UX & limited resources

Discussion

Engaging with other professionals is one of the parts professionals should do. As part of this project, interviews were conducted with design experts in other industries, with different levels of responsibilities. From understanding how data help to accelerate knowledge to where the role of the designer is aiming, setting the grounds to understand the context and new ways of thinking.

A set of questions was drawn to research outside the work environment targeting the digital product design/service industry with a high focus on Design Thinking and UCD methods in place in their daily activities. The area of work is the B2C digital design.

Organizations have different context and processes. Job descriptions are different from each company; professionals can have more broad or specific roles depending on the enterprise, or even depending on the project.

The professionals interviewed were selected from outside of my current network, with more than five years experience, working in different countries and industries. Spanning from team members to team leaders, with a mix of designers, researcher and product managers, working for agencies or corporates. Ten invitations were sent, seven replied.

“Eventually, everything connects — people, ideas, objects… the quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.”
— Charles Eames

NAMES, TERMS AND EXPRESSIONS AROUND USER EXPERIENCE

When researching among colleagues, job descriptions are different and can be called differently inside each organisation. From the interviews conducted, is clear that job duties can vary in name and level of responsibility due to professional progression and abilities. Professionals can use the same conditions in different ways, or doing the same activities could be named differently. For example, “information design” is also known as “information architecture.” or the difference between “interface design” and “interaction design.”

“There’s nothing better to inform your designs than data. Qualitative and quantitative data are hand-in-hand with designing great experiences.”
- interview response

ADVOCATING FOR UCD

The importance advocating for UX has clearly stated when stakeholders are not educated on the importance os user-centric design the need to for education exists about the importance of UCD. Being all about perspective trying to be empathetic and take them on the journey.

“… everyone is pretty good with research and that it is more about asking the right questions.”
- interview response

RESEARCH: YES OR NO?

Absolutely yes! Design decision should be sustained on research and continuous testing and “stopping asking for what clients want, but instead observe and create layouts based on what people do, not what they say” (interviewed, 2015). From working with dedicated researchers that run focus groups, lab testing, and data specialists, guerrilla user testing sessions are regularly conducted. Available time to research can restrict the tools used, being user testing a top choice. Research findings influence the layout and the interactions. The use of analytics, screen recordings, using multiple web-based solutions to track different types of research, compiling information from various sources into the project. Sharing findings is a frequently routine. Depending on the stage of the project, the frequency can increase to daily or be more sparse.

“I think you’re hinting at the fact that Design Research is a mix of science and art (as are all disciplines in Design). In my opinion and experience, design decisions should never be made solely because of data. Research results should inform and inspire design direction, but there are so many other factors that go into design decisions that don’t come from research (for example, brand guidelines) “
- interview response

When asked from an ethical point of view if dealing with data is a professional concern, professional have two perspectives on the subject. One is that no harm intent on viewing and analysing other people’s data as long confidentiality is present, and data is not personalised. The other is that is a designers jobs, and everyone else’s in the organisation, the responsibility for not abusing the users trust.

“It is easy to be scared of using data and how it will influence the way designers work. Some are afraid that it will remove all the freedom and creativity from the designer hands. For me, data serves the purpose of better informing the design decisions and guiding the designer towards the problems that need solving, instead of just focusing on a more superficial definition of design. “
 — interview response

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE DESIGNER? WHERE TO?

When asking the designer to where the design role is going and how should evolve, the professional emphasis that designers need to be aware of other disciplines; be more collaborative each day while looking for specialisation; let go of the superhero ego and embrace the team idea facilitating sessions towards a better product. Design is evolving to become more strategic; it is important to focus the conversation not only on the aesthetic value but also on the value and experience we provide to the users. Linked titles exist, but is for the individual to decide what brings to the table as individuals.

I don’t think there’s one path forward for designers and researchers roles. I think for some people and organisations, the best way forward is to combine expert skills into one person, while for others, it would be better to separate them and allow each discipline to thrive independently but work together.
- interview response

Note: For academic validation, details of interviews, full questions and responses can be consulted at appendix A.


Originally published at ines-bravo-ux-ltd-resources.squarespace.com
January 2016
Inês Bravo: Industry Research Project . MA Digital Media Management (PT Crew 1) — Hyper Island, London, UK . October 2015 / January 2016 
Contacts www.inesbravo.com