Oscar Wilde said, “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Mistakes are a great source of learning for us. I often tell people or organizations I am advising that I frequently know more about what you shouldn’t do than what you should do. In the case of user experience, at least in the context of our typical clients’ foci of websites, apps, and Saas offerings, is a relatively new undertaking. As with any new undertaking, there is a lot to be learned from early mistakes. My first experience with user experience in this context was as an owner of a digital agency. I developed a user experience process that was our unique value proposition to clients. While other agencies in the early 2000s were focused on design, we were focused on strategy and the user experience required to serve the strategy. (Sidenote, I still love Don’t Make Me Think). Since then I have had the opportunity to span the continuum of helping Fortune 10 companies build user experience teams all the way down to helping organizations hire their one and only UX hero. My goal with this post is to help illuminate two of the common mistakes we see in organizations implementing or growing user experience practices.
Mistake #1: Lack of support from the top
Organizations are much more likely to be successful when middle management steps up and “sells” innovative ideas. However, sometimes it seems leadership can give a thumbs up to building a UX practice but not adequately fund the effort intellectually (taking time to understand its true value), financially (providing the funding necessary for a quality effort) or emotionally (cheerleading the effort through the organization).
Mistake #2: UX not at the head of the table
This can relate to Mistake #1. If leadership doesn’t intellectually grasp the value of UX then UX can be diminished and made ineffective. We often see UX not getting a seat at the head of the table in strategy conversations. In some organizations, UX can even sit downstream of design. I cannot tell you how many user experience professionals have told me they have been asked to create wireframes for a design that has already be done.
These are just two mistakes we often see. Please share your thoughts and comments. We love to learn.
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Mark Whitman is the founder and CEO of TeamBuilder Search, a dynamic recruiting firm that specializes in digital marketing, digital transformation, and emerging technology. He is an energetic and fearless adventurer who loves working with other innovative, entrepreneurial-minded professionals. He also happens to be a Sport Jujitsu national champion who literally broke his face in competing for the gold medal in the world championship. To discuss your toughest hiring challenges with Mark, contact him here.