Redesigning for ROI

Elton Billings  

March 12, 2007

Related Topics

Jakob Nielsen’s latest Alertbox column discusses “12 High-Profit Redesign Priorities.” He mentions tactics he believes have a high return on investment.

Looking over the list, I have to agree, in general, that these are all really good ideas.

I do, however, worry a bit about such lists. Lists from experts are sometimes prone to misuse. Managers may blindly use the list as their roadmap for planning upcoming web projects, trying to do everything on the list without determining the relevance to their site. For example, “Catering to Seniors” might not make much sense if you sell skateboards. (Apologies to any skateboarders out there with several decades behind you.) Each site is different, and priorities for change should be based on business objectives, the focus of the site, and the intended audiences.

I would also like to have the ROI for these actions explained in a little more detail. Or at least the mention of a good method for calculating the return on each suggested change, along with maybe a benchmark. It has been my experience that CFO’s won’t simply accept an assertion of positive ROI when making decisions on project funding. Instead, they want to see the calculations, or at least the projections of return.

The list contains good ideas and probably bears evaluation against your current sites for a bit of guidance in setting priorities, but like many useful tools (such as hammers, bulldozers, etc.), incorrect use can have a negative impact.