7 strategies to improve your UX team & maximize potential
Leading a stellar UX team isn’t just about brainstorming cool ideas or hiring UX designers. It’s also about setting your team up for success with the right tools, processes, and team culture.
There’s a lot to think about as a UX manager and leader—but maximizing your team’s potential is a good place to start. It ensures your team has the skills and knowledge they need to get their jobs done, so you can more easily get your job done.
In this chapter, you’ll learn more about the importance of a strong UX team, as well as seven strategies for ensuring the UX designers in your team can confidently build designs to support the overall UX team objectives.
How a strong UX team can positively impact your business goals
The impact of a strong UX team on overall company goals is undeniable—as demonstrated by these stats:
- Every $1 invested in UX results in a return of $100 (Source)
- Companies that are part of the DMI Design Centric Index outperform the S&P 500 by 228% (Source)
- Businesses miss out on 35% of sales because of bad UX (Source)
- 88% of consumers are less likely to return to a site with bad UX (Source)
Creating a well-oiled UX research and design team is key for creating product experiences that users love, supporting retention and customer satisfaction, and ultimately increasing business revenue.
So, how can you ensure your team is set up to make the most of business revenue? Here are seven strategies for improving your UX design team.
7 Strategies for improving your UX design team
A strong UX team is good for business—but how do you build one? Here are seven strategies for improving your design team. Starting with assessing your current team.
1. Assess your current UX team
The first step in improving your UX design team is to understand where they currently stand—strengths, weaknesses, unique skills, and more. As a manager, you don't want to jump into a project only to realize your team lacks the essential skills needed to deliver quality results.
For example, one of your team members may have very little experience when it comes to typography—it’s just not something they’ve focused on during their career. However, they’re a whizz when it comes to UX research.
So, what’s the best way to assess your team's skills to identify their strengths and areas for improvement?
Assessing the entire team one-by-one would be time-consuming and inefficient—so don’t. Uxcel simplifies the team-wide assessment process by providing access to hundreds of UX assessments. The team-wide UX assessments and design skill tests enable you to test your team quickly and effectively on a wide variety of UX knowledge, skills, and tools.
Individual assessments return test scores—such as X designer scored AB% on this test—but designers also start to build designer profiles over time. These profiles score them across six key categories, giving you a strong understanding of each designer's strengths and weaknesses.
2. Establish clear goals and objectives
Establishing clear goals lays the foundation for your team to be metrics-focused and results-driven. The idea here is to create a roadmap that aligns your team around UX OKRs.
OKRs are made up of objectives, key results, and activities. Objectives are broader goals set in line with business goals. Key results are metrics that you track to work towards those goals, and activities are the actions you take to achieve key results.
Objectives are qualitative and broad, but you can use activities and key results to help guide and develop your team. Assign team members to tasks that you know they’ll crush, or assign them challenging tasks to help them improve certain skills.
Clear overall objectives help your team know what they’re working towards and help you build a more connected design environment. They also ensure the UX team is creating designs that support overarching business goals.
3. Invest in training and development
Investing in UX training and development for your UX team improves their knowledge and skills. They’re able to develop new, better ways to ideate and build problem-solving designs for your organization. As a result, you’re better able to increase revenue, retain clients, and provide an optimized product experience.
Plus, upskilling opportunities also help your team find satisfaction in their job and be better prepared for internal promotion opportunities.
So, how do you help your UX team upskill with interactive courses, lessons, and practical challenges—regardless of their seniority and experience? You’ve got several options—from workshops to bootcamps to set reading—but none are as comprehensive and accessible as Uxcel’s online lessons, courses, and assessments.
Uxcel offers a wide variety of courses on core and niche UX topics to help you upskill your UX team. For example, your UX designers could learn about:
- UX Color Psychology: how colors evoke emotions and influence behaviors
- Design accessibility: the importance of inclusive UX practices and ways to create accessible interfaces
- UX research: the nitty-gritty of UX research methods and strategies so you can create products users love
Empowering your designers with access to a UX education platform like Uxcel enables them to continually improve. They can take courses and assess their knowledge to become stronger UX designers who can drive more impact in your team.
4. Leverage data and analytics
Businesses everywhere focus on understanding and acting on data—improving a UX team is no different. Your UX designers have different strengths and weaknesses—courses that work for one might not work for another. However, identifying where each and every one of your designers' triumphs and struggles is a tall, time-consuming ask.
Using a platform like Uxcel means you get the data and analytics on UX designer performance with the click of a button. They take their courses and assessments, and build a skills profile that helps you identify where they excel.
