Internal 'selling' of UX as part of design processes



The executives at my work are very much stuck in a print mindset when it comes to design. Outside of my immediate team, its difficult to have design conversations that look beyond the aesthetic. I have been in meetings when someone actually stated ‘interaction is not part of design’!

So my question is has anyone here had any luck in changing this mindset and ultimately fostering an environment where user experience is at the heart of all design tasks, from an executive level down? What approaches worked for you? What didn’t work?




Hi, I’m just starting on the same process, we are a publisher moving online and developing e-commerce sites. I’ve found one of the main problems from the start was that as there were no recognised web dev skills in house, all this development work went to an external company. This company developed a pretty good site, but took no usability into account at any stage. Also the developers are seen as the experts and contradicting their approach is a tough argument to win. - Im approaching it from the point of view of showing that good usability will increasing revenue, and conversion ratios. - Also I hope to record real users experiencing real problems on the site, and can show this to management. Paddy


Thanks Paddy. We have a competent dev team in house, so thats not a problem. Its more to do with a fundamental (mis)understanding of what design [I]is - [/I]i.e. getting the message across that it’s about more than just the aesthetic.

the developers are seen as the experts and contradicting their approach is a tough argument to win

In my experience this is always the case. Third parties are seen to have a greater level of expertise than internal teams. Paul Boag wrote a great piece about this:…e-contractors/


Hey Ben, something I’ve seen work is a kind of branding/psychological approach, where people (e.g. Tech Director, Creative Director, or other senior person who can speak very confidently and charismatically) comes in and says, “We’ve been doing this in the old fashioned way, which focuses on the business and our internal needs in decision making. The latest approach – used by top companies around the world – is called User Centred Design, which has a set of principles and processes, and puts the user at the heart of every decision we make. By doing this, we will get better customer acquisition rates and better conversion rates.”

Could that sort of thing work at your company?


I empathise that it can be tough when Development is seen as the most important link in the chain. I used to think this way too (I started my career as a developer).

My own watershed moment came years ago when I asked a respected interaction designer to explain to me what his view of “best practice” involved. He pretty much spelled out the UX process that we champion to readers of UX Mastery. It stunned me that not only did “Development” not get a mention, but that it was just a small part of one of the “Production” stage. Who would have thought that there was so much effort being put into the earlier strategising, thinking, researching, validating, testing, idea generation, prototyping, designing, testing activities? It was a real eye-opener.

I mention this to back up Fox’s comment that articulating the “big picture” process that other organisations are using, and are widely considered best-practice, can be a powerful catalyst for change. And I agree that having that message delivered by someone who possesses both authority and charisma certainly doesn’t hurt!


Thanks all.



I also struggle a little bit with those discussions in company. It´s an everyday challenge to communicate what UX Design is.
You get alway´s answers like “You make our system beautiful” and usable by interface design. Actually UX Mastery have a gread poster communicating exactly that problem UX is not UI.

The way out of this situation is in my opinion everyday evangelizing the importance to step back from technical solutions to users in contexts with specific user needs.
You will need some stakeholder support but try to apply some pragmatic lean methods adapted to your development process and they may see the added value.
I think nobody will change from one day to the other … but User centered design is so powerful if you do it in the right way that it changes minds.

The bigger problem I see is the fact that lot´s of companies just want to deliver something a stakeholder or a group of people decides …
In the chaos the value of UX get´s easily lost …
You may not feel the great User experience of the system if the other parts of the project do not work.
Everybody additionally needs to understand that a great UX is just possible with collaborative work and will of all people in the project

Best regards