Ally with the clients!

Fellow UXers, have you ever experienced one or more of the following situations?

  • you work in a company where UX design is a fancy new name for the good old front end development
  • your strategically placed and colour coded post-its on the wall are considered paper craft (and there’s always someone suggesting you use glitter)
  • you dedicate at least 10 minutes of your day in telling someone what UX really is and why you’re pestering everyone about adopting it as a default process (that someone is generally somebody you told that stuff a couple of times already)
  • you did countless simulations, presentations, prototypes and guerrilla training on those colleagues and managers ¬†who would listen (and nod in sympathy) but you haven’t managed to break the resistance of the most influential project manager who won’t budge about giving you even three days for research, let alone prototyping

If that’s you on your daily life at work and you want things to change, well, it’s time to call in the big guns: clients.

Next time there’s a pre-sales/kick-off/sprint planning meeting where the client is at disposal, try and be there and give them the usual speech you use with the aforementioned colleagues.

Bring sketches, wireframes, interactive prototypes on your phone, whatever you have in your arsenal to show the client what’s behind the scenes. The more colourful, the better, clients really are like magpies.

Not only you’ll convince the client of what a solid agency you are – “See how much thought they put into my product?” – but also you will have gained an ally against that obstinate project manager.

If you win the sales pitch, and you will, you’ll become the new salespeople’s champion, and they’ll bring you along in future pre-sales meeting, therefore triggering a spiral of UX awesomeness.

The more the project progresses, the more the clients will rave about the amazing process, will feel involved and listened to, and will send ecstatic emails to the less and less hostile project manager.

The more projects you work on, the more project managers you will convince, thanks to great feedback from clients, the more UX culture you will spread in your company.

And this is simply because clients relate to what we tell them, because it makes sense and it’s simple enough for a non technical person.

The clients, caught between hard-selling¬†salespeople and obscure-talking developers, find solace in the plain, human language generally used by UXers and relaxes a little bit about the investment they are to make, confident that there’s somebody there who cares just about users and not only money.

And little by little, your company will convert.

Just be aware, its going to take a while: never desist.