Monday, February 22, 2010

The User Always Wins, or The False Tradeoff Between UX and ROI

A few days ago I said to a discouraged colleague, "the user always wins." She said, "not this time--when they made the decision to prioritize business needs over user needs, the users lost."

But I stick to my assertion. When all is said and done, the user wins all arguments, because the user makes the ultimate decisions that drive business value.
  • Users decide whether or not to buy
  • Users decide whether or not to recommend you
  • Users decide whether or not to return
  • Users determine your brand
So ignoring user needs for the sake of ROI is the ultimate false tradeoff. It's sometimes possible to gain some short-term ROI this way, but in the long run, it's the users who will determine your success or failure. If you only look as far as next week or next month, it may look like ROI can be achieved at the expense of the user experience. But if you look out to the long term viability of your business, it's a fool's bargain. ROI and user experience are forever intertwined.

Business value derives from, and is usually dependent on, a great user experience. When all is said and done, the user always wins.

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