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A Strategic Approach to Metrics for User Experience Designers

Carl W. Turner

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 6, Issue 2, February 2011, pp. 52 - 59

Article Contents


Thoughts on Design Thinking

Metrics-driven managers represent a large constituency in many companies, the consumers of usability services. They aren't, however, the only constituency. Many companies have discovered design as a differentiator not just for products and services, but for business process and strategy as well. “Design thinking” is being touted as a valuable complement to traditional linear, computational approaches to process improvement, strategy, and communications (Hopkins & Guterman, 2009). Unfortunately, many proponents of design thinking tend to recommend only that managers “think like designers,” rather than give designers a seat at the strategic table (Guterman, 2009).

A more effective way of promoting the value of design within companies, or “unleashing the power of design thinking," puts designers in role of training others in their organization on the application of design to business problems (Clark & Smith, 2008). UX designers who take the time to understand business language, business metrics, and strategy will get noticed by executives as business professionals who can translate and make explicit the linkage between user experience and business outcomes. Being able to understand and sell the value of both design and metrics allows the UX practitioner to move “towards modes of analysis more in sync with the thinking of executives who have to conceptualize product value strategically” (Rosenberg, 2004, p. 29).

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