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Winning hearts and minds: how to embed UX from scratch in a large organisation


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A talk I gave at UX Cambridge 2011 about my experiences of embedding UX in a large, public sector organisation.

Published in: Technology, Design

Winning hearts and minds: how to embed UX from scratch in a large organisation

  1. 1. Winning hearts andminds: how to embedUX from scratch in a large organisation Michele Ide-Smith UX Cambridge, November 2011
  2. 2. “As their usability approach matures,organisations typically progressthrough the same sequence of stages,from initial hostility to widespreadreliance on user research.” Jakob Nielsen
  3. 3. A bit of backgroundPhoto by Kaptain Kobold
  4. 4. About me Head of Information Interactive Architecture Production Started MSc in Web HCI Web developer accessibility UX Specialist1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Web Strategy Project Manager & Manager Information Architect Observed user testing Graduated with MSc in HCI
  5. 5. A revelation can become a passion
  6. 6. The organisation I worked for had tosave £160 million in the next 5 years
  7. 7. Costs per transaction• Face-to-face £8.23• Telephone £3.21• Website £0.39Source: SOCITM (Society for IT Managers), 2009
  8. 8. Technology Acceptance Model (Davis, 1989)
  9. 9. Making Council web services useful and usable saves public money
  10. 10. We came a long way in 5 years…2006 2011Occasional usability Dedicated UX Architectsurvey UX techniques and skills embedded
  11. 11. UX Maturity Model diagram from an article by @rfeijo We got to here
  12. 12. How did we get started?Photo by Sarah and Mike …probably
  13. 13. UX techniques are not hard to pick up
  14. 14. But knowing when and why to use them takes experience
  15. 15. Lesson learnt #1
  16. 16. Start with small butperfectly formed projects Research Improve Design Evaluate Prototype
  17. 17. Demonstrate the value of using UXmethods, however small the project
  18. 18. Lesson learnt #2
  19. 19. Some stakeholders have strong opinions
  20. 20. Data can speak volumes
  21. 21. Use data to tell a story about your users User testing / interviews Customer feedback Call centre stats Analytics
  22. 22. Lesson learnt #3
  23. 23. Highlighting poor design and content requires tact and diplomacy
  24. 24. Always point out something positive as well as the negatives Use familiar language e.g. ‘customer focus’, ‘customer experience’Photo by hatalmas
  25. 25. Lesson learnt #4
  26. 26. Find a UX Champion who can gain organisational support and resources UX rocks!!Photo by Dunechaser
  27. 27. Lesson learnt #5
  28. 28. If you have budget available anddecide to use external expertise
  29. 29. Find a supplier who’ll work collaboratively Work collaboratively And help transfer skills to in-house teamsPhoto by Lollyman:
  30. 30. Lesson learnt #6
  31. 31. The whole team can learn UX skills
  32. 32. Everyone in the team could use Analytics data or do an expert reviewPhoto by Oblong
  33. 33. Anyone can have design ideas
  34. 34. The person who created thesesketches had no prior UX experience
  35. 35. Developers appreciate design input when it makes their lives easier
  36. 36. Lesson learnt #7
  37. 37. Regular user testing is an invaluable way to get early feedback on designsPhoto by Kaptain Kobold
  38. 38. Recruiting users can be time consuming and expensive
  39. 39. Maximise opportunities to recruit users e.g. add a check box oncustomer surveys / feedback forms, or a question to the call centre scripts
  40. 40. Lesson learnt #8
  41. 41. It’s your job to sell the value of UX
  42. 42. Set targets and evaluate andbenchmark using consistent metrics
  43. 43. Lesson learnt #9
  44. 44. UX people should influence all areas ofthe business that impact on customers
  45. 45. Procurement decisions are often onlybased on cost and business requirements
  46. 46. Bad UX costs the business through increased calls to customer supportPhoto by ntr23
  47. 47. Integrate usability evaluations andaccessibility audits into procurement
  48. 48. Speak to customer support tounderstand customer problems
  49. 49. Lesson learnt #10
  50. 50. Standardising processes and templatessaves time and helps with a UX roll out
  51. 51. We integrated UX processes into Agile (Scrum) processes
  52. 52. Creating method cards helped develop UX knowledge and summarise when and how to use UX techniques
  53. 53. Method cards courtesy of
  54. 54. Leave room to experiment with newtechniques – don’t be too prescriptive
  55. 55. Lesson learnt #11
  56. 56. UX can become a full time job
  57. 57. It’s often only a small percentage of your job role
  58. 58. After 4 years we created adedicated UX Architect role
  59. 59. Developing UX skills, retaining talent and recruiting is hard work
  60. 60. Lesson learnt #12
  61. 61. Do you know who your users are?Photo by Joe Shablotnik
  62. 62. Work with data experts¹ to segment customers and help create personas,to enable everyone in the organisation to know their users1. Data experts could be market researchers or data analysts
  63. 63. Use personas to bring your user data to lifePhoto by Canned Tuna
  64. 64. We created personas with quantitativedata (demographic and transactional) as well as qualitative data
  65. 65. Personas inform service design, notjust website and application design
  66. 66. UX was being considered at each point in a customer journey
  67. 67. A team which collaborates and learns together can achieve great things Photo by Rob Young
  68. 68. UX adoption / maturity survey• Based on Human Factors International checklist (developed after 2009 survey)• 65 respondents, sourced from UX networks and groups (London IA, LinkedIn, Twitter)
  69. 69. Sectors
  70. 70. Organisation size
  71. 71. 46% Have executive support 30%At senior executive level (V or C level)
  72. 72. 8%Have UX governance
  73. 73. 24% strategy Have a published UX or vision statement 13% 19%Review or update State that UX is an it regularly organisational success driver
  74. 74. Most popular UX techniques
  75. 75. Most effective techniques
  76. 76. 16%standardisedUse the same shared /UX methods within the organisation 22% 11%UX research is a Have a published required step UX standard
  77. 77. 41% values andSaid their organisation recognises UX successes
  78. 78. 25%Define measurable success criteriaand performance metrics for everywebsite or application they develop 8% Measure and report ROI
  79. 79. 36% part ofSaid UX skills are a recognised their job description 38% 22% Have staff Provide training /dedicated to UX education for non-100% of the time UX staff
  80. 80. Challenges• Resources - limited resources and budget• Communication / education - lack of understanding of what UX is• Strategy – lack of UX vision; lack of mandate; de-centralisation leads to departmental silos; no centralised UX plan; UX as a ‘bolt on’• Change – fear of change
  81. 81. Top tips• Sell the benefits and value• Gain buy in and engage others e.g. observing user testing, sketching and ideation sessions• Go undercover• But at some point you’ll need to embed and formalise the process
  82. 82. In conclusion
  83. 83. “No matter how impassioned yourapproach, it’s impossible to take acompany straight from UX indifference toUX maturity. The demands are toodisruptive. Focus, as the undercovermanifesto suggests, on big changethrough small victories, slowly winningthe hearts and minds and convincing yourteam of the need for UX approaches .” Cennydd Bowles, James Box
  84. 84. Thanks for listening!Photo by brieuc_s
  85. 85. Get in touchMichele Ide-SmithUser Experience SpecialistRed Gate