User Experience is slowly becoming a well-recognized discipline which is valued throughout the business world. However, that doesn’t mean that UX design projects go without a hitch. In fact, we’ve started to see certain communication issues creep into UX design projects on a regular basis and you might want to try and hunt these down and eliminate them to make your projects go more smoothly.
Too Little Talk
This one is a really easy trap to fall into. You want to share “meaningful” output with your stakeholders and clients. In some cases “meaningful” results are few and far between in your research; so you don’t communicate at all while you wait for those results. This can cause undue stress with your clients and stakeholders; it’s not that they need endless blather but they want to know that you’re progressing your project in a sensible time scale. Don’t forget to send regular status reports even if that report is “slowly progressing with XYZ task – estimated completion time is 8 weeks away”.
Too Much Talk
We’re not so guilty of this but we think that a lot of consultants are. Consultants like to prove their value and this is as true on UX projects as any other. So they hold lots of meetings and provide lots of feedback to their clients. This can be a problem for two reasons; the first is the obvious one – it can become annoying particularly if you’re not communicating anything new or major each time you go back. Secondly, it can also encourage your stakeholders to see you as a “gopher” of UX and they can start to micro-manage and second guess you because you keep giving them so much face time to do so.
Too Little Writing
The designing is the exciting bit but the documenting not so much. We know and we hear you on this but here’s the thing… Your clients and stakeholders aren’t UX professionals; they’re busy folks keeping half an eye on the things you do and a lot more of their attention on their day-to-day remit. If you don’t document things well for your clients then it’s impossible for them to communicate where the project is and, as importantly, it’s hard for them to know what’s been agreed and what was only a suggestion for the project. Make sure you keep things written down to keep the project on course.
Too Much Writing
On the flip side of that, we’ve also encountered a few people in our time that like to write everything down and we do mean everything. It’s OK to summarize things for stakeholders and clients; they don’t need the complete minutes of a 3 day meeting to discuss the way to prototype the latest revision of the product. They’d just like the prototypes and outcomes if that’s all the same to you. If you bury your clients in paperwork; they surely won’t love you for it in the long run.