The ROI of website usability
Obviously website usability is not an end in itself – the objective is to make your site more accessible and friendly for users thereby increasing interaction and usage and, ultimately, increasing sales. So the bottom line is revenue enhancement. But how can you measure this and what proportion can you attribute directly to usability improvements on your site?
ROI for website usability
Return on Investment (ROI) is a term used to describe the revenue impact of particular investments, innovations or adaptations compared to the financial outlay. For this to have any degree of accuracy or relevance you have to be able to measure both the activity and costs relating to input and the accruing financial benefits. The correlation between website usability advances and profitability might not always be that apparent; for example, having an accessible, useful and easily understandable help feature could reduce your helpdesk costs and enable you to reduce staff, thereby cutting costs. Not a direct revenue benefit, but a cost saving nonetheless.
Website usability gains declining but still significant
A look at the research will show how beneficial and effective improvements in website usability can still be. The well-known and respected researcher Jakob Neilsen conducted two surveys, six years apart that showed the ROI on usability projects declining from 135% to 83% – but this is still a massive return on the effort and cost involved in usability development and what it continues to show is the relatively high payback for modest investment of time and money.
Website usability gains are long-lasting
The main advantage of investing in website usability improvements over other forms of marketing is that the rewards are long-lasting, durable and more easily sustainable. Increased advertising or direct selling might bring in more leads and, eventually, more sales conversions but the effect is often short-lived and to produce another boost you need to reinvest in the ad campaign or tele-selling push that instigated the original hike in business. But once you hit on a usability improvement that increases ROI you can make it work for you almost indefinitely with relatively little additional investment.
Types of website usability improvements
The sorts of improvements that could lead to increased ROI are:
- Simplification and persuasiveness of order process
- Speed of site loading and movement
- Improved navigability and clarity of options
- Making language and search more intuitive and aligned with user expectations and knowledge
- Identify problems that users have with your site or products and introduce specific help with these issues.
Potential returns on website usability lifts
This is by no means an exhaustive list; an experienced usability consultant can help you identify the areas on your website where the least effort can produce the biggest impact and set you on the path to improving your business ROI significantly. IBM’s rule of thumb is that every dollar invested in usability improvement yields between $10 and $100 in returns. We don’t claim to be able to put you in that league – but it does show the massive potential of this area – and double, even triple, digit percentage increases are possible.
If you would like to talk to someone about quantifying user experience performance give us a call free on 08000 246 247 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.