Posted by The Creative Group on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 00:00 | Follow me
How does your own UX stack up? How do coworkers experience you? Here are ways to communicate that'll leave colleagues thinking, "What a great experience!" not "Huh, what was that all about?"
We spend days (and weeks and months) critiquing the experience of users working with a website. But we rarely spend that much time assessing our communication style and how we work with others.
So, as odd as it may sound, consider this question: If you were a website, how would users experience you? Intuitive or confusing? Difficult or delightful?
UX is a system defined by aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency. Translated, that equates to someone who's productive, easy to work with and efficient.
Keep these UX examples and best practices in mind when collaborating with colleagues:
Employees who have intuitive styles value brevity. They get to the point and don't bury the message. Everyone around them knows exactly what to expect and how to get there.
- UX example: Sticky navigation bars. When interior pages are listed clearly in a set location, users can operate naturally without constant inquiries.
- Communication example: Including a detailed agenda in a brainstorming invite. By outlining the meeting's structure and sharing it upfront, this employee is aligning the team from the onset.
Like websites with smooth flow from one page to the next, people with narrative communication styles value showing over telling.
- UX example: Parallax sites. Each page tells a story, shares a common thread, and is an extension of the homepage branding.
- Communication example: Visualizing a brand story. Many creative professionals fall into this style as they express their ideas through designs and iconography that relay a clear message.
In this case, it's not someone who responds in a timely fashion, but a communicator who adapts to any environment. The ability to be flexible is appreciated by website users – and coworkers – so ask yourself: How malleable is my communication style?
- UX example: A website that works well in all environments. From a smartphone or laptop to a tablet or projection screen, the content on these sites detects the device and scales to fit.
- Communication example: Reading a room, whether it's in a client pitch meeting or at a professional conference. Emotionally intelligent networkers, for instance, have a responsive style that has proven to be beneficial to their careers.
The best communicators and websites know their users/customers and their behaviors. Try to optimize your style based on the personalities of the particular colleagues you're working with.
- UX example: The thumbs-up button. Some personalized websites learn not to show you certain content you've rated as poor. Instead, it's replaced with recommended content you like.
- Communication example: Giving credit to a recognition seeker. When you discover what drives and inspires your fellow team members, communicate with them in ways that they understand and value.
When describing your own communication style, incorporate UX language into your approach. In addition, adopt UX best practices such as being concise, communicating through quality storytelling, optimizing your presentations and prioritizing messages into a clear hierarchy.
As an extension of this exercise, identify your colleagues' communication styles. By framing the conversation in relation to UX, you can also have an informed, objective conversation and learn how to be more productive, easy to work with and efficient as a team.
Katie Sherman is a Brooklyn-based writer. After nine years at downtown ad agencies, tech startups and publishing giants, she uncovers the trends and insights that guide the market. Get introduced to her work at KatieSherman.com.