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I have been doing research on how software development organisations adapt UX practices as natural part of their processes and accept it in the whole organisation, what some researchers including me call it 'UX integration'. Although, I should mention that most researchers use 'UX integration' only by emphasising how UX practices are adapted in the software development processes and do not cover the organisational aspect of this adaption. Another term used for the same concept is 'institutionalising UX'.

In my view, some of the activities that a UX expert performs and some of his/her responsibilities directly relate to 'UX of the product' (e.g. suggesting design solutions, contextual inquiry). On the other hand, some of the activities and responsibilities relate to 'UX integration' and are independent from UX of the product (e.g getting management on board, holding course and training).

Since my background is research, I wanted to ask this question from the UX practitioners out there:

  1. How do you consider such a categorisation in your tasks and responsibilities when entering in a new organisation as an internal role or a consultant?

  2. Do you see any value in making such a separation? how?

I would also like to read up on this more if you have stumbled upon a similar topic both in research and academia.

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What most UX teams are missing is a "UX Sales" person.

Most UX people are good at UX. Not as many of us are good at selling UX. I'd call that the 'integration' role. You need an advocate in the organization that acts as the face of the UX team. This is typically a UX Director position of some sort.

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    I would say a messiah or evangelist... or someone big enough to make developers a little bit scared and afraid of dooing as they want;-) – Karpiu May 21 '15 at 16:18
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    way too many people associate being good at UX with being good at selling it. its strange really, you don't see this kind of attitude with other fields. – the other one May 22 '15 at 7:39
  • @theotherone I think that's true of most professions. It's not so much what you know, but how well you sell it. – DA01 May 22 '15 at 14:56
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The Value of embedding UX Practices

UX Integration is key to delivering UX of the product! Embeding UX practices enables a more focused and thorough design process while also offering a strategic view of how a product will evolve.

This being said, having this integrated view requires a higher level of UX maturity within an organisation and therefore depends on business priorities, resources and processes and how the organisation balances these with UX.


UX Maturity and Road-Map

To achieve this level of UX maturity, an assesment needs to be carried out to determine what exactly needs to be done at product level first and what practices, limitations, constraints, technical debt etc are to be removed to reach an agreed target.

So the approach is very much incremental and aligned with the context of each organisation. Thats where a UX roadmap makes a lot of sense! there are number of UX maturity models out there but I found the below model by Stefan Klocek works well!

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To answer your questions:

  • You might have a better chance as a consultant! It seems to me that its much easier for consultants to push for change with higher likelihood of having buy-in from the people involved.

  • I dont see any value in separating them (if you can): You need to assess where you are in terms of UX practices and chart a roadmap to get you where you want to be.

Great question!

  • well, might be a chicken & egg probem, but my view is that you need this separation in order to become more mature in UX as an organisation not the other way around. UX gets rejected (or a struggle) in some organisations because UX activities are introduced with no attention to, or efforts in 'UX integration' activities. – Pariya Kashfi May 22 '15 at 12:06
  • @PariyaKashfi I dont think its a chicken & egg problem at all. As matter of fact, maturity implies some processes, practices and buy-in from the organisation as well as gaining momentum at which point integration could advance incrementally. will update my answer to clarify this. – Okavango May 22 '15 at 12:29
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As with most questions, I guess it depends on the organisation structure and the UX 'capability' or team responsible for implementing UX within the organisation. However, theoretically these are two separate activities in which one relies more heavily on actual UX skills while the other activity requires some degree of UX knowledge.

I see it as something similar to a change management piece where it is about transforming the organisation and creating the capabilities for the organisation. However, in most organisations that I have worked in, it is usually in the hands of a digital transformation team that are more development and implementation focused rather than design or research focused.

  • Thanks Michael for your answer. In the organisations you talk about, do you mean the 'organisational change' aspect of introducing UX, is not something that UX people deal with? – Pariya Kashfi May 20 '15 at 10:43
  • In some cases the UX people are left out of the picture completely because UX is not viewed as part of the digital transformation process. In other cases the change managers dictate the way UX is integrated with the rest of the organisation's operation with some or minimal input from the UX people. – Michael Lai May 20 '15 at 12:44
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I once worked for a company that had "Czars". Every product had its own Czar, and there were inter-product Czars like a visual Czar, a coding style Czar, etc. Those cross product Czars weren't necessarily the most expert in their area but they were good at communicating and "getting people on board" and achieving consensus.

Sounds like a UX Czar could be useful in a company wide role to both evangelize for UX in general and to promote a consistency and focus on UX issues.

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