Web Standards ROI

D. Keith Robinson recently wrote an excellent post on the cost savings from designing using current web standards (XHTML, CSS, etc.). This fits in with my recent discussion on The Business Case for Usability and how we can explain to clients and bosses why they should design using standards and test for usability. In my mind these are tied closely to one another.

However, an interesting question is how we can best explain and justify designing with standards and usability. Should we focus on the benefits for the designer in saved time making design changes and easier maintenance? Or should we focus on the benefits to users of increased usability and accessibility? Both of these are real effects of good design, but they sound very different to a manager or client. Or do we diffuse the message and explain that there are many reasons, risking glazed over eyes and numbed brains in those listening to our pitch?

I’m glad that Keith was able to pull up solid numbers on how the use of standards saved clients money during the design of the site. Now, does anyone have any numbers for site maintenance, redesign, or usage before and after a redesign that moved to a standards based design or followed usability testing? I’ll try to put some together from work I am doing but I’d certainly like to see what others have done as well.

Kevin Hall
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2 thoughts on “Web Standards ROI

  1. Glad you liked the post. I actually coul have some of those numbers with a little digging. For sure I could easily show ROI when it comes to maintenance and redesign.

    I do plan on posting that once I call pull them together. These kind of numbers take a bit to get organized for public consumption.

    Usage and showing ROI on user testing and the like would be a bit harder to show with hard numbers, but that is something I plan on looking into as well.

    I’d be very interested an seeing your own findings.

  2. Keith, I understand what you are saying about this taking time. I’m trying to pull together some log numbers and other info from a site that I am currently redesigning to meet current standards (it was one of the first sites I built years ago and was overdue for a redesign). I’ll be putting up the before and after comparison here after the site launches.

    Part of the problem is that we often don’t have the time to dedicate to analysis when we have a dozen things to build. I know that it always seems to be a lower priority than working on new designs.

    I’ll try to compare the site usage numbers, including number of visitors, length of visit, and whatever else I can pull out of the visitor logs for the site from before and after the launch of the new site… this may take a while but I’ll hope to have it up a few weeks after the site is launched. I think that if a number of us track and share this kind of data it could be a valuable resource for everyone in working with clients.

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