It is difficult for those not in Research & Development, Quality Assurance, Marketing or other non-customer related departments to immediately see the reasoning behind the need to hire a User Experience Manager. This is understandable. Those in more financial or executive positions have their own sophisticated sciences and logistics with which to be concerned and are forced, often against their desires, to leave the “creative” sciences to those who specialize in them.
With that in mind, this article will list ten reasons why all enterprise level businesses need a User Experience manager. Before continuing to read, please note that some of these aspects come as a result of the user experience development phase, rather than being components directly thereof. All people in leadership naturally understand that one ripple in a pool affects all the others, making resultant factors just as vital as direct ones.
#1 – Better Understanding of the Human Element
One of the core concepts behind user experience sciences is understanding the human mind. This involves a degree of understanding of user psychology – that is, what makes users tick. A major factor from a user experience perspective is how the end user or customer will perceive a service or product. This includes the mechanical action of interacting with the service/product as well as how branding and identification of the company and product/service will be associated by these customers. For the human element, it goes one step further.
#2 – CRM Contingencies
CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is not a separate field, in entirety, from User Experience. Rather, it is another part of this human element. User experience designers, with their grasp on humanity, can help during the user requirement elicitation, development and refinement of a product or service to point out potential issues. These issues may be questions or confusion a customer may experience, or technical problems as well as other things which may often be difficult to forecast or notice. However, a user experience professional can forecast these things within an acceptable margin of error, and the benefit here is staggering. With contingencies in place, your support staff may be able to handle customer problems with single call resolution 99% of the time. This is due to having most imaginable problems planned out beforehand, and having easy access to answers and solutions to them. This one should really be first on the list, but the prior point segued too well into it to do so. Remember, CRM is one of the key things by which the users or customers will judge a company, all things said and done. Failed CRM is failed everything.
#3 – Detachment
Following this human element further, a user experience professional can also aid in counteracting a natural human trait within the other teams. When an idea, from concept to implementation has been worked out, it is natural for the existing idea, as is, to obtain a certain degree of sentimentality with those working on it. They will develop an affinity for their design, in which they may be unable to see obtuseness. A user experience professional will not be attached to the design when it reaches them, and as their specialty is all about how the service or product will be perceived by the user, something special can happen here. They will be able to suggest and implement revisions to the design with a detached perspective by applying usability guidelines, being able to do away with or change things other teams may find perfect just the way they are. They’re not biased, and an unbiased eye is important in revising a concept. Sadly, the teams who developed the construct are naturally unable to be unbiased like this.
#4 – Outreach Solidity
User experience professionals closely follow design trends from the users’ end. They make it their business to know what branding identities, software designs and the like are working well with people. Through this, they understand what people expect from how a service or product is presented, delivered and identified.
There is a lot to be said for marketing personnel and Research & Development people, but user experience teams can bring in that extra sense of the users that ensures demographic outreach and solidity to back them up.
#5 – Innovation
User experience professionals provide insight into new ways of applying a design or concept in a practical manner – often in a more practical way than Research & Development or other similar departments. This is because these departments may not be trained to, or have the time to contribute to practical innovation. Since human interaction is their trade, user experience professionals have a deep understanding of where new revisions and new innovations in an existing concept will work, without time-consuming research and experimentation. Have you ever wished you had the clairvoyance to know when a design will work with users? Hire a user experience professional!. If you’re still not convinced by now, here are another 5 reasons to add to the 5 you have just read!
#6 – Problem Solving
When a product or service seems to not be working well with end users, there is often a wave of panic – trying to debug it or understand what went wrong. Was it just the idea not as good as it was expected to be? Does the product or service just not work right?
If it is a programming bug and the product is broken, then half the game is won because the problem can be re-directed to your web development team. However, chances are that it is something a bit more subtle and sinister, in the presentation for user perception. Very often than not (and to even complicate matters), a product or service fails because of a number of reasons so it is difficult if not impossible to point fingers. A user experience manager can spot these problems, offer ways to resolve them, and often proactively spot them a la the contingencies stated earlier.
#7 – Demographics
Marketing and focus groups will determine core demographics, but a user experience manager, being someone who is versed in human nature and dynamics, may contribute to this rather deeply. They may see additional demographics that, with minor tweaking, a product or service is just as ideal. This means greater outreach and greater profitability for a product or service in the future.
#8 – Marketability Forecasting
User experience managers are also very capable in the field of marketability forecasting, that is, the user appeal before a product or service is even launched. An overview of a concept by a user experience manager will allow them to point out major flaws that to other departments may seem irrelevant or insignificant especially at the launch phase. However, these flaws could render an idea not feasible, which in the past was a costly trial and error thing. A user experience manager may be able to point this out ahead of time, sparing expensive launch costs.
#9 – Derivations
User experience managers may see opportunities for derivation of an existing idea, thus furthering the innovation and demographics outreach points above. Take a chapter from beverage and snack food companies with this, who have had user experience teams for years. A demographic not being reached because a product or service lacks something to appeal to them may be easily targeted with a parallel version of the product/service with minor adjustments to reach them. User experience managers are excellent for spotting these opportunities at every turn.
#10 – Keeping Up
Public attitude changes constantly, and while research and focus groups, as well as surveys can help stay in the know about what has changed in outlooks, it is not enough. A user experience manager may be able to help implement changes or new approaches to designs proactively, allowing a company to remain contemporary with minimal expenses in doing so.
So Should You Hire a User Experience Manager?
You will notice that all of these points add up to one major argument. User experience managers understand people and how they perceive products or services. As a result, they can predict user behaviour, and counteract anticipated problems with solid ideas. They are a proactive and organic solution to research and trials that no longer need to be so costly and time consuming, and allow for a softer, more real outreach to your demographics. These are things that all companies desire and, irrespective of the product / service you are offering, the nature of your company or the sector you are operating in, a user experience manager can make them happen.