Organisational and cultural transformation in Business Agility

The UX, UCD and HCD code explained

User Experience has become the solution focused end of User Centred Design, being based in normal practice on usability, accessibility and user research over time.

The Term User Experience/User Centred Design and Human Centered Design are interchangeable because the International Standard changed from being User Centred Design to Human Centered Design.

Some Background

In my other posts it should be clear by now that I have been involved in what now called UX for some considerable time. I have previously mentioned how UX moved from the strategic and its equal status to enterprise architecture into software development and becoming visual design for a time. Well it’s on the move again, just as UX incorporated marketing components with repeatable science at its outset and seeded Agile with user stories and human context, so now it has moved into organisational and cultural transformation.

Organisational and Cultural Transformation

There are now in 2019 many people talking about organisational and cultural transformation and change however it is clear that what they mean is everyone below the C-suite needs to change. However organisational and cultural transformation is the whole organisation otherwise it is just a rebrand without actual change. More especially culture is born from action not just intent and this is what organisations who want to change are discovering. They want to take their staff on a transformation journey and to evolve their engagement not simply recasting them with new role titles and responsibilities. They also expect to evolve the transformation in flight gaining a true understanding of what already works well and folding it into the new culture. This kind of transformation takes a highly adaptive and pragmatic mindset in its leadership and enablement.

Organisational Design

The historical focus of organisational design has been to establish one standard structure across a whole organisation. The value of this is to standardize command and control mechanisms which is supposed to simplify reporting and oversight. It forces all work through it regardless of its priority or type of work it is.

The old four types of organizational structures are;

  1. Functional Top-Down
  2. Divisional Structure
  3. Matrix Organizational Chart
  4. Flat Organizational Chart

However the New Ways of Working in adoption of HCD, Agile, Lean and DevOps don’t utilize these structures. In fact instead of starting with organizational structures it focuses on work to define the structures needed to deliver it. This is very intensive consulting activity and often led by external consultants not vested in internal politics and previous alliances.

And this explains why most new organisational transformations will fail before they start because they are focused on hierarchies not getting work done efficiently with a culture that rewards and honours people who deliver.

Karl Smith

Work Formats

The common structure of work is linear and directional often following the concepts of grouped specialisations handing work to each other having completed their activities. This creates a slow flow of work with bottlenecks around capacity. When unexpected work arrives and depending upon its priority it can destroys the whole flow of work and create ripples impacting the whole organisation. This behaviour with work is derived from industrial production techniques often related to the Ford production model of manufacturing.

In adoption of HCD, Agile, Lean and DevOps, work types are defined first and then the organisational structure is derived from the work types. The consultancy around the organisational design should be unique to each organisation in order to both facilitate taking porfilio work into viable and validated and measured delivery.

Psychology of Transformation

In large organisations there have been lots of transformations and people are used to dealing with them, adept at absorbing language and funds without actual transformation or the derivative cultural change. So as far as possible the psychology of transformation is defensive for the mainstream of organisations. Delivering long term cultural change therefore requires a top down adoption in order to establish an authoritative perspective of We Change rather than You Change.

In new ways of working YOU change is not the way to succeed it must be WE change together

Karl Smith

Human Centred Organisational Design TOM

At this point I’d normally publish the exactly how to do it, but to be honest in the wrong hands it’s a stick of dynamite, so I won’t just hand it out. Below is the Portfolio Planning for Business Agility for an Organisation focused on a Work Type Taxonomy rather than hierarchies.

Business Agile activities at Portfolio Level

If you’d like like to find out how to do this from someone who’s done it in an organisation with 80,000 staff contact me.

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Paradigm Interactions Market Entry and Capability Building Consulting

Paradigm Interactions is involved in Strategic, Tactical and Operational market entry and capability building. Often this will involve embedding people into organisations to deliver the required change or to drive adoption of a new way of working to become effectual.

Case Studies

  • Accenture EUX – Capability
  • Wipro Digital – Market Position and Entry
  • Decision Point AI – Market Position and Entry

Accenture Enterprise User Experience (EUX)

Back in 2010 the world was changing and the big corporate world knew that Customers (targeted, with money to spend) were fatigued from bad real world experiences and moving to online experiences that were as bad. They were asking their corporate consultancies for support and those tax and management consultancies provided people who had no design backgrounds, no user experience background and no research background who where trained to be the expert from afar but never held accountable for outcomes to end customers before.

Around this time we were courted by Accenture, PwC and KPMG, EY were not really involved in digital at this time. Each had their own rational for what they wanted and why, but also they saw UX as a production skill not a strategic one. While there was a massive influx of graphic design into the field at that time, most of the pretty graphic UI’s failed to aid the actual experience as they were skin deep and did not tackle the end to end (UI, logic, ETL, process, latency, integrated support issues etc) experience that UX actually covered and still does for professional practitioners.

We reviewed the various offers pros and cons and went with Accenture because they were willing to let us build a capability rather than just a body shopping function. Accenture accepted that UX required two types of people with very different mental models where conflict is normal. UX people from the usability and research side able to create solutions and graphic designers from a digital side also able to create solutions. This conflict between ‘what users need’ and ‘what users will adopt’ was combined with ‘what the business needs’ to establish Accenture EUX globally.

