Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How to Incorporate UX into Digital Organization

Digital is the age of customer-centricity.

The business would benefit from better customer and user experiences but have no idea how to achieve this. The limitations of the “industrial mindset” have made a negative impact on how they can deliver successful business outcomes in the digital age. So how do you equip with new digital minds to incorporate User Experience (UX) at both strategic and design level to present great business value, improve the bottom line and build company brand cohesively?

Cross-functional collaboration: Collaboration is being one of the undersold benefits of engaging with a rigorous UX team and professionals. Business often has misinformed ideas about what they believe UX people do, which is to make pretty “user interfaces.” In the technology world, this basically translates to “engineers” do the scientific thinking and “UI designers” make it pretty. There are a lot of issues with this perspective, but the most damaging ones are the assumptions about what UX people do is to solve surface level issues with “soft” tools, and engineers are the only true problem solvers with real tools. How to achieve constructive, meaningful and friction-less exchanges in a team or organization? One of the greatest impediments to institutionalizing UX, besides the common misconception that UX is primarily a creative endeavor to creating engaging interfaces, is a lack of a mature vocabulary, grammar or perspective that permits constructive, meaningful and friction-less exchanges which convey and open up the full spectrum of what disciplined UX has to offer. So collaboration is being one of the undersold benefits of engaging with a rigorous UX team/professionals.
-UX is multidisciplinary in nature, not just about "design" but a collection of tactics, or a one-off exercise.
-To be done successfully, UX requires seasoned, knowledgeable professionals and a process to guide the efforts.
- UX, when done with rigor, discipline and focused approach in the right way, can be developed into a strategic capability vs. remaining a "service," that can provide new ways of looking at things and be a source of powerful insights and solutions for internal and external organizational challenges and change.

The involvement of development teams are really important: You need to guide them through user research, build up the context of use, derive the concepts based on that information, test concepts with users and make changes accordingly. UX competencies are important to add to the organization as well, but to be able to provide the support needed and to utilize the UX team to maximum, you have to build up the basic understanding for the engineers and developers that are going to collaborate with the UX team, otherwise the UX team will do their work and be more or less left alone. So involvement is a key factor and is firm when engineers are complaining about the time when you add user-centered design process into their normal development process. Let professionals guide the teams through the process (user research/analysis, development of concepts, iterative testing, and refinement, etc). It is extremely important to involve the teams in that work to build understanding, not only let professionals do the work and deliver the results. A next challenge to overcome is the product development time. In many organizations, you try to fine-tune the development process to be more efficient and have faster time-to-market. So when you try to implement user research, you almost always receive resistance since they view this as another activity that not only takes additional time but has already been done to some extent and the information already exists within sales/marketing or product management.

UX Initiative has is to show the ROI. Because if you are going to be able to hire, you have to show the ROI and how that is connected to revenue. It is easy if you are CXO or high up in the organization, but if you need to get an approval to be able to hire, the ROI has to be connected to revenue and the headcount be within the revenue forecast. So you have to drive this UX initiative both from a corporate level (top-down) and from a root level (down to top). KPI is also good to use to clarify the situation for people with the background as developer or engineer that has more logical thinking and solution-oriented, and do not really understand all the "soft" factors that you have to consider within UX. It is also important at the same time to show for internal stakeholders and highlight the savings that you have made in time due to different priorities, and that you found issues early, before implementation. That will build trust in the organization and it will be easier to continue the implementation of UX activities.

UX Maturity Model: The UX maturity model could be used to map and communicate the current status of the organization. The goal is to make the organization aware of the maturity level, and what needs to be done to improve the situation. It could help to clarify the communication and guide through the process of setting development goals for the organization. UX Maturity Model can help to diagnose the level of UX maturity at each team or organization, and then elaborate an action plan in order to improve the disciplines and practices. It takes a few steps to do it successfully
-make it a corporate goal to be known for usable products and user-centered services;
-hire a hands-on UX leader who has the ability to work cross functionally with IT, marketing and product management;
-assess the needs of your business and the skills that must be available internally and which skills can be contracted;
-know your internal stakeholders and how to approach them are also important to understand.
-work with the strategy and show how your work contributes to defined business goals and KPIs
-create a community of practice or UX Review Board, as a cross-functional governance review board incorporated into the release process for software and organizational change process for services.

To incorporate UX inside an organization successfully, you have to work on different levels, management has to understand the value to become supportive, the project teams need to understand, to be able to work effectively together, the other functions inside the organization (PM, marketing, sales) need to understand and fully take advantage of the opportunities, UX professionals are needed to guide and perform work - multidisciplinary collaboration is the key.


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