UX Crash Course: Stupid Question 6 of 30

Of all the things I am asked about UX, the one thing that most designers in most companies want to know is:

“How do I convince my boss that UX is important?”


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UX is about designing other people’s behavior, so you have to learn to motivate UX decisions with goals that are bigger than yourself. In UX, the more irrelevant you are to yourself, the better your design will become.

And that type of thinking will also help you convince your boss that UX is important. UX thinking is persuasive thinking.


The stupid answer: 

If you throw yourself on the floor and scream and cry, they might give you what you want so the other bosses stop staring at them and thinking they are a bad boss. Or, at least that’s what seems to work for kids in the toy store.

(If you try that, please film it and send me a link…)


The real answer: 

Explain UX as something that gives them what they want without losing anything they like. It’s not about UX. It’s about them.

Remember that UX exists because it helps businesses and customers get better results, and therefore can make bosses look good and get them the recognition they want. 


Why this isn’t a stupid question:
Humans, including designers, usually focus on ourselves. 

We want our bosses to respect us, and to consider our ideas, and feel like we are an important part of the team, and give us some responsibility. And those are all the wrong reasons to convince your boss that UX is important.


Speak their language. 

There is a good chance your boss either wants recognition from their own boss, or they want to make money for the company, so discuss UX in those terms. It will make your team more effective, more profitable, and more efficient.


There is a risk if they DON’T do UX. 

The entire purpose of User Experience design is to reveal hidden information about users, that is valuable for the business. UX was created because the average person sucks at designing what customers want.

Therefore, if you’re not doing UX, your competitors have an opportunity to move faster and do better things than you — they are doing UX already. ;)


Focus on hard results, not the “soft” value of UX. 

As a designer, you feel things about design. Just like marketers feel things about marketing, and sales people feel things about sales, and stamp collectors feel things about those stamps.

Everybody thinks that what they do is important.

Non-designers probably don’t feel that way and UX design.

But forget all that. UX has practical real-life value. Motivate your bosses by talking about all the improvements UX can bring to the business.


The ROI on UX can be HUGE!

(ROI = Return On Investment.)

UX is not expensive. In fact, it is very cheap if you compare it to anything else in the company. In other words: what you get back compared to what you put in. 

The tools for UX are free or cheap, and otherwise — if the in-house team is doing the UX — the main cost is time.

But in return for that time and small cost, you can “move the needle” on a global scale for revenue, customer loyalty, lifetime value, and save the team from working for months or even years on the wrong things.

The UX designer is often the most powerful salesperson in the company! The small cost of UX can become millions of dollars in revenue or savings. 

Or both.


Tomorrow we will answer the question: “Is ‘design thinking’ just thinking about design?”