The work started in 2011 and was complete in 2012 by Karl Smith. What was established was a new hiring protocol focused on specialist skills over the generalist policy at that time for consultants and new role profiles for EUX. New hires were locked in through a salary that would allow them to live in London and have money over at the end of the month. However it was double the standard salary for these type of roles in London at that time. A new funding model was created so that EUX staff would have hardware and software needed to do their jobs without seeking project funding and sign off, a common consultancy practice at that time. Additionally a co location space was established along with the attributes of a digital agency feel (in a corporate office). A great deal of time was spent creating internal marketing material around the services and engaging cross verticals on any opportunity that would require a great customer or user experience.

Also there were a number of strategic M&A activities going on at that time so ultimately the plan was for this group to join Fjord as part of its hands off engagement with Accenture through Accenture Digital.

EUX is still in use within Accenture as a descriptor of this capability.

Market Entry and Capability Building continued.

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Founder and Thought Leader

Karl Smith is a Founder and Director of The Human-Centered Design Society which is directly involved in central government policy in The House of Commons and The House of Lords through a number of committees including Associate Parliamentary Group for Design and Innovation. The British Computer Society has acknowledged him for his contribution to User Experience as a discipline with a Fellowship – FBCS.

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#UX #IoT and #Blockchain with #KarlSmith of Paradigm Interactions Inc

, , and with Karl Smith of Paradigm Interactions Inc.

Karl Smith is an inventor of open network UbiNET which he has patented and a holistic transformation consultant more involved with how humans have to deal with technology than the technology itself. Karl Smith is also former Global Head of Mobility User Experience at Accenture and Partner (founder), Global Head of Digital Design at Wipro Digital, current Chairman of the Human Centered Design Society and has relaunched or launched Design as a USP in several global enterprises.

Karl has always been fascinated by how technology can augment the lives of humans, his desire was not to build things that humans already do but to find out how technology could evolve all human experience. He is still looking for the Gene Roddenberry future today where humanity pulls together and projects all of us the next stage of evolution. Transformation is at core of this evolution; he’s highly engaged in Ubiquity or the IoT as it is a gateway point.

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#Situational #Awareness #Shopping

#Situational #Awareness #Shopping

Consider, currently we see things we want to buy through advertising or by seeing it in films or when around other people or places.

Why not; while having a coffee with a friend in their house you see a nice bowl and you say ‘buy bowl’. Your personal IoT ecosystem checks the area and finds three bowls, it asks ‘white bowl’ you say ‘Yes’ the bowl is ordered based upon your personal preference which could be Speed, Price, Colour or anything else, for this scenario it’s Speed it locates the nearest supplier and orders it for immediate delivery. You carry on chatting and the bowel is delivered to your home and waiting for you when you get home. Payment is automated, you unpack look at the bowel and say ‘Great Condition’ feedback allocated.

There are more scenarios in our Open Networking Ecosystem Protocol Patent which will be published soon.

Situational Awareness Shopping #UX

I’m just going to get this out there because there is a great deal of lying going on that IoT does not affect the UX profession and E-Commerce business.

IoT system design does not require UX wireframes as the are no GUI’s

The IoT is a complex ecosystem that not only changes interactions but also removes many of the common processes that have been adopted by people to use technology.

Situational Awareness Shopping #UI

Graphic User Interfaces are not a consideration for the IoT as the interactive methods used to select and buy are no longer through container websites, advertising (as a separate activity), payment gateways or any other existing copy of a shop.

digital versions of shops are irrelevant in a society run through situational awareness.

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5 User Experience (Customer Journey) lies, damn lies and absolute myths

1. Anyone can do user experience, nope!

I meet a lot of people claiming to do user experience, process and deliverables aside, they don’t have a usability background so they cannot do user experience.

User experience is a solution capability based upon usability principles and research findings not design aspirations

User experience is a solution capability (not all usability people can do user experience) based upon the experience of conducting usability testing and user research. Usability testing and user research provides the standards and experience of the user that is needed to understand their perspective, elicit the correct (there are wrong ones) requirements in workshops or testing and represent them in projects.

I met (in 2006) a UX expert, I’m always worried when I meet UX experts, because I am a UX expert. Anyway she was moving from Razorfish into the freelance world for the big bucks and working a large project for Honda cars through a digital agency. Unfortunately she did not know how to use any software apart from word, so I checked her out sure enough she was a PA at Razorfish not a UX architect as claimed.

This happens so often it’s shocking, my favourite one has to be the PHd student I met working as an accessibility consultant repackaging W3C guidelines as work for several agencies. What I love about this guy is he does public speaking and has even done UX London and people wonder why I’m not interested in these conferences!

There are loads more fakes some of them milking huge daily rates from major companies, as these companies don’t do any checking it’s their own fault, but it makes me quite sad that clients and employment agencies can’t tell the quality from the junk.

Not only is the user experience world full of fakes, I’d go as far to say that of the people I’ve met in the last 13 years involved in UX;

80% (8 in 10) of UX people are fakes and have no idea what they are doing

These fakes can certainly sell themselves and get work (now in some very senior positions) because the clients did not then and still don’t know what they should be getting out of a user experience professional.

