Here’s some food for thought – what would happen if companies took the bold step of curating the user experience of their employees with as much zeal as they did for their customers? What kind of a world would that be like?
Here’s an average scenario in a telecom company. Oftentimes, their customer service agents typically wade through an average of 10-30 spreadsheets, databases and user documentation repositories during a single query resolution call simply to make an informed recommendation. The result? Standard metrics like average handle time, first call resolution and error rates take a hit.
Why does this happen? Why do companies that take considerable efforts to spruce up the UX of their customer-facing technology, while ignoring their employees?
Common IT challenges in the way of forming an inside-out UX culture
- The constant pressure on the IT department to reduce or limit spend, and direct the budget mainly towards items promising “quick” returns.
- A general reluctance of business stakeholders and employees to go to IT for solutions.
- Stakeholders expect quality changes in terms of UX design without wanting to appropriately invest time or money or talent in it.
- An inherently powerless IT department that’s low on awareness fails to prioritize the user experience.
Companies that recognize these challenges become actively involved in positioning UX as a core competency of IT. Thanks to organizations like IDEO and the NN Group, human-centered design (HCD) and design thinking has become mainstream and found a place in the consciousness of stakeholders.
Benefits of building a UX culture
- Everyone takes charge of UX
When the entire workforce is knowledgeable about good design practices, it helps the IT people to focus on the big picture and the more complex design challenges.
- Everyone is on the same page
Armed with the basic know-how of design, product meetings become more productive, and feedbacks and discussions become more accurate, instead of “I don’t know why but I liked what you did the last time”.
- Everyone knows the value of design
With product managers recognizing the value of UX, it no longer warrants holding pleaded discussions to run research exercises or seek the resources for them.
Spreading the good word of UX design
UX design does not function in isolation, it is a unified team effort. In case your organization is looking to get started on introducing HCD and UX practices to the workforce, the best way to begin is by conducting UX workshops at regular intervals. The duration and content of these sessions will depend on the nature of your business, how it functions, the number of employees, and where your company stands with regards to UX maturity, among other factors.
What happens during these UX sessions?
Speaking for the most generic of UX awareness programs, these can be centered on drawing attention to the prevalence of design in our everyday life, followed by educating the audience about HCD, usability and how it impacts the way we live and work. The more advanced sessions can focus on higher-level topics such as UX principles, methods, processes, etc., and their application. Further, into the program, there can be custom sessions on creative problem-solving pertaining to your company’s functions and processes. All these sessions do include hands-on, relatable exercises which give a real-world understanding of what UX design really means. These workshops can be conducted in-person as well as online for those in remote locations.
Design workshops are, without a doubt, a fun exercise. Quite unlike the other training sessions that happen in offices which may or may not always strike a chord with the attendees. The sheer wonder that people experience when they realize the reason behind some of their favorite products and services is simply good design is truly unbeatable. And then that’s what drives them to replicate or at least attempt to replicate that level of excellence in their everyday work life.
And if that doesn’t impress you, design workshops invariable have the multicolored little post-its to play with, along with some really cool snacks and drinks.