My approach to Enterprise UX.
Turning a Vision into a Reality
I love the challenge of establishing UX as an enterprise business discipline. Here is my approach to turning this vision into a reality and applying UX strategies that influence change and champion the user.
UX Maturity Model
You reach maturity when UX becomes a measurable and repeatable enterprise business discipline. The basis of my maturity model is the belief that the UX process bridges gaps between organizational functions. In particular, business, design, and technology.
Organizations have different UX needs and levels of maturity. Below is a model I created depicting critical success factors. These help me with assessing UX maturity, identifying gaps between business disciplines, defining processes for design and research, and the formation of a UX vision and framework.
UX Enterprise Framework
The UX Enterprise Framework includes sets of ideas, values, and practices that support the UX needs of an organization. Below are the four I use as a foundation when creating frameworks.
Be altruistic in your designs. Your customers will recognize and appreciate what you do for them.
Every discipline could benefit from UX. For example, in many cases I’ve learned that QA is not brought in early enough in product development life cycles, especially in waterfall environments. This tactic causes delays in functional and performance testing. The solution is to ensure that they and other important functions have a seat available for early discussions. Additionally, QA has benefitted from UX artifacts because it has expedited test planning.
The above example is just one of many that demonstrates how a robust set of services could help with the delivery of experiences. Below are the key services I believe a mature UX discipline should provide when creating physical and digital experiences across all form factors.
Often, organizations think of UX as either being web, UI, graphic and in some instances, print design (yes, true story). It is my responsibility to address these misconceptions diplomatically and inform leadership that UX encompasses all of these disciplines along with others and that unicorns only exist in fairy tales.
Below are roles that are essential for high-performing UX teams along with some of their practices.
Editing & Proofreading
UX is a repeatable and measurable user-centric process that aligns the goals of the business with the needs of the users and creates valuable, usable, and desirable experiences. My approach to this process is to adapt it to the organization’s product development life cycle, hence, increasing the likelihood of adoption.
Here's my approach to applying UX to standard product design phases and development methodologies:
UX is a user-centric approach to creating experiences, and if your UX program does not include user research, it's not UX.
In UX Research, you apply various methods to add user insight into the design process. Research is needed to foster innovation, establish facts, find problems and provide you with the evidence necessary to influence change.
UX Research Framework
There is a common misconception that market research is equivalent to UX research. Albeit, there are many overlaps, UX research is not about what people say they will do. Rather, UX research is more about observation and user behavior.
Another way to put it is that market research provides data that informs design, while UX research provides data that drives design. The synergy between both functions creates a framework, which provides an absolute and robust set of insights that result in superior experiences for your users.
Here is a baseline framework I created that combines both market and UX research into a set of qualitative and quantitative research methods.
UX Research Process
ROI-driven organizations feel that UX research is costly. What they fail to realize is that process abandonment or low customer adoption of their products is even more. Timeline-driven organizations believe that UX research takes too long when in reality, designing, developing, and launching the wrong product is far more time-consuming. Sadly in both environments, UX research is entirely disregarded.
My approach to influencing leadership to adopt UX research is to create a streamlined process that reduces associated time and cost. Below is an example of such process.
A good experience is usable, a better one is usable and valuable, but the best experiences are usable, valuable, and desirable.
Measuring UX is a vital practice of the UX process that many organizations struggle with performing. Reasons could be that the knowledge-vs-doing gap is too wide to overcome, misunderstood, or UX professionals have not been exposed to it correctly. If UX is to become a business discipline, then one must speak the language of business and be able to measure success and its impact on ROI and conversions.
The metrics that are of specific interest to me are engagement, conversion, and usability. These work in synergy to help measure the value, usability, and desirability of your products. An increase in any of these leads to profitability.
Below are the sets of metrics that I rely on for measuring the success of UX:
Conversion metrics measures the completion of a desired goal. Marketing teams typically own these and are acquired via analytic tools, SEO, or SEM. An increase in usability and engagement leads to improved conversions, and an increase in conversions leads to the success of UX.
UX is ever evolving and requires constant vigilance. What’s relevant today may not be tomorrow. A common mistake UX designers make is that they design for the immediate need and forgo scalability. As part of my UX strategy, I always seek out opportunities for growing and extending the life cycle of an experience.
Below are some areas of growth that require careful consideration when creating a vision for the experiences you are designing.
UX is not about thinking you're right. It's about getting it right.
Some Final Thoughts
Thank you for taking the time to read my approach to UX. I hope you enjoyed it. As user-centric design grows in gravitas, it’s important for us to become a united front in championing our users. On that note, I encourage you to provide feedback or suggestions you may have about my approach. Also, please feel free to email me your questions should you have any at firstname.lastname@example.org, or share it on Twitter.