User experience development is a key, crucial role in the development of a service or product, and one that can’t afford to be overlooked. Alas, in the development process for just about any product or service, companies and teams find it hard to integrate user experience development into the process, where it can have the most significant influence on the ultimate success of the company.
The challenge is that in development of any given concept, it’s a very scientific and almost industrial set of procedures and formulae that have been tested to work for development over a century’s time. As a result, when the user experience concept, and the metrics and science behind them began to be explored for what they truly are, there was little space in the procedures to integrate it, despite how important it is to a product or service’s success.
A user experience professional is a valuable resource to have; however, trying to shoehorn a user experience professional into the marketing and development phases of a product isn’t really going to put them to their optimal use, aside from UX perspectives on marketing delivery, which is admittedly important. There’s just not much input a UX professional can provide on the initial design, measure and build/test of a service or product within laboratory or focus group conditions. Admittedly, focus groups should probably have some input from UX professionals, but this is far from the only or most important place for UX professionals to be during the developmental lifespan of a construct.
There is something overlooked often by most others during this development, testing and design phase of a service, and that is the user need aspect of the service or product. Often, an unfilled niche is seen, or a concept is introduced and a band wagon is jumped on, which results in a concept being developed or redeveloped by a company. There is nothing wrong with this, nature abhors a vacuum, and competition makes the world go round. However, this does not guarantee that the public will feel compelled to consume the product or service, simply because it is there.
Marketing raises awareness and possibly tantalizes the public to some degree, but it doesn’t have the same concrete hook that generating legitimate user-need does. User-need is to actually shape a product, or the minds of the public to where they don’t just want a product, due to marketing intriguing them, but rather makes them see the product as a solution to a problem they never realized they particularly had. This is a tricky thing, but a UX professional would inherently know how to accomplish it, if they are good at their craft. UX professionals know about meeting needs and wants in parallel, to ensure a positive user experience, as well as how to shape the delivery of said service or product. As a result, they know how to work backward to generate a need or a want for a product, to give it intrinsic value, which the designers, developers and marketing professionals do not.
Ergo, many companies don’t realize that they have two solutions before them that they are misusing due to simple misunderstanding. Poor UX often happens right out of the gate simply because the public doesn’t know why they need a product (missed marketing message that does not pair with the actual product), or because the company does not know how to make the product meet the volume of need the public wants. Also, they do not properly deploy their UX professionals to cover the right areas of development. They have milk and they have cereal, but they do not see that they belong in a bowl together. By appending a user-needs branch to the component development of a service or product, and by deploying the UX professionals to cover this branch, they will solve the problem of the public needing what the company is offering, and the problem of making sure the UX of said service or product are up to snuff. This is the problem most companies have with user experience development, and frankly, the solution is blatantly obvious.