Calculate the benefits of Usability - for your business

To calculate the cost-benefits of usability and user centred design:

  • estimate the potential savings during development, sales, use and support
  • estimate the costs that would be incurred through user centred actiivities

Financial benefits will depend on how completely user centred design can be implemented. A balance needs to be obtained so that the benefits that are substantially larger than the costs of additional user centred activities.

Applying a user-centric approach to the design of any product can radically improve the performance of individual projects and your business as a whole.

For Businesses

  • Cheaper — decreases costs of design/development
  • Faster — shortens development timelines
  • Safer — decreases risk of project slippage, and radically improved chances of success in the marketplace
  • Increases sales — products look better, demo better and sell better, as they are more intuitive to use, faster and more effective
  • Increased competitive edge — customers expect products to be easy to use.

For Project management

  • Improves risk management — lets you test designs and decide which should proceed, long before coding begins
  • Simplifies planning — allows you to calculate required build times and eliminates the need for rework due to incorrect design and miscommunication
  • Provides evidence of success early on — detailed reports, ratings, recordings and video confirm the validity of the design at the earliest stages of the project

For Design teams

  • More accurate designs — you get a more accurate picture of what needs building with every aspect of the interaction modelled and documented.
  • Proof that your designs work — you know designs will work as actual users validate them long before they are built
  • Provides accurate picture of how users work — dont guessing how users might use the interface: you know before you start coding
  • No more 'last minute' changes — designs are tested and completed before coding begins, so no more last minute panic changes
  • Less stress at user acceptance testing (UAT) — since designs are tested before they are built, acceptance testing becomes a much smoother process with far fewer, if any, changes

For Documentation teams

  • Start documenting much sooner — documented designs at the start of the project give you more time to produce documentation, help and training
  • Less to document — decreases the need for user manuals, as the interface is far more intuitive

For User groups

  • Reduces task time — reduced time on task leads to improved user performance and increased productivity
  • Reduces user errors — these errors will have to be corrected later affecting productivity and will impact negatively on quality of service
  • Reduced training time for users — Every hour cut down on training is one hour more of productive work and one hour less to pay an instructor
  • Reduced staff turnover — higher staff satisfaction and motivation increases loyalty to the organisation.

For Support teams

  • Fewer training materials — As fewer materials are needed, the costs of producing training materials is reduced.
  • Reduces training time for support team — Every hour cut down on training is one hour more of productive work and one hour less to pay an instructor
  • Better office efficiency — reduced time spent by experienced staff providing assistance when new users encounter difficulties
  • More effective help line support — many enquiries to help-line support are about usability issues. Increased usability will reduce the numbe rof calls to support.

For organisations already committed to user-centred design, a cost-benefit analysis is not essential but it can provide a valuable input when formulating a usability plan.

The process can also be used to compare different usability methods and so aid selection of the most cost effective method.

Case studies

Inland Revenue

Israel Aircraft Industries

More information

Cost Benefit Analysis. TRUMP web site

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