My Biggest Contribution to Usability

I have spent many years learning how to create, run and analyze usability tests, design interactions and information architecture, as well as understanding agile and waterfall methodology, web design, coding, psychology… The list goes on and on. But really, my success comes down to one thing;

Am I able to actually influence change in the businesses I consult with?

A quote from Mark Hurst (Good Experience)

You can give the smartest answers in the world, make the most brilliant recommendations; but if the organization doesn’t actually change the user experience, it’s all worthless. Your final report, nicely printed and bound, with such carefully chosen words, will gather dust in some forgotten pile, forever.

The ability to talk to the right people in the right way and help an organization institute processes and changes that will help them provide a better experience for their customers is not one that I see taught in any classroom or discussed at conferences much.

I’d like to see more user centered evangelists teaching their colleagues about how to deliver those difficult results in a way that stake holders can hear and, more importantly, so that stake holders respond and make changes to not only the product, but the basic way they do business.

Being a good usability specialist means more than just running tests and delivering reports. It is about being an agent of change.

Some great articles on instituting organizational change towards user centered design:

Understanding Organizational Stakeholders for Design Success

Being User-Centered When Implementing a UCD Process

How Usability-Focused Companies Think

Ten Guidelines for User Centered Design (STCIG)

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