This is a follow-up on my post from last week on the value of having a user experience designer on every project from the perspective of our own process at Bitovi.
So the app has been well-designed by a skilled UXer and released to the public. At this point, the designer's job is mostly done but the benefits of using a designer extend beyond the initial release. The design affects the life and cost of your product long-term.
Many companies employ full-time trainers who teach staff how to use their software. Why? Because the applications are so complex and difficult to use that you could not use them effectively without training. That's a real cost that can be avoided. What if your app were so user-friendly that it didn't require any training? What if it reduced training by 50%? Or only 20%? How much money would that save your company? Consider the amount of money spent on training or the time employees spend frustrated with a difficult app. Add up those costs and you create a real case for investing in good UX up-front. This is the sort of thing we help our clients with every day. A well-designed application will increase employee efficiency, require fewer training resources, and improve overall staff morale.
Decreased Support Costs
But a well-designed application can save you money and time with your customers too. Most large application vendors offer on-going support to clients, access to a help desk, or even one-to-one personal calls with sales people. Often, users struggle with simple issues that can easily be resolved with better design. If your application was designed to fix the most common support calls, how much money would that save? You wouldn't need as many help desk staff, sales people could be freed to focus on new business, and users wouldn't waste their time asking for help. Again, when you start to add up the numbers the savings a good design affords can be staggering.
Loyal Customer Base
Everyone has had the experience of using an app with confusing messaging, unexpected behavior, or frustrating interactions. The fact is, a poorly-designed app erodes customer loyalty. Conversely, a well-designed UX can create the kind of devotion that keeps users coming back for more, reducing attrition and increasing engagement. A skilled UX designer is well-versed in using things like empathy, emotion, and aesthetic to create an experience that delights users. Taking the time to purposefully create that experience up-front pays off in the long-run.
Finally, investing in design can help you solve the business goals that you set out to accomplish in the beginning. A lot of apps are designed by teams asking each other things like, "Should we put this button here?" or "Do you like this?" - but acquiring a user-centered approach allows the designer to fully embrace the business goals that the application aims to solve. Whatever it is: retention, conversion, engagement: a good designer can help you solve those problems and watch the metrics improve. Without a design specifically targeted towards meeting your goals, you won't know whether the app will be successful or not.
Get a Designer
When you fail to do the design up-front, you end up with an application that's more difficult to use. That means more training time, higher support costs, frustrated users, and missed business goals. Our process at Bitovi helps guard against these mistakes to make sure that the app is done the right way the first time.