“The role of a researcher is to haunt an organisation with with the needs of the user”
It’s difficult to feel the tension between yourself and other team members when you have differing ideas about how products should be built. Standing up for user’s needs is sometimes seen as an inconvenience when battling against crushing development deadlines. It’s even more difficult to feel this way when user experience isn’t valued as highly as it should be.
I certainly struggle with this feeling, it’s yucky and tense and it sits in your stomach like a humid, rainy Monday afternoon where you’ve already run out of steam, but there’s along way to go in the week. If left untended to, it can lead to frustration and disillusionment with a project. It exists for sure, but there’s always hope.
As a researcher and experience designer, this is a place I’ve come to quite a lot, and I’ve come to terms with the fact I will continue to. It’s our job to stand up for the user, be their voice, their hero and sometimes this tension and this feeling is par for the course.
It’s how we respond to this feeling that will define whether we can make a difference or not. In my case, this feeling is a sign that my communication of the user needs has to step up, I need to do a better job of bringing the wider team into the design process. I have to be hopeful that we can create an experience that is going to solve a problem and fulfil our users’ needs through our collective understanding.
It’s not enough just for me to be the voice of the user, it needs to be shared throughout the team from researchers through to developers, testers and product delivery. How we do this depends on the team make up, but the principle is the same; user needs must be front and centre of our decisions about what to build and what not to.
I’m not saying this tension will disappear once this is achieved because sometimes that tension will always be present in one form or another within a team. What it will do is ensure that user experience is understood by the whole team, not a minority group of seemingly eccentric researchers and designers.
All we can do is keep working and keep demonstrating the value of UX. but we can’t do it alone.