User Experience, or UX as widely known, is one of the most transformative digital development disciplines. Even though I can hardly call myself a UX practitioner, exposure to UX techniques has definitely changed my approach in digital service delivery. Here’s how.

It is hardly innovative to talk about UX anymore. Any digital professional is, at least, aware of the value in applying user research techniques. Furthermore, it is hardly news that the most successful organisations have embedded user insight in their continuous improvement processes.

My exposure to UX happened after I joined the University of Edinburgh. Throughout the last 6 years, I have undergone my own “digital transformation”. A change in way of thinking, balancing focus between business requirements and user needs. Gradually, but constantly.

Throughout this journey, there has been a lot of revelations. About people, ways of thinking, how important smaller changes can be if applied to the right place.

  • I would summarize my main takeaways as:
  • Always start with articulating the problem and objectives, not the solution that might seem the most appropriate.

  • No one necessarily “needs a website”, unless they clarify who is the audience, what the communication blockers are and what are the most effective channels to achieve their objectives.
  • Nearly every idea is an assumption, unless validated and researched appropriately.

How do we know what users think of any search if there’s no insight? Analytics data, user behaviour capture tools, research methodologies are our friends, not a burden to get on with.

It is not really difficult to do UX

Even though UX can be very scientific at times, most of the activities that underpin the discipline are actually very easy to do. True, there’s a training and experience element to it, but that’s always the case. Otherwise, my best advice is to have a read, talk to a professional and “just get on with it.

At the University of Edinburgh, we have years of experience in providing UX support to our colleagues. And definitely putting the effort to scale up our delivery even more. If you’re interested to find out, there a long series of blog posts.

University Website Publishing Blog – User Experience and Usability Posts