By Daniel V. Licht (@thedvl)
That’s right I said it: we spark it up all the time. The real question is why. We have spent so much time (even pre-Zemoga) developing the richest experiences for our clients and partners. And in all that time we have picked up a few things. But the how is not as important as why.
So why? Why bother? Shouldn’t the info we need be in the RFP? Oh, it should…but is it? It’s not – at least not always. Many of our compatriots will just do their own investigations, come to their own conclusions. But that doesn’t really involve the client. And that is what a smart client wants: to be involved.
Our SPARK!s key purpose is exactly that. Involved clients will be the best clients and the best source of info for their product and their customers, because, clients should know something about what they want and what they want their customers to do.
Now, without giving away any super-secret info, here are a few reasons why you should engage your clients before the metaphorical pen has hit the paper.
Reason 1: A business goal is achievable
When a user engages with a product they have their own goals in mind, not necessarily those of your client. But for your project to be successful it must achieve your clients’ goals. So get the info out of your client beyond “it’s what our competition is doing” and get to the real business reasons they are doing this, your client and end user will be better for it, not to mention your UX team who will love you for it!
Reason 2: Users want what users want
As I mentioned, a user is selfish; they are only looking out for themselves, and why shouldn’t they? Your team needs to be fully in their shoes. This means make the user models, make the actors and goals, the personas. But also make sure your client has them in mind also, because in many instances your client may be thinking of themselves first, not their users. By working through the users needs with the client you may find they have more insights than they led on to.
Reason 3: KPIs aren’t just for analysts anymore
Discussing what might be important to measure the success of your client’s product against is more important for a good UX than you might think. Sure it’s great for the analysts to track whats being used. But for a good UX designer or IA it’s very helpful in prioritizing and getting the focus right on the things that matter most.
Reason 4: Sessions are fun
Seems silly but kicking off a project with a fun energetic exchange between all the stakeholders on both sides will do wonders for continuing relations. In some cases its the conversations between the exercises that can lead to some really interesting ideas or features.
So ask your account guys & gals to get involved more than a few nice steak dinners. Bring every one to the table and you and your teams (and clients) will be the better for it.