I have for many years battled the collective ignorance of business people, sales people and engineers attempting to get them to understand User Experience (UX), User Centred Design (UCD) and Creative Visual Design, then it came to me few years ago they will never understand, but they will want the benefits. Framed in that way its a lot easier to deal with entrenched thinking, limited vision and unprofessional responses to the most basic requests, because for them they are incongruous, weird and unacceptable requests.
Sometimes even a benefits based conversation is lost on people who think incorrectly that they know what UX and UCD is and expect to convert it to a mass production factory totally missing the point it’s consultancy first (production only exists if consultancy has been done first). For these people its best to walk away, they will never understand that while there are patterns, actual UX and UCD is bespoke for every client or it simply does not bring true, lasting and huge impact. I have said it before, but
“some companies should fail, they employ people who don’t learn and only impose the same thinking as ever, companies that don’t evolve so should die”
A bit harsh, but it’s better to focus on people who want success, otherwise you will just be frustrated forever.
Having decided that I can’t educate the masses, over the years I have changed my engagement model and invented new methods to rapidly service clients, part in response to the business environment and part in response to market maturity. I’m happy to say more people want Design, but many still unwisely think anyone can do it, they can’t which is why web, digital and company services are still 80% rubbish and awful experiences.
In my latest version I have recombined all the disciplines to create DIGITAL DESIGN as highly flexible and multidirectional capability.
For people who don’t know there are several levels of each discipline made up of Consultancy (strategy) and Services (production). In the model below I primarily focus on the skills and expertise in Consultancy to question requirements, in order to help clients get where they want to go. While some clients (business and marketing people) have a clear vision of what they want to achieve most requirements that arrive at a Consultancy are for the symptoms of a problem rather than the actual problem that needs fixed. In those terms an understanding of the context of the request and stated problem allows the focus of effort on a solution that meets the intention of the request rather than the request itself.
At the core of Design & Strategy and Design & Technology is THINKING, ANALYSING and CREATING in a RAPID, ITERATIVE format and not a “make it pretty function” in those terms it comes down to correctly mixing people, skills, teamwork and understanding motivations.
This new capability is made up from six primary disciplines each one with multiple sub-disciplines and sub-skills, the full model is below, it is a work in progress in USA, Europe and India, coming to a country near you soon.
Design (30%) & Strategy (70%) Consultancy
- Experience Consultancy – Data and research driven design through user experience (UX), customer experience (CX) and interaction design (IxD), accessibility standards, usability standards and information architecture
- Digital Visual Design Management – Design thematics through creative direction
- Service Design – Business transformation by business service/product change from a user centred design perspective
- Design Thinking – Training and implementation of strategic business transformation methods and thinking
Design (70%) & Technology (30%) Consultancy
- Creative Technology – Design provocation led user centred design which is both Design & Strategy and Design & Technology.
- UI Development – User interface development conforming to UCD, usability and accessibility global standards as provided by Design & Strategy.
It is worth also noting that Digital Design should be sold by Digital Designers, not because generalist sales people can’t sell the top level package, but because Digital Design is never one pure thing but a complex amalgam of many disciplines and skills that often need to be refined while in discussion with clients.
We all actually want to be known for doing good work, but what good is for one person is not good for another, so everything starts from governance, knowledge management and leadership.
The implementation of this model for Digital Design has cultural and geographic differences in structures, roles (different for understanding) in relation to India, Europe and the USA and what outcomes clients expect,but one thing is clear;