How Do I Show The ROI of Usability?

As with any business venture, making sure your ROI is worth the initial cost is crucial and must be done quarterly. High usability standards is an important factor for a company’s sites and software, as the inability of customers and users to access the things they need can be a major hindrance for any business interaction.

Improved usability can lead to increased sales, decreased customer errors and increased customer satisfaction. Having poor usability on websites or software can lead to losing customers to competitors. Listed here are some important things to think about when looking at usability in software and websites.

Businessman touching ROI (return on investment) on blue technology background

1. Usability Is 100 Times More Costly to Implement After Release

It’s always better to design something right the first time, as this reduces costs and confusion when the finished work is out in the world.

With Usability, this is apparent, as the ROI of an early usability investment is ratio of about $1:$10-100 for the design phase, while usability changes during the development phase can increase 10 times during the development phase, and further increase to a startling 100 times during the released product stage.

The most proactive way to increase usability then is to nip it in the bud during the design phase of production. The increase in cost of fixing it later on in the process will justify spending additional time and testing in the preliminary process of designing. Not only will this save money, it will also ensure a better finished product and, ultimately, a more satisfied customer.

2. Measure Quantitative Usability Metrics for a More Accurate ROI Calculation

While the qualitative metrics of measuring ROI is quite apparent, c ustomer satisfaction and retention, quantitative metrics can also be put in place.

Possible quantitative measurements are things such as an increase in sales, a reduction in customer service complaints, a reduction in shopping cart abandonment (when a customer fills up a shopping cart on your website only to leave it un-checked out), and an increase in repeat buyers/visitors.

By measuring all of these factors, you can see the ROI for making your particular software or website more usable.

Another important statistic to keep in mind is that over 83% of Internet users will leave a website is they cannot navigate it properly and feel that they have spent too much time attempting to figure it out.

3. Product Reviews Always Emphasize the Usability

If your website is not usable to users, it runs the high chance of them turning away and going to another, more usable site. Not only does this reduce your sales and customers, but it will also affect your current and possible user’s opinion of you.  About 15% of the space in reviews published in trade magazines, journals, and national newspapers is devoted to user friendliness or usability. That is a lot of information and professional judgment on usability, and can make or break whether customers or users will actually use your website or software.

4. Usability is a Key Intersection Between Your Company and Your Customers

Regardless of how good your products are or services, if a customer cannot use your website or software properly then they cannot access the things that they want from you.

It is imperative then to makes sure to nip in the bud any usability problems you can find before release, as this will not only decrease costs but will also decrease user dissatisfaction from the beginning.

Once this is done, making sure to measure both qualitatively and quantitatively your success will help you spot any difficulties and keep track of your ROI. Usability is a key intersection between your company and your customers, and if it is not a smooth and streamlined experience it may cost you that customer and future customers.


Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.