How fake UX/UI experts impact your Project and Profits

General process for IT visual design in Technology. Web, Mobile, Tablet, Smartphone, UX and UI experience.

General process for IT visual design in Technology. Web, Mobile, Tablet, Smartphone, UX and UI experience.

Why, I question am I still seeing issues with Visual Design projects that affect Web, Tablets and Mobile applications? After all the years we have been doing this, it seems that important steps are getting lost in the mix. The end result is a partial or failed implementation or a project that runs on longer than anyone thought it would.

20 years ago, a company may have been forgiven for issues with their customer facing web site but now that everybody has been doing this for a while, forgiveness is in short supply. You either get it right or face a backlash.

We have learnt that with the ability to quickly present a screen to a large audience there must be some thought as to how well it will be received. Companies have expanded their development groups to include the following roles to improved UX/UI:

  • HCI expert – a person or group of people that look at how the company web site or mobile application will be used and determine the best way to design it from a usability perspective.
  • Graphic Artist (GA) – takes the finding of the HCI expert and produces rich mockups that mimic the end result. In some cases they GA may even provide the actual production code.

Why then are Visual Design projects facing issues? These issues then lead to rework that puts more pressure on the rest of the team to make up the shortfall in quality. For a Business Analyst / Product Owner, this means less time to be working on the next project as they get stuck picking up the pieces of the current one. Budgets are also blown as the project extends its timeline limiting funds that could have been used for more new development.

My experience is that people and companies are claiming they are UX/UI experts but really they are not. They don’t know anything about personas; how to communicate design, how visual design projects work. I am sure they don’t know many other things about UX/UI but the former items are what I will focus on.

PERSONAS

A company needs to know who they are reaching out to with their Visuals on the internet. Personas affects how a user will interact. Some personas may be more computer literate than other. Studies need to be done to determine what works and what does not from a design perspective.

COMMUNICATING DESIGN

This is big one. Anyone can make  a pretty picture of what a screen should look like but can they explain all the possible user interactions that can happen in a way that development and/or graphic designer can understand and implement. Ambiguity here leads to either a failed implementation because of wrong interpretation or delayed implementation as questions on design are resolved. Those delays can lead to the project doubling in length.

VISUAL DESIGN PROJECTS

Many components go into a Visual Design project. On the one hand we have the screen interactions and on the other hand we have the technology to be used. A UX/UI team that silo’s itself from the rest of the project team ends up creating work that may not be applicable to the group. Examples: developing a solution for Android devices when the company plans to only support Apple devices or a Web design company that you hire to work on Mobile Applications.

 

I could go on for several days on the subject of UX/UI impacting project but I wanted to keep this article as a  light weight discussion on how fake UX/UI experts impact projects.

To leave you on a good note, here are some suggestions on how to Identify the fake UX/UI experts:

  1. Request examples of their persona studies. Get them to justify the personas and what they learned. Ask them if they know what 508 compliance is.
  2. Request examples of their design documentation that shows wireframes/mockups and put your developer hat on and see if you can find any ambiguity in what is presented.
  3. Ask what technology they have worked with and see if it ties in with what your company is doing. Too many companies don’t see the difference Technology brings so they assume that because they had success with the Web they can easily do Mobile Applications.

To get a good understanding of UX/UI, I recommend reading the articles presented  by the Nielsen Norman Group.

 

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