10 July 2019
Susanne van Mulken
Susanne van Mulken
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UX design in an Agile context

A free whitepaper

Agile is the most recent of three major developments that have a determining influence on the position of design within organizations. The first of those developments was the transition from physical to digital services.

The rapid development of user interface design to user experience (UX) design followed in the 90s, with the experience of the user increasingly central to the design of digital products and services. UX design is about achieving an optimal, consistent user experience through design. In recent years, more and more companies and organizations have discovered and embraced the value of the UX design approach. They use external UX capacity and are now increasingly moving to set up their own UX departments.

The rise of agile came in 2001, in response to the waterfall method that dealt with the rapid changes in the market and technology slowly and with little flexibility. All this has led to the following state of affairs: 75 percent of the companies in the Netherlands and Belgium work agile, 17 percent of the agile team members are UX professionals and 22 percent of the teams work not purely agile but hybrid.

As an agency specialized in experience design and design organization, our designers increasingly work in an agile setting. As a result, we see that they save a lot of time in practice by using appropriate methods and tools and that they develop organizational formats with which they better coordinate disciplines.

In our practice, we have good experiences with the combination of agile working and UX design. In each of the organizations we have implemented solutions that work and that have made the organizations more agile and customer-oriented.

In a study into improving our working methods, an inventory was made of the experiences and needs of our UX professionals when working in an agile setting. Proper implementation of agile work at all levels in the organization appears to be difficult. The emphasis is often on the speed of code development, but cooperation with the other disciplines has not changed. As a result, the agility of the organizations as a whole lags behind.

Our UX management circle – a group of UX managers from 25 organizations that frequently meets on our initiative – also regularly pays attention to embedding UX design in an agile working method. Questions from practice are discussed here: How do you deal with concepting and user research? How can the UX designer help you make decisions based on customer value instead of “what delivers the fastest results”?

Get our whitepaper

In our recent whitepaper, we discuss three design solutions for an agile organization: Soft skills (‘Extend the agility of agile organizations with five soft skills for agile designers’), continuous concepting (‘Agile is not ad hoc. Create vision and coherence. With user story mapping and concept design.’) and design organization (‘Tune your organization to customer experience. With dedicated UX, experience chains, and a design system.’).

You can download the whitepaper here.

About the author

Susanne van Mulken (/susannevanmulken) is managing director Strategy & Delivery and responsible for the development and application of experience design models, methods and expertise. As senior C/UX strategist and service designer, she has more than 15 years of experience in strategic design of (digital) services in various industries, such as retail banking, insurance, telecom, climate control, and government. Before she joined Informaat, she worked on the development of intelligent user interfaces at the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). She has a master degree in Cognitive Psychology and a PhD in Cognitive Science.

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