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What is a good way to assess a company / team / person's level of adoption or sophistication with UXD best practices?

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    Look at the product they produce? – DA01 Dec 8 '15 at 18:33
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    Ive read studies saying one needs 2 years for climb one step further. In my experience this is correct - sadly. I guess it is due to the long timespan a software project usually needs. First project they just try some easy, inexpensive and late usability methods (i.e. expert review), get some experience and therefore arent afraid next project to try some bigger, more embedded, sooner methods (i.e. research, personas, mockups). So either you take a deep breath and do the marathon or you look for more mature companies. And usually your whole team isnt at the same mature level. – FrankL Dec 18 '15 at 20:04
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This isn't an exact answer to your question, because you've added the word 'sophistication' in there. That's tricky. The logical approach would seem to be to have someone e.g. a consultant review your practices and report on where (how far behind) current best operational practices you are.

On the 'adoption' side, there is a scale that serves as a useful thinking tool in this scenario. Feijo's UX Maturity Model puts forward 6 stages of UX "embeddedness". http://www.gottaquirk.com/2012/11/15/a-ux-culture-building-organisational-buy-in-2/

This might be very useful for giving perspective e.g. to executives who think they are "checking the UX box" because the label "UX" shows up in some roadmap powerpoints. I imagine there are a lot company leaders out there who might say they are a 4 or 5 on the scale, but in reality are a solid 2.

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    "Woohoo - we're #1! ...Oh wait..." – mc01 Dec 8 '15 at 20:05
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    @mc01 Good observation ; ) – dennislees Dec 8 '15 at 20:10
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    @dennislees Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for. I had even been wondering about the CMM analogy and then figured the Joel Test would be a better equivalent in a Stack Exchange community. – user76691 Dec 8 '15 at 22:10
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Jakob Nielsen’s 8 stages of corporate UX Maturity.

This is the most well-developed analysis I've seen to date. I also have my eye on Leah Buley for a new perspective now that she's been at Forrester for a while.

1. Hostility Toward Usability

"A good user is a dead user." Developers simply don't want to hear about users or their needs; their only goal is to build features and make them work on the computer.

2. Developer-Centered User Experience

The design team to rely on its own intuition about what constitutes good usability.

3. Skunkworks User Experience

People tend to assume they are both archetypal and the focal point of the universe. Thus, even while designers know they should get external data, they don't try very hard to acquire it.

4. Dedicated UX Budget

However small, the budget is set aside in advance, meaning that UX activities are planned for in the same way as other quality processes.


Although stage 4 is the halfway point numerically, progressing through the remaining four stages usually takes much longer than moving through the first four.


5. Managed Usability

There's an official usability group, led by a UX manager who has the charter to "own" UX and usability. The primary difference here is that studies are conducted more consistently because the usability group refines its methodology as members learn from each other.

6. Systematic Usability Process

The company has recognized the need for an actual user-centered design process, with multiple activities and milestones.

7. Integrated User-Centered Design

The company starts doing field studies. Each development lifecycle step is infused with user data.


It is hard to move past this stage.


8. User-Driven Corporation

The company employs user research to determine its overall direction and priorities. The concept of total user experience is extended beyond the screen to other forms of customer interactions with the company.

Source articles on the NN/g site:

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I don't fully understand how your question relates to JOEL, which is basically a checklist and has nothing to do with sophistication.

Anyways, yes, there are many UX methods similar to Joel Test, as a matter of fact there are whole approaches like Agile and Lean with their own methodologies for testing. There's a quite known tool called UX Project Checklist which might be what you're looking for, or take a look to the links below to see different testing tools that are basically UX checklists:

IXD Checklist USABILITY CHECKLIST Mobile UX Checklist

Or see the mage below, taken from Juntoo blog:

enter image description here

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