The missing role in your design team

David Travis 6 Jan, 2014
Design teams often experience a common set of growing pains. They design for themselves; don’t know how to choose between design alternatives; accept poor quality design research; prioritise what users say over what users do; and focus on usability and not on the user experience. Adding an experimental psychologist to your team can help fix these problems.

Quick: you’re putting together a design team to create a new iPhone app. What skills are you looking for? When I ask this question, the responses normally include: an iOS developer; a visual designer; a business analyst; and maybe a project manager to keep everyone on track. I’ll also hear the need for a “UX person” although when I ask for more detail this seems to be a nebulous role that includes skills like prototyping, interaction design and information architecture.
There’s one skill that I never hear mentioned. And this is curious because I think this skill would fix the growing pains I see in my consulting work with design teams. I find that fledgling design teams:

  • Design for themselves.
  • Don’t know how to choose between design alternatives.
  • Accept poor quality design research.
  • Prioritise what users say over what users do.
  • Focus on usability and not on the user experience.

If any of these five problems occur on your design projects, it may be a warning sign that you need a different skill on your team.

[Article]

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