Pragmatism vs Purity: When UX Meets the Real World

In this very interactive session Sarah Prag shared her own experiences of the reality of being a UX champion in a team of product people, developers and sponsors, including when and how you should compromise.

“I spend a lot of my time as a consultant and coach helping businesses deal with the realities of getting stuff done.”

Sarah introduced her session by sympathising with the pain experienced when you are trying to champion the user experience in the real world, where commercial requirements and time pressures can trump best practice. She structured the workshop as a group therapy session, where participants chose scenarios to explore and discuss in more detail.

The scenarios selected were:

  • The “business” adding things that don’t help the user
  • The opinions and preconceptions of colleagues
  • No real commitment to iterate
  • “UX is just design, right?”

Sarah used: Do these resonate? How do they make you feel?

Using the game ‘Picture Consequences’ each group sketched how each issue makes them feel in a specific part of their body, starting with their head. They also brainstormed some solutions that might help resolve some of the issues. After discussing each issue, the groups folded over their paper and swapped the sheets round to create an ‘exquisite corpse’ representing their UX frustrations.

Here are some of the results…

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About Sarah Prag

Sarah Prag is a service design and digital transformation consultant and coach. Sarah has spent 16 years doing things with digital. She helped launch eBay in the UK before a stint at the BBC introducing podcasting and representing radio in the world of iPlayer. More recently she was part of the Government Digital Service as the Product Manager for the development and launch of GOV.UK. She’s now based in Bristol doing coaching and consultancy work with the public sector.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahPrag