Discussion: How do you communicate a UX vision?

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In a new series from Johnny Holland, we turn the light onto the community to discuss hot topics and issues. Read on and discuss! We begin on communication.

You have spent time with your team crafting a UX vision for a product you are working on. You have spent a few weeks outlining who the key users are, the critical journeys, design principles, the product framework and who needs to work on what. There is genuine excitement in the workshop about what will be required to take the UX vision forward towards delighting both the business and its customers. At the end of the workshop, you are left with lots of discussion notes, post it notes, sketches, wireframes and clear design goals. Everyone says their goodbyes and returns to their respective teams. Now … after a week or so, the workshop energy and focus starts to slowly fade. It becomes harder and harder to remember the key parts of the UX Vision and it becomes challenging to communicate that out to other key stakeholders who were not at the workshop.

So the question is:

How do you document and communicate the UX vision to the organisation so everyone is on the same page on what needs to be delivered?

Daniel Szuc

Daniel Szuc is a Principal Consultant at a Apogee Usability Asia Ltd, based in Hong Kong, and previously worked on a usability team for Telstra Australia.

6 comments on this article

  1. Matto on

    What is the point you are making? I am feeling all ‘so what?!’ right now…

  2. Nick on

    Good question Daniel.
    A few times I’ve used a ‘rich picture’ to make sure the vision endures. I usually have the ‘user’ as a central element or character in a diagram which tells the story of the experience you wish the user to have.
    This works really well with in a ‘timeline’ format showing the changing shape of interactions and growing levels of engagement etc. along the customer journey.
    I find this type of thing works well in a less formal cartoon style rather than a formal ‘boxes and arrows’ diagram.
    And make sure you print her out LARGE and get it up on the wall.

  3. Hi Matto – how do you get people, independent of role in the business, to keep warm around a “UX vision” and to better understand how they can help deliver on it? There is much more, but would like to see how the discussion evolves.


  4. I’m in the happy position of dealing with this myself right now. Happy because in past projects, UX vision didn’t carry much weight. Now I’m on a new product with stakeholders who really support UX and want to make it a priority.

    This may take your question in a different direction because it’s more practical and less sexy. But what I’ve found is that ux professionals have to be cognizant of the different ways each functional area views the same problem. Everyone will get excited during a presentation or looking at great-looking diagrams. But what will keep other areas like QA or dev focused on the UX vision is something measurable against. The unsexy part of the vision is deconstructing it into prioritized goals or even ux requirements.

    It may be different for everyone but I think the important thing to remember is that everyone does not have to ‘get’ the vision like you will. If QA gets the vision through use cases translated to test cases, or dev gets the vision through goals translated to functional requirements, great. Our job is to communicate the vision in a format that suits their work. The process can seem a little mechanic, but in the end, I think when you come back up to a high level, you’ll find more success at achieving the grander vision.

  5. There a few ways I’ve learned to deal with this. First is to not let everyone go away and forget. There are the things I always see at conferences…put up posters, make a slogan… I find these ways pretty useless if they aren’t accompanied by other efforts. Daniel, you’re a UR person, no? I’m pretty surprised I didn’t see scenarios up there. Out of all your brainstorming should come design goals, scenarios, feature lists, etc. Then it’s *not a “go back to your team and forget”, but what you’ve created helps inform the direction of the product. As you design and build the product… when you do usability testing, use your core scenarios to test against. Use the design goals to [user] test against. When designing, use those same things to check and recheck if your designs follow them. QA can use then to build out test cases. When you design, also bring in other team members to help brainstorm. The more people feel engaged and bought in, the more they’ll work with you towards the same goals. My 2 cents in 2 minutes there :)

  6. Hi Joe, what is a “UR person”?