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As a UXer, it's our job to spread the "doctrine" that UX should be something that should be on everyone's mind as oppose to it being something that dealt with solely by the UXer.

As a product designer for a complex application, I found myself frequently running into this situation where new staff will bring up usability issues to me. We would discuss it and I agree with them that this is something that ought to be addressed. However, because the software is old, there are a lot of UX issues. Majority (90%) of these items never get fixed because there's more critical issues that need to be dealt with first.

Over time, the staff may start to feel that because nothing comes out of these chats, their input isn't valued. So they stop thinking about UX and no longer come to chat.

This is especially problematic because some staff like Support are in constant contact with users whereas we on Product only occasionally talk to users during testing and the occasional persona interviews. So the minority of the issues they hear about that are of the "product killer" category we, Product, might not even be aware of until they bring it up.

Question: What approach can we take to let people know that because of resource constraints, only large usability issue will be worked on, while still encouraging everyone to talk to us about UX?

  • Have a weekly prize drawing for submitting issues? Randomly choose one previously submitted suggestion to implement each week? (OK, that is just silly) You never know when a small idea or suggestion could make a big difference. – user67695 Mar 14 '17 at 19:34
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You can treat the usability issues as bugs, file them in a bug tracker, rank them according to severity (number of users affected, how big the bug is) and assign resources to the biggest 1–3 usability bugs you have at any one time. Let everybody who is contributing bug reports know that their reports are working their way up the list and their input is valued.

If the product is really old and has a lot of usability bugs, maybe you can find some way to address them as a group. For example, maybe there is a new framework that has been released since launch that you can use to clone your UI with minimum work, but get rid of a ton of usability bugs.

  • This is a very good point. Making the process for dealing with usability issues transparent. – nightning Mar 7 '16 at 17:05
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I can identify with this problem. I think simon proposal on filing them as bug and ranking them according to severity is a good idea. In my company, we placed bugs above all other stories (feature, enhancement) and every one knows that we have to work on them first. We also set milestones and implement hard datelines so that everyone knows what are their priorities. Our sales team would convey the business value of the usability issues that we prioritise and everyone could see the growth that they are contributing.

Our company also has this practice to set aside a few hours every week or two to discuss about new features (UX issues). This is when everyone including the new staff would share and vote for ideas on how to improve the product. The suggestion with the most number of votes would be included in the next product release on top of the critical issues that we have prioritise.

To Summarise:

  • Tag critical usability issues as bug fixes
  • Set milestone and datelines for the delivery items
  • Convey business value of usability issues
  • Include one/more new ideas into each release

This is especially problematic because some staff like Support are in constant contact with users whereas we on Product only occasionally talk to users during testing and the occasional persona interviews. So the minority of the issues they hear about that are of the "product killer" category we, Product, might not even be aware of until they bring it up.

I want to share with you what our company did to address this issue. Basically everyone in the company, from sales to developer to do a few hours support each week. It could be as simple as replying customer's email to actual site visit to address their problems. Initially this was met with a lot of resistance from the team but we eventually saw the benefits as well as rational behind. In short, it helps us to build a better product and show more empathy to the user.

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