Research – Reducing Development Costs with UX Practices

REDUCING DEVELOPMENT COSTS WITH UX PRACTICES RESEARCH NOTES

“Savings from earlier vs. later changes: Changes cost less when made earlier in the development life cycle. Twenty changes in a project, at 32 hours per change and [a minimal] hourly rate of $35, would cost $22,400. Reducing this to 8 hours per change would reduce the cost to $5,600. Savings = $16,800.” (Human Factors International, 2001)

“A study of software engineering cost estimates showed that 63% of large software projects significantly overran their estimates (Nielsen, 1993). When asked to explain their inaccurate cost estimates, software managers cited 24 different reasons and, interestingly, the four reasons rated as having the highest responsibility were related to usability engineering. Proper usability engineering methodology will prevent most such problems and thus substantially reduce cost overruns in software projects.” (Nielsen, 1993)

Case Study Example
“[Usability engineering techniques] are quite effective at detecting usability problems early in the development cycle, when they are easiest and least costly to fix. By correcting usability problems in the design phase, American Airlines reduced the cost of those fixes by 60-90%.” (Bias & Mayhew, 1994)

Additional Statistics
“One [well-known] study found that 80 percent of software life-cycle costs occur during the maintenance phase. Most maintenance costs are associated with “unmet or unforeseen” user requirements and other usability problems.” (Pressman, 1992)

“Martin and McClure found that $20-30 billion was spent worldwide on maintenance. Studying backlogs of maintenance work shows that an “invisible” backlog is 167% the size of the declared backlog. Anonymous case study data show that internal development organizations are spending the majority of their resources on maintenance activities and thus cannot initiate development of strategic new systems.” (Martin & McClure, 1983)

References

(Human Factors International, 2001)

(Nielsen, 1993)

(Bias & Mayhew, 1994)

(Pressman, 1992)

(Martin & McClure, 1983)

Documentation
Return on Investment for Usable User-Interface Design: Examples and Statistics
http://www.amanda.com/resources/ROI/AMA_ROIWhitePaper_28Feb02.pdf

Usability Professionals Association (UPA)
http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/usability_resources/

UsabilityNet – European Union funded resources site
www.usabilitynet.org

Book: Cost-Justifying Usability
http://drdeb.vineyard.net/index2.php?loc=7&nloc=2

White Paper: Cost benefits evidence and case studies
http://www.usabilitynet.org/papers/Cost_benefits_evidence.pdf

Pioneering a User Experience (UX) Process
http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/pioneering-a-user

Return on Investment for Usable User-Interface Design: Examples and Statistics
http://www.amanda.com/resources/ROI/AMA_ROIWhitePaper_28Feb02.pdf

Case study presentation from World Usability Day
http://wmsu.org/program.php?id=156

Articles
Rosenberg, Daniel.
“Introducing the 360° View of UX Management.”  Interactions May + June 2007:  23-24.

Rohn, Janice Ann.
“How to Organizationally Embed UX in Your Company.”  Interactions May + June 2007:  25-28.

Desmond, Kristin.
“What Makes UX Successful from the Executive Perspective?”  Interactions May + June 2007:  31-33.

Sorflaten, John.
“Making the Fuzzy Parts of ROI Clear.”  Interactions November + December 2006:  38-41.

http://www.uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000189.php

REDUCE DEVELOPMENT COSTS

“Savings from earlier vs. later changes: Changes cost less when made earlier in the development life cycle. Twenty

changes in a project, at 32 hours per change and [a minimal] hourly rate of $35, would cost $22,400. Reducing this to 8

hours per change would reduce the cost to $5,600. Savings = $16,800.” (Human Factors International, 2001)

“A study of software engineering cost estimates showed that 63% of large software projects significantly overran their

estimates (Nielsen, 1993). When asked to explain their inaccurate cost estimates, software managers cited 24 different

reasons and, interestingly, the four reasons rated as having the highest responsibility were related to usability
engineering. Proper usability engineering methodology will prevent most such problems and thus substantially reduce cost

overruns in software projects.” (Nielsen, 1993)

REDUCE DEVELOPMENT COSTS

An Example
“[Usability engineering techniques] are quite effective at detecting usability problems early in the development cycle,

when they are easiest and least costly to fix. By correcting usability problems in the design phase, American Airlines

reduced the cost of those fixes by 60-90%.” (Bias & Mayhew, 1994)

Some Statistics
“One [well-known] study found that 80 percent of software life-cycle costs occur during the maintenance phase. Most

maintenance costs are associated with “unmet or unforeseen” user requirements and other usability problems.” (Pressman,

1992)

“Martin and McClure found that $20-30 billion was spent worldwide on maintenance. Studying backlogs of maintenance work

shows that an “invisible” backlog is 167% the size of the declared backlog. Anonymous case study data show that internal

development organizations are spending the majority of their resources on maintenance activities and thus cannot initiate

development of strategic new systems.” (Martin & McClure, 1983)

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I am a technologist with a strong background in software engineering. I have many interests. My current distractions are 70s-80s-90s music [it's a very eclectic collection], ontology, information architecture, mobile device technology, medical bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and nanorobotics.

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