The UX Athlete

From designing plays to designing experiences... Lis Hubert shares with us her insights on how to become better in what we do.

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It’s no secret that working in teams and having an outlook for success are attributes of a successful athlete. Today I want to talk about our first lesson from the field: success is all about strategy.

Well I believe that there are many lessons that we can learn from sports in order to enhance our UX skillset as well.

Think about your current project… or even past projects you’ve worked on, during these efforts were you clear on your strategy for success? Was there a team sit-down in which everyone agreed on what success would look like and how it’s defined? From that did your team talk about the strategy for getting the project over the finish line… and I mean talked about it as a team. Sure maybe your internal design team had a strategy, and the development team might have their strategy, but what about the team as a whole…. what is that strategy?

Team strategy and consensus is extremely important for project and product success. Without having a shared end goal, and then a road map for getting to that goal, everyone will begin to chase their own ambitions and goals. This, in turn pulls the product apart at the seam, and real progress and success never sees the light of day. Do you think that a professional sports team goes out there every week without talking about how they are going to win? How could a team of many active players win unless they all have the same idea of success. In short, they just can’t.

So, in order to avoid the problems of team distrust, discontent, and lack of success, you got to have a game plan. Sit down with your team and make it happen. Talk about what success is, how the team will get there, and what part UX should play in that strategy.

By doing this, you get everyone on the same page. Tech, marketing, business, project and account management, are all heading in the same direction. Sure everyone has their own individual talents and value adds, the same as a quarterback has a different set of skills than a linebacker, but being able to combine those talents in a productive and successful way, and knowing how you fit into that production is a huge part of what being a better UX professional is all about.

Elisabeth Hubert

Lis is a UX & Strategy Consultant making her way around NYC and beyond. She also is the Chief Experience Officer at 8coupons. You can follow her on Twitter via @lishubert.

3 comments on this article

  1. Amara Poolswasdi (@amaravp) on

    In some work environments I’ve been in, some people argue that team consensus (or design by committee) breeds design via the least common denominator. Would you argue against that?

  2. Lis on

    I would say that it all depends on what the team is agreeing on. From my point of view it isn’t design by committee in this case, but instead agreeing on the strategy of how we are going to solve the problem. To me this is conceptual vs designing the actual interface or solution.

    I do agree that design by committee is problematic, and this is why I’m talking about a different form of consensus above.

  3. Danny Hotea on

    Great metaphor, Lis.

    As with team sports, I think believing in each other and “playing for each other” is what makes it work. Otherwise, the team is a mob of self-promoters. If I doubt the business owner’s decisions and don’t communicate to get clear on it (and sometimes help him/her get clear as well), the project is affected. I’ll take action to protect or compensate for what I perceive is lacking. Or worse, I’ll disconnect and treat it as a paycheck.