2. User experience can be learned from reading books, nope!

Absolutely read books, but read lots of them, but don’t quote them like the Bible that’s a bit odd. But reading about someone else’s experience does not mean you have any or in fact really understand the context or scope of those experiences.

Do some testing and research, I’m seeing a great deal of roles advertised for UX researcher or UX workshopping this is a great concern as the priority of discovered requirements and their interrelation is almost impossible to communicate in written documents. This critical project information should always be available.

Separating UX research from the UX solution activity may make sense for IT activity but for User Experience Professionals it does not

I assume this was a bright idea of someone who doesn’t actually know anything about UX regardless of their job title.

3. User experience is an IT activity, nope!

User Experience is not an IT process, it starts in the business area before IT is involved

I know a lot of company IT departments have tried to subsume User Experience into their IT process; user experience is considerably less effective this way.

User Experience leads the projects speaking for the End User Stakeholders (customers) as the Business Stakeholders speak for the Business

User Experience fits better into Agile DevOps, Change Management, Operations or as separate Standards Authority within organizations.

4. User experience is a design activity, nope!

Not exactly no, it sets the project brief and requirements then latterly gets involved in research first before creating solution concepts, user testing concepts then defining the final solution.

If there is no research, user experience solutions are not possible

5. The cost of user experience is going down, nope!

Perhaps a better understanding is that the market is flooded with willing bodies, the quality goes down and so does the price because people find it difficult to sell invisible clothing (the kings new cloths) even to people who like the colour and the cut, so accept a reduced price.

So the value of the job title is going down.

User experience should provide major cost benefits and advancements to companies who wish to stand out from the crowd, provided they find people who know how to do UX correctly.

This is the same problem that Agile is going through, people have picked up the language and use one or two of the activities incorrectly but don’t exceed the current status quo because they don’t know how to.

Great Agile is fast and accurate, flexible and delivers usable software and change, just as Great User Experience should provide the experience that customers want and allow them to interact with the client, accurately and often.

Great User Experience delivers increased transactions, interactions and communications towards relationship building.

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#UX #ROI, every dollar spent on UX brings in between $2 and $100 dollars in return

Every dollar spent on UX brings in between $2 and $100 dollars in return.

This is gained by spending on UX not making things look pretty, it’s not graphics its making the product, service or information system meet the business KPI’s and the customers expectations, desires and needs.

Forrester Research finds that “implementing a focus on customers’ experience increases their willingness to pay by 14.4 %, reduces their reluctance to switch brands by 15.8 %, and boosts their likelihood to recommend your product by 16.6 %”.

Making things for Users/Customers makes the business relationship are real one rather than just some marketing hype.

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#Recruiters requesting #UX #portfolio #breach #IPR

Recruiters requesting a UX portfolio can cause a breach of Intellectual Property Rights

So I posted this as an update on LinkedIn I got some great responses from people who read their contracts and got a whole load of really negative responses from people who did not understand the statement so I will try again here. I make no legal determination as part of this post, I am simply reporting an actual event.

The Background

First off this is from several actual experiences, years ago in one instance where a recruiter was found to be in Breach of Contract as the Contractor they supplied held on to client work (not in the public domain) and digitally published it as a portfolio breaching the Intellectual Property Rights of the Recruiters end Client. My involvement was discovering the content, explaining the context to legal teams and later hearing about the results.

The recruiter settled out of court, they were sued for $610,000,000, they paid $9,000,000 on the Government Contract, I don’t know what happened to the contractor, their portfolio was shut down in 10 minutes by the server company (a very well known one) after they were contacted, they also supplied a list of every IP that had visited the site.

This is About UX not UI

Second this is about UX not UI if you don’t know the difference here is post explaining it The User Interface (UI) is not the User Experience (UX).

So what is in a UX portfolio?

Method Statements
Research Raw Data
Research Analysis and First Findings
Market Research
UX Research
Business Research
UX Requirements Specification
Key Interaction Models (also known as Eco-systems)
User Logic Models
Demographics and Personas
UX Innovations based upon Insights from the Data, for Interaction Behaviour, Market Targeting/Capture, New Products or Services
Proposed Human Centered Business Models
UX Recruiting Protocol
UX Concept Testing Methods
UX Concept Testing Analysis
Project Concepts
Interaction Design
Interaction Design Testing

If you understand what UX is then the statement below seems quite reasonable.

The customer experience becomes the intellectual copyright of the client company, showing how it works to anyone opens up an unlimited financial risk to anyone who sees it. Hiding the client name is less important than exposing details of the customer experience that has been created.

One caveat to the above statement, clients cannot own the moral rights unless stipulated in the B2B recruiter contract and the contractor sub-contract, they remain as a veto for the contractor. Also the methods and IP of the contractor don’t become property of the client or the recruiter unless the contractor agrees and is paid for them (a separate contract, from their service contract, with another and more substantial fee).

If a recruiter requires the viewing of confidential information in their role adverts, they are liable as a participant in the contract breach.

