In case you missed the introduction to this series, you can read it here.
We collaborated with our stakeholders during the following activities to increase their commitment to acting upon the study recommendations:
• Initiating and attending meetings
o We identified the right research needs during planning by attending and initiating ongoing meetings. The types of meetings we initiated were high-level and tactical research planning and updates.
o Literature (Sharon 2012) has also indicated that is it helpful to attend weekly product management meetings and weekly engineering leadership meetings. This could have helped us to understand what was going on within the internal stakeholder team, the dynamics between stakeholders, and what was currently an issue and why.
• Triaging and prioritizing study findings
o Together we agreed on the prioritization of usability findings and recommendations and discussed why it is important to fix them and how each one might role out in upcoming versions of the software.
o One author (Dirks 2008) states that the ‘pay now or pay later' rule applies: do not make the mistake of sweeping big issues under the rug and working only on a numerous minor, cosmetic problems.
• Finding and empowering a UX champion
o A UX champion ‘can be found at all levels on the organization chart, but they need to have sufficient authority to impact change’ (Dirks 2008). Our champion is an IM/IT Manager who leads a team of developers and is influenced by the strongly opinionated internal user population, who did and continues to demand to be involved in the project.
• Creating usability bugs
o Together we discussed and are proposing the idea of creating a form for user input regarding usability issues with the new design. This would identify usability bugs and provide the internal team steps to resolve each of them. A form for user input allows usability problems to be ‘visible beyond findings in reports and presentations’ (Dirks 2008) from our initial evaluation of the design.
• Pressing the flesh
o We spoke to key stakeholders and project team members regarding the project findings. At that time, it was vital that we maintained our good working relationship and credibility and did so by learning to speak in terms familiar to developers and other business decision makers (Dirks 2008).
From involving and collaborating with our stakeholders on this project, we have begun to see signs that the research from this project is being used well. Signs, such as those listed by Sharon (2012), have been that the research is consumed, budget is allocated for more research, findings are long and lasting, trust is established, and skeptical stakeholders have become believers. All signs that we have done our job successfully!
Sharon, Tomer (2012). It’s Our Research. Waltham: Elsevier.
Dirks, John (2008). Turning Usability Findings into Design Changes. http://www.blinkux.com/insights/newsletter/following-through/
About the Author
Anneliis Tosine is a User Experience Researcher in the UX Team at Macadamian. Anneliis’ background is in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on clinical applications and user-centered design.