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How to Sell UX Research to Your Clients?

By :
4 minutes read

Let’s begin with some words from the father of modern innovation, Steve Jobs, Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”.

How the design works is essentially the crux of user experience design. The interaction and connection with any product is achieved by pure experience design. To make the user ‘fall in love’ with the product or experience is the core task of the designer. To achieve intuitive experience, what we need is a strong UX research in place to drive the design process and justify our decisions based on user analysis. This is where the gap exists with most products as the stakeholders don’t see how UX research translates into a business value for the long run. We as UX/UI designers need to convey the monetary impact of research on their product and how it will result in selling more. In the end all they (stakeholders) really care about is MONEY! So let’s show them how UX research will get them more of the BILLS.

How to Sell UX Research?


To sell UX research to your clients, the first approach is to talk about the importance (ROI) of UX research, the methods and tools used in the process. Taking all the UX jargon and dumping it on the stakeholders, in the hopes that they will believe in the process strongly. This can be a little too overwhelming and make it tough for them to comprehend as they don’t know the meaning or the importance of these UX terms like usability, mapping, personas etc. 

We need to first start with the people’s own experiences with products and then convey the UX concepts behind it. Try connecting with them on a common product we all experience, like Google and bond with them. Then we need to instigate a discussion where the stakeholders themselves try to identify the assumptions and hidden complexities of their product. We need to ask small relevant questions and listen carefully and slyly push them to pinpoint the user understanding gap which will further motivate them to get answers. We have to stay away from vague questions and focus more on questions that feel actionable.

You see, once you have posed the questions to them, UX research is not a hard sell and we have everyone’s attention on its relevance and need. In the final step we take all the user research questions we have compiled and discuss the risk levels associated with not answering them. We make them advocate for user research and lead them to believe it is their idea. We need to do this gently and with a positive emotion. Draw some inspiration and insights on how to lead this process from https://alistapart.com/article/how-to-sell-ux-research/ .

Now we know how to lead the pitch, what we need is the backdrop before the pitch. 

How to sell UX Research?


As important the sales pitch is, the time before that probably holds more importance. We need to get all the machinery working beforehand for it to go successfully. We are selling research to our stakeholders so here is where we prove how good we are at it. Research and have a good understanding of UX (obviously), the industry domain in which the product is in, and few successful products benefiting largely because of their focus on UX. A deep understanding of the product and how it is competing in the market is also needed along with their company’s vision and the structure of the management team (if possible would be helpful).

We need research plans and user gaps established from our end and then further break these down to structured questionnaires that we put across to the stakeholders. As researchers and designers it is part of our scope to figure out where the biggest opportunities for improvement lies with the product and how we can add more value to it with our designs. 

For strategizing into the finer details of the sales pitch, do go ahead and give this article a read –  https://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2008/10/selling-ux.php

How to Sell UX Research?


In case you are the kind who don’t like to read and just want the details in under 30 secs, this is for you. 

Successfully selling UX is not talking about its importance but rather pitching the current gaps in the product. It is the soft skills that will help you achieve this goal. Communicating with a clear, positive and enthusiastic emotion towards the product and careful listening skills when people tell you about their business and issues, is what drives this pitch. Selling UX is more about your people’s skill, conversational skills and quick on the feet thinking.

Structuring the pitch and research questions is the main task in hand and this is where you employ your research skills. Research about your users and understand their needs from this project and start asking the questions which leads the stakeholders to believe the need for UX for their own product. Once you pose the questions and give them real life examples is when they start questioning how the screen design will proceed without the relevant answers and they will be proactive in finding the right answers alongside you. It’s not about selling UX, it’s about selling their future product to them.

About the Author: 

Diya is an architect turned UI/UX Designer, currently working at Mantra Labs. She values designing experiences for both physical and digital spaces.

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