And if they are not then they should! Why? Because the creation and/or delivery of a customer/user experience is team work. Just think of all the skills that are involved to develop an experience that fits your end-user as a glove. Just to name a few: business analysis, coding, user research, market analysis, graphic design, usability testing etc. The work of all of these team members with completely different backgrounds has to come together to deliver an experience to one person who is at the receiving end. Not a light feat and certainly not easily achievable.
Some companies think they have the solution, ‘we require an internal UX capability’ and thus the conclusion is to hire a UX person who will give them just that. Good thinking if we are talking about a personal assistant, an SEO specialist, market analyst, etc but unfortunately not for experience development. To design and deliver an experience all the skills listed above are required and you will not find that in a single person. A single person can kick start the process of embedding UX into an organisation. However, as an organisation you are taking a significant risk here by putting the responsibility for introducing a common UX language as well as embed the multi-disciplinary steps needed into your development and delivery processes into one person. This usually doesn’t end well.
“So, if hiring a UX person is not the solution then what is it?” Stop seeing UX as a capability that can be embodied in a single person or team and inserted at will but instead start seeing UX as a way of thinking that needs to be engrained into an organisation. Begin with raising awareness through training courses that deliver a common language to the team and, importantly, make people realise that UX is more than just delivering ‘pretty pictures’. Once an organisation is aware, the next step is acceptance. Training to equip the team with more specialist UX skills helps but also example successes from UX projects that demonstrate what UX can deliver. Only then, when an organisation is on board, can you start to consider full integration into an organisation’s processes for both development and delivery.
Sounds like a lot of work? Sure, but few realise that there is more to be gained from an ISO9241 based approach to UX development than just a smooth and optimal experience for your customers and users. Putting user/customers at the centre of UX development through early involvement (research & testing) greatly reduces the risk of getting things horribly wrong at launch. And we all know what that is like, the team has been working overtime and on launch get all the negative feedback because it is not what was needed. That is bad for morale, staff retention and the company revenues. The solution? Stop seeing UX as a capability that needs to be added in but instead as a culture that needs to be adopted. Akendi’s training courses can help there.
Dr. Leo Poll is President of Akendi UK. A firm dedicated to creating intentional experiences through end-to-end experience design, to learn more about Akendi or user experience design, visit www.akendi.co.uk
Akendi is a product strategy, user experience design and usability research firm. We are passionate about the creation of intentional experiences – whether those involve digital products, physical products, mobile, service or bricks-and-mortar interactions. We work shoulder-to-shoulder to optimize the experiences you deliver. Akendi Corporate Overview (PDF).
Experience Thinking innovation firm in Product UX Strategy, User Experience Design & Usability Testing for Companies: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Canada.
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