Let’s drop the U from UX

UX design isn’t just about users

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

“Obsession with users, understanding their needs and solving their problems is key to success for any product or service” — I’ve lost the count of the number of times I’ve heard/ read some variation of this phrase in all those UX meetups, webinars, keynotes, etc. They’ll suggest you think nothing beyond the requirement of users. The fact is that it is true — but to an extent.

In a recipe for a successful product, users aren’t the only ingredient.

UX design isn’t just about solving user problems. A UX project has multiple requirements from development, business (and legal) point of view which are more or less as important as user needs. Think of a UX project as a structure where the roof is supported by multiple pillars — users, business, development and legal. If you pay attention to only one of them, the structure is likely to fall.

In a typical UX project, I’ve been a part of, I try to involve all the stakeholders at an early stage to understand all the business and development needs. It helps me develop a strong brief at the early stage of the project with all the requirements embedded in. This is a practice I strongly recommend all designers out there — if you’re a master of your craft, they’re of theirs.

Designers often tend to ignore the business and development aspect of a product. They spend all their energy creating neat user-flows and pretty interface until someone from the business team decides they need to sell ads. Since the designer did not leave a place for that given his/her obsession with the user and the company needs to generate income, the product suffers. Also, having worked in a startup environment, I’ve realized that discussing your ideas at an early stage with developers is always helpful. It leads to faster development with lesser deviation from the actual idea.

So, does the business and development aspect falls in the domain of UX designer? Yes! You might not have in-depth knowledge of all those things but a basic understanding is really important. It will help you design a better and sustainable product for everyone. Remember, a company won’t be able to pay you if your design is too difficult to develop or your solutions don’t generate revenue ;)

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