How to Persuade Your Leaders to Invest in UX

What can you do when your boss or your organization’s leaders say “no” to design?

An ongoing challenge shared by many UX professionals is getting the green light to move forward on a solution to improve the user experience.

Believing UX is the right thing to do isn’t enough. As UX strategists, we must categorically demonstrate the business value, too.

Here are 7 ways to turn a “no” into a “yes”:

1. Run a Pilot

Many leaders are risk-averse or unable to justify huge sums of money on an idea that may not be a sure thing.

Is it possible to launch your concept as a pilot with a small group of users—then scale up later?

2. Build an MVP

To overcome objectives to a high price tag or long production timeline, break apart the idea into its absolute core essence.

What’s the DNA of the idea? Keep zooming in until you find to the smallest possible version of the concept—or minimum viable product.

3. A/B Test

Don’t guess, test. For low investment enhancements, there are few options that have less risk than A/B testing.

Test the idea with a fraction of users, then compare how it performed against the control group.

4. Calculate Opportunity Cost

What would happen if the product or enhancement didn’t move forward? What is the ongoing cost to the company?

Look for ways to calculate hard costs, such as fielding customer service calls due to a poor user experience or developer time spent fixing a substandard feature that periodically breaks.

Also look for ways to calculate opportunity costs—lost revenue due to a poor user experience. If only 40% of people complete the checkout process, that means 60% lost revenue. Multiply that by AOV (average order value).

5. Create a Fake Door

Test your idea with real users without building anything at all. Use the fake door or wizard of oz method to validate demand or expectations.

  • Fake door: Use a placebo form, link, or CTA to test how many people click or indicate their interest.
  • Wizard of oz: Manually create the desired experience for the user, instead of automatically by the product or website.

6. Conduct a Kano Analysis

If you haven’t already, conduct Kano analysis with your users to determine where this concept fits along the desirability spectrum.

Kano inherently prioritizes ideas based on ROI and shines a spotlight on features that should be removed from your product or site.

7. Keep Socializing

If you believe in your idea, don’t give up! With time, attitudes can change. (Or leaders do.)

Show how your idea fits into the company’s overall business strategy. What is the core business problem this concept solves?

Take objectors out for coffee to better understand their prejudices and priorities. Use this new information to pivot your approach (or concept).

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Author: Kristine Remer

Kristine Remer is an independent UX researcher & strategist in Minneapolis. Connect on Twitter @kristineremer