The tip of the User Experience iceberg

Some websites provide more of an experience than others, but the number of web agencies and even individuals who offer User Experience in their list of ‘services’ indicates there’s a chunk of lip-service being paid to what has become an almost industry-specific buzzword.

Although many techniques and approaches to UX have been honed and made popular during online projects, if New Zealand businesses associate User Experience only with making a well considered website, the power of taking a user-centred approach will be diluted and practitioners risk limited uptake from business in the design/research/strategy of their other channels and customer touch-points.

There’s so much more ground to cover and value to offer away from the web and I hope I’m not alone in my ideal that businesses and organisations should involve customers in the planning and design of all facets they interact with, on and offline, physical and virtual.

Tell me I’m not alone…

7 thoughts on “The tip of the User Experience iceberg

  1. Simon Johnson

    I don’t think that clients can REALLY understand the full UCD process unless they have participated. Clients often think that usability research is marketing research with a more fashionable name.

    There’s that ‘ah-ha’ moment when the penny drops. You see meta-themes leaping out from your data that just weren’t there before, which is magical. The insights are more than the component parts.

    The perplexing question is how we convey that a grounded UCD process for ethnographic deep research to iterative interaction design to our clients?

    Only then will they realise the value of involving customers at every stage of the process.

  2. Nick Finck

    I think you’re thinking of customer experience (all customer touchpoints), not user experience (all customer touchpoints within a digital space).

  3. Nick

    Hi Nick. I’ve never seen it as cut-and-dry as that.
    Coming into UX from a background in product design and architecture, it’s all the same to me.
    I’ve applied a user-centred-design approach to buildings, sporting goods, electronics and plenty of digital interfaces, so it seems it seems a little one-eyed and perhaps a lost opportunity that so many in the web/digital industry work under the handle of ‘user experience designer’ when the UCD approach is applicable to so many other areas in which our clients and their customers could really benefit.

  4. Bruce Russell

    Hi Nick,
    I completely sympathise with you over the need to roll out UCD principles across the board. I’m working in the web area because my skills and experience aling with communication products, but this doesn’t mean that the same perspective is not needed in product or off-line service design. Everyone I speak to in this field agrees that the amount of ‘evangelising’ and persuasion involved in getting clients alert to UCD/UX is exhausting. But we need to contain our frustration and keep banging away. I’ve published a short book with Wired Internet Group aimed at educating management about UX, specifically in the web area. More work is needed on this!

  5. Ahmed Shuja

    Hopefully you’re not alone. It was really interesting for us here in Pakistan to discover such a situation in New Zealand. We are a small UX company in Pakistan. We are often frustrated looking at the situation here too. Loads of companies here are popping up using the buzz words of Usability and UX. You speak to them and all they know about the field is what they found on Wikipedia!!! They often don’t even have any formal training in design.


    P.S. I like you blog!

  6. Marco

    It’s indeed an interesting topic emerging – but by emerging I mean, it’s being discussed. Speaking of UX design, I ask myself: WHY? Shouldn’t it be understood that (expressing it pretty basic) the user is the targeted audience in ANY product or application? Why develop theories about it?
    But after a few years in webdesign and -development, I found that in fact there is a demand for that – pity to admit it – and with my background as a web-designer that changed over to the coders I see that most people really think a user has to cope with the software – and not the other way around.
    That’s what Microsoft had to learn over the past years…
    ahm, I stop here – and have a look at this page from time to time since I just started a job in lovely shaky Christchurch recently 🙂

    all the best,

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