I Think my Company Needs Some UX

I Think My Company Needs Some UX

There comes a time when a team, company or leader starts to consider whether User Experience (UX) might come in handy.

  • Some people never heard about it.
  • Some people saw someone do it at their previous company.
  • Some people got their business going down like a comet on fire with a product where customers are spitting lava and nobody knows what to do.

If any of these fit your case, I’m glad you’re here.

Now, this is not a guide on how to become a UX Designer. Also, I’m not going to define UX or explain the details of each process.

This is about HOW: How to start doing it inside a Company, by understanding when to do each process and the way to approach it.

Getting Everyone On Board

If you or anyone on the team don’t know yet what is the expected outcome from UX, we need to clarify.

UX works by doing these processes:

  • Discovering problems, desires and behaviors
  • Exploring possible solutions to the problems, desires and behaviors
  • Validating whether these are good solutions

All this is done following a User-Centered Design principle, meaning that users will be a core element to define which direction to take with the product and the business.

From a Business standpoint, UX can help:

  • Discover new business opportunities (for new or existing products)
  • Reduce the risk of business/project failure
  • Reduce costs (development, support, operations, other)
  • Improve and grow products and business metrics
  • Define and make better business strategy decisions

UX is not necessarily just about digital products, but this is the largest market that has adopted it.

As we can see here, UX is not about making things pretty. There’s much more depth.

Successful Tactics

From my experience implementing a User-centered Culture inside companies these 4 principles can help implement UX improvements faster:

  • Baby Steps: Start small. You don’t need to bring a full design team on day one. Make one process. Once. See the results.
  • Quick Wins: Do something you can show results. Fast!
  • Low-hanging Fruit: Is there any improvement which has low risk of failure and low effort/cost? What are the simplest actions we can take to improve things? Are there problems we’re clear about that we can start taking action now?
  • Prioritization: What is the weakest link of the chain? What is the most prominent risk for the business? What is the biggest complaint? How frequent and intense is each the problem and desire? What generates the most value for the user and the business? Let’s focus on that first.

Problems First, Solutions Later

Before diving into solutions and whether they work:

  • Are we clear about what the user’s Problems, Needs and Behaviors?
  • Is there a written list of solved and unsolved problems/desires?

If not, moving forward with solutions exploration will generate more waste (time, resources, money).

This is not just about summarizing core value for a product vision. We need to know all the details of each problem. If we really know that, making the solution becomes 10x easier.

These strategies might take a bit more time than others, but I don’t recommend for Companies to skip it, specially Startups. There’s nothing more expensive than building something nobody wants.

To know about problems:

  • User Interviews, Surveys, Analytics

After that:

  • User Stories, Personas, Jobs To Be Done, Customer Journey Map

What we Do Know, What we Don’t Know

It’s important to get a common understanding inside the company about what we’re sure of vs. what are hypothesis about reality.

This applies to behaviors, problems, desires, solutions and features. The KWHL Chart organizes everything into a simple list of actions.

By being humble to accept we don’t know everything and getting into an exploration mindset using a scientific method we’ll move fast on the learning process.

To do that:

  • KWHL Chart

A Health Checkup on our Product

We take the pulse, see blood pressure, get all the stats technology can offer us. Yet, sometimes we need to speak with the patient to discover what is the disease.

Analytics are great to tell us WHAT is happening. However, they don’t always tell us WHY.

Usability testing is one of my favorite strategies. It is one of the first strategies I do at many clients, as it fits all successful tactics (see above). And it always generates insights, no exception.

You can do a broad one and check your full product, make a feature-specific one (or even better, problem-specific) and even check how customers use your competitor’s product.

Never get attached to the solution you made. If it fails, awesome, we just discovered why. If it works, awesome, let’s go to the next challenge.

To do that:

  • Analytics, Usability Testing: Moderated, Unmoderated, Remote

They Are Doing it! Let’s do it!

Should we check out the competitor’s UX?

Some companies never do. Others do it all the time. I personally almost always go for it.

The UX Heuristics bring a set of criteria for the evaluation, but when doing it, look from your user’s perspective. It’s the final judge.

  • Is this feature/product solving my user’s problems and desires?
  • Do my users care about the underlying problem/desire that this feature/product offers?

Don’t just copy. This fails in almost all cases and we’ll never lead the market. Making an average of all features offered on the market will make us vulnerable rather than stable. Also, we should not be naive to think that the market leader is perfect. No product is.

To do that:

  • Heuristic Analysis, Competitor Analysis, Usability Testing

Exploring Solutions

When we’re talking about products there’s not a single way to solve user’s problems. So it’s important to explore different solutions before deciding for an option.

There are also many different ways of looking at a product. Each strategy will focus more on one aspect: Wireframes (Screens) User Flows (Sequences) and Sitemap (Structure).

People can easily see a wireframe and understand it, which makes it a great tool for development. Still, I like to say that users don’t look at all the screen’s details. They usually think more like a User Flow:

I have a problem that I want to solve (Scenario) and I’m going to explore ways to do that (Flows).

Each product will benefit more of one or another option. So always keep all these on your toolbox.

To do that:

  • User Flows, Sitemaps, Lo-fi / Hi-fi Wireframes, Prototypes

Conclusion

I hope this article helps you start with UX in a good way.

We’ve presented a quick overview of possible first actions and what are the risks we might face. UX is vast and there are many other strategies to explore.

Making products is an iterative process. After a while Companies start to notice this is a long path, but with plenty of progress happening during the journey. UX can help define a roadmap by clarifying where the product is and where it should go.

Work with the team you have, the resources you have, the time you have.
Start today. Give it a try. See the results.

And iterate.

I hope it helps you on your journey! May UX be a way for you to discover more about your customers and how to make better products for them.

Next

If you want to improve your UX Skills or become a UX Designer:
I recommend checking the UX course at Springboard.com. Here’s a discount.

If you want to check out some cool content like this:
Follow me on Medium, LinkedIn or Twitter.

If you need hands-on help with your Product’s Research/UX/UI/Mgmt:
Add me on LinkedIn and send me a Message.
Let’s make great products.

Do you have questions about LTQ, User Interviews or User Research?
Send on the comments below!


I Think my Company Needs Some UX was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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