UX is a buzz word in the design community, although it has been around for some time many people are still struggling with this term when looking to their next online project. With that in mind we, at Rogue, contacted Josh Seiden, an independent consultant and best selling author to discuss where UX design features in the process of creating a successful online presence.

Josh was managing director of NEO in New York until it was sold to Pivotal Labs in 2016. During this period, he specialised in working with clients in complex domains, especially financial services. Prior to Neo, he co-founded Proof, the influential Lean UX consulting firm that Neo acquired in 2012. Earlier, he was head of product design at Wall Street innovator Liquidnet, and lead pioneering interaction design teams at Cooper. He is a founder and past President of the Interaction Design Association. He is the co-author (with Jeff Gothelf) of “Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience” and Sense and Respond.

in 2017, Josh set up his own publishing company Sense & Respond Press. Its mission to publish short, beautiful, actionable books by leading practitioners in the field of innovation, digital transformation, product management, and design. We were happy to delve into his expertise on the subject.

Can you tell us about the role of UX in website development?

UX (user experience) people help teams create products that people love. Think about the difference between using the On Demand feature from your cable company and watching Netflix on your Roku or Apple TV. They’re basically doing the same thing, but the experience is radically different. UX people are responsible for that.

How can UX design help grow business?

In the smallest sense, if you make something easy to do, people are more likely to do it. So eCommerce sites rely on good UX to help people find what they’re looking for, get enough information to make a purchase decision, and then make that purchase easily. But in the largest sense, UX can create new categories of products. Look at the iPhone as the classic example of that. Before that product, you had “all-in-one communicators”, but they were miserable little devices and only geeks took them seriously. The iPhone created the smartphone business, and it was because of the UX.

What books do you most gift to friends?

I give my friends Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, the best book on the creative process that I know. I give my clients–who are also my friends–The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries, and The Art of Action, by Stephen Bungay.

How do I find a good UX designer?

If your company is just starting with UX, it’s good to find an agency that is great at product design or service design. (These are different from ad agencies.) If you’re looking to hire one for your startup, I would recommend going to meetups where UX designers hang out, and talking to other startup founders for personal referrals. UX is actually a very broad field with a lot of subspecialties. Some folks are very strong at customer research, for example, while others might be better and product design, and still others might be better at visual design. So talk to the UX people you meet to understand their specialties, and beware of folks who claim to be great at everything.

What are the most common mistakes you find on websites?

What people inside a company think is important is usually different than what users and customers think is important. So it’s often the case that I have to wade through a bunch of irrelevant stuff to get to what I want. This is one place where UX can help–by spending a little research time with users, you can understand what they think is important, and show that to them first.

Somebody once said no website is better than a bad website, do you agree?

If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all? Haha, I like that.

What is in the future for Joshua Seiden?

Really listening to your customers and responding to the market goes way beyond web sites. It is at the core of every business, every non-profit, and (it should be) the goal of government and public-service organizations as well. But doing this is hard–our organizations aren’t really set up arounding listening, and our management training doesn’t teach us how to build these organizations. So a lot of my work these days is beyond the walls of product design. I’m working with leadership teams to help their organizations learn how to listen to customers and respond with the kind of speed that customers are increasingly demanding.

Mike DAVIS
Author

Founder of Rogue Magazine. Specialist in Design, Social Media and Marketing. With over 15 years experience dealing with Global Brands.

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