Stage Two: Awakening
At this stage, the organization may be genuinely considering UX design with an eye towards improving it, but still with little formal structure. In fact there is probably significant misunderstanding of the real nature of UX design. Usually no UX professionals are in the organization, though an outside “guru” may be brought in or consulted from time to time. UX design improvements or insights gained during the product design phase only get implemented in bits and pieces in the final product.
Out in the marketplace, the products must still differentiate themselves primarily on functionality or other aspects of the business beyond the direct product experience. The risk of competitive displacement remains high if competitors can match the key value propositions while differentiating themselves on user experience. Organizations at this stage must decide to what extent they wish to invest in introducing formal UX processes and practices in order to forestall the competition.
Indicators Of An Organization At This Stage
You can tell that your organization is probably in the “Awakening” stage if:
• UX design is a “hot” topic of debate for at least some projects/products
• People are making design decisions or suggestions based on some article they just read, a conference they attended or their personal interpretation of Steve Jobs’ biography
• Most UX design activities involve design reviews with considerable discussion, yet frustration with the limited progress being made and disagreement on how to actually resolve UX design issues
• Most user “requirements” are confined to marketing input or functional improvements
• There is little user feedback or it is limited to asking users their opinions on design or functionality
• There may be UX design goals, but they tend to be quite general or hard to measure (“we want to win a design award”, or “the interface should be intuitive and straightforward”)
• If UX professionals are involved in projects it tends to be either one senior consultant or a more junior UX employee.
• There is inconsistent awareness and buy-in to making UX design invest- ments beyond a few people (or pockets of individuals in larger organiza- tions). critical success Factor to achieve the next Level To build on the beginnings of awareness, launch a pilot project, overseen by experts, with a clear connection between UX design goals and a business objective.
The bottom line on why very little good UX is getting out the door: despite glimmers of awareness, there’s just insufficient expert UX horsepower and no entrenched practices.
To read more, check out our whitepaper entitled A UX Maturity Model for Companies Seeking Competitive Advantage
About the Author
Scott Plewes is an expert in user experience design, user research, and incorporating the voice of the customer into product design. As Vice President of User Experience Design at Macadamian, Scott has 20 years of experience in the field of user experience design, working in both the public and private sector. Scott's experience covers the spectrum from desktop, web, and mobile experience design through to even command line and telephony design; and well as a wide range of enterprise and consumer products. Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org