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UX is such an underrated field in a lot of industries. I wonder how companies consider employing UX designers and even heavily valuing their suggestions. Some big companies happen to see the light and invest in UX, and that keeps them on top of others. However, UX people rarely make it to the top management. In Don Norman's talk ( http://vimeo.com/2963837 ), out of so many UX people (I don't know exactly), only two were vice presidents. I assume that there are even less influential UX designers in developing countries, and that's what makes it even harder for people like me. In the same talk, Don Norman suggested that UX designers should approach their executives like marketing people, showing how investing in something will affect profit. Perhaps, it's the best thing to do but it has to be mastered for it to be executed successfully.

I'm a fresh grad and am looking for a job. I think, working for a company with a more conventional job description would be the way to go. When I'm already influential enough, I'll go up to the executives and show them how UX will improve sales (in whatever industry it is. I just want to do UX)

Do you do UX as consultants or are you employed? How do you persuade companies to invest in UX? Are you lucky enough to be employed by people who you didn't have to persuade to value UX?

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You can't improve what you can't measure (and you can't show the ROI either), so the first thing you have to do is work out what metrics you can use to gauge the overall user experience of your products & services. –  Michael Lai Jun 29 at 22:48
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5 Answers

At the end of the day return on investment (ROI) is key. If you can prove to your employer or client that it's worth the money you're asking them to spend, they will spend it.

I've worked on both sides of the camp, as an employed UX Professional and as a consultant.

as an employee

I realised the the value of user experience long before it was established in the company i worked for. So i worked hard to show the pros (and understand the cons) to my line manager and then to the executives in the company. I tend to work on a "it's better to seek forgiveness then ask permission" mentality so i just go on with what i considered important. (I was lucky - i had a series of very supportive line managers)

It's worth saying that at the time i was employed as a developer so it was easy for me to hallway test my design, do some internal card sorts etc. which quickly started to prove value.

as a consultant

Most of my clients are enlightened, they already understand the value which is why they find me. The rest, well it's sometimes a harder sale, i typically approach these people with a way to optimise their design/development process, as in my experience they typically understand the need to make saving in that area.

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There are hundreds if not thousands of articles about proving ROI of user experience with software products (that's my area of experience) which is a good start for you building your career as either an employee or consultant.

I really don't know much about the UX Industry in the Philippines but i am certain someone, somewhere must be doing UX work in one of the companies based there. Can i suggest looking for some local interest groups which are slightly broader then UX - Perhaps web development or a [technology] user group. you'll soon get the feel for industry and work out a way of achieving your goal.

Matt

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Thanks again, Matt. I'll look for those UX ROI articles. They are the key to presenting to the bosses the value of UX. As for consultancy, it follows that if they look for you, they know what they value so we have no problem with them. As for those who do not yet see the light in UX, thanks for pointing out the optimisation in business processes. That seems to be the way to go. I think, it will work in other industries, too, like restaurants or banks. How do you propose UX concepts in design/development processes? Physical and cognitive ergonomics? –  Allan Caeg Oct 19 '09 at 13:13
    
Locally, I am talking to two usability professionals. One of them organized a big Usability Day event. I introduced them to each other so the other one is invited to be a speaker in the event. It seems to me that there is a small number of people in the field and they are very passionate about it. However, we are still looking for ways to sell the UX idea. –  Allan Caeg Oct 19 '09 at 13:13
    
Motorola have an office in the philippines - might be worth seeing if they are close to you and what jobs they're offering. –  Matt Goddard Oct 19 '09 at 13:29
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I've had good success so far. Here are some tactics.

  1. Make it about company success. Great UX means more customers who are fanatically loyal and will absolutely go to the mat for you. Referrals, and customer loyalty. Put UX in business terms. It's also important to actually get business success through your work. But when you do, you need to make sure everyone sees that.
  2. Make it different. It can't just be the same old thing. You have to make the process and the feeling of great UX distinct from crap. Give a speech with music in the background. Now give the same speech alone. You have to stand out in a positive way.
  3. Make it fun. Great UX is enjoyable. What you call things, how you describe things, the little details matter. I am not saying, "Pretend to be having a jolly time". Don't make it fun for YOU, make it fun for them. Example: I worked in an engineering-centric group, so I named the iterations after elements. They thought it was fun to remember what was after Sodium.
  4. Help people win with UX. Example: If someone is making a PowerPoint presentation, offer to help them lay it out for maximum effectiveness. Then educate how UX is what made it better. When they look good, they will remember the teachings.
  5. Educate. The more they know, the better you will be. Don't be condescending. Just spread the word of UX and mentor people. What goes around comes around.

Besides that, you have to keep a positive attitude. No every place is going to work out.

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There is a strong need educate the people who take decisions on what usability brings to fore and promote it within the organization.

Articles listed below analyze the business case for Usability (important to convince the big wigs on ROI) and dig down deeper into promoting usability in organizations

Easy is good but it is not enough

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You need good ways to measure it so you can show improvements to KPIs after usability interventions. See Jeff Sauro's site for greate resources on ways to measure usability, e.g., http://www.measuringusability.com/blog/25-resources.php

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You won't have trouble convincing certain parts of the organization to value UX (just ask anyone in the organization working with customers). They seem to understand that what happens in the product design phase affects how much work they have to do, and how difficult their interaction with customers might be (e.g. imagine that the product is built poorly and they have to explain why it works that way).

The issue is actually making all parts of the organization see customer experience in the same light, and that there is it the responsibility for the entire organization to get it right, not just something that is in the hands of one or two people in a team.

The alternative is to let the company learn the hard way by failing to match it with their competitors in this department and see what the financial consequences are. Sometimes the best way to show value in UX is to take it away and see how much difference it makes.

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