One predominant frustration I hear from User Experience professionals is that some stakeholders and senior management still have a long way to go in understanding and appreciating UX (the motto, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it may well play its part). This can, and often will become a major reason for job dissatisfaction and for wanting to find pastures new.
Having read an interesting post by James Torio over at UXMag I thought I’d pose the question; if the management are not bought in to UX shouldn’t the first aim of the user experience team to get that buy in? And if so, how can you do this with people who may not necessarily understand what exactly it is you do?
James’s insight into stakeholder buy-in (you can read the article here: http://uxmag.com/articles/experience-maps-identify-inefficiencies-and-opportunities) apperars to be an excellent starting point for any UX professional looking for buy-in from a client or manager.
He believes that a primary reason why user experience isn’t always looked upon in the right way by senior management is that User Experience isn’t necessarily an obvious ROI. In the article James goes on to state that to ensure projects run smoothly and to try and eliminate stakeholder resistance for good, to try creating an Experience Map.
“The [experience] map helps stakeholders empathize with their customers, putting them in their customers’ shoes. It visualizes the journey of what their customers go through.”
But the ROI of UX, or the lack of understanding of it has been a big issue for many teams for some time as UX Passion discussed in an article back in 2009 http://www.uxpassion.com/2009/10/ux-roi-user-experience-return-on-investment/). That used information from Strategic Data Systmes Special Report: UX Business Impacts and ROI. Whilst it may date back to 2009 and theres no doubt many senior managers have a much better knowledge about the power of a great user experience it does highlight a lot of points that are still valid for a team today.
The full report is http://www.sds-consulting.com/sites/default/files/SDS_UX%20Report%202009.pdf and makes a powerful statement that could not be lost on any senior manager or stakholder; “Research consistently shows the most common results from investments in improving UX are a: decrease in development costs, increase in revenue and a decreased time to market.” If the statistics are true it could well show that UX could deliver some of the most important ROI’s!