Tuesday, August 22, 2006

CEOs and Usability

Pitching usability to the CEO...

Talking to a CEO about usability can be wonderful or terrifying. The difference between raging success and total failure comes down to understanding exactly what the CEO needs to know and then adjusting your usability message to fit. This article explains how to understand various contexts, and in turn, how to position your usability message.

Your Usability Message in Context

As a usability professional, there are many reasons why you might speak with your CEO or other senior leaders. For example, you might need funding for a new laboratory or testing equipment. You might also need to justify current or future expenses, such as salaries, end user remuneration, or your travel budget. Most conversations are financial in nature.

There are other non-financial business reasons for a meeting with the CEO. Although not as common, there are situations where executives solicit feedback from their product teams or marketing department, but also usability professionals. I’ve seen some cases where senior leaders take a pulse on customers via usability professionals for strategic reasons, such as insights into customer satisfaction or out of box product quality.

Keep in mind that there are also other forums where a usability professional might interact with an executive. For example, you’ve probably bumped into a senior leader in the hallway or the elevator. Perhaps you’ve talked about usability and perhaps not. You might also interact with a CEO by email or through a memo. While this kind of interaction isn’t face-to-face, it is nevertheless interaction. Understand the context and be ready to seize the opportunities to discuss usability and user experience."   (Continued via uiGarden)   [Usability Resources]


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