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UX continues to move to the forefront of what differentiates products and the organizations that produce them

In our final blog post on 2015 UX trends, we look at user experience as a business strategy. The role and prominence of UX has come a long way in a relatively short time. Whereas in the past UX was seen as a way to execute strategy, UX is increasingly moving to the forefront of corporate decision making and is playing a key role in forming these corporate strategies.

This is because user experience is becoming a key business differentiator amongst competitors and organizations are realizing that effective user experiences must address company goals, such as constantly improving customer experience. So it should be no surprise then that Forrester recently published a report that showed that 93% of executives thought that improving the customer experience was a top strategic priority.

So what factors are helping push UX in this direction?

Corporate recognition

The recognition and adoption of UX continues to evolve, and many of those responsible for UX are moving from technical delivery teams and closer to business strategy.

Undoubtedly, this trend is due to the increased understanding and appreciation of UX within organizations who see the financial and customer experience benefits of improved user experience.

User expectations in consumer products have now spread to the enterprise, and organizations are reacting by adopting UX as a key marketplace differentiator. Companies are realizing that successful execution requires UX professionals working at all levels across the organization, and these people are being given more responsibility within digital teams and higher profiles within corporate structures.

There is a growing recognition that when you align UX metrics with business metrics in a meaningful way you’ve got a tool that lets executives make informed business decisions about what needs work and what doesn’t.

Evaluation and ROI

Another factor which is helping the UX function rise up the corporate ladder is how UX professionals are becoming better at developing UX strategies around the metrics by which success will be measured. One of the most important of these metrics is return on investment (ROI). UX professionals need to convince management by speaking the language of business, and this must be communicated clearly within organizations to ensure teams are provided with the budgets they require.

When done correctly, UX research and testing delivers significant ROI. Numerous studies have found that every dollar spent on UX brings in between $2 and $100 dollars in return. Research by Forrester Research revealed that “implementing a focus on customers’ experience increases their willingness to pay by 14.4 %, reduces their reluctance to switch brands by 15.8 %, and boosts their likelihood to recommend your product by 16.6 %.”

Studies have shown that creating a good UX at the beginning of development can save time and money throughout the life of a project. Fixing a problem with UX after a project is complete can cost 100 times more than during initial design. By taking the time to understand an audience and crafting a personalized digital journey around their needs, companies can reduce development waste and long-term costs.

By demonstrating a strong case for ROI based around business benefits and goals, UX professionals are able to show the impact user experience and testing can have on a company’s bottom line.

Conclusion

User experience has come to refer to the design of a full range of digital touchpoints that mediate the relationship between an individual user and the products or services a company or organization develops.

Taking a business view of user experience allows us to “sit at the executive table” and demonstrate the broad value of our activities. These executives are increasingly viewing investing in UX as key to long-term competitive advantage, customer loyalty and retention and to business success.

With this trend expected to continue as we move into 2016, it’s a great time to be working in UX.