UX researchers must frequently deliver bad news to the creators of products and user interfaces. After we’ve conducted expert reviews, competitive analyses, usability testing, or user research, the end result is often telling our clients, stakeholders, designers, and other project team members about all the problems we’ve found in their product. Even though this is what they asked us to do—and what they expect—listening to a long list of their baby’s faults can be demoralizing.
Yes, we do try to balance our negative criticism by also highlighting some positive aspects, but most research findings tend to be negative. After all, the goal of research activities is not to confirm how great the user experience already is. The goal is to find problems and areas for improvement. Yet, despite the fact that we deliver bad news all the time, it often feels awkward and uncomfortable. Usually, the people in the room have created the problems your research has identified. While most people take it pretty well, some won’t like what they’re hearing and will blame the messenger.
People tend to become very attached to the fruits of their labors, so hearing criticism of their work really can feel very much like having someone say their baby is ugly. Read More
Metrics are the signals that show whether your UX strategy is working. Using metrics is key to tracking changes over time, benchmarking against iterations of your own site or application or those of competitors, and setting targets.
Although most organizations are tracking metrics like conversion rate or engagement time, often they do not tie these metrics back to design decisions. The reason? Their metrics are too high level. A change in your conversion rate could relate to a design change, a promotion, or something that a competitor has done. Time on site could mean anything. Read More
Throughout my career as a user experience designer, I have continually asked myself three questions:
What should my deliverables be?
Will my deliverables provide clarity to me and their audience?
Where do my deliverables and other efforts fit within the spectrum of UX design?
I have found that, if I do not answer these questions prior to creating a deliverable, my churn rate increases and deadlines slip.
When attempting to answer the third question, I use a framework I discovered early in my career: The Five Competencies of User Experience Design.PDF This framework comprises the competencies a UX professional or team requires. The following sections describe these five competencies, outline some questions each competency must answer, and show the groundwork and deliverables for which each competency is responsible. Read More