The Big Picture of User Experience
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 22 seconds
User experience (UX) shouldn’t be looked at on a project by project basis. It isn’t something that just gets done. UX is something that lives, breathes and grows. It doesn’t start at some point in the project life-cycle nor should it end when the project is complete. UX should be seen as a continuous thread that runs through the entire organization, from one project into the next always pushing to make the entire users’ experience better.
UX isn’t about being user advocates; it is about dollars and cents. However, money shouldn’t come at the expense of the users either. The goal of all UX activities is to make a product or service more desirable, easier to use, or more fun to interact with. This will in turn create an experience that persuades the user to open their wallet and pay for whatever it is being offered. Creating and understanding the UX strategy will enhance productivity, improve conversion rates, and deliver higher ROI. This can then be translated into reduced costs, higher income or both.
User experience is a big picture job. It takes time and dedication. It requires a person to look into the future in order to design an experience that is meaningful not only today but also tomorrow. It is fluid, moving and ever-changing. As such, our processes, tools and methods must be adaptable. But to be successful it is imperative to know where you want to go in order to create experiences that hold any meaning.
A UX strategy should be built for the long term and contain the following:
• the strategic vision
• mission statement
• key UX principles
• key objectives and areas of improvement
Clearly defining the above is necessary for the success of any UX strategy, the commitment from key stakeholders, as well as to generate an ongoing dialog about the strategy. Commitment is critical.
Ultimately UX must have an equal stake at the management table. This gives UX equal footing against the likes of marketing, development, product and /or other pressures. When this is not the case, UX becomes nothing more than a servant to another group within the organization and is at the mercy of the sponsor’s goals. In a servicing role UX quickly loses any notion of strategy and becomes less about the users’ needs and more about completing a task.
On the contrary when UX is truly part of an organization, on all levels, the UX strategy isn’t something that is forced, but instead it becomes second nature and is integral to everything that is done. This appears to be the case for more and more businesses today – Apple, Zappos and Progressive, to name a few.
This isn’t a power thing, it’s a business thing. Having a cohesive UX thread throughout an organizational culture can lead to much greater success.