‘The Joy of UX’ is a Drum Magazine Special Report that was published last month.  The guide features the UK’s leading practitioners, including our own François Roshdy, discussing the latest developments and how UX Design is a key component in business strategy today.

Amongst some of the fascinating articles all the contributors were asked to participate in a Q&A session with the editor. Each participant was asked to answer 7 questions about User Experience Design (UX) and then some of the answers were featured.

We thought that the questions were thought-provoking and really gave us time to reflect on the changes and development in UX since Border Crossing Media was founded in 2006.  Here are the seven questions that everyone was asked with François’ full responses:

1. From your own perspective, what are the big issues currently facing companies looking to improve their UX?

 Overcoming negativity is still a big issue. People seem to be keen to invest in UX but fear what they may discover and what the consequences might be if they start scratching away at decisions that have been made previously.

Some companies are reticent to pay for the staff and skills required to implement in-house continuous improvement policies and website governance procedures. Many businesses need to stop viewing UX as a silver bullet or a one-off investment: the key to developing a compelling UX is an ongoing investment that, over time, should be internalised.

It can be difficult to secure the time needed from key decision-makers and front-line staff to contribute to the research and validation stages of a UX project. It’s vital to get buy-in from senior decision makers – more often than not we feel that middle-management and frontline staff are often the ones most receptive to change and most willing to invest time to make sure things are done well

Read all the responses to this question


2. In 2012, what are the most common mistakes companies are making in relation to UX?

 The  6 most common mistakes are:

  1. Not investing in testing and end-user research throughout a project.
  2. Not leveraging “free” opportunities to capture valuable customer data and feedback or collecting and reporting on as much data as possible as opposed to asking them questions that would allow them to focus on the data that really matters to their business
  3.  Still thinking about labelling and content from an organisational rather than an end-users perspective
  4.  A reticence to focus on key user groups and top tasks to the detriment of other segments that they have identified have less business value
  5.  Silo’d (e.g. departmental or stand-alone product) projects where the opportunity to make key changes is restricted by top-down restrictions
  6.  Not investing in knowledge transfer


3. Have client’s perceptions of UX changed in recent times? If so, how?

They definitely have. There is certainly a greater familiarity and understanding than there ever has been before. I think this is because clients are starting to see UX as an acceptable term/umbrella for all of the skills/deliverables that in the past they may not have been willing to invest in as readily.

Dress up an IA’s deliverables and call them UX deliverables and somehow people feel more reassured that the work they are paying for will directly translate into meaningful gains that an end-user will appreciate.

This ‘buy in’ from the off is certainly a change I’ve seen recently and in many ways I think this is due to the increasing mindshare UX is managing to capture.


4 .Can you provide an example of a company who is getting UX right at the moment? Alternatively, what would be an example of a company that needs to improve its UX?

The usual suspects but if I had to pick one online product it would have to be DropBox due to the complexity/simplicity of the product itself. If I had to pick an offline product that communicates the UX of actually using the product then I would have to go with one of:

  1. http://www.zensorium.com/tinke/
  2. http://www.nest.com/


5. Is UX performance best assessed and measured using quantitative data (e.g. performance analytics) or qualitative data (e.g. customer anecdotes)?

It depends … Generally a combination of both is needed to understand the “why” as well as the “what”.


6. Is the increasing convergence of media channels (web, video on demand, social media) important to companies looking at the UX they provide for their customers?

I believe media channels/the number of touch points between a business and its customers are becoming increasingly fragmented and decentralised.  As such I think each new channel provides exciting new opportunities but these come at a cost.

An understanding of the scenarios a user is likely to be in when they consume content as much as an understanding of the channel they do this on will be key to translating opportunities into meaningful results. Furthermore doing this in a way that makes operational and budgetary sense will require a really tight focus on what channels/content types to consider this for.


7. Are classic UX mistakes being repeated all over again in the mobile sites and apps being produced for smart-phones and tablet PCs? What are the key differences (if any) of providing good UX via mobile devices, as opposed to a conventional website?

I’m not sure that there are many key differences apart from it’s even more important to conduct your own testing as this is such a nascent/evolving space.

What is definitely the same – is the importance of understanding the context of use so you can really drill into what is the most important information people are looking for or need to consume and what information/inputs do we need to extract from a user to provide a valuable service within the constraints of the medium.

This is particularly difficult when trying to illicit and mediate data transactions between users who’s primary interests are speed and convenience.

To find out all the other responses to these questions you can buy a full copy of this Special Report from The Drum or download it if you have a subscription.

Esther Stringer

Esther is our Managing Director and Research lead at Border Crossing UX.