Where Does User Advocacy Belong in the Company S tructure?
15 Jan 2004 - 10:05am
10 years ago
Given this choice, and without specific knowledge of
each organization, I would tend to pick an association
with Marketing over IT.
Theoretically, Marketing should understand the importance
of customer/user relations, and from there it's usually
an easy sell that a product's behavior constitutes an
important piece of that relationship. Usability can also
offer Marketing a greater insight into its customers/users
(via ethnography and even traditional u-test) along axes
that market research doesn't provide, and also provide
insight into what people really like and dislike about
existing products. With the right people and approach,
Usability/UX and Marketing can be wonderful allies.
This isn't to say that Usability/UX can't operate from within
IT, but in this case, upper IT management must really support
it, recognize it as necessary component to the development
process (rather than a luxury), recognize where it belongs in
the process (throughout, and especially at the beginning), and
be willing to back up the UX team's decisions and analysis.
I've seen it work, but I think it's often the bigger challenge
organizationally, and very dependent on IT and UX leadership.
And as others have mentioned, UX must bring together many
constituents across the organization to be truly successful,
no matter where its home is.
Manager, User Interface Design
Bose Design Center
Can a usability team report into an aggressive marketing/business
development unit and remain true to the user? Can the same question be
raised if the team reports into IT?
I'm having an interesting debate here about where the
user advocacy group should report. (The choices are IT
or Marketing - I can't form a new department!).
I know concern over objectivity in the usability field certainly isn't as
dramatic as in publishing, where many organizations literally separate
editorial and ad sales, but has anyone looked at how an organization's
structure impacts the effectiveness of the UX team?
I realize the answer would likely vary by case,
depending largely on the UX team's leadership, but I'd appreciate any