It's not uncommon in offshore software development to come across two roles that seem to have absolutely nothing in common. Or so you think. Upon closer inspection, you actually find that they're much more similar than they seemed at first glance. Such is the case with User Experience (UX) designers and the Business Analysts (BA).
So, what can these two possibly have in common? Well, they're both responsible for delivering quality apps that meet business goals and user expectations. And yet, somehow, UX designers and BAs can find themselves at a crossroads over how an app should be designed and built. Often, you can trace the root cause to a lack of clarity in the project's scope and defined responsibilities. However, there is a way to ensure these two roles work smoothly, saving you time and frustration during the app development process.
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What does a BA do? Business Analysts are responsible—as their name would imply— for the business aspects of an app. Meaning, they're the ones that fully understand what the app needs to accomplish to satisfy business needs and resolve business problems. You may also see a BA taking care of a product's management; sharing the app's vision and values with stakeholders, c-level executives, and employees within the organization. BAs sometimes oversee market research and manage project collaboration.
| Responsible for:|
· Understanding the app domain and users
· Setting app requirements
· Defining what the app needs to do
· Creating user-facing UIs
· Identifying user stories
· Designing UI layout
A Business Analyst's goal is delivering an app that meets business and user needs, on time and on budget. They shouldn't be concerned with the app's design.
UX designers oversee the development of an app's look and feel. They focus on ensuring a user has a quality experience when using the app by asking questions like, "What makes this app a pleasure to use?"
| Responsible for:|
wireframes, comps, and prototypes
· Developing information architecture
· Creating interaction design
· Designing information display
· Deciding on content strategy
· Managing overall look and feel
· Executing user testing
· Ensuring a great user experience
A UX designer's main concern is how the user will interact with the app; how they'll use it, how it will look, how easy it is to use. Their job includes interviewing end users to fully understand how they're currently using technology and what they will expect from the app. They conduct tests to observe users in action and learn how they use the app, where they're prone to get lost, confused or frustrated, and ask them directly what they thought of their experience. All these details help the UX designer make significant tweaks to the app that ensure great usability for end users.
The roles of Business Analyst and UX designer overlap significantly, but for both BA and UX designer to coexist peacefully within a project, it's imperative to establish a clearly defined objective they can both work towards. When both roles combine forces, they're able to deliver high-quality products to their users, taking care of helping the client achieve their business objectives but keeping design user-centric. Preventing problems during the project development requires either side with start with a clear idea of what falls under their jurisdiction, what falls under someone else's, and in what instances they need to collaborate.
Your biggest challenges will likely arise when the team needs to figure out how and what the app should do. The key is to break down the app development process and detect where there is an overlap. With this information, you can work out who's responsible for what and assign tasks accordingly. This will help you avoid conflicts later and streamline the development process.
There may come a time when a conflict between a Business Analyst and UX designer seems impossible to resolve. In these cases, it's best to remind the BA and the UX designer of their responsibilities. Which is to say, the BA should be concerning themselves with what the app needs to do, not the colors or look and feel, whereas the UX designer can be encouraged to discuss changes or additions with the BA before making them. If this does not help resolve the issue, the best course of action is user testing. Whether it's informal testing, formal testing, or A/B testing, conducting a round of tests will reveal what the users ultimately prefer.
In software outsourcing, as in most business endeavors, innovation will play a key role in determining the value of a product or service. It's impossible to deliver added value through innovation without first establishing dynamics that promote team collaboration and trust-based partnerships. To jump this hurdle between a BA and a UX designer both must fully understand each other's role. When either side has a clearer understanding of the others' responsibilities, they can establish a better relationship based on mutual respect.
It's vital to combine a BA's attention to functionality and value, and a UX designer's attention to user needs for a project truly to push the boundaries and be innovative. When both sides understand they're working towards a common goal, it's easier to align and combine efforts to create an app that's beautifully designed and helps clients meet their business objectives.
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