As preached by The Elements of UX, Nine Pillars of Successful Web Teams, and Matt; UX Design is needed in all phases of product and service delivery. Job titles and descriptions formally define what we're entitled to do in the process.

Perhaps, most of us don't have the formal authority to do something about all phases of product and service delivery. An Interaction Designer (in the strict sense) isn't entitled to touch the site strategy, the Interface Designer isn't entitled to touch the abstract design, and so on.

At times when you're the worker who wants to go beyond the job title and/or description in the name of UX, how do you face the challenges?


Our "UX" field is still very nascent, and as such most UX practitioners appear to also have to be strong business influencers/persuaders in order to remove barriers to UX success - with those barriers not necessarily being UX-specific ones.

With that in mind, going beyond the job description should be part of the job description!!

Now, don't get me wrong - I'd rather spend my time and energies on things that

(a) are aligned with the businesses goals at a more UCD level (rather than managerial) and (b) are aligned with my own personal and professional goals and interests

...so spending time persuading others in and out of the organisation of the most appropriate way forward is a necessary "evil" (and I use that word very loosely).

I live in the hope that in X years time, with some maturity in the whole UX/dev area, that we will be able to spend the majority of our time actually doing the right things, rather than spending time persuading management/stakeholders of the merits of doing the right thing...



"At times when you're the worker who wants to go beyond the job title and/or description in the name of UX, how do you face the challenges?"

A few responses:

  • Be opportunistic. Grab the project lead as they are leaving the meeting room. Make quick suggestions in email threads. Value-add on a design.
  • Pick your battles. Avoid telling management that "the system needs to be redesigned." Especially in a difficult setting, pick the low-hanging fruit.
  • Be diplomatic. Avoid the phrase "this sucks - it's like 1995 all over again." Discuss how things can be optimized, and enhanced, and my favorite - how "existing functionality can be built on."
  • It's not about you, it's about the user (forget the political battles).

Talk about this as a first-class topic with your teams.

Talk to each of the people involved and see if they understand how you think your work fits in with theirs, and what their expectations are. Call a meeting with the title "How to best make use of your UX resources", and invite the managers involved. Make clear it is about making sure they understand the available resources (e.g. the knowledge that you can share, and the methods that you can help them implement) and the best way to use them, rather than allowing it to become a meeting where you complain about not being involved in something.

Then, prove it. Prove you're worth their trust and reliance. Do something great that is just what they needed right then.

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