Being a UX designer has never been more exciting. Since the onset of the UX revolution, designers, developers, product managers and even executives have began to truly accept the importance of user-centered products. Design itself has been transformed into a way of thinking that has the end-goal of solving problems. It has been taking up a vital spot in the strategic decision-making processes of many software companies.
However, those in the UX field will know that at times, convincing a client to invest in UX is a herculean task that requires you to flex some serious persuasion muscles. In fact, UIE founder Jared Spool even wrote about how he continuously refuses to convince executives to invest in user experience.
Nonetheless, you still want to have meaningful work to do. Besides, you know that most of the time, clients do actually need to improve their products’ UX. How then do you go about convincing your clients to invest in UX? In this post, we highlight some good advice that will help to shape up your persuasion skills and to present an argument for investing in UX that your client cannot say no to.
What You Say and How You Say It
It is likely that you do not talk to your clients in the same way as you talk to your buddies. Likewise, it is highly improbable that a client speaks to you as they would with a friend. At the end of the day, a client-based relationship has its own set of rules of interaction will be defined by both you and the client.
When it comes to convincing a client to invest in UX, stay within the boundaries of this relationship. Your chances might improve if you learn to speak their language. Most of the time, you would be trying to convince product managers or high-level executives of the need to invest in UX. It would help to pick up some terms that they could better relate to.
Ditch the theoretical jargon and design-based terminology. Instead, start thinking in terms of how UX design can help to improve their conversion rates. Discuss how it will affect their ROI.
Instead of a lengthy presentation featuring cases of bad and good UX, relate your arguments directly to their situations. Get to know what exactly it is that they wish to improve in terms of their business goals. Pitch on how investing in UX can help to achieve those objectives.
Here are four pointers that you could use to better support the case for investing in UX.
1. UX Design Can Bring Your Products From ‘Good’ To ‘Wow’
Your client must come to an understanding that having a great idea for a product does not automatically translate into a great product. Ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s what we actually do with an idea that makes the difference.
If your client works with premium designers and developers, it is very likely that the final product will be good or even great. However, there might still be something lacking that prevents the product from reaching ‘wow’ levels for the user.
UX design is a proven and powerful means to bridge the gap between a ‘good’ and a ‘wow’ product. Providing a brilliant user experience could very well turn a curious potential customer into a convinced and paying one.
UX design seeks to address users’ needs and to solve users’ problems. Even the little hiccups that might not occur to a regular Joe, such as the importance of error states or a loading animation. Investing in UX is to focus on crafting products that are meaningful and delightful to the user on both a practical and psychological level.
Explain to your client that the success of a product is not determined only by its features and usability. It also comes from delighting the users. Delight is the ‘magic’ that captures the much sought after attention of the user. We achieve this by taking care of their needs and their emotional states as they are using the product.
To invest in UX is to ensure that your product would have a positive impact on how users interact with a product, in every step of the way throughout a user’s experience. And any measure of positivity adds up to converting a ‘lead’ to a ‘customer’.
2. Invest in UX for Better Conversion Rates and User Retention
Some clients might claim that they already do know what their users want. They have sought feedback via customer surveys and other such tactics for gathering user insights. However, the important numbers are still not going up despite efforts to improve the product or service.
The thing is, many companies do not actually know what are the right questions to ask. And even if they do have the data, they might not have the expertise to interpret the data in a way that adds value to the product or service. They might even be trying to fit the problem around the solution just to validate the product. It requires expertise and knowledge to conduct the proper research.
To invest in UX is to invest in the future of a product. UX design tries to uncover the customer’s frustrations. It can shed light on when and why users drop out of the conversion process. With insights gained from user research, we get to understand what factors that influence a user’s decision to buy or to look at a competitor’s offer.
User research seeks to uncover the true expectations of customers, rather than the ones they claim to have. Convince your client that investing in UX ensures the longevity of their business by raising conversion rates and retaining customer loyalty.
3. Poor UX Can Cost You Greatly
It is a costly mistake to ignore UX in the product development cycle. A product can be beautifully designed and well built. But without the relevant insights about the users, it could have a poor UX. It could essentially fail.
Your client would have to spend even more resources on redesign and redevelopment cycles. They would have to waste even more hours on figuring out where the problem actually and how to fix it. They may even come to the dreadful conclusion that the product serves no purpose at all for the users.
A common scenario is that of the product that looks great and seems to work perfectly. Built by an experienced and seasoned team, the product launches with high hopes and loud cheers. A month later, users are complaining that it is too difficult to navigate the interface. They lament that some important functions are missing. Uh-oh, right? Often, the need to invest in UX design proves to be striking only after the product has been launched.
It would also prove to be a costly affair. This scenario would require the design team to alter the layout, content, and navigation menu. Then, the developers get together to moan collectively about the amount of work they would have to put in to change almost everything on a structural level. By this point, the management team is groaning about the shrinking budget that has been wasted on building a product that users did not like and never wanted in the first place.
This could have been prevented with a dedicated focus on creating great user experiences right from the start. Building a product without any thought given to UX means the product’s design and features are created upon what the team’s designers and developers think would be good for the product. That is what you would want to avoid.
Designers and developers may be talented and smart but they may not be the product’s actual users. Since they are the ones who work on the product over a long period of time, they are by default the product’s biggest power users. Things that are all too familiar to them wind up being an utter bewilderment for a new user.
Convince your client not to go down that road. Let him know that they can significantly reduce wasted design and development time if they were to invest in UX right from the start.
4. UX Isn’t Limited to Large Companies
It is a common misconception that UX design is a luxury that only big companies like Apple can afford. If your client is a startup or small business, you have to inform them that UX is not limited to large companies. Investing in UX does not have to cost an arm and a leg.
There is no fixed UX process even though there are certainly guidelines and principles that most UX designers abide by. UX design can be implemented with the use of different types of strategies. Some of these can be cost-effective such as hallway usability testing, paper prototypes, ethnographic exercises for user research, or remote user testing. To find out more about these methods and how they can add value to products, read our article on Guerrilla UX strategies.
If your client claims that UX design is simply out of their budget, have them re-think the situation. Point to the previous argument on how ignoring UX from the start of a product development cycle could cost them a great deal later on.
Be open and flexible about your methods. Do you really need to test your product with 50 users when after 10, the results are reaching a sort of plateau state? If a client were to take the leap and invest in UX as you’ve advised them to, make sure that adapt your process to their business and their budget.
Convincing a client to invest in UX design is not a piece of cake, we’ll admit that. It’s a task that requires a whole load of effort and a great set of persuasion skills to pull off. Nonetheless, it is important both to you as a designer and to your client’s business. In any case, remember to avoid hypothetical comparisons and to direct your arguments to your client’s specific business.
If you’ve ever convinced a client to invest in UX, let us know how you managed it. Share your tips by tweeting us @protoio