Recently, I was scanning through one of my LinkedIn groups, the User Experience Professionals Network, when I stumbled upon a simple yet interesting question from one of the members:
What one word would you use to describe the biggest challenge in UX today?
437 comments from members of this network ensued. Wow! Apprently, we’ve got some challenges in this field!
Here’s a sampling of some of the responses:
Agile (maybe not the biggest challenge but a challenge nonetheless)
To see all of the responses to this question, visit the discussion on LinkedIn.
I think that the biggest challenge in our field, in one word, is “maturity.” Since UX is still relatively young in the research sense, there is often a lack of understanding and buy-in on the part of clients, as well as other departments within an organization. As it is with any young idea, there are no set guidelines or standard methods for how to conduct usability or user experience research, contributing to the buy-in problem as clients and management alike tend to prefer a set, standard approach to solving problems.
Instead of viewing the relative youth of our field as a negative thing, I believe that the absence of set methods is actually a strength in that there is no one “right way” to solve problems or design something. UX encompasses a whole suite of methodologies and, as UX practitioners, this diverse “bag of tricks” helps us to produce better results for our clients. Some projects will call for cognitive walkthroughs, while others might be better served by card sorting exercises or heuristic evaluations.
So while we do have to work harder at selling the most appropriate tool to get the job done to our clients, which can be challenging, it’s definitely a challenge worth tackling.
Update: Check out this cool Wordle, created by Brad Nunnally based off of the list above.
What one word would you use to describe the biggest challenge in the world we call User Experience (UX)?