Since being back in New Zealand I’ve heard people reckoning we are a few years behind Europe and the States in terms of the acceptance of UX.
I’m back in London for a few weeks, consulting for Flow Interactive, … so if it’s true we kiwis are behind, I’m in an industry crystal ball here.
It’s great to be back in the saddle at Flow, the place where I first heard some of the many acronyms that have proliferated as the industry evolves. (UCD, UX, UE, IA, IXD, CHI, HCI… where do you want to get off?)
All these labels and sometimes glorified job titles aside, in the last few years in London, the biggest change I’ve noticed in the industry is the shift from usability to user experience.
Usability studies are often the first encounter clients have with a User Centred Design process, but these are notoriously carried out too late in the process to be of use. (telltale sign: more ‘oh shit’ than ‘a-ha’ moments)
Switched-on clients have adopted UX as an early strategic tool to gain insight, minimise risk and build competitive advantage.
As clients are exposed to user centred approaches and the results they bring, they aim to integrate UX across their entire product lifecycle. You know they see the true value of UX when they involve UCD in the earliest stages of a project
…Meanwhile ‘user testing’ (another horrific and misleading term) has become somewhat commoditised, seen by some as a ‘tick-box’ exercise routinely built into the development cycle particularly of websites. Usability is no less important, but less mysterious and more self contained.
If this is what NZ has to look forward to, then it looks like we have to push our clients over the usability hump, to see the full value of a User Centred approach
…And stop baffling them with acronyms.