Ask Us Anything: Realities of UX Design Wrap Up

Ask Us Anything series thumbnail

We just hosted our latest Ask Us Anything session, on the topic of the realities of UX design. Hosted by Steven LeMay, Andrew Emond and Jacqui Klugman answered your questions about different challenges and realities many UX Designers face in the field.

Here are some of the questions we covered:

  • What do I do if my client or stakeholder group are sure that they’ve got all the requirements they need?
  • I’m a content strategist at a health insurance company. And we’re working on accessibility right now. What’s the best approach for that? How can user research be incorporated into this?
  • Tips/suggestions for setting up a ux process within teams?

Want to hear their responses? We recorded the session – you can watch it here.

Stay tuned for the full text transcript as well.

We’ve included a few questions that we didn’t get to during the live session below. Over to you, Jacqui and Andrew!


What are your thoughts and experience in setting up a research plan?

Timeline and budget will be crucial. You need a very clear understanding of both before creating a plan. The methods you use will depend on those two things. In any case, it’s a good idea to include some type of discovery stage to determine what research has already been done, and any other information from project stakeholders. This could be a stakeholder workshop or your own personal review of the client’s existing marketing research. Anything you can get a hold of that already exists will help save time and resources down the road.

My colleagues at UM did a webinar last year on planning, conducting and analyzing user research, you might find the recording and this checklist helpful!

I am a graphic designer who works in eLearning. Within the industry UX is rather a new concept that some people don’t yet value. How do you negotiate resistance from clients and developers who struggle to see the value?

Numbers and data often speak volumes, especially to clients and high-level execs. If you can find any research that backs up your designs, even if it’s around a small design update, it’s much easier to make your case and show the value in UX. I think also listening to the criticisms and probing them about what it is specifically they don’t like or understand about UX can be helpful. Because “UX” is thrown around so much now I find lots of people don’t understand what it really is and have made lots of assumptions about UX. Addressing those assumptions directly and having research or numbers to show can help.

What are some tips to make sure I don’t get a lot of pushback when I present my designs and prototypes?

Show and tell” your work with your client or stakeholder early and often. It’s especially helpful to get buy in from C-suite execs or anyone who makes final decisions as early as you can and as often as you can, if you are able to. Get them involved and included as much as possible.

People like to know more than just what and how, they like to know why you made the decisions you did. You should already have very specific reasons for why you made the design decisions you did, and if those reasons are based on a foundation of strong research and best practices, then it’s hard to argue against it.

Being able to clearly articulate your design decisions is key and having good presentation skills helps a lot. Try practicing presenting beforehand, even if it’s just in the mirror.

It’s good to remember that the client does know a lot about the business and their customers, so it’s not just about selling your idea, its about listening to them and compromising when needed. It’s about building a strong working relationship where both sides feel heard so business and user needs can be met.

I’m sometimes unsure of whether I should use a conservative color palette or a more dynamic one. What do you recommend from a UX design standpoint?

That’s really hard to say without knowing more about the project, but it would also depend on what you mean by conservative and dynamic. If you think of a conservative palette as one that includes colours such as darker blues, greys and neutral tones and dynamic as one that may include brighter colours, I would say that conservative tends to be safer because the colours usually have better contrast ratios than very bright and/or light colours. But regardless of what direction you choose to go in, I would check all your colour ratios against the AODA requirements and with the organization’s branding guidelines. We typically use the WebAim Color Contrast Checker. We’ve got a blog dedicated to a list of other tools that will help you design and develop accessible products.

I don’t have time or budget to do any research or strategy. How can I still make sure as a UXer I’m doing my job well?

There are ways to do “informal” and lean research and strategy, which should already be a part of your design process. Doing a quick and dirty competitive review, talking to anyone you know who has used the product/service/site or something similar. Or talking with colleagues about their experiences.

Curiosity and empathy are the core characteristics for most people in this field, so use those traits to your advantage and pull information from where and who you can.

What do you want to ask us about? Email or tweet us with your suggested topics for upcoming Ask Us Anything sessions.