Levelling up your UX maturity is vital for making sure you create great products and meet the changing needs of your customers. But how do you know what level of UX maturity your business is at? And how do you identify which tactics and activities you need to employ to reach UX maturity?
How you approach levelling up to UX maturity will depend on the nature of your business, and the resources and capabilities you have access to. One thing’s for sure, however - you’ll struggle to do it alone. You and your business need a framework to make sure all your efforts and goals are aligned and that’s where Nielsen’s 6 Levels of UX Maturity come in. We covered stages 1-3 of levelling up in UX maturity in another article. Now it’s time to tackle the next 3 stages.
Read on to discover how to increase efficiencies in your UX maturity, how to optimise successes, the best ways to apply user-centred metrics and how to ensure there is an ongoing commitment from your business.
Level 4 - the value of UX is accepted but strategy lacks cohesion
Level 4 is often the stage of UX maturity that businesses achieve and do not go beyond. A considerable amount of goals have been attained. Leadership is on board. You probably have a dedicated UX team and meetings devoted to UX activities - you may even have a UX-er allocated to each product team. The design process is user-centered and you are working iteratively. Research is becoming embedded in your design processes, so make sure you report back to your stakeholders about your findings to keep them engaged and make them feel they are a part of it.
So, what next? You’ve had your UX roles and responsibilities defined and allocated for a while now, but things may have changed. Take time to review your design strategy and the UX roles within the team. If your design team is decentralised it’s helpful to distinguish between the responsibilities of the design team (vertical) and the product teams over which the designers are divided (horizontally).
Talk to your colleagues about their experiences with the current processes and communication.Are there any tensions or bottlenecks that need addressing? Is there enough room for them to focus on delivering the best user experience? This exercise will help you iron out any discord between teammates who have differing agendas and make sure your resources and budget continue to be allocated well.
Level 5 - UX is integrated and supported business-wide
When you started levelling up to UX maturity, you probably never imagined you would reach this stage. Your hard work has paid off. Pretty much every team in the organisation is performing UX-related activities in an efficient and effective way and your dedicated UX-ers have the ability and freedom to hone their ways of working. The UX-related metrics you defined and communicated are widely accepted as meaningful gauges of your company’s success and you consistently ensure UX projects are aligned with long-term business goals.
This is the stage that many companies aspire to, but there’s no need to stop here. Drive momentum in your UX maturity by making user-centered design not just accepted, but pervasive. Keep telling those stories and don’t be shy to shout about what you have achieved and how you did it. Widen the scope of your reporting to include user-centered outcome metrics like the Google Heart framework. If you aren’t already, start sharing those case studies externally as well as in-house. Plant the seed that will take you to level 6…
Level 6 - Design is user-driven throughout the business
This is the Holy Grail of UX maturity. Few companies make it to level 6 and when they do, they often struggle to remain there. This is not usually through a lack of commitment on the UX-ers part. Businesses evolve and the metrics and methods used to define success change. The momentum you have maintained throughout your UX maturity strategy is now critical to your ongoing success. This doesn’t mean shouting louder about your wins, it means refining your message to make sure the value of UX is not just understood and accepted, it is celebrated.
User-centered design is now integrated throughout every design process and UX research is the go-to framework for all stages of product development. But you can’t take your foot off the pedal. When people start at the company, or even change roles, find an opportunity to educate or re-educate them on the benefits of UX. Show them how they can make a positive contribution to your efforts. Get them involved. Keep talking to management about your plans and successes and keep yourself motivated, too. Refine your skills. Arrange to speak at - or attend - events. Learn from other’s challenges and keep improving. You’ve come a long way in your journey levelling up to UX maturity and you deserve to enjoy your successes.
How Hike One can help you reach UX maturity
In order to level up in UX maturity, you need to take it one step at a time, there’s no skipping steps. Hike One can support you every step of the way on your journey. We can arrange workshops where we identify your current level of maturity and make an actionable, scalable, and achievable plan to level up. We can help you organise events or roundtables where you discuss your challenges with peers who are in the same situation and learn from one another.
We can also help with identifying and filling skills gaps, facilitating UX research and transformation, refining and improving in-house design systems and much more. Talk to us today to find out more.