Top

5 Ways Agile UX Can Revolutionize Your Business

November 23, 2020

Understanding the power of UX design is no longer a matter of guessing, but of cold, hard fact. According to a McKinsey & Company study, companies that have welcomed UX design and leveraged its power have seen 32% more revenue and a 56% increase in shareholder returns over a 5-year period.

In this article, I’ll share five ways in which agile UX can impact your bottom line and totally revolutionize your business processes from top to bottom, by

  1. Mitigating risk
  2. Bringing business closer to users
  3. Minimizing response time
  4. Improving planning and delivery
  5. Enhancing accessibility
Champion Advertisement
Continue Reading…

What Is Agile UX?

Agile UX is the marriage of  agile software-development methodology and the principles of UX design. It represents effective collaboration between design and development teams from the early stages of a project. To better understand the overarching theory behind agile UX, let’s consider the main ideas of The Agile Manifesto:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

These ideas seem modern and progressive and promise to generate value, but as with most ideas, challenges arise when it comes to their implementation.

The most common reasons for friction on a project are differences of opinion, of background, and in the goals of different team members. To put this simply, team members usually talk in different languages. Developers talk code, functionality, and speed, while product designers talk design, ease of use, and user experience.

For agile UX to become a reality, product teams need to see eye to eye and understand that they have a common goal: creating and delivering an exceptional user experience. Sometimes, product teams get caught up in their own little world, forgetting that they are actually building products for people. In most organizations, user experience is an afterthought—a discipline that deals with aesthetics and high-level design.

In today’s world, UX professionals are hoping to bring down that notion and make it very clear that agile UX is more meaningful, impactful, and purposeful. The discipline of UX design is fundamental to the success of any online product or service and is responsible for things such as feature architectures, layouts, and microinteractions.

How Agile UX Can Revolutionize Your Business

Theories and principles are great, but what really matters is actionable advice. Let’s look at five ways in which agile UX can optimize your business.

1. Mitigating Risk

Reducing risk is one of the main principles of agile UX. Involving the development team earlier in the design process lets them share their input with you, as well as knowledge that could impact critical design decisions. Bridging the gap between design, development, and business goals immediately reduces a project’s risk and helps you avoid undesirable, unexpected results.

The main goal of agile UX is minimizing risk by validating ideas in the fastest, cheapest ways possible, without your team having to actually build the product. Mitigating risk helps your business

  • trim the fat from a process that could cause internal friction
  • align product teams on common goals
  • promote collaboration over competition
  • decrease risk factors in the product-development process
  • build what your customers actually need
Champion Advertisement
Continue Reading…

2. Bringing Business Closer to Users

In agile UX, the people who actually end up using your product or service are the ultimate stakeholders—not the project leader or other participants in the project. The entire philosophy behind agile UX is bringing the user closer to design and production and placing the user at the center of creation.

What would you do with neatly written, perfectly functioning code if it didn’t serve the actual needs of the user? On the other hand, what would you do with a breathtaking design that doesn’t function properly? The answer: not much. To address these questions, you must design a great user experience for a functional product and, in doing so, bring the business and the user closer together.

Agile UX aims to create designs that people both like and understand. The personal preferences, strong opinions—which are not based on facts—or egos of your team members should never influence design solutions. The sole aim of the process of design should be to fulfill the users’ wants and needs. By putting users first, your business can

  • become more customer centric
  • create a common goal and target for all team members
  • focus its product-development process

3. Minimizing Response Time

Being able to respond to customer needs in a timely manner is one of the most important aspects of business operations. Agile UX lets you react in constructive ways to new sets of rules, new situations, and new data. Adaptation and adjustment are abilities that can propel your business to new heights.

The business environment is as dynamic as it has ever been, so having the ability to create internal processes that are not bogged down by paperwork is key. Having developers and designers work together under the principles of agile UX minimizes an organization’s response times, increases business value, and helps you deliver impactful products. Being able to respond more quickly to changes in your business environment

  • helps your business to innovate
  • creates competitive advantage
  • enables you to develop a strong company culture that is agile enough to evaluate and respond to unexpected situations
  • provides a framework for handling high-pressure situations

4. Improving Planning and Delivery

Planning and delivery are all about the ability to land on a moving target. No matter how much time a team allows for a project, their deadlines are just a guesstimation exercise in most companies. UX projects are no different.

Budgets and timelines are the most common hurdles for UX-project delivery. With agile UX, however, things improve. The collaborative, iterative, and feedback-based nature of agile UX gives teams greater transparency and enables them to provide more realistic deadlines. Better planning and delivery can help your company

  • improve their client relationships by delivering projects on time
  • make more effective use of internal resources through better-coordinated efforts
  • avoid wasting time and resources

5. Enhancing Accessibility

Accessibility refers to the humanization of a product or service by considering people with disabilities and how they would interact with it. For most companies, accessibility does not rank high in their priorities. This is not because of a lack of compassion in most cases, but a lack of organizational structure.

Ad hoc UX design does not support the iterative process of incorporating user feedback, during the early stages of product development. The result is typically products that fail to take into consideration the following:

  • social relationships
  • vision
  • thinking
  • learning
  • communicating
  • remembering
  • hearing
  • movement
  • mental health

Creating a culture that prioritizes accessibility is not easy. It starts with implementing policies, hosting courses, and hiring people who possess the skills necessary to implement accessibility. Enter agile UX.

Agile UX provides the bedrock, the foundation that a company needs to introduce a culture of accessibility, as well as transformational agile UX practices. Teams that work together—rather than putting pressure on developers alone—are better able to achieve meaningful results on this front. Benefits of enhancing accessibility include the following:

  • Accessible products increase a company’s market reach.
  • They improve the brand’s image and strengthen its voice.
  • This lets you create more human, marketable products.
  • It shows that a company is inclusive of everyone, not just the majority.

Takeaways

That’s it. These are the basics of agile UX for you and your business.

By no means is implementing agile UX an easy feat. Nor is this something to which you can take a plug-and-play approach. For any brand, this requires strategic and tactical business decisions and takes time, resources, and dedication to yield results. In summary, agile UX

  • bridges the gap between development, business, and design
  • strengthens the connection between the business and users
  • creates flexibility and allows more meaningful responses
  • provides a solid foundation for accessible products
  • builds a stronger, more united company culture 

Chief Creative Officer at Very Big Things

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Renato LopezRenato has more than ten years of experience providing creative project management, aesthetic design, and strategy management to drive business development and client satisfaction. He understands the need to balance project objectives with creative aesthetics. In 2005, Renato began building his skills by attending the Sheridan Technical Center’s Multimedia Design Program. He worked in graphic and Web design for six years before becoming Creative Director at several large organizations, including a venture-capitalist firm from 2016–2018. Renato joined Very Big Things in April 2018.  Read More

Other Articles on Agile UX

New on UXmatters