4 Ways to Ensure Corporate UX Failure

UX is all the rage and everyone is gobbling up not only the hype, but also the “talent”. I put talent in quotes because I was air-quoting and didn’t feel it was fair to the audience that they missed it.

Why the air-quotes, Chris?

Because talent infers that there are really that many pros out there that are experts in a field that popped up out of nowhere. The truth is over 95% of the UX people are really UI people. And over 90% of the UI people are just regular designers that changed their resumes and LinkedIn profiles about 1.5 years ago so they could get a better and more meaningful job.

There, I said it. I fully expect that the haters gonna hate; so I left plenty of room below to throw your fit. You’re welcome.

Can we get on with the 4 ways?

OK… here we go…

1) You have no idea what UX really means.

So you hire a person that has interface design on their resume as the qualifier that they are aa expert in the field of User Experience. You also don’t give them any power over anything in your organization outside of the company website (and maybe a mobile app).

Know what it is you are trying to solve and who the right person is to solve it. Educate yourself and leadership about UX.

Let’s assume you have a real UX person that has direct influence over your website, customer service programs, brand communications, mobile apps and a plethora of other touchpoints… all of them to be precise. Here are the other 3 roads to UX failure.

2) Company expectations were never defined or explained to others.

You’ve hired a UX guru but never explained what it is you expect from them. Furthermore you’ve never defined what their role would be in advance of their arrival with the rest of leadership. Your Marketing Director has no idea that she actually has to run things by the Director of UX. Your Customer Service Manager doesn’t even know who or what UX is; and they don’t care. Chaos and finger-pointing ensues.

You must find a way to get all departments on board and working as a team effort.

3) Your company finances were not prepared for the endeavor.

Everyone wants to say they are a user-first company. Unfortunately, few companies can really commit to the budgets that preempt a full frontal UX assault, especially when they are fixing years of you not having someone in charge of user experience.

User stories, brand communications reviews, creative meetings, hours of discussions to align departments, new positions that need filling, and training… lots and lots of training. These things cost money. Rehab is expensive.

You must properly vet your new UX person and create a cohesive plan with timelines. Some things may have to be put off until there is budget for it. Other items may need to pull budgets from the departments that will benefit from the improvements.

4) You have little or no KPI’s for great UX established.

OK, your commitment was true. You went above and beyond lip service. So you spent a ton of money and time and resources getting your company’s UX in order. What was/is the ROI? No one can answer that except for the UX guy right? Will their explanations be acceptable to your CFO? Or is it just a gut-feeling thing? Or is it just a waiting game? If you’re really lucky, it’s just one of those things you’re committed to (Like your Bowl Game sponsorship).

Discussing KPI’s and goal measurables before starting any project (UX or not) is always the right thing to do.

As with any new paradigm, UX is young and growing. It needs time to mature; and we all need to be forgiven for past and future blunders. These are just a few things I’ve noticed in the last few years. Hopefully this article helps.

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