Everyone In The Agency Impacts The UX Design

Few weeks ago Mobi Lab organized one of their Design Friday casual meet-ups. They usually consist of 3-4 small presentations given by professionals involved in the design field. Among all these presentations, there was one that really caught my attention. Elina, one of the speakers, prepared a nice presentation about how everyone in an agency can impact the UX  design of a product. And specially pointing the fact that there is usually a big unawareness about this fact in most companies.

Sometimes we tend to ignore the fact that UX design is more about the users rather than about the designers. We also believe that designers can do their magic and improve the usability by themselves. That’s their main focus, but in order to do that they need feedback and an external point of view.
It seems to me that there is an invisible barrier between the different departments in companies. This affects the perception of the roles and the awareness of the impact or everyone in the firm.

The importance of understanding how UX design involves not just designers.

During her talk, Elina, who works as UX designer in a company offering test management services, pointed out that she made a research at the company she works for. One research that all of us could actually do. The main goal was to figure out if and how her colleagues felt they had any influence over the UX of the service. For that, she asked 2 main questions:

  1.  Do you feel you contribute to UX with your work?
  2. Who is responsible for good UX?

Offering several options: design team, developers, product teams, QA analysts, sales team, whole company…Her conclusions were that 40% of people at her company didn’t understand how they affect UX with their own work, which is a quite big number. Definitely something to work on, since this unawareness means that some of them don’t show their whole potential. Companies or agencies should also think about how they can show recognition for that, so everyone is aware of their importance.

Results of her research

Among the 60% of her colleagues that considered that in fact their work had an influence in UX, Elina tried to figure out how they perceived what they contributed. The main answers she got were the following:

– Participating in product / service design workshops

– Suggesting improvements / giving feedback

– Taking part in usability testing

– Through front-end and back-end

-Highlighting usage patterns

To understand better how user experience is a result of many different factors that need smooth and constant interaction, it would be good to take a look at the CUBI User Experience Model. Corey Stern, UX designer with over 15 years of experience, found that most existing user experience models were confusing and unorganized, so he felt the need to come up with something more modern, updated and smooth. He named it CUBI User Experience Model.

The CUBI UX Model

CUBI Model is structured in 4 main points: Content, User Goals, Business Goals and Interaction. Corey based his research in analyzing hundreds of award winning interactive projects. One of his first conclusions was that most of these projects had a strong balance between the content offered and the interaction used to access or enjoy this content.

After analyzing the content and interaction, next was to check how they would overlap with the user goals and the business goals. And at the same time, how these last 2 would overlap between them.

The result is a model that:

  •  Enhances creativity
  •  Creates better communication between designers, other teams and the clients
  •  Simplifies the design process
  •  Creates the perfect environment for collaboration. It helps understand the different roles, teams and resources needed to create effective user experience
  • Helps identifying gaps or issues at the design process.

 

Concusion

I would invite you to do a similar experiment among your colleagues. I would kindly invite anyone to do a similar research in their company. Numbers might differ a little, but you might be surprised about how many people perceive UX as something out of their influence. Getting a clear scope about this perception should be the first step towards changing this lack of awareness. Only when everyone understands what UX is, how they influence it with their own work, what’s the UX design process and how all departments collaborate, the company or agency delivers their best service. Andrés Gallardo is Marketing Manager at UX design agency Mobi Lab and occasional architecture photographer.