Jophy covers it really well here in his update, in the corporate area information security is critical in UX projects disks are required to be wiped after projects and are subject to random checks by security. Having a copy of a project that has been completed for a client or that you leave is considered to be a form of theft.

Jophy Joy UX Information Security
Jophy Joy UX Information Security

When recruiters ask for portfolio’s it would be better that they stipulated personal projects only. Or that they change their contracts to allow contractors to show the work they produce as part of their portfolio.

In turn the contract between the clients and the recruiters will need to be changed as that is the point at which a breach is determined to have taken place from a client perspective.

Todd Zaki Warfel said portfolios aren’t the problem.

I recently interviewed a few MA grad candidates. One of the best portfolio reviews came from someone who’s showed 2-3 personal projects. We use the review sessions to dig into process and the candidates thinking and doing. Having them use examples they are intimately familiar with is a good way to gain insight.

And that kind of exposes the problem, the recruitment industry has built up with a reliance portfolio’s when experienced recruiters prefer to understand the candidates skill, than look at a portfolio of things the candidate may or may not have created.

I’m only providing this information to help people, if you don’t want to know, then fine. Please don’t respond with self righteous explanations of why your practices are safe, just enjoy your view of the sand.

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#UX #Designer waste of money for #Clients

How do you design experience UXD?

You can design a framework or architecture but the experience in UX is in someone’s mind and in their emotions, if you design people experience its a crime against humanity

UX research or UX analysis all make lots of sense but UX design does not, but the real point here is the breaking of the UX process in to sections. The practice of breaking the process is clearly done by people who don’t understand it.

I keep meeting UX researchers who are excited that I am recruiting UX people, but to me not being able to do the full process creates too many limitations on them as viable UX people. Apart from the obvious inability to pass critical information at role breaks;

why should my clients pay for limited people when one component when a holistic UX person can cover the whole process?

UX facilitation and research is the fun part and everyone wants to do it, analysis is quite complex if it happens at all, but converting the concepts from the analysis into features and behaviour is the critical component.

Defining the interactive framework and delivering it through wireframes or interactive modelling is an architectural activity as it relates to creating multiple routes that enable different kinds of users to acquire information, products or services. UX does not do graphic design, get a Graphic Designer (this is a highly skilled role separate from UX) for that and avoid anyone who says they can do both because they are divergent mental models to they won’t be highly skilled in both.

experience cannot be designed you can only open access points to having an experience

Experience is personal to the user, so UX Designers do not exist.

Ignorance is Common

The term UX designer UXD comes from a basic ignorance of what UX is and does,

UX is a scientific process not a design one

The other foolish thing clients and recruiters ask for is a portfolio, in effect asking people to breach NDA contracts by keeping copies of other clients work and their sharing it with potential competitors, really not smart at all.

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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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#UI and #UX are not #interchangeable

It’s just the most embarrassing thing to hear intelligent people say UI/UX. It makes professional people cringe because your left wondering should you care that they are exposing ignorance or just let them get on with sounding like an idiot. I mean their ignorance is not your responsibility after all, or is it?

So what’s so bad? Well not knowing that UI is a tiny subset of UX should not be that bad?

It’s the total lack of knowledge that irks, I think. I mean when you first went to school there was always some kid who thought it was funny to pee in the middle of the class room. You look at those who can’t tell this difference between UI/UX in the same way. It’s very funny for kids, but you are wondering why they persist in peeing themselves in public. It’s almost as if its now their party trick and they are scared they won’t get attention otherwise.

Maybe in this respect ignorance is bliss but for everyone else they seem like a slightly odd child.

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Interview with a #User #Experience #Guru part 2

User Experience (UX) why is it important?

User experience is so important because it enables client companies to get to the heart of their relationship with their customers without the marketing glamor that hides how they really feel and what they really experience. Client companies spend a great deal of money creating myths about what they do and their relationship to their customers but they also need the reality that user experience research brings.

Ultimately user experience is about the ability to make decisions based upon re-creatable rigorous scientific research (avoiding one person’s view) involving real customers to create actionable information for design and the businesses strategic and tactical objectives.

Real user experience should be at the heart of the client company making the alignment between them, their products and their customers. User experience can also be the starting point to create new business opportunities changing the client company’s future or creating entire new companies.

So you can change the future of a company or create new ones with User Experience (UX)?

Yes, in some way because user experience is seen as something new or an add-on many people are missing the point. User experience picks up on that entrepreneurial aspect that few people have by enabling client companies to rapidly test and distill (through user requirements) the few great ideas from the thousands of ideas that enable them to engage with and transact with their customers, build trust and establish relationships or become iconic service or product supplier.

So User Requirements are the critical bit?

Yes, if you can work out what does the customer want to do and how do they expect to acquire products or services then the market is predefined and ready for engagement.

Are User Requirements hard to find?

Ha, ha, you mean is there an easy way to find them? One of my sayings is ‘something new for the sake of something great’ some requirements seem obvious, but when tested with real customers are worthless. Other user requirements are only revealed in user research; I often find killer requirements in user research that make projects from a basic fix into a game changer. In one project I found 12 user requirements that would have made the software system better than the market leader ($150m to install) but not all the requirements made it into the build.

