As I have mentioned before, I work in a big programming enterprise, working on many projects. My job, as a UX designer, is pretty much being the freelancer inside the organization. I meet the product managers, talk about their projects, understand their needs, go as deep as I need to go, and then offer them a variety of UX solutions. But, the role I probably like the most, is educating for better UX.
The thing is, you can’t be a single UX designer handling so many projects. It will be as exhausting as building the full-sized Eiffel tower with LEGO blocks. I mean, I’m a huge fan of LEGO, but I have some other things to do.
So, what’s the better way of reaching this colossal goal? Education. Educating other people in the company (by giving lectures and workshops), is giving them tools to interact with the UX field. Giving them the essence of what’s important and what are the things they need to pay attention to. If we’ll go back to the LEGO Eiffel, by educating other people, you make sure other people will build a part of the tower right. Yeah, you will have to help along the way and fix minor things, but overall — the tower will be built with much less effort on your side.
I’ve been trying to make UX a stronger principle for the past months, so the interaction between me and the developers will be smoother, and make the managers realize how important the subject is. The main problems I found were the lack of knowledge of what’s the difference between UX and UI, programming in a “programmer way” of not thinking about the user, and not even knowing there is a UX consulting service.
The symbol of UX
I would like to quote a line from one of my favorite movies — “Batman Begins”:
As a man, I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.
Working with a development team can be tough. People can disagree with you and you don’t always please them. But, the ideal of UX principles can’t be ignored. Having a lecture in front of 60 new developers makes a difference. Even if they won’t be in a main position in the next couple of months/years, they’d know they can work on improving their project’s UX. They would be able to have a critical thinking and a UX-oriented perspective on things. They’ll be confident enough to tell their team leader they think the project lacks in its UX.
The best way to learn is to teach
Sometimes, when I study, I don’t ask myself any critical questions and I find myself being sure I’m the master of this subject. Only after organizing the material to a form of a lecture, speaking about it with others, hearing their questions and facing other perspectives, I can truly let the knowledge sink in.
When I learned programming I learned there are coding standards — how to call your variables, how to document your code, etc. These standards are still guiding me, and I’m sure it will take a lot to make me forget them. So, why are these standards not associated with UX as well? There are some basic rules of do’s and don’ts, and they are easy to teach. The basic concept of UX can be taught to any coder out there.
Of course, for outstanding experience these coders will need a UX consultant. But the collaboration will be much easier.
To sum it up
I don’t think developers should design. I do think, in order to create a much better and smoother UX process, developers should learn the basics of UX (I also think designers should know basic coding). Common language will make the integration ten times more amazing.
What are your ways to pass the values of a good UX? Tell me about it in the comments.