At SolutionStream, we had the opportunity to go to Front conference at the beginning of June. Front conference gives companies the chance to hear how other companies approach user experience (UX), design, and product management. Speakers present case studies on those topics and more, explaining what has been working for them and what has not. We enjoyed all the presentations and wanted to share three topics that stuck with us from Front conference.
Changing a company’s culture can be difficult; people have a tendency to stick with the way things have always been, and they resent change when it occurs. At Front conference, a presenter suggested using a results pyramid to effectively and organically create change. In ascending order, the results pyramid is made up of a company’s experiences, beliefs, actions, and results.
The results pyramid is most effective when your company works backwards, first determining what results you want to see. Once those results are defined, decide what needs to happen in each step of the pyramid to achieve the results. Using experiences like meetings, emails, and personnel interactions, your company’s beliefs can be altered. Altering your company’s beliefs leads to changes in actions and eventually in the results your company is seeking.
How to be More Convincing
We live in the information age. Data, figures, and statistics are so readily available now that people are no longer convinced by more data; instead they’re looking to find out if your data is authentic. Too much data overwhelms and confuses your audience, and it does nothing to make them believe your core argument because they’re too busy trying to determine the significance of all those numbers. Avoid the temptation to crank out numbers and hope the audience understands their significance.
To be more convincing, use real, understandable data. Even though it may be tempting to fudge some numbers, there is too much information available online for that to be successful. You will be fact checked, and once people realize that your numbers are incorrect, your credibility will be damaged. Also, be sure to use data that most of your audience will be able to comprehend. Having a fancy chart or an in-depth analysis of an obscure function might look good on the surface, but if people don’t understand what point you’re making with that data, it is useless. If possible, use real examples and stories to make your audience connect more to your data.
Problems arise when there is a disconnect between the people who are designing software and the people who are building those designs. By focusing on streamlining the process of product development, those disconnects can be narrowed or even done away with, so that design is a much smoother process. A presentation at Front conference suggested four solutions to the design and engineering disconnect:
1. Invest in your design systems. Creating a stable design system will enable you to build organized and reusable design elements that will help you in future designs. The stable design system also opens up the possibility of automating your process more since there is a set design system that can be used again on similar projects.
2. Deliver smaller batches of software. It is easier to see if a solution is working if it is simpler, so delivering smaller batches of software for the engineers to build will allow your design team to gauge the effectiveness of that design. You also get more feedback faster due to shorter build times on the engineering side.
3. Get feedback from the rest of the team. Ensure that your design team isn’t self-contained, that they’re getting information and feedback from the rest of the teams that are involved in product development. Other teams could have a fresh perspective on the design plans that may make the product better.
4. Don’t create a backlog of designs. Having a month’s work of designs ready for the engineering team might seem like a good idea, but in reality it just slows down the building process. If the engineering team finds something that needs to be fixed while building the design, that could make all the work done in advance obsolete. Stay just ahead of the engineering team during design so any feedback they give can be applied to the next design.
This Front conference offered us a chance to hear how other companies are dealing with common issues in UX, design, and product management. Businesses presented their solutions and how they thought those solutions will benefit them and others in the future. Here at SolutionStream, we were impressed with the presentations on results pyramids, how to be more convincing with your data, and just-in-time design. We’d love to hear what you learned from Front conference in the comments below.