So not all User Requirements make it into the project, why?

Partly it’s business and partly it’s personality. The business part is cost and time, there may only be a specific remit of the project defined by a static cost and a static delivery date. In these circumstances un-used requirements are allocated to later phases in a logical way so that they add value. The second part personality goes to the expert culture, where people in a project team purposefully ignore or seek to limit user requirements because they want control, be seen to lead or be the expert. It’s quite sad as the expert culture is responsible for the 70/30 (though I think it’s more 90/10) where 70% of all technology projects fail. If people could be more objective and listen to the two expert groups the client company and the customers then we could change that ratio significantly. Unfortunately the expert culture will do almost anything to protect itself from be relegated to a mediator, even if that is it’s most effective and beneficial role.

When User Requirements don’t make it into a project does it affect the client outcomes?

Yes always, sometimes quite dramatically.

I worked with a digital agency (on another project) where they built a social network for a huge multinational. It was filled with lots of fun flash games based around a well-known household product. The client remit was we need to be involved in social media, the agency did no user research and the client company never asked for any. The result was a £1m spend on a social media system that had 88 (44 from the project team) people sign up.

The best way to understand this problem is to ask clients;

  • Do they want to have a go?
  • Do they want to fill a gap?
  • Do they want to capture a market?
  • Do they want to be iconic?

The 90% attitude is to have a go and they fail their original outcomes (but usually change the outcome to get something), 7% will fill a gap (because it’s new territory and they can’t qualify success), 2% will capture a market (but not hold it long, because they rest when they should push on to iconic) and 1% iconic because they got everything aligned before going to market.

What happens to the people who reduce the client outcomes and limit User Requirements effect on a project?

This depends on what the client company expectation was. Many people go on as if it’s normal to not deliver advantage then wonder why clients move to new service providers. I have provided consultancy at both ends of this spectrum. I offer vendor consultancy to see if the consultants who make the pitches actually have a considered (around the client) process or are just shoveling the same stuff for everyone. And looking at delivery divisions to see if they are fit for purpose in that area I have had people promoted and other fired for incompetence.

When working with developers my question is always ‘your changing the user requirement now embed in a design (for whatever reason) if the project fails because of this change, you will be fired, do you still want to make the change?’

This goes to the heart of requirements they are not opinions they are instructions, changing them should be at the peril of the person who changes them, there should always be a risk associated with a single perspective change.

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Being asked the #UX #Point of view #POV exposes #ignorance

The UX point of view is;

we have no point of view

that’s the point of UX (in fact it’s been created that way) any person who can offer a UX point of view (without actual user and business perspective) is not a UX practitioner.

I get really concerned when I’m asked for my opinion;

by people who say they understand user experience

my opinion is of no importance in regard of delivering my clients a system designed to engaged with their target audience.

The target audiences and individual users expectations, experience, desires, tasks, objectives, capabilities are of the utmost importance, but to assume I know what they are without any research, is just dumb.

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What is a #User in #Professional #UX?

What is a User in Professional UX?

Below is a simple guide to find out if you have users involved in your project.

  1. A person who is part (employed or service team) of a contracted consultancy – IS NOT A USER
  2. A person who is part (employed or service team) of a client company project team including sponsors and stakeholders – IS NOT A USER
  3. A person who does not represent the primary targeted audience (based upon user screening protocols) – IS NOT A USER
  4. A person who does not provide an independent non partisan (providing both positive and negative experiences) view – IS NOT A USER

If your user falls into any one of the above groups of people they are not a user and your not doing user experience.

There are a number of other pointers to work out if your results have been skewed to fit a perspective or project politic.

Everyone said the same thing about their experience

This is statistically impossible, they could say a similar thing, the exact same thing is a fix to match a personal agenda or a perspective.

We got very positive feedback

This is impossible, feedback by it’s very nature is both positive and negative, both are critical to get a balanced view.

We passed usability testing at 95%

This is impossible, usability testing is not a pass or a fail. Usability testing is designed to find faults and is conducted throughout the project not just at the end. If there was a success factor for usability testing it would be to find lots of faults in time for them to be corrected.

Watch out for these and others as you gain experience.

Unfortunately many people are missing the point of USERS.

UX practitioners are not interested in users opinion they are interested in users experiences, filtered through testing scenarios and biographical behavioral templates.

UX practitioners don’t do market research (opinions) they conduct user research for pre-referenced (easily adoptable) psychological design.

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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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Welcome to my blog

About Karl Smith

Karl Smith works globally with directors, stakeholders and customers of multi-national enterprises across all verticals and technology stacks whose focus is on new concepts and capabilities that drive customer engagement, interaction and retention.

He creates digital companies, strategies and services that drive customer centricity into the core of client companies, that in turn enable them to realise their ambitions to engage with and establish a consistent two-way communication and interaction with their customers.

These new companies and capabilities are underwritten with tailored blue sky work, digital strategy, management consulting and program planning fitting to tight timescales, strategically correct, fully featured, useable, governable, scalable, efficient, end to end business propositions, service designs, applications, integrations and software systems.

