User experience (UX) led design has transformed how organisations across the world think about services and how they are designed and delivered.
Businesses taking advantage of it have found that they are able to meet their goals while building and maintaining the positive engagement of staff and customers more efficiently and more effectively than before.
What exactly is UX design and how does it enable these benefits?
1. It is an evidence-based practice.
UX-led design demands that before investing in a project, organisations take time to understand the current reality of those experiencing the existing services, either as a service provider or service-user.
This requires talking face-to-face with service users and those who deliver the service. User researchers will discuss with users, observe them and, in many cases, ‘live’ the user and the deliverer experience themselves by acting as a temporary participant.
The empirical evidence gathered from this work helps researchers to understand where the service is broken, and how it can be improved.
In addition, feedback can be gathered on ideas for potential improvements to the service from those who would be impacted by them.
2. It is inclusive.
Traditional transformation approaches almost exclusively see the benefits of a project through the needs of the organisation.
UX-led design rejects the concept that one set of needs is prioritised over another. It does not mean relegating the needs of the organisation to gold plate the end user experience nor does it mean the needs of the organisation and the end customer are met at the expense of the delivery staff.
For UX-led designers, a service can only be deemed successful when everyone involved in the service gets what they want from it - from service providers to end-users.
Indeed, the term ‘user’ itself is not interchangeable with ‘customer’ in UX-led design; instead it is shorthand for all those who ‘touch’ the service - the delivery staff, the support staff, the end user and the overall delivering organisation.
3. It addresses the human impact of change.
All change is personal. Analysis of why so many major transformation projects fail to meet their business objectives has shown a common factor: failure to engage users and deliverers in the process on a personal level.
This is partly a consequence of the fact that many change programmes rely on performing user research at a late stage. Often the research is conducted when the programme design is already mostly complete, and a significant investment in it has already been made. By this point, it is too late for significant alteration, and the findings from user consultation can be of little value.
By contrast, UX-led design focuses on user involvement from the outset and throughout a project, putting the human impact of the change at the heart of the programme.
4. It taps into the social climate.
People like to be heard. The growth of social media in the past ten years has cultivated in all of us a sense of the importance of our voice. We publicly rate and critique events, services and even people on a regular basis.
UX-led design uses this openness and willingness to engage to invite insight, attitudes and beliefs to create truly transformative services that meet user needs.
Organisations that fail to recognise and harness this social change via user research can quickly find their approach is not in line with the expectations of staff and customers.
5. Its effectiveness is proven.
UX-led methodologies represent a quiet revolution in how services are shaped and delivered. Organisations using strong UX-led design and research techniques no longer wrestle with users and staff to introduce change, but instead collaborate with them to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
They enjoy drastically reduced risk of failed delivery, and dramatically increased delivery of desired beneficial outcomes. For these businesses, the success of large-scale transformation programmes becomes predictable.
This has been shown to be particularly true of environments with significant human traffic, interaction and demands – including hospitals, airports, transport systems and military bases, among others – although UX-led design does also boast a near-universal applicability across other sectors.
ExperienceLab was recently launched by Serco Middle East. This addition to Serco’s proposition offers the first end to end integrated research, UX-led design and delivery offering in the region.
ExperienceLab features a state-of-the-art lab for customer research and co-creation in the heart of Dubai, and a team of experts who have successfully delivered large scale projects around the world.
To find out more contact ExperienceLab Middle East at [email protected].