User-centred design is most effective when brought in from the early stages of product development. For new products, the cost of exploring design alternatives is minor. However, as the design and development progresses, changes become more expensive to implement.
Ehrlich & Rohn
Usability and user-centred design are about letting the needs of your users drive the design of your interactive products. Good usability creates transparency between your users and what they are trying to achieve. It allows them to focus on their tasks without the technology getting in the way. There are many benefits.
Time and cost savings
Identify the flaws in your design early on, when they are cheaper and easier to fix. A problem that isn't identified until rollout costs between 10 and 100 times more to fix than if the problem was identified during design.
Reduced risk of rework
Analysts and Programmers work more effectively when they have a clear vision of what they are developing. Through scenario construction and iterative prototyping, user-centred design techniques provide this vision early on, so developers can proceed with confidence and avoid costly reworks.
Increased sales and revenue
By exploring a number of potential design solutions, you are more likely to create a superior interactive product that meets the needs of its users. Once people start getting results from using your product, they will become more satisfied leading to increased sales and customer retention.
Improved return on investment
Usable products pay dividends through fewer calls to customer support, shorter development times, improved productivity, and reduced training and maintenance costs. Interactive products that are designed by gathering user feedback regularly from an early stage are much more likely to meet users needs first time. Too often, users' difficulties with products surface after release requiring changes that are either costly or simply can't be met due to the effort involved.
Increased customer satisfaction
Interactive products need to make your users feel comfortable when using them. Failing to meet their needs undermines user perceptions of your product. When you consider how much companies spend on advertising and marketing to increase brand loyalty, it makes sense to ensure that this is maintained throughout all customer touch-points. A cheap way of increasing customer loyalty is to make products that require less dickering, meet their needs and help them achieve their goals.