User experience consulting can be a powerful resource when it comes to the success of a business. We’re not going to presume to argue otherwise. In fact, we’d be fools to discourage the use of such a repository of knowledge and experience, which professional consultants can readily bring to your industry. Sometimes, no matter how much we know our industries, outside experience and opinions just bear some weight and gravity, and provide us with some insight and detached perspective that can make all the difference.
User experience consulting is no different, and it can bring a lot to the table. UX consultants specialize in design, usability, identity and interface when it comes to services and products, and also have a strong grasp of psychology and sociology to boot. They understand the human animal and how it perceives a product or service in the wild.
So, if they can offer great things, why are we bringing up any caveats when it comes to UX consulting? What can go wrong? Well, consultants themselves will not hesitate to back us up on this, but there’s such a thing as following up on too much of their information output. Consultants will provide you with all the information and ideals they can muster, it is not their responsibility to sift out what’s most applicable to you.
So, let’s talk for just a minute about what information is applicable across the board when it comes to output from a UX consultant. Obviously, from one corporate culture or industry to another, other information will vary wildly in applicability, but there are a few key things that can apply to us all. These things are the psychological and sociological information and angles a consultant will spend a lot of time pontificating.
We all deal with human users. As such, sociology and psychology are crucial and a bit universal. Of course, depending on national and international markets, the rules of these can shift to some extremes, same goes for age and gender groupings. A UX consultant will have experience in knowing what does and does not work for your target demographics culturally and psychologically, this is the information you should hold to be gospel.
What does and does not work from a technical standpoint, they almost certainly will have two cents on (as it’s the meat of UX), but only some of this information will be directly relevant to any particular instance, so sift wisely there. Sociological and psychological input, however, cannot be in excess and must be heeded.
Again, user experience consulting is a powerful thing, and it will definitely provide you with technical perspectives you would normally not attain as well, but in most cases, the information must be sifted and prioritized by your company or team after the fact. Psychological and sociological information is however a goldmine of wisdom, so encourage your UX consultants to provide as much input as they can in these fields, though they likely will do so by default! People are fickle, but UX consultants know people and human nature pretty well by trade.