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Case Studies

ROI calculations, presented as a pattern of findings across case studies, affirm the importance of usability testing in the development stage of a product. For example, usability improvements resulting in improved task completion and shortened time to task completion for an internal company project can mean enormous savings in time and increased productivity. In other instances, usability improvements can result in increasing completed transactions, increasing customer satisfaction, and improved brand loyalty.

ROI calculations are an important piece of the business strategy puzzle. With positive ROI, company decision-makers can be emboldened that their initial expenditures will result in future savings.

Many case studies have documented companies’ positive investments in usability. A sampling of success stories follows:

  • Foraker redesigned and redeveloped a community platform for nonprofit organization Breastcancer.org, resulting in a 117% increase in traffic (visitors), a 41% increase in new memberships, a 53% reduction in time taken to register, and a 69% reduction in monthly help desk costs. This led to tens of thousands of dollars in savings for the organization and opened up several new opportunities for outreach and the funding of operating expenses. For more information, read the case study (PDF, 312KB), or contact Foraker.
  • IBM’s employees almost never accessed the company’s intranet because it was overly complex and complicated, making it nearly impossible to find needed information.  Now IBM has consolidated over “8,000 intranet sites, 680 ‘major’ sites, 11 million web pages, and 5,600 domain names,” resulting in IBM Dynamic Workplaces, which employees rate as the “number one source of information within the company.”  For the whole story, read Intranetjournal.com’s article about IBM’s streamlined intranet success story.
  • The Georgia Aquarium sells an average of 70% of all tickets online using a system customized from off-the-shelf software. The previous high for online ticket sales at aquariums and zoos across the United States was 8 – 10%.  Georgia Aquarium recognized the need to control lines, historic at such venues, and wanted entice visitors with an easy-to-use online system. Because of their foresight, the aquarium has seen nearly 4 million visitors in 21 months (November 2005 through August 2007). Dennis Kelly, president and CEO of Zoo Atlanta, says, “…the Georgia Aquarium is at the forefront of utilizing the Web to present a very engaging, customer-friendly front door to their facility.” Read the article by Computer World about Georgia Aquarium’s online ticket success here.
  • The Australian Defense Organisation had e-learning capabilities prior to 2003, but not all sectors of the military had the same capabilities. The ADO needed to reach over 100,000 military and civilian personnel through their e-learning programs, so they decided to makeover the system. After interviewing major stakeholders, the ADO compiled a wishlist of over 700 functionalities contributed by the army, navy, air force, and their civilian groups. They hired a local consulting firm, Deloitte Consulting, to handle all aspects of the project, and in 2003 the ADO successfully launched the Defense Online Campus. The DOC offers 150 online courses and is one of the largest nonacademic e-learning system implementations in Australia. To read more about this online education transformation, read Computer World’s article here.