It has been quite a few years now since User Experience (UX) was introduced as an important success metric and an internal discipline at SDL, solidly embedded within its software development and operations organization. Ever since, UX at SDL grew. In terms of size, organizational maturity, internal influence, and impact on the success of the business. UX earned the trust of the various teams it supported, the customers it engaged with, and ultimately its seat at the table.
Why This Community Group?
As UX professionals, we take the role of user advocates when it comes to research and development in the organization. To do this successfully, we are leaving the office as often as possible for customer visits, user interviews, usability tests, industry events, and more. Those interactions are crucial for us to understand the goals, needs, and contexts of our users. By creating this community group, we hope to broaden the scope of our interactions, conversations, and discussions with users, customers, and partners alike. We aim to increase transparency, share how we work, show our ongoing projects, collect feedback from outside our team early and often, and engage in discussions about everything UX related to SDL.
As designers, we also feel strongly connected to the design trade at large and strive to be closely connected with this professional community: We already visit and present at conferences, join and host design meetups, and attend workshops. We follow countless blogs, Dribbble artists, and Twitter feeds. We connect with other designers and design teams, learn what keeps them awake at night, and exchange thoughts on how to bring design to the next level. With this in mind, another aim of this group is to facilitate and intensify the exchange within the broader design community. We will be sharing our own stories and ideas, approaches and processes, as well as failures and successes to inspire or help other designers and to stimulate discussions on how we can all get better together.
UX design meetup at SDL's Amsterdam office, April 2015
Audiences For This Group
The first audience we hope to reach with this community group are our users, customers, partners, and anyone involved with the services and products SDL offers. We are curious about your customer and user experience. What are you already happy with? Where do we need to get better? Do you have feedback on the usability and usefulness of our products? How well do they help you to get your job done? What is missing? We are also interested to hear your ideas, suggestions and questions concerning design at SDL in general. By engaging in the discussion with us, you can help us do our work with you in mind!
Second, we hope to reach other UX professionals and design teams working in similar contexts and facing similar challenges. We are curious to hear how you “designed” your design organization, which approaches and processes work for you, and which ones do not. Which though nuts are you trying to crack? Are you designing for complex, cloud-based enterprise scenarios? Growing a design team and wondering how to best structure and position it within the organization? Are you looking for best practices to improve collaboration with globally distributed design teams? Figuring out how product roadmaps, lean UX principles, service design, and agile software development fit together? Or are you interested to hear which tools other teams are using and why they love them? We think there is plenty to talk about and we would love to do so with you!
We will be active here and intend to react to all questions and discussions in a timely manner. If needed, we will also involve our colleagues from product management, development, support, or other teams to provide appropriate perspectives and feedback. Nonetheless, please keep in mind that this community group is new for us, too. We are learning as we go, so please bare with us in the beginning.
One last thing before we jump right into the conversation: Let me take a moment to introduce the UX team at SDL.
Introducing The SDL UX Team
At SDL, we have a dedicated in-house UX team that is part of the product development and operations organization aka “DevOps”, headed by our CTO. We are a fairly diverse, globally distributed team of 13 UX professionals, covering seven nationalities, spread across four different offices and time zones. Our backgrounds and trades range from strategic thinkers, design researchers, data nerds, user advocates, prototype hackers, micro-interaction lovers, to pixel-perfect UI artists. Collectively, we share a hunger for innovation, design thinking and creative processes, always striving to make our products and services better. And as most designers out there, too, we hope to make the world a little bit better with what we do. So when I talk about UX at SDL, I mainly refer to the UX team. But we are not alone! We are at the core of a larger customer experience community within SDL that is dedicated and committed to delivering great service and product experiences to our customers and users. This includes, but does not end with, our support teams, market research, professional services, product management, research and development, technical writers, testers, and cloud operations. I am sure that many of them will join the discussions and conversations on user experience in this community group, too, contributing their own perspectives and opinions where they fit best.
In the next blog post, I will continue the introduction to UX at SDL, covering “What we do” and describing the services we offer as a UX team to the rest of SDL. If you subscribe to our feed, you can both join the discussion and be sure not to miss anything. However you choose to follow us, it would be great to see you back soon and often!