December 15, 2016
Holding UX design accountable
Why measuring user experience design and holding it accountable for delivering on business outcomes is key to sustainable success
Data has become a critical factor in driving businesses forward today. From sophisticated machine-learning solutions to more traditional market mix modeling, data is increasingly being leveraged to drive smarter decision-making, and to measure the impact of that decision-making on key business outcomes. Despite being an essential input for most business units and strategies, the transformative power of a data strategy is rarely called upon, or even considered, when it comes to user experience design.
As tempting as it is to blame the longstanding left-brain/right-brain rivalry, this dichotomy isn’t responsible. More likely, it’s a result of most organizations’ inability to translate overwhelming amounts of complex data into actionable insights that support both business and user experience goals. While not without challenges, with digital experiences increasingly taking center stage, and users’ expectations continuing to grow, there is an immediate and growing need to bring design and data together.
What measurable design can do for your business
Design can and should be held accountable for not only delivering an optimal user experience, but also delivering measurable business outcomes. The key to holding design accountable is, first and foremost, understanding what success looks like. When interpreted, and applied correctly, data allows organizations to clearly define success and measure along the way to ensure design solutions are driving their business forward.
That said, defining success in the context of today’s complex digital landscape is not always easy. It requires a clear understanding of business goals and user needs. Luckily, as the volume of data generated by most enterprise businesses continues to grow, so does its potential as a vehicle for informing both business and design strategies. In step with volume, the range of different data types and sources is also growing. Today, most organizations have access to multiple data types—website click data, marketing performance data, sales and subscription data, call center data, operational cost data, treatment outcome data, product performance data, and customer satisfaction data to name a few. This data holds a wealth of insight into user behaviors, needs and pain points, that, when evaluated in the context of business goals, can be a powerful tool for simplifying complexity and defining product success.
Beyond defining success, data can and should be used to measure the impact of design decisions and investments. By establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and success metrics to measure throughout any design process, organizations can ensure each dollar spent and decision made is getting them closer to their goals. This measurable design approach ensures design decisions are compelled by data rather than intuition. In doing so, the resulting solutions are proven to deliver on key user and business goals, ultimately mitigating many of the risks associated with product innovation.
Another key value of bringing data and design together is the ability to evaluate the return on product and user experience investments. By tying the impact of design solutions directly back to core business objectives and metrics, organizations can better understand and confidently make informed decisions around how each dollar spent on UX design impacts their top and bottom line. Beyond quantifying value, data allows organizations to more effectively communicate that value, to both end-users and decision-makers. The ability to quantify improved efficiencies, effectiveness and usability can be an influential tool for supporting change management, justifying efforts as well as gaining support and budget for new product innovation.
Our approach to measurable design
At Effective, we partner with organizations to simplify their complex measurement efforts, and use data discovery techniques to extract and convey actionable solutions, in plain language, with their core users top of mind. Our practices use qualitative and quantitative methods to ensure all activities align with established goals, and can be held accountable for delivering business outcomes.
Learn more about our data strategy practice in this brief overview.