UX Needs An Owner

Brad Feld finds applications’ user experiences (UX) lacking and believes that UX needs an owner. I think he’s right. One comment that drew my attention:

They are each obsessed about the product, but they are approaching it from an engineering perspective. What are the features that the user needs? What is the feedback we are getting about what individuals want to do? Each of these things ends up being a story or a task – a feature – but there is no unifying UX philosophy.

For those of us that develop embedded software, the “engineering perspective” is even more pronounced. Functionality usually determines a product’s readiness, not its usability. Feld implores that someone must own the entire user experience.

I’ve come to appreciate the important of a single person in the company owning the UX with this person being the arbiter of discussion around how to implement the UX. There’s nothing wrong with lots of different perspectives, but a single mind has to own it, synthesize it, and dictate the philosophy. But first, they have to understand the difference between UI and UX, and – more importantly – the product-oriented execs who approach things from an engineering perspective need to understand this.

photo by opensourceway

photo by opensourceway

This mirrors Fred Brooks‘s idea that systems need a single chief architect, in order to achieve conceptual consistency. In this case, a single UX owner ensures that the user experience is consistent and satisfactory.

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