For some clients, user research is a “nice-to-have” component of their projects. It’s great if we have the time and money, but if not, it’s removed from the project plan. But being user-centric throughout a project’s lifecycle can provide significant savings. Not only that, but the increase in customer satisfaction and productivity improves dramatically as well.
How does user research keep a project on time and budget while saving on both?
1. End-Goal Focused: Keeping a client’s product on target
Business goals don’t always match customer needs, and companies may not always understand their end users, so gathering user feedback is critical. Why build a car when you only need a bike? We’ve seen projects go sideways because clients skipped upfront research. What began as a small customization to an enterprise software became a custom app — and all the user needed was minor bug fix.
We’ve also been in situations where we’ve user-tested products after the design, build, and deployment processes, only to have prospective users misunderstand or have trouble navigating the product. The common theme: A lot of wasted money and time.
2. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Less Development Work... and Rework
You can build a well-defined product or project better and faster. Defining the end-goals eliminate unnecessary work — with user research at the center, you’ll save developer time and money.
But don’t stop with one user research activity; we’ve found that gathering user feedback throughout the entire design process is essential. Vet wireframes with users, walk through features and information architecture, find all the gray areas and illuminate them. Once the wireframes are complete, development has a solid blueprint to build from.
This iterative approach works with an agile environment — each sprint includes features validated by users before development begins. The process of design-validate-build repeats in every sprint that requires it. This way, anything we build receives user feedback.
3. Efficiency: Productivity for All Stakeholders
Besides the cost savings associated with incorporating user research, clients can benefit from productivity gains. Designing an intuitive product often leads to a reduction in support tasks (training, sales and service calls) as well.
In fact, everyone involved with the product will benefit! While incorporating user research is a low-cost solution that saves time and additional funds by preventing potential mistakes.
A small investment for huge savings — that’s not something to take lightly.