Karl Smith Practical Skills

He is a highly competent, personable, creative and motivated person with a keen insight and definition ability. He is a critical thinker and able to rapidly discover the essence of problems then define, communicate, create buy-in and deliver end to end digital and process solutions. He positively motivates those around him and is able to engender a great team dynamic by leading from the front. He has business experience since 1989 at comparable levels in fields including defence, industry, energy, pharmaceutical, biomedical, construction, fashion, finance, banking, FMCG, property, publishing, healthcare, travel, policing, crown office, local and central government. He has specialist banking experience with investment, private, commercial, business, trading, wealth management in Europe, USA, China, Australia, Japan and Russia.

Karl Smith is a Founder and Director of UCD UK Conferences.

Karl has worked with several companies to define for launch or redefine their service offerings, business structures or digital presence including;

  • Avaloq AG – Setting up enterprise wide adoption of design thinking principals, master plan delivered in just two months.
  • Wipro Digital – Launch Wipro Digital, Design Thinking, Service Design, Creative Technology Services, User Experience Strategy, Creative Design Services, M&A Designit – 2014
  • Accenture – Launch of Enterprise User Experience, Digital Services Launch, M&A Fjord – 2012
  • Pearson Publishing – Digital Services Restructuring – 2011
  • Deutsche Bank – Self Service Paradigm Shift – 2011
  • RBS – Risk Management – 2010
  • The Oxford University Press – Mobile First Digital Strategy – 2009

Karl Smith has a wide experience in management consultancy and digital technology including business management, start-up, business strategy, digital strategy, advertising, customer experience, user experience, productisation, governance, change management, project management (waterfall & Agile), enterprise architecture and project definition, design, optimisation, delivery and digital marketing. He has been honoured by the British Computer Society for his eminence and significant contribution to the fields of UCD and User Experience with a Fellowship.

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#Agile #User #stories is a #UX #method

User stories is another name for a Cognitive Walkthrough

I have been involved in Agile for a very long time, mainly because it uses methods from the human computer interaction scientific process (CHI/HCI).

I’m surprise no one else has blogged about the use of CHI/HCI processes in Agile before, but though I should say something as I keep getting told that it’s interesting how many CHI/HCI people have embraced Agile. In fact it’s the other way around

Agile has imply appropriated UX techniques that have new Agile names

The main one is User Stories; they are in fact a reuse of the Cognitive Walkthrough, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusion.

Cognitive Walkthrough

Cognitive Walkthrough is a method utilised to express how the system works from a user perspective it exposes potential usability failures and defines happy and unhappy pathways

The method starts with a task analysis that specifies the sequence of steps or actions required by a user to accomplish a specified task. The system response to each action is noted. The designers and developers of the software then walk through the steps as a group this enables an agreed view. They ask themselves a set of defined questions at each step to determine all the potential outcomes. Afterwards a report of potential issues is compiled and the project team has a clear focus on the various user pathways including happy paths, risky paths, error paths and failure paths.

User Stories

User Stories are a quick method to determine the who, the what and the why of a business requirement and are produced in a narrative format as if a user was walking through their use of an interactive system

User stores are written at two levels Epic Stories that define groups of functionality (registration) and User Stories that define a single piece of functionality (sign in).

User stories are written by the product owner (an Agile tile for stakeholder or product manager) a user experience architect or a business project manager (not a scrum master) or the development team when they break down stories that are too large (these are then confirmed by the product owner).

The method starts with defining the Epic stories, then breaking these down into smaller stories that relate to an encapsulated (self standing) component. In design and development these stories can be parcelled to the various specialisations including user research (end user validation, How It Works), visual design, user experience design, back-end development (feature and service delivery), security and front end development. These stories will have their interlinks (to other components) stubbed out until those stories are built and can be integrated.

Agile + CHI/HCI = User Centred Requirements, Human Centered Design and Human Centered Development.

They are not exactly the same but the essential method is,

  1. think like a user
  2. describe what you can do
  3. build the system that enables a user to complete a task or aquire a feature

 

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5 #UX #lies, damn lies and absolute #myths

1. Anyone can do user experience, nope!

I meet a lot of people claiming to do user experience, process and deliverables aside, they don’t have a usability background so they cannot do real user experience.

User experience is a personal capability (not all usability people can do user experience) based upon the experience of conducting usability testing and user research. Usability testing and user research provides the standards and experience of the user that is needed to understand their perspective, illicit the correct (there are wrong ones) requirements in workshops or testing and represent them in projects.

I met (in 2006) a UX expert, I’m always worried when I meet UX experts I don’t know, because I am a UX expert. Anyway she was moving from Razorfish into the freelance world for the big bucks and working a large project for Honda cars through a digital agency. Unfortunately she did not know how to use any software apart from word, so I checked her out sure enough she was a PA at Razorfish not a UX architect as claimed.

This happens so often it’s shocking, my favourite one has to be the PHd student I met working as an accessibility consultant repackaging W3C guidelines as work for several agencies. What I love about this guy is he does public speaking and has even done UX London and people wonder why I’m not interested in these conferences!

