Over the last three months I’ve been working on a very exciting (and challenging) project as the sole UX person. The start-up product we’re designing targets a niche market sector. Our product team is made up of a representative from marketing, operations, development (3), management (and the product owner) and user experience design (me). And while our full time developers meticulously sew the pieces together I find myself running around fulfilling various other non-factored roles as well as assisting our team’s roles too. Don’t get me wrong it’s pretty exciting and fun with huge rewards, but there are times when I feel I’m straying off the UX track and neglecting my core responsibility. I’ve noticed this especially when I stumble on elements of the design I’ve not been party to. And, it’s no one to blame, we all have tight deadlines and need to get on with our tasks, certainly during this phase of rapid development.
Whilst most functions are covered by our team roles my UX role is spread too thin. I’m being pulled in many different directions and in equal strengths of importance. Prioritising is extremely difficult. For those who have worked in a fast-paced start-up environment know it’s chaotic, but we do our best, and just get on with it… the product needs to get to the market, right? Everything seems to be important and everything needs to be done now (yesterday actually).
So in the last three months I’ve learn’t a few things, which I think is worth sharing:
1. Don’t focus too much on UX documentation – just communicate intention as quickly as possible, that may mean a lot of sketching,
2. Don’t get too pixel precious during the early stages, there
are bound to will be changes after the testing is done,
3. Test early, even if you test it within the team – paper prototypes work well,
4. Budget wisely – if you manage a budget don’t use it up too soon. Keep enough for post beta release updates,
5. Work closely with development and business teams, keep the conversation flowing, and finally,
6. Use role blurring to learn how business and developer folk think and ask tons of questions.