Why UX Is a Strategic Investment, Not a Luxury

UX Krug

Why UX Is a Strategic Investment, Not a Luxury

When it comes to understanding user experience (UX) when you haven’t encountered it before, the first step is often as simple as a change in perspective. Business owners, before implementing effective UX, have to think about website design differently.

Many years ago, the average business owner believed that you simply built or rebuilt a website, and that it would continue to send new leads and customers. But even as the most rudimentary understanding of search engine ranking started to grow among business owners, it became common knowledge that, if you wanted to reach more leads and stay relevant to search engines, you had to continually update your content and, at least after a few years, redesign the website all together.

Sadly, many business owners were slow to change. Nowadays… you can’t afford to sit back and “hope.”

Think about UX as the new search engine ranking—for your website to be relevant to search engines, you consistently must meet the needs of your users. 

This excellent observation sums up this initial “perspective” problem perfectly:

Many organizations simply don’t care about design, or see it as an expensive luxury rather than a strategic investment. The website might have been made by hired hands, but ongoing design (if there is any) is undertaken by staff with little design training. Without clear ownership, the site usually degrades from its launch state until finally another redesign is grudgingly approved.

Thankfully, these organizations are ripe for a UX intervention. Done right, UX can set these companies apart from their competitors, helping them reach new customers, sell more, and pull ahead. However, you must make the value of this disruptive new approach clear—and the sooner the better, so that you yourself don’t become fossilized into a particular role or mindset.

Undercover User Experience Design, Cennydd Bowles & James Box

Bottom-Line Benefits of UX

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Well-executed UX will:

  • Stop the costly cycle of ongoing bug fixes in your site. UX finds those issues early in the design process.
  • Boost profits as more users choose to buy. Thanks to the excellent experience and interaction with your website, shopping cart system, your products, even the design of the buttons in your newsletter—basically any and every interaction your potential customers have with you at any point.
  • Establish a high-quality, user-tested performance of your products and your website in the early stages of development. This will protect the business from spending additional money on dramatic product or website redesigns after a launch.

50% of Lost Sales Stem from Bad UX

In a recent study, Forrester Research estimated that 50% of lost sales stem from users not able to find the necessary information on a website. As BrightTalk noted in a recent webcast, StubHub proved Forrester’s data:

StubHub recently uncovered a critical roadblock in their purchase path by simply listening to and watching users interact with the site. Discovering that a critical page was buried in an ambiguous link led them to make a change that dramatically boosted conversion rates and resulted in millions of dollars in extra revenue.

Classic Case Studies Show How UX Increases Non-Profit Donations & Business Revenue

Two classic cases of UX boosting the bottom line were published in UX Magazine. La Quinta hotels and the American Heart Association used extensive visitor feedback and careful analysis of visitor paths to overhaul their UX.

La Quinta’s UX Case Study

It was one particular customer trend that motivated La Quinta to re-evaluate their user experience: Their profits were heavily dependent on the customers who were most loyal to their brand. When their website’s poor UX began to damage that loyalty, the bottom line began to suffer immediately.

After doing extensive surveying of customer preferences and tracing each visitor’s path through the site and matching each path with specific outcomes, they crafted their UX overhaul strategy.

After La Quinta completed the overhaul:

  • The success rate of each visit increased by 48 percent
  • Customer satisfaction improved by 28 percent
  • The customer’s likelihood to return improved by 17 percent
  • La Quinta’s brand affinity improved by 50 percent
  • And revenues increased.

The American Heart Association’s UX Case Study

The American Heart Association executed the same strategy of extensive user feedback and analysis of visitor interaction.

After their UX overhaul, they saw these results:

  • 60 percent increase in online donations
  • Monthly donors increased
  • The average gift per donor increased

These case studies were published in 2007. How far behind is your website? Contact us to learn more helpful tips about UX and what it can do for your business.

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Sarah Williams

Founder & director of 816 New York and passionate about all things strategy and unity.

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