A seat at the table.

almost 2 years ago from Pablo Stanley, Design at InVision, Writer at The Design Team, Mentor at Sketch Together

  • Zach HubbardZach Hubbard, almost 2 years ago

    I'm obviously not Pablo, but I've taken more of a business role lately, in trying to earn new business and interacting with our clients and not just the end-user.

    Obviously, this depends on your product, industry, and the beliefs and values of your organization.

    The key is framing your story and sharing why usability/design is key.

    Point 1: User advocacy should align with business objectives, since happy users = repeat business or continued business. For my organization, we view it from a mission model perspective, which is defining what the bare minimum to accomplish their assigned mission from two perspectives, the end-user and the person providing the funding.

    Between user advocacy, use a cost-benefit analysis to determine what's acceptable? Does it cost an tremendous amount of money versus little benefit to the user? Or is it detrimental to the user, and still expensive? If the user abandons using it, or they cannot complete the intended task, or have an extremely painstaking process.

    Basically, is there going to be a return on your investment? If no, then sometimes it needs to be cut. Watching those pain points and testing them can be indicators of if there is an ROI.

    Point 2: Tradeoff between polish and speed of shipping, this is a tricky one, since it's really dependent on what it needs to accomplish. For my organization, it needs to be close to perfect before shipping most things, since we do very very very costly work. And then take into account, is your organization good at going back with updates? Or no? If you're a B2C startup, get in the market as soon as there's a fringe benefit for your intended user. If you're managing complex space systems, that better be near perfect.

    Point 3: It really depends on what you think of your product. I work at a large aerospace company, some people think we're the devil incarnate, but I think we provide national security, science & technology solutions that help keep the world turning and push human society forward (like space telescopes). So, I would say, are you proud of your work? Where do you see if helping people? Ask your friends that don't work at your organization.

    You have many stakeholders, your users, your leadership, your coworkers, and/or your shareholders.

    I'm lucky enough to still do UX research & design, while combining it with business development and mission engineering.

    In any organization, it's about showing results, if you're an NGO/non-profit how many people are you helping? If you're a governmental organization, are you advancing your mission? If you're a for-profit company, are you earning maintaing, creating long-term value, and building new opportunities? And with the growth of social entrepreneurship are you helping people and making money?

    10 points
    • Yitong ZhangYitong Zhang, almost 2 years ago

      Thanks for the super thoughtful response! _^ I agree with the points that you've made. There's indeed often a way for design to navigate the org in a way that puts it on a more equal footing with other disciplines.

      I guess I was reacting more to the unrealized excitement from the period of Apple's re-ascendency, when it felt like design as on its way to become a dominant organizational priority everywhere.

      That obviously didn't happen, and for good reason—design isn't the first priority at many orgs. So for me, it's not that designer are not willing to take the seat offered in 2018, but rather that it's been taken but also turns out that the seat can sometimes be at a far corner of the table in some orgs.

      2 points