- Founder and CEO of Awasu Design
- User experience professional with more than ten years of experience in design, management, and organizational strategy
- Co-founded Bolt | Peters, a user experience research firm acquired by Facebook and serves on the Board of Advisors
- Clients include: Hallmark, Time Warner, Restoration Hardware, PeopleSoft, Blue Shield, KQED, EMC/Documentum, and Wells Fargo
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Organizational Excellence for User Experience Design Teams
- Designers are becoming generalists, solving problems holistically across multiple design categories.
Designers aren’t as narrowly specialized as they used to be. Today, one designer will analyze business requirements, interview stakeholders, and observe users in the field. After that, they’ll create personas, user flows, and establish an information architecture. That same designer will create wireframes and might create a new visual style. Some designers will also be able to step away from Photoshop and create a prototype of the designs. In short, individuals used to focus on one specific area. Today, though, the hybrid designer can do a lot of different things, or at least a fairly substantial subset of specialties – and not just one.
- Lean UX is streamlining the design process.
Put simply, Lean UX is all about spending more time rapidly iterating designs and less time documenting requirements and annotating specs. Designers still need to understand business requirements and user needs. But the Lean approach moves everyone along more quickly and doesn’t require a lot of formal processes to get in the way of the best part: the design.
- Organizations are spreading design thinking and approaches to everyone in the organization.
Everyone is creative and everyone can solve problems. Designers don’t corner the market on creativity; it’s just that designers usually are going through a different process. It’s a specialized approach. Designers are trained to question assumptions, look for underlying needs and practice divergent thinking. But these days, more organizations are holding workshops on innovation, divergent-versus-convergent thinking, and problem-solving skills -– for business analysts, product managers, engineers and marketing teams.
It's not surprising that these organizations are holding workshops. But what is surprising is that they are doing it for non-designers. They, too, are getting trained in innovation, divergent-versus-convergent thinking and problem-solving skills. Organizations are realizing that not only do they need to leverage their design teams better, but they also need to spread design thinking across the entire organization.
- Organizations are combining the work of internal design teams and external vendors.
Five or 10 years ago, in-house teams weren't commonly combined with outside vendors. But things have changed, in large part because of the economy. As the economy picks back up, teams are approaching outside firms for various reasons. For one thing, there is a shortage of in-house employees who can handle the work because there simply aren't enough competent in-house designers to hire. Therefore organizations are having to augment their staffs with outside vendors. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Some vendors have certain specialties that can be highly valuable additions to in-house design teams.
- The design world has evolved from being all about physical products to also include service design.
When we think about products, we think about designing them with the user experience in mind. But if someone is standing in a long line waiting to check in at a hotel, they are having a bad experience – with service. Apple is a good example of a company that is both focused on the designing of products and the designing of services. The company has great products but it's also considered the entire arc of customer experiences.
In short, you must offer more than a good product. You need to think holistically so that the customer’s experience with service is considered part of the package. Service design goes beyond digital. It's the application of the design approach to any kind of problem. If you are looking at the design of a subway system, you may observe the people using a subway, where they stand, how they get on and off the train. That's service design and it's increasingly important for organizations seeking to compete in today's world.