21 November 2011

Why you should not have a mobile UX team.

A radical thought? Maybe, but it’s worth considering. Silo’d teams may make sense for technology solutions, but not for user or customer centric work. Should you have a dedicated mobile engineering group? Maybe, but this thought is primarily focused on UX.

In this era, successful products rarely come from pure engineering efforts. That is the ‘technology first’ approach of a bygone era. That doesn’t mean that have a first rate engineering team isn’t important. It is as important as it ever has been. What it means is that the real tactical advantage in competitive markets is a focus on customer needs. It always has to come first…

but back to the first point…

What we thought about mobile just 12-18 months ago is now old school. Yes, some people still make lists on their desktop and send it to the phone, but that is now latent behavior. If you want to capture the early adopters (who by the way will be your loudest advocates when you’re successful) you have to think differently. Mobile needs to be an integrated strategy, not separate and definitely not an after thought.

But here is the real trick to mobile. Very little of it is specialized. If your mobile strategy and design crew don’t really really understand the context of use… then they probably should not be designing in the user experience realm anyway. Context… which is key to understanding mobile, is a core insight for ANY designer working in this space.

So arm your user experience team with tools, thoughts and the freedom to think beyond the desktop and in the mobile space. It’s what they want to be doing anyway.