Working with managers who think UX is only UI design


Hey Ala I'm a UX manager that specializes in research. I find it a bit of a struggle to manage ux/ui designers because creating UI deliverables has such a strong emphasis at my company. UI seems to be the measure of "accomplishment", and not so much the research that goes into it. I'm wondering if you have any tips for creating value around my research strengths? thnx
Joe B.
UX Design Manager

This is quite an interesting problem. I have seen it happen in almost every organization that I have worked in. The reason is simple: it’s hard to see research. The only way to succeed in this situation is to demonstrate the value of your research work. 

What this means is that you must be able to show the product managers (or those you want to listen) how your research can and should affect their decision making. Research that is focused on deriving insights may be meaningful, but product managers focus on jotting the journey from where they want to get to, to where they are now – and your research and/or you can’t describe how what you’ve found changes that journey, it means little to them.

The other approach — and this is something that I recommend to many folks that come from academic fields or non-software oriented industries — is to learn how to conduct and frame your research in terms of quick iteration to validate the hypothesis that will affect the decision-making process. 

The way to go about it is to work early on with product to understand what problem they’re trying to solve and for whom, and then help them craft a testable hypothesis that can validate or help them pivot. One you do that, your research should focus on testing them, providing PMs with meaningful results that they can use to get closer to their destination.

I hope this helps!


It's almost like the solution is to over communicate?
Joe B.
UX Design Manager

I recommend switching up the dynamic and not only over-communicate:

Spend 80% of the time interacting with them on the basis of understanding their problem, not trying to solve it – Separate the listening and the solutioning portions​it makes people feel heard (even if you know how to approach it)

I hope that helps!

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