Institutionalise UX Methodology: Phase A – Startup

The focus of the startup phase is to highlight UX in order to start a UX initiative.

Institutionalise UX methodology: Phase A - Startup Institutionalise UX methodology: Phase A – Startup

The steps for Phase A include:

  • A1. Measure UX maturity level:
    • UX maturity models allow an organisation to measure its current status and to identify the status at which it wishes to be.
    • What to do:
      • Select a maturity model. Exisiting maturity models that can be used include: Schaffer, Nielsen and Feijo.
      • Measure the level of UX maturity in the organisation.
      • Use a UX consultant for the most accurate measurement.
  • A2. Measure usability of current site:
    • Conduct an initial usability test to measure the usability of the current site. Usability is an indicator of the UX that a website will deliver. A usability specialist will be required to conduct this evaluation. A heuristic evaluation is a cheaper option and will provide great results.
    • What to do:
      • Evaluate the site. Available techniques include usability evaluations without users (observational evaluations, guideline based reviews, cognitive walkthroughs, expert reviews, heuristic evaluations) and usability evaluation with actual users (usability testing, eye tracking, interviews, focus groups). Different methods can be found at
      • Use a UX consultant.
  • A3. Initialise a wake-up call:
    • The attention of the organisation needs to move towards the issue of UX. The wake-up call is not complete until there is an executive champion (discussed in the next point) who arises to manage the overall institutionalisation of UX.
    • What to do:
      • Investigate and document other UX wake-up calls. Types of wake-up calls include: train wrecks; executive insights; new staff; education; expert reviews; usability testing and new technologies. Dissect a product or a project that failed because user requirements were not considered. Explain how usability testing could have saved the company its embarrassment. More information is available in the “Institutionalization of Usability” book by Dr Eric Schaffer.
      • Present the results of UX maturity level, usability testing and other wake-up calls to management.
  • A4. Acquire an executive champion:
    • The implementation of User-centred design (UCD) has ramifications throughout the organisation; therefore board level support is required to implement such a fundamental change. The wake-up call, discussed above, must lead to an executive champion.
    • What to do:
      • Find a UX champion who can gain organisational support and resources.
  • A5. Procure a UX consultant:
    • Outside consultants are important to UX institutionalisation, as they can conduct tasks that insiders would not yet have the knowledge or skills to perform.
    • What to do:
      • Procure a UX consultant early in the process to provide infrastructure and jump-start the institutionalisation process.
  • A6. Understand the company culture:
    • A company culture may not be consistent across all of its regions, business units or departments, but key characteristics can usually be identified that will affect the undertaken projects.
    • What to do:
      • Investigate the following aspects of the company: history, company purpose, hierarchy and logistics.
  • A7. Obtain buy-in:
    • In order to truly institutionalise UX into an organisation and to ensure that it is not an afterthought, organisation and staff buy-in is required.
    • What to do:
      • Change the mindset of management: engage organisational leaders in usability; play usability test footage showing vocal key customers struggling with a poor website; demonstrate return on investment (ROI) and encourage management to observe usability testing.
      • Show success stories and improvements: internal or external companies (external expert as catalyst) can be used to achieve this.
      • Focus on the e-Government act: use the language from leaders driving the new trend to e-Government. This step can be removed for non-government websites.

View the other Institutionalise UX methodology phases:

Download: Marco-Pretorius-PhD-Thesis (File type: PDF. File size: 7.9 MB)