Keep Moving on the Strategy, Keep Expanding and Innovating
To be successful, executive champions cannot just avert problems and maintain the user experience design operation. Instead, they must find new methods, create new ways of working, and make new markets and business models. If they do not engage in innovation, they are caretakers, rather than executives.
The executive helps to expand user experience design throughout the organization. Creating usable software can be essential to many different groups in the organization, or it may be the only way to keep up with the competition. Usability can save millions of dollars when there are large numbers of internal users. For example, the usability team at Sun Microsystems estimated that poor design of the company intranet cost the average employee 6 minutes per day, for a total of $10 million in lost time per year [Ward 2001]. A single second removed from the average call-handling time can be worth $50,000 per year or more in large call centers. With an application that has a large number of users, even benefits from small improvements can add up fast (Figures 1-3 and 1-4). It is no accident that the term “usability” is commonly discussed in executive suites now. Once the executive champion determines the specific value of usability to the organization, he or she must spread the word and keep people focused on the goal.
Figure 1-3: Chart showing increased lead generation from a mutual fund and an insurance site reworked by an HFI user experience design team.
Figure 1-4: Chart showing customers shifting from expensive human-intermediated channels to online self-service from an insurance site reworked by an HFI user experience design team.