The Importance of User Experience- the Poster!

Importance of User Experience (UX) 


Here’s a poster that reflects some thoughts about user experience…all of the bottom row items (outcomes of positive user experiences) in the poster are based on empirical research. Let’s review some of that research, a brief glimpse at the science behind what the poster is communicating…

About the poster project and translations into many languages below all these quotes (bottom of the post)…

Elements that contribute to a positive user experience: (the bottom row of the poster)

Loyalty >   Trust  >  Perceived Credibility >   Profitability  >  Intent to Return >  Intent to Purchase > User Satisfaction  > Word of Mouth

A few quotes that I think summarize the research nicely:


  • “We discovered that visitors will return to websites to which they have no loyalty simply because they’re familiar with the interface. As soon as someone directs the individual to a competitor’s website and the individual determines the competitor’s website is less painful to navigate, they’re gone”. Usability Studies 101: Brand Loyalty by Joseph Carrabis
  • “Research findings point out that it takes more effort to develop new markets than to keep existing customers, and that existing customers tend to spend more money than new customers do. Repeat purchase behaviors occur after products are used. Hence, how to manage customer loyalty by means of product design becomes a critical issue to product designers and a key for company prosperity”.A Preliminary Research on Product Design Strategies for Managing Customer Loyalty (PDF) Dr. Ding-Bang Luh, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan


  • “In short, it appears, as many suspect, that distrust of the Internet undermines e-commerce. Specifically, those who perceive greater risks on the Internet are less likely to shop online. In turn, perceptions of risks are associated with bad experiences online”. Trust in the Internet: The Social Dynamics of an Experience Technology. (PDF) by William Dutton and Adrian Shepherd, Oxford University
  • “The key finding is that trust is a long-term proposition that builds slowly as people use a site, get good results, and don’t feel let down or cheated. In other words, true trust comes from a company’s actual behavior towards customers experienced over an extended set of encounters. It’s hard to build and easy to lose: a single violation of trust can destroy years of slowly accumulated credibility”. “Trust or Bust: Communicating trustworthiness in web design” by Jakob Nielsen

Perceived Credibility


  • “The rule of thumb in many usability-aware organizations is that the cost-benefit ratio for usability is $1:$10-$100. Once a system is in development, correcting a problem costs 10 times as much as fixing the same problem in design. If the system has been released, it costs 100 times as much relative to fixing in design.” (Gilb, 1988)
  • “The average UI has some 40 flaws. Correcting the easiest 20 of these yields an average improvement in usability of 50%. The big win, however, occurs when usability is factored in from the beginning. This can yield  efficiency improvements of over 700%.” (Landauer, 1995)
  • “IBM’s Web presence has traditionally been made up of a difficult-to-navigate labyrinth of disparate subsites, but a redesign made it more cohesive and user-friendly. According to IBM, the massive redesign effort quickly paid dividends. The company said in the month after the February 1999 re-launch that traffic to the Shop IBM online store increased 120 percent, and sales went up 400 percent.” (Battey, 1999) Source
  • “In our first year, we didn’t spend a single dollar on advertising… the best dollars spent are those we use to improve the customer experience.”- Jeff Bezos,
  • “Improving user experience can increase both revenue and customer satisfaction while lowering costs.” – “Get ROI from Design”, Forrester Research, June 2001

More about Purchase Intent and Return Intent

In my experience, it is wise to measure this from a web analytics AND usability research perspective. Usability tests are a great way to expose a design to all measurements (ease of use, ease of understanding, user satisfaction, perceived pleasure, purchase intention and intent to return). Contact with users provides that *context* that pure web analytics measurements do not.

  • “On the web, customer retention can be defined as whether or not a customer decides to return to a website. In terms of metrics, this can be quantified as the number of customers who a) intend to return and b) intend to purchase again from the website”.

 User Satisfaction (or the measurability of it)

User satisfaction is often not studied in detail. It is usually just referred to in a paper or article. I am guilty of that, as is Jakob Nielsen in his writings.

  • “Two important aspects of overall consumer satisfaction are: (i) the level of satisfaction associated with the final chosen product (e.g., Day, 1984; Spreng et al., 1996), and (ii) the level of satisfaction associated with the purchasing process (e.g., Arnould and Price, 1993; Oliver, 1993). The former has been referred to as product satisfaction, and the latter has been referred to as process satisfaction. Product satisfaction can be measured in two aspects: (i) holistic satisfaction towards a chosen product (Spreng et al., 1996) and (ii) the specific levels of satisfaction towards the product attributes (Oliver, 1993). A typical means to evaluate product satisfaction is to measure rated consumers’ affective responses to the selected products (Cole and Balasubramanian, 1993; Westbrook, 1987; Mano and Oliver, 1993; Westbrook and Oliver, 1991)”.
  • Another excellent study that shows the link of user satisfaction to the perception of pleasure and emotional aspects of a design, “A systematic approach for coupling user satisfaction with product design” by Han, Sung and Hong, Sang in Ergonomics (2003) v 46. no 13/14.

See Emotional Design: What does emotion have to do with design?

Word of Mouth

  • “Jupiter Communications reports that word-of-mouth is second only to a strong offline brand in building consumer trust. Almost half of consumers surveyed by Jupiter cite word-of-mouth as a key influence in their online shopping habits…

The average U.S. adult online shopper now tells about 12 other people, including family, friends, relatives, and co-workers, about their online shopping experiences. Contrast this to the average of nine people who hear rave movie reviews or six who are told about great restaurants”. Reported May 27, 1999, Iconocast

  • “Word-of-mouth expands the purchase cycle. Word-of-mouth impacts customer value. Post-purchase actions drive evangelism. Advertising vs. Word-of-Moth “When Consumers Control the Message: When Real People are the Biggest Advertisers”. Dave Evans et. Al. 2005, Word of Mouth Marketing Association conference slides. More info at the Word of Mouth organization:  WOMMA
  • “A recent survey by Opinion Research discovered that online shopping escapades start more tongues wagging than either movies or restaurants”.   Latest research (2006) on Word of Mouth impact:

About the Poster Project

I am really happy with how the poster turned out! Bryce Glass and I collaborated on this together. I was impressed by his earlier efforts to illustrate a “Flickr user model“. Bryce’s mastery of Illustrator is note-worthy, even if you think the poster is cluttered. (If you do, take your time with it and don’t take it too seriously- it’s an inspiration piece).

How we made the poster

Users were interviewed, and Bryce’s earlier design was analyzed for what works and doesn’t. We learned a lot from each other about visual design and the usability of flows… and the result is what you see above.

We have had some interesting feedback from users on Flickr:

  • “Great work, printed it out, and it’s up in the hallway of our UX group!” (fotografik)
  • “Suitable for poster-size printing and hanging in our development team area!” (Greg Bernhardt)
  • “I can only say: “WOW!” :-)” (szymonw)

This led me to have the poster printed out to help teams evangelize usability! (My company, Experience Dynamics, paid for the production and design costs).

The poster’s point is to provide a learning piece (currently used by over a dozen universities worldwide) and inspiration to design and development teams. Having this type of collateral on your wall might cause someone to pay closer attention to your efforts 😉

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