I saw the Keikendo Maturity Model of an organization's UX maturity and immediately thought of the paper by Jonathan Earthy that talks about the Usability Maturity Model. Comparing the two side-by-side:

Usability Maturity Model

Unrecognised -> Recognised -> Considered -> Implemented -> Integrated -> Institutionalised

Keikendo Maturity Model

Unintentional -> Self-Referential -> Expert -> Centralized -> Distributed

There seems to be a lot of similarities, and it also relates to the Nielson Group's Usability Maturity Stages 1-8. Aren't they all talking about the same thing, so why do they all need different names? I think we probably recognize the lower and higher levels of UX maturity, but there are more blurs when it comes to intermediate levels because of the nature of the different organizations.

Has anyone tried to apply/adopt this model with any success? Or does anyone have any opinions or ideas about the model compared to similar models?

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    I just took the test and found it lacking. It seemed more promotional than anything else. I could have provided feedback on why I thought the test results were wrong - but there was no place to do so.
    – Mayo
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 14:56
  • Agreed, @Mayo. When I took it there was no mention of user research or testing. Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


These processes I find more describe historically how UX has grown in a company. Prescribing steps and stages that you must pass to mature.

I can't help but think it is describing and prescribed for a specific market: Companies that want more of that 'UX' and hire consultants to assess the situation with impressive trademarked models.

When I consider some design companies where the user has been the core or 'DNA' from the start, but perhaps the formalised funding, testing and KPI processes are not in place, does it mean it isn't a mature UX company? Is a top down approach not also possible? What if an expert is dropped in before any unintentional or self-referential stages have taken place? Is it doomed to fail as the company isn't ready for an 'expert'?

I can see it's usefulness. Packaging UX in business terms to help those unfamiliar with the subject to adopt it is smart. Describing it in developmental terms of 'Maturity', as much as some may insist a corporation is a person, I think may be a hinderance as much as a help for the aforementioned scenarios.

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    In the same way that these processes are useful for companies or businesses that want a prescribed or structured way of growing their UX capabilities, I would suggest that these processes are not useful for companies that already have a user-centric approach. In cases where an expert is dropped into an organization that is not ready or mature enough to embrace UX fully, I tend to see the organization fall back to whatever level they start with after the 'expert' leaves, which suggests to me that there is too much reliance on the expert and not enough effort in creating the right culture.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 9:34
  • Disclaimer: I am part of the team that worked defining the KPIs for the Keikendo Maturity Model. Organizations tend to fall back because they haven't been able to actually move forward from the 3th stage (Expert level). That's where they are more vulnerable. They are starting to understand that UX is about, first of all, measurement. But data is still not used to guide the business, only some specific efforts. Therefore, sponsors in the organization do not have the necessary leverage to move the organization's KPI in any meaningful way.
    – Red Knight
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 14:33
  • The most common misconception is that you can have a "user-centric" approach and culture. Use tools like personas, use cases, scenarios, common design languages, etc and still miss the point, which is to measure. That's why we not only do usability testing, we must quantify the results and compare over time. IMHO UX is more a methodological approach that we give it credit for. The tools that you use will change with the context, what KKD is about is its KPIs. Things you can actually measure, compare and do something about it.
    – Red Knight
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 14:39
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    UX is not first-and-foremost about measuring. It's certainly a part of it, but to distill UX down to simply measuring data is to miss a big part of what UX is about.
    – DA01
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 17:18

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