By Joakim Holmevi, Infomaker
The expectations from the users have changed since the beginning of computer technologies. Earlier, when a new technology emerged, the user’s customs were to measure features among different products. But the time has changed and in recent years we have seen a new paradigm on user expectations. The paradigm has changed from features to experience. If a product or a service lacks the expected experience, it will most often be the difference between success or failure. We can’t get away with just doing features, we have to meet up with the user’s expectations of a great experience.
Jared Spool explains the UX Tipping Point as the moment when an organization no longer compromises on well-designed user experience. He also proposes an evolutionary path for organizational UX design maturity that most businesses will follow to eventually cross the UX Tipping Point.
UX design maturity is the understanding of how the design elements actually play out a success in the organization’s products and services. There are five growth stages in the maturity of UX design:
The Dark Ages: Most organizations start in the Dark Ages. No one thinks about UX, nevertheless understands it. They build poor designs and deliver frustrating experiences. All resources go to business and technical needs, such as deliverance and features. There could be some sort of graphic design, which is applied after the development – just to make it prettier before a release. However, the priorities are to get the products out to the market before deadline.
To get to the next growth stage something needs to happen. Maybe a leader within the organization hears or reads about UX, or worse the organization loses a sale to a competitor with a better experience.
Spot UX design: Someone in the organization starts to create some unrelated UX project with successful results. This sometimes leads to hiring either a consultant or bringing in an expert of UX, and they start to change the user experience under the limitation from the already bad experiences. Often the designers lack the authority to make big changes that are needed, so the small UX projects only bring limited success. The problem is still the lack of awareness on an organizational level, so the timing of UX is still often too late in the development process, and often not conducted with the actual users. The features are also still more important than the overall experience.
UX as a service: It’s when a successful UX project produces solid, clearly identifiable results to the business that the awareness to adopt user experience design spreads across the organization. What happens is that the techniques change, and more teams adopt UX in an initial stage. The leaders start to invest more and UX design also becomes a team within the organization, now working as a service. This is the most common stage and is also called The Barrier because this is where most organizations get stuck.
Embedded UX design: When good UX projects keep bringing success across the organization, it will inspire leaders. The culture of the organization has also started to change at this stage. Most people are now thinking about UX and most leaders start to understand the importance of UX and how it brings huge impact on the business. The UX projects are now their own agile process and is also happening before the development. Incorporating user inputs is now a standard, even before the product is launched. Each team has different skills and tools to work efficiently with user experience design processes.
Infused UX design: At this point, even people that are not referred to as designers, start to understand the design decisions they take, and start to make better design decisions. They also fluently handle most small design challenges, without an efficient designer involved. The efficient designers instead get the time to work on the real problems. The organizational culture has now changed to a point where every department now thinks about the more unified user experience across every aspect of the organization. All products should feel unified under the same user experience, and customer experience is equally important as user experience.
The infused UX organizations are looking at all the different customer touch points, which doesn’t necessarily need to be a web site or an app. Non-digital service and product teams work together to provide a seamless, delightful experience for the customers, users and employees. At this stage, the UX investments can’t be separated from the rest of the organization. It happens everywhere and is now rooted in the organizational culture.
This is an excerpt of our Infomaker blog. Want to learn more? Read the full article here.
About the Author: Joakim Holmevi is head of user experience design at the core development branch of Newscycle, called Infomaker. He joined Infomaker as a developer and UX designer, and as his engagement in services grew, he urged to change the culture from delivering features, to an experienced company delivering lovable experiences. Before his college degrees in informatics and development, Joakim has been working as a photographer for almost six years, mostly for lifestyle magazines in Stockholm, Sweden.