The following experts have contributed answers to this edition of Ask UXmatters:
- Jessica Enders—Principal at Formulate Information Design
- Suzanne Ginsburg—Principal at Ginsburg Design
- Adrian Howard—Generalizing Specialist in Agile UX
- Peter Hornsby—Senior Information Architect at Friends Provident; UXmatters columnist
- Robert Reimann—Lead Interaction Designer at Sonos Inc.; Past-President, Interaction Design Association (IxDA)
- Janet Six—Principal at Lone Star Interaction Design; UXmatters Managing Editor and columnist
- Simon White—Responsable Experience Utilisateur at Voyages-sncf.com
Determining the Value of a Product or Service
Q: What are some ways to determine the value of a product or service your company provides?—from a UXmatters reader
To determine the value of a product or service, Robert recommends using the following metrics:
- increased sales of a product or service
- increased customer use of a product or service
- increased customer satisfaction
- a higher Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- decreased customer support costs
- decreased customer training costs
- decreased time to market—by virtue of solid UX specifications
- decreased development/product marketing churn—by virtue of a solid understanding of customers and a clear design direction
“Obviously, there is not always going to be a direct link between good design and these metrics, because many other factors come into play,” admits Robert. “But it is worthwhile to record these metrics before and after introducing a new design. This data can begin to form a basis for demonstrating the value of UX design to an organization.”
Validating Whether Products Meet Users’ and Organizations’ Goals
I suggest two other approaches to you:
- Watch users using your product and see how well they are able to accomplish their tasks. Do they seem frustrated or empowered when using your product?
- For a more formal approach, go back to your original project goals and verify that your product does indeed meet those goals.
“Something has value if it contributes to an organization’s meeting its overall goals,” agrees Jessica. “For organizations, a product or service has value if it helps the organization achieve what it has set out to achieve. Thus, improved organizational outcomes often demonstrate the value of UX efforts as well—for example, higher levels of customer attainment, satisfaction, and retention; increased sales; providing assistance to more constituents; and decreased costs.
“However, what contributes to value is not always easy to actually measure. For example, sales may increase because of an improved online user experience, but also because of faster delivery—thanks to the streamlining of distribution networks. Rarely do people make a decision to purchase because of just one factor. Consequently, it can be hard to untangle the reasons for things’ getting better. So it is important to recognize that value isn’t always a solid, measurable thing.
“Sometimes the value a product delivers is more fluid, more long term. Ensuring something is accessible, for instance, can deliver a chain of value far beyond the initial product or service. Just think how life could be different for someone living in a remote area and suffering from depression if he had access to online mood-management tools—when in the past, the best thing available was an appointment once a month, in a town that’s a two-hour drive away.”