And I am almost done. Welcome back to the final part of this series. This extension is more about realising the value of user experience design for a brand or a business. 

The biggest fear for a UX designer in a startup is getting marginalised to do cosmetic work on marketing assets or worse, presentations. This happens if the designers do not make themselves relevant, participative and valuable in critical functions of the business. Or it happens if they cannot pivot as the core business idea changes to something new. Staying relevant in emerging technologies and in business means fearlessly putting the abstract framework of problem-solving to use.

No screen and the new syntax

The form and the format are the basics of perception, intrinsic to design learning. Space, form, and structure as extensions of this concept can be theoretically applied to any medium, specialisation  or creation. In UX, till now, device screens through which users accessed virtual spaces have defined the construct of a solution. Over time best practices were compiled to comply with a visual language that all of us understand with the screen as the definitive window.

Enter immersive media. With gestural, conversational, voice, AR and VR interfaces the screen has been removed. Now designers are expected to formulate a new convention – interactive devices, actions, responses or feedback and more. How can we define patterns for the new grammar in these interfaces? As a UX designer you can start with accepting that you are not an expert. It is good to fall back to the basics and reconsider the new space, form, and structure. Define context, derive insights from people and walk to a solution – a useful and usable one at that. Not very different from what you do otherwise, isn’t it?

Business is Experience

There has been a lot of conversations about the designer in the boardroom. There are always examples of Warby Parker or Airbnb stated about designers as founders. But in a startup with a design team or in an enterprise it is important that user experience designers demonstrate their value. They should know how to plug and play with all business functions across the lifecycle, from sale and marketing to the customer relationship, as user advocates. The ability to correlate information and data from all business functions to derive insights for the future sounds like design to me. What about you?

Long story short, I believe that designers can take user advocacy to every part of the business and the brand. If you do consider a good brand experience as good business it is obvious that there are critical role and responsibilities for a designer in the boardroom. Are we responsible enough?

You can also catch my talk on this in a pre-event for DesignUp in Chennai (to be announced soon).