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

Scott Plewes | Jennifer Fraser | August 20, 2015 | 3 Min Read

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.

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 reflect 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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