Leaders Need to Understand UX

According to a McKinsey study in February 2020, 66% of CEOs don’t understand what their senior designers do and only 10% CEOs said that their senior designers play a meaningful role in strategic development. Business leaders more often state the importance of UX but whether or not they comprehensively understand its value and are willing to invest in UX is another question yet to have a proper answer.  

Is UX and its True Value still an Enigma?

UX design focuses on enhancing user experience by improving how users interact with websites, applications and devices in their lives, hence making complex things easy to use. It emphasizes the quality of the experience where customers' actual needs are fulfilled efficiently and their pains are pleasantly removed. UX outcomes are often superficially mistaken as visual aesthetics and their qualitative results are not that appealing to business leaders. They are less favorable in business operations and strategy where attractive numbers, colorful dashboards and reports tend to gain trust and reliability. 

The Components of Effective, Data-Driven Decision-Making

Business leaders tend to make data-driven decisions on investment.

There has not yet been clear measurements for UX practices that would turn qualitative-rich deliverables into financial proof in which business stakeholders will trust. Thus, executives still have their doubts about whether UX could really bring immediate financial returns. Apparently, there is a clash in design language and business language that calls for executives' attention to drive the organization growth and success. This is one reason why we have created the Attractive Index score, for giving a figure to 'first impressions'.

This challenge still exists within organizations, even though leaders understand the values of good UX. In corporate organizations where processes are pretty well-defined, it is a struggle to align the UX process of the design team and other teams. The UX team has not yet had the opportunity to drive product specifications to meet user requirements at an early product conceptual stage, but rather only to provide design material against product requirements from customers or product managers. Only 17% design leaders believe they are positioned to deliver their full potential value to the company, according to case study by Sean Chiu and Chen-Shuang Wei. To integrate successfully, UX design and thinking should become a philosophy, a culture that requires constant effort through time to build within an organization. It is definitely a big investment that however promises a significant return. 

How Big is the UX Investment Reward after all?

Generally speaking, one of the most important business goals is to achieve high monetary-based value or Return on Investment (ROI). A report by McKinsey confirms that companies that excel at design grow revenues and shareholder returns at nearly twice the rate of their industry competitors

However, long-term investment should also be based on customer-focused non-monetary values as they will be the key factors to increase the value of monetary value longer term. Non-monetary values include, but are not limited to, user loyalty, good user experience, and recommendation to friends from users. 

According to a study published by Forrester, each dollar spent on usability optimization generates around a 100 dollar return on increased conversion rate

Companies should not only focus on product quality but also take care of the whole customer journey and maintain their relationship with them. It is always more cost effective to retain customers than acquire new ones. Investing in UX would help companies to solve the right problems for customers and create more value through enhanced customer experience.   

How Would We Make UX Investment part of the Agenda?

Raise Awareness

First and foremost, UX roles and responsibilities should be re-defined to make it relevant and create a direct impact on the business strategy. UX design professionals should have a position where they can influence business performance and contribute to the value of the company, and not only through visual outputs. 

Executive Support

The company policy should be set up for user-centric design, which requires lots of support from top-down and policy makers. To create a culture, it must start from the top to set an example and emphasize the importance of UX towards subordinates. They will be the ones to make crucial decisions on UX investment and priority aligning with business goals and strategies. 

Effective Communications

Communication is always the most powerful tool available to build trust and credibility. It would bridge the gap between the business and design thinking. It is possible to learn to translate the impact of good UX in terms of business quantitative language rather than talking in a pure qualitative sense. In short, a common language would be regularly spoken to help shape culture and working style. 

Strategic Approach

The myths of expensive investment against low return on investment should be removed thanks to numerous studies. In practice, there is a broad spectrum of techniques and approaches that can help to keep the cost effective and efficient. Organizations could flexibly choose their methods under different circumstances with budget constraint. 

Attractive.ai is proud to provide one of the best and most affordable solutions to tackle UX problems for your organization. Hire Poe to get the most important insights and assist your organization in enhancing user experience for better conversions and customers who keep coming back. 



[1] Are you asking enough from your design leaders? - February 19, 2020 | Article


[2] The Business Value of Design - October 25, 2018 | Report https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-design/our-insights/the-business-value-of-design

[3] Sean Chiu and Chen-Shuang Wei, A Policy or a Silent Revolution: Experience Sharing on Aligning UX Process with Product Development Process, Cross-Cultural Design. Methods, Practice, and Case Studies 5th edition, 2013. Google Book link.

[4] The Value of Keeping the Right Customers by Amy Gallo - Havard Business Review Article - October 29, 2014 https://hbr.org/2014/10/the-value-of-keeping-the-right-customers