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Informatics


the users of scientific software, applications, devices or other services.


UX adoption works best with a combined top-down and bottom-up approach This collaborative empathy often ends up being a continuous process of sharing, educating and evan- gelising the UX mindset to development teams, product owners, stakeholders and, indeed, anyone involved in a project. This infuses a gentle back- ground of user-centred design into an organisation, but it does not bring about changes in culture. Culture change also has to be driven from the top down, typically by those in a C-suite or higher management role who recognise the need for an organisational shift toward improving the cus- tomer or user experience. Culture change rarely works purely as a top-down or a bottom-up strat- egy, but a bi-directional approach can really improve the chances of success. There is no perfect UX team structure and they


need to be adapted to the organisational culture In the survey6 a wide variety of team structures


and operational models were reported. Two major archetypes of team structures are design studios and embedded networks.


l The design studio refers to the structure consist- ing of a centralised team, typically lead by a senior professional, that takes up common responsibili- ties and distributes work between UX team mem- bers, so that the team can hand-off deliverables to another team that works on the development. This model is more traditional and has a longer history of success, being most closely aligned to how UX consultancies have operated for decades. l The embedded network in contrast is a team structure where one or two UX professionals are part of the development teams working with this team day-to-day, blurring the line between UX and non-UX activities. In such a situation there is typi- cally some connection established between those professionals, either through a technology team, community of practice, guilds, loose or managed networks.


The design studio model is typically associated


with waterfall project management, while the embedded network is more common in organisa- tions that have adopted agile product development strategies. There are also examples of mixed mod- els or both models working in the same company at the same time. The embedded network is often used in compa- nies that wish to improve the ambient capability of


Drug Discovery World Winter 2019/20


UX across their workforce, by enabling the embed- ded UX professionals to mentor and coach other development team members in UX practices; such a model is sometimes related to the ‘democratisa- tion of UX’ and is a growing philosophy, albeit with limited examples of success so far.


UX training is useful to ease communication through a common vocabulary Most of the enterprise-sized organisations have run UX training schemes. Training has enabled col- leagues to share a common vocabulary which is essential when trying to work together. In some cases, UX training has been embedded into devel- opment training such as requirements analysis as this is a term that may well resonate with develop- ment teams. Using in-house UX trainers or linking up your UX team with colleagues who have been on training courses provides useful results.


UX needs to dovetail with Agile development Agile approaches have been widely adopted across all organisations. In some cases, UX practitioners have struggled to adapt to the agile development approach. In particular, struggling to incorporate a solid research basis into the agile development cycles. UX practitioners have since adapted to Agile with some adopting a two-track product backlog of Discovery and Development9. Furthermore, training courses are now being offered which incorporate UX into professional agile training10.


UX will be key for digital transformation In the age of digitalisation the customer and the user moves more into focus – nowadays it is no longer the improving of products towards techni- cal perfection that often was an internal view on processes and their efficiency – digitalisation brings the customer/user into play since it is not solely the product as a standalone thing that is considered. The environment and context of use is fundamen- tally important and can only be understood if it is deeply analysed – here UX is of huge value to understand the customers or users’ needs.


Scaling up using UX vendors When UX accelerates in a company it will need UX vendors to support it. It is important that vendors understand the organisation’s culture. At the beginning of any new project with a new UX ven- dor, in-house UX teams will need to support and follow each project initially to manage expecta- tions from both the project team and UX vendors. Expectations need to be managed on both sides of


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