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Put your money where your mouth is – hire a User Experience Designer

November 14, 2012

A frustration point for me recently has been companies that list the user experience as their most important priority, yet don’t ever do anything about it.

It’s great that people are starting to recognise the importance of the Experience Economy and that a top notch user experience is a must have for company who sees itself as a serious contender in a market.

As a consultant I  tend to get around a few different companies and in the last year or two I’ve ended up doing quite a few project kick-offs in different places. Pretty much without fail, every company has listed creating a great user experience as top priority.

When we run through our project Trade-Off sliders User Experience is usually listed as the least negotiable factor in a project.

Yet, more often than not these companies aren’t willing to put in the effort or resources required to build a great user experience. They don’t do regular user research and have limited direct contact with their customers/users, don’t have any internal design capabilities, and don’t ever actually do anything other than saying “yes, it’s our top priority!” or “It has to have a great user experience“.

Despite all their verbiage, they are really no more than a Level 2 on the UX Maturity scale: They recognise UX is important but it receives little funding.

Courtesy of Planning your Strategy, Renato Feijó – Johnny Holland Magazine

I regularly get people walking past our sketchboards and design walls commenting on how exciting the UX driven approach is. They get excited by our UX tools and the vision they create. Then they walk off in wonderment thinking about how great it would be for their team to work like that – and do nothing about it.

Less talk, more walk. 

Taking a user centered approach to building a product doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes effort and expertise to do these things – but any team can if they have the right mix of skills.

Stop outsourcing the user experience design of your product – your most important asset – to external design agencies.

Bring design capabilities in to your organisation. Hire a UX Designer, someone who specialises in creating awesome experiences.

They will help you get outside of the building and talk to someone who doesn’t have an employee number. They will help you drive projects with a focus on what the user experience will be, not just what 100 page requirements document says. They will help you build a more mature UX practice.

If you make excuses such as “We don’t have the resources” or “We can’t increase our head count” then you’re simply not prioritising your user experience over other things so stop claiming that you do.

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