Can User Evangelism Go Astray in Companies?

| 5 min read

Yes, User Experience is a vital part of delivering what people want and that means better products and more profits. So user evangelism, the role of pushing a focus on users, can be very beneficial in an organization but what happens when things go wrong?

When a Verbal Commitment Has No Backup

isn’t a verbal commitment. Pretty much everyone today has worked in an organization which is very good at making public commitments and then not so good at actually delivering on those commitments. If you intend to focus on your users – you have to put this into action. There’s no point in user evangelism which says; “Hey, our users need to be kept happy and put at the centre of everything we do!” When top brass repeatedly ignores any suggested improvements based on user research.

Author/Copyright holder: Christine Sætre. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

You can only push the benefits of user experience design if the company is really on board with the idea. If it’s not; you’re wasting your time and worse, you’re wasting other people’s time too…

That’s not to say that user evangelism can’t make a change but you’d be better off focusing your efforts on the top brass until they finally deliver with real commitment to your users.

Change for Change’s Sake

You need to ask some questions of the people you are involving in user evangelism before rolling out the program. It can be incredibly discouraging to be caught up in something over which you don’t have any influence:

  • Who are these people? What do they actually do?
  • From this list; who are the people who either directly or indirectly have an impact on user experience?
  • Of those people who aren’t directly involved with user experience – how many have a real role to play in influencing the user experience?

You don’t need to preach user experience to people who have no influence on that experience. The guy who cleans the bathrooms, the filing clerk, etc. almost certainly don’t need to know about your user experience programs. There’s a tendency in many businesses to try and involve everyone in everything. It’s a terrible strategy that’s generally executed for all the right reasons – in that it sounds like a great idea if everyone in a company knows what’s going on in that company.

In reality, it leads to information overload. It makes people confused as to what their role is within the company. It’s pure and simple overkill.

Author/Copyright holder: Unknown. Copyright terms and licence: Unknown.

If you focus your efforts on those who can make a difference to the user experience; your message will be clear. It will be easier to deliver. It will be more powerful. It will also, hopefully, be better received by your audience who will understand that improving the user experience can improve not just the company but their own work.

User evangelism is a powerful tool but it must be used in the right way in order to deliver the maximum business benefits.

Author/Copyright holder: Chris Yarzab . Copyright terms and licence: CC BY 2.0

Header Image: Author/Copyright holder: Ben Jordan. Copyright terms and licence: All rights reserved. Img

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