LEAD UX/UI DESIGNER
timeframe: March 2016 - Present
Bluewolf, an IBM Company, is a Salesforce-partnered agency that helps other companies to implement Salesforce into their business process. When I first joined the company I was the only dedicated UX designers for client work. Starting at a company that didn't have UX or design in their process was a challenge that I was willing to accept, and here is my journey.
The folks at this company weren't used to having a user experience resource available to them, and therefor didn't tend to sell anything with UX unless they knew they could get outside resources. As well, people working with existing clients didn't know the value of the different angle from which I observed issues. It was up to me to show them the value of human-centered design in their own language, thus 'UX'ing the process for them.
Make my role as straight-forward and sellable as possible.
Help everyone in the lifeline of the customer understand my value and role so that I could be included.
Push for more design in internal projects as well as customer-facing ones.
Create a methodology and lead a team on which the people of the company could rely.
Teach the value of user-centered design.
Teacher of methods and user experience to my teammates as well as people who wished to help their clients even more.
Leader of design and user experience in a company where it was not currently utilized.
Creator of methodology and designs that showed usability as the forefront for external and internal-facing projects.
Ambassador for the users whether they be employees or paying clients - retention is key!
FINDING THE SOLUTION
I decided to conduct interviews with sales consultants, project managers, engagement managers, and business analysts to understand gaps in knowledge and process in terms of UX engagement.
What I learned was that many people did not understand my full role as a UX designer and expected that I just 'make things pretty', which is a very typical assumption in this career. Oftentimes, when I'd get the chance for one-on-one conversations, folks would see the value of UX and get excited about all of the instances that it could be used on current and future projects. I could see there was a lot of interest.
From this information I decided to do things to promote myself an UX in ways that would appeal to everyone, and make it easier for them to understand and sell user experience to the clients confidently.
Knowing that I wanted to promote myself and user experience, I decided on a few approaches:
Teaching an internal UX Class, starting up Friday Office Hours, and creating a UX Methodology.
Internal UX Class
Created a deck of information to share and ran a 2+ hour class on the basics of user experience design, showing the differences between UX and UI, and the different processes that can be used, and the outcomes of the work.
Answered a lot of questions afterwards, and had a lot of email engagement and requests for the deck to study further!
To further help folks help their clients understand user experience, I created a methodology that would be easy to remember (4D, thinking outside of the box), that made the process a little more clear, and the outcomes a bit more tangible.
This deck was create to be used for clients or to brush up on user experience design and processes.
This methodology helped inspire a new offering in the company for clients that want to improve their businesses by embracing design thinking.
Friday Office Hours
Every week I would send the office an email about the Friday office hour at 10AM, with 10 minute time slots, allowing people to book time with me to go over their projects.
Even if I didn't have the full hour taken by folks, I would sit in the office lunch area with a different sign meant to engage the people walking through, asking them to vote on some kind of design preference, and asking them why they think they voted in that way. Often this would lead to them asking me more questions about design and what I do.
Engagement increased significantly in the office after doing these regularly.
Within a few months I had re-aligned the process to include design and UX and had even inspired people to take some classes on user experience to help them with their own careers. More people understand the role and benefit of user experience designing and design thinking, especially on internal products that can affect the employees efficiency and ability to succeed.
I'm very proud of the work I am able to do, and proud of my co-workers for their ambitious attitudes in wanting to continue to learn and grow. I continue to push for more human-centered design and information architecture; employees are the next big market.