2017 UX and User Research Industry Report Finds Spikes in UX Budgets, Testing Frequency and Competitor Research in 2016

UserTesting's Annual Study Uncovers Rising Executive Support Driving User Research Growth

January 25, 2017

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Jan. 25, 2017 – The expanding fields of user experience (UX) and user research have taken new shape. No longer relegated to a few lone champions in an organization, understanding and improving the user experience has become the entire organization’s objective – from product designers to marketers to senior executives.

In its fourth annual UX and User Research Industry Report published today, UserTesting, the world’s largest user research platform, found that organizations across industries are racing to understand their customers’ behavior and attitudes to meet their needs and earn their business. To achieve customer-centricity and fend off pressure from competitors, companies are conducting user research more frequently and from the earliest stages of product development. Moreover, business leaders investing in UX are realizing the ROI of their user research dollars.

“Buy-in from the C-suite could be one reason for the growing user research budgets we’ve seen in this survey over the last four years,” said Brian Smith, VP of Marketing at UserTesting. “According to Forrester Research, the revenue impact from a 10 percentage point improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion. Because better user experiences dramatically impact customer loyalty and the overall customer experience, businesses are prioritizing and maturing their UX and user research strategies.”

Additional key findings from the report include:

  • Executive value: Support for UX, user research and end-to-end customer experience is rising. When asked if “user research makes our company more efficient,” 81% of executives agreed or strongly agreed. When asked if “user research improves the quality of our products/services,” 86% of executives agreed or strongly agreed.
  • UX budgets are up: The majority of respondents indicated they invest in 3+ research methodologies (79% in usability testing, 65% in surveys, and 59% in interviews). 36% said their 2016 user research budgets increased moderately or significantly over 2015.
  • Testing frequency is spiking: For the fourth year, the majority of respondents said their testing frequency increased moderately or significantly. Nearly 66% said frequency would increase in 2017, and 53% said frequency increased YoY in 2016.
  • Research occurs early in development: Product teams find continuous user feedback during prototyping helps refine concepts quickly before investing in development. 72% conduct UX research before design or development, and 76% during design/prototyping.
  • Competitive research doubles: The number of respondents who conduct user research on competitors more than doubled year-over-year. Nearly 50% did in 2016.
  • A more connected world: Artificial intelligence (AI), multi-device interaction, and Internet of Things (IoT) top the list of most important online trends affecting user experience in the next 5 years.

More than 2,200 professionals involved in improving the customer experience (CX), including product management, marketing, design/UX, research, engineering, and other functions, participated in the 2017 survey. Nearly 50% of respondents are manager level or above, with senior executives comprising 10% of the study. 31% of respondents’ organizations have more than 1,000 employees.

A copy of the full report, including charts and graphics, is available for download at https://info.usertesting.com/ux-industry-survey-2017.html.

About UserTesting

UserTesting is the fastest and most advanced user research platform on the market. The company gives product managers, UX designers and researchers, and digital executives on-demand access to people in their target audience who deliver audio, video, and written feedback on websites, mobile apps, prototypes, and more.

Headquartered in Mountain View, CA, UserTesting helps more than 35,000 customers (including the top 10 web properties in the U.S.) get the user feedback they need to create excellent customer experiences. For more information, visit www.usertesting.com.

Media Contact:

Jennifer Moebius
+1-617-922-8004
Jennifer@usertesting.com

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