Macadamian Blog

Bringing UX to a Legacy Product Revitalization – Lessons In UX Maturity: Part 3

Jennifer Fraser & Scott Plewes

In particular, the leadership and culture recognized their inexperience in UX practices and were willing to be led in an effective way to bring in UX expertise.

User Experience Maturity Model

In part 3 we continue to examine case studies for organizations in the adopting stage of UX Maturity.

In case you missed it: 

Part 1: 6 Indicators of an Organizations UX Maturity Level

Part 2: Consequences of an Underutilized UX Team

Context and Description

In this case study there was a large enterprise application that had not had a significant design “overhaul” for close to 20 years. The vendor of the software application still had significant market share, but was losing recent sales to “easier to use” applications.

UX was completely new to them in the sense it was largely seen as “making the screen design easy to use.” The methodologies, skills, and process were all foreign. Nevertheless, the leadership was behind bringing in outside experts for the application.

A professional high concept design was done and tested with users.

Results

The market response was positive and the product attained its key UX objectives (perception in sales, greater efficiency). However, upon execution of the application there was a realization that the “family” of related products also had some necessary changes in order for the overall product line to be successful.

While this was pointed out in the initial discussions, the business made the decision to focus solely on the one product.

Discussion

This demonstrates a number of factors that are relevant to the success of an adopting organization. In particular, the leadership and culture recognized their inexperience in UX practices and were willing to be led in an effective way to bring in UX expertise (with the caveat that the business goals were clearly defined). It was less about the skills available (In principle there were more available in the part 2 case study.) that led to significant improvements in the product and more about the utilization of those skills.

Even without a systematic undertaking in establishing requirements (i.e. there was no ethnographic research, interviews, etc.) and just going from the implicit requirements of the existing product and with a prioritization approach, it was still possible to make a measurable and positive impact with design expertise and usability testing.

There was a high degree of coordination of activities between team members on the engagement. The business, technical, and UX experts were in constant discussion about priorities, trade-offs, and the focus on overall business value.
So, despite being an “immature” UX organization going into the engagement they rapidly adopted a number of the characteristics of mature organizations – truly driven by their leadership. This established the emergence of a UX culture during the engagement.

In fact, this culture eventually led to reflecting on what was missing in the engagement (the consideration of the larger ecosystem) and led to an even more successful outcome. We will cover this more in part 4. This case study applies some of Edison’s most important and implicit tenets. A highly collaborative cross-functional team led to success. However, what it ignored (at least at the beginning) was the larger ecosystem context.

Continue to Part 4 where we cover the final case study in this series.

Part 4: Considering UX in the Whole Ecosystem



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Author Overview

Jennifer Fraser

Jennifer is Macadamian’s Director of Design and she brings more than fifteen years of experience working as an interaction designer. Jennifer has experience being thrown in at any phase of a project from discovery, analysis, and definition, to development and delivery. She works closely with clients to understand not only their needs, but also the needs of their customers. Jennifer has a holistic understanding of how to integrate design and development in an agile process, built on years of experience and much head banging (unfortunately not to music). She is a founding member of the Interaction Design Association’s Ottawa chapter and sits on the Design Advisory Board of Algonquin College. Jennifer holds both a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s in Architecture from Carleton University, which may, or may not, relate to her passion for designing and building cocktails.
Scott Plewes

As VP User Experience Design, Scott brings over 20 years of experience in understanding customers and how to incorporate their needs into software product design. He's put his skills to work on overseeing the user experience design of dozens of desktop, Web, and mobile applications. Scott holds a Master's degree in Science from Queen's University, and prior to Macadamian, he worked as part of Nortel's Usability Design Group. While Scott would have you believe he is an ardent NFL and NHL supporter, he is still a physics geek at heart. His secret passions include bad science fiction movies and even worse - action ones; and trying to understand Shakespeare… and failing badly. When Scott is not working he's either his kids personal chauffeur, or more likely sound asleep on the couch… the one hobby he has truly mastered.