The Pathway to Successful #UX Projects

by Karyn Zuidinga

on April 22, 2014

In a recent post "What is UX?" I made the bold claim that good user experience can drive amazing results for your product or service because when you know what people really want and put that all together in a coherent experience you’ve created the space where magic happens.

The pathway is simple:

  1. Do the right user research and also figure out what the business needs
  2. Develop a UX plan or strategy to support both user and business needs
  3. Design (structure, content and visual) to support the plan

But it’s not for the faint of heart. Doing user research can expose unexamined assumptions, a UX strategy that’s based on research may cause a rethink of a business strategy, and the design process requires engagement, its not a passive process that can be done in isolation.

In discussing these ideas of diving deep into the research, being open to the strategy findings, and being willing to grapple with design, people often ask what do they need to know to prepare to engage UX services and what makes a good client or stakeholder.

Assuming you are working with people you trust who are experienced UX professionals, then there is nothing you need to do except bring a willingness to truly engage in the process and to ask questions, even the ones you think are ‘dumb'.

The worst thing that can happen in a project is a disengaged stakeholder or client. UX, that creation of a holistic experience, is transformative. I have seen not only fantastic results from the initial project, but often an amplifying follow-on effect from a successful UX project. For a team to feel they have the freedom to unleash their creativity, to be open to a transformation, they have to feel that the leadership is engaged with and open to that process.

The second worst thing that can happen is the fear of asking the ‘dumb' question. In my experience both as an instructor in UX and as a UX practitioner, I’ve never heard a ‘dumb' question and never experienced a situation where there were not at least a few others in the room who wanted to ask the same ‘dumb’ question. I’ve also experienced how a discussion that follows a ‘dumb’ question can shed light, unlock key ideas, and take a project from average to exceptional.

How can you ensure your UX project is successful? Engage and ask questions, even the ‘dumb’ ones.

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