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UX in a company – how it affects a business

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I worked for a long time in Polish PR, branding, and digital agencies, so when I started my own, I thought nothing could surprise me anymore. I was wrong.

Almost two years ago in Warsaw, I experienced a shock that I can describe as a "UX impact." What do I mean by "UX impact"?

I mean the importance of the UX work vs. the losses our client could have incurred.

At the time, our client was a medical team responsible for conducting a clinical trial in eight countries. The study focused on a vaccine, and the team aimed to recruit more than 10,000 patients and collect data regarding their health – whether they were susceptible to disease after the vaccine, what kind of symptoms they had, etc.

The end product, in the case of clinical trials, is a report about the effectiveness of the drug. The manufacturer requests this report, and if the clinical trial has shown that the new drug is better than the previous one, it is registered by authorities and later comes to the market.

How is data collected from patients? With the help of a patient diary. Each participant of the study writes information in the diary about symptoms they experience – high body temperature, runny nose, headache, etc.

Specialized teams then collect all the data and analyze it. The quality of the collected data determines the quality of the study.

The Patient Diary also needs good UX

Because of all this, the patient diary is a very important, if not crucial, tool in the whole process. Its overall design and User Experience Design was outsourced to our company.

The client's business requirements were quite demanding – the diary had to be understandable so patients could fill it out on their own (without the assistance of a doctor), and it had to be convenient.

In addition, the commissioned tool had to be printed on paper (meaning the diary had to be done right, without mistakes, as opposed to an online tool that we can update) and in an appropriate format to fit all the required data on a single page, regardless of the language version. Moreover, the diary needed to be durable but affordable to print.

We started working. During a workshop, we analyzed other versions of the diaries with the client and gathered requirements and ideas for improving the diary. To confirm or disprove collected theses, we recruited respondents and conducted task-oriented tests on users of the diary. We started to design the diary after obtaining the test results.

We also prepared a special case about the course of the UX of a patient diary project. Thanks to the use of User Experience methods, we designed a diary, and a lot depended on it – above all, the success of the multi-million dollar project.

Can a good user experience be an idea for a business?

You might say, "Okay, but if you're so good, why don't you create an entirely new design?"

Our small but great success and a baby is the Nacoidamojepieniadze.pl project. This digital platform shows the budgets of municipalities and cities in a clear way so that the residents can understand them without problems.

Our idea solves the problem of explaining the city's complicated financial documents by translating their content into a simple visual language to encourage residents to pay their Personal Income Tax in the place they live in.

Seven years ago, it was a challenge for us to bring this idea to the market, but today our service is used by more than 100 Polish municipalities and cities every year. This project was all about a good UX and optimizing tedious routine processes.

The combination is almost textbook – improving the User Experience of residents and solving the pain point of local governments in the form of providing a pro-fiscal campaign tool, resulting in obtaining funds from taxpayers.

But where does business fit into all of this? The business lies in the profitability of the project, the professional sales team, and no less professional customer service, as well as in described processes of the analysis of budget resolutions. We will write more about it in the next article in the Journal.

In addition, automation, after-sales support, quality control index, tax algorithms, and a thorough knowledge of public finances play important roles, as does the annual adaptation of algorithms to changes in the law and tax settlements.

Are you looking for an experienced UX agency?

Why am I writing about this? The best way to encourage others to use a given service is to show it, followed by tangible experiences. When convincing management to invest in User Experience, it is best to conduct a project that will show the effectiveness of UX on an example of money and numbers.

Whether it's a small change to a website, improving a tool used by the company's employees, or improving a feature of a product offered to customers, all of these processes have performance indicators – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Improving one KPI is a better argument for the management than a thousand words about UX effectiveness.

UX Research is a waste of time and money

"UX Research is a waste of time and money." We often hear this phrase from the management of companies and team leaders who outsource product design to us.

Let's go back to the Nacoidamojepienia.pl project for a moment. Was its success driven solely by good design and the establishment of business processes? No. Success only became a reality when, two years ago, we stopped selling officials what we thought they needed but started listening to them.

We didn't like everything we heard. We were reluctant to hear about what we thought were minor errors in the PIT expense calculations. We wondered whether introducing an investment or municipal fund in the presentation would be necessary. And we especially disliked the comments regarding the elaboration of descriptions, which would go against the idea of a clear presentation. Although we listened to it all with some reluctance, the customers were right.

