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Recognize Hire and Work with Great UX people - Make your products shine and your customers drool

Page history last edited by Dave Nielsen 11 years, 10 months ago

Presenter: Luca Candela

Notes by: Murali Vajapeyam


Hard for PM and UX to collaborate/communicate properly

Products with good UX

  • Parker Fly Electric guitar (vs Fender Stratocaster): less noisy, lighter, lasts longer (steel vs nickel), vibrations transfer from neck to body more efficiently
  • Some industries have a duality b/w features and user experience.

Good book: Effective UI, O'Reilly

  • "User experience is the experience a user has when interacting with software"
    • Not explicit enough
  • "User experience is how the design of a whole system and its interconnections adapts to the needs, skills and taste of its average user in its normal context. "

Why is UX a good investment?

  • improved satisfaction, productivity, reduced training costs
  • customer does the marketing for you

There is no "UX Guy", but several groups who influence the UI.

  • Graphic designers
  • Interaction Designers (not pretty but usable)
  • Information architects (define structure of content/appl in a way that makes sense to user)
  • Technical writers: very underestimated (wish there were more of them)
  • Analytics expert: if you can't measure it, you can't improve it
  • User researcher: not ideal for small startups, but great for big companies. Clarify markets, find out what the customers are really looking for
  • Accessibility specialist: ADA regulations, aging customer bases (US, Europe).
  • Engineers: make the product work
  • Customer support
  • "The suits": VPs, C-level executives. They need to hire the right people, and stay away from the process. (Pigeon mgmt: fly over, poop, go away.)
  • Product managers:  ultimate, makes the call on what should happen with the product.

In summary, the entire team is in charge of UX -> team effort.

How to get the right people to join the company?

  • Creative, inquisitive, think critically, can connect the dots.
  • Lots of pretty diagrams not enough.Some UX people are in the "deliverables" business, others get stuff done (specifications, wireframes). Wireframes don't need to be fancy...
  • Portfolios must tell a story, how the solution was arrived at -- not just the end product.
  • The user must comes first. How did they come up with metrics to measure user experience, find out what works and doesn't? (UX can be measured!)
  • The future is different from the past. Person has to have ongoing passion for the field, not just have done good stuff in the past.

Once you get them in:

  • Give them the right tools. (They do things differently, and need the tools -- make them happy!)
  • You need a UX process. Hard to define. People will resist change at first, but change is needed for improvement. Give time to experiment, can't innovate 9 to 5.
  • As product managers, need to let the UX designers do their job instead of micromanaging "we need another checkbox there". You will thanks them later -- but they need to be able to justify their choices if they do things differently from how you thought.
  • If you manage people: don't be a bad boss!


  • Q: Who owns the UI, i.e. who gets the blame if it goes wrong? A: The PM. But disputes should be solved by trying and measuring, the way engineers do it: try all approaches, the one that works best wins.
  • Let the UX people talk to customers -- relationship with customers shouldn't be the exclusive realm of sales, or even PM.


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