There are loads more fakes some of them milking huge daily rates from major companies, as these companies don’t do any checking it’s their own fault, but it makes me quite sad that clients and employment agencies can’t tell the quality from the junk.

Not only is the user experience world full of fakes, I’d go as far to say that of the people I’ve met in the last 13 years involved in UX;

80% (8 in 10) of UX people are fakes and have no idea what they are doing

These fakes can certainly sell themselves and get work (now in some very senior positions) because the clients did not then and still don’t know what they should be getting out of a user experience professional.

2. User experience can be learned from reading books, nope!

Absolutely read books, but read lots of them, but don’t quote them like the Bible that’s a bit odd. But reading about someone else’s experience does not mean you have any or in fact really understand the context or scope of those experiences.

Do some testing and research, I’m seeing a great deal of roles advertised for UX researcher or UX workshopping this is a great concern as the priority of discovered requirements and their interrelation is almost impossible to communicate in written documents. This critical project information should always be available.

Separating UX research from the UX solution activity may make sense for IT activity but for User Experience Professionals it does not

I assume this was a bright idea of someone who doesn’t actually know anything about UX regardless of their job title.

3. User experience is an IT activity, nope!

User Experience is not an IT process, it starts in the business area before IT is involved

I know a lot of company IT departments have tried to subsume User Experience into their IT process; user experience is considerably less effective this way.

User Experience leads the projects speaking for the End User Stakeholders (customers) as the Business Stakeholders speak for the Business

User Experience fits better into Change Management, Operations or as separate Standards Authority within organizations.

4. User experience is a design activity, nope!

Not exactly no, it sets the project brief and requirements then latterly gets involved in research first before creating solution concepts, user testing concepts then defining the final solution.

If there is no research, user experience solutions are not possible

5. The cost of user experience is going down, nope!

Perhaps a better understanding is that the market is flooded with willing bodies, the quality goes down and so does the price because people find it difficult to sell invisible clothing (the kings new cloths) even to people who like the colour and the cut, so accept a reduced price.

So the value of the job title is going down.

User experience should provide major cost benefits and advancements to companies who wish to stand out from the crowd, provided they find people who know how to do UX correctly.

This is the same problem that Agile is going through, people have picked up the language and use one or two of the activities incorrectly but don’t exceed the current status quo because they don’t know how to.

Great Agile is fast and accurate, flexible and delivers usable software, just as Great User Experience should provide the experience that customers want and allow them to interact with the client, accurately and often.

Great User Experience delivers increases transactions, interactions and communications towards relationship building.

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#Holistic #UX #Customers don’t think or interact along #channels

Business management does not reflect customer (users) activity

The management of a businesses online presence is broken up into various channels in order to simplify the management, responsibility and accountability for overall effectiveness and value. However customers (users) are unaware of these business rules and are only focused on their task or tasks, which will cut across several channels.

Holistic customer (user) experience is cross channel

Given the behaviour of customers (users) it is clear that effectual user experience is cross channel as well. This creates some problems for business, however with the advent of Agile, user stories it may be time for businesses to at last really focus on their customers (users) by changing their online management to reflect key user pathways rather than holding on to legacy notions of management.

Customer experience an example (not everything)

1. Engagement > 2. On boarding > 3. Payments > 4. Servicing > 5. Supporting > 6. Retention > 7. Up/Cross Selling

  1. Engagement – how the customer finds out about the company, where their expectations are set (also includes brand identification) and they self filter based upon personal tasks and objectives
  2. On boarding – agreement that the company provides the service required, through written and visual material, social media, personal recommendations, reviews, sign up routes
  3. Payments – payment or funding pathways related to e-commerce, m-commerce (including micro payments)
  4. Servicing – providing the goods or services, delivery and tracking
  5. Supporting – providing help and support both online and telephony (can complete servicing)
  6. Retention – managing potential loss of customers, analytics, advanced planning
  7. Up/Cross selling – data mining existing customers to up or cross sell other products and services to existing customers

For a customer this process can take hours, days, weeks, months or years and contains three key user experiences;

  1. A transaction (engagement, on boarding, payment, servicing, support)
  2. Customer relationship management (on boarding, payment, servicing, support, retention)
  3. Marketing (engagement, on boarding, retention, up/cross selling)

These experiences cross relate as can be seen by their components.

Managing the web in a holistic manner reduces risk and lowers cost

The problem remains at present that the customers (users) experience is supported by multiple sub-systems with owners and their own agendas.

Digital channel management costs a huge amount of time and money and creates a great deal of risk that valuable customer activity will become secondary to internal politics

There needs to be an importance given to the customers overall experience and the need to join it up in terms of user experience, visual appearance and standard interactions across multiple platforms and systems.

Related

 

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#UI is not #UX

There seems to be a huge level of confusion around user experience (UX), but one of the key things is that the user interface is not the user experience architecture.

  1. User Interface – what the user sees
  2. Interface Logic – what the user can do
    • Logical connections
    • Interactive behaviours
    • Content/data calls
    • Content/data inputs
  3. Data Systems – the content the user creates and interacts with
  4. Platform – the users delivery mechanism

Difference between UI and UX

user experience is defined by what users can do, not just what they can see

If you are paying for UX you should be asking “how did the UX change the interaction, logic, data systems and platform” if it did not influence it, you only got UI design.

