An interview with a #User #Experience #Guru

User Experience (UX) looks pretty simple can anyone do it?

No it’s a skill and knowledge based activity, I look for communicators with formal science qualifications (BSc, MSc or PhD), standards knowledge, creativity and genius level intelligence.

Wow you need to be a genius to do User Experience (UX)?

Not exactly, but it helps. User Experience is a complex translation process, requirements are tested with users and transformed. These user requirements are then filtered through standards and then transformed again into concepts. The concepts are then transformed into functional and non functional specification (mostly as user stories) which are transformed again into wireframes, annotations and models. Finally developers build UIs supported by User Experience which are then tested by User Experience.

All of this must be conducted under strict scientific rigour and be repeatable by another User Experience practitioner. Most people who say they do User Experience simply can’t do this process.

But everyone’s opinion is important?

No they are not. Think about it why are companies looking for User Experience (UX)? It’s because they recognise that they need to build experiences that their customers want to have in order to have an active and continuing relationship. If you recognise this is a relationship between a business (that is the brand, ethos or product capability, not people) and end users or customers then they should be given equal priority in the project. Business requirements plus User requirements become project requirements.

How do you get this equal priority?

The business will have clear objective and sometimes an overarching strategy so usually that is clear. But end users and customers require user research by an experienced non partisan User Experience practitioner. Ultimately the level of risk on non adoption, training required or out right ridicule (by the public on social media) has a direct inverse relationship to the amount user research conducted. Projects with User Experience people on them but no user research have a 70% failure chance compared to projects with scientific rigour having a 30% failure chance. The 30% comes from stakeholders or other project team members changing things to fit their opinion after UX has completed their work.

So are UX people always right and other people on a project team are wrong?

No not at all, User Experience people are not speaking for themselves or protecting their design, they speak for users and the best alignment of the users experience with the business.

More of the interview to follow in Part 2.

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