Sethu, content marketer at WowMakers, holds up the green flag for every up-to-the-minute and pertinent content that assures a takeaway for her readers. Keen about new opportunities in every field, she is interested in learning and updating herself for her readers. Being a hardcore fan of F.R.I.E.N.D.S doesn’t stop her from exploring new horizons of the techy world. She keeps her writing open to tech enthusiasts and dramas equally.
UX Design 4 min read
UX Maturity: Know Where You Are in UX Adoption
UX Maturity of an Organization
One of the key challenges facing UX design agencies and UX professionals is educating and convincing the stakeholders of an organization about the critical role user experience design plays in the success of the organisation. Be it a global brand, Fortune 100 enterprise, government agency, unicorn startup, non-profit or mom-and-pop store, user experience is the fundamental factor that decides the success of your products, services and ultimately the organisation itself.
From retaining existing customers to attracting new users, reducing churn rate to increasing conversion rates, improving reputation and brand loyalty- UX plays a critical role in how your organisation does business, even if you are aware or not.
So it is important to understand where your organization stands in terms of UX adoption. UX maturity level measures an organization’s desire and ability to consider and incorporate UX design in its functioning. It measures the awareness, attitude of the stakeholders, quality of research and design, resources and tools as well as the organization’s willingness to support and strengthen UX now and in the future, through its leadership, workforce, and culture.
Levels in UX maturity
Level 1 – Missing or Hostile
The company at this stage is indifferent to the user experience, or thinks it does not need it.
User experience is unknown or rarely practiced in these organizations. This can range from startups to established organizations with legacy workflows that are not user-centric.
At this level there may be no or little knowledge about user experience or some half-hearted ideas which never results in any attempts. In some cases, these organisations might even show hostility towards UX practice.
If you are in this level, we recommend you to check out A Beginner’s Guide to User-Centered Design
Level 2 – Initial Signs
The organization at this stage may show some sense of UX and occasionally participate in user experience activities. User experience as a strategy is not taken into account and is not incorporated into product design and development. UX is given lowest priority. It is still not considered as an official discipline, and there is no dedicated user experience role, process, or budget.
At this stage, in most companies, user experience-centric activities happen only across one or two departments. The rest of the organization is still oblivious about it and still at level 1 of UX maturity.
Level 3 – Scattered
A company at this stage becomes aware of what user experience is and how important it is in their product or service. The management might decide to hire a UX specialist or a UX agency. But they still don’t perceive the significance of having a dedicated UX team or considering UX in decision making.
At this stage, the company puts very little effort into UX. It is inconsistent, and UX is still not identified as an organizational policy; rather, it is based on individual manager’s initiative.
There is no defined system or an extensive user experience process. Some stakeholders may defend UX and its importance. But UX is still the first to be compromised when trade-offs are necessary as UX is still not prioritized as a basic strategy.
It is common for large companies to get stuck in the third level of UX maturity, especially in traditional businesses like finance and healthcare.
Level 4 – Recognised
By this stage the company recognizes the role of UX in their success. Now they have a dedicated UX team and budget allocated for it. At this stage, the idea of UX spreads across all the departments and leadership considers UX in decision making.
User research is conducted throughout the design and development phases in the product’s lifecycle. Departments like marketing, sales, customer service etc also get involved in the UX process.
The dedicated budget used for UX demands better explanations to the top management. The team should be able to defend the UX process with KPIs and data rather than just intuition and experience.
Level 5 – As a Strategy
This level, which every organisation aims to reach, makes sure UX is interwoven in every process they undertake. This will eventually help them achieve their business goals.UX is now part of the strategy and it influences all aspects of the business- development, sales, marketing, operations and customer service.
Most of the teams in the organization perform activities related to user experience in an efficient manner. The company now invests in bringing about innovations in the field of UX methods and processes.
KPIs of such organizations focus on UX and are even driven by the UX related activities.
Level 6 – UX Centric
UX is now part of the culture. The entire organisation- from top management to interns, everyone is fully enlightened about user-centered design.
The organisation now considers user experience in every aspect of their operation, ranging from the highest level of strategy to the smallest product decisions. They even try to bring change and innovation into the industry standards. These companies rely on user research to drive new investments and target new markets .
An organisation at this stage has achieved the ultimate user experience maturity, but it struggles to maintain the position for a long time. Hurdles like conflicting goals or internal politics etc emerge resulting in the decline of UX maturity.
Some organisations at this level tends to lose focus on its user centric approach due to scaling, acquisitions, mergers, changes in leadership, shift in culture and eventually slip back down to lower UX-maturity levels in the course of time.
It’s important to understand the organization’s UX maturity. This helps in identifying its strengths and weaknesses, in defending and rewarding what has been done well. This understanding will also assist in identifying and improving areas that are not upto the standards.
The organisation should invest continuous efforts to advance to the next level of UX maturity. Going up the ladder of UX maturity is a slow process and there is no possibility to skip levels or leap to higher levels.
Every company, even the ones with high levels of UX maturity, should involve themselves in self assessments to understand their level of UX maturity so as to make improvements and provide the best experience to its users consistently.