Promoting UX within your company: what is your strategy?

17 Feb 2013 - 12:51pm
3 years ago
12 replies
3296 reads
Patricia Mourthé

Hello everyone. I’m back after a long time without posting here.

I’d like to know from you what you are currently doing for promoting UX within your company (besides your normal job activities).

We are a seven months old IT subsidiary startup of a major telecom company in Brazil. There are two UX professionals in the company (myself and a colleague), and our managers already understand the value UX brings (soon we will be hiring another UX pro), but we see a lot of colleagues clueless or expressing misconceived ideas of what we do, why we do it, etc.
From experience, I’ve learned that once high management buys UX, it is much easier for everyone else below to buy it (what is really happening with us.) However, we wonder if we could speed up this process by promoting internal workshops, inviting outside guest speakers to talk about it, etc.
So, what have you been doing – or not -- for that? What was more effective or not effective at all? I’d love to hear your stories and experiences about it.  
Thank you all for your inputs! I really appreciate them.
Patricia Mourthe
Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil 




18 Feb 2013 - 8:32am
Benjamin Ho

Yes, having internal workshops is a start.  The goal is to educate non-UXer's about your process.  Once you have your few workshops, you can start with smaller projects so everyone gets a feel for what you do and how UX gets incorporated into the process.  But if you're pressed for time, start off with a project right away and show and tell the PM where UX is most useful.

19 Feb 2013 - 7:48am
Patricia Mourthé

Ho, please see the other response. This post was duplicated by accident. 

19 Feb 2013 - 7:47am
Patricia Mourthé

Thanks Ho for your inputs and suggestions. It helps to know that promoting workshops are a good start and strategy. One of our initial challenges is really to educate non-UXer's colleagues. From the short time we've been with the company we've had good luck to right away show the value of UX and design research to our directors and stockholders through a real project we are working on at the moment, but the large IT team is still aside from this understanding. Patience is the key.

18 Feb 2013 - 12:03pm
Paul Bryan

My team and I create comprehensive UX strategy foundation documents for clients that express the many facets of UX rationale to stakeholders and business partners in easy-to-understand diagrams and common business language: 

- Alignment between UX and business strategy

- Behavioral segmentation, or personas, and usage scenarios

 - Multichannel purchase model

- Prioritization of new features and functionality, Road Map

- Competitive benchmarking

- Web analytics

- Role of social / mobile / local considerations in UX release planning

 From the foundation document, we create presentations, workshops, and models to use when meeting with cross-functional teams.

19 Feb 2013 - 7:44am
Patricia Mourthé

Paul, thanks for sharing this comprehensive list of UX strategies, a good start that can help us keep our feet on the ground. Since we are starting fresh, one of our to-do-list items is to create all UX documentation, including UI and interaction standards/patterns, so we can guarantee quality delivery across all sectors of the IT team.

18 Feb 2013 - 11:11pm

I've worked in a couple of companies who had similar situations as yours. Here's my experiences:

The biggest issue then was that although the rest of the company may welcome UX, they didn't have a clear landscape idea of the very concept of UX -- they still thought of design as something intangible, artistic, or ambiguous.

One thing I did that I find very effective/potential is to start small and tangible - to explain to them the "measurable/quantitative" aspect of design -- which they may find easier to relate to what they do. They got to understand that design is not only something artistic and beneficial, but also something measurable and tangible, and they got to know why it's benficial by substantial (though small) examples.

I pinpointed certain small factors/issues in the current work process or whatever going-ons in the company, and then used quantitative methods to measure it, proposed and implemented improvements, and finally presented those improvements in measurable terms. By those presentations (either in the actual working environments or in workshops or meetings, etc.), people gained the idea that design is also something really tangible, things they can easily relate to. Thus: start tangible.

Another related thing is to actually collaborate (whenever possible) with a few people on a few small things. When they got to see by themselves how UX could help by small examples, I found they become much much more easier to understand what I do and how I do it. Thus: start small.

19 Feb 2013 - 8:01am
Patricia Mourthé

Thanks Kingofark for sharing your experience with us. I like what you said and your strategy is very wise, in the sense that keeping our goal of starting small will let us making adjustments as we go, responding to what is needed and sensing better what and where the opportunities for creating a UX culture within our company are. Measurement is key and we still don’t have our means to use it, but we plan to soon, implement analytics and run our first usability tests. By now, we’ve so far done qualitative research (ethnographic type), when we got a very good response from our stakeholders since this study was able to reveal the project’s real design problems and opportunities.

14 Mar 2013 - 1:21pm

I am a firm believer that one of the responsibilties of the UX team is to educate those that do not understand. An open house with a prefacing communication campaign helps greatly. You could also partner up with another, since you are small to provide a more thorough venue of what services you and your team provide and the wonderful value add. Of course snacks and swag always help. There are some pretty cool ways to 'propagandize' the UX service. It just takes some ingenuity and of course some help. 



18 Mar 2013 - 10:33am
Patricia Mourthé

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18 Mar 2013 - 10:18am
Patricia Mourthé

Hi JC,


Indeed, I also believe that one of our (UX team) major responsibilities is to educate colleagues and bosses of what is UX. From my own experience, it occurs naturally when we show ROI based on concrete contributions we make. Luckily we've already been able to do so... 

I never thought of doing an open house... it is an interesting idea though. Thanks for suggesting it. Have you done one? If so, how it was and what were your ingenious ideas? (Just curious!). 




20 Mar 2013 - 7:24pm

I will echo what others have said about bringing people into your design process. As much as possible, get out there and make your process transparent. Bring people into your design workshops and give them the chance to be creative. Put your sketches and diagrams up in a public place so everyone can see and talk about them. There are probably working groups and workshops on topics other than UX in your company -- volunteer to be a part of these and then use your UX techniques to facilitate, lead discussion, brainstorm, and prioritize.

Don't waste your time trying to "educate" your co-workers. They are intelligent, busy people who will not appreciate being lectured to. Instead, find out what makes their jobs difficult and try to fix it. Likewise, if you want buy-in from management, figure out how to make the company run more smoothly. How? Same way you solve every design problem: research, brainstorm, try things, repeat the successes.

22 Mar 2013 - 9:48am
Patricia Mourthé

Hi Kim,

I'd say I agree with and like all you said. Particularly I find very useful your point of "not trying to educate my co-workers", thus respecting busy, intelligent people. It is so true and unfortunately we do run into trouble when acting like we UXrs own the "truth" about processes, solutions and so on. Great reminder. Thanks.

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