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7 minutes read

Why Bad UX Is More Expensive Than Good UX

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
7 minutes read

“Poor design creates friction.” – Jared M. Spool

If you’ve spent the time researching and developing an app idea which will solve a clearly defined problem for a target user group, this is a great start, but you’re only part-way there.

You may have identified the most pressing problem facing app users, but if your User Experience (UX) isn’t delivering for them, then you’ll quickly find that you face some potentially costly issues.

That opening quote really is the underlying point – if you have created a poor UX experience, you are creating friction somewhere in your app and users don’t like friction.

Your UX should be a high priority. In fact, we would say that poor UX is much more expensive than getting a great UX created in the first place. Here’s why:

The cost of poor UX

The consequences of poor UX always add up to some kind of friction for the user and the bottom line is that users are looking for seamless experiences. Friction leads to frustration and when frustration occurs, you might see any of the following results:

Users don’t register

This is something we’ve seen time and again; the app or website has a user registration component, but it’s not designed to flow logically or to be simple for the customer to use.

What happens? Of course, the customer abandons registration. If you’ve made registration a contingency for using the app or website, say goodbye to the user. The true cost here is difficult to measure, but you could look at it this way; if you’ve spent marketing dollars on driving paid traffic to your app or website, but that traffic delivers a poor conversion rate, you’ve failed to see decent ROI on marketing spend and you’ve lost future revenue from the lost user.

Shoppers abandon the cart

“Customers abandon carts for all sorts of reasons, but the various reasons can mostly be boiled down to friction.” Zack Rutherford, Lemonstand

There it is again, “friction.” What just happened when the customer experienced friction with the shopping cart? They abandoned it and it cost the app or website owner a sale.

Besides annoyances such as slow loading, UX design has a big role to play in the friction that shoppers experience. Key frustrations include things like:

  • Difficulty in going back or making any changes to the cart.
  • Costs not being fully explained upfront.
  • Having to sign in to be able to check out.
  • Forms are difficult to fill out (especially on mobile).
  • Having to add all of their details again, even when they have an account already.
  • The shopping cart doesn’t appear to be professional or trustworthy.

If your business involves mobile or e-commerce, then you simply can’t afford to have poor UX become an issue. Quite simply, it can cost you the core money-maker for your business; actually making sales to customers.


Support gets inundated

A poor UX design can lead to many more requests being made to your support team than you may have anticipated. This can be costly for you in a number of ways:

  • You may need to hire extra team members to look after support requests.
  • Team members might be pulled in to help, detracting from the work they normally should be doing.
  • Customers who aren’t happy are quite likely to just leave. If you’re getting a lot of extra support requests, how many are not bothering to contact you and are simply leaving?

Most of us would say that we’d prefer to get the UX right in the first place and avoid having to deal with too many extra support requests, right? If you’ve got common complaints coming in, it’s a signal that you need to do something about it, which will involve spending more time and money on fixing whatever the UX issue is. This can be much more expensive than simply getting it right the first time.

Productivity is impacted

New technology can be a great way to boost productivity in a team, but what happens when said technology is not up to scratch? Avon discovered this the hard way in 2013

Bad UX

when they tested a new order management software on iPads in Canada.

The system was so burdensome that several salespeople simply quit. This is a double-whammy for productivity – not only do you have an issue with the software taking too much time and effort to use, but the company then has to go through the time and expense of recruiting and training new team members.

Costly IT projects get abandoned

“No-one is certain of the real cost of failed software projects, but in the US alone it is estimated to be upwards of $75bn a year in re-work costs and abandoned systems.” – Paul Michaels, Computer Weekly.

In an article entitled “Abandoned IT Projects Cost Us All – UX Can Save The Day”, Paul Howell looks at the top reasons why IT projects get abandoned and many of those come back to UX issues.

For example, where requirements are not clearly defined, where there is poor communication between developers and users and where sloppy or outdated practices have been followed. There are many examples of IT projects being canned and the cost is phenomenal.

UX is not going to be the great savior in all cases (especially those which involve stakeholder politics), but where it is a factor, good UX might be the difference that keeps the project on track.

Development time gets wasted

This is a huge one, especially if you either come from a development background or are paying developers to create your new app or website. Poor UX is quite simply a waste of time because developers are going to have to go back and fix it.

If you’re developing in-house, this means that all of those extra-time costs are on you, time that could have been spent on revenue generation rather than rework.

Overall customer experience is impacted

One thing that all website or app owners should take very seriously is the overall customer experience. UX is part of that experience and, as with any other interaction with your business, you need the customer to have a good experience, otherwise, they’re probably not coming back.

Forrester conducted research in 2016 which showed clear correlative relationships between customer experience and revenue generation for businesses:

“…we do know from our analysis of CX Index data that customers who have a better experience with a company say they’re less likely to stop doing business with the company and more likely to recommend it. Both of those factors should drive increased growth in customers and, in turn, increased growth of customer revenue.”

While great UX is simply demanded and expected, bad customer experiences can result in the wrong sort of attention. Just like a few bad restaurant reviews can sink a business, poor UX can crush your app on ratings and review sites, which can be very costly. You want to encourage your users to love and recommend your app, and possibly become brand advocates for you. That’s not going to happen with bad UX.

Poor UX is just not worth it!

Make good UX a priority…

An argument may be formed that it’s expensive to properly develop an app, accounting for a top UX design, but we would argue, can you afford not to?

Yes, hiring a good developer or UX designer is not cheap, however, look at all the other possible costs if you decide to “shoestring” on the UX design.

The underlying point is that if you end up with a poor UX design, you’ve immediately created points of friction for the user and their impression of you is not a good one. Can you afford this opportunity cost? We think it’s better to do your homework on UX in the first place and deliver something that people love to use.

At Koombea, we create beautiful apps using the latest UX best practices and save you tons of money by only delivering top-notch UX. Talk to us about how we can help you today.

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