Brain Science: User vs Stakeholder | Techsauce

Brain Science: User vs Stakeholder

This article summarizes a session at the Savvy UX Summit 2020, an online conference hosted by UXTesting Inc. In this discussion, Aldrich Huang, the CEO & Co-founder of shares his experience on how UXers communicate with non-UXers, the importance of UX and UI design along with the customer experience and behavior.

Industry Insights

According to a report from 360 Market Updates, 44.69% of the UX market in North America, 39.36%  of which is in the United States while the remaining 5.33% are in other North American areas. Europe occupies approximately 33% of the UX market, and the remaining 22% is spread in between other continents, such as Asia, Africa, and South America.

The UX industry is one of the fastest-growing industries globally, the compound average growth rate (CAGR) for the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) area is around 14.2%, for  Product Information Management (CIM) - 10.2%  and User Experience (UX) - 18.2%. The industry is also relatively new so there are a number of unexplored opportunities.

Organization and Budget System

Many organizations may feel that the UX/UI department is irrelevant, unnecessary and has no need to be a standalone department. In an organization that has no care for UX/UI, they usually fall under the department of product development. As a subdepartment, they neither can request their own budget nor make their own decisions.

This is because UXers speak a different language to non-UXers and to request for a budget, the UX department needs to make decision makers acknowledge their importance. After conducting interviews with approximately 1,000 CEOs, Aldrich found that 89% of C-Level executives know about the UX department, yet they do not know what User Experience is or what it can do for the company.

Aldrich describes a step-by-step process in how the UX team can receive a share of the budget:

  1. Analyse the organization in order to know how the budget is currently allocated across different departments.

  2. Find out which departments are also in need of an increased budget and collaborate with them.

  3. Use research and evidence (e.g. user interviews)  in order to form a proposal to receive a share of the budget and prove to other departments why UX is important. 

How to communicate, educate and motivate stakeholders?

In order to communicate, educate, and motivate stakeholders in regards to UX,  both parties need to understand each other. A few things that Aldrich has done in the past to successfully emphasize the importance of UX is to invite decision makers and management level employees to UX conferences. This gives them the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the importance of the UX department in a company. 

By sending news and articles about how UX/UI can help businesses grow, upper-level management and leaders within a company are more likely to be more attentive towards UX. An example of what Aldrich did was that he sent his General Manager an article about how AirBnb’s stock price rose by 120% after investing more into UX, after reading this article, his GM was much more interested in improving the UX of their company and put together a UX team to do so.

Finally, by aligning key performance indicators (KPIs) with UX, it can be made clear that improving the user experience will also improve KPIs of the company and thus further stressing the importance of UX for the company. 

How to set up a good KPI for UX optimization?

User feedback is a crucial part of optimization. By listening to the users of the products and services, the company is able to better pinpoint which areas require attention and improvement, which will in turn allow for the company to define appropriate UX optimization KPIs. After researching, redeveloping, and redesigning the product or service, the team should compare the results from before with the results after the solution has been implemented, in order to determine the effectiveness of the optimization.

How important is it for a tech company to build their UX team and develop UX capabilities internally? Do you think that the role can be outsourced in the future and if so which part of the UX work or project can be outsourced?

Aldrich always strongly recommended his clients that they should have their own UX team as internal workers better understand the culture, the problems and the politics within the organization. Additionally, internal teams are able to interview colleagues,  stakeholders, and decision makers much more easily than external agencies can, meaning that the UX project will overall take less time and most likely be more cost efficient. As agencies are going to be working on multiple projects at once, they are less likely to be able to focus fully on a singular project and dedicate all their resources to one project. A company with their own UX department will be able to fully focus on the project and overall will have more control over their UX projects and developments which results in a more efficient workflow and more impactful results.

For a small UX team, what roles are vital to include?

Five years ago,  when Aldrich first started as a startup company, they did not have UX specialists in their company let alone a UX team. This meant that Aldrich had to perform the jobs of multiple roles, leading him to conclude that the two most vital roles for a small UX team would be the UX researcher as well as a UX interviewer. The reason for this is because it is critical, in Aldrich’s opinion, to understand someone who is not within the company in order to receive feedback about your product and services. 


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