UX maturity is a strong indication of how well you are addressing the needs of your users. Reflecting on where you sit on the scale can inform how you resource and approach your next digital project.

While your organisation may have made investments into User Experience (UX), you may still have teams or departments that are just beginning their UX journey, and who are simply at the stage of looking at UX from the outside and wondering: “where do we start?”.

To get an idea of where your organisation might rate in terms of UX maturity, you can look at your current activities against four basic metrics:

  • Timing of initial UX considerations

  • Availability of resources for UX

  • Leadership and organisation culture

  • Sophistication of UX techniques being applied

These metrics have been referenced by independent research agency Intermedium, whose recent study scores UX maturity across a range from unrecognised at the lowest level, moving to considered, committed, and institutionalised at the highest level of the scale.

How well you rate for each of these metrics will indicate the extent to which UX-thinking is embedded within your organisation.

What questions can you ask to identify your own UX rating?

When thinking about your own situation, consider each of the four metrics above to get a general idea of your UX maturity score. On a scale of 0 to 3 for each metric, how would your organisation rate?

To dive a bit deeper, here are a few questions you can ask about your own organisation to assist with this reflection:

  • At what point in the project development cycle do you start thinking about users – at the beginning, half-way in, or after launch?

  • Does your organisation have a dedicated budget for UX needs and do you have a dedicated team or team member focused on managing UX across your digital projects or client-facing products?

  • Is there a senior person in management driving user-focussed initiatives?

  • Have you implemented UX in any of your previous digital design projects? Did these activities include in-depth research, which sought to dig into user behaviour and concerns?

What other factors come into play?

Your organisational culture may be strong in terms of UX awareness but without committed leadership and allocated budget, culture alone isn’t enough to push the UX maturity score up the scale.

Further to this, the degree to which your organisation engages end users influences your UX maturity score. Do you have a way to collect feedback from your end-users and incorporate it into redesigns or new digital projects? If yes, that’s likely to be a good indicator of UX maturity. If no, there are quick wins you can make by implementing easy, cost-effective user-research options.

Meanwhile, investigating user experience doesn’t have to be limited to your external users. Agencies with a largely internal-facing digital product suite sometimes don’t realise the value of engaging UX for internal projects. This is despite the fact benefits can reach further than just user engagement – into increased productivity and greater collaborative efficiencies.

Unsurprisingly, agencies with a high level of public interaction also tend to score better for UX maturity due to the need to provide digital products that meet demanding expectations from a large, connected, public user group. These users are quick to reject apps or products that aren’t intuitive or don’t meet their needs.  

As an example, transport and roads agencies in Australia are among those with consistently high UX maturity scores, regularly incorporating user considerations into the design and build phases of public-facing websites and apps.

What are the rewards of higher UX maturity?

Once the value of UX is recognised by a department’s leadership, the benefits can reach other business units through the realisation that UX is ultimately about designing a holistic user experience at every touch point, from end to end, which streamlines overall business processes.

UX often first gains traction in organisations through the digital or IT teams – which implement UX for specific projects then share the results with the wider business. When this process is championed by leaders and managers who actively promote UX as an integral part of the business, organisation-wide uptake is more likely, and will correlate with a higher overall long-term UX maturity score.

Where next?

The full Intermedium report (of which the preliminary results were referenced here) on Australian governments’ attitudes towards the application of UX principles includes state-by-state UX maturity scores and a tool kit for measuring UX maturity. 

Download the preliminary report now and register your interest to receive the full report on release later in 2019.

For more on how to apply UX for your GIS projects, email our UXG team.

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