#UX101: Bringing UX to your organization

You’re passionate about UX, you’ve “drank the Kool-aid” and you know how much value user experience design can bring to your company. Now what? How do you promote UX to decision makers and stakeholders? here’s some thoughts and advice as to how to work within your organization to get UX more attraction and interest.

Know your organization’s “UX Maturity”

Johnny Holland published a great “UX Maturity” chart, that measures the levels of understanding and application of UX in an organization. It goes from Level 1 (“Unrecognized”) to Level 6 (”Embedded”). Knowing where your company is in this continuum will help you know the level of discourse and education you need to have, so you can speak to the value of UX at the proper level to the right people.

Nothing succeeds like success

The easiest way to get attention to UX is to be successful applying UX to a project. After you succeed, you then have a story to tell people and this case study can help increase interest in applying more UX principles. If you are not in a position to apply UX to a paying project, do it on an internal effort – solve some process problems or improve deliverables. Even if you can’t make a big impact, the key is to build your case and have a story to tell – as noted earlier, we are hard-wired to respond to stories and this makes things easier.

Don’t try and do it all 

Take baby steps, and use only one or two UX techniques to solve problems. This way you can be more focused and won’t be “swinging for the fences” on your first at bat. Build your skills, and successes,one step at a time.

Understand how things are being done now

Spend some time learning current processes to get a good sense of potential “insertion points” where UX can add value or save time. This will show management you know what you are talking about, and therefore increase your credibility when you propose changes.

Get an executive “cheerleader”

If you have the buy-in of an executive, that is worth its weight in gold. Executive support can get you funding, break down barriers, and help you in many many ways. I have seen just how important such support is first-hand… when I had it, and when I didn’t. Reach out to an executive to make your case and get that support if you can.

Apply UX in the early stages of a project

If you are working on projects, bring UX practices into the early part of projects instead of later. When you are in a project’s early days, the tolerance for failure is higher and deadlines are (usually) not as aggressive… so if the UX practice you apply doesn’t work, there is less chance the application of same will blow up in your face and give UX a bad reputation to management.

Don’t be discouraged 

Organizations large and small are established in their ways, and many organizations are reluctant to change. When you try and “rock the boat” and do things differently, you will see first-hand that hesitancy. Sometimes you will think you are banging your head against a brick wall… don’t let it get to you. Keep trying to make UX a priority at your company, and be positive as much as you can.