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I'm working on a web app with a team of 5, including me. One database administrator, one project manager, two programmers and me the front-end designer. This project is an internal reporting system.

Anyways, I've struggling a little bit with my team, the DBA and two programmers seem to control our meetings with what Data we are going to pull and the best way to work it into an object model. And then look to me to design some pretty interface.

Truth is, we've never measured the objectives of this application and what strategy will best meet them from a front-end design/UX standpoint. We've done no wire frames, no planning of content, no planning of pages, no conversations on specific interface components, nothing like that. It seems my team is content with designing and building the entire UX/UI based on a couple of ideas we've spit-balled in meetings.

Forgive me if this sounds too much like a gripe, but I'm at a loss. How do I get my team to understand, we can't just throw the front-end together based on back-end data and the interface HAS to be well planned out and organized?

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Hi kdub, welcome to UX! Please see if any of these questions help: How do you persuade an organization to invest in UX, How can I justify UX process, Case studies to help sell UCD. –  Vitaly Mijiritsky Sep 17 '11 at 6:49
    
I feel like this question does not belong in UX, but rather The Workplace (workplace.stackexchange.com). –  David Mar 5 '13 at 6:13
    
Tell them: 'Pull all the data you like, but they won't find any of it without me'. –  user43251 May 23 at 13:53

4 Answers 4

I think regardless of what other people's attitude to user-centric design is, it doesn't mean that you should go about your work differently. But if you have no time or resource to do proper research and testing, then the alternative is to state your design rationale and decisions so that people who have to then 'fix' the unusable interface has some idea why things were (or were not) done. Best practices will only get you so far, without validation from user input/feedback or testing you could be designing for users that don't fit the 'normal' or 'average' behaviour.

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I also empathize with you situation. We have all been there.

I would also suggest doing some guerilla user research/testing, even if it is just within your company. For example, walk over to a few different people's desks and quiz them quickly to get some feedback on the weighting and importance of items in the data model.

Users and user feedback are always a UX designer's best weapon in difficult situations. Always try to turn conversations from "what I think vs what you think" into what users have to say.

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In a nice way, do your job. That means do your wireframes, elicit feedback on what the team think about them. Push at the meetings to get heard. I realise that it is difficult, but you need to make your own stamp.

The problem is that while you understand the essence of what the other members of the team contribute to the project, they do not understand yours. You are in a difficult position, but you need to make your points - if they refuse to listen, demonstrate a really poor design, and explain that you need to get the UX correct, because it is important.

I sympathise, but, at the end, you might not win the arguments. This time.

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I feel sorry for your situation. It sounds as though you may need to take a leading role for these meetings, you need to demonstrate some work where you can gain insightful input from your fellow engineers.

As for having one no wire-frames, I would be very tempted to do these anyway and present them at your meeting to elicit feedback.

That said, are they making decisions that make your job harder? They can have a data layer as elegant as it gets but it won't matter if the user experience is like rowing a slave galley. (I've sometimes found it helpful perhaps even fun; to show bad examples of interfaces that apply to your app or to well known ones) You need to get your fellows thinking about real use, even if they don't actually do the wire-frames or form layout they can still impact things like response times, error messages or data loss/recovery.

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