I think “User Experience is not only the design process, it is actually the methodology/strategy which we should follow throughout the length and breadth of project and which involves all the stack holders”. I had recently gone through a nice banner designed by Hello Erik and he named it as UXisnotUI. He had nicely explained what UX is actually and who the stackholders are. I took a print of same banner and pasted on my desk board; many of my colleagues stop by and read from it and many had asked for copies. I think it is serving the purpose and many thanks to Hello Erik!
User Experience is not only the baby of design studio of your company, it is equally the baby of all the departments of your company who should all first know the purpose of it, learn it, understand it, explore it and follow it. When your company is making good steps to accept UX as essential thing to know the user empathy that is when the design thinking is taking birth. If we explore different IT companies you will definitely find they had put the burdens of UX to a single design team and making them solely responsible. Go through the job descriptions of these companies, the title of JD is different, content is different and when you actually go for an interview they mean it different and if luckily you clear the interviews, you are being asked to do different.
I feel it is the general problem of industry which lacks the understanding of UX, if I am wrong in saying that, it is the problem near me. I am trying to highlight some steps which can help companies to make them UX compliant and the assumption is companies have small or large UX team.
- Make your Marketing Team UX compliant
Those clients who ask for project design/development services and are giving highest priority to UX, automatically you should know as a service provider that your client knows/cares more about his users than you would have expected. Secondly you should also know that this project can’t be signed off on quote competitiveness, even though it could be the last pitch. These deals can be won by having a good track record of delivering the services which had touched the excellence in Design, Development and delivery.
Marketing team is first source which are in hunt of some project leads and making the first contact with clients, where in they talk about companies core competence, successes delivered, difference they make and how they are going to change the client imagination into reality. If your marketing team doesn’t have the knowledge of User Experience, how you could expect them to get some great projects. They are the first who talk about the tit bits of UX with client and if they are successful in convincing them, then the discussion is broadened with respective team of expertise. I think this is the first department which should be made UX compliant. The UX team has to work hard to educate them about User Experience and make them aware about different process and the positive points where you are competent. Make promises of those things only where you have strong hold and can demonstrate better.
The true essence of UX should be reflecting from all the sources of company like from branding, print materials, presentation decks, company portals/websites/apps, ambience, infrastructure, processes, trainings etc.
I don’t know how it makes sense to sell the UX services and feel proud of when in-house experience are in shambles.
When I say marketing team it includes your branding team, Sales Team, Pre-sales team etc.
- Make your HR Team UX compliant
To deliver extra ordinary products/services you should be having extraordinary resources who would work on these projects. When you have the project, you would look for the appropriate resources and would check with the HR if any are present or should you go for recruitment. The recruitment team are the first persons who search the candidates in the market and call them and have initial talk. They should be well aware about what they are looking for, recruiting for and the purpose of new recruitments. It is always good suggestions given to the interviewers to recruit someone who knows better than you. Otherwise if HR team start searching by simple expertise tag lines, then it would be loss of time for both interviewers, candidates, team for which recruitment process is started and holistically loss of time and money for company.
Therefore UX team has to make sure that the HR team knows what the requirements are and what should be the core competence. There should be some talks arranged where in HR team can come and know some of the tit bits of UX, Project requirements , technical requirements etc.
- Make your Development Team UX compliant
As Cap Watkins rightly mentioned in his article “User Experience Belongs to Everybody” that it is not the only job of Designer to be UX compliant, it is actually the shared responsibility of all team members to know it, and adhere to it. It really doesn’t make sense to have jazzy UI, while still the backend queries fail at times. It doesn’t make sense to have nice animations, while the data takes hell lot of time to load. The Development team should know as much about the user empathy as much as UX team should know. They should take steps to write good code, which is well maintained, well documented, and reusable. They should take extra care about seamless flow of interactions of the application and its performance.
I will quote from the same Cap Watkins article that
“It would be easier to compromise and ship something that is just barely good enough, fast enough or clear enough. We’re told time and again to ship early, ship often. But shipping small and fast does not mean shipping half-baked, incomplete, compromised. It means shipping the smallest, best iterations to get to where you want to go. And that requires all of us. It means doing a bit of extra work to make sure your page loads are fast, that animations are quick and smooth, that the flow is sensible, line-height is just right and your feature announcements are awesome. It means everyone sweating the details of their piece of the user experience. Because that’s the only way – together – that we can make our products awesome.”
- Make your QA Team UX Compliant
The QA team is very essential for any great project and have got lots of responsibility to release any rock solid project. Actually the last resort of customer trust lies on QA team. It is the same team which uncovers some of the small/large mistakes which sometimes we easily ignore or hides from our eyes. It is the same team which makes sure to drag all the teams towards the excellent quality standards. UX team should not live without sharing some of the nuts and bolts of UX with this team. QA team should know in actuality the customer requirements including some of the essentialities for which clients are looking for.
- Last but not the least
The responsibilities of UX team is much more and they sometimes have to find the gaps which create the confusion with in the teams. They have to make sure entire team knows the purpose, understands it and the benefits it will bring for the team and the users. UX team should always be updated with the latest happenings of the technology world and the user experience which tend to change with time and technology. There is no hurry in UX, but the excellence which is always expected from it. UX team should make sure there is timely knowledge transfer across the teams and arrange the necessary meetings/talks which will help them to be in sync and work as one team and demonstrate excellent piece of collaboration.