3 Top Qualities That Make a Great User Experience Team

In today’s business context, teams are key factors for the efficiency and success of an organization. An organization is not a simple ownership by shareholders; an organization is a partnership, a community of people who share the same values and goals. Performance and success of an organization as a whole is not due to the achievements of a single individual, but the joint efforts of its members or, in other words, teamwork. The same principle is also applied in UX design. Teams and teamwork are superior individual efforts in terms of problem-solving skills and decision making (like the word goes, “Where there are two, the power increases”). Therefore, a team represents the concentration of forces and energy to work together for a common purpose. But that is the glue that holds these forces together? What makes a team is truly a team and not just a certain group of individuals? What are the qualities of a successful user experience team? In this article we’ll talk about the top three of them:

1. Localization

Mario Mokarram, content developer and systems administrator at Abiertoware states that Localization refers to “the team’s willingness to learn new things from different cultures, cultures which will serve a host for the future on-screen experiences. The best user interfaces are undoubtedly the ones which take subtle design hints from the local culture, since after all design is made for the people.” An interesting concept which makes use of localization is the placement of multiple outdoor screens in different corners of the city. This way, a large part of the population gets to see the content displayed on those screens, thus enhancing a business’s profitability. UX teams should always be on the lookout for new ways of enhancing people’ browsing experience, while taking care for their effort to be finalized flawlessly.

2. Diversity

Statistics show that the most successful teams and organizations are a balanced combination of individual strengths, talents and different skills. The diversity of tasks and projects, and also the diversity of customers requires different skills and specialties to be thrown into the equation. According to Hyunjung Bae, professor at Columbia College in Chicago, asserts that a successful user experience team should include firstly and fore mostly designers, but also a project manager, a researcher, a visual and tactile artist, a psychologist, a sociologist and more. We live in a globalized world where diversity is the watchword. Companies outsource activities and the user experience teams must be able to accomplish them using various practices and business cultures. What’s more, when a team is diverse, its members can learn new things from each other and can thus improve the overall operational efficiency and performance. Innovation is born from diversity. Take Peter Moulding’s (Web Architect at Drupal Association) example that he introduced: He states that “a team designing a device for the sight impaired should live with people who are sight impaired or even include such people in their team” in order to fully understand all factors that play into designing a device.

3. Empathy

Each team has a unique set of values that are able to identify each member. These shared values make up the collective personality of a team, leaving their imprint on action of the team. Regardless whether these values are called communication, competition, integrity or innovation, they will always be under the Agreement on the specific actions of the members of the team and will be the basis of any decision-making process of the team. True teams respect the values that were shown to them when signing the agreement and the rules of professional conduct arising from these values. Successful teams are concerned constantly by the collective values. In addition, according to Alan Wexelblat, Sr. Product Design Manager at Aspen Technology, “all members of a UX team, regardless of their specific skills, should be able to connect with the needs and situations of others. Empathy can be good for helping the team organize its own activities, or for connecting the activities of UX and design to the needs of other teams within their organization. Of course, empathy is also useful for understanding the users/clients needs.” These are the three main qualities that any successful UX team should have. Strong relationships between the team members and/or between different company departments are essential for an organization’s success.