The Business of User Experience
Jeff Herman and Suja Raju, eBay
Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University February 20, 2004
When proposing user experience improvements, design groups often face resistance within their company. The eBay UI Design group has had significant success getting user experience improvements prioritized and launched by conducting rigorous cost-benefit analysis and by participating in the company product planning process.
The group does the cost-benefit analysis based on:
- the estimated benefit of the user experience improvement. Estimates are based on site usage statistics (e.g. current completion rates on key flows plus projections based on the improvement) and standard values for key metrics (e.g. the value of each registered user);
- the estimated cost for various resources (including the cost to design, specify, build, and test the improvement) as well as any impact on operations.
Once the project is launched, the team uses these same metrics and updated site usage statistics to determine the ROI of the project. Based on the success of projects the two years, this has led to increased credibility for the group and increased acceptance of the projects we propose.
Jeff Herman is a design manager at eBay, where he focuses on current projects, overall design guidelines, and long-term strategies. Prior to joining eBay in 2001, Jeff was a designer at Yahoo!, where he worked on Yahoo! Mail, and Apple, where he worked on Apple Guide and HyperCard. He received his M.S. from the MIT Media Lab, where he designed and developed an adaptive, personalized audio news guide. He holds nine patents, which include design work on software and consumer electronics.
Suja Raju is a UI Designer at eBay, where she concentrates on designs for improving the selling process. Prior to joining eBay, Suja was a designer at Yahoo!, where she worked on Yahoo! Maps, Yahoo! Yellow Pages, Yahoo! City Guides, and Ad Manager. She also worked as a designer at the consulting firm, Scient Corp. where she worked on projects for Morgan Stanley and BenefitPoint. She received her M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford and her B.A. in Environmental Science from U.C. Berkeley.
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