User Experience - Getting Started

A while ago I reported that one of my focus areas for 2010 is the implementation of solid User Experience (UX) design into our products. I'm not a UX expert, but the evangelist and facilitator for the process to embed UX design into everything we do. I've learned, made mistakes and here I've some times that might help you if you are going to do the same.

1. Convince your management that it's necessary to invest in UX. Explain that it's a lot more than just usability but involves emotions and feeling with any interaction your company has with the customer. Eventually for commodity products and services  the experience (or price) is the only thing that differentiates you from the competition.

2. Hire professionals! This sounds simple, but often you will hear that person x knows enough about usability. Continue to explain you need to get into the emotions of people and need professionally trained people for this. Finding the right candidates can also be a challenge, it's a new profession and experts are hard to find. A good starting point is to initially work with students and graduation projects to learn, experience possible results and build a network with the educational institutes. They can become a source of tallent for you.

3. Give your newly hired experts lots of freedom and space. Normally you are probably thinking in terms of standards, frameworks and feasibility. This is all good, but does kill creativity and thus gives you more of the same and not something new. If you want to innovate and attach new emotions to your products and services you have to start doing things differently.

4. Continue to communicate in all possible ways. Encourage your team to show results, create mood boards in public places. You only change the perception of UX if you allow people to experience visualized emotions.

In a next article I will share some best practices on how best to work with other disciplines.


Hoi Aad't Hart,
I just came across this comprehensive pdf on building UX teams named 'The User Experience Team Kit by PJ Sherman';
You can access it here -
It could be useful for this discourse of yours. Hoping all companies see the value of it ;).

~Aditya (MSc.DFI, TUDelft)

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