Austin, TX – Thursday June 14th
The Challenges of Integrating Usability (Panel)
Panelists: Laura Seuschek (K12 , Inc.), Mary Beth Rettger (MathWorks, Inc.), Sean Fitzpatrick (Aquilent), Beth Toland (Revolution Health)
The following are the suggested solutions to the questions posed by the panel moderator and the audience. Each of the panelists have different backgrounds working in different situations, so their solutions to a problem may contradict each other. Please contact Laura Seuschek (firstname.lastname@example.org) with further comments, questions, or suggestions.
Challenges getting traction for UX:
- Increase visibility. Provide consistent deliverables both in time and form
- Understand business language. Learn to talk the talk.
- Have an advocate.
- Change the language of the discussion from business or statistics to User Experience vocabulary. That is the language we are fluent in and can defend.
- Create and maintain channels of communication both into and out of UX to start conversations
- Bring in the users. Good PR for UX.
Rapid Expansion Causes team isolation and break down of process:
- Get a seat at the table early
- Try to reclarify company and group processes to identify the problems
Qualitative vs. Quantitative data. Why is UX data valid?
- Use academic and accepted usability field research as foundation for justification
- Don’t talk numbers if it is not your strength
- Bring nay-sayers in to watch a usability test
- Research is cumulative. Results of a test aren’t just those results but an analysis based on as accumulation of insights and experience from all past research
Who can see\use the data? When?
- Hire a research and data coordinator for the company to deal with this issue
- Attach a UX team member to the data to help with interpretation and proper usage
- Discuss results upfront to try and prevent overreactions. Use other metrics to balance results
Customer communication (blogs, groups, wikis) is being monitored and causing overreactions:
- Allow and encourage user to user communication. They can help each other put out fires to company doesn’t have to scramble every time for small issues.
- Encourage users to step up as in product community in “leadership” roles. They will help the customer base and be an advocate.
- Create a template and database to log all complaints. Give each a ranking so most important will be dealt with first. This will slow the process to a manageable speed.
- Give an outlet to users to complain but prepare the company to deal with the results.
Budget \ Time \ Resources – How to deal with these factors:
- Don’t over-stretch. Do only what you can do. Work only on priorities. Gaps and pain-points will be felt more strongly and then resourced.
- Core UX skills are not technology dependent. Without the resources just figure it out. Be inventive, flexible, and creative. Focus on methodology.
- Don’t spend time on embellishments.
- Tie research to highest risk areas.
Explaining the usability intangibles:
- Use common language to help developers “see” the user experience. Parables, stories, etc…
- Decisions are not based on tests. Decisions are based on the analysis of information which comes from a test.
- Give examples of when statistical data does not show the real picture and field testing will
Marketing usability internally:
- Put up posters of research results on the walls and in the lunch room
- Give the UX team a brand
- Use and socialize UX vocabulary and language
- Make the information interesting. About the user not just about bug fixes.
- Create a team culture and wear it proudly
- Send internal emails with research results
- Market to the VPs. Let UX staff talk and present to senior staff.
- Bring in the users. Connect the developers to the end user.
Iterative Design vs. the need for rapid development:
- Build iteration into project development from beginning
- Give immediate debriefs
- Get UX involvement from start of project
- Do some internal selling and set realistic time expectations
- Show results, even incremental
- Create Hollywood prototypes to placate
Visibility after project finishes:
- Have an advocate
- Train an evangelist
- Train developers in basic UX processes and ideology
- Provide tutorials, templates, and workshops
- Tie product success to UX
- Match UCD standards to other company standards to show group is aligned with company goals
What does a UX team do?
- Focus on strengths and expertise of the group.
- Focus on priorities and resources
- Socialize what the team can and will do
- Accommodation is a slippery slope
- Have a slush fund. 20% (?) of your time to do projects you want to do and you think are important. Pet projects. Professional development. Etc.
- If you have to say no, give other options on how to get the job done without direct UX involvement.