Uxcel Teams ease how you conduct skill assessment and enables you to create a customized learning path for every team member. You can also see challenges they complete and the time they put into courses. With the team learning data and analytics, you can easily train your design team at scale and measure their progress.
5. Encourage collaboration and communication
Collaboration and communication are the cornerstone of any good team. Your UX designers need to know how to work well internally with each other, and externally with the rest of the organization. Typically, it's the UX Leader who communicates UX news with the rest of the organization. However, it's important to note that junior designers also need to communicate with other teams, both in design meetings and on a personal level.
Internally, UX designers need to work together to create the best possible designs. Each UX professional on your team has a different set of skills and knowledge and, while you can upskill your whole team, some designers naturally excel in certain areas. Creating a culture that encourages collaboration between designers is key for a strong UX design team.
In terms of cross-team collaboration, you want to ensure your team is connected to the rest of the organization. The UX Lead is the main point of contact, but facilitating cross-team collaboration and communication helps ensure your UX design team can access key information and insights to help them create stronger designs.
Check out the means below to help your team collaborate and communicate better.
- UX team workshops: focus on hands-on activities to share novel information or solve design challenges.
- Cross-team networking: helps designers deliver product value with inputs from product, marketing, and development teams.
- Collaborative design systems: like style guides, approved assets, and libraries reduce the back and forth during design approval.
At the end of the day, as a manager, you should always welcome ideas and build a culture that accepts different opinions. It's essential to foster effective communication within your team and encourage collaboration not only within the team but also with other teams involved in the product development process.To strengthen team dynamics and enhance UX skills, consider incorporating team-building design activities. These activities can range from collaborative design sprints and workshops to design critiques and knowledge-sharing sessions. Such activities provide opportunities for team members to get to know each other better, share their expertise, and learn from one another.
6. Invest in technology and tools
Your UX toolkit is the key to executing design ideas. The tools help you do your job throughout the entire design process—from ideation, to prototyping, to designing, to testing, to iteration, and more. Investing in the right technology and tools helps you deliver an outstanding user experience while solving key user problems.
Here are some tools that UX designers love:
- User surveys: Typeform, Google Forms
- User interview: User Interviews
- User journey maps: Google Analytics, UXPressia
- Flowcharting: Lucidchart, OmniGraffle
- Designing: Figma, Sketch, and Adobe Illustrator
- Prototyping: InVision, Adobe XD, Proto.io
- Wireframing: UXPin, Balsamiq, Marvel
- Wireframing: UXPin, Balsamiq, Marvel
- Designer skill assessment and training: Uxcel
Now, let’s dive into ways you can create a supportive environment for UX teams.
7. Create a positive and supportive work environment
Did you know a positive work culture can improve team performance by 202%?
Showing your team emotional and intellectual support is the best way to set a design team up for success. Here’s how you can better support your UX designers:
- Smooth onboarding: helping new hires understand performance expectations and existing processes from the get-go is key. You can also introduce a mentorship program to help everyone learn from experienced peers within the company.
- Comfortable work environment: this goes a long way when it comes to productivity. Depending on whether your team is remote or works from the office, you can do several things to improve their comfort and productivity. For example, you may offer a home office setup stipend to remote workers.
- Show that you care: following a 10/10/10 split for 30-min one-on-ones is a good way to support your team. Ten minutes to talk about them, ten minutes to talk about you, and ten minutes to talk about upcoming projects and how you can better support them. It’s an approach to UX leadership that makes space for employees to share the good and the bad, as well as get an idea of what the team is working on overall.
- Create a culture of appreciation: every employee should feel valued and appreciated for their contributions, big or small. You can do this by celebrating milestones, creating room for peer-to-peer recognition, and offering meaningful rewards.
Building and retaining a high-performing UX team becomes easier with a positive work environment and culture that supports personal and professional growth.
Improving your UX team with strong leadership
Getting the right people is only the beginning when it comes to building a UX team. You also want to foster a collaborative culture that lets them connect, share ideas, and embrace differences.
The reward for doing so? A more cohesive team that has the confidence and knowledge to create customer-centric solutions to your product problems—increasing retention, satisfaction, and revenue.
Looking to develop and upskill your team to help them improve? Uxcel Teams is ideal for helping your UX team learn new concepts, assess their skills, and improve their overall UX design and research knowledge.
Start your 14-day free trial today to experience how Uxcel can help you build a top-notch design team.