The user interface is the top level component that users see.

The user experience is not a single component it is a set of features that is facilitated through several components.

An update about paying for UX, as business start to recognise that visual tweaks to a product after the solution stage are not enough for savvy consumers.

 

 

Also the non-system elements – customer service, marketing and POS material (is this consistent with the message being communicated on the system) etc.

The customer, client or worker doesn’t see the difference – they see one big system.

It is often frustrating to do a piece of research and find out all the weak points in an organisations’ “system” and be told, just tell us what the UI needs to do. It is a rare job indeed that they are interested in the other non-system fail-points of the user experience.

 

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#Information #Architecture (IA) is not another name for #User #Experience (UX)

IA is not another name for UX

User experience (UX) and Information Architecture (IA) are very different and have separate skill sets, processes and outputs.

I often talk to people who add IA on the their CV as if it’s some simple skill;

IA is actually more complex and difficult than UX

IA is also hundreds of years old as an activity while UX is less than twenty in it’s current form.

  • Information architecture is involved in the classification and structure of information.
  • User experience is involved in; defining who the audience is, what they can do, how they can do it and matching the aspiration of the content provider with the desires of the audience.

Related

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Getting #UX done the UX #engagement #process

UX is a highly complex set of research tools and outputs, the use of which is dependant upon time, cost and the clients willingness to accept them.

Question 1, why are you there?

If the client were to think in best practice terms which for them would deliver exactly what they require then everyone would have a great experience of the process. Unfortunately it is pretty much a given that clients want to prove themselves knowledgable about well everything, in control and this is one of the main problems. I often hear clients say “I understand our users” or “I built this company so I know what users want” maybe they did or used to, but the fact they have called in an agency or consultancy means they don’t anymore. What clients mostly mean is I have my agenda and I want you to listen to it and agree with me. That way is the road to mediocrity.

What does the client really want?

It’s worth at this point asking the client what they want out of the process. If they only want a pat on the head and to be told they are great, best to give them that, do the job get paid and don’t put it on your CV.

If the client (really) wants their products or services to have higher impact, increased transactions, market share and gain advantage, then explain what your doing, how they gain and that great ux will fundamentally change how they work.

Question 2, what does your client understand about what your doing there?

UX is not UI, the experience is not only the interface, it’s what you can do with the interface, what tasks can be completed, what data can be inputted, transformed or called into the UI.

The real pitch for real UX.

The pitch to a new client is not we can make your product or service like your competitors it’s “we can make your offering stand out from the crowd”. Great ux is about shouting over the noise and changing the rules, “don’t catch up – great ux creates the opportunity to jump ahead”.

Question 3, how will your client know they have succeeded?

This is not a KPI hunt, clients are not really interested in you proving success, they already have their own success metrics, strategic plans and objectives they need to report up the chain. They may not be able to directly tell you as these things are highly confidential the important thing from an engagement perspective is can you work them out? Then can you articulate these back to the client in ux terms.

The real job of ux, find out about the users.

The real job of ux is to align the business with the users, from the user perspective. Users ask “what’s in it for me”, “what do I personally gain”. This means that user research is required by the clients customers, in order to work out what they want for from the business in order to take up their services or buy their products, how they will want to interact and what they will give the business for a relationship.

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UX Triangle becomes Bermuda Triangle

The UX Triangle

The UX triangle is supposed to focus a project on the relationships involved in a project and how everything is centred upon the users.

The UX Triangle shows the key relationships and participants in a user experience project. The outer participants are the Business (strategic and corporate), IT services (design, delivery and infrastructure) and Marketing (driving relationships, market knowledge and acquisition). Centred on User Experience (UX) and focused on the User.

User Experience Triangle Failure

It’s almost as if User Experience needs to start from the beginning again, because the essential component is missing in so many critical projects because there is ‘No Budget’.

If you don’t have the budget to do;

  • user requirements gathering
  • user concept testing
  • user prototype testing
  • usability testing

then your not working on a User Experience project.

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How to #Hire a #Director of #User #Experience

Like my last post How to Hire a Head of User Experience this post is not intended to supersede the experience of a really good HR or employment agency person but to bring clarity around the differences in the roles.

A Director of User Experience is not really the next level on the business ladder for a Head of UX or a lead user experience or senior user experience person.

The reason is that it’s a business role with little or no actual practical activity in the UX domain. A Director of UX is someone with an extra level of expertise related to management, finance and corporate control. Not for the faint hearted, or someone with their own start-up looking to add a title, they simply won’t last, because they don’t know how to deliver. Nor in fact is it for an MBA because they just don’t get UX, they tend to think it’s an IT or design thing and that is the sort of incomplete view that makes UX fail to deliver.

If Director of UX is not about UX what is it about?

A Director of UX is a public speaker, advocate, able to compromise to see the business succeed, set the standards, deal with the flack and drive the business into a higher level of intimacy with their customers. A lot of these things are unpalatable for a fervent practitioner, but are daily life for a Director.

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