User Experience Is Not a Deliverable

Posted on October 14, 2008

As an information architect or interaction designer, have you ever looked at a finished product and thought “this is not what I had in mind” or “why isn’t it just like my wireframes”? I have and I know that many of you have also.

The very nature of the user experience happens through the implementation, not within the document we create to define it. Its not that complicated to create a wireframe deck for product X that has a kick-ass UI. But why is it so difficult to actually release that product with the excellent experience?

The user experience can be planned and defined within documents, but we have to remember that it IS NOT the user experience. This means is that its next to impossible to hand off a document to someone who could care less about the user experience and get the previously defined experience. The entire team must have user experience on its agenda.

Who’s fault is this? Well, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. I think it’s completely crazy to put someone in charge of the user or customer experience when the fact of the matter is that everybody should and has to be in charge of it.

How does your company define user experience? Do your implementers know just as much about user experience as you do? Do you sit beside them? Do they care?

When was the last time that you made the recomendation NOT to create a wireframe deck?

2 Replies to "User Experience Is Not a Deliverable"

  • Theresa
    October 16, 2008 (12:09 pm)

    I’d have to agree that everyone should be in charge of it. On a recent project, we created personas and scenarios, but when the developers were implementing the wireframes, running into problems, their decisions came down to “What is easiest for me to do?” instead of “What does Joe want to see? How would he expect it to work?”

    Developers need to make design implementation decisions and you can’t be there for every one. And it may not be very rewarding for them to be a puppet and you there master. Besides, UX isn’t for handholding, it’s for conveying meaning to the group based on what users expect/want/appreciate.

  • Greg Bell
    October 16, 2008 (12:42 pm)

    Completely agree Theresa. I really like the point that developers don’t want “to be a puppet and you the master”.

    We don’t take that into account as much as we should. I’m under the strong impression that including the entire team in user experience discussions is important to project success.

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