Danielle Arad is Director of Marketing and User Experience Specialist of WalkMe.com, the world’s first interactive website guidance system. She is also chief writer and editor of UX Motel, a blog for user experience experts. Follow her @uxmotel.
When undertaking any User Experience (UX) Project, there are certain key components that are universal to all stakeholders; irrespective of the professional field or area they emanate from. Getting a full understanding of these stakeholder requirements and needs is usually the difference between having a UX project that gets a buy in from relevant stakeholders or one that is trashed and never sees the light of day. Some of the key issues that interest stakeholders the most, include but are not limited to:
Usefulness of the UX Project
Stakeholders want to know what they stand to gain by either being part of the project or accepting the project findings and implementing the recommendations. The advantages should be laid bare in simple and easy to understand language; the use of technical jargon to explain away the prospective gains will not wash with most stakeholders. This usually involves fully understanding what people’s expectations are and making a concerted effort to meet the said expectations. Correctly identifying the target audience for both the study itself and the findings is also a critical factor that stakeholders show a lot of concern about.
Usability of the Design
It is crucial that the methodology adopted for the project be workable; not for systems or machines but for people. UX is acutely targeted towards the experience of human users; this point should never be lost to researchers. All stakeholders want to get a positive feel from the concerned parties that the current product/system or the newly implemented system/product is usable. In the event that there are some questions or qualms about the product or service, there should be plans underway to improve either the design or adopt new methodologies of ensuring user experience is enhanced and improved.
Identifying the Inherent Errors
Appreciating that errors and mistakes are bound to happen; most stakeholders want to know the kind of errors that are bound to occur when using the product or service and the frequency of occurrence. They are also interested in knowing what measures have been put in place for error recovery purposes. How fast a user can get out of a fix, and continue using the product or service is critical.
Time to learn using the product or service
Research has shown that long learning curves don’t offer very good UX to most clients. Simplicity is the key. The faster users can get the groove of using a service or product, the higher its chances of success with the end users. Being cognizant of the fact that some products are generally more complex and thus will inadvertently have longer learning curves it is important then to have up to date, accessible and easy to understand tutorials for use by potential users.
Facts and Figures on ROI
Business is all about profit generation. After all the colorful presentations and meetings; it generally boils down to how the UX project affects the financial bottom-line. It is imperative that stakeholders are provided with the requisite data regarding the Return on investment so as to ensure a buy in from them. Quantifying the figures in dollar form will grab the attention of most stakeholders.
An easy to understand plan
Due to time constraints and the highly competitive market place, stakeholders do appreciate brevity and accuracy. It is advisable to come up with a brief and to the point plan that states the work plan of the UX project team. It should be not more than a page in length and should contain the following; Background information, Goals of the project, project questions, methodology to be used, participants involved and the schedule.