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Fixing Failing Apps and Sites

Let’s look at why your apps and sites may fail and how we can fix them. We’ll start with the informative article ‘Why Software Fails’ by IEEE, a technology association. Then we’ll look at the intriguing video based on the article, ‘The ROI of User Experience’. This ‘quick sketch’ video, by Human Factors International, shows us how to fix and prevent some of the failures.

First from the IEEE article some alarming stats on IT and its downfalls:

artist drawing an illustration on the ROI of UX

The ROI of User Experience - 6 min video

  • $1 trillion dollars is spent worldwide per year on IT
  • up to 5% of a company’s total revenue goes to the IT group, 10% for financial and telecommunications companies
  • 15 % of projects are abandoned due to hopeless inadequacies
  • programmers spend 50% of their time on rework
  • the time of fixing an error after development is 100% more costly than fixing it before development

Now let’s look at 3 of the top 12 reasons why IT projects can fail, that are directly due to UX (user experience) inadequacies. These reasons are:

  1. badly defined requirements
  2. poor communication between developers, users and customers
  3. stakeholder politics

And how does UX solves these, with:

  • stakeholder interviews
  • user research
  • user testing
  • user centered design

How about a case study from the video that illustrates UX in action? Let’s say you’re part of a global non-profit micro lending organization for small businesses, whose website has a searching and donating UI (user interface) that is confusing and hard to use.

  • so if 50 of your customers a day are abandoning before donating because of the poor user experience and on average each user donates $50
  • thus, you are loosing $2500 a day or $912,000 a year
  • to solve the issues you spend $50,000 to fix the UX and $50,000 to rewrite the code based on those user experiences, thus spending $100,000 improving the user experience
  • it will only take 40 days to recoup your investment, giving you $812,000 more for lending power

Besides saving money here are some other measures of ROI (return on investment):

  • conversion rates on actions you want users to take
  • increased form completion
  • decreased in abandonment
  • decreased in calls to the help desk
  • reduced training
  • increased usage of app
  • saves user time
  • saves development time, reduces errors

The video ends with a quote by Albert Einstein “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

And I’ll end with “So how can I help your app or site succeed?
video: The ROI of User Experience, 6 min

article: Why Software Fails

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