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Estimating the Business Value of UX Research

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This talk was presented at Big Design 2019 and is intended to support UX researchers in communicating the value of their work.

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Estimating the Business Value of UX Research

  1. 1. Estimating the Business Value of UX Research Emily J. Danielson UX Research Team Lead, ExxonMobil
  2. 2. Value of research gets overlooked by stakeholders
  3. 3. Research is too expensive Value of research gets overlooked by stakeholders
  4. 4. We don’t have time Value of research gets overlooked by stakeholders
  5. 5. We need to produce something now Value of research gets overlooked by stakeholders
  6. 6. Can’t you just “UX” it? Value of research gets overlooked by stakeholders
  7. 7. We know what users need Value of research gets overlooked by stakeholders
  8. 8. We’ve already talked to users Value of research gets overlooked by stakeholders
  9. 9. We have a request from a user Value of research gets overlooked by stakeholders
  10. 10. The product isn’t ready for usability testing yet Value of research gets overlooked by stakeholders
  11. 11. Communicating value can make the case for early & frequent research
  12. 12. Time saved Communicating value can make the case for early & frequent research
  13. 13. Time saved Opportunity cost Communicating value can make the case for early & frequent research
  14. 14. Time saved Opportunity cost Errors Communicating value can make the case for early & frequent research
  15. 15. Time saved Opportunity cost Errors False starts Communicating value can make the case for early & frequent research
  16. 16. Time saved Opportunity cost Errors False starts Safety Communicating value can make the case for early & frequent research
  17. 17. Time SavedUsing the hourly rate of end users to quantify the value of faster processes and workflows ($/hr.) x hrs. saved x annual count of process x total users Works best with • Internal users • Low time saved / High user volume • Stakeholders love numbers • Need fast, reliable quantification Challenges • Assumes compensation only for productive time • Need rate knowledge • We’ve found to be lowest value Moving data from one application to another required manual unit conversion. $200 x 0.25hrs. x 30 x 400 = $600,000/yr.
  18. 18. Opportunity CostCalculating the value of what users would be doing with time saved What would your day look like if you didn’t have to do this? What would you do with 2 extra hours? 2 extra days? What do you wish you could be doing? Works best with • In-depth interviews, work shadows • Users with specialized skill sets • Making the case that improving efficiency is worth it • Users who feel like there’s “never enough time” • Larger amount of time saved Challenges • Quantification requires direct questioning • Time saved may be non-productive Processes to ensure wells are running as expected allowed no time for optimizing output. $2M/day
  19. 19. ErrorsUsing the cost of past errors to predict the value of identifying and solving the cause Did anything ever go wrong using this? Did problems ever occur with your work-arounds? Works best with • Users relying on work-arounds • Older software • Data movement across products • Manual processes in longer workflows • High-risk/high-value activities Challenges • May be no past costly errors • Need to ask directly • Users may be embarrassed or withholding • May report others’ experiences A work-around for a cumbersome process allowed a typo to go unnoticed. Resulted in a well shut-in for 14 days. $20M
  20. 20. False StartsSaving the cost of developing a product that wouldn’t work Design $ + development $ + implementation $ Works best with • Research is engaged early • Research drives design/development decisions • Stakeholders value research • Stakeholders already think they have the solution • Evaluations to guide vendor product purchase decisions Challenges • Can be difficult to convince stakeholders findings are valid • Need estimate cost of potential productStakeholders believed a mobile application would improve complex calculation workflows. Users reported needing two screens and multiple hours. $2M saved
  21. 21. SafetyDecreasing injury risk for users Is there anything about this process that makes you nervous? Have you ever felt discomfort or unsafe while doing this? Works best with • High-risk work processes • Reducing user time in a dangerous activity or location • Organizations with a safety culture • Contextual inquiry • Repetitive processes with ergonomic risks Challenges • Difficult to quantify • Users may be hesitant to reveal unsafe practices or work-arounds Data quality issues were related to analog dials and monthly, pen-and-paper data collection. Higher tech solutions are at risk of being stolen by pirates. Decreased boat time in pirated waters.
  22. 22. Examine existing data
  23. 23. Examine existing data Get good at one calculation
  24. 24. Examine existing data Get good at one calculation Try it out with stakeholders you trust
  25. 25. Examine existing data Get good at one calculation Try it out with stakeholders you trust Integrate into research questions
  26. 26. Examine existing data Get good at one calculation Try it out with stakeholders you trust Integrate into research questions Prioritize your backlog

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