ROI Of Usability


We all know that investing in usability is essential for creating a simple and intuitive experience for the customer. But some may not consider this enough to justify the costs associated with usability design.

However, there are a variety of other benefits that provide a great Return on Investment (ROI) on your usability investment. In addition to the most immediate but hard-to-measure benefits to the user experience, investing in usability offers concrete quantitative benefits for your business.

These benefits are the real, measurable payoff of investing in usability.

Here are some of the reasons that usability provides a great ROI.

Reduced Development Costs

Careful planning at the start of a product’s design process will save time, money and effort in the long run.

A study by Smith & Reinersten found that the key system-design decisions made during the first 10% of a product’s design process can determine 90% of the product’s cost and performance. This is an excellent example of how a small investment at an early stage can have a huge positive impact on your final product.

The more money you invest in usability at an early design stage the better your end product will be. A small amount of money spent on usability design and testing will save you from costly design fixes or redesigns later in the process.

Reduced Support Costs

Another huge benefit of investing in usability is reduced support costs. Simply put, a product with better usability will minimize potential customer support issues and ultimately reduce your customer support costs. A great way to improve your website’s usability, while reducing support costs is by offering online guidance to your users.

The following is another example of how investing in usability at the beginning of the design process will save you money at a later stage. A study by Pressman found that 80% of costs during a software’s life-cycle come from the maintenance phase. The study also found that most of these costs arise out of “unmet or unforeseen” user requirements.

Investing in usability helps to solve these problems during the design stage, where they can be dealt with at a much lower cost. Every unnecessary second that your support staff spends responding to a customer support issue (time when you are paying their salaries) is the cost of inadequate usability investment.

Increased Sales

It’s not a huge leap in logic to claim that better usability for customers will make them more likely to make a purchase or to increase their purchase size.

In fact, a study by Creative Good found that providing a better experience for your customers will increase the number of purchasers by 40%.

Another study by UI Engineering found that by providing “sufficient product information to your customers at the right time you can increase sales on your site by up to 225%”.

Enhanced usability makes for happier customers who are more likely to buy, ultimately increasing your business’s revenue.


The benefits of investing in usability don’t end with the user. A strong usability design will save you money on support and development. It will also increase your revenue by increasing sales. The time and money you invest in usability will provide a number of long-term benefits for you and your business.

(Lead image source: Simon Cunningham)

  • roger belveal

    There are also notable ROI gains in productivity for those using the product. For example, in a large call center, time on task for addressing customer needs during typical phone calls can have an enormous cumulative effect. The amount of time saved per call x the number of calls per day x the number of service reps over the lifespan of the application. Small savings can become quite large. Add to to this savings in training costs and most importantly, the increased effectiveness for accomplishing the work and higher quality deliverables. In 2014, this should be old news. However, it deserves regular repeating. Thanks for the article.

  • Joe Wojciechowski

    Early in my career, I was a ‘highly skilled’ UI UX designer… but I lacked any real world experience. I have no idea what the ROI of UX was, and I had not idea how to explain or calculate it. Since then I have grown and I realize starting out I wasn’t as ‘highly skilled’ as I thought I was.