TRUMP Cost-effective User Centred Design

Justifying user centred design: Calculating cost benefits

To calculate the cost-benefits of user centred design:

  • estimate the potential savings during development, sales, use and support
  • estimate the costs that would be incurred.

The extent of the financial benefits will depend on how completely user centred design can be implemented. A balance needs to be obtained so that a convincing case can be made for benefits that are substantially larger than the costs of additional user centred activities.

  • Vendors can benefit in: development, sales and support.
  • Purchasers can benefit in: use and support.
  • Systems developed for in-house use can benefit in: development, use and support.


What savings will be made as a result of:

  1. Reduced development time and cost to produce a product which has only relevant functionality and needs less late changes to meet user needs?
  2. Reduced cost of future redesign of the architecture to make future versions of the product more usable?


What increase in revenue will result from:

  1. Increased competitive edge: customers expect products to be easy to use. What percentage increase in sales can be obtained by marketing your product as easier to use than the competition?
  2. More satisfied customers: difficult to use products create dissatisfied customers. What percentage increase will there be in repeat customers more satisfied with the current product?
  3. Higher ratings for usability in the trade press?

Customers will be more satisfies as a result of the potential savings listed below.


What savings will be made as a result of:

  1. Reduced task time and increased productivity?
  2. Reduced user errors that have to be corrected later?
  3. Reduced user errors leading to an improved quality of service?
  4. Reduced training time for users?
  5. Reduced staff turnover as a result of higher satisfaction and motivation?


What savings will be made as a result of:

  1. Reduced costs of producing training materials?
  2. Reduced time providing training?
  3. Reduced time spent by other staff providing assistance when users encounter difficulties?
  4. Reduced help line 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 technique can be used repeatedly as a development project progresses to reassess the importance of various activities. The process can also be used to compare different usability methods and so aid selection of the most cost effective method.

More information

Cost Benefit Evidence and Case Studies.

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