On Justifying User Experience Design

On Justifying User Experience Design

By ICS UX Design Team

A few months ago, we put on a webinar about usability testing. One of the questions at the end was about justifying spending on usability design and testing. More broadly, how to convince management that good design matters – and is worth investing in. This is an industry-wide question and one, which user experience professionals are often asked in an “elevator pitch” kind of situation. Not only do we need to be able to explain the advantages of good user experience design, but also we have to be able to do it quickly.  Given the time constraint, let’s explore how to discuss the value of good user experience design.

It’s often easier to address this question using a graphic rather than words.  The following graphic is the classic example of why good design is important:


(Source: http://www.accaglobal.com/gb/en/student/acca-qual-student-journey/qual-resource/acca-qualification/f5/technical-articles/target-lifestyle.html )

Every product that is developed was designed.  Developers, on the fly, might design it ad hoc, or by an outside agency, by in house designers or by UX professionals - but it will be designed. Good design stems from understanding the business drivers, technology boundaries and users, which leads to stronger design. Design works well with an upfront investment signals successful and profitable products.
That design will constrain 80% of the available funds for the project, while only spending about 20% of project resources.  This is the phase where UX designers are needed up front, within the cost-constraining, design phase. 

Designers are trained to identify, analyze, and prioritize user requirements and “nice-to-haves”, and to create designs, which address those most important requirements while delivering a first-class experience.  Intentionally designing products and applications will also assist in keeping projects on time and within budget. This approach provides the ability to be on time since re-work and re-design will be minimized and on budget with requirements and project constraints identified early. Consequently, having designers actively engaged in a project from the very beginning directly and positively impacts the three fundamental concerns of project management – the schedule, product performance and budget.