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Managing User Experience Teams

Google recently launched it’s NFC-based payment solution, Wallet. For a company like Google, strong in engineering but less so in design, Wallet was a particularly risky product to build. You can’t half-bake the design of a consumer payments product. It has to instill absolute confidence among its users. Workflows have to make complete sense with a minimum of learning. You can’t do it the same old Google way.

In the face of those risks, the product launched to reviews like this from Greg Kumparak of TechCrunch:

Google Wallet is great, magical, impressive, and all sorts of other positive adjectives

How did Google do it? How did we get good design done in an engineering-driven environment? This article is a record of the strategies I used in my time as UX manager over the Commerce group at Google which covered a range of products including Wallet.

1. We fished for champions

To get good design work done in a non-design-driven company, you simply must have a champion with decision-making power. If you’re a design leader and you don’t have a champion, you have to get one. Make this your single most important goal. It’s a rare design leader who can charm a hostile audience and bend them to their view of the world. Focus on people who have characteristics that lend themselves to being influenced by the contributions that UXers can make.

Continue reading this article at: Managing User Experience Teams.