The Unexpected Value of
Good Design: Monetized

When interface design is pursued as an engineering discipline the values can be unexpectedly high. The expected results are a better-looking system, and most interface design professionals operate mostly on that level of visual comfort or branding. But the returns from a deeper workflow-oriented Cognitive Engineering approach have direct impact in several different areas:

  1. Your people get more done because their working process is easier, more obvious, and less frustrating
  2. Risk is reduced because fewer interpretation mistakes are made, fewer input mistakes are made, and decisions are made based on tried and true analysis, with a larger amount of input and more timely data
  3. You can acquire new customers or generate more business from existing customers when a client-facing system is easier to use. Even when a system is only used internally sales traders or customer service representatives can deliver faster, better results and focus more on the client to deliver the high-touch value that gets more business.
  4. Training and support costs are reduced in two ways: it takes people less time to learn the system, and less support is needed once it’s deployed.

These values may seem difficult to quantify but they are significant, and simply leaving the issue alone implicitly assigns them a value of zero. We at didi believe this is one of the primary reasons interface design is underutilized: an occasional visionary can push the issue through on strength of personality, but without real numbers championing the efforts involved is almost impossible. But once the value is made tangible, it’s clear why this is often the most productive place to spend a marginal development dollar.

We’ve developed a scenario-based analytic technique to find the final value for a given project. By estimating minimum, expected, and optimistic returns for each value type we can aggregate to the final magnitude. Input numbers are allowed to be educated guesses because it’s still possible to put reasonable lower bounds on even the most ephemeral of values. What’s the image risk cost of a large trading mismatch or “break”? Well, it’s at least half the value of a nice dinner with the client; call it $50 rather than pretending the firm takes no hit at all.

This spreadsheet gives an example of the total value generated for a single project (here, redesign of a trading desk at a single bank location). Note the over $16 million result.

Savings and productivity gains quickly run into the millions for many projects, even when unreasonably small productivity gains (e.g. 2%) are estimated. Contact didi to tailor a live version of the spreadsheet to capture the hidden values in your specific project; then fill it out yourself. You don’t even have to show us internal numbers—the bottom line is a more compelling argument than we could ever make.