How to convince a boss to the UX

No one wants to hear that they are wrong. It's no different for the management and team leaders. They are just people. Therefore, when asking ourselves how to convince the management about User Experience and UX research, we should know that verbal arguments will be of no use, and it will be necessary to reason with them through experience.

What do I mean by that? Let's get back to fundamentals. Many individuals among specialists, especially in technological fields, pay little attention to sales skills. I'll say more, they do everything to avoid uncomfortable situations at all costs, and as a result, they steer clear of sales.

Meanwhile, salespeople are the ones who know how wrong it is to believe that in negotiations, the one who is right wins. If negotiations have taken the form of throwing arguments back and forth, it’s the end. No one wins, and certainly, the one who wanted to win loses.

Just like in the joke:

"Did you talk to the boss today about a raise?"

"I did"

"Did you say that you'll quit if you don't get it?"

"I did."

"And what did he say?"

"We made a compromise. He won't give me a raise, and I won't quit."

What User Experience tool is at the center of attention of every company

A Persona is the primary User Experience tool a UX researcher can give to the company they work in. This is the tool used by most stakeholders in an organization. When it comes to customers, marketing directors, sales specialists, business unit directors, and sometimes IT directors are keen to use a Persona.

HR directors and directors of specific divisions who want to recruit people for their teams also use Personas very eagerly.

Persona will allow UX researchers to create a situation in which their work is appreciated by all decision-makers, not just a select group of the product team.

Moreover, a Persona is a tool that requires constant updating. This is because a company constantly collects new data on customers and job candidates. Furthermore, it seeks out and discovers new market segments, continuously conducts external communications, and develops its products. Thus, the UX researcher becomes somewhat like an IT director. They might be loved or disliked, but they are needed.

Therefore, instead of convincing the company's directors, write and let in a virus – a persona. It will be an effective tool in dealing with superiors and co-workers. A tool that can draw someone into the UX process and lets them experience it. And that's what we're looking for.

User experience design: how to manage it in a company

When deciding to introduce User Experience elements to a company, management gradually gets absorbed in the UX as a whole. Of course, some will say that UX did not work out in their case. Did the person hired for the UX position fail? It is a possibility. Didn't the board have time to look into the matter? It's very possible.

So let's assume the management has a positive attitude and sees value in UX. The only question is how to manage all this.

UX is a process. UX implementation is possible when it comes to a company's core process, which is to deliver value to its customers, as well as side processes such as marketing, sales, HR, finance, and IT.

UX should be accessible. This means it works best for an independent team that provides services within the organization to all departments. This is how UX will bring value to the entire organization, not just parts of it.

Assigning one person responsible for UX in each department will prevent us from looking at the big picture and may lead to conflicts within the organization. Meanwhile, UX is the entirety of a customer's impressions of an organization's activities, where the keyword this time is "entirety" rather than "impressions."

Employing the UX team as an independent unit brings additional value to the company. The team has its leader. It may have its own KPI and budget. If the company cares about cost optimization, the UX process can be outsourced to a third-party provider and billed according to the organization's needs so that it won't be a constant high cost.

UX is primarily about knowledge management. Whether a company has an internal team or uses external providers, the collected, tested, and implemented knowledge should be appropriately grouped, shared, and updated within the organization. This will help avoid duplication of costs for tasks that have already been performed or answered similar questions.

This brings us to the next issue – the organization of the work of the UX research team and the design team. But before we get to it, it's worth determining what the work routine of the former and the latter consists of, as well as the difference in value they bring to an organization. We will discuss this soon in the Journal. In the meantime, I will provide a brief summary.

UX in the company. Summary

  1. You can't convince the management with words to UX. Use the same method you use with users – speak through experience. Engage and show value and money, but don't fight with verbal arguments.
  2. Persona will bring value to the entire company and every company. Let the virus in and watch how it changes the organization's attitude toward UX and the value it gives.
  3. The UX team will bring the most value as an independent unit, serving the entire organization rather than as members of other groups scattered throughout the company.
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Journal / JPG / Dymitr Romanowski - avatar
Author: Dymitr Romanowski
Product Designer, Head of Design

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