Monday, 21 January 2013

UX & senior management awareness

It seems that (at last) user experience (UX) is beginning to appear on the agenda and in the vocabulary of senior managers. A couple of articles I read recently illustrate the gulf between the corporate and public sectors.

We're not quite at the UX awareness point in Higher Education yet I think (at least from what I've seen and heard from colleagues across the sector) but at least the term 'student experience' is beginning to creep in. That's a start.

I found these articles heartening for the future of UX in big organisations but the difference between public and private is stark. I look forward to public sector and particularly Higher Ed UX professionals breaking through at a sufficiently senior level to be able to write influential and thought-provoking pieces.

Mike Bracken, Executive Director of the UK Government Digital Service recently wrote a blog post warning that
"when it comes to digital, the voices of security and the voices of procurement dominate policy recommendations. The voice of the user barely gets a look-in... How the needs of a department or an agency can so often trump the needs of the users of public services is beyond me."
Bracken insists government should focus on 'real user needs' - article by Charlotte Jee for

Meanwhile in the US, Robert Fabricant writes for the Harvard Business Review about how UX is to this decade's corporate leaders what brand management was ten or so years ago.

He highlights that there just isn't enough expertise to go round, and suggests ways in which organisations can make the expertise they have go further and embed practices in wider teams. This really resonated with me; I've always railed against the idea of there being usability experts and worked to engage and empower as many colleagues as possible. It's just something we should all do. 
"It is easy to see that there are a few common ingredients across these different strategies, such as executive commitment, access to customers, new technical prototyping skills, and small, interdisciplinary teams. All of these ingredients are critical not only to UX, but also to developing the sort of bottom-up, risk-taking culture that is central to succeeding in the 21st century market."

Scaling Your UX Strategy - article by Robert Fabricant for Hardvard Business Review blog

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