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Does UX Makes Organizations Smarter?

70% of projects fail due to lack of user acceptance, why organizations should prioritize the UX.


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Teresa Deus

3 years ago | 4 min read

Forrester Research’s report, “Rich Internet Application Errors to Avoid,” shows that 70% of projects fail due to lack of user acceptance.

These research reports tell us that organizations do not prioritize the UX (User Experience) process before initiating new digital projects and do not understand how it can benefit them.

It’s all about “Does the shoe fit in that user’s foot?”.

UX should be put in the business context. A lot of teams see UX as a product-level thing, but in fact, UX should go up from product all the way to the executive level. Another thing that is critical is letting UX teams have autonomy so they can influence.

Usually, software development companies or independent software vendors have an engineering culture. These companies tend to subordinate UX because they’re more familiar with engineering and they expect UX to act and think and behave like engineers. UX team should be spending time with users collecting users’ pain points and feedback to keep executive, marketing and dev teams informed.


What Is The ROI (Return of Investment) of UX?

There are many case studies with ROI. The three key elements that lead UX path to success are:

  • Defining Personas can get you four times return on investment. It’s hard to do empathy when you don’t have an outside-in perspective. It’s important to conduct user research to understand the users’ characteristics, behaviours, needs and context of use.
  • Rapid Prototyping is 50% more accurate for build time and costs estimations; 80% of development teams requests for clarification are reduced; and the amount of rework and bug fixes post launch can be reduced to 25%. Wireframing is a good mitigation — the best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running a rapid prototype as a test solution. Using this understanding is essential to avoid building the wrong product.
  • And finally, Usability testing makes teams smarter by improving design decision making with the results. Evaluating the design with users by conducting usability testing and making changes based on the findings in an iterative design process. MacAfee redesigned its ProtectionPilot software in 2004 to improve its usability. Tech support calls were decreased by 90% after launch. With 20,000 downloads over a 10 week period, there were only 170 support calls.
Prototyping — Source: Unsplash
Prototyping — Source: Unsplash


UX Helps Achieve Business Goals

Good user experiences don’t happen by chance. They are purposely designed through a user experience design process that aims to create a solution that meets both business and user needs. How?

  • Understanding business and user needs to design a solution that follows human factors principles and design best practices. Scenario-driven design is an approach to understand customer contexts, tasks, their needs and desires and put that in a scenario and then model it.
  • Identifying barriers using analytics, AB testing and user testing is really important to user success and to boost ROI.
  • Determining the business impact of potential changes through cost-benefits analysis like SWOT analysis and business model Canvas.
  • Creating measurable business goals and targeting specific aspects of design.
  • Collecting detailed user goals and explicitly document scenarios like Personas and Journey Maps.


UX Maturity: 5 Stages

UX is not just as an organizational development problem that needs to be managed, it’s important to assess organizations in terms of their UX maturity, understand it and move to the next level.

UX Maturity Model — Source: Forrester Research survey of 237 firms
UX Maturity Model — Source: Forrester Research survey of 237 firms

Stage 1: Interested

UX is important, but it gets little funding. A lot of startups and midsize companies get stuck in this stage. Probably you heard “we don’t have money, we don’t have time”. And the problem with just being interested is that they don’t really benefit from the rich ROI that UX provides as a process.

Stage 2: Invested

A lot of organizations are at this stage. This is where organizations start hiring a UX designer from an outside consulting firm and doing some usability testing.

Stage 3: Commited

There is a little deeper to commitment in terms of UX becoming critical. Executives are getting involved, they’re attending design meetings. UX managers are meeting with senior teams and helping with the decision-making.

Stage 4: Engaged

UX becomes one of the core tenets of the company’s strategy. This is where we see some of Silicon Valley’s unicorns that would never compromise their UX team, for example — organizations that fund out a team and you’ve actually got more than one person. UX is not just a lip service and it’s actually looking for tactical wins.

Stage 5: Embedded

UX becomes part of the company’s culture. This is what you see at Apple or Intel, for example — everyone is thinking about UX, pulling UX effort and field studies before making business decisions.


A Final Thought: Build a Strong Team Culture

It is far less expensive to avoid designing a problematic product in the first place than to fix it later. When organizations invest in UX during a project’s concept phase, they reduce product development cycles by 33 to 50 percent. This is vital; a one-fourth delay in the amount of time it takes to bring a product to market results in a 50-percent loss of that product’s profit.

In software, where about 5 percent of features are used 95 percent of the time, UX can really enhance the focus on feature sets and dramatically improve the outcome.

Strategic Data Consulting (2009). “Special Report: UX Business Impacts and ROI; 735 companies surveyed”.

The key to a good user experience is to involve all teams throughout the UX design process, to observe their behaviour, to design based on human factors principles and design best practices, and to test the design with them in an iterative design process.

Let’s have the UX team engaged from the beginning!

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Created by

Teresa Deus

UX & UI Lead @ Decode. Experienced in agile development of end-to-end products.


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