Considering usability engineering in the initial stages of a product development plays a vital role in increasing the product’s ROI.Most of the companies predict it as an additional expense and skips it in the early stage of product development lifecycle. Since the key product design decisions are made in the first 10% of the initial stages, which determines 90% of the product cost and performance of the project in later stages. So early involvement of usability reduces the iterations in the product in later stages of the product development, which in turn increases timely delivery and ensures product is within budget.

Let us see the factors that increase your ROI, when usability is incorporated in the product.

Reduced Development Cost and Time

In many organizations, the cost-benefit thumb rule for usability is $1:$10-$100, which means when a product is in its development phase, resolving a error would cost 10 times as much as fixing the same in designing phase; but the same error when identified and fixed after the release would cost 100 times more than what we spend in designing phase.

The below figure visually explains the product cost increases way high as we make changes later in the product development lifecycle.


Increased Productivity

According to Landauer, “Productivity within the service sector would raise 4% – 9% annually, if every software program were designed for usability”.

As usabilityhelps to realize the user behavior and their environment of the product, the purpose of the developing product can be clearly defined.Thus it results in better understanding of the flow of product and reduces the number of clicks to perform a task.End of the day, the overall productivity increases as the time taken to complete a task is significantly reduced.

Increased Sales and Revenue

A study by Wixon & Jones reveals that revenue increases by more than 80% when a software product is usability enabled compared to the first release of the same product without usability. Many customers cited usability as the key factor in buying a new product.

Apart from the other capabilities of a product like scalability and performance, buyers choose a product depending on how usable and efficient the product is. Thus when your product is built by considering usability then it could be the most sought after product in the market, which automatically increases your sales and revenue.

Reduced Training Cost and Time

Usability helps in designing simple and efficient interfaces, I reiterate the word simple because complex design requires some guidance to understand the product, but usability involves cognitive psychology during interface design by understanding the user’s mental model (how they think, process, remember and respond to a situation).This in-turn reduces the training time and cost when a user trained on the product for the first time.

Statistics prove that AT&T saved $2.5 million in training expenses as a result of usability improvements and IBM reduced training time from one week to one hour for an internal system by redesigning the front-end using usability principles.

Reduced Support Cost

The major reason for contacting support arises when the user have difficulty in using the product. By conducting Usability Test before the product release we could find major problems or difficulties the users face while using the product and make changes to rectify the issues in a controlled environment. This reduces the number of queries raised by the end users, which in-turn reduces the support cost. Investing a small amount in usability testing would identify the areas of concern and rectify before product release and save huge expenses.

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