A Follow Up to the Open Letter to Potential Employers…

In my last post, my basic intention was to get the point across that I don’t want to work for an employer who is either disingenuous, can’t see the forest for the trees, or in other words, is so wrapped up financially in a failing product they don’t want to look at the truth, especially when asking someone – in this case any UX analyst, how to fix it. 

That is our job. To fix things when broken, and design a user-centric product if given the chance, if it’s not too late, or hopefully at the get go – before any dev work is even started.

Too many times I’ve seen a product that’s out in the wild and either kind of broken, as in it’s not living up to it’s full-potential of what it can be — or horribly broken, where it was a bad idea in the first place. 

9 times out of 10 when I come on to work on some other product and design it from scratch, my employer will ask me to take a look and give an analysis of a product they already have that’s live, and have even said they know it’s broken, and then ask how to fix it. I do my best to give them a professional analysis, using the template from usability.gov. 

And I think that’s where communication breaks down. I don’t throw in personal feelings to the analysis – I use research based on customer feedback, I look at what works and what doesn’t, I look at why links or mechanisms are where they are, and I look at unity within the product – does it look like it was well thought out when designed and developed.

And I report on that. From that I offer suggestions on how to fix things, how to get it on track and make the product (site, app, whatever) better- how to fix it to get more customers, get customer retention, and get customers to be their advocates and spread the word about their  product.

I design new flows and interactions, wireframes and visual design mockups (yes, I can do visual design). I provide a competitive analysis of what other products have or not, and why they may have better customer retention even though their product may not be as “cool”.

The breakdown is that they ask for a solution, but what I’m beginning to learn is most product owners don’t want a fix, especially one that’s going to point out the real problems- they mostly want some new feature that will distract the user/customer away from all the broken stuff. “What can we add that will make people go “Wow!”?” is usually the response. 

I love to fix things, find solutions to problems, create ground breaking experiences, and when I get the opportunity, design something amazing before it makes it in front of the coders. And then I’ll work side-by-side with them to make sure the product is what’s been designed and get it to launch. 

So if you read my last post and thought I was kinda being a jerk, I humbly apologize. That was never my intention – it was saying if you want to hire me and ask me how to fix an experience, then please (please), allow me to do what I was hired for. And I promise I will give you the most amazing user experience for your customers/users that can be imagined.