Every month in my column Ask UXmatters, our panel of UX experts answers readers’ questions about a broad range of user experience matters. To get answers to your own questions about UX strategy, design, user research, or any other topic of interest to UX professionals in an upcoming edition of Ask UXmatters, please send your questions to: [email protected].
The following experts have contributed answers to this month’s edition of Ask UXmatters:
- Carol Barnum—Director of User Research and Founding Partner at UX Firm; author of Usability Testing Essentials: Ready, Set … Test!
- Caroline Jarrett—Owner and Director at Effortmark Limited; UXmatters columnist
- Janet M. Six—Product Manager at Tom Sawyer Software; UXmatters Managing Editor and columnist
Q: How do you deal with a client who wants to focus on only one aspect of your UX design solution?—from a Ask UXmatters reader
“The short answer: Enthusiastically embrace their desire to focus on User Experience at all,” replies Caroline. “The longer version: For many years, I believed that it was my duty as a UX professional to train my clients to embrace the whole of User Experience and see things my way. Eventually, I came to realize that as UX professionals, we need to work hard on the user experience of User Experience. One of the things I had to learn was that, if a client has a clear vision of what they want or believe they want from their UX efforts, the least I can do is respect their views.
“That doesn’t mean I would confine myself entirely to giving them only what they want. I try to have a yes, and mentality—although the actual way in which I’d express that view would obviously depend on the circumstances. For example:
- Yes, let’s definitely find out which color your customers would prefer. And while we’re doing that, would you mind if I took down a few notes about whether they’ll consider using your product?
- Yes, of course, we can learn about that aspect of your service by doing a survey. And as preparation for that, let’s follow survey-methodology best practices and do a couple of interviews on the survey topics first.
- Yes, I’d be delighted to set up a usability test for that new feature. And would you remind me whether people can use that feature separately from everything else?
“When a client simply doesn’t want to follow the yes, and approach, I’m trying hard to learn not to push it. Maybe if they find out what they want to find out about today, they’ll consider a wider focus tomorrow. Maybe they won’t. At which point, I gently remind myself that every consultant needs to reread Jared Spool’s ‘Beans and Noses’ every now and then.”