Follow up questions for Joe Natoli


If you couldn’t make it to @joenatoli’s session on user requirements today, feel free to post follow up questions here.

If you’re interested in Joe’s book Think First, we have a deal for UXM readers. Save 20% off the purchase price by using the discount code: THINKFIRST20


Hey @joenatoli, sorry I couldnt’ make it today! Thanks so much for spending some time with the community here. We really appreciate it!

I’m currently int he process of trying to build a culture of good UX practices in a company that never had a UX oriented individual before me. What advice would you give to us solo-UX’ers who are just starting in with a company that has never known UX-centric design?


Hey Doug — been crazy here and I’m bouncing around now, but wanted to let you know I saw this. And will answer as soon as I can. It’s an important question, and a situation I’ve been in before :slight_smile:


No worries, @joenatoli! I know it’s a rather in-depth question. Between that and a busy schedule, I know getting a response out there ain’t easy. Thanks so much!


Hi Doug — apologies for the delayed response on this, but here’s my two cents on the topic.

There are several parts to introducing UX to an organization for whom it’s foreign territory, and some ground rules that experience has taught me apply in those situations:

  1. Speak the language of business, not UX or Design. All too often, people on our side of the fence talk about best practices, principles, user delight, etc. Which, for us, are all very real, understandable; we know the relationship between those things and valuable outcomes. Stakeholders, however, have no such context. Those things will all fall on deaf ears until you start talking about something that matters to them, and in most cases that’s money. Money made, money saved. Stopping customers from defecting to competitors. All of which speaks to their self-preservation as well (never underestimate this as a motivating factor). Figure out whose neck is on the chopping block, for what, and why. Speak to those things and you’re more likely to get attention and action.
  2. Focus UX conversations on desired outcomes, not features, functionality, UI or interaction. Instead of giving you another paragraph to read, I’m going to direct you to a series of 7 videos I created that deal specifically with this. You’ll see when you watch that I’m talking about UX, but in a way that resonates with people outside the discipline — from product owners to project managers to executives to developers.
  3. Be patient. You are, in effect, attempting to change a culture whose ingrained habits and reflexes have been built and strengthened for several years. It’s not easy for humans to pivot quickly, to overcome those innate actions and reactions. Focus on getting people to think differently about what happens and why, instead of trying to change tactical activities. Get their minds first, and the actions will eventually follow. But expect a lot of bumps in this road, some bigger than you expected. Keep going anyway — UX maturity is absolutely a marathon, not a sprint.

Hope that’s helpful to you, and I’d love your feedback on the videos. GIVE GOOD UX!


Thanks so much, @joenatoli! These are all tremendously valuable insights. I’ll take a look through the videos and get back with you once I’ve had a chance to make it through.

I just came over from a thread about working through compromises and the soft skills needed to succeed in the business, and it seems like all of the points you speak to just emphasize the need to be well-versed in those areas to really make a difference as a one-person UX team. I’m sure @enlightened_06 would gain some benefit out of your insights as well.

Thanks for the follow-up. I really appreciate it!