Can real #UX be done in a #global #consultancy?

As with Agile, UX has suffered fools having a go and failing.

Focusing on titles, roles, activities or outputs misses the essential process that has not been applied by qualified, able and intelligent people who are able to deliver. No amount of talking about wireframes without understanding that anyone can produce a wireframe, just like anyone can produce a presentation can reduce the risk of confusing a delivery mechanism with the deliverable itself.

“Wireframes are not the deliverable in UX”

The deliverables of UX are the user research, business research, domain research, usability, accessibility, site architecture, enterprise architecture, data architecture, control language, logic model, engagement model, commerce model  that are communicated in wireframes and functional specifications. This is the story of industrialisation vs. quality. The battle is as old as time big companies want to commoditise services, but some services just don’t fit that model.

“UX is client (audience) specific not consultancy specific so cannot be industrialised”

So while client companies appear similar they are not and their UX cannot be packaged and mass re-sold to other companies. If the ethos of the big consultancies cannot work with UX, what can?

The only thing that can make UX work at enterprise level is a change of ethos driven by “clients not willing to accept the same results” as before.

“As with all business real UX demand will create real UX supply.

The recent changes in the service market where small agencies work on huge corporate accounts, is a clear indication that clients want customer/user experience strategy, customer/user focused projects and high quality visual design as part of all their projects. Companies are committing to engaging, usable and effectual experiences for their staff, partners and customers. And global consultancies are on catch up.

The key thing must be can global consultancies deliver actual UX?

More and more are being found out for pushing graphic designers on to client’s as UX people but they just can’t deliver the ROI required.

More importantly than the deliverables what will the global UX leadership be?

Leadership in UX is critical as it sets the agenda for service offerings, promotion and recruitment. And because there are so many people taking UX who clearly don’t have a clue, what happens if one of these people gains control of UX in an enterprise? My experience of fixing companies after such things is every talented person leaves, just like they do in a buy out. The only recovery point is to get rid of “the director” and start again.

The question to all global consultancies must be,

“how many times can you start your UX offering again, before you lose the confidence of clients”

very few I suspect.

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#UX and #Development cannot exist in the same #Agile workstream

“UX and Development cannot exist in the same Agile workstream” might sound like an outlandish claim but if you fully understand, it’s obvious. Forcing things to work as with the picture above is not a good idea.

Can UX be Agile yes, of course in so far that all the effort and artefacts required to deliver UX can exist in an Agile UX workstream.

UX includes user research, user requirement, KPI’s, system-wide taskflows, concepts, concept testing, persona definition, user roles, user journeys, usability and accessibility standards, sitemaps, key pathway wireframes.

Development can also be Agile, but not all of it, infrastructure and front end need to be in separate workstreams.

The simple way to express this is to talk through backlog items in a greenfield system;

The user can login…..

  • UX will take days
  • Front end will take weeks
  • Back end will take months

The problem is not size it’s Trajectory and Dependencies;

  • UX = T small, understood activity : D access to target audience to validate success and failure paths
  • Fe = T mid, may need investigation : D access to dummy credentials store
  • Be = T long, will require architecture to respond to scalability and bandwidth changes : D modelling data, server set up, pen testing

Once there is a fuller understanding of these very different aspects of defining, designing, building and deploying it’s become clear that these areas have common points but cannot be run together as and Agile project and to tell client’s that they are is not true.

Agilists don’t call this blind behaviour Agile, we call it Fragile (When Agile becomes Fragile nobody Wins) as we know it will shatter at the first problem.

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O2 support has awful usability

O2 gets points for trying

I like other users were quite happy when O2 decided to spend some time and money to tie together their various online systems to at least give the appearance of a unified system. You can tell it’s all user experience and no information architecture though, everything links so there are no dead ends, unfortunately the information being sought is missing it’s an annoying merry go round.

Lucy help box in O2O2 fakes live support

The thing that I cannot think of an excuse for is an automated support search tool built to look like live support. Dear Lucy you gave me hope, then you took it away, you made me think O2 cared about me and the business I bring them. But no your not real your a search tool, that’s not really all that good. Changing interactive and interaction metaphors is indeed very brave and extraordinarily stupid as it aggravates users. For users in a support system the normal response is to look for another service supplier or phone up to vent on someone.

Still at least there was a feedback form for me to say how pathetic the experience was. Feedback form for fake live support

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