User experience is everything for an association looking to succeed online—but if it’s not integrated throughout an organization, it can be much more of a pain than it’s worth.
Over the past decade, user experience (UX) has become an increasingly important lens for organizations to envision the value and use cases of the products they create.
The problem is that UX is often a discipline that can get lost under a broader corporate umbrella. And that means even if a website or event is designed with the experience of the member or customer in mind, that goal may not get communicated through a broader organization.
Given that, there’s a lot of room for UX to improve. A few considerations that your association should keep in mind:
Don’t silo UX under a single department. In a recent guest post for VentureBeat, Code and Theory CEO Dan Gardner recommended that UX as a discipline should be retired. Not because he doesn’t think it’s important—quite the opposite. “It may sound radical, but UX is now a universal task that has moved from the domain of the few into the work practice of everyone,” Gardner explains. “It may not be in every job title, but it’s part of every job.”
Don’t think of UX as just fancy design. Certainly, good digital interfaces often play a key role in user experiences, but sometimes it comes down to making decisions that your audience will know and appreciate. TechTarget, in a blog post, notes an example of a healthcare payer application that mostly targets people over age 70. “The healthcare app’s older user base prefers live support over chat functionality, so the team should work on integration with a phone system rather than create a sophisticated chatbot,” notes the site’s Meredith Courtemanche. It comes down to doing your research and understanding what your user base might want.
Use UX to differentiate your association. When your organization offers a good user experience front to back, it can create competitive advantages that others may not be in a position to leverage. Alex Robbio, the president and cofounder of Belatrix Software, noted to Forbes that experience defines the way that consumers perceive you, and a good one will stand out. “In today’s digital world, the UX of your products and services plays a fundamental role,” he writes in the piece. “People engage with brands and companies via their software, and thus via their UX.”
Don’t forget the people. Often, there might be a focus in the design and prototyping processionals on building something interesting or beautiful. But no matter what you create, you have to take your personal preferences out of it to some degree, says Nielsen Norman Group Vice President Hoa Loranger. “We must actually support design decisions and business strategies based on real user data, not on our own experiences or preferences,” she writes in a blog post. “When user-centered practices are executed, designers and researchers can find the design ‘sweet spot’ where business needs and user needs overlap.”