I hear a lot about the needs of finding a UX champion high in your company’s org but no one ever talks about how to get one. I have found that my process works and it’s repeatable at every company where I’ve worked. It involves using research as bait!
Upon further analyses, it turns out that perceived productivity gains or losses was the core issue for workplace acceptance. I found that perception differed between casual users, frequent users, and power users.
Frequency of use matters
Casual users of our applications appreciated that the digital assistant could help them perform infrequent tasks. These users felt like they had a productivity gain because they didn’t have to take the time to re-learn processes that they only do a few times a year.
On the flip-side, frequent users felt like the digital assistant would only slow them down. They have their tasks in the application practically embedded in their muscle memory. They get in, get it done, and get out and don’t want to be distracted by shiny objects. Frequent users perceive digital assistants as a potential productivity loss at this time.
Power users, like the captain of any Star Trek series, want to sit back and brainstorm with the digital assistant. They want to ask it to perform complex tasks that involve some forecasting trends so that they can make decisions. They also want it to search out search out all the relevant data and present it to them so they don’t have to waste their time manually searching archives. Not losing hours in searching for data is a huge productivity gain for power users.
In my studies, I found that the power users and casual users together were vastly outnumbered by the frequent users. So it seems that digital assistants have little perceived value to most of the user base to date. I think that this perception can be changed going forward.
In creating user experiences, it’s the UX team’s job to make sure each user type has the best experience we can provide. So before adding on the digital assistant feature to business applications, take the time to look at the needs of each user type. Figure out how it can add value for each of them or risk being dismissed as another shiny object.
The discovery of user zero
What is a Virtual Design Wall?
A virtual design wall is basically a UX intranet site where your product/project team can view all the UX deliverables. It can be as simple or complex as needed by the product owner and stakeholders.
My virtual design wall process evolved over four years. When I started working on the American Airline’s self-service kiosk (as a UX team of one), I suddenly found myself overwhelmed with the sheer volume of requests from my immediate and extended product team. The only reasonable way to deal with it was to make all my deliverables available on a UX intranet. It works so well that I’ve included that in my process since.
What to Include on Your Virtual Design Wall
It’s very simple.
“In a perfect world, this (project, software, feature set) would make the user feel (productive, accomplished, confident) because it (automates redundant tasks, quickly provides relevant data).”
Customer Service Failures