Nurturing a UX Culture: Why Your Entire Team Should Practice UX Principles
Foster human-centred thinking across your entire organisation
When you think of User Experience (UX), you can’t help but think of the design. The term UX is synonymous with the practice of putting users at the forefront of design. But UX is so much more than just ‘design’.
It’s a science - a way of rethinking your customers and their needs, then building experiences that you know (thanks to user research) will serve them in the best possible way. In a business, UX vision helps shape the creation and management of products and services in a more human-centric way.
If you’ve ever spoken to the team at KOMODO, you’d probably think we were all designers. We all understand the UX process - and we employ UX thinking in everything that we do. From our account managers and business development professionals through to software engineers and, of course, designers, our entire team has adopted UX culture.
What is UX Culture?
The concept of UX culture is to embed the critical thinking that embodies UX designers on an organisational level. This means ensuring all team members are familiar with the process of UX - including elements such as:
Information architecture and hierarchy
Being ‘familiar’ with these concepts isn’t enough. A strong UX culture means anyone in your team, no matter their role, could confidently talk to a client about their business and make UX-based suggestions and insights.
Building a UX culture means your team isn’t just aware of UX - they live and breathe the analytical, curious and iterative nature of UX design.
What does this mean for your clients? If you have a successful UX culture, you’ll benefit from:
Teams unafraid to challenge ideas - UX culture means challenging ideas from clients or other team members. A strong UX knowledge base means every team member may have valid input to enhance the final product. Ultimately, the product is there to serve the user, and by having strong UX awareness across a team there are more opportunities to spot changes or fixes that will improve the UX.
Client relationships built on knowledge - many digital agencies work with their clients in a very loose sense. They sign a contract, appoint an account manager and do retainer work. A team with good UX culture will instead seek to work closely with the client - explaining decisions that design or development made with actual knowledge and insight.
Decisions made through clear reasoning - UX culture means every decision is made with UX principles and user-centric mindsets. It means that each team member knows each change or update must be done to improve the user’s experience.
Professionals who know how to change and adapt - having a UX culture embedded in the team gives your entire workforce a sense of adaptability. One of the key aspects of UX design is changing when it is best for the user and not being afraid to adapt.
Ultimately, UX culture is about being open to change and understanding that your users/customers shape your product.
Here at KOMODO, all of our team members are professionals well-versed in our own fields, but we are also willing to change the approach we may assume is best if we are challenged by customer data or user research. Therefore, we cannot be too proud to change either on a client or organisational level.
Put simply, we know that our customers and their end-users are the ones who drive how we work - and if we need to change things to better serve that, we can.
Building UX Culture
UX is about so much more than button sizes, colour choices and load times. It is a way of thinking - but convincing some team members to adopt UX-thinking can be difficult. Lots of businesses have employees who are resistant to change - so what can be done?
Delivering training to help skill up your team in UX topics is a good idea - but for those who are resistant to change, you need to keep training brief and make it valuable. Focus on UX principles and methods in short sessions and use practical examples with work your team will be familiar with.
Use your design team as UX advocates. Then, when they’re working with the wider team, you can have them explain decisions and show evidence of positive results (better time on page etc).
Host UX workshops to bundle lots of training into practical sessions. Use real tasks your team encounters regularly and show how to apply UX principles to them. At KOMODO, we use discovery workshops with our clients to help show them how UX is integral to every digital product - and we ensure every member of our team knows exactly how the workshop works.
Create regular cross-team meet-ups
One of the best ways to create any kind of culture in a workplace is to have all employees feel like they’re on the same page. Regular team catch-ups allow teams that usually work in silos to show what they’re doing, and share their expertise to create a great collaborative atmosphere. Unlike sending an email or memo for an office update, real team meetings give people the opportunity to ask questions, challenge ideas and feel collaborative - all key to UX culture.
At KOMODO we hold 5x5 meetings every Friday to keep everyone on the same page and ‘in the loop’. But don’t just take our word for it, we asked our Client Account Manager Phoebe Dowley to explain the value of 5x5:
UX Culture in Action
So hopefully, by now you understand that UX culture is a pretty desirable thing to have in a business. Working with KOMODO means you’ll get access to our entire team’s UX-driven knowledge base and skill set, which means your end-users get experienced UX methodology applied to their product.
But let’s cut the fluff - what does this look like, really?
Our work with a print company specialising in customised manuals for prestige automotive manufacturers made the team’s UX thinking truly shine. Elanders needed a digital product that could manage the customisation of manuals to specific criteria. Errors such as putting the wrong manual in a customer’s car could lead to heavy fines.
With that challenge in mind, we didn’t just look at the digital side of things. Instead, we used the concept of UX methodology to spot that not only were end-users involved in receiving manuals, but a silent ‘user’ was also present in the system and was causing errors. This was the picking and packing staff - whose needs were failed by the previous system, leading to human error in the process. By identifying this, we could design part of the system to give these users better ways to scan products and cut out manual errors.
That is, of course, just one example - but it’s a good one for showing just how nuanced UX thinking can be. Instead of thinking solely about what a project needs to ‘do’, think about who it needs to serve, how it benefits them and what it can do to improve their lives.
Begin Adopting UX Culture Today
UX is so much more than design. If you can implement the idea of a human-focused approach across your whole team, you’ll enjoy better customer satisfaction no matter what field you’re in. Better yet, embedding UX culture creates an atmosphere of collaboration, curiosity and invention - all critical to growth.
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