Trading professional opinions in a corporate environment in any industry can be challenging.
Sometimes tasks become uneedingly complicated, due to human error, where people get into battles of which way they should steer a project.
As a UX specialist, one of the biggest difficulties you will ever face is getting people from other professions to see your point of view.
Although User Experience design is nothing new, the rate at which it has finally been adopted by businesses in the last few years is fascinating, and as such has its difficulties.
A clear, concise UX approach can be applied to any digital site.
Some people do not understand UX design or even if they do, they make it hard for UX designers to get on with UXing!
There can be many reasons why.
From people fearing what they can’t understand to hating change, negative attitudes can make UX design unnecessarily difficult.
Staying calm and professional
As professionals it is up to us to make it as easy as possible, from our part, to help people to ‘get’ and understand our UX design processes.
This can be testing to say the least.
When developing a new digital application, you want to make sure the User Experience journey is on point, but sometimes when discussing the best way to display information or elements, verbal conversations can become heated.
I have found overtime the best way is to stay calm, no matter what is thrown your way.
Work colleagues usually don’t mean any harm, as it can be simply because they don’t know how a particular UX concept might solve the problem at hand.
This might be delivered to you disguised as anger or hatred or the like.
But simply know that it is not personal.
Approach objections from an educational point of view.
Really try to understand where the colleague is coming from, see the ‘issue’ from there point of view (with no bias attached!)
Then simply ask, ‘what do you think we could do instead?’
They will see you are coming from a collaborative angle and usually they’ll uncover the reason that was worrying them about the UX proposal you put forward.
As a UX professional, it is our job to bring the best practice and industry standard to the party, but sometimes others opinions can be better for the problem at hand.
If it is simply that they are right, agree and say, ‘I see… that is a fantastic suggestion, let’s see how we can get that into this UX design’.
If their opinion doesn’t help the problem at hand but they have a valid point on some level and you want to acknowledge it, you simply take their viewpoint and your proposal and deliver it to them in a way which they see the problem.
For example, you might say let’s put the sidebar to the left, and they say it needs to be on the right, you then offer that their suggestion is valid but the reason you chose to put it on the left is because it might have an information module that needs to be on the left and buttons on the right, making it easier for the user to click on the buttons.
So far win-win
However the whole heated debate might not have a collaborative angle at all from their part and this is where you get really tested under pressure and attack.
If their reaction was the one we most fear, and they are simply there to pull you down in front of everybody…
You have to be thick skinned, and either start a dialogue with them and ask what they mean or what do they think might happen.
Answer back professionally with a fact and evidence to support your concepts.
If they simply do not get it and show no willingness of cooperation then simply, use their words by repeating back to them,
‘So you think we should do [there opinion], if we did that this is what would happen…’
And explain step by step what the result would be, then how that doesn’t help with the problem at hand and how your solution aims to solve the problem.
In this way you have done your job and been professional about it. You don’t have to and shouldn’t stand for aggressive behavior in the work place, but stay calm as possible and be assertive with your responses.
Like it or not, UXers are in position that ‘gets attacked’ often by coworkers and managers.
You are the shining light though!
You are there to make the companies client facing platform more user friendly.
It can be difficult at the least of the times, but be proud and know you are in the position to move mountains for the company, while others might just be crunching numbers, bean counting and moving bits of paper around.
We should care more about what end users think and not coworkers.
If you find yourself in a UX related pickle, take the tips above on board and send objections on their way!
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