ARTICLE: Brandon Blangger

UX is not a one-time event. What EdTech product leaders need to know about the cost of inaction.

Motivating customers to use your digital product more. Reducing the rate at which users abandon your product. Decreasing the number of calls or messages to customer service. Cutting the cost to train new employees. Curtailing mistakes or errors and the time required to fix them.

What do these all have in common? They are all key metrics critical to business success. They also are impacted by user experience and can’t be achieved without active UX.

What do we mean by “active” UX? While many organizations make the commitment to implement UX practices, we’ve found that many adopt best practices of UX only to a point. That UX is seen as a milestone that happens somewhere in the middle of a product’s lifecycle and once “done”, can be ignored until updates are necessary.

If you’ve committed to UX but are worried about falling into this category, we have some advice for you: Keep moving, and move faster and smarter. If you’re stalled, get moving again.

UX is meant to be in an active state, and the risks of UX inaction are too much to bear, threatening profits, market share, internal processes and products.

Think of UX as a muscle — use it more often and it will become stronger, more flexible and more effective.

If you exercise a muscle only to leave it alone for a long time, it will atrophy — or, worse, become injured or damaged when it is used again. So what’s at stake for your business?

UX inaction hurts profitability.

UX atrophy can lead to an erosion of your user base. For example, new user growth stagnates or existing users become weary and eventually stop using a product (or fail to complete the desired action that makes the product successful).

One pattern we’ve seen, among organizations that don’t leverage UX throughout the entire lifecycle of their product — be it website, app or software platform — is they fail to see the damage that builds up from user base erosion, and their inaction ultimately affects the bottom line.

Looking at it differently, UX inaction could mean not discovering new opportunities for optimizing a product or not clearly defining pathways to purchase for users, therefore missing out on profits.

UX inaction hurts processes.

UX atrophy can lead to inefficient and wasteful processes that leave organizations falling far short of their goals. Lingering process flaws translate into unrealized potential and a variety of less-than-optimal outcomes. According to Human Factors International, a UX consultancy that specializes in UX training and certification, 50 percent of developers’ time is spent on avoidable rework. That could mean anything from rethinking badly defined requirements or adding features that weren’t tested and vetted among target users, only to be removed again.

UX inaction hurts products.

UX atrophy can mean products aren’t improved upon, customer pain points aren’t discovered and eliminated and, ultimately, users abandon your product. For example, UX could fall dormant because of lack of research available for the product team to make confident decisions that enable incremental improvements. Ask yourself, would you rather spend $1 on research, $10 to fix something in design, or $100 to fix something in development? Extrapolated to a million-dollar scale, steady UX investment will equip the product team with so much more knowledge to create and improve successful products.

UX inaction can hurt the three important “Ps” for your business: profitability, processes and products. But the good news is that implementing the right mix of active UX practices can help you immediately mitigate those risks.

Stay tuned on our blog to learn ways you can move UX forward in your organization, as well as calculate the savings from right-sizing your investment.


  • Author Photo
    Brandon Blangger

    As a Co-founder of Openfield, Brandon’s focus is connecting business leaders and product owners to the power of UX research and design to realize revenue goals. Outside of work, Brandon is an ardent ground-level fan of Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team: FC Cincinnati. His latest personal project is converting his basement into a thunderdome for his daughter, Ella and son, Drake.

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