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Where UX clashes with Product

The most widespread reasons why UX and Product may not be speaking the same language.


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Tagui Manukian

3 years ago | 4 min read

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” — African Proverb

Source: unsplash.com
Source: unsplash.com

UX and Product are incomplete without one another. These fields co-exist and collaboration between them plays a vital role in the company’s success.

What brings both of them together?

  • a goal to solve a user problem
  • a strive to deliver value

In other words, they aim to help people improve their lives by developing great products that provide an exceptional user experience.

What do statistics stay?

Top 100 Statistics by Intechnic gives a whole number of insights into the world of user experience and design with statistics that explicitly outline the importance of the UX. Here are some of them.

  1. When UX improves the customer experience, it raises a company’s KPIs up to 83% in conversion lift.
  2. 70% of customers abandon purchases because of bad user experience.
  3. Jeff Bezos invested 100X more into customer experience than advertising during the first year of Amazon.

It is clear that user experience plays a crucial role in many aspects of the product on the market. A defined UX strategy can be a way of avoiding a waste the time, money and energy on the production of something that people don’t need or won’t use. When the strategy is lacking, products fail.

21% of products fail to meet customers needs

To avoid that, it takes internal stakeholders in the company to be aligned, cooperated and user-centred. Healthy environment and a great collaboration can also be ensured by a company culture. Businesses where user-centricity is in the core of the company values, see less of opposition between UX and Product because both come to work with one mission in mind — deliver value to the users.

But what if the company culture is not strong enough? Or the values are not really shared by UX and Product? Then we might end up in situations where the two clash.

Here are the most widespread reasons why UX and Product may not be speaking the same language.

1. Business value vs. User value

The product manager has a lot on the plate. One of the most important responsibilities (from the business perspective) is working towards reaching quarterly or cycle KPIs.

Most of the times PM’s performance is assessed based on the achievement of these targets.

As you can imagine it has a strong implication on the PM’s daily decisions and roadmap choices. On the opposite side, UX cares to see the user value first. It is great to work with a UX designer who is integrated in the team in a way that KPIs are perceived as a common goal and the designer is also keen on reaching them. But reality can be far from that.

2. Top down topics that make sacrifice the UX

How many times within the last year your company has changed its strategy?

Source: unsplash.com
Source: unsplash.com

When that happens certain topics are being passed to the product teams from the management. It is an unpleasant experience for the PM from many angles. Not only the roadmap has to adapted because of the new initiatives, but the targets have to adjusted and most importantly a PM has to “sell” these initiatives to the development team and to the UX designer.

As frustrating as it may sound UX may not agree with the given trajectory and the plan to develop the product. This may again create friction between the PM and UX, since PM will try to satisfy the needs of everyone involved, but won’t be able to deviate from the management request, whereas the UX may simply lose the motivation and drive to execute on the incoming tasks.

3. Different views on how to measure experience

Once again, product managers tend to judge the success based on the main KPIs that we see in the analytical tools. And these numbers rather focus on the leads, sales, and other types of conversions.

UX designer, to whom the data is a great source of insights as well, finds more subtle ways of measuring the user experience: CSat (Customer Satisfaction Scores), NPS (Net Promoter Score), and CES (Customer Effort Score).

And in the end, although both of them should be interested in the findings and targets of one another, it is still a case when UX and PM refer to different success metrics.

4. Not everything can be validated with data

Data is important, but not everything can be proved with data. Which can also be a hardship on the designer’s way to pitch for a certain idea.

Think of micro animations in the application. How can a UX designer justify an idea, when it has such a subtle influence on the user experience and no direct and instant impact on the data to account for the success of the implementation?

5. Expression of the idea vs. the execution of the idea

Source: unsplash.com
Source: unsplash.com

It can happen that the idea is discussed and the input from the development is received, but the design and the user flow are not matching the initial expectation stated by the product manager.

This is mainly a case when two strong opinionated personalities with a rigid approach meet. They cannot find a common ground to compromise. This can hardly be a case, when user value is on the pedestal and everyone in the team cares about that first. But we are humans and personal views may diverge and take over the idea of the overall mission.

Summary

Product is really successful when Product and UX act in a tandem knowing that they aim for the same goal. Each brings in the skills that are specific to the role and expertise. And when both are educated about the benefits that each creates for another, it sets up a strong collaboration. In a healthy environment, these two can have a major influence on the success of the company.


More articles: https://medium.com/@tagui.manukian

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Tagui Manukian

Product Manager at AutoScout24, passionate about improving people’s lives with great products. Sharing my journey in product development to help others grow.


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