Customer-centric focus can be a bit of a culture change in organizations that are not used to it, so it requires a concentrated and sustained effort to educate decision makers and project stakeholders on what exactly is user experience design, and how to design for, achieve, and measure good user experience.
We’ve had some success communicating the need for user experience design work in our company, but it seems we need to be more clear on the fact that its not something that can be tacked on at the end. I still hear people saying things like, “We’ll get the requirements, build the back end, and then you can come in and put a good user experience on it.”
UX practitioners see the problems with that kind of thinking: 1) User Experience is not something you can ‘tack on’ at the end of a project. Rather, it requires a focused, coordinated effort between the UX team, development team, and business stakeholders to ensure product features meet user needs and expectations, 2) User Experience is not a discrete part of a product that you assemble together. We can distinguish the user interface of a product, the part of a product that users can see and feel, but that’s only part of the user experience. Rather, user experience is the quality of experience that a person has with a particular design, so it includes the user interface, as well as database performance, information architecture, business processes and site metaphors, delivery mechanism.
I’ve been trying to think of some type of analogy that encapsulates why we can’t come in and put a good user experience on a project. Here’s the best thing I’ve come up with so far:
Let’s say I’ve got a busted up, rusty, 1973 El Camino. I can paint it cherry red, put in leather seats, and paint a horse on the front. I’m not going to have the same experience — speed, handling, prestige — as if I were driving a Ferrari. To get the Ferrari experience, all the parts are designed to work together to deliver the speed, handling, and prestige that its customers expect. Similarly, our development, UX, and client stakeholders have to coordinate to understand and deliver the experience that our customers expect.
Do you think that a valid analogy?