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How does UXDX break down development/ design/ research barriers?

Written by:
Carita Lähdesmäki

The global UXDX community exists to integrate user experience with the developer experience by enhancing understanding between design, UX design/UX research and those who build software. UXDX builds up mutual understanding, leading to successful client projects and increased employee satisfaction.

What is UXDX?

Some of you may have heard of a phenomenon called UXDX. With UXDX, we are referring to the relationship between UX Design and DevOps. And yes, DX does stand for developer experience.

“UXDX brings together product, design and development professionals to learn how to work together more efficiently to build a more successful product.” according to the UXDX community.

What is the overlap between UXDX and DevOps?

There are many similarities in UX Design and DevOps. First of all, they both strive to deliver human-centered products in rapid development cycles. In other words, they share a common goal, even though they observe the matter from different perspectives.

In DevOps projects, multidisciplinary teams work side by side or in different stages of a project. Mutual understanding is crucial to success and to achieving the best results. And this is why the combination of UX and DX presents an exciting opportunity. It combines the customer-centered focus of UX design/research with the developer-focussed gains of DevOps to maximise potential.

Enter the Design System

Needless to say that the customer and users are always in focus, and with the help of new practices – for instance, Design Systems – the customer focus will stay at the center throughout the entire development cycle. This point is frequently argued by Marko Klemetti, Eficode’s CTO.

Marko is an active developer and one of his key interests is integrating UX with the developer experience. Recently at the UXDX conference in Helsinki last month, he gave a live demo of combining DevOps practices and Design Systems, making it possible to rapidly create new applications without a deep understanding of coding.

Organizations and Conway’s Law

There lies some relevant wisdom in the well known Conway’s Law: “Organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.”

One of the keynote speakers at the latest UXDX Conference, Rory Madden, tackled the problems of managing change. His advice for teams is to understand each step as well as enablers and challenges. The teams should preferably be cross-functional, consisting of members with different backgrounds and expertise areas.

Madden summarises the team motivation in the following guideline: “Teams must continuously optimise toward a rapid and sustainable flow of value for their customers.” And since the change is never easy, it must happen little by little, with the help of tests, pilot projects, and people who are ready for change.

In the future, those who can do predictive design, focus on the human behaviour and use relevant data, have the advantage in creating amazing products and services.

This is relevant to UXDX because only by taking the cooperation that is beginning to form within teams and between certain teams (such as ‘Dev’ and ‘Ops’ in DevOps) and replicating that across the wider organization will organizations be able to produce the value their customers expect in a rapid and sustainable way.

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Integrating UX and DX was the theme in a Conference on March 26th 2019 that was organized in Helsinki by UXDX Community and hosted by Nitor.