The biggest barrier to UX implementation
My personal experience has been that ignorance is the largest barrier to UX implementation. While there are many exceptions, too often do developers, marketers, executive management, or others with a large level of control over UX strategy and tactical development feel that user experience is simply “common sense.” They believe that they are users, and therefore they have insight into the process. This is natural.
It’s the responsibility of UX professionals to educate them and evangelize the value of user experience. (Though it’s nice if you can get executive support, it’s frequently not there.) At my current company, I approached this from several angles:
- I held one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and others, seeking to understand their needs and start a conversation about possible UX solutions.
- I wrote and presented brown bags, open to all, on subjects like Why Taxonomy Matters: Taxonomy and the User Experience, in order to promote understanding of UX and its considerations.
- I introduced concepts designed to make people think more from the user perspective. For example, like many sites we’re interested in user-generated content (UGC). I expanded this to user-generated experience, or UGX, a concept I’d already developed from previous social media work and user analysis. UGX consists of both user-generated content and user-generated activity (UGA). I began tracking, reporting on, and discussing UGA whenever I mentioned UGC. This simple taxonomic switch (making UGC a subset of UGX, and adding the category of UGA) changed the context dramatically. It led people away from thinking about how to increase bits of stand-alone content, and got them thinking about user activity, which automatically increased awareness of things like user flow and perspective. Eventually key stakeholders and others were talking about UGA as a matter of course, and we even discovered ways to convert some UGA into UGC.
This was successful enough that UX became a standard consideration in not just design, but product strategy. It is of course beyond your control what others do with your information—but you have to provide it!
People understand success. Show your co-workers and management how UX solves their problems. Provide numbers, using performance indicators that matter to your audience. Present before/after case studies. Remember to focus on solutions, not problems (never show a problem for which you don’t have a suggested solution). In short, provide the best possible user experience for your internal customers.
This is from my response to a LinkedIn UX Professionals question, Why they don’t like to spend or invest in the User Experience tasks?