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The ROI of UX Research

The ROI of UX Research


Assumptive design practices result in unnecessary complexities for users. The best products are simple. The best products are user-first. The best products are the result of extensive UX research.

Below are the benefits of using UX research tools:

The cost of poor user experiences

Companies can’t afford to skimp on UX research in today’s competitive climate and with the expectation from consumers that they be treated as individuals. UX research tools give teams a live pulse of where the customers are today and where they are heading tomorrow by helping them:

  • Track how consumers use products in their everyday lives
  • Observe what they need by unearthing points of friction
  • Understand their thoughts and feelings

A common misconception about UX research is that it will take considerable time. And research does take time, but remote UX research tools have sped up the testing and iteration process so companies can quickly arrive at a product that customers will use.

The compounding returns of UX research

Build the right product first and reap the rewards for years to come. Competitors, who choose not to test, may go to market quicker, but they will spend more time fixing the basic aspects of their product and lose market share. The key to UX research is to get the product right the first time, in the most efficient manner. Like building a house, you must build a healthy foundation before picking colors.

Companies that develop co-creative methodologies with testing will benefit from building and iterating with users. Testing and iterating in small batches allow teams to get ahead of problems. It also enables design teams to understand the nuances and gaps facing customers to create a truly user-first product. Instead of assuming what customers need, UX research allows teams to listen. Instead of building from zero, UX researchers piece together a puzzle that attracts and adapts to what users want and need.

UX researcher in front of a white board

Improved productivity & reduced costs

Aside from the massive savings of UX research, UX research tools improve productivity & profitability significantly. Going to market with untested design often leads to massive ramifications down the line. Often, by the time companies begin to notice low engagement and conversion, a lot of damage has already been done. Ironically, it will take far more time and money to undo what could have been mitigated with early user research.

Ideally, teams should participate in an agile testing schedule early on, while designing the product or service. With testing and iteration, design teams can sniff out any major problems, and fine-tune flows before handing them over to the development team. It’s a significant gamble to hand off untested designs to an engineering team, as the time to revamp the experience would now require multiple stakeholder investments to fix an issue, rather than work on growth activities like adding features, innovating, and building new products. Growth-oriented companies realize that investing in UX research tools and methods is indispensable.

When teams get caught in a cycle of deploying untested designs, they often find themselves in situations where problems compound over time. When it comes to products and services within the digital space, there isn’t just one easy problem to fix. Often, teams will find that fixing one problem causes several others, breaks code, and disrupts how users flow through an experience. In Dr. Susan Weinschenk’s “ROI of User Experience” she notes that the cost to fix a problem after its development can be 100 times the cost of fixing it in the design period phase2.

Further, productive teams are profitable teams, and profitable teams are happy teams. Many developers and designers feel rushed to get designs deployed on extremely tight timelines — developers and designers know that the tighter the timeline, the more problematic work will become. With regular UX research done alongside sprints and iterative practices, teams can work ahead and solve the problems they are seeing. Unfortunately, too many teams see problems arising and are forced to ignore them to meet stringent deadlines. However, with small batches of user testing and time to iterate, teams can happily build fundamentally sound products geared for growth.

Research & money

It is hard to place a figure on the returns of research — partly because UX research delivers on more than profit. It makes for better teams, increased user conversion, a more attractive company brand, and the opportunity to easily grow into new areas.

When it comes to making a case for business needs, each team will have to go about figuring out how research returns would impact their company. A good place for most teams that want to implement UX research and adopt new UX research tools is to take a look at the following:

  • The current design & development process
  • The time & money spent on fixing issues
  • The technical and UX debt lists
  • The cost of development time
  • User engagement

When it comes to building out your case for UX research, always keep the big picture in mind. Business teams want to get the best product out in the shortest amount of time, so it is on design teams to make the case for how they will fit UX research into their design process and how that will not only save money but make money.