time, money, and frustration.
The types of problems that you might find costing time (and therefore money) are misleading navigational cues, poorly designed pathways, pages that are so dense they take a long time to use, etc.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Simply put, it's a way to determine if usability is worth the investment, by comparing the money spent on usability activities with the savings that result from the process.
Since budgetary constraints often lead to software and Web site development managers viewing usability costs as an added effort and expense, the key is to help your organization realize that usability is an investment, not an added expense.
Usability increases customer satisfaction, productivity, and leads to customer trust and loyalty. Consumers have become more demanding about usability. Applying usability in the initial design can greatly reduce extensive redesign, maintenance, and customer support.
Following is a list of ways that you can measure the ROI of usability in your organization:
- increase success rate and reduce users errors
- improve ease of use and ease of learning
- increase user productivity and user satisfaction
- reduce support costs and training costs
- increase user trust in the system
- reduce development costs and time
- reduce maintenance costs
- increase product sales, revenue and market share
- increase site traffic and transactions/purchases
- attract and retain more customers