Stakeholders with business, design, and technology viewpoints can pull products in different design directions—sometimes without knowing how the design work fits into an overall strategy. This can leave stakeholders feeling lost and unhappy. Creating a focus around design goals and asking and answering the hard design questions as a team is an effective way of coalescing a team around one design direction. At the same time, it can create a more optimal and fun working environment.
What happens to the personas and scenarios once you’re ready to start requirements definition and design. Are you sure you’ve adequately communicated the type of system your users need to the Business Analyst and Interaction Designer on your team?
Every time we reach across discipline boundaries to keep a product team focused on users, drive changes to products or services based on user data we've collected, or design interactions with a clear focus on the target user, we are functioning as agents of change within our organizations.
Whether you call it cross-channel experience or multichannel experience, the reality is that customers interact with companies through more than one channel, so it’s important for us to understand cross-channel customer behavior.
While producing a new deliverable to improve the out-of-the-box experience for a major software product, the team of writers, graphic designers, human factors engineers, and marketers responsible for the deliverable faced many challenges and overcame many obstacles. Anyone involved in the production of such a deliverable will learn from a discussion of the problems we faced and the approaches we took to solving them. This discussion will be particularly relevant for anyone creating such a deliverable for the first time.
Provides an overview of a product design process, then discusses some indispensable activities that are part of an effective design process, with a particular focus on those activities that are essential for good interaction design. Although this column focuses primarily on activities that are typically the responsibility of interaction designers, this discussion of the product design process applies to all aspects of UX design.
The two main drivers for a successful relationship were to respect each other’s opinion and to use active listening to understand what the other was saying.
When a screenwriter can summarize a story in one sentence, he has a compass that can guide him throughout the writing process. Cindy Chastain chronicles how we can translate this approach to help us remember the quality and value of the experience we intend to deliver.
Efficient, effective collaboration between UX designers and stakeholders is an essential ingredient of a successful project. Stakeholders bring their unique perspectives to a project, and their feedback can help a designer understand the design problem space and develop solutions that align with business and technology objectives. But simply asking stakeholders for feedback can lead to misaligned expectations and communication problems. By being thoughtful in how you make your request for feedback and by providing simple questions and instructions, you can ensure that you identify potential risks early in the design process, minimize stress, meet your deadlines, and ultimately design a better solution.
In my last column, I suggested that being a manager of UX is no better—and no worse—than being a great designer or user researcher, but the roles are very different. In fact, as the book The First 90 Days  points out, the skills that make you successful as an individual contributor are not the same skills you need as a leader.
Working together in a group to produce a creative outcome is difficult—don’t let anyone tell you it’s not. A time or two, I’ve had that same feeling of being dumbstricken when participating in various forms of UX design brainstorming sessions.
Although our UX management peers have shared many tactics with us that have made their groups more strategically relevant, we’re presenting just a few here. We’ll highlight what we feel are the most salient factors in getting you to the strategy table.
Teams moving to agile often struggle to integrate agile with best practices in user-centered design (UCD) and user experience (UX) in general. Fortunately, using a UX Integration Matrix helps integrate UX and agile by including UX information and requirements right in the product backlog. While both agile and UX methods share some best practices—like iteration and defining requirements based on stories about users—agile and UX methods evolved for different purposes, supporting different values.
The purpose of the paper is to develop an improved conceptual framework for researching and discussing the public library's role as a meeting-place in a multicultural and digital society.
The more feature-rich a particular design approach is, the more it delights product management. Of course, that starts to overload available engineering resources which drives their delight down. Being a UX designer puts one in this position a lot. So you look for that acceptable area of compromise, somewhere close to the intersection of the two lines.
UX teams in small organizations face some unique challenges, so industry-standard solutions for large organizations are not always a good fit. Often those solutions are too large scale, costly, scary, and overwhelming for a small organization’s management team. Plus, management may be skeptical about the return on investment (ROI) making a high level of investment in user experience would bring. This poses some interesting challenges for a UX team in a small organization.
I have found that being a user experience person has often meant arguing a lot. Your role in the company, is to be the user advocate, not the company advocate, so that your voice is a reminder and constant reflection of a product’s users… you represent them, and are paid for doing that. But that means having to speak up, be confrontational at times, and be as persistent as you can possibly be when you passionately feel bad decisions are about to be made without being fired.
For most of us, the ideal when working on a product-development project would be to work with a group of like-minded professionals, each with their own areas of responsibility, but sharing the same overarching goal. Yet all too often in User Experience, we encounter unwarranted resistance to our ideas, making the product-development process much less efficient and adding to a project’s costs. The apparent cost of involving User Experience early and throughout a product-development process becomes a series of hidden costs, resulting from project delays, incomplete requirements, and less than optimal products that result in higher error rates and reduced efficiency for users.
Increasingly, virtual teamwork means UX professionals must get things done in an environment devoid of the physical presence of colleagues and lacking the relative ease of on-site collaboration. Effectively completing UX tasks while at a distance from our clients, stakeholders, and team members can be challenging, from both technical and process perspectives. How can we, as UX professionals, enable the close collaboration with others we need and manage the process of creating engaging digital experiences when we’re so far apart from each other physically?
To all of the bloggers who have written about UXmatters and people who have sent email messages and comments, thank you for warmly welcoming UXmatters to the UX community. We've been gratified by the high level of interest in and enthusiastic response to this Web magazine. There seems to have been some pent up demand for a publication that covers the breadth of user experience for digital products!
Effective communication with stakeholders and clients is critical to the design process itself, but this is not a topic we often address, because, at first glance, it doesn’t appear to contribute directly to our primary goals, which are to create, build, and ship digital products. Certainly, as an industry, we are attuned to client service in a general sense, but there’s no doubt that methods of UX customer communication, education, and collaboration are sometimes overlooked and underutilized aspects of the design process. We can and should treat the elements of stakeholder and client communication as a kind of user experience. And we should design this experience for our UX customers so far as it’s possible to do so.
What does directing have to do with creating a user interface design? Well, we know a director is responsible for the strategic vision of creative work. That’s a given. But, did you know he is also responsible for ensuring a successful outcome that both meets his vision and is in line with the producer’s desires and budget? To make that happen, a director works with the cast, crew, costume and set designers, and everyone else who contributes to a successful theatrical production to pull together a cohesive product, without losing site of his vision. It’s a complicated job.