Value-based Decision Making

By Vitamin

Websites range in complexity from massive eCommerce systems to simple, single-page portfolio sites. Regardless of how big or small a project is, a lot of decisions need to be made along the way in order to successfully transform what began as an idea into a fully functioning website.

So, how do we go about making decisions in a way that will result in a successful project launch? Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet, but one method we use at Vitamin is what we call value-based decision making.

Value-based decision making is a simple process and while it isn’t limited to web design, we use it often for our web projects. It might help to think of it as a problem-solving tool to add to your toolbox.

How it works

Let’s say, for example, your team is debating whether or not to add a new feature that was just requested by a client. The first question you ask in this scenario is: what is the business value of Feature X, if any? This more or less frames the new piece of functionality in a strategic business context. Does the new feature positively contribute to achieving the goals of the project, or is it a superfluous request?

Next, let’s look at the same question, but from the perspective of users and or consumers. Does the Feature X add any tangible value for the users of the site? This is a user experience and brand perspective on the request. Does Feature X create a positive touch-point for users? Will it delight or annoy them? Will it help or hinder them from accomplishing their goals?

Based on the answers to these two questions you can start to form an intelligent, rational decision about whether or not the new feature is beneficial or even necessary.

Okay, let’s try an example.

Pop-up Windows!

Client: We want a pop-up window that prompts users to subscribe to our newsletter. Our newsletter doesn’t contain any special offers or discounts, just updates, news and press about our company.

Business Value

High, the client is building a mailing list for future marking efforts.

Consumer Value

Pretty low, unless someone has a keen interested in keeping up with the going-ons at the company.

How to implement the new feature: The pop-up window is very intrusive and not valuable enough to users to justify having it interrupt their experience on the site. However, maybe the the form can live in the footer or sidebar. This gives users the ability to sign-up if they want while keep the form out of their way as they browse the site.

Client: That sounds awesome! Thanks for the advice!

You: Of course, that’s what we’re here for.

And that’s it! The next time your team is on the fence about something, give this method a shot and let us know how it goes in the comments below.

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