As a business leader, you know how difficult it can be to reach a true consensus when pursuing new initiatives. While various departments within your organization are working towards one goal, there are bound to be disagreements from time to time. Not everyone will want to take the same path, or share your beliefs in the value of a project—especially if it is a new and untested project.
This is often the case as it pertains to user experience projects. While UX experts will agree on several design and development principles, the truth is that user experience is in many ways subjective. To add even more complexity to this challenge is the fact that poor planning of UX projects can result in uneven distribution of work.
This can become a point of contention, particularly between your marketing and IT departments. For marketers, the case for taking on new UX projects is easy. Making improvements to UX can improve brand image, instill brand loyalty and has been shown to provide tremendous return on investment.
Meanwhile, it is often the IT department that gets tasked with absorbing the back-end work of designing and developing those projects. This can become especially burdensome if it disrupts their typical responsibilities—dangerous even, if your workflow restructuring involves IT personnel tasked with network security.
So how can you make sure that your IT department buys into your next UX project and bridges the tenuous divide with your marketers?
Here are six possible solutions.
Demonstrate the value of UX
Simply put, it is better to show than tell. There are plenty of studies that have been done giving scientific and numerical evidence to demonstrate the value of UX. Ask your IT department to take a look at examples of website or application redesigns, letting them see for themselves how much more satisfactory the experience will be when taking a principled approach to design.
Make incremental changes
Even if you have plans for a massive UX project, you may get more support if you take a patient, incremental approach. Start with a simple project, or deploy it on a small scale as a beta test. Not only will this take the shock factor away from your IT team, but they’ll also have an easier time trying to retroactively tweak the project for future iterations.
Allow IT to participate in user testing
Even if you think you know how users will respond to your next project, you won’t know for sure until it is actually tested. You’ll have an easier time getting buy in from IT personnel if you invite them to be participants in your user testing. Not only will this help confirm or deny any assumptions about the efficacy of the design, but you’ll be putting a tangible product in the hands of the people who built it in the first place. Your IT team will be able to take more ownership of the project this way, making your case easier for future iterations as well.
Break workflow silos
There aren’t many opportunities throughout the course of the work day for marketers and IT employees to interact on a daily basis. This is especially true when these teams are working in disparate locations. But if your teams can’t seem to get on the same page regarding your next UX project, try breaking down the silos that disrupt their communications. By putting your marketers and IT personnel in the same room, you’ll be able to foster greater collaboration and understanding.
Listen to their needs
It is certainly understandable that UX experts get caught up on the needs of users. But take a broader look and you’ll see that it isn’t just your customers that comprise all of your project’s users. Anyone that interacts with a project, from the inception to the customer—and everyone between—is actually using it. For optimal results, your project should be designed for the ease of everyone involved in the project. Your IT personnel have needs and expectations. And while you cannot sacrifice the needs of your customers, there is most likely a middle ground that will satisfy the needs of all parties.
Offload to a third party
In some cases, the tension between marketing and IT may simply be a lack of resources, experience, leadership and more. While not ideal, these are not uncommon challenges for any business. By offloading the process to a third party team of UX specialists, you can circumvent the issue entirely. This can enable all your departments to proceed with their typical job functions, keeping your business moving while an experienced team of UX professionals gets the job done. In addition, a third party may be able to come in and work side by side with your employees, acting as a sort of arbitrator that can help use their experience to diffuse conflict.
To learn more about how working with a dedicated team of UX specialists can help your business, review our approach for user experience projects.