The three ITs of UX growth

This post is #5 in a series of posts about my UX research about UX Maturity. For all other posts, see my UX Strategy page.

My journey

I used to be a developer. I read as much as I could about UX, then really tried to put those readings to use. There were a lot of successes, but these great UX ideas that everyone was raving about online didn’t always catch on as much as I expected them to.

So I started learning about UX Maturity models. I even compiled a list of models. And I embarked on a research project with the help of my mentor Meaghan, interviewing people about UX and scouring the internet for insights.

That research is still ongoing but I’d like to share a super high-level summary.

The Three ITs of UX Growth

When it comes to leveling up your UX game, there are really only three things you can do.

1) commIT

Some companies up their UX game thanks largely to the efforts of a single person. In fact, my employer Solium is one of them. Not too long ago, we were having problems improving the UX of our products. But then a developer decided to take things into his own hands. He did a prototype of a redesign for one of the company’s main products and showed it to the leadership team. They loved it and built a team around him. That app is being released to the first major wave of customers this week, as shown in the blog post below!

new participant experience
A recent Solium blog post announcing a redesign that started as a side project

Obviously this one developer wasn’t the only person who cared about UX in the company, but his commITment and results led to a tipping point within the company and some very positive changes.

2) waIT

UX is becoming more and more mainstream. From articles on Design Thinking in the Harvard Business Review to reports of enterprise software being rejected by clients due to bad UX, executives are more aware than ever of the value and practices of UX.

Picture a typical customer of an old-skool enterprise software application. Let’s call him Jon. Jon wakes up one day and with two taps on the CityMapper app, he finds the best train route to work. While on the train, he does some leisurely scrolling through Airbnb and books a place for his upcoming vacation. He’s feeling pretty good… until he gets to work and has to try to do his job using a hideous, mind-numbing interface originally developed for Windows 95.

One of these things is not like the other!

Don’t you think that Jon is going to eventually wonder why his work software can’t be a little more like the sweet apps on his phone?

He is.

So if you wait long enough, the executives at your company are probably eventually going to hear complaints about bad UX and be aware of how to fix them!

This is exactly what happened at a financial institution that I spoke with.

“[The change] came top down actually. It wasn’t grassroots. [Prompted by] reality… banks must find unique ways of differentiating or they won’t be able to continue existing for much longer.”

This bank is now undergoing huge UX growth and seeing great results because of it.

3) quIT

If you tried to do IT and you can’t waIT any longer, do what I did: quIT your current job and find a company, like Solium, that really values User Experience.

If you want to work for a company that values UX, go work for a company that values UX!

Obviously no company is perfect, but Solium has gone through its UX breakthrough, which means I can spend more time solving problems and less time trying to convince other people that they are really problems.

The talk

I know this isn’t anything groundbreaking or particularly interesting, but writing and speaking has always helped me clarify my thoughts. I’ll be speaking about this later this week at the Calgary UX meetup in a ten-minute Rapid Fire talk.

Do you agree that UX Growth boils down to these three things? If not, why?

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